Thursday, February 23, 2017

Grace at Home No. 238


Hello and welcome! I'm so glad you're here for this week's 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'd enjoy.

Handan at The Navage Patch put together a super-helpful post with everything you need to know about painting a room. So much useful information here!


Tarah at Grandma's House DIY converted her old furniture into outdoor furniture. Hmmm. . . this has the wheels of my mind turning.


Pattie at Olla-Podrida shared a recipe for Avocado Corn Salsa that looks absolutely delicious. I want to try this!

As for me, I reflected on the lesson I learned from the experience of dealing with falling trees in my yard. I'd love to know what you think!


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, February 22, 2017

A lesson from the trees


One of my favorite things about our house is the fact that it's surrounded by trees. Lots of mature trees.

Over the years I've heard people say their souls are fed by different aspects of God's creation. The seaside, with the crashing waves and water as far as the eye can see, inspires many people. Or the mountains, with their majestic peaks. For me, soul food has always been provided by trees.

A couple of weeks ago, though, a soul-sickening sound rent the air as I was making my morning coffee. Creeaaakkk—crash! A quick trip to the back door revealed the source of the noise:


A huge pine had been blown down.

Here you can see that it fell across our back fence. What's hidden in this photo is the fact that the tree stretched at least 20 feet into the woods behind our house.


Now all that remains of this beautiful old tree is a pile of enormous logs.


As it turned out, this particular tree had some rot at its core. As we surveyed the damage, I uttered a prayer of thanksgiving. Honestly, it looked as if an angel had guided the tree to fall in the direction that would cause the least harm to our property.

As you can imagine, though, the loss of this tree had us scurrying to check out the health of other trees on our property, especially the pines.

This photo, taken last summer, shows the trunk of one of the oldest trees on our property:


The tree experts determined that this tree was healthy, but they warned that if a wind storm were to take it down, it would likely fall squarely on top of the house.

And so, sadly, it had to come down. I watched the operation with sorrow.


Where once stood a beautiful old-growth pine—perhaps as old as 100 years!—now stands only a hole in the earth. 

As I mourned the passing of the tree, I couldn't help but think how often our lives involve choices like this. Although it wrenched my heart to lose one of my beloved trees, how much worse would it be to suffer the damage if it were to fall? 

It's easy to wish that life would proceed without this kind of choice, to hope that no such sacrifice would ever be necessary. But that's not reality. Even though tough choices may be painful, they must be made. 

In many ways, life is a series of small sacrifices made in faith that the greater good obtained by making them will be worth the price. 

Thank God that we have His spirit to guide us as we go!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Grace at Home No. 237


I'm so glad you're here for this week's Grace at Home party, where we celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of grace and beauty.

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

Kristi from Making in the Mountains created this beautiful board and batten wall for her dining room with a technique she calls the easiest ever. I may have to try this.

Jolena from While I Linger crafted this "BBQ" sign. Isn't it great? I've been wishing for something to decorate the area by my husband's Big Green Egg; I think I've found it!


Staci from Frugal Family Adventures shared some tips for using apple cider vinegar that sound almost miraculous—including a couple I've never heard of. Check out her post for details.


Dr. Michelle Bengston shared some stellar advice about how to live when your prayers aren't being answered as you would like: trust God's character.


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, February 9, 2017

Grace at Home No. 236


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

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

Angela from Simply Beautiful recreated a few dollars' worth of thrift store finds into great pieces of farmhouse decor. You'll be inspired by what she did for just $8!


Jamie at Anderson + Grant published a guide to the types of paint you might need for your house. It can be confusing to know what kind you need for various projects, so this post is helpful.


Leslie from Lamberts Lately shared an Instant Pot/Freezer Meal "Boot Camp." She gives step-by-step instructions for creating a month's worth of meals with just one day of cooking. I have an Instant Pot, but I haven't learned to use it yet, so I'm grateful for the instruction.


