Friday, November 21, 2008

Budgeting For Thanksgiving

A Thanksgiving meal can put a strain on one’s weekly budget. I’ve been preparing for Thanksgiving by stocking up on sale items; however, many ingredients must be bought fresh. In order to not go over budget, I’ve decided that all our dinners leading up to Thanksgiving will be cooked with only the food that we already have on-hand. Our meals will utilize the frozen chicken in our freezer, frozen vegetables, and applesauce. So my grocery list this weekend will primarily consist of groceries for Thanksgiving. By cutting out some of the things I usually buy on a weekly basis, I can make room in our weekly budget for the special occasion food.

Here are some of the recipes I’ve had my eyes on: Roasted Turkey with Sage, Hard Cider Gravy, Thanksgiving Stuffing, and Favorite Apple Pie.

{Photo from Martha}

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Calendar of the Christian Pilgrim

{"Little Miss Sunshine" by Robert David Bretz, print available on Etsy }

Jessica Snell, a writer who I blogged about here, has a great post on Advent. I especially appreciate this sentence:

“When you see the year not just as winter, spring, summer, and fall, but as Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and Ordinary Time, then the changing seasons don't just remind you that the Earth is circling the Sun, but that God Himself came down onto that Earth in order to save us all.”

Christians are called to be pilgrims, seeking a better country. I love how the church year provides a framework in which to understand the idea of Christian pilgrimage. The world is not our home, and the liturgical calendar provides the Christian with a way to mark time. It reminds us of our heavenward journey, and it directs our gaze towards the place to which we are heading. More on Advent here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Spinach and Pears Dinner Salad

This dinner salad is currently one of our favorite meals. Not only is it attractive, but it’s also healthy, tasty, easy, and affordable! I use spinach leaves, broccoli, almond slices (or walnuts), diced pears, and chopped chicken. You can serve it with balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Yum!

Monday, November 17, 2008

And the Winner Is…

Congratulations to Briana, the soy candle giveaway winner! I am excited to send her a handmade soy candle. Briana, please email me at karen00elizabeth{at}gmail{dot}com, telling me your mailing address and your preferred candle scent. Here are your choices:

Celebrate” is a Christmas candle, bending the smells of crisp pines, cloves, and spices.
Contemplate” unites the scents of coconut milk, brown sugar, fig fruit, and vanilla.
Illuminate” smells like clean, floral soap, reminiscent of a cherry blossom tree.
Appreciate” combines the fragrances of cucumber, melon, and honeydew.
Rejuvenate” smells like my favorite spring flowers – hyacinth flowers.

Thanks to everyone who participated! You made my first giveaway very exciting!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Handmade Soy Candles as Christmas Gifts

In my effort to give handmade Christmas gifts this year, I have been collecting pretty jars and decorative glasses to use to make soy candles. Usually I make my candles in little tins and sell them on my Etsy site, but for these Christmas gifts, I wanted to do something slightly different. Some pictures of my new candles are forthcoming, but in the meantime…

I thought it would be fun to give a blog reader one of the candles I sell on Etsy. Consider it an early Christmas present. To be entered to win an 8 oz. handmade soy candle, please leave a comment on this post. The commenting will be open until Friday. I will randomly select a commenter over the weekend to whom I will mail a scented soy candle of their choice. Stay tuned to find out if you’re the winner!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Meatless Meal: Twice-Baked Tex-Mex Potato

I’ve heard some people recommend that the best way to lower your grocery bill is to eat at least one meatless meal a week. This is a great recipe from Whole Foods that I tried last night – it is healthy, frugal, and tasty!

{Photo from Whole Foods}

Monday, November 3, 2008

Advent: Coming Back Around to What Is True

Many Christian traditions celebrate Advent and Easter, yet they have abandoned the rest of the church calendar. I am learning how Advent and Easter fit into a bigger picture. Beginning with Advent, the liturgical calendar traces the events of Christ’s life and conforms our lives to his. In the rhythm of the church year, our lives become hid with Christ. We find our life in his life. His story becomes our story. Why participate in this ordering rhythm throughout the year? Here is Thomas Howard's explanation in The Liturgy Explained:

“The idea in all of this is the same as in all human celebrations and anniversaries: it is a good thing for us mortal creatures to be vividly reminded at regular intervals of something that is always true anyway (a marriage, a birth). It helps us. It freshens our imagination. Perhaps angels experience an eternal, perfectly clear, sameness of awareness. We cannot. We have to keep coming back around to what is true.”

