Celebrating the holidays with friends and family is a great way to make memories and tie heartstrings with those we love. Last week I talked about our homes being a sanctuary, Our Home – A Sanctuary. This week, I am excited to share a few more photos of my 2016 fall decor in my home, along with a couple of photos from Christmas 2015 to inspire your upcoming holiday decorating!
Also, I want to tell you about a lovely book that will inspire you with your holiday planning. This wonderful little e-book was written by my friend Debi Chapman, and it will help prepare you for the holiday of your dreams! In the coming weeks, I plan to share other books I love on hospitality, and making Christmas meaningful.
I just love this new vignette on my entry table – a beautiful floral arrangement surrounded by mercury glass canisters and candles. At the front and center of this photo is a beautiful cross that I recently purchased.
The cross is such a beautiful reminder of Christ’s sacrifice for us on Calvary. God loves us so much that He sent His one and only son, Jesus Christ, to come to earth to live and to die, just to save us! If you are interested in learning more about God’s great love for us, I would love to share the good news of Jesus Christ with you!
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” -John 3:16 ESV
Pictured below is that same entry table in Christmas 2015. I love to incorporate my existing decor with seasonal items. Here I incorporated my mercury glass containers and paired them with a beautiful cherished nativity scene we received as a wedding gift from a family member, a nostalgic looking Santa Claus, and a beautiful sleigh filled with gold ornaments, flanked by lit aspen trees.
One of the reasons that I love Christmas so much is because it is a celebration of the birth of Christ!
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be on his shoulder, and his name shall be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6 ESV
We have so much to celebrate! During the Christmas season you will find nativity scenes scattered all throughout my home, because Jesus is the Reason for the Season!
Another area that is easy to change with the seasons is my fireplace mantel. It is the focal point of the great room in my home. My decorator friend, Sherry from Just Lovely Decor, always helps me to come up with beautiful vignettes and holiday decorations. I love the way these white pumpkins look with the heathered blue pumpkins and florals. If you live in the Houston area and would like help decorating this holiday season, Just Lovely offers full design and installation of decorations for your home. Just let me know, and I will put you in touch with my friend Sherry.
Pictured below is my mantel all decorated for Christmas 2015, along with a side view of my Christmas tree. Notice how I have used the same candle holders and mirror both in fall and at Christmas. Again using my existing decor and adding some seasonal items to spruce things up.
By taking advantage of sales each year, I add a few pieces to my Christmas collection every year. My collection began to grow when my mom started a very special Christmas tradition with my boys. From the time they were born, they would each receive an ornament from her as part of their Christmas present every year. I love this tradition, and plan to do the same thing for my grandchildren in the future. Another special tradition that began early in my marriage was Gigi would take us shopping after Thanksgiving dinner every year. These are special memories I hold in my heart.
What holiday traditions are you celebrating this year? Are you overwhelmed by the thought of preparing for the holidays, or are you just not sure where to start? I am excited to tell you about my friend Debi Chapman, and her new e-book Holiday Happening – 21 days to the holiday of your dreams.
In Holiday Happenings, Debi gives you practical ideas and tips to make the most of your holiday season. This book is filled with beautiful pictures that are sure to inspire, along with practical how-to advice to prepare your home for the holidays. I love the way that Debi incorporates healthy living and use of essential oils for your home during the holiday season. She encourages you to dream, and then provides practical hints and tips to pull it all together. I can’t wait to incorporate Debi’s wisdom in to my holiday planning this year!
In Holiday Happening you’ll find a simple path to 21 days of purposeful holiday preparation. Follow the plan day-by-day and I know you’ll begin to see your ideas take shape. Each day will take you one step closer to the holiday of your dreams.
The ebook comes with a Holiday Happening
Pinterest Board and a Facebook Page to gather and share ideas, progress reports. You can order a copy of this e-book at: www.holidayhappening.com
. Books are only $5 and are payable via Paypal.
I am convinced that our homes are the battlefields for society and it’s my privilege to encourage mothers to stay the course and embrace the daily – for the sake of Christ. – Debi Chapman
Debi’s mom-journey began over 30 years ago. Armed with a newfound devotion to Christ and a Child Development background, she married her college sweetheart. Together they began to dream of what a family could become. Presently, Tim and Debi have eleven children, nine grandchildren, and lives filled with frontline battle scars and victories beyond measure. Debi desires to leave footprints for those who follow and impart grace to mothers of all ages.
