Thursday, July 25, 2013

Thankful Thursday... An Ongoing Process

"Rejoice always, pray constantly,
 give thanks in all circumstances;
 for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

This is what God wants for us... it cuts through our messes, anxieties, worries, burdens... it is good for us.. refines us... makes us whole. 

Here is a sample of what I am thankful for this week:

putting the finishing touches on our freshly painted bathroom... so fun!  Love using these outdoor faucet handles as knobs...

and finding this amazing free printable of the Scripture that is my life verse:

I found it here:
then printed it out on cardstock,
put it on some scrapbook paper I had on-hand.
white-washed a frame I had in the basement, then had the perfect piece to complete the bathroom

the sunset the other night was so beautiful...
like nothing I have ever seen before...
it was the most gorgeous red orange... this picture does not capture its beauty at all

And, some things that I didn't get pictures of...

  • time at the library with my two daughters.. they had a wonderful presentation on the fashions of the early 1900's in England... (this is the time period the PBS Show Downton Abbey is based on)
  • paint... and its ability to transform a room... and furniture... I have been doing a lot of that this week
  • eating supper outside feeling a wonderful breeze... so refreshing after two weeks of a hot humid heat wave here
  • Provision... how many times does God provide just what we need just when we need it? 
  • bare feet in the summertime
  • Sabbath rest
  • fresh green beans and cucumbers from our garden
What are you thankful for this day?

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday - and a Proverb to Clothe Yourself In

Good Morning!  I am back linking up with Lindsay from The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday.  This is a way to remember to take a couple of minutes each day to put myself together.
Boy, what a difference that makes in how I feel.

I don't have much to show you today as I have been wearing painting clothes the past several days.  My husband could paint in a tuxedo and not get a drop on him... seriously!  I, however, should be wearing an extra large hooded rain poncho... I get paint everywhere!  If I owned a painting company, it would be called... Splattered:)

Here are some recent outfits... maybe this post should be called "Parade of Coral"...

my youngest too this pic at a super funny angle... 
 but I love the outfit anyway for a super hot summer day

still loving this dress from The Loft...
This week while I was picking up some things for my oldest for camp,
I came across this dazzling coral necklace at H&M... it was only $3.50!!!!!!

this skirt was given to me by my sweet cousin... love it!!! 
And, the coral top was thrifted for $2.00
The sparkle sandals are hand-me-downs from my oldest...
yep, she wears bigger shoes than me!
And, here is a Proverb to clothe yourself in... true beauty starts in our souls!
The beginning of wisdom is this:  Get wisdom. 
Though it cost all you have, get understanding. 
Cherish her and she will exalt you;
embrace her and she will exalt you. 
She will give you a garland to grace your head
and present you will a glorious crown. 
Proverbs 4: 7-9
So clothe yourself, first in God's Word, and then taking a few minutes to put yourself together with your outfits.  You are God's daughter... beautiful and priceless!
Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thankful Thursday

God is molding me and making me... always.  I am glad He is not done with me yet.  The following verses have been echoed in my life lately... over and over I hear the command...

"Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances;
 for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

And so I go... opening my eyes to The Lord's work in my life and blessing that abound.  This task set before us is oh so easy when things are going our way... but when we encounter bumps, struggles, roadblocks... well then, it is not so easy to see.  That is when following these words is even more important... in the rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks, that is where we are changed and The Lord speaks to us... quiets our souls... reassures His children that indeed, He is with us.... watching over us and carrying us step of the way.

Here are some things I am thankful for this week....

  • a quiet morning talk with my eldest... a rare occasion with two teens and one preteen in the house
  • staying up late watching retro TV with my children on a summer night
  • a precious little girl, Sarah, gets her answer... a forever home with dear friends... the Lord heard her request and the prayers of many on her behalf!!!!
  • time alone to read the Word, pray, and drink my coffee before the rest of the house is up
  • our sweet dog, Sadie... she is such a love
  • our home... this sweet old cottage we live ... laughter, tears, joys, sorrows. growing pains, praise, prayer, and rejoicing
  • floating in the pool with my husband, catching up on the day
  • being home with my three children in the summer... the are growing so fast... this fall I will have two in high school... these moments are precious
  • eating the first green beans on the season from our garden
  • prayer... being able to go right to Jesus with everything... praying for others and having them pray for us... it binds us together as nothing can.

