Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking Back at 2009

As we approach a new year and a new decade let's take some time to do two things: Look back and Look ahead. Both of these looks are extremely important. In order to move forward you need to see where you have been. It is absolutely necessary to record God's faithfulness for yourself and your family. Looking forward is really about having a good plan. Our plans give us a target and without it we will hit nothing!

I came across this post at (In)courage and I think it would be very helpful as you look back at the past year to answer these 20 questions.

I plan to sit in my favorite chair with a cup of Starbucks Komodo Dragon Coffee in the morning and do this very thing. So grab your favorite beverage and join me. And leave a comment below and share your answer to one of the 20 questions from the list!

Stop by after the new year for part II!

Looking Back,

Saturday, December 26, 2009

What It's All About

"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." Luke 2:19
Wishing you and your family a glorious celebration of His birth.
Asking God to reveal Himself to you in knew ways in the New Year.
May your heart be filled with memories that you will treasure and ponder in the days ahead!
Looking Forward,

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

E is for Emmanuel

"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

Christmas Eve Night

Light the four outside Advent candles, reviewing each letter A-D and what it represents.

Talk about the center candle being the Christ candle. It is in the center because it is special. It stands for E - Emmanuel which means God is with us.

Scripture: Matthew 1:23, John 1: 4-5, 9-14, John 3:16

Key Figures: Jesus is Emmanuel, He is God who became a little baby so that He could save us from our sins. He is the light of the world that shines in the darkness.

Other: You can wrap this up nicely by turning out all the lights and letting the candles shine in the darkness. The Christ Candle is in the center because His coming is what Christmas is all about. He is the most precious gift at Christmas. If you are using the "What God Wants For Christmas" tool, it moves easily into a Gospel presentation. What does God want for Christmas? He wants you! He wants to live in your heart, be your closest friend, and shine His light through you so others can know Him too!

Gifts: Christmas pajamas, a special doll, or keepsake item with the date on it.

Activities: We always have a Birthday Cake for Jesus on Christmas Eve with candles and singing. You can let the kids decorate it by themselves. Also, you may want to make your cake like this:

1st layer chocolate - our sin
2nd layer - red - the blood of Christ covers our sin
top layer - green - our growth in him
white icing - we are whiter than snow when His blood cleanse us
candles - He is the light of the world, and we shine for Him when He is in our hearts

Happy Advent!

Looking Forward,

Thursday, December 17, 2009

D Is For Down On One Knee

Light your 4th Advent Candle.

Scripture: Matthew 2:1-12, Luke 2:19

Key Figures: Wise Men

Activities: Make a star and put it on your Christmas tree

Possible Gifts - Christmas ornament, Wise Men Little People Set,

Other: We like to discuss that the Wise Men arrived to see Jesus when he was older, probably a toddler. But the Star they followed appeared when Christ was born. All who came to the Christ child had the response to bend their knee and worship. These wise men - scholars who came from afar sacrificed a great deal to make their journey. The gifts they brought with them represented their hearts to adore Him and that they knew who He was and where He came from.

Can you believe Christmas is just a few days away? I pray you are finding time to bend your knee to the Savior of the world. Take the time to bring Him your gifts and worship Him this week.

Looking Forward,

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

C is for Choir of Angels Sing

Light your 3rd Advent Candle and review candles 1 & 2

Scripture: Luke 2: 1-20

Key Figures: Angels and Shepherds

Possible Gifts: A new Christmas CD, a musical instrument, a small stuffed sheep, angel Christmas Ornament

Activities: You can sing Christmas songs, go caroling in your neighborhood, or glue cotton balls onto a picture of a sheep, or make hand print angels.

Other: I love to share with my girls that the shepherds were not a likely bunch to be the first to hear about the birth of Christ. In fact, they were hard working loyal men, but considered social outcasts by most and rarely went to town. But, upon hearing the glorious song of the Savior's birth from the heavenly hosts they quickly went to find the Baby. They left their sheep, because they knew that this was something worthy of their devotion.

Looking Forward,

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

B is for Baby Born In Bethlehem

Light Advent candle 1 and Advent candle 2. (I review each letter).

Scripture Reference:
Luke 2: 1-7

Key Figures: Baby Jesus, Bethlehem, unlikely birthplace of the Son of God (the stable).

Possible Gifts: A new Christmas book, stickers, Christmas movie.

