Saturday, October 26, 2013

Glimpses From Birthday Celebrations And The Proverbs Journey

Wow, October is flying right by!  This month is always incredibly full for us ~ amidst lots of work and activities and responsibilities are several family birthdays.  We have already celebrated my mom (with a fun surprise party for her 60th) and Jimmy (with a date day for the two of us and date night with friends)... next up is Trevor!

I have been enjoying continuing on in my Proverbs study, and hope you have too!  I am always struck by so many verses in each chapter.  I have gotten behind on updating, but here are some of the Proverbs that have stood out to me lately...

Proverbs 17

Proverbs 17:9 "Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends."

Proverbs 17:22 "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person's strength."

Proverbs 18

Proverbs 18:7 "The mouths of fools are their ruin; they trap themselves with their lips."

Proverbs 18:10 "The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to Him and are safe."

Proverbs 18:15 "Intelligent people are always ready to learn.  Their ears are open for knowledge."

Proverbs 19

Proverbs 19:2 "Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good; haste makes mistakes."

Proverbs 19:18 "Discipline your children while there is hope.  Otherwise you will ruin their lives."

Proverbs 19:23 "Fear of the Lord leads to life, bringing security and protection from harm."

Proverbs 20

Proverbs 20:1 "Wine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls.  Those led astray by drink cannot be wise."

Proverbs 20:7 "The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them."

Proverbs 20:11 "Even children are known by the way they act, whether their conduct is pure, and whether it is right."

Proverbs 20:23 "The Lord detests double standards; he is not pleased by dishonest scales."

Proverbs 21

Proverbs 21:2 "People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord examines the heart."

Proverbs 21:9 "It's better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home."

Proverbs 21:23 "Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble."

Proverbs 22

Proverbs 22:6 "Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it."

Proverbs 22:15 "A youngster's heart is filled with foolishness, but physical discipline will drive it far away."

Proverbs 23

Proverbs 23:17-18 "Don't envy sinners, but always continue to fear the Lord. You will be rewarded for this; your hope will not be disappointed."

Proverbs 24

Proverbs 24:5 "The wise are mightier than the strong, and those with knowledge grow stronger and stronger."

Proverbs 24:17-18 "Don't rejoice when your enemies fall; don't be happy when they stumble.  For the Lord will be displeased with you and will turn His anger away from them."

Proverbs 25

Proverbs 25:17 "Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket."

Proverbs 25:28 "A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls."

Proverbs 26

Proverbs 26:17 "Interfering in someone else's argument is as foolish as yanking a dog's ears."

Proverbs 26:20 "Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops."

Proverbs 26:22 "Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one's heart."

Only a few more days left in this wonderful month!  
Hope you will join me in reading the last chapters on this journey!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Autumn Celebration!

This morning for breakfast I had a pumpkin bagel topped with pumpkin spice cream cheese, along with a steaming mug of pumpkin spice chai tea flavored with pumpkin spice creamer.  All to the scent of an autumn candle.

It was bliss.

My husband asked me how on earth I was not on pumpkin overload.

I do not know of what he speaks.

I've told you before, my love for autumn runs deep!

And I happen to have a few friends who share my obsession appreciation for this blissful season and all things pumpkin.

So last Friday evening, I invited those pumpkin lovers over for a cozy night in celebrating all things autumn!  It was a joy to have these sweet, fun women around my table, celebrating the season we love!

I asked everyone to bring a favorite fall dish to share.  I made my favorite pumpkin chocolate chip muffins (a recipe I have literally been making since high school), sweet and savory meatballs, and a steaming pot of hot apple cider.  With what everyone brought we also had yummy soup, several delicious dips, pumpkin pudding and pumpkin cobbler!  

When I couldn't find mulling spices for the cider, I improvised and it turned out so well that I wanted to share it with you!  I used a quart of sweet cider, about 2/3 of a large can of pineapple juice, 4 cinnamon sticks, 8 whole cloves, some ground cinnamon, and 4 packs of this Alpine Spiced Apple Cider mix - boiled everything together, then let it simmer in the crockpot all day. Needless to say the house smelled amazing ~ if you are ever in a pinch and can't find mulling spices, try this!

After we ate and visited, we did some fall crafting!

These straw wreaths are under $4.00 at hobby Lobby, and the ribbon and picks were 50% off  ~ a very economical project!

Even Madi made a little craft!

My sweet friend Jennifer brought me this adorable candle as a hostess gift and it smells sooo good!  Madi had two of her little friends over for the evening, and she got a hostess gift as well - an adorable Halloween bow!  So thoughtful!

We had so much fun we want to do it again at Christmastime! What a treat to celebrate the seasons with friends who enjoy them with you!

