Thursday, September 13, 2018

Grace at Home No. 313


Hello, friends! Welcome to this week's Grace at Home party. I'm especially grateful to be here today.  Here in North Carolina, we're bracing ourselves for the arrival of Hurricane Florence, so it's nice to have something positive to think about!

Thanks so much to everyone who wished me a happy birthday last week. So far, being 55 is pretty exciting! I drew a name for the $55 giveaway, and the winner is Michele Morin. Congratulations, Michele; hope you have something fun planned for your $55 prize.

There were lots of great links for last week's party. Here are a few I think you'll enjoy.

Joy from Artful Homemaking teaches how to make beautiful velvet pumpkins. I'd like to try this!


Looking for some inspiration for your Autumn decorating? Check out this post from Nicki at Sweet Parrish Place. 

This Fall I'm looking for Crock Pot and Instant Pot recipes. Arlene from Flour on My Face shared a recipe for Baked Ziti made in the crock pot. Yum!


Cassie from Lou Lou Girls shared a recipe for Parmesan Chicken made in the slow cooker. Hmmm. I need to get cooking!


Dr. Michelle Bengtson shares some important wisdom about depression and suicide. Suffering from depression does not indicate not a lack of faith. I love Michelle's philosophy: Hope prevails!


A big thank you to everyone who joined last week's party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up. If you've been featured, feel free to grab the "I was featured" button.  I'd be delighted if you'd like to  display 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, September 6, 2018

Grace at Home No. 312


Welcome, September! After a long, hot summer, Autumn is finally right around the corner here. Perhaps it's already arrived in your neck of the woods. In either case, I'm certainly ready for it; are you?

I'm so glad you're here for today's Grace at Home party, where we celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of Grace. Here are some highlights from last week's party.

Wendi from H2O Bungalow shows us how to make these beautiful birch bark candle holders, just right for Fall decorating!


Ann from Duct Tape and Denim shares 21 Fall signs you can easily make yourself.


Paula from Sweet Pea gives step-by-step directions for making Fall ornaments from clay. Aren't these cute?


For lots of Autumn decorating inspiration, you should visit Lori from Dining Delights. So much to see, all of it beautiful!


On a practical note, check out this simple tip for how to meal-prep boneless, skinless chicken from Kit at The Kittchen. Wish I'd known this technique years ago!


And Carol at Comfort Spring shares some benefits of taking apple cider vinegar. No outlandish claims here; a very compelling post!


As for me, I've had a big week. Yesterday I celebrated my 55th birthday! In honor of the occasion, I'm giving away $55. To enter the giveaway, simply read this post and follow the directions. No special hoops to jump through, but be sure to leave a comment on that post so that I'll know you've entered. And please do tell me what you think about what I've written, even (or especially) if you disagree.

A big thank you to everyone who joined last week's party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up. If you've been featured, feel free to grab the "I was featured" button.  I'd be delighted if you'd like to  display 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, September 5, 2018

The real me (and a birthday giveaway)


55 has always seemed like an important number to me. Perhaps it's because, when I was growing up, the highways were filled with 55 mph speed limit signs. Anyone else remember those years when the speed limit on interstate highways was 55 mph? Anyone else remember truckers with their CB radios who traveled in convoys, disregarding the speed limit laws? Anyone else love the country song "Convoy" by C.W. McCall? Or is that just me?

Anyway, 55 has always loomed large in my imagination, but I never really gave much thought to being 55 years old.

Until now. And here I am.


My husband snapped this photo of me so that I'd have a picture of myself right when I turned 55.

This past year has been a big one for me. When I turned 54, I was hoping that perhaps a book proposal I'd submitted might find favor with a publisher. Before the end of last year, I was offered a contract with InterVarsity Press, and I turned in the manuscript for Mythical Me: Escaping the Trap of Comparison on August 1 (read more about the book here).

I suppose this topic is very much on my mind because I've spent so much time the last few months reading and writing about comparison, but for whatever reason, here's where I want to get real with you. As we post photos of ourselves on social media, isn't it tempting to make ourselves look just a little better? Don't we sometimes wish we could wave a magic wand and erase the years? Well, here's the same photo as the one above with just three minutes' worth of work on my computer's pre-installed photo software. (In other words, anyone could have made these edits.)


Here, look at the two pictures side by side:


See how the second photo lacks a few wrinkles and imperfections? No line between my eyes, no lines on my forehead, no lines on my neck. . . just a few simple little touches enacted with a click of the mouse.

And you'd never know the difference unless I told you, right? After all, the two photos are mostly the same. It's not like I made any big changes.

If we all make just a few little changes to our photos. . . if we do some innocent doctoring so that the subtle signs of aging are erased. . . and we don't mention to anyone that the photos are edited, no harm is done, right? It's not really dishonest, is it? It's just a little of the kind of "pampering" we all deserve, right?

Certainly it's not wrong to wish that we could erase a few of the signs of aging or other physical imperfections. Don't we all wish we could look our best at all times? Of course we do. And if you know of any good creams or lotions or exercises or supplements that can help me to look my best, I'd love to hear about them.

