Thursday, June 22, 2017

Grace at Home No. 255



Today is June 22, and I'm so glad to welcome you to this week's Grace at Home party.

I don't know what's going on in your life today, but June 22 is a special day for me. Today is my 32nd wedding anniversary!


Obviously, we were only 12 years old when we got married {wink}.

As you can imagine, I'll be spending some time today reflecting on the way God has blessed us over the years. So I'm glad that today is the day for the Grace at Home party, where we celebrate the ways we make our homes places of grace.

Here are some links from last week's party I thought you might enjoy.

If you're looking for garden inspiration, you should visit with Rita from Panoply! She shares photos of her spring/early summer garden that will have you wanting to create your own beautiful outdoor spaces.

Alicia from A Brighter Destiny recommends books for read-aloud time around the campfire. There are some great recommendations here.


Pattie from Olla-Podrida shared a recipe for Caramel Pound Cake with Salted Toffee Glaze. Doesn't this photo make your mouth water?


Sheila Qualls learned an important lesson about overcoming shame when she received a letter from a concerned friend advising her to lose weight. 


A big thank you to everyone who joined last week's party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up each week. If you've been featured, feel free to grab the "I was featured" button.  I'd be so proud if you displayed it!


Now for this week's party!  Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Here's what I ask of you.  Please include the permalink to your post, not your blog's home page.  Please let people know that you've linked up.  No more than three posts per person, please.  Note that if you link a post here, you are giving me permission to share your post, including a photo.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!




Thursday, June 15, 2017

Grace at Home No. 254


Hello, friends! Welcome to the Grace at Home party, where we celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of grace and beauty.

Here are some posts from last week's party I thought you might enjoy:

Pamela from Home on the Corner showed us her front porch all dressed up for summertime's patriotic holidays.

Lindsey from Repurpose and Upcycle shared her technique for creating this beautiful chippy paint finish:

Danielle from A Sprinkle of Joy gave us  her recipe for making turtle parfaits. Doesn't this look delicious?
Tehila from Women Abiding shared five spiritual lessons she learned from a recent house renovation. Great inspiration here!


As for me, I wrote about a distorted picture of God I've struggled with. I'd love to know if this is something that has troubled you as well. 


A big thank you to everyone who joined last week's party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up each week. If you've been featured, feel free to grab the "I was featured" button.  I'd be so proud if you displayed it!


Now for this week's party!  Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Here's what I ask of you.  Please include the permalink to your post, not your blog's home page.  Please let people know that you've linked up.  No more than three posts per person, please.  Note that if you link a post here, you are giving me permission to share your post, including a photo.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!




Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Correcting a distorted picture of God


I once worked with a productivity genius. Maybe you know the type. She could cut through any kind of barrier and get things done. Boy, did I admire her.

She had this sign hanging above her desk:


"Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."

She always remained calm and unruffled. She would help her co-workers, but she did in a way that fit into her schedule. In other words, she never allowed anyone else's needs to interrupt the flow of her work.

I kind of wanted to be like her.

But I was also kind of scared of her.

Do you know what I mean?

I didn't realize how much that admiration/fear I felt for my colleague had seeped into my soul. As I was facing a looming deadline and feeling overwhelmed by all the demands on my time, I asked a friend to pray for me.

Wisely, that friend did some probing before praying, helping me get to the root of what I needed from God.

Out of the blue, my co-worker's motto popped into my head, and I realized that I was imagining that God had the same attitude.

Lodged deep in my heart lay the idea of an impatient God—a God who would help me, sure, but who was slightly irritated that I needed to ask for help. Somehow I felt that God, in all His glory and perfection, felt impatience with me for my lack of planning.

This God tolerated me, but I grated on His nerves.

I could ask for help, but His assistance would be delivered grudgingly.

Can you imagine God sitting in His office, drumming His fingers on His desktop, raising His eyebrows in exasperation? My friend's gentle questions revealed that this was my picture. This was the God of my imagination.

My mental image was not an accurate picture of the God we meet in scripture. It's not a true picture of the God who listens and answers the prayers of his children, who delights in us.