As we approach Advent and come back around to the truth of Christ’s birth, we are called to prepare our hearts for the coming of God to us – not only in his Nativity, but also in his Second Coming.

[Quote from Howard, Thomas and Betsy Corwin. The Liturgy Explained. Wilton, Conn: Morehouse-Barlow, 1981 (37).]

Friday, October 24, 2008

Handmade Gifts

I hope to give more handmade gifts for Christmas this year. They are often more economical and more personal. This blog contains several great craft tutorials. My mom’s birthday is coming up, and last week I made two felted pomanders for her. Instead of using felted wool, I just used regular felt sold at craft stores. They turned out beautifully! The pearl pins transform the felt into something elegant.

[Picture form Belz White’s blog]

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Cheddar Corn Chowder

If you are looking for a good fall recipe, you must try Barefoot Contessa’s Cheddar Corn Chowder. It is so delicious! My mom often made this soup for my family growing up, and now my husband and I frequently enjoy it. I was surprised to find the recipe available online. The recipe makes an enormous amount of soup, so unless you have a big stock-pot, you might want to cut it in half. The soup can be frozen and saved for last-minute occasions. More on that idea here.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Planning a Party: Fall Brunch

I enjoy brainstorming about planning a tea party or a ladies luncheon, imagining how the food, décor, and ambiance would help create a lovely occasion. I understand that sometimes finances and schedules don’t permit parties like these very often, but they are still fun to imagine! “Planning a Party” is a new feature that will explore these ideas. Today we will imagine hosting a fall brunch.

For this fall brunch, I imagine a festive, warm, and inviting atmosphere. The décor utilizes colors commonly associated with fall, with an added punch of pink. The table is covered with vintage fabric found on Etsy, and it’s set with Mikasa Italian Countryside dishes. The centerpieces would be glittered pumpkins. The napkins are from Ikea. Martha’s paper lanterns are strung over the table. Norah Jones is playing softly in the background. There is lots of tasty food, but the guests say that their favorites are the mini ham and egg casseroles (because they are darling!) and the glazed orange scones (because they are delicious!).

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Cooking a Chicken in the Crock-Pot

After reading this post, a reader asked me to describe how I cook a whole chicken in my crock-pot. Here is my recipe:

Crock-Pot Whole Chicken
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp onion powder

Additional Items
½ cup water
Tinfoil (optional)
  1. Sprinkle the spices on the chicken. [I am quite liberal with them, and I probably use more of each ingredient than this recipe officially calls for. I peel back some of the skin so that the spices get underneath it, then I fold the skin back into place.]
  2. Pour ½ cup water into the bottom of the crock-pot.
  3. Place the chicken in the crock-pot, making sure it is slightly elevated. [The chicken needs to be elevated on something inside the crock-pot, or else it becomes too greasy. I have a small, metal cooking rack that fits inside my crock-pot. So I place the rack on the bottom of the crock-pot and place the chicken on top of it. An alternate option is to create three balls (2-3 inches in diameter) from tinfoil. You can put these balls on the bottom of the crock-pot and place the chicken upon them.]
  4. Cook the chicken on low for 8-9 hours, depending on the size of the chicken.
  5. Serve the chicken as is, or make a gravy from the juices in the crock-pot.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Tasty Recipe

These glazed orange scones are delicious! I found the recipe here.

[Photo from]

Monday, September 22, 2008

From Outdated to Updated

I love the “before and after” pictures of this bathroom. They almost make me wish we had an outdated, pink bathroom just so I could make similar updates!

[Pictures from Real Simple]

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hospitality at Its Best

“When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:12-14).

I'm challenged Miroslav Volf's explanation of Luke 14 from his book Practicing Theology: “From this we may conclude that hospitality at its best should not be part of the economy of exchange among equals or with superiors, but instead be part of an economy of donation to the destitute and weak. So to evaluate whether we were good hosts, we might ask ourselves whether we expected to get as much (or more) out of the invitation as we put in. If we did, we have missed the mark.”

So the best form of hospitality is when we welcome someone into our home who cannot return the favor.