Activities: Make a manger scene. We have made a manger out of toilet paper tube and a craft stick for Baby Jesus. Our favorite set was made from small clay pots. You could also cut out the nativity scene from an old Christmas card, glue it to construction paper, and add a star with glitter.

Other: I love nativity sets that kids can make or play with. We have added to our Fisher Price set every year. I put this toy away after Christmas so it is special. Even my oldest daughter who is ten loves to set up the story with this set.

Looking Forward,

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A is for Announcement

A is for Announcement

Light your first Advent Candle

Scripture Reference: Luke 1:26-38 ; Matthew 1:18-25

Key figures to discuss: Angel Gabriel, Mary, Joseph

Possible small gifts: Small advent calendar with numbered doors to open each day in December, a Christmas t-shirt, or card
making kit.

Activities for the week: Decorate the house, make and send Christmas cards, allow each child to have a small Christmas tree or decoration in their room.

Other: We have shared the Scripture passages in different ways over the years. Recently I discovered a great product called What God Wants For Christmas:

It is produced by FamilyLife, a ministry of Campus Crusade For Christ and includes a nativity set that is broken into 7 small presents, a stable and a read aloud story book. We use the first 3 small boxes for Advent Week 1, and then one box each for the next 4 weeks. One thing my children love is that we hide the boxes and they have to find them. We let one child hide it, one find it, and one open it. The Christmas story is written as a poem and holds the attention of even small children. The neatest box is opened on Christmas Eve....and is the answer to the question, "What does God want for Christmas?" I won't spoil it, but it is a beautiful way to share the true meaning of the coming of the Christ child.

Looking Forward,

Sunday, November 22, 2009

ABC Advent

Welcome A Soft Place To Land Blog Friends! I am so glad to share this DIY Advent Project with you! I hope you have a very Merry Christmas! I am posting each Wednesday for the next Advent. So be sure to check out the first two weeks that have already posted, and come back for the rest of the celebration!

Seven years ago last month we moved across the country with our then 3 year old daughter. I was expecting our second child 2 days after Christmas which was only 8 weeks away! I knew in my heart that we would not be going 'home for Christmas.' It was now up to us to create family Christmas memories. I began praying that God would give me a unique idea for our family to celebrate Christmas. My husband and I had talked many times about how we wanted Christmas to be more than just a one day present fest! We wanted to build the excitement and celebrate the entire month. We wanted to make memories that would last far beyond their growing up years.

I came across a great article in a Better Homes and Garden magazine about the celebration of Advent. I loved the idea of gathering our little ones each of the 4 Sunday's between Thanksgiving and Christmas to anticipate the 'coming' of the baby Jesus. But, our children were very young and I was not sure they would understand the more traditional version of Advent.

One sleepless night, God gave me the simplest idea that we have now celebrated for 7 years at our home. We call it ABC Advent. I would love to share it with you and hopefully inspire you to begin a tradition yourself. I have shared this with a few other mom's and they have also started to celebrate it as well. Please feel free to use this during your celebration this year!

1st Sunday after Thanksgiving: A - Announcement
2nd Sunday - B - Baby Born in Bethlehem
3rd Sunday - C - Choirs of Angels Sing
4th Sunday - D - Down on one knee
Christmas Eve - E - Emanuel - God is with us

I made a very simple Advent Wreath with 4 candles on the outside of the the circle and placed one white large candle in the center. The center candle is called the Christ Candle. Each week we light one outside candle along with the candles from the previous weeks. On Christmas Eve we light the Christ candle and all the candles. I have used the same Christ Candle for each of the past 7 years. In addition to sharing the scripture passage surrounding each "letter" we give our children a small present.

I will be posting each week in December about each 'letter' and few other ideas that I have incorporated along the way throughout our years of celebrating Advent. For now, I wanted to give you a head's up if you wanted to gather a few things and join us this year for ABC Advent.

All you need is:
  1. A wreath
  2. 4 - candles ( I use red taper candles)
  3. 1 - large white pillar candle
  4. A nativity set is helpful
  5. A Bible

Looking Forward,

P.S. I am connecting to A Soft Place To Land DIY Day!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Attitude of Gratitude

Have you ever began a journey just sure that God had called you to it, only to find yourself in the midst of great tribulation and testing? Did you wonder, "Did I miss something Lord? Why would you lead me this way only to watch me struggle so much within Your plan?"