Proverbs 14-16

I was home for a bit yesterday morning, which was nice.  I was actually waiting on an internet service person to come.  The waiting allowed me to stop and rest in my chair for a bit.  Beside me was a glowing candle given to me by a friend.  In the room behind me, the washer churned. Outside my window were overcast skies, all the more reason to stop and sit awhile as I waited for the towels to be ready to put in the dryer and the repairman to come to my door.

I ended up getting called to sub the second half of the day, and dashed off to Aldi before I headed to school.  But during that brief but wonderful quiet time I drank a cup of chai and read my Proverb for the day.  This morning I am home again and that same candle burns.

 Here are some of the Proverbs that stood out to me the past few days....


Proverbs 14:1 "A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands."

~ This first verse really caught me as I read it.  The Bible has a lot to say about women and the home.  Oh, how I want to be a home builder! God, please help us in this!

Proverbs 14:2 "Those who follow the right path fear the Lord; those who take the wrong path despise him."

Proverbs 14:7 "Stay away from fools, for you won't find knowledge on their lips."

~ We need to be especially careful whom we seek advice from.  We really need to be sure that we are seeking godly counsel, not just validation of our own desires or opinions, when dealing with the issues of life.

Proverbs 14:9 "Fools make fun of guilt, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation."

Proverbs 14:12 "There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death."

~ Be careful which path you take.  Be wise as you discern the difference between what seems right, and what is right.

Proverbs 14:16 "The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence."

Proverbs 14:26 "Those who fear the Lord are secure; he will be a refuge for their children."

~ Our decisions affect generations.  I desire to make wise decisions that will pass down blessings, not harm, to our children and the generations to come.


Proverbs 15:1 "A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare."

~ Good to remember next time we are provoked.

Proverbs 15:3 "The Lord is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good."

~ Both convicting and comforting.

Proverbs 15:7 "The lips of the wise give good advice; the heart of a fool has none to give."

Proverbs 15:9 "The Lord detests the way of the wicked, but he loves those who pursue godliness."

Proverbs 15:16 "Better to have little, with fear for the Lord, than to have great treasure and inner turmoil."

~ How many of those in our culture who have the most treasure are consumed with turmoil?  It's a sad reality - but fear of the Lord brings joy, even without great earthly treasure!  He is our treasure!


Proverbs 16:2 "People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives."

Proverbs 16:3 "Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed."

Proverbs 16:9 "We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps."

~ God will have His way in us.  It's not wrong to plan, but we need have an open heart for what He wants to do in and through us.  Sometimes His plans surprise us - but they don't surprise Him!

Proverbs 16:18 "Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall."

Proverbs 16:20 "Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the Lord will be joyful."

~ Once again, here is a source for JOY - trusting in God and listening to His instruction!

Proverbs 16:24 "Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."

Proverbs 16:28 "A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends."

~ Such practical truth.  Be careful not to be excited by strife and drama.  Be careful of relationships that center around gossip.

Got called in again, so with that I'm off to school!

Thank you for joining me on this journey!  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Proverbs 10-13

I hope you all have had a good weekend!  Ours was full of family, friends, worship, and teaching.  We were in Proverbs several times at church today - amazing how often this book is popping up!

If you have been reading on this journey, you have noticed that this portion of Proverbs is written in couplets, short sayings that drive home practical wisdom for daily living in every stage of life.  Though it is hard to choose, here are some that have stood out to me the past few days...

Proverbs 10:9 "People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall."

Proverbs 10:16 "The earnings of the godly enhance their lives, but evil people squander their money on sin."

Proverbs 10:17 "People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life, but those who ignore correction will go astray."

~ Goes back to that teachable spirit we talked about the other day!

Proverbs 10:19 "Too much talk leads to sin.  Be sensible and keep your mouth shut."

~ Wow. There is a time for silence, for sure!


Proverbs 11:13 "A gossip goes around telling secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence."

Proverbs 11:18 "Evil people get rich for the moment, but the reward of the godly will last."

Proverbs 11:20 "The Lord detests people with crooked hearts, but he delights in those with integrity."

Proverbs 11:22 "A beautiful woman who lacks discretion is like a gold ring in a pig's snout."

~ Ladies, let's do better than this!!


Proverbs 12:1 "To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction."

Proverbs 12:3 "Wickedness never brings stability, but the godly have deep roots."

~ This was our theme verse for camp this summer that we memorized with our students!

Proverbs 12:15 "Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others."

Proverbs 12:16 "A fool is quick-tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted."

~ Great advice to recall the next time we have insults hurled at us.

Proverbs 12:25 "Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up."


