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:  

Chasing Mona Lisa Book Tour

I have to start out this review by saying that I really, really wanted to love this book!  I love reading about art history, scandals involving art, etc.  I REALLY love to read about history in general.  This book had a lot of great historical facts and scenarios---it was obviously very well researched. 

Unfortunately, I was not at all prepared for the amount of violence and graphic descriptions of gory murders there is to be found in this book.  As a Christian, I am very careful to guard my mind and heart against evil that is meant to be entertaining.  Of course I am aware of the reality of all the horrible scenarios described in this story, but if I am going to spend my time reading, I want to fill my mind with pleasant images as much as possible.  Had I known the graphic descriptions of death and sexual imagery that I would be exposed to, I never would have requested this book.  I think that, especially being a Christian publisher, some sort of warning/disclaimer should be noted in books that would be considered disturbing by many.

That said, there are others, I'm sure, who can handle these things better than I.  If you are one who can look past these sorts of disturbing things and enjoy the heart of the story, than I'd suggest picking this one up and trying it for yourself.  You will learn a lot about the resistance underground during World War II, as well as art history.

Notes from the publisher:
"One enigmatic smile. Two passionate protectors. And a
relentlessly ticking clock.

August 1944. Paris is on the cusp of liberation. As the soldiers of the
Third Reich flee the Allied advance, they ravage the country and steal
countless pieces of irreplaceable art. In fact, Reichsmarschall
Hermann Göring will stop at nothing to claim the most valuable one
of all—the Mona Lisa—as a postwar bargaining chip.

But the woman with the mysterious smile has some very determined
protectors. Can Swiss OSS agents Gabi Mueller and Eric Hofstadler
rescue Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece before it falls into German

With nonstop action and intrigue, Chasing Mona Lisa is sure to get
your adrenaline pumping as you join the chase to save the most
famous painting in the world. From war-ravaged Paris to a posh Swiss
chateau, the race is on--and the runners are playing for keeps."

Tricia Goyer is the coauthor of The Swiss
Courier as well as the author of many other
books, including Night Song and Dawn of a
Thousand Nights, both past winners of the
ACFW's Book of the Year Award for Long
Historical Romance. Goyer lives with her
family in Arkansas.

Mike Yorkey is the author or coauthor of
dozens of books, including The Swiss Courier
and the bestselling Every Man's Battle series.
Married to a Swiss native, Yorkey lived in
Switzerland for 18 months. He and his family
currently reside in California.

“Available January 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

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

The Gospel Story Book Book Tour

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

Marty Machowski

Illustrated by:

and the book:

New Growth Press (December 5, 2011)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings – The B&B Media Group – for sending me a review copy.***

My Review:  Our family is planning to use this book in our daily devotions with Dad---now that we are finished with our Christmas study.  We are excited to go through it.  I love the unique illustrations and the writings I've skimmed seem to be Biblically sound.  I think this will be a great study resource for our family!


Marty Machowski is a Family Life Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church, a Sovereign Grace Ministries church in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, where he has served on the pastoral staff for twenty-three years. Marty leads Promise Kingdom, the children’s ministry of Covenant Fellowship. He is also the author of Long Story Short: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God and the forthcoming Gospel Story Sunday school curriculum. He and his wife Lois and their six children reside in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Visit the author's Facebook Page.


I have never been the best at anything. This has given me the freedom to really enjoy alot of things; perfection is not on the line. So my drawing is not clean, my patchwork corners don’t really match up, and my cooking is always an adventure. I was raised by a single mom who has an exhausting amount of creative energy. My brother and I were taught how to create our own entertainment and seek adventure in the everyday.
When I was in Jr High, both my parents remarried and let’s just say things have never been boring. A foster brother, two step sisters, and a half brother were added to the mix. I have aunts and uncles who have been beyond generous and helped raise me in many ways. I have been blessed to travel overseas and even live in Prague for six months. My dad and stepmom run a special needs home in Guatemala where I have spent time and really fallen in love with the culture. My brother and his wife run a shoe company out of Guatemala. Everywhere I have been, even a dirt floor hut in the hills of Guatemala, there has been art: design and color. I believe as humans we are created in the image of The Creator, and so we all have some creative effort to put forth.
I have a BFA in Illustration because after all the studio classes one takes to finish an Art Education degree, I found what I really like to do is draw. I doodle. Alot.
Presently, I am married with two little ones, living in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. I teach art part time at a sweet little christian school, grow tomatoes and beets, and sew or draw when I get the chance.
My first illustration project is coming out in the fall, 156 illustrated Bible stories in the “Gospel Story Bible” by Marty Machowski, published by New Growth Press.
Visit the illustrator's Website.


