Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Merry Christmas Post

This week I really meant to  post

how much I heart office supplies as Christmas decorations,

Picnik collage

1.) Cut an index card in half. 2) Lightly stamp a red line down one side for a “notebook paper” effect 3) Round the corners and hole-punch; add a reinforcing sticker; 4) Ink the edges and stamp your message!

how two pots of soup and some flat bread make a Christmas gathering merry and bright—and easy (recipes coming next week),

and how all  you need to decorate your table is a big jar of peppermints and a couple of candles.

Yesterday it poured rain

and looked exactly the same out the windows at 3:37 pm as it did at 8:37 am,

so instead of blogging, I

1) read a book cover to cover and

2) ate.

So, today, this is a post to just wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas.


May this be a year when He is more than a story, a baby, a passing acknowledgement.

This year, may Christ be all.

Be blessed,



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How to be an Awesome Aunt (and Cousins) in 12 Easy Steps!

With my niece a college freshman this fall, we have a whole new excuse for crafty cuteness:

care packages!

An idea started rolling in our heads back in October:

a 12 Days of Christmas

box with gifts to open every day as her semester wound down with studying and exams.

Even though we started planning at Halloween, we got this package in the mail in the nick of time, right after Thanksgiving.

Remember that there are three stubborn highly-opinionated drama queens females in this house, so the contents of this box of awesomeness were hotly debated.

Hence no photos.

Here’s what we finally sent:

1st day of Christmas:  a “pear” of feather earrings

2 Turtle-Doves--( Turtle candy and a Dove chocolate bar)

3 French Hens:  a Chick-Fil-A gift card

4 Calling Birds—The birds called and left messages—4 short notes of encouragement

5th day—a scarf made of rings!

6 geese-a-laying—The geese left six yellow lemon cookies (“yolks”)

7 swans-a-swimming—bath supplies

8 maids a milking—a box of Milk Duds

9 Ladies Dancing—must have tired feet, so they left socks!

10 lords-a-leaping—from all the caffeine they had from a Starbucks gift card

11 pipers piping—pirouette cookies (shaped like pipes)

and finally, 12 drummers drumming—took their drums but left sticks of gum

Corny, I know, but she loved it!   I hope this fuels your creativity.  Who needs a little extra  attention in your world?  A friend, neighbor, student?

Be blessed today!



Monday, December 12, 2011

Creating Christmas

I had the best intentions of linking up with Aimee for her Christmas ‘scapes party—and I still might eventually!—but life interfered.

After four days of the third (!!) chest cold I’ve had in two months, I went back to school today and dove into the ultra-busy week before Christmas break.

You know the drill: concerts, tests, teacher gifts, secret Santa stuff, crock-pot meals if things are going as planned, grabbing a rotisserie chicken from the deli if they aren’t.

So tonight’s quick post features no tablescapes because the only scape on my tables are piles of books and tissue paper (no wrapped gifts yet) and the debris of daily life.

So how does one actually find peace in this season of peace and good-will?

My favorite Christmas devotional is Jesus, Be in my Christmas, by Sarah Hornsby.  She writes,

“ Jesus explained the secret of entering: The gate is narrow; the gate is Jesus Himself, His body broken and His blood poured out for others….

In order to enter, I must rest form my own work.  As Jesus enters me, He says peace to my heart—to all my struggles to understand, to do what is right, to belong. 

As I come to others with this gift of aliveness, I say to them,

Peace.  Because I have received I can give….. Peace to my house this Christmas.  Peace to the houses I enter today and the lives I touch

Jesus, be in my entering.”

What  a precious gift that would be for those I love:

Peace to this house.

The peace of Christ lies in His authority over my life, my time, my words—even when all else conspires against it.

So for this evening,

I ignore the flotsam on the coffee table and the grumpy kids, and the undone tablescapes,

and I speak His peace.

Be blessed,


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Best Easy Christmas Gift Ever! (So far.)

Of all my projects this year, this one made me the most ridiculously happy.

It’s easy and cute and cheap.

What else could you want?

This awesome no-sew t-shirt scarf was the featured gift in the Best Care Package Ever (so far), recently sent to my niece, who is smack in the middle of exams right now.