I read somewhere that after the Pilgrim's landed in their new homeland that they first gave thanks. They recited together the words from Psalm 100:

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name. For the Lord is good. His lovingkindness is everlasting, And His faithfulness to all generations.

So after persecutions, relocating more than once with their families, and a journey that nearly killed them all - they arrived to a land that was raw and beautiful and filled with challenges. Yet they stopped to praise and thank God for his goodness and His faithfulness. Their attitude was to be grateful no matter what. God had a plan for them that included blessings and trials alike.

Thanksgiving did not start out as a one time feast after the first harvest. It began in the hearts of a group of people who decided ahead of time to be thankful for all things - the journey, the trials, the blessings and the Hand of God leading them.

How many times I have found myself recently focusing on the hard parts of life. May my heart be reminded in this season to decide ahead of time to thank Him for all things. And may I find ways to impress a heart of gratitude on my children.

Looking Forward,

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Welcoming A Sweet Gift

Our new little daughter arrived on October 19, just over two weeks ago. We are all adjusting to having this sweetest gift in our home. Due to my recovery and total sleep deprivation, I have not had much time to blog. I did see this great quote on a friends' blog and I thought I would share it here. I was so encouraged by it. And that is really what I needed today! Thanks Jenny!

"Oh that God would give every mother a vision of the glory and splendor of the work that is given to her when a babe is placed in her bosom to be nursed and trained! Could she have but one glimpse into the future of that life as it reaches into eternity; could she look into it's soul to see it's possibilities; could she be made to understand her own personal responsibility for the training of this child, for the development of its life, and for it's destiny,- she would see that in all God's world there is no other work so noble and so worthy of her best powers, and she would commit to no other hands the sacred and holy trust given to her."
- JR Miller

So for now, I am looking at the possibilities and trying to understand my responsibilities to raise this little one the way I am called to do so!

Looking forward,

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Love This Art Project!

This is a quick link up to a super cute art project!

What do you need?

Masking tape
Big or small piece of paper
Your child

I just love it when I look at an art project list and I have all the items in my house without having to run out and buy them! And this is really cute!!!
Once again, it is from a Blog I love! Kathy has the best ideas!

Looking Forward,

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Welcoming Fall

Welcome friends from Emma Calls Me Mama Holdiay Blog Party! I am all about fall right now, so here is my link up to the holiday party! I hope you enjoy it!

Around our house, we don't have falling leaves or cool temperatures to usher in fall. But we do have a few recipes that we pull out in October that let us know that fall has arrived. I thought I would share a couple with you that you might enjoy.

Mike's Favorite Chili

2 lbs of ground beef
1 Onion chopped
1 can of diced tomatoes (Pureed in blender)
1 can of Bush's Chili Beans in Mild sauce (Also Pureed in blender - the kids have no idea!)
Chili powder to taste (your desired hotness!)
***2 small cans of tomato sauce (I never put this in, we like our chili really thick)
---1. Brown ground beef & onion, drain
2. Puree in blender diced tomatoes.
3. Puree in blender chili beans
4. Combine meat mixture, 2 purees, and heat through
5. Season with chili powder to your desired taste

***This easy recipe was from a friend of mine who lovingly brought me dinner right after the birth of my first child. I had been trying out chili recipes for my husband and after tasting this one he said, "I think we found it!" I have made it for the past 10 years!

Pumpkin Muffins

1 package of spice cake mix
1 can Libby 100% pumpkin (15 oz)
3 large eggs
1/3 cup of oil
1/3 cup of water

---1. Blend all ingredients. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes
2. Pour batter into greased or paper lined muffin cups (about 24 muffins)
3. Bake at 350 for about 16-21 minutes
4. You can add a vanilla or cream cheese icing if you like.

***I always serve these muffins with the chili as part of the main course. I never add the icing because they are just as good without them. My kids devour them! As a side note, I heard a rumor that there was a shortage of pumpkin this year and that canned pumpkin may be hard to come by.

Looking Forward,

P.S. For instructions on how to make these fabulous crafts and others, go to BHG.Com.
You can find these two crafts under Fall Welcome Message and Fall Pumpkin Centerpieces.

Friday, October 9, 2009

DIY Fall Decorations

Look what you can do with a trip to the dollar store, some chalk board paint and using what you already have!

