Thursday, October 31, 2019

Grace at Home No. 356


Happy Halloween!

I can hardly believe that today is the last day of October--or that the World Series is over and the Nationals won! Congratulations if you're a Nationals fan. Isn't it exciting when a team that's never won a championship finally prevails?

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 highlights from last week's party.

Thanksgiving is coming soon! Are you hosting Thanksgiving dinner? If you are, you'll be glad to see these ideas for Thanksgiving table settings from Carol at Bluesky at Home.


I know that lots of people are ready to get right into Christmas decorating, but I like to savor Autumn and I especially like to keep things looking fallish through Thanksgiving. So I was glad to see this post from Stacey at Ordinary Days showing how she created beautiful arrangements from silk flowers.


Have you ever wanted to paint a bathroom vanity but were a little unsure about how it would work? Shelley from Calypso in the Country shares lots of tips.


Need a cute centerpiece idea? Check out these tissue paper flowers from Linda at It All Started with Paint. She shares her simple method for creating them.


As we're about to move into this season where we're surrounded by abundant food, some of us like to adopt leaner eating habits in preparation. Do you ever do this? Ani from All That Life Stuff has been following a Weight Watchers plan, and she's discovered a way to make bagels that have only two Weight Watchers points. Sounds like a winner to me!


Last but not least, Michele Morin from Living Our Days offers wonderful advice for breaking free from comparison.

Thank you to everyone who joined last week's party! Now for this week's link-up. 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, October 24, 2019

Grace at Home at a very special time


Hello, friends! I'm so glad you're here!

People ask me sometimes why I host this party. For awhile, link parties were a big deal for bloggers, but in recent months many of them have faded away. So why would I continue this one?

Here's the reason: this is a place to celebrate not just my own work, but the work of others. Since its beginning many years go, this blog has been about imparting grace to others. I like to share words of grace and the ways I try to make my home a place of grace. But this party is a place to showcase the good work that other people are doing.

If we're all trying, each of us in our own ways, to make our homes and our communities beautiful and grace-filled, we can have a big impact! And that's worth celebrating.

This week I am especially grateful to be here, celebrating with you, because this week my book from InterVarsity Press was released. Mythical Me: Finding Freedom from Constant Comparison is now out in the world. I'd love for you to read more about it and celebrate with me!


Now, here are some highlights from last week's party I thought you'd enjoy.

Want to see what can be accomplished for just a little money? Check out this boys' bathroom remodel from Shelley at Calypso in the Country. You must click over and see the before photo!


Want more bathroom inspiration? Look how Andrea at Living on Cloud Nine used tile to bring some zing to her master bath.


Planning to host a Fall dinner party, or looking forward to Thanksgiving? You'll be so glad to get these free printable place cards from Julie at My Wee Abode. (You can customize the cards with names or print them with inspirational words like this one.)


Need a new pumpkin recipe (of course you do!)? You'll be glad to get this Pumpkin Pie Bar recipe from Erin at Delightful E Made.


If you're married and in need of some inspiration, you should check out this post from Angie at Keeping the Tie that Binds. 


Thank you to everyone who joined last week's party! Now for this week's link-up. 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, October 22, 2019

Life beyond comparison


Every now and then, life brings you a surreal experience. Know what I mean?

I had one of those last weekend. Take a look at this:

photo from Elizabeth Lauren

You might recognize some of these women. From left to right, they are

Sarah Mae
Niki Hardy
Ruth Chou Simons
Maria Furlough
Hayley Morgan
Emily P. Freeman
Myquillyn Smith
Tsh Oxenreider
Kennesha Poe-Buycks
Jess Connelly
Anne Bogel

And there I am, right in the middle of these beauties. One of the authors at The Nest Fest.

A couple of times this weekend I found myself singing that old song from Sesame Street: "One of these things is not like the others. . . "

But only for a moment.

Because, y'all, here's the thing. I've spent a lifetime comparing myself to other people, always coming up short, and when I consider both the immense talent AND the immense popularity of these women, I could easily get stuck with comparing myself to them. But I've learned a better way to approach moments like these, as well as the run-of-the-mill moments of every day.

Comparison puts you on one side of the scale and another person on the other side of the scale. By its very nature, comparison isolates you from others.