[Quote from Miroslav Volf, “Theology for a Way of Life,” Practicing Theology: Beliefs and Practices in Christian Life (Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans, 2002), 251.]
[Photo from Martha]

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Making the Most of Leftovers

After being thoroughly inspired by this post at Modobject at Home, I decided to try cooking a whole chicken last week. It must have been providential, because whole chickens were on sale for $.79 a pound that weekend! I cooked my chicken in a crock-pot, and it worked wonderfully. We had delicious, tender chicken that night for dinner, and we had plenty of pulled leftover meat for a big batch of white chili soup.

Now I am keeping my eyes open for recipes that can utilize pulled leftover chicken. Casseroles are so unhealthy, so I want some less fattening options. I was excited when the July issue of Real Simple arrived. It contained a delicious looking recipe for chicken enchiladas, and it called for rotisserie chicken. Instead of purchasing a rotisserie chicken, what could be more frugal than using my chicken leftovers? I tweaked the recipe a bit, so here is my variation of it. We enjoyed these enchiladas for dinner last night, and they were really tasty!

Healthy Chicken Enchiladas with Cilantro Flavored Dip
(Adapted from “Chicken Enchiladas” in Real Simple, July 2008)

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 small zucchini, diced
1 small onion, chopped
¾ cup frozen corn
1 ½ cups shredded chicken from a whole or rotisserie chicken
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 ½ cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
10-12 tortillas
¾ cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 small tomato
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp lemon juice
½ cup low-fat sour cream
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and onion, stirring until the onion begins to soften, about 4-5 minutes. Add the chicken, corn, and ¼ cup of cilantro leaves. Cook for 2 more minutes. Add salt and pepper. Turn off heat.
  3. Divide the chicken mixture among the tortillas, sprinkle some cheese inside the tortillas, roll them up, and place them seam-side down on a greased baking sheet. Bake until heated through, about 6-8 minutes.
  4. In a food processor, pulse the remaining ½ cup cilantro with tomato, lime juice, and lemon juice until finely chopped. Add this mixture to the sour cream and mix thoroughly. Serve this dip cold with the enchiladas.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sewing Projects – Making a Gift for Yourself or a Friend

I’ve seen tutorials for several cute sewing projects recently on the web. These three are my favorites. I would love to have these items for myself, and they would be perfect gifts—thoughtful, pretty, and frugal. I can’t decide which one to try out first!

Elle Tie-On Slippers by Tissuepapers
Linen Pear Sachet by Dacia Ray
Japanese Knot Bag by Show Your Workings

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What Price Are We Paying?

Photo from

The Atlantic recently published an article entitled, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” The article discusses how the internet has diminished our attention span and our ability to concentrate. It is worth reading.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

On Eating Responsibly

Wendell Berry’s collection of essays published in What Are People For? includes a particularly interesting essay entitled “The Pleasures of Eating.”

In this essay, Berry asserts that our culture has turned the act of eating into an utterly passive act so that the eater becomes merely a passive consumer. This problem results from how little most eaters know about the agricultural process of producing food. He writes, “When food, in the minds of eaters, is no longer associated with farming and with the land, then the eaters are suffering a kind of cultural amnesia that is misleading and dangerous” (What Are People For?, page 146). He warns that there is a danger in not knowing about the food process, whereby we support an industry that only concerns intself with volume and price.

Photos by my husband.
Berry gives seven tips on how to eat responsibly:
  1. Participate in food production to the extent you can. He suggests having a little garden and making your compost to fertilize it.
  2. Prepare your own food. This gives you measure of “quality control” because you know what has been added to the food you eat.
  3. Learn the origins of the food you buy, and buy the food that is produced closest to your home.
  4. Whenever possible, deal directly with a local farmer, gardener, or orchardist.
  5. Learn as much as you can about the economy and technology of industrial food production. Berry says this is a matter of self-defense.
  6. Learn what is involved in the best farming and gardening.
  7. Learn of the life histories of the food species.

Monday, June 9, 2008


We have pretty limes growing from our lime tree. Now I just have to decide how to use them, although I already know that I’ll make raspberry-lime freezes. They are so tasty!

