Thursday, August 15, 2019

Grace at Home No. 345


Y'all. It is the middle of August. Good heavens, how did this happen?

Is anyone else wondering how 2019 is flying by so quickly? I'm here shaking my head, trying to figure out how it is that this year has just four and half months left in it.

One thing I know for myself is that preparation for the publication of my book has put me into a weird sort of time zone. For instance, this week I recorded the audio version. Here's me in the studio:


I look kind of dorky, but honestly it was a really fun experience to record the audio book. Hard work, that's for sure, but rewarding. (By the way, my book is available for pre-order!! You can see the print version here and the audio version here.)

In case you don't already know, my book is from InterVarsity Press and it's called Mythical Me: Finding Freedom from Constant Comparison. It releases on October 22. Please let me know if you'd like to know more about it--I'd be glad to send you a copy of the first chapter so you can see if you might be interested!

Now, on to business! I am so glad you're here for the Grace at Home party, where we celebrate the ways we make our homes places of grace. Here are some links from our last party that I thought you might enjoy.

Need to freshen up your dining room for a late summer look that can transition into fall? Check out what Debra at Common Ground has done with sunflowers in her dining room.


If you're looking for some easy, inexpensive ways to update your decor and you like a romantic, shabby chic look, you'll love this post from Penny at Penny's Vintage Home. Penny is amazing!


If it's been as hot in your neck of the woods as it has here, you'll appreciate getting this recipe for Strawberry Lemonade from Mommy Evolution. Doesn't it look yummy?


The hot weather also has me looking for dinner recipes that can be made in a slow cooker or my Instant Pot. I think I'll try this one for Hawaiian Chicken from Kelli at 3 Boys and a Dog.


These days of keeping all the doors and windows shut mean that my house doesn't smell as fresh as I'd like. If that's the case with you, you'll be glad to get these tips for ridding your house of odors from Chas at Chas' Crazy Creations.


And if you need some encouragement to enlarge your view of God, read "He Is More" by Pam Ecrement. I think you'll be inspired!


A big thank you to everyone who joined! Now on to this week's party.

Here at the Grace at Home party, 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!
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter




Thursday, August 1, 2019

Grace at Home No. 344


Wow, y'all--it's August! Can you believe how quickly the summer is flying by?

I'm grateful that you're here for the Grace at Home party, where we celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of grace. Here are a few of my favorite links from last week's party.

Do you ever wish to add more simple-life charm to your home? Ashley from Simply Designing built a porch swing for her house--and she shares a complete tutorial for how she did it, including detailed plans. If you're up for a big DIY project, her plans make it doable!


I think a lot of us are trying to use non-toxic cleaners in our homes. But I for one love cleaning products that smell good. Lisa from Fresh Vintage by Lisa has developed a cleaner using fresh rosemary from her garden. I think I'll try this!


Back-to-school time is drawing nigh for many of us. If you could use a little organizational help in this area, you'll appreciate the printable checklists developed by Carol from Comfort Spring.


Have you lived through a traumatic event? If so, you may need some help in understanding all the ways trauma affects your body. Very sadly, Leslie from Gwen Moss has become something of an expert in this area—her son was tragically killed last year. I am grateful that she is sharing some of her hard-won wisdom.


Last but not least, Debbie Kitterman from Dare 2 Hear shares a beautiful vision of God's love. Read this and be encouraged!


Here at the Grace at Home party, 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!
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Grace at Home No. 343


Welcome, welcome, welcome! After a mid-summer hiatus, I'm happy to be back online today to host the Grace at Home party, where we celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of grace.

Want to know where I was last week? I hope to write more about this, but here's a peek:


I was in Corpus Christi, Texas, at the Naval Air Station, where my oldest son was awarded his wings of gold as a naval aviator. We were so proud! Sorry that there's an official photographer in the foreground of this snapshot, but in the background you can see me pinning the wings on my son's uniform while his wife and his father look on.

But I know you've been busy, and I hope you'll share the ways you've been working to make your home a place of grace. Here at the Grace at Home party, 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!
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Real life, midsummer edition


We knew in advance that the summer of 2019 was going to be a busy time for our family. Our family calendar included so many red-letter events, we ran out of red ink. We knew it was coming. We tried to prepare ourselves.

But wow.

How do you prepare yourself for so many things happening all at once?

Over the course of the last few weeks, every one of our sons has experienced a once-in-a-lifetime event. Here's photographic evidence.

One wedding:


One college graduation:


One master's degree graduation:


Sandwiched in there somewhere, my husband and I celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary. (34 years! Can you believe that?)


And in the middle of these big events, several other notable things took place, too:

The funeral of my beloved aunt (in Kentucky).


The high school graduation of my precious niece (in Mississippi).


 A charity gala (in Washington, DC).


The annual Renovaré Ministry Team Retreat (in Colorado).