Debi’s blog Fresh Grace for Mothers is full of life-giving wisdom to moms, Refresh Gathering – women’s retreat, New Season Oils – home business, Fresh Grace – facebook page
I hope you found some inspiration to help you begin preparing for the upcoming holiday season and look forward to more helpful holiday inspiration in the coming weeks. I would love to hear about how you plan to celebrate your holidays this year!
A few weeks ago I suffered a concussion, and my world came to a screeching halt! The effects of the concussion required me to spend days laying still in the quiet and darkness of my bedroom. I suffered from a headache, dizziness, ringing in my ears, nausea, light and sound sensitivity. I hit my head getting on the car, on my right temple. The impact was so hard that a small piece of the squishy eye gel at the back of my left eye pulled away from the retina. I was a mess.
I was completely overwhelmed by light and sound. The only thing I could do was quietly lay still on my bed. As I lay there, Psalm 46:10 ran through my mind.
“Be still, and know that I am God.“
That verse is easy to quote, but so much harder to do, for someone like myself. Life is so busy, and we rarely have the opportunity to be still. It is during this difficult dark time in my life that the beautifully crafted book by Jennifer Rothschild, 66 Ways God Loves You, arrived in my mailbox.
God’s timing for this book in my life could not have been any more perfect! As I began recovering from my concussion, I started reading this beautiful love story from Jennifer’s perspective. It is the story of how God loves me and you, through each book of the bible. What God wanted me to know, was that I was not alone in this trial. In the midst of my suffering, God was there with me. He Loves me more than I can possibly imagine, and He loves you too!
The heart for this book came from when Jennifer Rothschild’s world fell apart when she was 15 years old, and became blind due to a retinal disease. The red leather bible given to her by her Grandma Sarah taught Jennifer that God loved her with an everlasting love, and that is what has sustained her through the difficulties of navigating in this world as a blind woman.
“From Genesis to Revelation, you’ll see how much you matter to God. As you read through the history and poetry in the Old Testament books, you’ll be reminded that God knows you and loves you no matter what. As you experience the Gospels and letters in the New Testament, you’ll feel how his love challenges and Changes you.” -Jennifer Rothschild
Jennifer Rothschild introduces each book of the Bible by showing the reader how God loves us through each book. This charming book is both visually pleasing, filled with timeless truths and is nourishing to the soul. Each Chapter introduces a book of the Bible with a lovely script surrounded by a beautiful floral design, such as:
In Leviticus… God Grants Me Access to Him
In Joshua… God Gives Me Divine Purpose
In Judges… God Shows Mercy in Spite of My repeated Failures
In 1 Samuel… God Anoints me with His Spirit
In John… God Gives Me Everlasting Love
In Ephesians… God Lavishes Me with Grace
Each Chapter contains a short, but powerful commentary on God’s love through each book of the Bible, making this a wonderful devotional. This charming hardcover book is filled with beautiful floral illustrations and would make a great stocking stuffer or Christmas gift, but also makes a great addition to your personal library.
I am so excited to share a copy of this lovely little book with one of my blog readers! To be eligible to win, leave a comment below with your favorite book of the Bible, or by sharing a way that God has shown his love to you recently.
In 66 Ways God Loves You: Experience God’s Love for You in Every Book of the Bible (Thomas Nelson, October, 2016) by Jennifer Rothschild, Jennifer explains how the Bible is a love letter to all of us!
As a grown blind woman, Jennifer says, “No matter how I experience the Bible, it always has the same effect on me. One profound, unavoidable, irreducible, soul-quaking effect—I feel the love of God.”
This is the message Jennifer shares with people all over the country. Jennifer has been featured on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Today’s Christian Woman, Billy Graham Evangelical Association’s yearly television special, Dr. Phil, Life Today, and the Women of Faith tour. Jennifer has also written several other books where she has shared her testimony and God’s love for us, His children.
Be sure to check out Jennifer’s website jenniferrothschild.com , there you will find more encouragement from Jennifer. If you sign up to receive her blog posts via e-mail, you will get a FREE copy of my 66 Ways God Loves You – 8.5 x 11 Frameable Art.
May God lavish you with His everlasting Love!! – Much Love, Misty
Our homes should be a place of refuge and protection from the world, a sanctuary. Home should be a place where we can relax, renew and recharge. “There is no place like home” is an expression for a reason. As women, we have an incredible opportunity to make our homes a refuge from the world for both our family and for our guests.