Photo from Martha

Friday, May 30, 2008

Low-Cost Tips on Organization

I am one of those people who love to find new ways to make my home more organized. The June issue of Real Simple featured a great article called, “99 Low-Cost Organizing Ideas.” The article contained some great tips, and you can view them here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Theology of Beauty, Part II

We spent most of the Memorial Day weekend working outside. In many ways, we’ve done a good job improving our rental property. We have planted five trees, several shrubs, and some flowers. We also started a vegetable garden. However, we have not done a good job taking care of our grass. In fact, it looks really horrible. And the southern heat is really hot. I was convicted by this passage from The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer:

“A Christian individual or organization should not move into a property and turn it into shambles. The opposite should be true. It should grow and blossom into a place of beauty, demonstrating something of the wonder of the One who made plant life to produce seeds in the first place. Christians should have more beautiful gardens, should be more careful to build without cutting down the lovely trees, should be more sensitive about keeping the brook unspoiled as it bubbles through their lands…it seems to be that the beauty which causes strangers to stop and enjoy a garden provides a background and already ‘says something’ which gives an emphasis to what is important to say” (page 88).

So this weekend we decided we better start watering our grass.

Click here to read Part I.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Liturgy: Our Teacher and Helper

I am new to the liturgy thing, but I am drawn to it. There has been a buzz lately about the increasing number of people who find liturgy appealing. A variety of magazines have reported on the rise of liturgy, ranging from Christianity Today to US News and World Report. I am not sure whether or not their claim is true, but nonetheless, I find myself wondering, what are the benefits of liturgy? Two things come to mind:

First, the liturgy is our teacher. It teaches how we ought to respond to the Lord in worship. More specifically, it teaches us what we ought to say. When a Scripture passage is read, the congregation says, “Thanks be to God!” Thus, the liturgy teaches us how we ought to respond to the Word of God; namely, that our response ought to be thanksgiving. Perhaps the passage being read was a harsh passage about God’s wrath. We might want to respond by saying, “That is too harsh” or “This isn’t for me.” Instead, the liturgy teaches us to say, “Thanks be to God!”

Similarly, the liturgy is our helper. Sometimes our impromptu words don’t do justice to what we want to say. Sometimes there is more to pray than what we can think of on the spot. That is when the liturgy comes to our aid. It helps us by giving us words when we would otherwise be at a loss for words.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Theology of Beauty

Christian homes should be dramatic expressions of the gospel message, and they should teach people about God. My favorite book on the subject of reflecting the Lord’s character within our homes is The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer, the wife of Francis Schaeffer. This book is no longer in print, but you can find it used, and I highly recommend it. Edith writes:

"A Christian, above all people, should live artistically, aesthetically, and creatively. We are supposed to be representing the Creator who is there, and who we acknowledge to be there. It is true that all men are created in the image of God, but Christians are supposed to be conscious of that fact, and being conscious of it should recognize the importance of living artistically, aesthetically, and creatively, as creative creatures of the Creator. If we have been created in the image of an Artist, then we should look for expressions of artistry, and be sensitive to beauty, responsive to what has been created for our appreciation" (The Hidden Art of Homemaking, page 32).

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Food for Thought from Lauren Winner

I heard Lauren Winner say, “The world should recognize that we are Christians because we and our children are not over-scheduled.”

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Eugene Peterson and Quiet Living

I enjoyed an article about Eugene Peterson entitled, “A Patient Peterson” by Susan Olasky (World, vol. 23, no. 9, 2008). (It is available online here, but you have to register to see the entire text.)

Peterson and his wife Jan seek to live patiently, quietly, and deliberately. “We like quite, we like rhythm,” the article quotes Peterson. He says that the rituals of daily life “give a quality of sacredness to it.”

The article describes Peterson’s daily routine. His weekdays begin around 5:00 in the morning when he makes coffee for himself and his wife. They spend the next hour and half by themselves, privately reading Scripture and praying. At 7:30, Peterson takes a morning walk, and then he joins his wife for breakfast. He spends the mornings writing, and they always spend afternoons outside—they snow ski, kayak, or canoe. In the evening, they prepare dinner together and read to each other.