An author photo shoot to prepare for the October release of my book, Mythical Me: Finding Freedom from Constant Comparison (which is available now for pre-order!).



And boom! Just like that, it's the middle of July!

That's a lot of pictures of me, huh? Some of these I posted on social media. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you might have seen some of them.  But even this many pictures don't tell the whole story of the past few weeks.

I strive to be utterly authentic on social media, but I've only posted a few times over these past weeks. I've hit some highlights, and that's about it.

When I was writing Mythical Me, I studied social media. I discovered that peer-reviewed studies have now confirmed what many of us have long suspected to be true: social media posts share mostly "best-foot-forward" moments. This is one of the reasons that comparing ourselves to what we see of others' lives on social media is so dangerous. As one author put it, we're "comparing our behind-the-scenes to others' highlight reels."

There have been so many behind-the-scenes moments in my life over the past few weeks, you'd hardly believe it. In fact, we're living in a protracted behind-the-scenes time right now. One of my sons has been seriously ill for the past three weeks, and he's been living at home so that I can care for him. We're praying for healing and hoping for the best, but these weeks have been tough–the sickest I've ever seen him.

I just realized that I haven't posted anything on social media since my son got sick. It's not that I'm trying to hide the messy details of my life. It's more that I've been too busy to attend to Instagram or Facebook.

But if you were looking at me strictly from my social media presence over the past few weeks, you might think my life is practically perfect.

Nope. Far from it.

Here's the truth: my life is deeply blessed. I have a precious family, dear friends, a great church home, meaningful work to do. In addition to that, I have the stability and security of a loving marriage, a good job for my husband, a lovely home, health insurance, money to pay our bills. So my life is not only blessed but also highly privileged in many ways.

But perfect? No.

No one has a perfect life, no matter how their lives may look from afar. But as my friend Myquillyn likes to say, "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful."

We all have blessings, and we all have struggles. My life is a mixture of both, and I know yours is, too. God give us the grace to be thankful for our messy, beautiful, real lives.

Tell me: what has your summer been like? I'd love to hear!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Grace at Home No. 342


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

I've been AWOL a lot lately, and this past weekend was the reason. I haven't processed everything yet, but here's a summary in one photo:


That's my son Will and my new daughter, Christiana, at the Naval Memorial Chapel in Pensacola, Florida.

Y'all. Our lives will never be the same, and I'm so glad!

I'll try to write about everything soon. Right now we're still weary from travel and celebration, but now we have a lifetime to reflect upon this wonderful event.

So what have you been up to? I know there are all kinds of ways you're making your homes places of grace, and I want to hear about them!

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!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter


Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Turn, turn, turn


When I was a tiny girl, a group called The Byrds recorded a song written by folk artist Pete Seeger. It was called "Turn! Turn! Turn!" Maybe you've heard it:

To everything
Turn! Turn! Turn!
There is a season
Turn! Turn! Turn!
And a time to every purpose
Under heaven.


You may recognize those words from the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, one of the Bible's books of wisdom. The Byrds' popular song echoed the words of the King James Version:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

 a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

No one would argue with the wisdom of those words. The tricky part is remembering them, don't you think?


I've written before about how quickly time passes. In fact, I firmly believe that a better motto for parents than Carpe Diem is Tempus Fugit. Not every day is worth seizing; some we merely survive. But wow, does time fly.

Here's one of the first pictures ever taken of me and my oldest son, Will:



Just three weeks after this photo was taken, I took baby Will to visit my mother. Very vividly now does a scene come back to me. We took Will for a walk in his stroller, and as we walked, my mom told me that I should savor the moments of his babyhood. "Turn around," she said, "and he'll be leaving." Then she quoted one of those sweet Kingston Trio songs she always loved:

Where are you going, my little one, little one?
Where are going, my baby, my own?
Turn around, and you're two
Turn around, and you're four
Turn around, you're a young girl
Going out of the door.

At that point I still had the swollen tummy of a new mother, and I could hardly imagine fitting back into my skinny jeans, much less having that little baby big enough to leave. So I did a pirouette on the sidewalk and giggled at my mother. She just gave me one of those wise smiles and said, "Wait and see."

My mom left this earth nearly 20 years ago, but I've thought of her words often through the years. She was right.

I turned once, and he was 10 years old.



I turned again, and he graduated from college.



I turned once more, and he was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy.



One more time, and he began training to be an aviator.


There will be more photos of Will made this week, but they won't feature my son with his mom. They'll be pictures of him with this beautiful woman:


On June 15, this boy of mine—no longer a boy now—will walk down the aisle in Pensacola, Florida, and vow to love, honor, and cherish Christiana as long as they both shall live.

Turn, turn, turn. Really and truly, tempus fugit: time flies.

Sometimes people ask me for parenting advice, and there's one piece I'll give. You know that phone you're holding? Don't hold it so much, except for one thing. Use it to take pictures. 

Capture the moments, for soon—very soon—they'll be memories.