Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Antique Inspired Journals and ATC

Tonight, Jamie introduced our two oldest kids (12 & 10) to The Lord of the Rings movies!  They've been wanting to watch them for years but we haven't thought they were ready for the scary images in some of the scenes.

Well, tonight was the night!  All three thoroughly enjoyed themselves and the kids said they weren't freaked out at all! 

While all this was going on and the 6 younger kids were either sleeping or playing downstairs, I worked on some crafts for some upcoming swaps.
Here are some journals I made for a journalling swap that is coming up this month.  I had to make one extra for me because these are just so adorable!

Here they are from the back:
I'm also participating in a Valentine's Day ATC swap so I created this gorgeous card.  I took a good close up so I can make myself a replica!
What sorts of crafty things have you been working on lately?

Linking with:

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Give Them A Break!

Brotherly Love at the Coller House
2 Corinthians 5:12-21:
12 For we do not commend ourselves again to you, but give you opportunity to boast on our behalf, that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

One of the well-known "new believer" verses is 2 Corinthians 5:17:  "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation..."  This is a compelling thought, but do we always treat one another as if that thought were true?

I think that we are hesitant to extend brotherly love and kindness to some of God's new creations if we are familiar with how they were in their "former life".  It can be difficult to imagine that angry father, alcoholic mother, or partying brother as a new creation, once they've received Christ and begun to change their ways.

However, we have been given the "ministry of reconciliation" and because God doesn't hold our repented-for trespasses against us, then who are we to hold others' against them?  

Christ reached out to us with a spirit of forgiveness and a desire for restored relationship.  We can honor God by doing the same to those around us who are looking forward to a fresh start in Christ.

In the story of the Samaritan woman in John 4:1-26, (read it...come back...) we are especially moved by verse 24:  "those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth."  Are those newly-saved, not-quite-squeaky-clean loved ones around us worshipping in spirit and in truth?  God will deal with the details in time.  Before anything else, God desires that hearts are his.  Don't be a stumbling block with a self-righteous attitude.  Join that loved one in authentic worship---you might learn something!

Truly, those around us who are making the good attempt to live Godly lives don't really need our approval!  They'll be just fine without us cramming our opinions down their throats.  Read this excerpt from Romans 3:
"21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all[a] who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."

In verses 22-23, we are reminded:  "For there is no difference;  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  Verse 26 points out that Jesus is the justifier of those who have faith in Him!

In God's eyes, our levels of sinfulness (high) and levels of worthiness (non-existent) are all the same---no matter how long we've walked with God!  "For you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:26-29).   

Rather than focusing on others' specks, thorns, and thistles, let's focus on putting this last verse into practice with everyone around us---no matter how new they are to the faith:  "Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one."  (Colossians 4:2-6)

This article was printed in The Christian Home magazine, Issue 47


Thursday, January 26, 2012

When Mommy Gets Sick --- Homemaking Link-Up Weekend

Part of good homemaking involves delegation and training.  Delegating (and rotating) chores so children can learn them, and training children in the proper way to do household tasks, really pays off on days like today!

I woke up early this morning to a full blown case of the flu!  It's going on 16 hours now and I'm still feeling lousy!

What a blessing and a relief I felt when my husband said, "stay in bed---we'll handle it!"  I'm so thankful for my sweet kids who were so willing to help Dad pick up my slack.

My sweet husband had to leave for a couple hours to go pick up the company laptop so he could work from home tonight and take care of things.  He even stopped by the store to grab me 7up, ice cream and chicken noodle soup!

Now that I think about it, being sick does have it's benefits!

Would you like to participate in the party each week but just can't remember to link up?  There's a couple things I can do to help you out with that!  First, there's a cute button at the top of my sidebar that you can put on your blog to serve as a reminder for you---and an advertisement for me!  Secondly, I can send you an email reminder!  I send out a short email to participants who've requested one on Wednesday nights to remind everyone about the party.  Please let me know in the comments below if you'd like me to do that for you!

I'd love to have you link up your homemaking posts below!  Hope you have a GREAT weekend!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Don't Misplace God's Glory

You know on Charlotte's Web, at the end, when everyone is singing the praises of Wilbur the pig: "He's Some Terrific, Radiant, Humble, Thing-a-Majig Of a Pig"... Well, I was contemplating that song recently, and realized something. It's not the pig who is terrific, radiant, humble, for crying out loud---it's the spider!!! The pig did absolutely nothing to make himself praiseworthy---it was Charlotte, his spider friend, who used all her gifts and abilities to make him shine. Did anyone ever think to give glory to the spider? Nope, she just gave birth to her most magnificent masterpiece...and then died. Talk about humility...