Proverbs 13:3 "Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything."

Proverbs 13:11 "Wealth from get-rich schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time."

Proverbs 13:20 "Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble."

~ Young or old, it matters whom we hang out with.

Proverbs 13:24 "Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children.  Those who love their children care enough to discipline them."

I love my children.  Which is why, as hard as it is sometimes, I need to be intentional about discipline and correction.  When I have to discipline my children, I often tell them that if I didn't care about them I would let them do whatever they wanted and suffer the consequences.  I wouldn't take the time or effort to teach them right from wrong.  I explain to them that it is because I love them so much that I want to teach them what is right and wrong from God's Word, and correct them when they are wrong so they will learn and hopefully not have to suffer certain consequences down the road.

Discipline can be so draining on us parents, but don't give up!!  In love not anger, with clear boundaries and consequences, be willing to correct your children - remember, you are ultimately showing them that you love them and want the absolute best for them!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Fall Decorating For $1.00!!

I went to Target yesterday for the first time in ages, and was thrilled by some fun finds in their dollar bins when I walked in!  They had adorable sparkly pumpkins, and the cutest little felt pumpkin decorating kits, all for a dollar each!

I got a kit and a pumpkin for each of the kids, and they were easy as pie for them to decorate!  Trevor also picked out the little wooden robot craft kit at Hobby Lobby for a little over a dollar, and colored it this morning.  I so enjoy having their handiwork around the house each season!

Since the sparkly pumpkins were such a steal at only a dollar, I bought three for myself as well.  I set the orange one on an old pedestal stand I've had for years, and they made an elegant setting on my countertop for $3.00!

In other news, today I am finishing up my 18th week of pregnancy.  My weeks are so full that the time is flying by!  (Owl handprint art tutorial found here.)

And in just a few moments, some fall-loving friends will be coming over to enjoy some autumn goodies.  In fact, I think one just came to the door!

Happy October Saturday!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Proverbs 6-9

Beautiful October breezes are blowing in this evening!  Thankful for the refreshment they bring!

Here are some observations from the past few days in Proverbs...

Be careful what you get involved in financially.

Proverbs 6:1-4 "My child, if you have put up security for a friend's debt or agreed to guarantee the debt of a stranger - if you have trapped yourself by your agreement and are caught by what you said - follow my advice and save yourself, for you have placed yourself at your friend's mercy.  Now swallow your pride; go and beg to have your name erased.  Don't put it off; do it now!  Don't rest until you do."

Before we co-sign, before we lend, before we borrow, we need to stop and seek God's guidance and wisdom.  Many have gotten themselves in financial disaster by trying to "help" someone, or by not examining the small print of an agreement.

Work hard!

Proverbs 6:6-8 "Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones.  Learn from their ways and become wise!  Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter."

Whether our work is paid or unpaid, salaried or volunteered, in an office, classroom, home, or church, we need to be willing to work hard at what we do!  One summer on a missions trip to Mexico, our group memorized Romans 12:11 - "Never be lazy in doing your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically!"  I have thought of that verse many times since then.

Remember the advice and wisdom of your parents.

Proverbs 6:20-22 "My son, obey your father's commands, and don't neglect your mother's instruction.  Keep their words always in your heart.  Tie them around your neck.  When you walk, their counsel will lead you.  When you sleep, they will protect you.  When you wake up, they will advise you."

I have said before that I am so incredibly grateful for the wisdom and protection my parents gave me growing up.  Children need boundaries, advice, correction, instruction, and protection.  What my mom and dad taught me from God's Word truly protected me from so many devastating consequences, and set me up for success in life.  I pray I will intentionally and lovingly give my children that same instruction and protection.

If it is immoral, don't go near it.

Proverbs 7 is a warning to a son about the luring temptation of immoral women, and the ruin found in falling into their snare.  Verse 25 says, "Don't let your hearts stray toward her.  Don't wander down her wayward path."  That is excellent advice for us regarding anything immoral - don't wander down that path!  Don't even go near it.

Wisdom is far more valuable than money.

Proverbs 8:10-11 "Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold.  For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies.  Nothing you desire can compare with it."

In a world of many who falsely believe acquiring more wealth and possessions will solve their problems and satisfy their longings, we need to work on acquiring more wisdom. God's wisdom is of far more value than any possession!

Here it is again...wisdom brings JOY!  

Proverbs 8:32-35 "And so my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful.  Listen to my instruction and be wise.  Don't ignore it.  Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home!  For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord."

God's ways are good!  They bring such joy!

Don't be surprised if a foolish person rejects wise advice, and is even angered by it.

Proverbs 9:7-9 "Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return.  Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt.  So don't bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you.  But correct the wise, and they will love you.  Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser.  Teach the righteous, and they will learn more."