My Front Porch
I have had the chair for years. It sat at the kitchen table when I lived at 29 Lincoln Avenue. My mom also has one on her front porch. So this chair always makes me feel like I am home. I decided this summer to paint it black and and remove the shredded weaved seat. I am thinking about making a new seat for it , but for now I have a board resting on the frame and a fall mum gracing it. I love it!

The simple black stool, I found on Craig's List. It was brown with red and blue beads glued to the side when I purchased it. I spray painted it black and now it is the perfect perch form my Monogram Pumpkin. I saw this on another blog and had to give it a try. I really wish I could remember the name so I could give due credit of my inspiration. I made my own stencil and used a black Sharpie pen to color in the "T". It took me about 5 minutes to do this!

Library Table
This new chalkboard started out as a picture frame. I painted the frame black, flipped over the back insert and coated it 3 times with chalk board paint. The pumpkins and leaves came from The Dollar Store. It was simple and inexpensive.

Looking Forward,

P.S. I think this will be the extent of my fall decor this year. We have only one week before our new little girl arrives!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Project 10


Welcome friends from A Soft Place To Land! I'm not sure if this is a true DIY project. I did it myself (with the help of about 29 friends) and it is a project that required a trip to I think it qualifies! I just had to share it with as many people as I could! I hope it truly inspires you!

Last week my oldest daughter turned 10 years old. I believe that this is a critical year for her. In the next couple of years she will experience great physical and emotional changes and my hope is that during this time I can lavish on her the love and affirmation she will need as she crosses over into the teen years.

A couple of years ago while at a conference I heard speaker Julie Hiramine of Generations of Virtue speak about raising girls. She mentioned something she did for her daughter called, The First 30 Days of 10. For her 10th birthday, Julie asked 30 of her own friends to write letters of encouragement or short Bible studies for her daughter. I loved the idea and knew that I wanted to do something similar as well.

I called my version Project 10 and had 29 of the most amazing ladies write some of the sweetest notes to my daughter that I have ever read. I added a letter myself for a total number of 30.

I really wanted the presentation to be special. So when I found these adorable boxes at Michaels and was I was thrilled! Here is what she found as she unwrapped each one:

Box #1 - 10 Reece Cups (her favorite candy)
Box #2 - 10 hair accessories
Box #3 - 1 picture from each of her 9 previous birthdays and her actual Birth Day - September 30, 1999.
Box #4 - 30 letters all wrapped up in pretty pink tulle

She loved it! But the best part came just before she went to bed. She said with tears in her eyes, "Mommy, I love my letters. I never knew I was so special." Words are powerful things aren't they? My prayer for her is that she will store up all these things and treasure them in her heart for many years to come.

Looking Forward,

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fall Inspiration

Happy October 1st!
Fall is in the air!

Pumpkin Spice Lattes...
Falling Leaves....
Cozy Sweaters....

Well at least in some part of the country! We had a blast of fall weather in the Southeast and it felt great. It must have dipped down into the 80's yesterday! So nice for this very pregnant girl. Plus, it was my oldest daughter's 10th birthday and we had a great time on a little boat ride viewing the gorgeous sunset. A perfect day!

I love to drive down to Polk County this time of year and visit The Barn. It is a great antique and seasonal store that is also a nice place to grab lunch with the girls. It is only open from October - May. The first weekend in October brings out huge crowds. I just love it. This year though, I am not feeling up to the excursion so I found some great fall inspirations on some of my favorite blogs! I think you will enjoy them to and they are just a click away.

Kim at Twice Remembered posted this yummy fall potpourri recipe that you can actually eat!

Sarah Mae at Like a Warm Cup of Coffee has some really cute fall clothing from Down East Basics up for grabs! These look really fun and are very affordable!

And over at Art Project for Kids you can do this beautiful fall inspired water color for a lazy afternoon project. Thanks Kathy!

I hope you have a fabulous fall day!

Looking Forward,

P.S. I am also linking up with Southern Hospitality's "It's Fall, Y'all!"