And just look what I would have missed if I've given in to that. I wouldn't be standing in this collection of lovely women, smiling for the camera, glad to be part of this group.

To be clear: I'm not usually part of a group of people quite this famous. Sure, I could give myself a pass if I felt a little intimidated by this much girl power. But what's good and right for the small moments of my life is good and right for the big moments, too.

We were meant to be together. We were created in the image of a God who is relationship in his very being (ever think about that?).

We were created for relationship because we were created by relationship.

Want to know how I got invited to be one of the authors at The Nest Fest this year? Here's why:


Back in 2009, before Myquillyn was the famous author of best-selling books, I connected with her. Her blog, Nesting Place, meant a lot to me, so I reached out to her. We've been friends now for 10 years. And here's the thing: connection trumps comparison.

Finding my way out of the comparison trap took me a long time. In fact, that journey is the subject of a book I've written for InterVarsity Press. Mythical Me: Finding Freedom from Constant Comparison is now available for purchase. I'm excited to share that story with you, and I hope you'll take a look at it.

Here's what I know: You're important. You matter. YOU BELONG. This world would be so much poorer a place without you in it.

Do you know that in your bones? If not, let me say it again, louder this time:

THIS WORLD WOULD BE SO MUCH POORER A PLACE WITHOUT YOU IN IT.

Much love to you today.

Less without you,

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Grace at Home No. 354


As I'm writing this, the temperature here in Durham, North Carolina is in the low 60's. I said last week that Autumn had finally arrived, and now I actually believe it.

I'm so glad you're here for the Grace at Home party, and I hope that you're experiencing beautiful Fall temperatures, too. Grace at Home is a weekly 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 might enjoy.

If you're still on the hunt for some Autumn decor inspiration, check out the gorgeous muted colors at Jamie's house at So Much Better with Age.


If you have small children who are eagerly awaiting trick-or-treating, you'll love this Halloween countdown calendar from Chas at Chas' Crazy Creations.


On a practical note, Salvage Sister and Mister eshow us how to make wool dryer balls. I want to make some of these for myself!
Looking for a yummy new treat? Check out these Praline Brownies from Marieliz at Cocina de Panay in Singapura.


Are you or is someone you love struggling with fear? If so, you'll be grateful for these words from Dr. Michelle Bengtson: Five Truths to Defeat Fear. So good!


As for me, I dig into the journey of finding freedom from comparison. I'd love to know what you think!

Thank you to everyone who joined last week's party! Now for this week's link-up. 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, October 15, 2019

Looking for Freedom from Comparison


I've lost count of how many years I've struggled with constantly comparing myself with other people. I'm not certain about this—I'd have to do a thorough comparison to be positive—but I'm pretty sure that I've contended with comparison more than any other woman in North America, perhaps the world.

Maybe I could be the winner of a comparison contest. Maybe this is the one way I could win at the comparison game.

Or maybe not.


For quite awhile now, I've known that constantly comparing myself with others is not a good idea. So I've spent a lot of time looking for wisdom about how to overcome the problem. I've found that well-meaning teachers sometimes addressed the topic, but their advice usually ran along these lines:

"You shouldn't compare yourself to others, for you never know the truth about anyone other than yourself."

"You can't compare yourself to anyone else, for you are one of a kind."

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."

"You are God's creation, and God made you incomparable."

"People are like snowflakes; no two are exactly alike. So you can't compare yourself to anyone else!"

All this advise might be wise and true, I know. Sometimes it encouraged me; other times it just irritated me.

The worst part was that it didn't help.

I wanted to stop comparing myself to others, but I couldn't break free from admiring one person's achievements, someone else's personality, another's skills, yet another's relationships. And don't get me started on how I looked at other people's appearances.

Despite my best efforts, I couldn't heed the advice I heard. I was unable to live up to even one of those catchy slogans. I was haunted by the admirable attributes of other people, certain that I could never measure up. No matter how well-intentioned the teaching or pithy the advice, I found that most of didn't help me change my thoughts, feelings, or actions. I might listen to a speech or read an article and feel inspired, but in no time I'd slip right back into my old habit of constant comparison.


It was as if I was lost in a maze or stuck in a steel trap of comparison. The more I struggled to free myself, the tighter the jaws of the trap clenched.