The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down. – Proverbs 14:1 ESV
A wise woman is careful to build her home. Making our homes a place of beauty that reflects our personal taste is one of the greatest joys as a homemaker.
What are some practical ways that a wise woman can build her home?
This is my favorite time of the year. I cherish the art of hospitality and making my home a sanctuary. Over the course of the next few months, I would like to invite you into my home via the blog and share the beauty of the season with you.
I love to create beautiful flower arrangements, and seasonal decor to spruce things up and to keep it fresh. Pictured below is a floral arrangement in my dining room.
Pictured above is a lovely little vignette for fall on my butler’s pantry.
[ctt template=”2″ link=”EaFXB” via=”yes” ]Creating a beautiful home that refreshes requires engaging all our senses.[/ctt]
We love playing musical instruments and listening to music. In fact, we have a dedicated music room in our home and have been known to pull out all our instruments when having friends over for dinner.
[ctt template=”2″ link=”J2MH0″ via=”yes” ]The type of music that you listen to within your home has a profound effect on the atmosphere of your home.[/ctt]
The kitchen is my happy place, and I love to create beautiful memories through food with family and friends. Making fresh home-cooked healthy meals is a joy for me, but even store-bought food can be presented beautifully with a little imagination and creativity. Pictured below is crusty sourdough bread with brie and an assortment of antipasto.
I love diffusing essential oils, lighting candles, or fresh baking goodies to create a beautiful aroma that is pleasing to our sense of smell. Even a basket filled with potpourri can invigorate our senses.
I would love to know what you are doing to make your home a beautiful refuge from the world!
Everyone suffers. Unfortunately, suffering is a part of this world. If you are not suffering now, you have either suffered in the past or will suffer in the future. Suffering is an unpleasant but necessary part of life. When you suffer, where do you turn? Your perspective is everything!
Jesus was a man acquainted with suffering. Over and over in the New Testament the Greek word for suffering, πάσχω (paschō), is used in reference to Jesus. Here are a few examples of the many references to Jesus and suffering in the New Testament.
suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised – Matthew 16:21
So also the Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands – Matthew 17:12
the Son of Man must suffer many things – Mark 8:31
how is it written of the Son of Man that he should suffer many things -Mark 9:12
The Son of Man must suffer many things – Luke 9:22
But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation -Luke 17:25
These are just a few verses in reference to suffering and Jesus. It is important to understand that Jesus suffered. This enabled Jesus to be a sympathetic High Priest. He understands the difficulty of living in a fallen and sinful world firsthand. Jesus came to earth was despised, rejected, and suffered crucifixion on our behalf.
What should our response to suffering be? We should boldly draw near to Jesus. He is our High Priest, who is acquainted with our suffering in order that we may receive mercy and grace.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. – Hebrews 4:15-16
When you suffer, you have a choice. You can choose to become bitter or angry or you can choose to cast your cast your cares on Jesus, and abide in His mercy, grace and unending love. Aren’t you glad to know that Jesus understands our suffering? He loves us, and cares for us. Will you trust him with your suffering today?
For more posts like this Choose Joy!
Recently, I was contacted by a friend about how to establish and nurture a healthy relationship with our boys. Over the years, she has watched the way we have raised our boys and has admired our ability to reach them.
I wish I could say, if you do X, Y, and Z, then your kids will turn out perfectly, but that is not the case. Each child comes with their own unique set of abilities, personalities, and temperaments. What works for one child may not work for another.
What I do know is that each child is a blessing from the Lord, and He knows our children even better than we do. Pray for your children. Pray for wisdom in reaching their heart, pray for how you may best nurture that child specifically. Pray for your relationship with him, and pray for his relationship with the Lord. One of the greatest joys that I have had as a parent is sharing the love of God with my children, and leading them to Christ.
I once met a woman who remarked how similar my son was to her son. I knew her son, not as a boy, but as a grown man. I have a tremendous amount of respect for this man, and so I asked her what I should do with my son, so he would turn out like her son. I will never forget the response of this wise woman. She said, “Wear your knees out in prayer!” What great advice! It is not only our privilege and a joy to pray for our children, but it is a necessity. We live in a fallen and sinful world, and the enemy wants to destroy our boys.
In John 10:10 we learn, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that [you] may have life and have it abundantly.” Praise Jesus! He came that we may have an abundant life!