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Books and People

I was instantly attracted to the chapter titles of the new book I am reading called All I need Is Jesus and a Good Pair of Jeans by Susanna Foth Aughtmon. Here are just a few of them:
  • I Am Oh So Tired
  • I Am Not A Supermodel
  • I Have Pride Issues
  • I Worry About Things
  • I Want Chocolate to Solve My Problems (my personal favorite!)
  • I Have A Long Way To Go
Need I say more? Probably not, so let me just share this quote from the introduction:

"We need a whole lot of Jesus. Because there is this woman that we long to be and there is the woman that we actually are. Right here. Right now. The woman who struggles but longs to be more. The woman who is empty who longs to be full. The dissatisfied woman who longs to be content. The woman who longs to be overflowing with goodness and peace and have rher impulse spending under control. And the only thing that can bridge the gap between these two women is buckets of grace. Unending grace. And the only person who embodies this grace is Jesus." P. 15

This book arrived by bedside through a dear friend. I was just thinking to myself, "I need to find something new to read," and somehow she just knew. Don't you just love when that happens?

Oh Lord, give me more of You and less of me...and more friends like her to point that out to me!
Looking forward,

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Decorate for $0 or almost!

I am always changing things around at our house. My husband jokes with me, that every time he leaves on a business trip he never knows where the couch is going to be when he returns! I love to rework a space. I think I get this from my mom. I remember her changing her bedroom around almost every season. Even when you don't have a lot of money, if you move something to a new place, it feels new.

This summer, we did a major room swap for our girls because we are making space for baby #4. Since the major moving done I am now focusing on the smaller details. I told my daughter, "The cake is baked, it just isn't iced." I have their rooms in order - but will take time to add the part we all love - the icing! It is amazing how these spaces have been transformed. We really have not spent a lot of money. Our biggest expenditure was a bed for our 3 year old. We purchased it at Ikea for about $90. (Leirvik in the full size - we love it!) In addition to that we bought some closet organizers and sheets. Now, I would have loved to went out and bought brand new everything, but when you use what you have, you can really get a lovely result and save money in the process. I will try to post some pictures of these fun spaces soon.

Today I came across a new blog that I think you might like as well. It is called Room Remix and it focus on easy, inexpensive decor, and remixing what you have. PK, the blog designer has a fun contest going on right now. If you become a follower of her blog, you are automatically signed up to win a $30 gift card to some great stores like Home Goods and Pier 1. All entries need to be submitted before September 27. Here is the direct link to the giveaway:
I will also add her blog under my Blogs List sidebar.

Looking Forward,

P.S. Also check out and meet the lovely Kimba! Her whole focus is making her home a beautiful place for her family. I think she does an amazing job! Real ideas, great give away and really neat link ups!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Worth Mentioning

Something to think about this weekend:

"A mother’s prayers mark her family with faith and trust in God. Her overflow of mercy and grace is a reminder that Jesus is the ‘author and finisher’ of the family’s faith. The fruit from her prayers personify Christ’s character, and hell clamors at the calm requests from a mom who trusts God. They pray for their children to obey and worship the Lord, and for their husbands to fear God, hate sin and love people. A mom’s prayer matters."

Originally posted By Boyd Bailey, Wisdom Hunters – May 4, 2009

Looking Forward,

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I saw this post at (In) Courage and I wanted to pass it on to you today. (In) Courage is sponsored by DaySpring and brings together women of faith who are currently designing and blogging about the heart and home. It is packed with fun products and super thoughtful words to (In) Courage you!

Check it out:

This post happens to be from one of my favorite bloggers - the Nester! You can find her here:

Her tagline is "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful!" That alone (In) Courages me!

Here is the basic comment I was (In) Spired to post after reading her words:

I am thankful for the quiet in the morning before the whole house is awake with excitement and energy. I am grateful for the 6 bare feet that bound down the stairs every morning and the 2 more that will arrive soon. I am grateful for my strong husband who works so hard to provide for our family. I am thankful for God's goodness every day and that when I am weak He is strong!

So, what are you grateful for today - right where you are?

Looking Forward,

Friday, September 11, 2009

Blogs I Love

I found this amazing design blog recently and could spend countless hours looking and dreaming! Houzz is packed with amazing photos of inspiring rooms. They celebrate every style and have a neat way of showcasing designers that allows me to browse whether I have 5 minutes or 50! This recent post caught my eye:

As a mom of young children I am very excited to know that Lots-of-Clutter-Works! So grab a cup of coffee and have a look around! Oh, and the other cool thing about this site is that you can create an Ideabook. This is your "dream notebook" where you can cut and paste pictures of rooms or decorating ideas that you love! It is neat to see your own personal style evolving as you cut and paste pictures in your book. Brilliant!