Although most people who work or have children cannot entirely emulate the patterns of the Petersons’ lifestyle, the point of the article is clear. One does not need to be retired to combat the busyness of American life. We all can do things to resist the allure of our high-speed culture. Perhaps by turning off the T.V., checking our email less often, or going for a walk, we will begin to experience the peaceful rhythms of life that our hectic schedules tend to suppress.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Healthy Substitutions

After visiting this website, I collected some useful tips on how make what you eat a little more nutritious…

  • Use fat-free or low-fat yogurt instead of sour cream in recipes and as a topping.
  • Try salsa or fruit chutney on meat, fish, or poultry instead of sauces and gravies.
  • Substitute air popped popcorn for another snack.
  • Use fat-free or low-fat milk instead of water in your oatmeal and hot cereals.
  • Top a baked potato with fat-free or low-fat yogurt. For dessert, make pudding with fat-free or low-fat milk.
  • Use vinegar and oil or a light vinaigrette on salads instead of thick, creamy salad dressing.
  • Use vegetable oils for cooking instead of solid fats like stick margarine, lard, or butter.
  • Try chopped fruit or pureed berries on pancakes and waffles instead of butter and syrup.
  • Use sliced bananas, berries, raisins, or diced fruits to sweeten breakfast cereals or yogurt.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bad Plastics

Responding to the increasing concern over polycarbonate, my husband and I nostalgically said “good-bye” to our old Nalgene bottles. We ordered new, safe water bottles yesterday. Some helpful information on the subject is available here and here.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Retractable, Indoor Clothesline

When I saw this post on the Apartment Therapy blog, I immediately became interested in finding a retractable, indoor clothesline. The apparatus has a strong nylon cord with a button that pulls out of the housing unit and can be pulled across and attached to a plate on the opposite side. The cord tension is strong enough to hang heavy, wet clothes. It is perfect to use in a shower.

Apartment Therapy provided a list of some nice options, priced around twenty or thirty dollars. However, I was very excited when I stumbled upon one at my local grocery store the other day that cost only five dollars! I happily bought it, and I am very excited to begin using my indoor clothesline. This will be a great way to save on our electric bill, and if the five dollar version doesn’t work well enough, I can always upgrade.

Images from Apartment Therapy

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Piggy Banks and God’s Abundance

When flipping though a magazine yesterday, I came across a good article by Susan Taylor entitled, “Piggy Banks and God’s Abundance.” She discusses helping your children to have a good and biblical understanding of money. She writes,

“We have learned to be honest with our children about money. When I’m saying no to a request to purchase something or go somewhere, I almost never say, ‘We can’t afford that,’ because that is rarely true. We can afford most anything we want or have to do. But that’s not the main criterion for making and modeling financial decisions. I don’t want them to think we’re poor. I want them to understand that as children of God, we’re inexpressibly rich…So instead I say, “We’re choosing not to spend our money that way” (Sojourners, May 2008, page 40).

What an important distinction to make, especially for children. In addition to teaching them about our richness in Christ, it teaches them that we don’t make financial decisions merely upon how much money we have in our pockets. Moreover, it teaches them that although we might be able to afford something, it might not be wise to buy it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Gum, Geckos, and God

Gum, Geckos, and God: A Family’s Adventure in Space, Time, and Faith. If the title itself doesn’t make you want to read James Spiegel’s book, the first chapter certainly will. Here is an excerpt from the publisher’s description of the book:

“James Spiegel never realized what challenges and adventures he would face in talking about God with his own children. In a book that is witty, warm, and profound, he explains complex issues of the Christian faith in terms that his children can understand and accept…As you read, you’ll step into a new depth of Christian doctrine as you come to know and enjoy the Spiegel family and follow their journey of spiritual growth. Here is a uniquely incisive look into the most complex issues of faith in a way that’s absorbing, engaging, and highly personal.”

My husband and I devoured this book in only four days! It was a wonderful read—funny, thought-provoking, and challenging, and we strongly recommend it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

An In Utero Tale

Recently I attended a baby shower honoring a friend who is pregnant with her second girl. She received lots of darling gifts, but one gift in particular was especially cute. It was a book entitled, Ma! There’s Nothing to Do Here! by Barbara Park. The book is written from the perspective of an unborn baby who laments over the lack of activities in the womb. The illustrations by Viviana Garofoli are wonderful. It was a perfect gift for my friend because she can read it to her little daughter. What a helpful and humorous way to prepare a child for the arrival of their new baby brother or sister!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Hosting Overnight Houseguests

The May issue of Martha Stewart Living contains a good idea for graciously arranging a bedroom for your overnight guest. Martha says, “Choose a vessel, such as a vase or a large julep cup, that is deep enough to accommodate a small bottle and ice. Place a saucer underneath to collect the condensation and protect the surface of the table” (May 2008).

