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Sunday, September 29, 2013

All Together In One Accord---Fellowship at Bath Abbey

"These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer" ~Acts 1:14

One of the most memorable days during my England tour was the Sunday morning I spent worshipping with those who attend The Abbey Church of St. Peter and St. Paul at Bath.


I'd been looking forward to this since I first found out we had free time on the first Sunday morning of our tour---there was just no way that I wasn't going to take time to thank God for allowing me to have this awesome England experience.


Having attended mainly Pentecostal and Baptist churches, I'd never experienced an Anglican service before and had never participated in the kind of liturgy and communion that took place that day.  


What an amazing experience to fellowship with other Christians on a site that has been devoted to Christian worship since 757 AD! 


What was really neat is the fact that this site at Bath was originally part of a complex dedicated to pagan gods as early as 600 BC.  


I love this timeline that explains the history of the site. What a great way to remind us how God took something bad and turned it around for good.  While some would say the pagan past should be forgotten, the Christians visiting the site would not be able to make that connection without a reminder of the history of the place.


Another amazing part of the service was the sweet boys choir.  It was so awesome to see them in their green and white robes, making their way up the aisle, singing all the way.


"For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread." ~1 Corinthians 10:17


I am so thrilled to have been given the chance to worship and receive communion with the other believers at Bath Abbey. God is alive and doing good things in England!

Linking with:
Living Proverbs 31

Friday, September 27, 2013

Pink England for Pink Saturday: Part One

It's hard to believe that just one week ago to the minute, I was enjoying lunch in the beautiful Orangery of Kensington Palace in London.  Now that I'm back at home and back into my wife/mommy/homemaking routine, England feels a million miles away!

I'm hoping to do lots of photo and story sharing over the next few weeks---I've got thousands of great pictures and countless memorable experiences to pass on.  Today I thought I'd do a mini-round up of fun things from our first couple days.  I'll be sharing this at Beverly's Pink Saturday, so when you're finished here, be sure to stop by her blog at How Sweet the Sound and see what other great pinks are there today!


My wonderful chauffeur...guarding my luggage while I roam around the airport.  It was my first flight anywhere. I was so nervous before I got on the plane but once I got on, I loved every minute of it!


Me and a few friends after the Jane Austen Festival Costumed Promenade in Bath.  What an excellent day! (Check out the video I linked...I'm in it!)


After the promenade, we headed to the Jane Austen Centre Tea Room for sandwiches and scones.  I had the most wonderful tea: The Empress of Peking.  It was delicious!


Some of our ladies at the Assembly Rooms in Bath, waiting for the Regency Costume Ball to begin! These are the same rooms where balls were held in Jane Austen's day and the ones she references in her books!

Do you have any great travel memories to share? I'd love to hear about them.  Be sure to leave a comment and visit the other pinkies at Beverly's Pink Saturday!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Home from England--The Homemaking Party

Hello Everyone---I'm home from England! It was a truly amazing and memorable trip.  There's so much I want to share with you all so I'm hoping to throughout the next few weeks!

Thanks for stopping by The Homemaking Party.  I'll begin special features again next week so be sure to link up all your best stuff and please add my button or a text link to your posts!

Blessings!


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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Make Bake Create #26


  
Welcome to this week's Make Bake Create Party! 5 hosts...5 blogs---SWEET! Meet your hosts:

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Follow our Make Bake Create Party Pin Board where we will be pinning the projects linked up here!  


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Friday, September 20, 2013

5 Things To Do When Struggling With Discontent In A Marriage -- Guest Post from Nan at Mom's The Word ( I Love To Hear)

Image courtesy of nuttakit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Thanks so much to Nan at Mom's The Word (I Love To Hear) for guest posting today!

Sometimes we can be annoyed or angry with our husbands over something that they CAN or CANNOT help.  In our annoyance, we may say things that belittle our husbands or make them look bad in our children's eyes, in the eyes of others, as well as in our own eyes.

Said to our child: "Sorry, sweetie, we can't go to the zoo today because daddy doesn't want us to have any fun."'
Said to our friend: "No, I can't go to the movie with you because my husband is mean and stingy and has a rotten job that no one in their right mind would want."

Said to our family: "So what if he works hard?  So do I!  But you don't see ME sleeping in on Saturday morning.  I have to get up with the kids.   I wish I could relax over the weekend!  He's just a big wimp."

Said to our husband: "I don't understand why I can't buy that new dress.  What kind of a husband and provider are you????"