Looking Forward,

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Worth Mentioning

I heard this tonight at Bible Study:

"Time is short and some of us have forgotten God's claim on our lives." - Kay Arthur

This is something I will be thinking about for days - maybe weeks. It was just what I needed to hear in this moment. Some days seem long - and others fly by. But in the end, it all goes pretty quick. Am I doing the things today that will last beyond me? Will the legacy I leave with my children last beyond them to future generations?

God has called me to a few things really. My hope and prayer is that I am found faithful in these things. Not all things - but the few things He has called me to.

Looking forward,

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Design Girl Wannabe In The Kitchen

I have been taking small steps to transform my kitchen into a place that brings me joy. Since I spend a vast majority of my day in it, I decided to start here on my Design Girl Wannabe adventure.

This spot is the place I start and end my day. I can't tell you how a few feet of counter space has quite simply brought me such happiness! First, let's start with the obvious. I love my red coffee pot. It is the second one we have purchased because we killed the first red coffee pot. When we went to look for a replacement, I just could not envision any other faithful friend sitting we bought another. Red is a color that I love and it has to be in my kitchen!

Second, my stainless canisters are filled with sweetener & my favorite coffee, Komodo Dragon from Starbucks. Pricey? Yes, but oh so worth the splurge when you are talking 6AM!!! Love this coffee. Must have it. Enough said.

Next, I have to tell you about the "Coffee Light" as my husband calls it. I purchased this small light at Walmart last fall from the Better Homes & Garden line. I have moved it all around my home and finally found the perfect spot. It is gorgeous at night when I switch it on and turn off the overhead lights. The best part is that it only cost about $10!

The picture is an absolute favorite of me walking with my girls. My husband has a gift with photography so I am truly blessed. It is a visual reminder of Deuteronomy 6:6-7 that says to diligently teach your children all that you remember as you sit in your house and as you walk along the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up. (paraphrased). I put it here because I need to be reminded of this precious mission.

The paper towel holder is practical and honestly not the prettiest item. But, it was one of the first things I spray painted this summer. It had been white, and I decided to change it to black. This inspires me to see that little changes can make a huge impact.

I hope that I can encourage you to start small, gather a few things you love and begin an adventure of your own! Now, I have to go get the coffee ready for another day.

Looking forward,

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Blogs I Love

I love a good blog and I love to pass on what I find. So from time to time I will be sharing with you some of my favorites. Many of which you will find on my side bar.

I have mentioned before that I am a Design Girl Wannabe. You can also add to that Artistically Challenged. This would not be such a big deal if I did not have a highly artistic creative daughter who could draw, paint and create all day long. I am always looking for easy to teach art projects that don't require a lot of expensive materials or tons of skill on my part.

Recently I found a great blog called Art Projects For Kids. Every day, Kathy Barbro posts a new art project idea. Every Day! A NEW IDEA!!! I can't tell you how this site has blessed my life!

This year , I am experimenting with one of Kathy's ideas called an Art Journal. An Art Journal combines both art and words on the page. She posts Art Journal ideas on a regular basis. The reason I love this idea is that my highly creative artistic daughter also happens to loathe writing. So this is one way to help her work in her strength while also building up her writing skills!

Today we worked on the cutest self portraits ever! Now, this idea is not specifically an Art Journal page, but I converted it to fit in our journals. Here is the link for the how to:

And, you can see one of our portraits above! I think she turned out awesome! We made one small change by using words to describe ourselves instead of what we did on summer vacation. We also used watercolor pencils on the background and then went over that with a wet paintbrush. This just saves a ton of clean up time!

Looking Forward,

P.S. If you look closely, you can see that she "loves Star Wars" and "Jesus". Too cute!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mediocracy Is So Much Easier....

How about A Warm Cup of Coffee and my favorite blog post of the year? I love the blog world, because when we see a great idea we share it! Sarah Mae at Like A Warm Cup of Coffee, got this idea from Heathalee. I am joining the party and having one of my own! My first official Mr. Linky Party! What is your favorite blog post from your blog this past year? Just click Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post. Add your title and the the direct URL to your actual favorite post. Do not just link back to your blog. Also, add a link back to my blog so readers can find their way back here! You can copy and past the address from the URL Bar above! Whew! It sounds harder than it is! Here is mine from
August 27, 2009

Mediocracy Is So Much Easier....

This has been so true in my life over the past couple of weeks. Last week, I began a study with my girls called "Eight Days of Honor." We have been talking about what honor means, how to have a good attitude and to look for opportunities to demonstrate both in our home and in our relationships. Since we started this adventure it seems like bad attitudes and whining have only increased! I have found myself saying, "Is any of this making a difference?"