You need:

3 old t-shirts—the more basic, the better.  No fancy-smancy rib-knit or fabric blends—use your worn-out sports t-shirts or the one from that vacation you took 10 years ago


Yep, that’s all.

I stole borrowed this idea from here; hurray for Blogland.

Grab your pile of old tees.


First, smooth out the first tee and cut off the bottom seam.  Discard it.

Then just cut the shirt into strips about 3/4” wide. (You’re not cutting apart the side seams; you’re cutting rings.)

I got about 10-12 per shirt.  You’ll need about 32-34 strips, depending on the length of your scarf.

Stretch each strip and watch it curl!


Here’s why rib knits and some blends won’t work: no curl!


Next, wrap each curled loop around your fingers,DSC_1364
forming a t-shirt coil.  I liked mine in tight bundles, but I’ve seen these done with looser wraps for a whole different look.


Line up your bundles in the pattern you want (I used another scarf to gauge the length),


and tie them together with pieces cut from leftover strips.




Ta-da! Finished scarf!


When I first saw this project, my thought was “cute but useless.”  Surprisingly, the scarf is actually quite heavy and might actually keep your neck warm!Smile


Total cost: $2 for one shirt from the thrift store; the rest were unearthed from the depths of our dresser drawers.

See what I mean?  Best ever! (Until next time.)

Be blessed,


Linking up at Stuff and Nonsense.  Since I can’t figure out the whole blog button thing, I’m not going to try this time!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Decking the Halls or All I Want for Christmas are My Thumbprints

It started with this photo on Pinterest.image

(image from Pinterest)

I have a feeling lots of stories are going to begin like that.

I loved the simplicity of the mantle and knew I had to find a easy, cheap way to copy it.

Of course, if the budget here at the ‘house allowed, red silk carnations would be perfect for creating these wreaths.

The budget did not allow, so I went with crumpled balls of red crepe paper.

Trial, error, and glue gun burns marked the first wreath.

I was not feeling the Christmas cheer.

By the next one, I’d gotten my mojo and a different, low-temp glue gun and even sang along to a few carols.

For each wreath you need:

a Styrofoam wreath form

a roll of red crepe paper

hot glue

Critical first step: wrap each wreath form in crepe paper.  Do not skip to the wadded-up paper stage.  Your fingerprints will thank you.


At this point, I was on a roll, so I totally forgot pictures.  Bad blogger.

Now, cut the crepe paper into 2-3 inch pieces and scrunch them up.  You need a blue-million of these, so just keep scrunching!

Start gluing, and gluing, and gluing—until you have a nice fluffy wreath.




(Excuse the weird lighting; it’s gloomy and rainy today.)

The green ornaments were Dollar-Tree discoveries from last year, and the white pottery pieces are thrifty finds.

Another Pinteresting project checked off!

Be blessed,


Linking this up at Biblical Homemaking!


<a href="" target="_blank"" title="five days five ways christmas linky party"><img alt="five days five ways christmas linky party | because every day is different" src="" style="border-style: none" /></a>

Midweek Mary Moment: Angels

This makes me tap my toes,

sing praises,

and laugh

all at the same time.

Happy Wednesday!




Monday, December 5, 2011

Arise and Shine

Outside the car window, the sky was inky black, the million stars like glitter that spilled across construction paper when we made crafts at school.

I admit to be a dreamy child,

and as I rested my head on the window and watched winter night go by, I longed for white Christmases and magic and something wonderful to happen.

Then something did.

People here would call it a bump in the road.

For flatlanders, it was a hill.

At any rate, it rose tall enough to block the fields beyond it from view, and that qualified it.

Cresting that hill, we could see grey fields stretched like long shadows in the headlights.

Then, in the blackness, there it was.

The tree.

An enormous cedar tree spanning nearly the width of a tiny yard, covered with those fat multicolored lights.

A Christmas tree,

surrounded by darkness

and shouting its message in the middle of nowhere.

It took my breath away.

All these years later, I remember that tree when I drive home from school each day.

On a mountainside (really a mountain, not a quasi-hill) near our home, someone lights a tall cross each Christmas.

A few houses near it have joined the party with lights strung from their rooftops,

but for the most part, it stands alone.

A startling beacon

surrounded by darkness

shouting its message in the middle of nowhere:

“The Light of the World has COME!”