When we are struggling with discontentment with what our husband has provided for us or where God has placed us, when we are struggling with anger against our husband and wanting our friends or family to validate that WE were "right," and not our spouse; when we are struggling with the little annoyances that living with one another can bring, we need to take a closer look at ourselves.

What are we filling ourselves up with?


How are we spending our "free" time?  Are we watching t.v. shows that make us discontent in our homes and in our marriage?

Who are we hanging out with?  Do we have friends who are encouraging us and validating us in our own poor and negative attitudes when they should be pointing us to Christ?

What are we reading?  Are we reading books that fill us with a false sense of what love and romance really is?

What are we living and modeling?  Are we modeling unconditional love to our spouse, to our children, and to others or are we modeling conditional love? ("If he takes out the garbage, I will make him dinner.  If he says 'I'm sorry' first, I will say that I am sorry.  I will start speaking to him again when he stops playing on the computer.  I am not doing his laundry because he forgot to put gas in my car.")

What are we saying about our husband to our children?  Are we encouraging them in their love and respect for their daddy or are we consciously or unconsciously encouraging them to join us in our anger and discontent? ("Daddy is not being fair. Daddy is mean.  Daddy doesn't want you to have that new toy.  Daddy would rather watch t.v. than play Monopoly with us.")

Image courtesy of noppasinw at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What am I saying about my husband to others?  Our husbands deserve to know that their heart and reputation is safe with us, and not put on display for a cheap joke or an angry shot at their expense.

If we KNOW that we struggle with being content, then we need to avoid the things, if possible, that will automatically make us discontent.  If we can't avoid them, then we must change how we think about them.

The thoughts that we dwell on become the thoughts that begin to control our words, and drive our actions and our behavior.

It is easy to become discontent within our marriages if we allow ourselves to.  It is easy to look at all the things that our husbands don't do and build up quite a case against them in our own minds.


Suddenly, we are discontent.  We are unappreciated. We are unhappy.

We made dinner and hubby didn't even say thank you.  We did the laundry and hubby STILL hasn't put his clothes away.  We mowed the lawn and yet it never occurred to hubby to do the dinner dishes in return.

I'll bet you could sit down right now and make a list of several things that your husband doesn't do that you'd like him to do.

But can you make a list of several things that your husband DOES do?  Instead of dwelling on the things that your husband doesn't do, do you appreciate the things that he DOES do?  Do you let him know it?

If your husband brings you home a single rose, are you pleased or do you wish it were a whole bouquet of roses? If he takes you out to dinner are you unhappy because you didn't get to go to a movie too?

1.  Pray for your husband every day.  Pray for your marriage.  We want to build our marriages, not tear them down.

"By wisdom a house is built,
    and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled    with rare and beautiful treasures."  (Proverbs 24: 3,4, NIV)


2.  Take control over your thought life.  Are we dwelling on what hubby is not doing or focusing on what hubby IS doing?  Are we setting him up to fail by expecting him to respond in a certain way or expecting him to read our mind?  Are we expecting him to obey us as if he were our child and not our husband?  Are we building our marriages or breaking  them down?

"The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." 
(Proverbs 14:1, NIV)


3.  Be thankful.  Are you thankful for your husband?  Are you thankful for his provision for you?  Do you accept that God is providing for you through your husband, and if you're not happy with your husband's provision for you, then you aren't happy with how the Lord is providing for you?

When you're struggling with discontent in your marriage, write down three things that day that you can be thankful for about your husband, and then thank the Lord for them!  Remember, you don't have to feel thankful to BE thankful.

4.  Remember that love is an action, not a feeling.  When you do the action, the feeling will come.  Don't let your feelings lead you.  Lead in love.

5.  Don't compare your husband to someone else's.  You'd love to have your husband do beautiful landscaping like your friend's husband or do the dishes every night like your sister's husband.  But remember to focus on what your husband IS doing.  Maybe he reads to the kids every night before bed, or repairs an appliance the minute you ask, or mows the lawn faithfully, or goes to work each day without complaining.

We're not going to be content in our marriages if we keep looking at what everyone else has.  We're not going to be content in our marriages if we keep looking at what we don't have.  We're not going to be content in our marriages when we do not have a thankful heart.

Contentment lies in our ability to be happy where we are, with whom we are, and where God has placed us. It lies in being happy with what God has given us, and not being unhappy because we can't have more.

Ultimately, our contentment lies in our ability to trust in God's faithfulness to us.


Fortunately, we have a big God who is able to help us in our desire to build our marriages and to control our tongues, to learn contentment and to be thankful.  Thank Him today for what you have!