The second thing I started was a new Bible study on the book of Revelation. I have found my quiet times super charged with truth and encouragement. But as my study time has deepened, the light and momentary afflictions have escalated. Now don't get me wrong, none of these are major ordeals, but when you put them all together they have been draining and frustrating to me.

But then I realized that though mediocracy is easier, it is not what I am called to. I am not called to comfort - though I crave it. I am not called to an easy life - though it sounds great. I am called to do hard things and they are not always easy or fun. Rewarding? Absolutely. Do I always see it immediately? No. But I am holding on the the fact that when I am faithful, the Lord enters into the situation and He promises to "strengthen those hearts who are completely His." (2 Chronicles 16:9a).

Now, let me just finish this thought with my love for my profound and funny friend. She is an amazing woman of God. She has challenged me on many occaisions to do hard things and is the one who really set me on a course about 9 years ago to get serious and study God's Word. I pray that I can and will be that kind of woman for others!

Looking Forward,

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Calling All You Southern Ladies! is offering Southern Living Magazine 1 year subscriptions for $5.00! I just had to let you know! My email came directly from Amazon, and it said "For all Amazon customers living in Florida." I do not know if this offer is also valid for non-Florida residents. But since it is a sweet deal, I had to pass it on to you! Hurry, the offer ends August 29!

Finally a real Southern Girl!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Strong Girls & New Sidebar

Today we are going to start a new time together called "Strong Girls" where I begin to help them discover what makes them unique and strong girls. I will primarily be using a workbook put together Jennifer Fox but I will also use art and other things I think will help us on this journey.

Today we are going to start by doing a fun art project with their names and I'm going to interview them. Here are some of the questions:

1. Who is your best friend?
2. Who is your greatest hero?
3. What is your most precious possession?
4. What is the last book you read and did you like it?

I will also be adding a new sidebar to the blog called "My Children are Reading". I love to get suggestions for great books and thought you might like this too.

Looking Forward,

Friday, August 21, 2009

Worth Mentioning

"If we lose the gift of reading in this generation, we will lose the ability to reason, to understand God's greatness, to think well, to have convictions. We must keep literacy up! One of the most important works of our lives. If children do not learn to love to read, they will not become readers of the Bible--the best words. They will love reading if you read outloud to them and cherish them and celebrate great stories together with them in peace and joy."

Quote by Sally Clarkson
I Take Joy - blog (see the link on the right side of my page)
August 20 2009
"Reading as a Source of Soul Strength"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Design Girl Wannabe

I have been on some sort of Design Girl Wannabe journey for about a year now. You see, in the past 7 years we have lived in 3 houses and during that time added 2 children and we have one on the way! I think all these things have contributed to the lack of decor and design in my home.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I have been truly inspired by some awesome design blogs and the ability of these women to be creative on a budget. I have also realized that I have a deep need to be creative and reflect that creativity in my home. My children have played a part as well. Last January, we were taking down our Christmas decorations and my oldest said, "Mommy, why do we only decorate for Christmas? The house looks so sad the rest of the year." This eye opening conversation helped me to see that it is their home too.

Now, I'm not too much of a theme decor girl, but I do have a beautiful antique library table that sits near my entrance. I decided to decorate it according to the seasons. It is simple, easy and inexpensive to focus on such a small space. My best find was the clear glass jar that sits in the center. I picked it up at Goodwill for about $1.99. This summer I filled it with seashells from our favorite beach. Currently, I have a Back to School thing going on. I really love the new little slate chalkboard and bright red apples. My goal is to reflect the season without being too over the top.

I also now keep a list of projects, paint jobs, and items I am always on the lookout for at Goodwill, TJ Max or clearance sales. My next project is drop cloth curtains in my kitchen! Go to "The Lettered Cottage" on my favorite blog list, and search for 'Drop Cloth Curtains'. They are so cool, especially for those of us who are sewing challenged!

Looking forward,

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


It is funny how some traditions are very purposeful, and others evolve over time. I think no matter how they develop, they have a powerful effect of bringing stability and predictability to the lives of our children.

Yesterday we started school for the 2009 - 2010 school year. We are excited to have a lively 3 year old, as well as a first and fourth grader. Every year my girls look forward to donuts (the good kind with icing and lots of sugar) and making posters and taking pictures. This year, my sweet husband even threw in a Starbucks Coffee for me. I think that is a tradition we will be keeping as well!