So, it got me (eventually) thinking about Hebrews 11. In this chapter, we find the Hall of Faith...all the great men and women of renown and all their worthy accomplishments in the name of faith. Not to discount these honorable brothers and sisters in the faith---but don't we see some liars here? Some murderers? Adulterers? I mean, when we look really closely, the things that make these people worth remembering are all the things that the Lord did in their lives by His power and covenant with them. It is nothing that they did on their own. They would be unmentionable nobodies---runts doomed to death---if it weren't for the Lord.

Now, I don't want to make a big deal out of what is meant to be an innocent and lighthearted story, I'm just using Wilbur's tale as an example.  We are warned about this practice of giving glory where glory isn't due in Romans 1:25 where Paul mentions the people "who exchanged the truth for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever."  

Sometimes God's glory can be misplaced and misunderstood.  The Lord does wonderful things through us and, often times, those around us see these wonderful things and begin to think highly of us.  It's fine for us to talk up our spouses or brag on our kids---as long as we ultimately give the glory back to God.  It can be something as simple as replacing, "My husband is so awesome.  He found this great job and is the best employee on his team," with something like this: "God is so awesome!  He blessed my husband with this great job and has helped him become a valuable member of his team."

Our family struggles with receiving misplaced glory a lot.  Our kids are well-behaved and converse well and politely with people of any age. My husband and I love each other and are one another's best friend---and it shows.  Our home is clean and welcoming.  Sometimes we feel like Wilbur, as those who see us from the outside tell us how great we are.  We have a responsibility to give that glory back to God, as we would have nothing and be nothing if it weren't for God's blessings in our lives.  Blessings we've done nothing to earn---but blessings, nonetheless.

I'm sure that many honorees in God's "Hall of Faith" would not have ever imagined that they would be known in history as faithful, loyal, Godly men and women.  Paul also tells us in Romans 3:23 that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  Even though we all mess up and find ourselves in less-than-honorable situations, isn't it wonderful that we have the opportunity to ask Jesus to cover us, restore us and set us up in His Hall of Faith as well!

From now on, when I think of these "great men and women of faith", I'll remember that they are only known as "great" because of the One who lives in them---the only true Great One, Jesus!

This post was published in Issue #45 of The Christian Home magazine. 

(1/18) Linking With:  

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Kids' First Stitches Display Project

This year's Christmas was a crafty Christmas at our house.  Each of the older kids (5 to 11) asked for different items for crafting.  Lynzie, 11, received some supplies for ribbon embroidery, a book on how to make stuffed animals from the Peter Rabbit series, and a bunch of yarn and Aida cloth for various projects. 

Cainan, 7, really wanted to learn to cross stitch so he got a starter box of needed things for that. Elisha, 8, has been begging me to teach him to sew, so he got a box of sewing supplies and a promise to raid my box of scraps.  I wanted to teach Selah, 5, to stitch a straight line, so we got her a small sewing kit as well.
Here is Selah working on her first stitching project!  I drew lines on a piece of cloth and she stitched along each one of them.  After that, I wrote her name and she stitched over that too!  She has really enjoyed practicing on her little pieces of cloth---the other day she taught herself to sew on a button!
I used the same idea with Elisha.  He stitches like a pro now!

After Elisha finished his first little sampler, he was ready to move on to making a pillow!  This has been a dream of his for most of this last year!  I'll post pictures when he gets all done with it.

My husband, Jamie, bought me this pretty scrapbooking paper for Christmas---it's Victorian themed.  I made this display to show off the kids' hard work and stitched the words, "First Stitches" along the bottom.  You can click on the picture to see it more closely.  I plan on using this paper in several projects this winter and spring, as I transition our home out of Christmas decorations!

Linking with:  
Show Off Your Cottage Monday @ The House in the Roses

Lily-Rose Cottage

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wrapping Up Christmas -- Homemaking Link-Up Weekend

Well, I'm a little later than usual this year, but I think it's about time I put away our Christmas decorations!  While it was a great Christmas, I still regret that it went by so quickly and I wish we would have stressed less and enjoyed more!

There were a few things that I had taken photos of in December and had planned to feature here but never did get to it...so, I thought I'd do that today for the Homemaking Link-Up Weekend!
My Mom bought me this gorgeous teapot when we went for our annual Christmas shopping day the weekend after Thanksgiving.  I love it---thanks, Mom!
Mom also gave me my great grandma's neat vintage tree and deer.  I'd love to find more in this set!
Here's all the family (except Liam who was napping) after they'd completed the annual gingerbread house!
Dad got pretty creative this year with his decorating ideas!  Love it!
Would you like to participate in the party each week but just can't remember do link up?  There's a couple things I can do to help you out with that!  First, there's a cute button at the top of my sidebar that you can put on your blog to serve as a reminder for you---and an advertisement for me!  Secondly, I can send you an email reminder!  I send out a short email to participants who've requested one on Wednesday nights to remind everyone about the party.  Please let me know in the comments below if you'd like me to do that for you!

