Monday, November 12, 2018

Veterans Day


Yesterday was a very special Armistice Day, the 100th anniversary of the day when the armistice was signed to bring the fighting of World War I to a halt. Did you pause for a moment of remembrance at 11:00 A.M. on 11/11? I'm afraid that most of us were far too busy with our 21st century lives to remember that somber day from the early 20th century, weren't we?


The armistice signed on November 11, 1918, brought an end to the "Great War," the bloody conflict that people thought would be "the war to end all wars."

That's not the way it turned out, is it?

Today—Veterans Day— is a day to remember and honor our troops--all who have served and all who serve now.


Memorial Day in the spring is a sacred day, a time set apart to honor those who died in service to their country. It is right, of course, that we should devote a special day to that remembrance.

But Veterans Day is a day for honoring all who served. Each man or woman who has ever spent time in service to this country deserves to be thanked and honored. Each one has made sacrifices. We owe them all a debt of gratitude.

I know this is true. Three years ago my oldest son was commissioned as an officer in the United States Navy. He is now a Lieutenant Junior Grade, still in training to be a naval aviator. For more than three years now, his life has not been his own; he answers to the Navy, and he serves as he is ordered to serve.

This country of ours is not perfect. In the past few years, we've seen just how imperfect it is in many ways. Yet people still risk their lives to try to arrive on these shores.

On this Veterans Day, let's pause and be grateful for those who have given so much for the freedoms that we too often take for granted. 

And may we also pause to give thanks to the Lord who loves every man and woman serving not just our country, but countries all around the world: we thank You and bless Your name, and we ask your protection on those now in harm's way.

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bids the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

O Christ, whose voice the waters heard,
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walkedst on the foaming deep,
And calm amid the storm didst sleep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea.

O Holy Spirit, who didst brood
Upon the waters dark and rude,
And bid their angry tumult cease,
And give for wild confusion peace;
O hear us, when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

O Trinity of love and pow'r,
Thy children shield in danger's hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them, wheresoe'er they go:
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

William Whiting

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Grace at Home No. 320


Hi, everyone! I'm so glad you're here for the Grace at Home party, where we celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of grace.

Here are some links from our last party I thought you'd enjoy.

Wendi from H2O Bungalow showed us how to recreate damaged ladder-back chairs. Brilliant!


Leanna from Faeries and Fauna also remade an old piece of furniture. Check out her full tutorial for creating this lovely upholstered ottoman.


If you're looking for a simple kids' craft for Thanksgiving, check out this cute turkey from Nicole at Mama to Many Blessings.


If you're in the middle of planning your Thanksgiving dinner, you'll be glad to have these delicious recipes for sweet potatoes from Leslie at From Playdates to Parties.


And if you need step-by-step directions for cooking a turkey, check out my failsafe method.


If you're looking ahead to Christmas decorating and you're on a strict budget, you'll appreciate this post from Dagmar at Dagmar's Home, who shows how to make a tiny tree look taller and fuller for free.

The upcoming holidays can bring great joy, but they can be terribly difficult for some. Michelle Bengtson writes a hope-filled letter to anyone struggling with depression. 


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, October 25, 2018

Grace at Home No. 319


Dear friends, welcome! 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.

I'm alternately horrified and thrilled that today is the last Thursday in October. Horrified because the year is passing so quickly and especially because the first round of edits on my book (Mythical Me: Finding Freedom from Constant Comparison) are due to my publisher one week from today, November 1. So much work to do! And thrilled because this time next week I'll be turning those edits in and I can check that project off my list. It's been a long time coming, that's for sure. I'd surely appreciate your prayers for this last intensive week.

Meanwhile, I'm glad to see the ways you're making your homes places of grace. Here are some links from last week that caught my eye.

It's nearly time to take away the jack-o-lanterns, but I for one still want my home decorated for Autumn. Debra from Shoppe No. 5 created a leaf garland out of leather. Isn't this a pretty fall decoration?