But I'm convinced that if we make those "innocent" little edits and we don't tell people that the photos are edited, we are in fact doing some harm. First, we're buying into and propagating the myth that imperfections are shameful. Second, we're most certainly harming ourselves by assuming that we're not acceptable and lovable just as we are. And third, while we're not responsible for the actions of others, we are adding fuel to the fires of comparison when we make ourselves look different from the way we actually look.

Jesus reminded his followers that the greatest commandment was to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, then exhorted them to a second great commandment: to love their neighbors as themselves (see Matthew 22:35-40, Mark 12:28-31). The more I think about it, the more firmly I believe that we don't love ourselves or our neighbors very well when we edit our photos to remove the imperfections in our appearance. I think we can do better than that.

So even though I might be sorely tempted to "improve" my photos just a little by erasing a few of the signs of aging, I promise not to do that. I am proud to be 55 years old today. I've been married 33 years, and I've reared three wonderful sons to adulthood. I hope that I'm aging gracefully, but of course my face has some lines and wrinkles! I've earned those wrinkles. They represent the joys and heartaches that go into a life filled with love.


And I think that this big birthday calls for a celebration! So I'm going to give away $55 to one of you in whatever form you like--cash, gift card, or whatever you like. No hoops to jump through--just subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram or Facebook (whatever works for you) and leave a comment below to enter. I'll choose a winner randomly on September 12. I'll be tickled to share my big 55 celebration with one of you!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Grace at Home No. 311


Hello, friends! Welcome this last Thursday of August. Whew! Can you believe summer's just about over?

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

Wendi from H2O Bungalow shared a tutorial making a large piece of inspirational wall art--even instructions on building the frame!


Penny from Penny's Vintage Home goes all-out with her decorating, and she shared some good ideas for transitioning from summer to fall. If you like romantic or shabby chic decor, you'll love Penny's blog!


Angelina from Petite Haus gave us some good advice for things to do now to prepare for Fall decorating in a few weeks.


Shea from The Fogue Abode shared some good Fall DIY decor ideas.


Amy from Show and Tell U devised a way to make her own divided baskets, and she shared a complete tutorial.


Kelly from Live Love Texas shared a recipe for Churro Waffles. My youngest son is a waffle fanatic (he even has an Instagram account called Waffly Good!), so you can bet I'll be sharing this recipe with him.

On a very practical note, Donna Reidland offers some advice for honoring parents who are less than perfect.

A big thank you to everyone who joined the last party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up. If you've been featured, feel free to grab the "I was featured" button.  I'd be delighted if you'd like to  display 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, August 23, 2018

Grace at Home No. 310


Hello, friends, and welcome! Welcome to this week's Grace at Home party, where we celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of grace. I'm so glad you're here!

Here are some links from last week's party I think you'll enjoy.

Lindsey from Repurpose and Upcycle created this amazing world map art. Isn't it cool?


Krista from The Happy Housie showed us how she made these beautiful draperies without sewing a stitch.

Now that August is almost over, I'm getting eager for Fall. Decorating for Fall is so much fun, don't you think?  Debra from Shoppe No. 5 shared 40 ideas for Fall decorating!


Leslie at From Playdates to Parties shared some really valuable advice on how to host a party when guests have severe food allergies. So helpful!


Steve from The Black Peppercorn shared a recipe for creating Chicken Parmagiana Sliders. Don't these look delicious?


Last but not least, dear Debbie from Debbie-Dabble celebrated her 40th wedding anniversary, and she shared "The Story of Us"—a look at her life through 40 years of marriage. So sweet!


A big thank you to everyone who joined the last party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up. If you've been featured, feel free to grab the "I was featured" button.  I'd be delighted if you'd like to  display 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, August 16, 2018

Grace at Home No. 309


Hello, friends! Welcome to the Grace at Home party, where we celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of grace. I'm so glad you're here!

This week is kind of bittersweet for me. Tomorrow will be the very last back-to-school day for my kids. My youngest is 21, and tomorrow we'll take him back to High Point University for his senior year. I've been taking or sending kids back to school since 1994, when my oldest started preschool. That's 24 years of back-to-school days. Unbelievable!

Anyway, I'm glad to pause this morning to share some of the wonderful things y'all are doing in your homes. I think you'll enjoy these highlights from last week's party.

Marty from A Stroll Thru Life shares one of her favorite tools for decorating. If you know Marty, you know she's a pro at home decor. I'm always glad to learn from her.


If you're interested in homeschooling, you'll enjoy this homeschool room tour from Joy at Artful Homemaking.  I homeschooled for three years, and if I'd had a space like this, I might have kept going!

Now that summer's winding down and I've completed the manuscript for my book, I need to turn my attention to getting our house really clean. I was glad to get this tip for cleaning toilets from Chas at Chas' Crazy Creations; I'm going to give it a try!


Nicki from Sweet Parrish Place shared some great tips for a job that most of us tackle regularly: laundry. Nicki is a laundry expert, so I'm glad to have her advice for keeping laundry looking like new.


Life can be awfully hard at times, so it's important to have a way to unwind and relax. I love this post from Mary Carver about enjoying pop culture; I think you will, too. Check out "In Praise of Pop Culture That's Just for Fun."


Last but definitely not least, I highly recommend this post from Michele Morin at Living Our Days.  You'll learn about God's love and get a great recipe for homemade pizza into the bargain!


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