A grateful heart grows us more and more into who the Lord wants us to be.... it builds trust in Him... it helps us relinquish control to God instead of leaning into our self-reliance.  

So, tell me... what are you thankful for today?

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Curtain Panel Tutorial - Thinking Outside the Box

A little curtain panel tutorial for you...

We had these beautiful cranberry panels in our bedroom for years.  Rich and velvety... given to us by a dear friend.  Over the years, they have faded a little and the material has become a bit worn.  Then, when installing the window ac unit, we had an incident.  A big rip incident... not really a repairable incident.

So began the project of replacing the panels and figuring out what I wanted to replace them with.  I could have gone to the store and bought ready-made panels but I wanted something a bit different.  So I started thinking things over in my head and calculating costs of my options.  Then we stumbled upon a beautiful bedspread leftover from a tag sale that was in beautiful condition.

 Now some may gasp at the thought of cutting that bedspread up but I had something in mind.  No fear here.  I mean, is it better for the bedspread to sit unused in a box or to make it into something that would be used and enjoyed everyday?  So the cutting began... after measuring carefully.  I figured out how long I wanted each panel and added in extra for the pocket for curtain rod.

 Then I measured out the pocket width adding in a little more to fold over the raw edge.  Since it was a bedspread originally, I did not have to sew a hem on the bottom... it was already finished and that saved me some time.

I used pins to hold that in place until I began sewing a straight stitch on my sewing machine....
just take the pins out as you go with a project like this

 I also  folded over one side of each curtain to finish off the raw edges there.  Again, since it was
already a bedspread, it did not have as many raw edges to finish... only the ones that I had cut.

I love how they turned out... they are so crisp and white...
and the detail is so much better than if I just picked out panels at the store

Because I was using a bedspread, the detailing on the two sets of panels are different.
To me, that just adds to their uniqueness. 

Here is the after picture... I love the cottage feel of them!

I even had enough of the bedspread left over to make an accent piece for my living room

and, a couple of throw pillows!

Here is a before and after comparison





I love how they turned out.  And, I love thinking outside of the box!

Hope this inspires you to try a project or two!

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Hannah Keeley - "Crazy Blessed , Inspiration for Mamas, and an Answer to Prayer

This is Hannah...

I first met Hannah five summers ago.  She was an answer to prayer.  A desperate prayer for help. 
Five years ago, my husband had gotten laid off that Winter... my son suffered his first asthma attack... my mother was suffering from a debilitating disease, MS, that eventually took her life... one of my brothers had died unexpectedly... my husband rupture his Achilles tendon and need surgery and rehab... couple that with teaching preschool, raising three little ones, running a home... and being a wife.  I was done... cooked... desperate.  I was at the end of me... and in that dark place, I cried out to the Lord.  A simple cry for help... because that was all I could do.  Funny, when I finally stopped relying on me and gave it all up to Him... that is when amazing things began to happen...