Indeed He has.

And the darkness is not dark anymore.

Be blessed,


Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Over the weekend, I had conversations with two moms,

young mothers,

each grappling with large issues of parenthood and purpose.

For vastly different reasons, my heart broke for both of them,

and I started thinking about this whole thing of moms and choices and callings,

and that made me think about some moms that played huge roles in this Advent season.

There’s Mary, the obvious one,

but there’s also the others found in Christ’s lineage--

Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba.

When you think about it,

this list has a liar, a prostitute, an idolater, an adulteress, and a good church girl.

That about covers it for people.

Chances are you and I are (or have been) somewhere on the list.

I could write a novel about those gals (a few folks already have), because their stories speak volumes about big ideas

like, for instance, motherhood and choices and callings.

Today I’ll keep it at this:

none of them got a bye on the hard decisions.

Not a single one of them earned a place in Heaven.

Some of them followed their desires and paid the consequences,

and some of them followed directions and ended up in the right place,

but all of them ran smack into their


the true lover of their souls,

the One Who really knew the secret places of their hearts all along.

As moms who face choices and callings,

who sometimes run in the right direction

and sometimes don’t,

let’s stop hiding from—or in-- our hearts’ desires,

and just run into the Redeemer.

Be blessed,




Tuesday, November 22, 2011

In Gratitude

This is just to say

I am thankful for


readers who have stuck with me through a busy year of sporadic posting;

it’s a pleasure to share

bits and pieces of life here with you.

May your heart be filled

with gratitude

towards the

God of all Peace

and His Only Son

Jesus Christ.



Happy Thanksgiving.

Be blessed,


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pinteresting Projects

On the Pinterest to-do list:

Neato cheap, easy teacher gifts:



Cool book page banner for the bibliophile-themed basement


Using a shoe bag as cabinet-door storage under sinks.

Well, duh. Why didn’t I think of that?


Things I’ve actually done from Pinterest: (Yes!)

Best scrapbook layout site ever, for the 45 seconds I’ve worked on my albums this fall:


Yummy food we’ve tried #1: Lemon Roasted Cabbage


Yummy Food we’ve tried #2: Oregano Feta Lemon Chicken


Yummy Food We’ve Tried #3, though we were hoping for amazing and just got basically good:

Whipped cream from coconut milk


Recipe I’m craving but haven’t tried:

Chocolate Cake


Coming next week:

my most favorite project from the Web ever!  Can’t wait to show you!

Hope your week is productive and blessed!



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Welcome to the Casa de Amore

One Sunday afternoon, Big Red and I took off on an old-fashioned “Sunday drive”.  We had a destination in mind, but we purposely traveled every side road known to the mailman ( and a few that probably weren’t) along the way.

As we passed by a little neighborhood of houses with mowed grass and other usual indications of normal life, we noticed a hand-painted sign in front of one that read

“Welcome to the

Casa de Amore!”

Being the people we are, this got us (well, me anyway) tickled.

Was this some sweet, romantic gesture,

or just

Love Shack

in EspaƱola?



This morning I was considering all my best-laid bloggy plans; I had hoped to blog every day for Leah’s Living Thankful series this month, a plan quickly derailed by work, illness, and life in general.

Then I found something I had written on a slip of paper in my Bible that reminded me of our little field trip past the Casa de Amore.

In Psalm 27 (y’all know I like that one), David asked to "dwell in the house” of the Lord forever.  He is asking for what, in the earthly sense, he is not allowed to have.

Only the priests could enter the Holy Place, and David is, in essence, asking for the privileges of the priests.  Eventually, David gets this—in Heaven!

What David desired, I am offered in Christ.  Full access, torn veil.

I am invited, not only as God’s guest but as His child through His grace—to be a kingdom of priest, serving and seeking Him in His presence. 

He also says that my body is a temple—His dwelling place.

I am both priest and tabernacle.

Casa de Amore.

A house of Love,

because Christ loved me and gave Himself up for me,

and when He was glorified, the Spirit came.

This Thanksgiving, I want to be grateful all over again for the blood of Jesus that alone satisfies the Father.

I am thankful that He didn’t stop at atonement--

He gave me access,

tabernacles with me,

loves me from the inside out.

