By His Grace

Finding Fulfillment this Holiday Season

After years of living in a testosterone-filled home and raising boys, it is a joy to spend time with my son’s girlfriend Jane, doing “girlie stuff.” My husband and my son both work at the same consulting firm. For the past two years, we have enjoyed getting dressed up and attending the annual corporate holiday party together.

Jane and I spent the day talking and laughing and prepping together for the party. We enjoyed a day of pampering. Our first stop was Blush and Brush where we enjoyed a blowout and style. Then we went to Saks Fifth Avenue, where Michelle at the Dolce and Gabanna counter made us look beautiful!


Jane and I talked a lot about family, the upcoming holidays, kids, and friends. My son Jacob and Jane are planning to be engaged soon, so we talked a lot about graduation, her career, and having children. Jacob and Jane were both homeschooled, and have very similar ideas about family. Our conversation turned to fulfillment, and thoughts that girls her age have today about being fulfilled.

Later that evening, we attended the Christmas party at the St. Regis Hotel in Houston. We had a wonderful time in visiting, eating, drinking, and dancing. A couple of hours into the party, Jane and I snuck off to the ladies room where we found a couple of comfy chairs in the dressing area. We kicked off our heels and began laughing and talking. Then, a beautiful young woman who was also at the party walked in. We made small talk for a few minutes when our conversation turned to Jane. We talked about her upcoming engagement, and this young woman proceeded to tell to Jane the importance of pursuing her career and being fulfilled before she had children.  There was that word again, FULFILLMENT. This young lady in bathroom thought the way to be fulfilled was through a career. This got me thinking. What is fulfillment, and how are we satisfied?

What is fulfillment?

According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, fulfillment is the achievement of something desired, promised, or predicted: winning the championship was the fulfillment of a childhood dream.• Satisfaction or happiness as a result of fully developing one’s abilities or character: she did not believe that marriage was the key to happiness and fulfillment.

I am concerned that young women today are being misled about how to achieve fulfillment. True fulfillment doesn’t come from things, people, or a career.

When I was young, I dreamed of becoming a wife and a mom. I had a career, but I couldn’t wait to quit as soon as I could to stay home with my children.  I made the decision to quit work and devote my life to raising and homeschooling my boys. I would not have wanted it any other way. I didn’t struggle with being fulfilled. Like the second definition in the Oxford American Dictionary says, my satisfaction and happiness were a result of fully developing my abilities as a wife and mom, and further developing my character. There is nothing like being a young mother to develop and try your character! From sleepless nights to diapers, and from vomit to screaming toddlers, Motherhood is not for the faint of heart!

How are we fulfilled?

First of all, fulfillment does not come from being married, having children, or having a career. True fulfillment comes from knowing Jesus Christ and living for him. But here is the rub: we will never be truly fulfilled here on earth, because this is not our home. We have a God-shaped hole in our heart that only He can fill.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11

He has placed eternity in our hearts, and He is making us beautiful in His time. As we get to know Jesus Christ and spend time with Him reading His word, and praying we are transformed. Regardless of your age, don’t look to the world or to the things of this world to make you happy or to fulfill you. Fulfillment does not come from things, a house, a job, a car; it doesn’t come from people, a boyfriend, husband or children. You won’t find fulfillment wrapped in a box under your Christmas tree. True fulfillment comes from knowing and walking with the Lord.

May you know His love and feel His Presence afresh this Christmas Season!


Holiday Candied Nuts


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! How are y’all doing? Are you ready for Christmas yet?

It is finally cold enough in Texas to actually feel like Christmas. This year I made these yummy nuts to share with family and friends, and they were such a hit! I want to share this super easy Crock Pot recipe with you.

Holiday Candied Nuts in Vintage Mason Jars with Christmas Tree Tags


Holiday Candied Nuts (Crock Pot Recipe)


3/4 cup Sugar

3/4 cup Brown Sugar

2  Tbsp. Cinnamon

1/2 tsp. clove

1/2 tsp. ginger

1 tsp. nutmeg (freshly ground)

1 Egg White

2 tsp. vanilla

1 1/4 cup pecans

1 1/4 cup almonds

1 1/4 cup walnuts

3 Tablespoons of water


1.  In a large  bowl, mix together sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon, clove, ginger, and nutmeg.  Set aside.

2.  In a separate, bowl whisk together egg white and vanilla until combined.

3. Combine together all ingredients except water, and place in a greased Crockpot on low setting. Stir every 15 minutes for an hour an a half.

4. Add water and continue on low for 20 more minutes.


Looking for last minute Christmas gifts?

Bibles make great gifts. You can still enter to win. I am giving away this beautiful Journal the Word Bible from Thomas Nelson, which sells for $49.99 and it can be yours!


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More Christmas Inspiration!

“Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most.” –Ruth Carter Stapleton

It is the beginning of December, and my house is all decorated for Christmas! I now have time to relax, and open my home to serve loved ones.  At a recent gathering in my home, I was encouraged to blog about how I put everything together. So today I would like to share some inspiration and helpful holiday decorating tips.

Each year I like to mix things up, and move things around. We have several Christmas trees because I like a little bit of Christmas in every room! In preparation for this year, I met a lady who told me her grandchildren wanted to know when she was going to put the forest up? Forest? This idea intrigued me, and I decided to do something that I have never done before: a Christmas tree forest!

img_0481I grouped a couple of  7 foot trees together, with a slim tree, and two 4 foot trees, and pushed them all together in the corner of my sun room. Voila! Christmas Forest!

The Christmas Forest made the perfect backdrop for my nieces pictured below.


Here are a few tips to make your holiday decorating a breeze!

The first thing I do when the boys bring down all of my Christmas stuff is to organize everything on tables covered with plastic cloths to try and contain the glitter madness. I group things together by color and type.


This allows me to see everything very easily.

Here I decide how I plan to use it and where it will go.


At the end of the season, I pack everything up by organizing like items and colors together. I carefully wrap all of my fragile ornaments and box them together.


Another example of how I organize my Christmas items is to put everything I use on my mantle that year in one box and label it mantle.

Since I like to mix things up. I like to take pictures of each room once it is decorated for Christmas. This is super helpful! It makes it easy for me to see what I have done in past years. I can see what I like and what I want to change for next year.

In my great room I use a combination of mixed metals.

After looking at pictures from last year, I decided to redo my coffee table in my Great room, and the mantle above my fireplace.


I found these beautiful florals and grouped them together on a tray.


In this photo, I used the ribbon on the left on the tree this year and coupled it with this new ribbon I purchased on the right. Last year I used the ribbon on the left in my garland on the stairs, but this year I left the garland with a more natural appearance.

The tree in my Great Room pictured below is similar to last year, with a few little tweaks.


When decorating a large tree, it is helpful to have large ornaments! And a lot of them!

Are you ready for the holiday season? What have you found to be helpful when you are holiday decorating? Do you have any organization ideas or decorating tips that you would like to share?  I would love to hear from you!

One final thought. It is my hope that you will be encouraged to invite others into your home and share the joy of this holiday season. Remember, when planning your holiday gatherings this year, hospitality is about creating a warm inviting space to provide respite from the world, and a safe haven for your family and friends. A place where you can reflect on the beauty of the season and celebrate the gift of Jesus Christ.

BEFORE YOU GO! There is still time to enter to win a Journal the Word Bible!

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Dreaming of the Holidays

Every year I look forward to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. This is simply my favorite time of the year, but this can also be the most stressful time of the year for me! Holidays can be so full of joy and excitement, and other times they can be hard. Unmet expectations, families problems, the loss of a job or missing a loved one can all cause stress and heartache.

A few years ago, I began dreaming and planning for Christmas in October. I set everything up so that it was ready before Thanksgiving. I am so thankful that I did. We enjoyed a beautiful Thanksgiving holiday, and the following Monday, my dear sweet Mother-in-Law unexpectedly went home to be with the Lord. I am so thankful that my house was ready for Christmas, because I can’t imagine being able to try to get everything together for Christmas in the stressful grief filled days that followed.

I know most people wait until the day after Thanksgiving to begin setting things up. I used to be one of those people, but I found that if I waited until after Thanksgiving, then I started my favorite time of the year stressed, exhausted, and to worn out to enjoy it!

I told y’all about my friend Debi Chapman, who wrote the e-book Holiday Happenings, I love how her books begins.  If you missed that post check it out here! Debi begins her book by saying,

“First, we dream.”

“List people whom you want to serve in your home this holiday season.”

I love that!
Who do you want to serve in your home this month?

When I began dreaming of the holidays, I knew I wanted to have a brunch with the ladies in my Bible Study group. So I began planning, and I love that way it turned out. With some planning and creativity you can set a lovely table.


 Here I use my china with these gorgeous red placemats, and poinsettia napkin holders. I found these holly glasses at the dollar store several years ago, and use them every year for all of my December gatherings. Setting a beautiful table doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Use what you have, and be on the look out for inexpensive or sale priced items to add to your collection each year.


To the right of the plate is a bookmark with a pen that I purchased for each of the ladies.


For the coffee station I found these fun stir sticks!

The best part of all of this is the connection made, and the fellowship we experienced.


Who are you planning to serve in your home this month?

Start dreaming now of how you can make this a special time. The Holiday season is a perfect time of year to hone your hospitality skills. Once our homes are decorated for Christmas, why not enjoy this excellent time to invite friends into our homes, and share the good news of the gospel.

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