Raising boys who become men who love the Lord doesn’t happen by accident. Having your son’s heart requires intentional parenting. Making wise choices about what our children are exposed to is also very important – cultivate a love of whatever is noble, true, and right. Expose them to good literature and stories about heroes of the faith. Be mindful of what they see on television, computer screens and video games. Emphasize purity of mind, and thought, and deeds.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. – Philippians 4:8 ESV
I think a popular children’s bible song says it best: O be careful little eyes what you see, be careful little ears what you hear, be careful little hands what you do, be careful little feet where you go and be careful little mouth what you say.
Parenting our boys sometimes requires us to make unpopular or counter-cultural choices that are in their best interest. This is why prayer is so necessary so that we can know what is best for our family, and for each individual child.
Communication is Key
Keeping lines of communication open is vitally important. Time spent around the family dining table talking about anything and everything is a great tool for discipleship. We talk to our kids about everything, and we have always encouraged them to communicate honestly with us. As our boys have grown, we have had many important conversations until late at night. I think a huge part of having your child’s heart comes from good communication. I want to make myself available to them, whenever they want to talk.
My friend indicated that she felt like she was missing the mark in reaching her 12-year-old son’s heart. Junior high can be a challenging age! Our once sweet little boys become full of testosterone and start to become men, and they begin to change. Our roles as mom change also, as they pull away from us. It is our job to continue to love, nurture, and pray for them as they become the men God has created them to be. When boys hit junior high age, it is important for the father to become more involved in leading and disciplining his son.
Hard Work and Purpose
Boys require hard physical work. It is good for boys to work hard physically, either in playing sports or manual labor of some kind. I always joke that boys are easy: just feed them well, put a ball or a shovel in their hands, and let them go. They need physical work, but they also crave purpose in their lives and should be challenged intellectually. This will look different for each of us, which is why we should pray for wisdom specifically for each child.
You may also like Wisdom for Parenting Teens and Young Adults
There are many good books on parenting. The most important book is The Bible – we must teach them to know and love the Lord and the Word of God. The Bible is our instruction book for life. In addition to the Bible, listed below are some of the books that I have found helpful in raising my boys.
Created for Work, Practical Insights for Young Men – Bob Schultz
Shepherding a Child’s Heart -Ted Tripp
The Power of a Praying Parent -Stormie Omartian
The Ministry of Motherhood and The Mission of Motherhood – Sally Clarkson
Keeping our Children’s Hearts – Steven and Teri Maxwell
Hints on Child Training – H. Clay Trumbull
Bringing Up Boys – Dr. James Dobson
Parenting Beyond the Rules – Connie Albers
Prayerfully this will encourage my friend, and anyone else struggling to reach the heart of their son. What are some other things that you have found are helpful in raising boys? I would love to hear from you.
I love my new teapot! It is a beautiful Mckenzie Childs teapot that I have had my eye on for quite some time.
I don’t just love it for its form or its function. What I love about it is what it represents. If I am using my teapot that means I am at home, safely nestled in my sanctuary away from the crazy world in which we live. It is hard to find a quiet spot anywhere in the world. Read about the World being loud here
A proper cup of tea takes time to make, which means that I am slowing down, which is good for my soul. It refreshes me and brings me joy. Today the boys and I are enjoying our wonderful little cups of tea, enjoying the aroma of a beautifully scented candle, while we work and listen to Mozart. I am busy working on my Bible study, while the boys sit near me working on their school.
I am savoring this moment because I know that it is fleeting….
Psalms 27:11 ESV says, “Teach me your way, O Lord”
It is in these quiet moments in my home teaching my boys, that the Lord is teaching me. Teaching me to slow down, and listen to His voice. Teaching me to love them well.
Tomorrow we will be back in the car fighting traffic to get to the other side of town, and we will rush from thing to thing to thing. But today, we sit here in tranquility and civility and sip our tea.
What recharges you? I would love to hear from you! What do you do to help renew your spirit?
When we were kids on the playground at school, we used to call each other names. Some were terms of endearment, others were not so nice. I can still hear echoes of voices from my childhood saying, “I am rubber and you are glue. What bounces off of me sticks on you.” As we have grown up, we internalize some of the names we have been called.
What names have been STUCK on you? What do you tell yourself about who you are? Which voices do you listen to?
Did you know that you have a very real enemy who likes to call us names and accuse us? In Revelation 12:10, John says:
“And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.'”
The enemy tells lies about us and he lies to us. He tells us that we are guilty, unforgiven, not enough. We can either listen to the voice of the accuser, or we can choose to believe we are who the Lord says we are.