I had read about Hannah in a magazine I had taken out from the library.  It gave a little review of her book Total Mom Makeover and talked about how her life changed from struggling to get by each day to really thriving.  This lead me to take out her book from the library... and then to sign up for her e-newsletter.  In one of the emails, there was a request for mamas who needed help to send in a video to Hannah.  Hannah was about to embark on a PBS pilot called Hannah, Help Me!  I felt the Lord strongly urging me to send in a video.  There was one catch... you needed to live in the Richmond, VA to be considered.  Yet, I still heard the Lord speaking to me telling me to send in a video.  So, I did.  Long story short, even though I shouldn't have been considered for the show, I was picked.  Soon, Hannah and a crew headed here to film the two pilot episodes of "Hannah, Help Me!"  They arrived the day after my husband's surgery to repair his tendon.  I remember talking with Hannah the day before she was set to come... I was feeling unglued with everything that was going on and didn't know if it would be a good time for Hannah and a tv crew to come.  I still remember Hannah saying this was great... now she could help me even more.   And she did... sweet words of encouragement with some boot camp drill sergeant mixed in.  She is a bundle of energy with a big heart and a passion to help mamas thrive.  Her love for the Lord is evident in all she does.  And, her smile and laughter are infectious.  My children loved her... me too!  And, Hannah and her crew were so kind and caring to my husband who was in agony and on some strong painkillers.  What looked like a catastrophe was a blessing that grew me in ways nothing else could.    And, the next Spring just two weeks before my mom passed away, I was blessed by a much need break... Hannah took five moms, including me, to Turks and Caicos for a retreat and to film the season finale of Hannah, Help Me! 

Hannah's mission is to minister to moms and equip them with the tools they need to serve the Lord and bloom.  She is a mama of seven and she shares her firsthand experiences with raising her children, digging out from debt,  cleaning out clutter, and following the Lord. 

You can find her at her website -   The site if full of great information and resources (many of the are free).  She also has founded - Mom Mastery University - a program to mentor moms and help them live out their calling. 

And, her latest e-book is called "Crazy Blessed"

Hannah's book shares Hannah's heart and an excitement for the plans the Lord has for each one of us.  You will be encouraged to live an obedient life and draw closer to God.  As a bonus, this e-book contains links to videos by Hannah that will help you further.  Her joy is effervescent and will leave you wanting to draw closer to Jesus and live the life He intended for you from the beginning. 
You can purchase the "Crazy Blessed" Bundle here on her website or at
(*side note:  I received no compensation from Hannah for this endorsement - because I am so impressed with Hannah, her ministry, and her integrity that I bought this bundle and am giving it rave reviews).
So, if you are looking for more out of your life... needs to be inspired... want to grow in your faith... or want to be encouraged, this bundle is a great tool for you!   My family has been so blessed by Hannah and you can too.
We serve a mighty God and I can tell you from my own life He answers prayers in ways we never expect!  I have seen it in my own life.  He has made each of us a unique and special child and loves us with a unrelenting passion.  I hope you know that!
Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Thankful Thursday... Blessings Big and Small

Trying each day to cultivate a grateful heart.  Living out 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 one step at a time...

"Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances. 
For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
Here are few things I am thankful for this week:

celebrating the 4th of July with family and friends


roasting hot dogs over the fire pit

our garden... can't wait for the vegetables from here

these vibrant colored flowers in full bloom

chocolate chip pancakes made with love by my youngest

more summer flowers

saltwater taffy from Cape Cod

lazy rainy days
a long walk and deep talk with a dear cousin
A grateful heart is a changed heart.  What are you thankful for today?
Praying you have many blessings and much joy!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday and a Proverb to Clothe Yourself in

Linking up with Lindsay from for What I Wore Wednesday   This is a way to be accountable to take a few minutes to put myself together each day.  I feel better when I take a minute or two to get myself together instead of just throwing on a tee shirt and shorts. 

Here are some recent outfits:

hanging out at home on a humid day...
love this color block top... the material is so light and it cost only $2 - thrift shop!
headed out for a beach day
this tunic is also nice and light... got it at Old Navy on clearance a few years ago

wore this outfit on another humid day...
the sandals are hand-me-downs from my oldest... she is so tall and has bigger feet than me now
and the skirt I made from material from a thrift store... skirt cost about 75 cents - love the price!


 4th of July fun... the top is Banana Republic... $2 thrift store find ... yay!
new dress... The Loft
I love the clothes from The Loft but not the price tag...
but a gift card from my class and a great sale had me smiling!
And because true beauty and what matters most is what is on the inside, here is a Proverb to clothe yourself in...
 My child, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight,
preserve sound judgment and discretion;
they will be life for you,
an ornament to grace your neck.
Proverbs 3:21-22

So join me in this challenge to take a few minutes each day to put yourself together by reading God's Word and then putting your clothes together!  You were created for a unique purpose... clothe you soul and body for it!