I'd love to have you link up your homemaking posts below!  Hope you have a GREAT weekend!

Also linking with:

Beverly's Pink Saturday

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Ritz Peanut Butter White Chocolate Cookies --- Homemaking Weekend Link-Up

I'm making it short and sweet tonight because, honestly, I really just want to get out there and read whatever you've all got to share!
Here's one of our family's favorite Christmas cookies:  the Ritz Cookie!  I got this idea from my friend, Dawn, and they're so easy!

Just spread peanut butter between two Ritz crackers, dip in melted white chocolate (I use almond bark), and sprinkle with pretty colors!  You're done!  They set up in about 5 minutes and they're gone by bedtime....Ha!

Please feel free to link up your homemaking-related posts below!  Do you need an email reminder?  Let me know in the comments below and I'll send you a weekly reminder about our Homemaking Link-Up Weekend via email.  (Please remember to add your email address if you want the reminder!!)

Also linking to:
My Romantic Home: Show and Tell Fridays
Beverly's Pink Saturday 
Domestic Arts Monday at Vermont Sewing Cottage 
Homemaking Link-up @ Raising Homemakers

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Peaceful Changes

A few days ago, I blogged about my New Year's Resolutions.  I told you how my main goal this year is to not do things that I don't want to do.  Of course, we all know that this is an impossible task, but let me clarify:

I, like most well-meaning women, have a tendency to take on way too much more than I can handle.  In my effort to do all the things I think God wants me to do, I end up doing a lot of things that he doesn't want me to do and I put off the things that he really does want me to do.  (Does this remind anyone of a Bible passage?  Romans 7:15, perhaps?)

This year, I'm resolving to stick to the plan:  God's plan.

God has created me to be a wife and a mother.  He has called me to homemaking and homeschooling.  He is encouraging me to prepare healthy meals for my family, to keep my home clean and beautiful, and to use the knowledge, creativity, and talents that he has given me to bless my husband and children.

God usually uses the Godly people in our lives to help encourage us in our walk with Him.  I have been blessed to find Godly counsel right here in my own home.  First and foremost, my husband is more than happy to help me find direction and steer me clear of things that would distract me from God's priorities for me.  Just yesterday he helped me out of an overwhelming task that I had taken on without first consulting neither the Lord nor him.

Secondly, God has led me to some very inspiring bloggers who have been springboards for positive changes.  You will see some of them listed on my sidebar under "Blogs That Inspire Me to Greatness".

Mrs. Jennie Chancey of Sense and Sensibility Patterns gave me the idea to honor my marriage by using my married "title", Mrs. Sarah Coller.  Another thing I did to honor my husband's name was to buy napkins monogrammed with a letter C at Christmas time.

This morning, I read a post by Darlene of Time-Warp Wife on boosting self-discipline.  One really great tip that I implemented today with great success, was to put a notepad and pen in my apron pocket for writing down notes throughout the day.  It really helped me not to stress out this morning as I came across things I keep forgetting to do---I just wrote them down and put them out of my mind!  My husband said this would serve to help me not get distracted as well.  I can continue with the task I'm on and just make a note to do the "distraction" later.

A third blog is my most favorite blog of all, The Legacy of Home.  I value that blog so much that I've made it my homepage!  Just about every morning, I wake up to Mrs. White's encouraging wisdom regarding running the kind of home that I desire and being the wife and mother that I want to be.  I've taken a couple of her ideas for making my kitchen a place that I desire to work in.  I recently rearranged my counters to make room for a pretty little lamp that I turn on in the evenings while I'm doing my kitchen work.  I also asked my husband for, (and received!) a kitchen stereo for Christmas.  Now I can listen to uplifting or soothing music while going about my kitchen responsibilities.  It's getting to be a really relaxing place to be!  Next, I'm going to make pretty tags for my canisters from the Victorian paper that Jamie got me for Christmas.  Then I want to paint the antique dresser that I've got in there that is holding my aprons and other kitchen supplies.  I even saw a blog recently where a girl had tole painted her microwave!  Hmmm.....maybe!

A final change that is blessing our family is the changes we're making to our diet.  My friend, Krystal from A Blessed Journey has been posting about some of the nutritious things she's been making her family and it's inspired us to get healthily creative in the kitchen too!

I hope you'll take the time to check out some of these blogs that I've mentioned here.  Maybe you'll be inspired too!

I'm praying God's blessings on you and your family today!
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