As for me, I reflected on why I've been so quiet on social media lately. It's because I've been practicing the spiritual discipline of keeping my mouth shut. I'd love to know what you think about 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!





Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The spiritual discipline of keeping my mouth shut



I've been quiet around here lately.

Actually, I've been quiet most everywhere lately. On Saturday, I posted my first Instagram photo in a month, with this caption: "A month away from social media has been good for my soul. (Was that a sabbatical or just hiding from current events?)"


I'd like to say that it was a sabbatical, but that makes me sound much more intentional and wise than I really am.

To be honest, it was just my way of practicing the spiritual discipline I need the most: the discipline of keeping my mouth shut.

Of course, there's the discipline of silence, one of the classical spiritual disciplines defined as "closing off our souls from 'sounds,' whether noise, music, or words, so that we may better still the inner chatter and clatter of our noisy hearts and be increasingly attentive to God" (Renovaré Life with God Bible, p. 530). 

One of the great benefits of practicing silence is that we are better able to hear the voice of God. My friend Richard Foster explains: "The quality of God's voice is one of drawing and encouraging. The spirit in God's voice is all grace and mercy. And the content of what is being said is always consistent with what God has said before--we have a huge biblical witness  upon which to test our leadings" (Sanctuary of the Soul, p. 11).

I wish I could tell you that this is what I've been up to for the past month, but that would be a lie. Instead, I've been practicing a discipline that is often the very hardest thing for me to do: biting my tongue.

Over and over God convicts me with the verse upon which the name of this blog is based: 

"Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers" (Ephesians 4:29).

That's from my lifelong favorite King James Version, but I need to hear it in other words, too. Like the NIV: 

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

Or even more pointed, from The Message:

"Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift."

And the truth is that, as I've watched events unfold over the past month, I really didn't have anything to say that would be helpful.

That's humbling. I've wrestled with it, thinking that perhaps I had a responsibility to say something. Maybe I should have spoken words of grace. Maybe I should have added my voice just to remind people of God's love and goodness.

Maybe.

But the harder--and I think, the more needful--thing was to keep my mouth shut.

Sometimes people get confused about spiritual disciplines, thinking that they are lovely practices that uplift and encourage. And that's partially true. But that's not the whole picture.

Spiritual disciplines are not pampering for the soul. They're more like medicine for the soul: I take what I need. I don't practice what is most enjoyable; I practice what is most necessary for shaping my character into Christlikeness. 

What does a Christlike character look like? It's one that overflows with the fruit of the Spirit--the same Spirit that empowered Jesus to live as He did now lives in me. So a Christlike character will show forth love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness (see Galatians 5:22). 

I don't keep my mouth shut because I am holy. I keep my mouth shut because I want to become holy.

I want to be the kind of person who will speak only when she has something life-giving to say.

I have a long way to go. But I am confident that God's grace abounds. He can take my little acts of faith and do what I cannot do: He can change me from the inside out. With God nothing is impossible, not even the taming of my tongue.

What about you? What disciplines do you need to practice in order to grow in grace?


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Grace at Home No. 235


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

Can you believe that February is already here? I'm stunned, to tell you the truth. 

Here are a few links from last week's that caught my eye.

I was so impressed with this end-of-bed bench built by Angela from Simply Beautiful and her husband. They did such a good job!


Lindsay from Simply September shared a wonderful gift idea for someone who is moving or has recently moved: a framed photo of former homes. She created this beauty for her parents.


Want to be inspired to decorate for Valentine's Day? Visit Penny from Penny's Vintage Home. You'll be amazed!


And if you're looking for a beautiful Valentine's Day dessert, check this out: Jas from All That's Jas shared a recipe for a Valentine's Day rare cheesecake. Doesn't it look scrumptious?


Lil at Embracing the Lovely shared a magnificent love letter from our heavenly father. So encouraging! And she's offering a lovely free printable, too. 


Those are just a few of my favorites. Special thanks to everyone who joined the party last week. I so appreciate your being here.

Now for this week's party!  As I said, 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!