Only a distorted image would picture God as perfect in power but not perfect in love. 

Does God love me because of my goodness? No, He loves me because of His goodness. The apostle John said it like this:

"This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us." (I John 4:10, NIV)

God's love doesn't depend on my love. Nor does it hinge on how lovable I am.

My strength doesn't strengthen God's love; my weakness doesn't weaken God's love.

So strong is God's love that His spirit inspired these words:

"I am sure that neither death nor life, no angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, 
nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us 
from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39, ESV)

"Nor anything else in all creation": not even my incompetence. Not even my lack of planning. Not even my failure.

Do you see how much I needed my friend's prayers? My distorted image of God didn't affect God one bit, but it did affect me.

My picture of God didn't just need a little editing, a bit of cropping and an adjustment of the white balance. No, I needed see a completely different picture.

I needed to take God out from behind that desk with the sign over it.

I needed to see that He doesn't greet me with a frown of annoyance at being interrupted.

I needed to see that His fingers are not drumming on the desktop.

That's all a false picture.

The real picture is one of God's face alight with kindness, His arms stretching out in welcome, His hands reaching out to help and comfort.

"God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all." (I John 1:5, KJV)

Thank God for friends who pray.

Thank God for new pictures.

Thank God for His unfailing love.

Do you ever struggle with a distorted image of God? Can we encourage one another together?



Thursday, June 8, 2017

Grace at Home No. 253


Welcome to this week's Grace at Home party, where we celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of grace and beauty.

I've been out of town this week. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you might have seen this photo of me and my husband at a gala in Washington, DC:


We had a wonderful time, but I've been awfully quiet online this week. Still, I have some favorites from last week's party I'd like to share with you.

Laura from Junque Cottage shared some simple ways to add the ultra-popular primitive style to your home. (I love her blog's tag line: "Farmhouse Decor on a Chicken Feed Budget.")


Speaking of budget decor, Marty from A Stroll Thru Life is a master. She showed us a bunch of ways to get a high-end look for less money. Great tips here!


Lindsey from Repurpose and Upcycle really got my budget decor juices flowing with her post about painting fabric. She transformed her porch by painting the furniture cushions, and she shares a tutorial on exactly how she did it.


I discovered a new-to-me blog this week. Sheila Qualls from Where Real Life Meets Real Faith shared some wonderful thoughts about why she chooses to work.  You'll be blessed by this!

A big thank you to everyone who joined last week's party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up each week. If you've been featured, feel free to grab the "I was featured" button.  I'd be so proud if you displayed it!


Now for this week's party!  Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Here's what I ask of you.  Please include the permalink to your post, not your blog's home page.  Please let people know that you've linked up.  No more than three posts per person, please.  Note that if you link a post here, you are giving me permission to share your post, including a photo.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!





Thursday, June 1, 2017

Grace at Home No. 252


Happy June, friends!!

It's a beautiful day in my neighborhood, and I'm grateful that you're here for the Grace at Home party. Here are some highlights from last week's party:

Laura from Decor to Adore built this awesome desk and shelf unit for her son's room. I think I need to copy her idea—but in our house the shelves will hold LEGO creations!


Kristi from Making It in the Mountains built this charming serving tray in just half an hour, and she gives complete instructions for making your own.


Looking for Father's Day gift ideas? Joy from Artful Homemaking put together a list of great ideas.


I've been wanting to find some recipes for quinoa, so I was tickled to find this recipe for Greek-style Quinoa Salad from Jas at All That's Jas. Doesn't it look delicious?


As for me, I wrote about what makes Mr. Rogers so special—and why we need to learn from him. I'd love to know your thoughts about this post. If you like it, I'd be most grateful if you would share it.


A big thank you to everyone who joined last week's party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up each week. If you've been featured, feel free to grab the "I was featured" button.  I'd be so proud if you displayed it!


Now for this week's party!  Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Here's what I ask of you.  Please include the permalink to your post, not your blog's home page.  Please let people know that you've linked up.  No more than three posts per person, please.  Note that if you link a post here, you are giving me permission to share your post, including a photo.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!





Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What Made Mister Rogers So Special


It's been 50 years since the debut of one of the greatest television shows of all time: Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.  And this past week sparked a new interest in the creator and star of the show himself, Fred Rogers.

Perhaps you saw this photo, which was shared widely after the horrific Manchester bombings:


Just as he had done many times in the course of half a century, Mr. Rogers was helping people with his kindness and his wisdom.

I was one of the lucky kids who got to be one of Mr. Rogers' neighbors from the very beginning. I was born in September 1963, so I was four and a half years old when the show debuted on National Educational Television in February 1968. I watched the show from the very first, and it quickly became my favorite. I didn't go to kindergarten, so I got to see lots of episodes before I began first grade. But I didn't stop watching after I started school, either.

I remember clearly one day when I was in second grade. I had been nominated for a small honor at school, and I, along with several other nominees, had to complete an interview with a panel of judges. One of the questions asked of us was "What is your favorite TV show?" There were lots of good shows on the air at that time, but I didn't have to think twice about my favorite. "Mister Rogers," I answered immediately (For whatever reason, I never called the show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood back then.)

All the other nominees laughed at me for that. They named popular nighttime shows like The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family and called me a baby for still watching Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. I liked those nighttime shows, too, but I wouldn't give up Mister Rogers, not even if other kids thought I was silly for watching it.

When I was in third grade, I asked for three particular items for Christmas: a Crissy doll with hair that grew, Barbie's Country Camper, and Mr. Rogers' Songbook. As you can imagine, Crissy and Barbie didn't last too long, but look what's still on my living room bookshelf, 45 years later:


Maybe by third grade I was older than the intended audience for watching Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. But I wasn't too old to absorb the lessons I learned there, to soak in the kindness and goodness that Mr. Rogers presented.

So I loved my songbook, singing along with such iconic tunes as "Won't You Be My Neighbor?":


And "It's Such a Good Feeling":


Fred Rogers, who studied music composition as an undergraduate, wrote these songs and many others. My favorite, though, was "Everybody's Fancy." Since I was born with a mild birth defect, I struggled with issues of self-esteem. Hearing Mr. Rogers say "Your body's fancy and so is mine" was balm to my heart.


There was something special about Mr. Rogers, for sure. And people who knew him or had the chance to talk with him personally testify that his television behavior was no act—he really was kind, caring, and wise. This past week a personal story of one man's encounter with Mr. Rogers has gone viral. (If you haven't already, you really should read about it.)

That fact shouldn't be surprising, for Fred Rogers was a devoted follower of Jesus. Early in life he considered becoming a pastor, but he became fascinated with television and wanted to do something with that new medium that would be good for people's souls. But after he began working in the television industry, he entered seminary as a part-time student. It took him eight years to complete his degree, but he earned an M.Div. and was ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

In a March 2000 interview with Christianity Today writer Wendy Murray Zoba, Fred Rogers told a story of his most beloved seminary professor, Dr. William S. Orr.

"I studied Greek with him and then I studied New Testament with him. Every Sunday, my wife and I used to go to the nursing home to visit him. One Sunday we had just sung 'A Mighty Fortress Is Our God' and I was full of this one verse. I said, 'Dr. Orr, we just sang this hymn and I've got to ask you about part of it.

"'You know where it says—The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him. For, lo, his doom is sure. … one little word will fell him? Dr. Orr, what is that one thing that would wipe out evil?'

"He said, 'Evil simply disintegrates in the presence of forgiveness. When you look with accusing eyes at your neighbor, that is what evil would want, because the more the accuser'—which, of course, is the word Satan in Hebrew—'can spread the accusing spirit, the greater evil spreads.' Dr. Orr said, 'On the other hand, if you can look with the eyes of the Advocate on your neighbor, those are the eyes of Jesus.'

"I've never forgotten that. . . ."

"Every time I walk into the studio, I say to myself [as a prayer], 'Let some word that is heard be Yours.' The Holy Spirit translates our best efforts into what needs to be communicated to that person in his or her place of need. The longer I live, the more I know it's true," he says ("Won't You Be My Neighbor?" Christianity Today, March 6, 2000).