If you'll be carving a jack-o-lantern this year, you might enjoy this recipe for honey roasted pumpkin seeds from Dagmar at Dagmar's House. Don't they look delicious?


If you're hosting a dinner party this Fall, you'll be inspired by this gorgeous Autumn table setting from Fabby at Fabby's Living.


If you'd like to get a head start on creating Christmas decor, check out these darling paper tassels, courtesy of Jennifer at Celebrating Everyday Life.


If you're in the mood for some Fall baking, I can promise that you'll never find a pumpkin bread recipe better than this one. 


And if you need some food for your soul, you'll appreciate these wise words from Karen at Growing Together in Grace and Knowledge.


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 18, 2018

Grace at Home No. 318


Welcome! 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.

I'm delighted to report to you that Autumn FINALLY arrived in North Carolina! It had started to seem as though we were going to be stuck with endless summer, but it's finally cooling down. So now we're getting down to the business of cleaning up after the remnants of Hurricane Michael blew through here last week.

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

Rita from Panoply showed us how she decorated her outdoor spaces for Fall. So pretty!


Laura from Decor to Adore showed us how to create wonderful centerpieces for a Scout ceremony. Her son just became an Eagle Scout, but these would be wonderful for any Boy Scout gathering, and many of her ideas could be adapted for Girl Scouts.


I love to collect household tips and tricks, and Chas from Chas' Crazy Creations shared some brilliant tricks for using WD-40. Who knew all the things you could use it for?


I've been looking for some new ideas for dinnertime, so I was delighted to get this recipe for Egyptian lamb chops from Jas at All That's Jas. Don't these look delicious?


As for me, I learned a hard lesson during Hurricane Michael. I wrote about it here, and I'd very much like to know what you think. Please click over and take a look!


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!





Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The journey from comparison to contentment


I know you've seen signs like this on Facebook and Instagram:


Makes it sound so simple, doesn't it? Just change your attitude, and your heart will be at ease.

Some days that's much easier said than done. The last few days have been easier-said-than-done days for me.

Here's the photo I posted on social media on Friday:


You can probably tell that this an open suitcase. You may not be able to tell that it's sitting on my dining room table. Last Wednesday evening, right after we printed out our boarding passes, my husband and I were filling this suitcase with everything we needed for a trip the next day.

A big trip. To London.

That suitcase never made it to London, because Hurricane Michael made its way through North Carolina on Thursday, the day we were scheduled to fly. Our flight was cancelled, and there were no other flights available. (Believe me, we looked.) We had to cancel our much-anticipated trip.

First I was mad, then I was sad. And then in the very next breath I was embarrassed for feeling sad. What I was I thinking, I said to myself, when others were suffering much worse than disappointment over cancelled plans? Surely I had no right to feel sad, I thought, when others' suffering was so much worse than my own.

On an on went the conversation in my head until I finally recognized it for what it was: the same old comparison game. I was downplaying my feelings of disappointment by comparing my loss to the devastating losses that hurricane victims in Florida and Georgia were suffering. This is just one of the things I've learned from writing a book on comparison: we sometimes use comparison as a way to manage our feelings.

Well-intentioned Christians do this a lot, I think. When we're uncertain or embarrassed about our feelings of disappointment or sadness, we stuff them down and compare our losses to those of other people. Have you done this?

"I shouldn't complain about having the flu when she is facing surgery."

"I shouldn't be disappointed about not getting that promotion when he doesn't even have a job."

"Why do I feel so sad about this? After all, it's not nearly so bad as that."

Here's something I've learned: feeling management doesn't work. Feelings buried alive never die. You can't hang an attitude of gratitude hashtag on your heart.

Far better, I believe, to admit our true feelings to God and ask for His help in dealing with them rather than to minimize them by comparing our situations to those of other people. I believe and trust that God is able to comfort us when we’re hurting, to give us perspective on whatever we’re facing, and to give us compassion for our neighbors.

God can do all that and more. So much better to trust God with our feelings than try to manage them by saying “I can’t be sad because someone else is more sad.”

This I know for sure: the back door of comparison is not the way to contentment.



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!