That's the bad news.

The good news is that, by the grace of God and the help of a lot of His people, I've learned that there is a way to break free.

But it's not an easy way. There's no instant cure, at least not that I've found. No catchy slogan. No quick fix.

But there is a way, I believe, and I've written a book about it. Mythical Me: Finding Freedom from Constant Comparison. It releases on Tuesday, October 22. You can read all about it here.

But you know what? Of all the ways that I've been tempted to compare myself with others, perhaps none is so great as the temptation to compare myself with other writers. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen this photo of me with my friend Gem Fadling, who released a book from the same publisher (InterVarsity Press) just last month.


For instance, if I let myself, I can get completely wrapped up in the fact that Gem's book is a beautiful hardcover edition, while mine is a lowly paperback. And that's just the first of a thousand comparisons I could make.

The irony is not lost on me that I've written a book about finding freedom from comparison and in so doing have gained a new way to compare myself to others. 

Here's something I've learned: the temptation to compare will never be gone. But I don't have to fall into the trap. I can choose to embrace the opportunity for community rather than give into the isolation that comparison brings.

God, who is a relationship in His own being, designed His image-bearers for relationship. We were designed for relationship because we were designed by relationship. 


I believe that no matter what we're doing—writing a book, practicing a profession, keeping a home, rearing our children, whatever—the cure for comparison is community. There is a way out of the comparison trap—and it leads into the loving heart of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Do you ever find yourself stuck in the trap of comparison? I'd love to hear about it!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Grace at Home No. 353


Hallelujah! It's finally Autumn in North Carolina!

The leaves haven't started turning beautiful colors yet, but the temperatures have finally dropped out of the 90's, and all of us are breathing a sigh of relief. What's it like in your neck of the woods?

I'm so grateful you're here for this week's Grace at Home party, where we celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of grace.

Now that Autumn has finally arrived, I'm motivated to do some decorating to welcome the season, so I was inspired by a number of links from last week. I hope they inspire you, too!

Check out Paula at Sweet Pea for vintage decorating ideas. Paula's a master at mixing vintage pieces into her decor.

Pam at Busy Lifestyle Gal created this darling scarecrow out of a plain piece of plywood--and she shares a complete tutorial for making your own.


Kippi from Kippi at Home made this darling wreath from an embroidery hoop, and she shares a tutorial for making it.


Need a simple Fall project? Check out these darling decorated jars from Linda at Mason Jar Crafts. She shares her easy technique for painting the little pumpkins.

If you're thinking ahead to how you might like to set your table for Thanksgiving, check out this post from Fabby at Fabby's Living. Such a beautiful, welcoming tablescape!


Thank you to everyone who joined last week's party! Now for this week's link-up. 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, October 3, 2019

Grace at Home No. 352


I'm willing to bet you've seen some pictures lately that proclaim:

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."

Anne Shirley, L.M. Montgomery's heroine of the Anne of Green Gables books, made that statement, and I used to agree with her. . . until the weather betrayed us into being in the high 90's in October! Ugh! Yes, it's October now, but it's as hot as August here. I surely hope it's prettier in your neck of the woods.

And in spite of the weather, I'm 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 last week's party I think you'll enjoy. Even if I can't have the cool, crisp temperatures of Autumn, I can enjoy your Fall projects!

Looking for some Fall inspiration for your front porch? Check out what Jennifer from The Everyday Farmhouse has been up to. See this beautiful Fall throw? She made it for less than $10!


If you need a new Fall wreath for your front door, you'll want to check out this one from Julie at My Wee Abode. She provides a simple tutorial to make your own.


If you're wishing you could add some fallish touches all over your house, Shelley from Calypso in the Country shows the way.


Need to set a beautiful table this Fall? Carol from Comfort Spring Station shows you how to make these gorgeous wood chargers that will look great at your place settings.


If you're like me, you love finding new pumpkin recipes. Chantal from Crystal and Co. provides one I've never seen before: Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles! Don't these look yummy?


And if you need some good food for thought today, check out "Do You Deserve More?" from Angie at Keeping the Tie that Binds.


Thank you to everyone who joined last week's party! Now for this week's link-up. 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