As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits!
Psalm 103:2 

It is so easy to forget, isn't it? So easy to complain. So easy to focus on the imperfect. So easy to forget His kindness. So easy to miss His blessings because they don't come packaged as we wanted them. I think that's one of the reasons that I love the season of Thanksgiving so much. Focusing on my blessings causes my heart to praise!

(At the end of this post, I am going to share one of my favorite passages about gratitude. I have shared it before, but it bears repeating. We are so prone to forget.)

Some glimpses of our Thanksgiving Day . . . 

We added leaves of blessings to the Thankful Tree.

The table was set for twenty-two this year. I used my Friendly Village dishes, supplemented by white dishes layered with another brown transfer ware pattern. We used a collection of cream napkins, some new, some vintage ones gathered from antique stores. My Aunt Lynn's fine crystal and dollar store goblets graced the table, as well as four different kinds of flatware. Yes, it was a mix-and-match affair, but it worked!

Every year when we go on our Mother/Daughter Christmas Shopping Trip, I eye the little potted mums at Trader Joe's, but I had never purchased them. I was always afraid they wouldn't fare too well in the heat of the car, or that they wouldn't still be pretty by Thanksgiving. But this year I had determined, if the weather was cool enough (and it was), to give them a try. Success! We added candles and called it good. 

Ron carved the turkey, while Kristin made the gravy. A couple of years ago, Gammy (my mom) passed the gravy-torch to her. 

It was Judah's first Thanksgiving!

While last minute things were happening in the kitchen, first Gampy, then Gammy read stacks of books to Macie. The adults looked at the sales flyers in the newspaper. 

Before the feast, we always sing a Thanksgiving hymn. This year's: "Come, Ye Thankful People, Come."

Kati recorded the last verse. Join us in singing it, if you'd like!

Then Ron prayed a prayer of thanksgiving, and it was time for the feast!

Kristin, Kati, and for the first time, Maddie, were the "servants" this year. (Sarah and Brian are often servants, but they were taking turns with Baby Judah.) They brought each dish in from the kitchen and passed it around the table, helping the youngers when needed. I love this tradition. It beats a long buffet line, and it is better than making space for all of those dishes on the table. God bless the servants!

This was a first for us . . . a Thanksgiving selfie!

The Feast: Part Two.

Our blessings are many! 

Here is the quote I promised you. Does it challenge you as it does me?

Our culture is riddled with a poisonous spirit of entitlement. We always think we deserve more. We’re disappointed with our family, our neighbors, church, the waitress, the sales clerk, and the department of motor vehicles. Ultimately, we’re disappointed with God. He hasn’t given us everything we want.
What madness! If only we could see our situation clearly—even for a moment. We deserved expulsion; He gives us a diploma. We deserved the electric chair; He gives us a parade. Anything less than overwhelming gratitude should be unthinkable. He owes us nothing. We owe Him everything. When you realize you deserve nothing better than hell, it puts a “bad day” in perspective, doesn’t it?
Christians in Sudan—who’ve suffered unspeakably for their faith—are deeply grateful for God’s daily blessings. But us? We whine and pout.
Thankfulness should draw a clear line between us and a Christless world. If the same spirit of entitlement and ingratitude that characterizes our culture characterizes us, what do we have to offer?
If I grasp that I deserve hell, I’ll be filled with gratitude not only for God’s huge blessings—including my redemption and home in heaven—but also for His smaller blessings: sun, rain, a beating heart, eyes that see, legs that walk, a mind that thinks...And because Christ allowed Himself to be crushed under the weight of my sin, I’ll enjoy forever a clear mind and a perfect body...Never believe anything about yourself or God that makes His grace to you seem anything less than astonishing. Because that’s exactly what it is.
~Randy Alcorn, The Grace and Truth Paradox, Multnomah Publishers 2003, pp. 33-35

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

I will be stepping away from my little bloggy space for a few days.  We will be taking time to rejoice in His goodness, thank Him for His blessings, enjoy family togetherness, feast, sip coffee, have lingering conversations over leftover turkey, celebrate two boys' birthdays, perform in a piano recital, and put up a Christmas tree.  

I pray that your weekend is also filled with memory-making moments.  Even if life has been hard, if we belong to Him, then His blessings are too many to count.  

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! 
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

Thanksgiving blessings to you, my friends!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Toaster Oven Cover

When I shared our latest kitchen updates, I mentioned that I had asked Ron to make a cover for the toaster oven. One of my decorating practices is to hide ugly stuff, and although my toaster oven is not particularly ugly, I think this new faux apothecary cabinet is much prettier! 

The plan was to add a bit of color to the kitchen. Ron applied an undercoat of black paint with the idea that I would then paint it some colonial color (barn red or my favorite Quaker Green) and distress it. But when we put it on the counter, I really liked the black! 

I did a small amount of distressing, applied a coat of Miss Mustard Seed's hemp oil, and left it at that. 

Who knows? I may end up painting it another color some day. (Or maybe not.)

I am happy to have another house-y project checked off the list! ✔

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

What Will It Be?

What will it be to see Him whom I have known so long but never seen before? To adore His beauty, to worship Him in holiness; to see Him crowned with glory and honour who was wounded, bruised, oppressed, afflicted -- what will it be to see Him and not another, not a stranger?

What will it be to serve in perfect purity and in untiring vigour? To see no more through a glass darkly, to grope no more on the edge of knowledge, but to press on into that kingdom to which no frontier is set? To see with new eyes, to hear with new ears, to know no more in part but even as also we are known?

What will it be when Faith and Hope fade out of sight and only Love is left?

What will it be? We cannot tell. We do not know.

Only this we know: the travail of the journey is not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed to usward, even to usward, though we be the least of the redeemed.

~ Amy Carmichael

From Amy Carmichael: Beauty for Ashes by Iain H. Murray 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Persistent Candle and the Polite Piñata

Because Kati often requests Mexican food for her birthday meal

and because we wanted a good excuse to have a pinata for the kids

we chose a Mexican theme for our November birthday celebration!

It was a lovely day of celebrating our November birthday people: Paul, Peter, and Kati! Family gathered, tacos, games, a sweet guest, Choco Tacos for dessert, lots of baby holding . . . all the makings of a festive afternoon!

Don't be fooled by Peter's melancholy face in this shot; he had a great time at his party!

See? 😊

"Hold me like a baby."

Then there was the candle that wouldn't extinguish! CrAzY, because I assure you that they were not trick candles. Kati's and Peter's blew out on the first try. Paul's, however, just wouldn't give up. 


Silly candle!



This is crazy!

Try again.

This BIG puff finally extinguished the flame! Whew!

And then there was the piñata.

I had bought a pull string piñata instead of the traditional whack-with-a-stick variety. (Only one of the cascading ribbons opens the trap door to the candy.)

First, each of the birthday peeps had a turn to pull a string.

No candy yet. So we let the others take a turn, from youngest to oldest.

No candy yet!

Still no candy! The suspense is mounting!

When it was Ryan's turn, he pulled a string . . .

and the trap door began to open, but also the hanger became dislodged and the whole thing crashed to the floor!

He picked it up and started to dump out the candy.

But do you see what is happening? 

You're right! Nothing!  

The kids all just stood around watching the candy scatter over the floor.

They started picking up a few pieces. 

It was the most polite piñata scramble ever!

So Sarah had to show them how it was done!  🤣🤣🤣

I love her!

P.S. There was even candy left over! It will be recycled as Grandy.

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