Nan is a pastor's wife who is blessed to be married to her best friend, and the mother of two wonderful sons. She blogs over at Mom's The Word (I Love To Hear), and talks about her loving Savior, her precious family, marriage, parenting, clutter and organization, humor, frugality, homemaking, hairy legs and acrylic nails.  Nan has a love for Jesus, a heart for women, and a craving for chocolate.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Not Your Typical Watergate Salad --- Guest Post from Audra Silva

watergate salad
I'm so excited to join you on Hope In Every Season while my dear friend is on holiday--in England! I can't wait to hear all about Sarah's trip. In the meantime, I want to share a favorite recipe from my childhood. Growing up, I always looked forward to when we had Enchiladas, but not because of those delicious wrapped goodies. No, it was the Watergate Salad we served on the side that I loved the most. Oh so yummy! Out of curiosity, I googled Watergate Salad. The recipes I found are nothing like ours, hence the title. So without further ado, here is...


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Not Your Typical Watergate Salad 

2 small packages of Pistachio pudding 
1 large can of pineapple chunks 
1 large can of peach slices 
1 carton of sour cream 

Drain cans of fruit, saving the juice. Cut the peach slices into chunks, roughly the size of the pineapple chunks. Whisk the two packages of pudding in with the reserved juice. Once completely mixed, add in the sour cream. Stir until well combined, then gently fold in the fruit. Chill before serving. Tips: The sour cream amount varies depending on how creamy you want your Watergate Salad. Less sour cream will make it thinner, whereas more sour cream will make it thick and creamy. The size we used (in the photo) created a creamy texture. I've had it both ways, and find both yummy.


watergate salad
This is such a simple recipe with only four ingredients, and takes about five minutes to make. Pop it in your fridge to chill a bit, and then enjoy!


Audra Silva can best be summed up by her tagline: sometimes quirky, sometimes serious, always real. She's a lover of Jesus, wife, mom, photography lover, artist, and writer trying to quiet the voices in her head. She blogs at Simply Audra Marie about faith, family, homemaking, health, fitness, beauty, and more. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.      
                      

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Homemaking Party

Time for the Homemaking Party!  I'm still in England and having a GREAT time!  Hope you've all been enjoying the awesome guest bloggers that have been keeping the blog going while I'm away!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Blessed at Home #19: Blessing My Family

Thank you for stopping by our 17th week of Blessed At Home. Please visit the Contributor Page to read more about this excellent ministry from some of your favorite homemaking bloggers.

Today's featured contributor is...me!

I’m Sarah Coller, just a regular girl saved from her sins by the Lord Jesus Christ.  Married to Jamie for 15 years and mother to nine sweet blessings, ages 13 down to newborn, I stay busy homemaking and homeschooling.  My passion is creating a comfortable and peaceful home for my husband and children.   From focusing on having the house clean and beautiful, to making sure the kitchen is stocked, to preparing yummy meals at mealtime, I know my role as a homemaker is very important.  More than all that, though, my main focus is cultivating a sweet spirit, a kind tone of voice, and a heart willing to bless.  In addition to creating fun and useful things with my endless stash of found items, I also enjoy reading classic novels, thrifting, tea, and all things British.  Thankful for God’s saving grace, I hope to leave a legacy that reflects His faithfulness.  I blog at Hope In EverySeason.

HopeIn Every Season started out as a cheeky response to friends who were harassing me to start a blog.  In fact, it’s original name was, I Don’t Wanna Blog. Over the last five years, it’s grown into a wonderful ministry and a springboard for many great friendships.  I feature Biblical devotions, vintage and antique finds, crafts and DIY, book reviews, and fun glimpses into the life of our happy family.


Today's topic is, Blessing My Family



Sarah, Hope In Every Season

I have seasons where I feel super crafty---I feel like baking and decorating and doing the awesome homemaker thing.


Then I have other seasons where it's all I can do to get the dishes, laundry and garbage taken care of and provide something edible for my family to eat.  


This yo-yo homemaking style used to really get on my nerves, until I finally understood what it means to be in a season of life.


What's really important to remember about blessing my family is this: my husband and kids desire a sweet spirit, a kind tone of voice, and a heart willing to bless, above everything else.  


If I can focus on making sure I've got those bases covered, the rest will fall into place as it's supposed to!  




Christy

It feels good to bless others. If someone wants to do something nice for you, I think you should let them bless you and accept their act of kindness with a smile and a thank you. I also think it is unwise to expect those blessings without returning a few yourself!

I have been married to a sweet, considerate man for almost 20 years. He consistently does something nice for me every day. I used to feel like I was not giving my share back because I was busy working a time-consuming job as a store manager and because he is a hard act to follow!