A teachable spirit is an interesting thing.  Someone who possesses it and listens to wise counsel will grow in wisdom, as this passage says.  But those who don't possess it - those who think they know everything, think they don't need to pay attention to God's Word, those who continuously make rash or immoral decisions - will not follow wise advice.  They will even get angry at the giver of wise advice. Have you ever gotten angry when someone gave you counsel from God's Word?  Or have you ever given wise counsel from God's Word, only to get insulted and lashed out at in return?

Important lesson for all of us - we need to keep a teachable spirit, one that is sensitive to the Lord and His Word!  God, I pray you will teach us all something new during this study of Proverbs!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Raise The Song Of Harvest Home!

One of the simple pleasures I take great joy in each year is decorating our home for fall and Christmas.  Fall has been my favorite season since I was a girl, and I have decorated our home for fall since the very first year we were married.  I remember going to Kmart and buying some pillar candles, then surrounding them with fresh cranberries on a tray given to us as a wedding gift.  I think I have a photo of that somewhere!  I had a short, Meg Ryan type haircut and we had not yet painted the walls of our little townhome.  Such sweet memories!

Each year we have been married I have bought or made a couple new things each fall season, and of course accept any hand-me-downs or treats from my mom!  She is probably where I got my love for seasonal decorating. I always remember how cozy our home felt when she changed it over for a new season, added her creative and often homemade touches.  I now see my children enjoying our home the way I did - they get so excited when I change things around, especially at fall and Christmas!  It is something our family really enjoys, something I can do for our family that takes some work (especially since I usually do a major clean out before I decorate), but is also great fun for me.  When it is done we all sit and just sort of take it all in.  All of a sudden things feel new, which is one reason I love the seasons.  They remind me of how God works in our lives.

One of my favorite song lyrics is by Nichole Nordeman, from her song  "Every Season."  She pens, "So it is with You, and how You make me new with every season's change.  And so it will be, as You are recreating me, summer, autumn, winter, spring."  Each new season reminds me how God makes us new.  And that makes my heart sing with gratitude!

Here are some glimpses of our harvest home!  My mom found the gorgeous fall sign at Homegoods for a steal and bought both of us one.  When she gave it to me a few weeks ago, it inspired me to do some deep cleaning, get down the fall decorations, and change things around to enjoy for the next few months.

I have a few Halloween decorations, just happy, cheerful items.  Once October is over I will take them down and leave up only the autumn and Thanksgiving decorations to enjoy through November.  I just love Thanksgiving!  It is one of my favorite weeks of the year!  I love the focus on family and gratitude.

These are the views from my green chair and they make me smile!  My mom bought that hutch about 40 years ago at a garage sale for $15.  It has been painted many colors (including baby blue stenciled with geese in the good old 80's), and we had been using it in Madi's room.  We moved it to this corner when I got the urge to rearrange, and it just makes me so happy! I had plans for Jimmy to paint it black and put on new moldings and hardware, but with our schedule that hasn't happened yet. But the white adds a certain freshness, and I think it will look nice at Christmastime with red accents!

Simple craft I made a few years ago - a black plastic pumpkin brushed in gold paint.

Put this special Willow Tree figure next to my chair.  My mom gave it to me back when I was expecting Madi...I always thought it was so beautiful.  Neat to bring it out again!

One of my favorite fall pieces, an old cross stitch my mom made several decades ago.

Absolutely delicious fragrance from Bath and Body Works if you are looking for a new autumn scent!

My own little corner, my own little chair.

My apples of gold to remind me to speak words of kindness.

Another easy craft, made with rub on letters and faux flowers.

I made this Boo garland from a kit purchased at Hobby Lobby.

This is truth.

I love lyrics, especially from old hymns.  The hymn "For The Beauty Of The Earth" is sung in Little Women, one of Madi and my very favorite movies!  We always watch it this time of year!

Ceramic hen was a $1 yard sale find last year.  I don't go to many yard sales but this was a great find!

Was able to take home these beautiful amber teacups from a Girls Retreat I helped plan and teach at last winter.

Another old lyric, from "Over The River And Through The Woods."

This orange chalkboard is new this year, a great and inexpensive find at Marshall's!

Adorable coffee sack was a birthday gift from our sweet friend Linda - yummy fall breakfast items found at Aldi!

I so enjoy this time of year - the tastes, the smells, the colors.  Even though fall is not the same down here, I still celebrate its beauty in our home and enjoy it with my family!

"I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. 
It would be terrible if we just skipped 
from September to November, 
wouldn’t it?”

L.M. Montgomery,
author of Anne of Green Gables