Sometimes it’s easy to forget Jesus in the midst of frantic schedules, family squabbles and conflicting priorities. For many Christians, God often becomes little more than an afterthought after days absorbed and depleted by the busyness of life. But the truth is that he is the hero of every story—including the mundane, ordinary ones we experience on a regular basis. That is why Marty Machowski beckons families to take time out from the daily grind to be transformed by the message of the Good News in his latest release, The Gospel Story Bible: Discovering Jesus in the Old and New Testaments (New Growth Press, November 2011).

Based on the ESV Bible, this uniquely illustrated Bible storybook uses 156 stories to present God’s plan of salvation in Christ from its opening narrative in Genesis to its finale in Revelation. This easy-to-read storybook written for children from preschool to high school introduces readers to many captivating people, places and events from the Bible’s Old and New Testaments. At the same time, Machowski skillfully connects the individual stories to the overall gospel narrative of how God redeemed a broken world through sending his son Jesus to save his people. Each story ends by connecting to Jesus and his gospel of grace. By sharing these Bible stories with each other, young and old will learn together the life-changing habit of recognizing the presence and workings of Christ in every moment of their day.

“The gospel is deep enough to keep the oldest and wisest parents learning and growing all their lives, yet simple enough to change the heart of the first grader who has just begun to read,” says Machowski. “That’s what makes The Gospel Story Bible ideal as a storybook for a preschooler, a devotional for a grade school student, a refresher for the adult believer or an introduction for the new one. Parents and children will learn together to read the whole Bible as one story, with one hero—Jesus Christ.”

Vibrant illustrations by A. E. Macha, child-friendly discussion questions and Scripture references accompany each story to help lead families in exploring the Bible. Parents and teachers will be delighted to discover how easily even a young child can understand the original text of a story that he or she has already come to love. A companion to the family devotional Long Story Short: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God and the soon-to-be-released Gospel Story Sunday school curriculum (February 2012), The Gospel Story Bible is also a great resource for churches, Sunday school classes, home-schoolers and Christian schools who want to teach their children to apply the gospel to every situation and make Jesus the most important part of their everyday lives.

Product Details:

  • List Price: $29.99
  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: New Growth Press (December 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936768127
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936768127

AND NOW...Some Sample Pages (click images to see them larger):

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Keeper by Suzanne Woods Fisher --- Book Review

I am on page 46 of this book and I am stopping.  I normally don't review books that I haven't read, but I was given a free copy of this by the publisher in exchange for a review so I will post my thoughts on the first 46 pages.

Overall, my impression of the book is that it has the potential to be middle-of-the-road Amish fiction if it wasn't written so carelessly.  It's 10:00 p.m., I'm exhausted after a long day and dozing off while reading, and I'm still catching error after error.  Surely a paid editor would pay close enough attention to the story to find the things I'm finding in my state of semi-consciousness!  Also, there are several details that are inconsistent with most Amish practices that make the characters seem less than authentic.

First of all, on page 21, Sadie "cut the last piece of gingerbread", leaving the plate now empty.  If one were to cut the last piece, there would actually be two pieces because the last piece had been cut.  It makes more sense to say that Sadie, "took the last piece of gingerbread."

On page 33, "croppy" should be "crappie" since they are discussing fishing.  A "croppy" is a late 18th Century term for an Irish insurrectionist.

On page 46, there is an incident mentioned about M.K. having "long conversations" with a dog that had a walkie-talkie hidden under his collar.  How could M.K. have a two-way conversation over a walkie-talkie if she was not holding down the button on the device when talking back?

