Thursday, October 11, 2018

Grace at Home No. 317


Hi friends! I'm so glad you're here for this week's Grace at Home party! I'm here in North Carolina hunkering down for yet another storm! Hurricane Michael is supposed to supposed to plow through here later today. We thank God that it's now downgraded to a tropical storm, but it's still expected to be bad, with high winds and flash flooding. We pray for the folks in Florida and Georgia who bore the worst of it even as we brace for whatever is coming our way.

Here are some links from last week's party that caught my eye. Looks like people are gearing up for Halloween!

Michele from The Scrap Shoppe Blog showed us how to make jack o'lantern treat jars. Aren't these cute?


Check out the DIY Halloween decorations from Chas' Crazy Creations--all easy to make and extra-fun.


Lois from Walking on Sunshine shared these printable gift tags for Halloween. Aren't they adorable?


Cheryl from Homespun Devotions shared some wonderful thoughts about God's provision. Such a good post!


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, October 4, 2018

Grace at Home No. 316


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.

I hope your October is off to a good start! It's still summertime-hot here in North Carolina, but the weather is affecting me too much right now, since I'm stuck inside working on my book, Mythical Me. I'm grateful that my publisher, InterVarsity Press, provides rigorous editing; right now I'm working on the first round of edits. I know the book will be so much better because of it, but I'll tell you the truth: this is hard work! I'd really appreciate your prayers as I work to meet a November 1 deadline.

Enough about me! Let's look at what you've been up to. Here are some links from last week's party that caught my eye.

Gayle at Miss Kopy Kat shared her Fall home tour. So pretty!


Lindsey at Repurpose and Upcycle showed us how she make no-sew pillows from tea towels she found at the dollar spot at Target. Aren't these cute?


Tiffany from A Nod to Navy made her own stenciled doormat for the season. See her post to see exactly how she did it.

Kit from The Kittchen shared her technique for making yummy risotto. I want to try this!


Karen from Growing Together in Grace and Knowledge shared an uplifting message about being in God's care.

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 27, 2018

Grace at Home No. 315


Wow, y'all. September is nearly over. How did that happen? It still feels like summertime here in North Carolina, but since last weekend was the Autumnal Equinox, I'm trying to get in the Fall swing of things. So far I haven't done much decorating, but I did fill my antique scale with pumpkin mellowcreme candies to set the mood.


I'm so glad you're here for this week's Grace at Home party! Here are some of my favorite links from last week's party.

Ann from Dabbling and Decorating provided lots of inspiration for Autumn decor. Check out her "Autumn in Vermont" home tour.


Precious Fabby from Fabby's Living inspired us with a look at her Autumn decor from years past. Her decorating style is timeless, so enjoy this eye candy.


Want to make something special for your Autumn decorating? You'll love this tutorial from Paula at Sweet Pea to make your own wheat wreath. (Paula's tutorials are the best!)


If you enjoy sewing, you'll like this DIY appliqué pillow idea courtesy of Kippi from Kippi at Home.


I've been in a baking mood lately, so I was glad to see this recipe for ooey-gooey salted caramel brownies from Danielle at A Sprinkle of Joy. Don't these look yummy?


For a good dose of Christ-centered advice, you should read "Broken Children" from Yvonne Chase. This girl tells it like it is!
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 20, 2018

Grace at Home No. 314


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

It's been an odd week at our house. This time last week we were busy preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Florence. I went into Girl Scout mode, and we were prepared for just about anything. As it turned out, Florence weakened considerably, and most of what we got here in Durham was days of rain. Our hearts go out to our friends in the eastern part of the state, where they experienced record-setting flooding. We're still working on the best way to help our neighbors. Thank you for holding all of us in your prayers.

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

See these beautiful heirloom pumpkins? They're actually plastic pumpkins that have been painted to look like heirloom pumpkins! Jamie from So Much Better with Age showed us how to create these beauties.

If you need some Fall decorating inspiration and you like traditional Fall colors (I do!), you'll enjoy this post from Lori at Dining Delight.


If you're just hungry for the tastes of Fall, you might want to make these pumpkin glazed donuts. Don't they look delicious? Lois from Walking on Sunshine shares the recipe.


If you're hoping to get organized this Fall so that you can really enjoy the Christmas season, you'll appreciate this post from Ann at Duct Tape and Denim.


I really appreciated this post from Tiffiney at Welcome Home Ministry. We're often told to dream big, to go for the gusto, and sometimes it feels like we're just not making much of an impact. But Tiffiney offers some good insight here—go read her post!


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 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!