Now that I am a stay-at-home wife, I have more time to do little and big blessings for him. My mind is now on my home and family life, instead of my stressful job out in the big world!

This lifestyle change is good for me and I know that my husband appreciates the many things I do to bless our life together.

"Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." ~Philippians 2:3-4




Jennifer, Mama Economics


Family is a gift, not a guarantee. The family is an institution quickly dissolving in our modern culture. The God-given roles of husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, and children are being confused and abandoned. This week's Blessed at Home topic asks: "How do you bless your family?" The only way a person can be a blessing to their family is to first acknowledge the true gift of family.

A family does not simply consist of a group of people living under the same roof. A real family is a group of people where each individual is actively contributing to the dynamics that makes their family function. No two families are alike and what works for one most likely won't work for another. There is only one common denominator that each family should have; a unified effort to love, honor, and serve God. Without God each family is doomed to fail.

"Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except theLord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain."  ~Psalm 127:1 (KJV)

After my salvation, my family is the greatest gift I've ever been given. Through five miscarriages and years of secondary infertility, I have become acutely aware of the treasured gift I have been given to be a wife and mother. The role of being a wife and mother has often brought me to my knees where I have had to humbly pray for deliverance from my inadequacies in being the godly woman my family deserves. It is my earnest desire to be a treasured blessing to my family, but in all honesty, most days, I fail miserably. Through the examples detailed in the scriptures, the Lord has shown me three areas in which I can strive to be a blessing to my family:
  1. To forgive unconditionally. It goes without saying that we all sin. God says if we confess our sins to Him, he is faithful and just to remove them as far as the east is to the west (Psalm 103:12). When one of my family members hurts or offends me in some way, I purpose to forgive them as Christ has forgiven me.
  2. By practicing mercy & grace. Mercy is not getting what you deserve. Grace is getting what we don't deserve. Because of our sins we deserve eternity in hell, but because Jesus paid the debt for our sins, we are given the opportunity of salvation and the gift of eternity spent in heaven. Even when we don't think our family deserves our love, devotion, and service, we should be surrendered to them anyway.
  3. To accept each family member for who they are without reservation. Praise the Lord we are all uniquely made, but the Lord knows each of us intimately before we are ever formed in the womb. God loves us so much that He gave His only son to die for us so we could spend eternity with him. He welcomes and accepts us with open arms no matter how broken and tattered we are; ready to forgive, comfort, and encourage us to be His faithful servants. It is my goal to accept each of my family members as special individuals created by God; with the hope that they may aspire to be all that God has called them to be.
The family was created by God when He made Adam and Eve and commanded them to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28). How great it is to have the opportunity to be part of a family, something that God designed as good and perfect. Let us not forget God's role in the family as we purpose to be a blessing to our family. 

May we always recognize the precious gift of family, die to self, and ultimately live by the golden rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

With love,
Jennifer




Misty, Simply Helping Him


I love my kitchen, I love to bake and cook. This is how I best love to bless my family. 

Recently I felt like God was asking me to "fast", but He didn't direct me to give up food. Instead He asked that I bless my family with time, and honor His holy day. 

So a few weeks ago I began. Sundays are now family days, with zero computer time for me. 

It was nice having a day without having responsibilities online. My kiddos loved having time with mommy uninterrupted. 

I'm looking forward to continuing to bless my family with my undivided attention, and many other ways! 

I know this is something my family desired, as much as God did. 

Has your family asked you to do something different? 

It just might end up being a blessing to you and them if you try what they've asked! It was for me! 


Judith, WholeHearted Home

Over the years I didn't think about how I was blessing my family through the many things I did for them throughout each day. I was often just doing what needed to be done. It is such a blessing when an older woman can come along side us and lift us up with encouragement. That is what I want to do for you today.

There are ways that I can bless my family even though, soon enough, they will all have fledged the nest. Today, I am going to focus on how I am blessing my family while I still have my two youngest at home and those years when everyone lived under the same roof.

I hope that you will see how you are also blessing your family. 

Here are five things I did for my family of nine when we had a young family:

I made all almost all of our bread.

On Saturday and Sunday I made something like pancakes or French toast (it offset the weekday oatmeal).

I made homemade strawberry preserves after we had a wonderful time picking them.

I made homemade cookies especially around Christmas time.

I homeschooled them all from start to finish.

I took them for walks along the river at the end of our road.

I took them to parks where we could hike, picnic, and play.

Here are five things I do for my shrunken family of four: 

I have been focusing on my dear husband by making his lunches as interesting as possible, baking him good things, going on errands when he needs it, rubbing his feet, and whatever else he needs.