Concerning practices inconsistent with the majority of Amish communities, I understand that each community has it's own rules and some are stricter than others.  However, it would lend a good deal of credence to Fisher's claim to knowledge of the Amish ways if she prefaced some out-of-the-norm things by saying something like, "even though many communities did not accept the use of _______, Julia's bishop had granted the local families permission to __________________."

For instance, the Lapp's refrigerator is a subject of much talk in these early pages.  Since most Amish shun electricity, it would be wise for Fisher to either use some sort of explanatory sentence as I've suggested above or to just make it an ice box and eliminate the seemingly inconsistent idea.  Another option would be for Fisher to explain that it is a gas-powered refrigerator.  I suppose this may seem petty, but it's distracting...or maybe I'm just in a "mood".  :)

Another thing that didn't fit with Amish customs, was the fact that everyone in Julia's life seemed to know about her relationship with Paul.  It is very common for an "engaged" couple to keep their upcoming wedding plans a secret from even the closest family members until shortly before the wedding when their intentions are "published" for all the community to see.  Not only did Julia's sister, Sadie, know about her "boyfriend", her little sister M.K. and her father knew as well.  Then, to make it even less believable, Uncle Hank mentioned it when he came to visit. 

I will also note that I had my suspicions about this story from the first time I saw the heavily made-up "Amish girl" on the cover.  I suppose it's possible that the heavy eye makeup, blush and lipstick were okayed by her bishop.  However, that is inconsistent with most Amish practices, and is actually inconsistent with the story itself.  In the first couple of pages, this book's main character guiltily used a mirror to "vainly" check her face.  Why would she feel so guilty about the vanity of checking herself in the mirror if she wore such a ridiculous amount of makeup to begin with?

As I said earlier, I really do think this book has the potential of being a moderately good Amish fiction story.  It just needs some serious thought and care put into either explaining things that don't seem to line up, or researching the facts and writing truth.  I've read a lot of Amish fiction and have studied the culture for about 10 years now.  I'm no where near an expert, but I do feel like I'm wasting time with this story so I'll go ahead and find a new home for it.

Thank you to Baker Publishing Group for sending me a new copy to review.  My opinions here are my own and have not been swayed by the fact that I was given a free copy of the book.

Suzanne is hosting a "honey of a giveaway"during the blog tour for The Keeper! During 1/3-1/17 you can enter to win an iPad2 from Suzanne and connect with her on January 17th at The Keeper Facebook Party!

During the giveaway one Grand Prize winner will receive a Prize Pack valued at $600:

  • A brand new 16 KB iPad 2 with Wi-Fi
  • A $25 gift certificate to iTunes
  • A copy of The Keeper
But wait there's more! Just click one of the icons below to enter, then on 1/17 join Suzanne for The Keeper Facebook Party! During the party Suzanne will announce the winner of the "Honey" of an iPad Giveaway and host a fun book chat and give away some fun "honey" inspired prizes - It'll be 'sweet"!

RSVP early and tell your friends!

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 17th!

Here's some information from the publisher:

"A family. A farm. A heart. All in need of repair.  Life on Windmill Farm hasn't been the same since Julia Lapp's father has had trouble with his heart. But that doesn't stop Julia from hoping for a bright future. She has planned on marrying Paul Fisher since she was a girl. Now twenty-one, she looks forward to their wedding with giddy anticipation. But when Paul tells her he wants to postpone the
wedding--again--she is determined to change his mind. She knows who is to blame for Paul's sudden reluctance to wed: the Bee Man.  Roman Troyer, the Bee Man, travels through the Amish communities
of Ohio and Pennsylvania with his hives full of bees, renting them out to farmers in need of pollinators. A mysterious man who relishes his nomadic life, Roman especially enjoys bringing his bees to Stoney
Ridge each year. But with Julia seriously at odds with him, Windmill Farm is looking decidedly less appealing.  Can Julia secure the future she's always dreamed of? Or does God have something else in mind?"


"The Keeper is a keeper. From a fabric of likable and original
characters, Suzanne has crafted a moving story of faith and loyalty, a
story of hope shining out of the darkest places. A captivating read."
                                                                 --Dale Cramer, bestselling author, Levi's Will

Available January 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

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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