Fred Rogers never talked about his faith on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Instead, he did something far more powerful: he lived by faith, and he treated every person with the kindness and compassion of Christ. 

Mr. Rogers died in 2003 after a battle with stomach cancer, never having forgotten to look with the eyes of Jesus on his neighbors. 

The gospels tell us that when Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment, He answered: 
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (see Matthew 22 and Mark 12). 

Mr. Rogers learned from Jesus to love his neighbors. Then he made all of us his neighbors.


You know, we often refer to all the people who write or read blogs or social media posts as a community. Maybe we'd do better to think in terms of neighborhood. With the internet our neighborhood spans the globe, but the wisdom of Fred Rogers—the wisdom of Jesus—is needed now more than ever, don't you think?

Jesus is alive today, ready to teach us to be good neighbors. I want to learn. Maybe we can learn together to make our online world a vast, loving neighborhood.

I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you.
I've always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.
So let's make the most of this beautiful day
Since we're together we might as well say:
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine? 
Won't you be my neighbor?
Won't you please, won't you please?
Please won't you be my neighbor?


I'm joining these wonderful parties:


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Grace at Home No. 251


Hello, friends, and welcome to this week's Grace at Home party!

My head is spinning at the thought that this is the last Thursday of the month of May. When you get to be my age, you know that time flies, but honestly this year has just whizzed by!

Here are some links from last week's party I thought you might enjoy.

Kristi from Making It in the Mountains remodeled her powder room into a beautiful farmhouse space. Wait 'til you see the before photo; you'll be amazed at the transformation!


Jaclyn at One Thousand Oaks needed a console table in a particular size, so she built this beautiful table herself! She provides a complete tutorial for building your own.


Jolena at While I Linger transformed a living room from a dark, dated space to a light, welcoming room.


Leslie at From Playdates to Parties provided 40+ printables for Father's Day. Hard to believe that's just a few weeks away, isn't it?


Patti from Pandora's Box shared the sweetest story I've read in a long time--you'll want to read her lilac story!

Michele Morin from Living Our Days provided a review of a new book by Ann Swindell, Still Waiting, that you won't want to miss.


A big thank you to everyone who joined last week's party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up each week. If you've been featured, feel free to grab the "I was featured" button.  I'd be so proud if you displayed it!


Now for this week's party!  Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Here's what I ask of you.  Please include the permalink to your post, not your blog's home page.  Please let people know that you've linked up.  No more than three posts per person, please.  Note that if you link a post here, you are giving me permission to share your post, including a photo.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!





Thursday, May 18, 2017

Grace at Home No. 250


Hello and welcome! I'm so glad you're here for this week's Grace at Home party.

I can't believe that this is the 250th Grace at Home party I've hosted. I number them each week just to differentiate the titles, but it's fun to see that we've been hanging out here for that long. I'm so grateful to each person who participates.

Here are some links from last week's party that caught my eye:

Carrie from Thirty-Eighth Street explains how to find, repair, and re-do secondhand furniture. Lots of great tips here.


Ash from Just Measuring Up installed a DIY sail shade over his patio, and he provides a step-by-step tutorial for making your own.


Penny from Penny's Vintage Home showed how she transformed her garden lounge chairs for just a couple of dollars. If you like shabby chic style, you'll love Penny's place!


Jas from All That's Jas shared a recipe for 15-minute Spanish garlic shrimp. Doesn't this look delicious?


Karen at Growing in Grace and Knowledge shared some inspiring thoughts about trusting God and resting in Him.


And I shared some thoughts about what's going on in my life and how I've been thinking about the way we all need one another. I'd love for you to read my post called "When You Think Your Heart Might Burst" and let me know your thoughts.



A big thank you to everyone who joined last week's party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up each week. If you've been featured, feel free to grab the "I was featured" button.  I'd be so proud if you displayed it!


Now for this week's party!  Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Here's what I ask of you.  Please include the permalink to your post, not your blog's home page.  Please let people know that you've linked up.  No more than three posts per person, please.  Note that if you link a post here, you are giving me permission to share your post, including a photo.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!