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!


Monday, July 8, 2013

Money Saving Monday - Three Dollar Porch Update

Our front porch is a favorite place for us to hang out for three seasons.  However, after a long Winter, it was looking pretty sad. There it sat all Spring.  I kept putting off doing something with it because I didn't have a lot of money to spend on it and perfectionism was ruling over me.  Are you ever like that?  Not blooming because it can't be perfect? 

Recently, I decided to tackle it using what I had and then spending only $3.  And, I am so happy with the results!  My husband and I spend a lot of time out here... just the two of us... well, sometimes a child, or two, or three head on out to join us.  You can usually find them climbing all over the porch wall:)

Here is where I started:


First up was a good sweeping and decluttering.  Then an old ripped curtain needed to go and a worn wreath needed to be updated.

For the wreath, I took off the old ribbon and faded fabric flower.  Then I repurposed some leftover material from an old tee shirt and made a new oversized flower (nice that it was in patriotic colors... just in time for July 4th). A found remnant of burlap strap in my craft closet became a new accent.
I had gotten this beautiful flowering plant from my preschool class in this amazing pot they decorated.  I was looking for the perfect spot for it and ended up putting it on an old metal crate found in our basement.  I smile when I see it each day!  Oh, those kids are precious!  The blue bird is one I had gotten at IKEA years ago... I just gave it a facelift with some blue paint I had.


I hung an old curtain up on a rod that previously held another curtain.  I gives us a little shade and little privacy too.  Our house is close to our neighbor's house and it is nice to have a little partition.

I bought these two bright blue placemats at our local dollar store. 
The brighten the table up and wipe clean with a damp cloth.  $2 spent makes a big impact!
I added a pinwheel just in time for the 4th of July and that cost another $1.
The flowers my husband planted for me in the planter we already had. 
He does our garden each year and these were some extra annuals he had gotten.
The old window frame has been hanging there for a couple of years... I love its character!

Does the porch still need to be painted?  Do the chairs need to be painted as well?... yep!   All in good time.   Living in an old house (circa 1908) there is always a plethora of projects that need to be done.  In the meantime, our porch is so much nicer and we are enjoying it a ton!  This morning we had spinach and cheese omelets out here.
I could have waited until I could do it perfectly but then we would have  missed out on enjoy a pretty sweet spot!   Now, that is blooming where I am planted!
So, tell me... what projects have you been putting of because of your perfectionism... or your lack of funds to do it just so?  Tackle it now... use what you have... and set a little budget... see what $3 and shopping my own home did!
Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Simple Thrifty Outdoor Cushions

Happy Saturday!  It is hot and humid here... perfect day to be inside for a bit with the fan and ac running and sew.

Here is one of the fun projects I have been waiting to attack.  We have some nice rockers outside and a wicker loveseat and then these plastic chairs.  They are plain and needed a little update.  Today I made cushions for them.

I started with these reusable bags leftover from a youth group beach party in the Spring.
  I love the colors and the print definitely says Summer!

I had this leftover egg crate mattress that I had already cut up and make some pillows out of...
I had three good-sized pieces left

I just place each piece on top of a bag and figured out where to cut...
the egg crate has a grid-like design so I didn't even measure

Then I stuffed each bag with the cut cushion

I sewed the bags closed just going across the top... simple straight stitch

super easy

then I cut the handles in half to make ties for the cushions

 I did some quick stitching and cutting with pinking shears just to give the ties a finished look

headed outside and tied them in back

and here is the final product:)... the whole project took me less than a half hour
and the cushion really brighten up the chairs and make them more comfortable.  
I love how they look and also that I used up what I  had instead of spending a ton at the store. 

we are definitely having supper out here tonight:)
Super fun, quick, and thrifty! 
Hope you have a wonderful Saturday!
Praying you have many blessings and much joy!