Make lunches for three.

Keep comfort food available whenever I can ($$).

Stop and LISTEN whenever my children talk  to me (I just love it!!) because my youngest two won't be here forever (that much I've learned!!)

Overlook the two most important things I taught wanted them to do (knowing it will all come back to them someday).

Do what used to be their chores because I am not busy homeschooling anymore and they are super busy working crazy hours and online college for my daughter.

Just remember that whatever mundane repetitive tasks you do each day, month, and year blesses your family more than you'll ever know. It doesn't seem like you are blessing your family at the time, but you are!





Meghan, First Comes Love


If you had told me over twenty years ago when I was married that eventually I would look for ways to be a blessing to my family, I would never have believed you. But the Lord has worked wonders in my heart, and now I actively seek to bless my family through my words, actions, and attitudes. When we are a blessing to others, it, in turn, is a blessing to us. But how can we bless our families? Here are just a few ways:

  • Respecting my husband – giving value to his words and opinions
  • Listening
  • Words of encouragement
  • Smiles
  • A touch on the arm
  • A batch of chocolate-chip cookies, maybe even double :)
  • Teaching my children about the Lord and how to live a life of faith
  • Practicing frugality so that my husband’s paycheck is stretched as far as it will go
  • Disciplining the children
  • Spending devotional time with the Lord every morning
  • Praying for my husband and our children
  • Praise of both my family members and the Lord
  • Keeping up with the laundry
  • Flexibility
  • Saying thank you
“Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her.” ~Proverbs 31:28


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Make Bake Create #25


  
Welcome to this week's Make Bake Create Party! 5 hosts...5 blogs---SWEET! Meet your hosts:

your hosts














We would love for you to follow us on Twitter!


* Be sure to include The Make Bake Create button or text link to in your linked post; this is recommended in order to be featured! (I apologize there are no features today as I'm in England!)

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Is Your Heart In It? Guest Post by Bridget at Becoming A Godly Wife

IsYourHeartInIt

I'd like to introduce you to Bridget from Becoming a Godly Wife.  This is her first time guest posting at Hope In Every Season!  I sure appreciate her helping me keep the blog running while I'm off galavanting through the beauty of England!  She makes some excellent points about making ministry decisions. Take it away, Bridget! 

At our home Church there seems to be a million and one different jobs and missions that one can volunteer for--all of which can be very rewarding. Our home Church is currently looking to fill several different positions, as we do every year at this time. Now, it is during this time that one really needs to be prayerful and careful about knowing one's heart desires.    

So often I see people (myself is included in this ) who volunteer for whatever is needed without thinking. After all, what is one more task? Many times, those who have too many pots on the stove sadly lose out on the joy that can be obtained from working in a ministry, because they are just too tired and stretched way too thin.

Thoughts To Ponder: Many times, we compare how much we do with how much others are doing. Sally can be part of the women's ministry, run a Sunday School room, care for her family, and be part of the outreach ministry--- so can I. What we seem to forget is that what is good for Sally may not be good for us.  So before you go and load your plate, here are a few things you should ask yourself...

  • Are you doing it for the right reason?  If you are doing it because you refuse to be outdone by Sally, then chances are you are not doing it for the reasons the ministry was intended.
  • Did you take time to pray about it?  Too many times we agree to do things without talking to God about it first.
  • How will this affect your family?  Working in a ministry can be a positive thing for your family to see you being a part of. However, I can not tell you how many times I have over-extended myself, and the ones to pay were those who lived in our home. Make sure to take time to talk to your husband to get his point of view on the situation.
  • Do you have a passion for it? I love working with children, so I am a Sunday School teacher for our pre-k program. This is where my passion is. However, the teen program is not something I am interested in---at least not in this season of life. So, therefore, you will not see me in the teen room for a while.

Final Thoughts:

Make sure all that you are doing is being done to glorify God. In your housework, child-raising and, yes, your Church commitments as well. Before taking on a new role, make sure you are not doing it just because you have to. After praying about the new role and a lot of soul searching, don't be afraid to say no if that is what you feel is the right thing to do.  

Your Assignment:

  • Are you doing something your heart is just not in?
  • Are you doing something that is affecting your upmost calling as a wife and mother in a negative way?
If so, then maybe it is time to pray about the situation and pass the reins to someone else.    

Until Next Time Just Keep Soaring 4 Him,
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Bridget is a blogger at Becoming a Godly Wife, where she shares her life observations and tries to empower women to be the best possible help mates, mothers and Christians that they can be.
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