Be blessed,




Sunday, November 6, 2011

Scripture and a Snapshot: Early to Rise

To begin the day in His presence--

how often I let something else jump ahead!

Lord, I want to earnestly seek You.

Your word promises You’ll be found.


Linking up at Scripture and a Snapshot

Be blessed,


Thursday, November 3, 2011

In which I Keep Promises, Melt Records, and Give Thanks

Have you ever been behind in your social obligations, so you just threw one big party to get everyone at once?

Yes, well.

This post does sort of the same thing.

It multitasks, if you will.

I promised y’all a post explaining why we melt record albums around here.

Knowing you were dying to find out, here’s the scoop:

1. Visit your local thrift store and pay .25 for records with obscure titles. (Aside: I just noticed there is no cent sign on my computer!  How have I missed that for years? Wonder what that says about inflation?)


2. Heat your oven to 200*. 


3. Turn an oven-safe bowl upside down on a cookie sheet.  Balance your record on top.


4. Place this odd arrangement into the oven for 8-10 minutes.

4 1/2.  Meanwhile, read the record covers and see if you remember any of these songs from some episode of Captain Kangaroo.


5. Immediately after you remove it from the oven, use an oven mitt to flip the bowl over and arrange the flexible album inside it.  You can shape your folds until you get the shape you want.


(Straight out of the oven.)


(Shaped to look like this.)

6. Ta-da!


We’ve used these as bread bowls for themed dinners, but they could also hold a plant or other items for the vintage music lover in your life.

This time, we used them here:



(Me, with eyes half-closed courtesy my hurried photographer-in-training. )

Welcome to Trunk-or-Treat, our church’s October outreach.

Check out our 50’s diner trunk, complete with cotton ball “ice cream” sundaes and glass bottles of Coke.DSC_1312

I’m a pretty convincing as a teenager, don’t you think? Winking smile

That leads me to the thankful part of this post.

I’m joining my buddy Leah for 30 days of Thanksgiving.  I’ll catch up in a few days, but for now I’ll say I am blessed beyond measure by my church.

It’s been a rocky season for us lately for a lot of reasons, but I am trusting the Lord for His Spirit to convict, lead, heal, and guide His people. 

These families are my peeps-in-Christ.


(Very large dogs that starred in another trunk.  We became peeps.)

I’ve prayed, laughed, cried, and worshipped with them over the last 6 years, and I love them.

May we always be His peculiar people.

Be blessed,




Saturday, October 29, 2011

On the Journey Home

As I travel into the unknown,

I don’t have to be troubled

or afraid,

because Jesus is both with me and ahead of me,

making preparations.

(Jesus, preparing for my homecoming!  What a thought that is!)


for me to get to where He is.


Be blessed today.

Linking up at Scripture and a Snapshot.



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Signage and Verb-age

Verbs for the week:

1. Yawned: all day!  My nemesis insomnia was back yesterday.

2. Waited: 2 hours in the doctor’s office with sick DD#1.  She’s still my baby, even if she is only an inch shorter than I am.

3. Melted: record albums into bowls.  Why, you may ask?  What, you don’t do that at your house?  Smile  The answer will come later this week!

4. Devoured: Pumpkin spice latte cupcakes!  Oh. my.

5. Weighed: two pounds more this week. Grr. See #4.

6. Studied: Feast of Tabernacles.  Ladies’ Gathering coming up in November at our church.

7. Overwhelmed: See #6.

8. Pinned:





and this:


That about covers it.

Be blessed,



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Making Sad Vegetables Happy

Sometimes I have a refrigerator full of sad vegetables:


wilting cabbage, limp onions, tired turnips.

I know how they feel.

What’s one to do?

Preheat the oven to 425*.

Chop ‘em up in big chunks.

Drizzle a little olive oil.


Sprinkle with some sea salt.


Squeeze on the juice from a geriatric lemon. (Fresh ones are fine, too, but remember our goal is cleaning out the vegetable bin.)


Top with some fresh herbs, and roast away for about 45 minutes.


Look at all that crispy, fragrant goodness.  This elevates frozen green beans and okra to new heights of culinary excellence as well.


Happy vegetables.

(Blurry picture.  It was a quick photo session; hungry family was waiting.)

Be blessed today!