Wednesday, November 25

A Thanksgiving prayer

A special prayer for Thanksgiving Day

In this busy week, when it's tempting to hurtle right past Thanksgiving and rush into Christmastime, I was blessed and inspired by this prayer written by a dear friend of mine.  I hope that it will inspire you, as well!
For friends who listen, for opponents who challenge, for companions who love, we thank You, O God. For the gift of laughter, for the warmth of embrace, for the release of tears, we thank You, O God. For dawning and dusk, for the cycle of seasons, for elephants and daisies, and for bodies so wonderfully made, we thank You, O God.

For seedtime and harvest, for nourishing food and pure water, for the luxury of taste and smell, we thank You, O God. For the inspiration for music, for the beauty of the arts, for the fulfillment of human creation, we thank You, O God.

For the miracle of conception and birth, for the ongoing miracles of daily life, for the promise of the life to come, we thank You, O God. For the love and grace we receive, for the gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ, for the constant direction and care You provide us through Your Holy Spirit, we thank You, O God.

In this Thanksgiving season, we take a moment to ponder, to remember, and to number our blessings, knowing that it is through Your divine providence, O God, that we live, and move, and have our being. Amen.
                                                                                                                  - G. Skramstad

What are you most thankful for?

Tuesday, November 17

Super-easy DIY placemats

If you're like me, you like to set a pretty table for holiday meals such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, but you don't necessarily own enough tableware for large gatherings.  I have plenty of china, but I seem to own placemats only in sets of eight.

When I happened upon this product in the wedding supply section of Walmart, inspiration struck.  It cost $5.00 a roll.

I measured one of my placemats and decided on a width of 19" per mat.  Then I simply cut the runner (it's so easy to cut straight across burlap!)

and fringed both sides.  (Just pull out however many strings you like to form a fringe; I pulled five strings on each end).

VoilĂ !  Instant placemat!

Now I can set a pretty table for four or fourteen!

Need a bunch of placemats?  Here's a simple, inexpensive way to make your own in just a couple of minutes! Super-easy DIY placemats @

I got a great idea for setting a table for lots of people when I was privileged to attend a bloggers' luncheon at the beautiful home of Shirley of Housepitality Designs.  To accommodate more people at the table, she turned her placemats lengthwise and let the ends dangle off the table.  Isn't that brilliant?  This would work easily with my burlap placemats.

Do you have any tips for setting a pretty table?  I'd love to hear them!

I'm joining these parties:
Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
Brag-Worthy Thursday at Bless 'Er House
Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch
Share It One More Time at The Everyday Home

Wednesday, November 11

The making of a veteran

Last week I attended one of the most beautiful graduation ceremonies I've ever seen.

Like all graduations, it was a time of great festivity, of grand celebration.

But in a very important way, it wasn't like all graduations.  It was more than a graduation.  It was also a commissioning service.

Last week my oldest son, already a graduate of Duke University, graduated from Officer Candidate School.

He is now an officer of the United States Navy.

My son.  The baby I carried and cared for, the boy I taught to read and write, is not a boy any longer. Along with his classmates, he took this oath of office:

I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

Here are some highlights from the week.

The night before graduation, the candidate officers hosted a reception for their families.

We were proud that our son was asked to read the toast to the POW's and MIA's.

There's always a table set for the POW's and MIA's, who are never forgotten.

Very early on the morning of graduation, families were allowed on base to watch their loved take a victory run.

The day was blustery and foggy and grey in Newport, but my husband and I were so grateful to be there.

One of our younger sons was able to be with us for graduation.  Can you tell he's proud of his brother?

Today is Veterans' Day, a special day that is set aside to honor all the men and women who have served in the armed forces of the United States.  Of course, today is also Armistice Day, the day that the armistice ending World War I was signed, so other countries are remembering their veterans today, as well.

My son is not a veteran yet.  So far he has served only 12 weeks in the United States Navy.  But those 12 weeks have been some of the toughest of his young life.  In the weeks to come, my son will learn to be a Naval Aviator.  After his training is complete, he could serve nearly anywhere in the world--wherever the U.S. Navy sends him.  

No matter the cost to himself or his family, he will fulfill the oath he took last week.

These days it seems to be rather popular to talk about all that's wrong with the United States.  I see many people, especially on social media, scoff at our country.  If those people are U.S. citizens, then our Constitution guarantees them the right to scoff.  

At least on this day, though, I would hope that even the most scornful could understand that the rights they take for granted must be defended.  And that defense doesn't come from clever Twitter posts or irate Facebook rants.

No, it's the men and women who have taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution who will continue to ensure those rights.  People like my son.  May God protect and bless them all.

Wednesday, November 4

A prayer for this momentous week

This is one of the most important weeks my family has known so far.  This week my oldest son, Will, will graduate from U.S.Navy Officer Candidate School.  We're heading to Newport, Rhode Island for his graduation and commissioning.

**Deep breath, Mom.**

I'll be chronicling these days on Instagram and Facebook; I'd love to have you join me there!

Here's what I'm praying for these days.  Perhaps it would be a good prayer for you, too!

Your prayers for us are greatly appreciated!

What's happening in your world these days?