In the book of Ephesians chapter 1, we learn about some of the spiritual blessings that we have in Jesus Christ. He has names for us also, and because we are in Christ we are:
Adopted by Christ
Accepted in the beloved
Given an Inheritance
Glorified in Christ
Faith in Christ
Wisdom in Him
Hope in Christ
Power in Christ
Ephesians 1 (ESV)
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Spiritual Blessings in Christ
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it to the praise of his glory.
Thanksgiving and Prayer
15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
Aren’t you so glad that we have the voice of truth? And if you are in Christ, then his character qualities are your real identity! Regardless of what names we are called by ourselves or by others, we need to be secure in the knowledge that we have inherent value and worth because we belong to Christ!
*** UPDATE 2017 ***
I posted this last year on Labor Day weekend. What a difference a year makes! In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, life, as we know it on the Texas Gulf Coast, is far from normal. Yet this post still resonates with me on this Labor Day Weekend, but for different reasons. I still need to show myself some grace, because as much as I would like for things to get back to normal, things are still a little topsy turvy right now, and I need more grace than ever.
I am my own worst critic and tend to be very hard on myself! What about you?
My type-A personality drives me to accomplish much, and I have a difficult time relaxing. I set up very high expectations for myself and then feel defeated if I don’t live up to my self-imposed “righteous” standards. I put unrealistic expectations on myself and my family. I think my house should always be spotless, and that my kids should always behave and do what I think they should do. I drive myself to perfection, especially when I undertake any outside projects or events. I work myself up into a frenzy and push myself to exhaustion.
I believe it is a biblical concept to strive for excellence in all we do, and I get this from 1 Corinthians 10:31:
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
[ctt template=”2″ link=”4cYBr” via=”yes” ]It is a good thing to want to do everything to the glory of God and to strive for excellence.[/ctt]
However, if I am so hard on myself that I feel guilt or shame because I haven’t lived up to my own expectations, then I am only hurting myself.
This week in Bible Study, we discussed our battle with sin and the power that we have as Christians to live a life pleasing to God based on Romans 8. The first thing we read is Romans 8:1.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
I don’t know why I expect perfection from myself—the only perfect person to ever walk this earth was Jesus. Not only that, but He came here to save me. He came to set me free from the bondage of sin and death, and He doesn’t want me to feel condemnation.
[ctt template=”2″ link=”p5WKw” via=”yes” ]I am beginning to learn to have grace with myself when things don’t go as I have planned.[/ctt] I am human, and I am going to make mistakes.
Romans 3:23, says “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Most likely, I will continue to disappoint myself and others along the way, but I don’t have to feel condemned. I must choose to believe that I am flawed, but forgiven.
[ctt template=”2″ link=”GSNW_” via=”yes” ]Does anyone else struggle to show themselves grace or am I alone in this battle? [/ctt]
Today, I choose to show myself grace. Instead of driving myself to perfection, I elected to enjoy this Labor Day weekend with my family, and try to catch up on some much-needed rest.
I hope you enjoy a wonderful Labor Day weekend and find rest in God this week!
The Lord is opening all kinds of doors for me with my writing to reach people for Jesus Christ, and I am excited to share everything that I am working on with you!
The biggest undertaking by far has been completing the Bible study the Lord has put on my heart. It is a study about what advice the Bible has for the overcomer in Christ Jesus. I now have a new appreciation for every single Bible study that I have ever done over the years. This project is truly a labor of love! I have about 6 or 7 weeks to finish the study, so that I can teach it to a small group women’s Bible study, “The Bible Babes.”
In addition to keeping up with my blog, I am also a monthly contributor for A Beautiful Life Ministry blogging. I also write devotions for the Biblical-Literacy Class prayer points devotions.
I recently started writing reviews for Faith Filled Family Magazine. This is a monthly digital Christian Magazine with a goal of helping families live victoriously in Christ and to impact marriages and families for the Kingdom. They have an international readership of around 150,000 readers a month.
Last week, I did my first movie review for The Atheist Delusion. I highly recommend this movie. The pre-release digital download is available now, and will be given away for free on You Tube on September 30, 2016. Ray Comfort bravely engages Atheists on the street in a kind and loving way that challenges their beliefs without being confrontational. He does this through sound, logical arguments and non-threatening questions.
I wanted my blog followers to know everything that I am doing, and I want to ask you all to please pray for these endeavors. It is my heart and my mission in life to see the world come to know Jesus Christ. Thank you for helping me to further the kingdom!