It is funny, because even though we have 5 years of "1st Day of School" under our belts, they still with anxious eyes ask me, "Mommy are we going to have donuts and make posters?" As mom, it is my blessing to say, "Of course!" and watch them light up!

It can be just a simple thing. I think the whole "tradition" cost at most $10 this year. But it is worth a million more!

Looking Forward,

Thursday, August 13, 2009

1 Year and Counting

One year ago, my husband and I made a decision to turn off our cable television. Now let me just say, that I had a deep love for my digital recorder capable cable television. Our decision came primarily to save money. We were also concerned about some of the kid's channels that advertised teen targeted programming that came on later in the day. We began to see this impacting them and decided to cut it off. Now, I did not say we cut off television completely. My husband is a technology genius and hooked us up with an HD Tuner and a small computer with Eye TV installed. Eye TV is our channel navigator and we can still digitally record our favorite shows. We have local and public tv stations only. And joy of all joys we saved enough to pay for ballet lessons for our girls!

My children have adjusted like champions and only fussed a bit in the beginning. I felt enormous pride while on vacation this summer, they chose to watch PBS over another popular station they used to love!

I, on the other hand have greatly mourned the loss of my favorite channels like HGTV, TLC, Food Network etc. I do not watch a ton of TV, but when I have the time, I want to watch a 30 minute program that does not require me to think or come back next week for the conclusion. Oh how I love a design show! And I miss Friday nights watching "What Not To Wear" - I must confess it now. The unitended effect has sent me looking for other ways to feed this entertainment need.

So I turned to my computer and began blog hopping. I have found some of the most amazing blogs that have truly inspired me. I have listed a few on the right side of my blog and will add more in the days ahead. I have been challenged by these blogs to:
  • Memorize 2 Bible Verses each month.
  • Be a better mom.
  • Fall in love with a can of spray paint.
  • Become a Thrift Store Fanatic
  • Save Money!
  • Begin a blog myself!
Plus, I learned something else about myself - I learn more by reading and looking at still pictures over a 30 minute show that I find myself later saying, "Now what did they do and how did they do it?" With a blog post I can always go back and read it again and agian.

I still miss watching those shows - in fact I opted to watch them while on vacation and away from my computer! But, I am thrilled with how my lack of entertainment has led me to inspiration that has truly blessed my life!

Looking Forward,

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Books and People

I have heard it said that the two things that will change your life the most are the books you read and the people you meet. I think, if I'm not mistaken, it is a quote by Howard Hendricks. Most recently I heard it quoted by Linda Werner of Circle Christian Schools. I love this quote regardless of who said it! I am reminded in my own life that God has used these things over and over to grow me up and to mold my heart to be more like His.

Here are a few books I have read recently (other than my daily Bible Time) that have greatly impacted me:
  1. Strengths Finder 2.0 - Tom Rath
  2. Handoff - Jeff Myers
  3. You Are My Hiding Place - (Devotional Readings of Amy Carmichael) - David Hazzard
  4. Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids! - Turansky & Miller
  5. Your Child's Strengths - Jennifer Fox

So, what have you read recently that has had an impact on you?

Looking Forward,

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Welcome to my blog!

Call it a long time coming, but I have thought about doing this for well over a year. I am not sure why I picked today, over any other day to start this blog, but here it is. Thanks for stopping by and my hope is that this will be a place you enjoy and visit often.

In the days ahead I will share more about me and my blog ideas, but let's start off with the title. Why 29 Lincoln Avenue? This is the name of the street I lived on when I was a little girl. As the song goes, "I was born in a small parents live in the same small town." I have many wonderful memories about that place. We had great neighbors, quiet summer evenings and mom cooking in the kitchen. Even the shag carpet was wonderful! So fast forward 30 or so years and now I'm the mom cooking in the kitchen. We don't live in a small town and my kids don't ride their bikes down the block to buy candy at the local grocery store. As a family we don't have the luxury of knowing "everyone in town." But, it is my turn to make our dwelling place a home that has great memories for them. My desire is that it be a place of faith, love, grace and growth.

So in general that is what this blog will be about: How our home is becoming a place my kids will always want to remember. It may be something I'm learning, a book I'm reading, or a creative idea I've found that I must pass on.

Looking Forward,