Image via Martha

After poking around Martha’s website some more, I also stumbled upon another idea. She recommends that you keep a set of guest towels in a closet at all times, bound with twill tape or ribbon. Then when visitors arrive, it is easy to transfer the stack of towels from the linen closet to the guest bedroom.

Image via Martha

Similarly, a little while ago Apartment Therapy highlighted some additional ideas for hosting houseguests found in House Beautiful. Here are some of my favorite tips:

  • Keep a current magazines on-hand in one drawer of the nightstand, but be sure to keep another drawer empty for your guest’s own belongings.
  • Provide guests with an alarm clock.
  • Make guests feel at home, but don't clutter up surfaces. Every item you leave out on the table should be useful.
  • Flowers are a lovely addition to the nightstand, but just a few stems are enough
  • Provide a lamp.
  • A cozy finishing touch: a small plate of cookies for a midnight snack.

Spontaneous Hospitality

I really enjoyed this blog post by Lydia Brownback on hospitality. The post offers a lot of useful tips for practicing hospitality. Also, it makes a helpful distinction between calculated hospitality and spontaneous hospitality. Lydia describes a woman she knows who always has a pan of lasagna in the freezer so she can be spontaneously hospitable at any given time.

I like that idea. When I saw this month’s issue of Real Simple, I thought the Rosemary Chicken with Zucchini was a good recipe for this purpose. The meal can be made and frozen for up to three months, and doesn’t take too long to cook. This would be a perfect dish to keep sitting in the freezer for an unplanned moment that calls for hospitality. Oh, the clever art of planning ahead for unplanned occasions!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Families Worshiping Together

I recently read a good article in Touchstone Magazine by Christopher Hall called, “Baby Pew Sitters: The Disservice of Children’s Church.” He makes a strong case against the notion of children’s church. He writes,

“…Members of the Body of Christ are uniquely gathered at Sunday worship, and children’s church and nurseries remove the children from the Body at the precise place and time the Body gathers as the Body. Do we want children’s church to rupture that union at the one place during the week, or even in this world, where the Body is brought together?”

The article reminds me of Noel Piper’s book, Treasuring God in Our Traditions. In the appendix, which she co-writes with her husband, she argues that one of the most important aspects of teaching children to worship God is for children to see their parents worshiping God. She even offers practical advice on how to help your kids to be a part of the worship service. A free PDF of the entire book is actually available here, although I always prefer things as hard copies!

Pretty Aprons

I’ve been eyeing aprons lately. I don’t own one, and some of the darling choices offered by Etsy sellers are hard to resist! Here are some of the ones I like:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Learning Patience

I get really discouraged when I go to the grocery store and see already-grown spices and vegetables that are ready to be purchased and planted by an aspiring gardener like me. They are very tempting.

As for my vegetables and spices, they seem like they have a really long way to go...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Life's Rhythms

Touchstone Magazine recently featured a lovely little article by Jessica Snell entitled, “The Feast Goes On." While searching for the online version of this article, I stumbled upon Jessica's blog. I haven’t had the time to peruse the archives yet, but I certainly appreciate her blog’s title: “Homemaking through the Church Year.”

Jessica’s Touchstone article has a similar theme to that of her blog. In the article she writes:
"The changing of the seasons gives a rhythm and meaning to even the prosaic task of getting dinner on the table every night. Snap peas in the garden in spring become a reminder that Christ is risen, and risen indeed. And as my children are present with me while I do all of this kitchen and garden work, I can tell them why we are cooking what we are cooking that day, and so preparing meals becomes a chance to talk with them about Jesus" (Touchstone Magazine, May 2008, page 12).

The rhythms of everyday life remind us of the great rhythm in which we participate, and its Orchestrator, the Lord.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Vision and Foresight

This plaque is displayed next to The Senator, the tallest Cypress tree in the United States. My husband and I loved our visit to The Senator. The tree is beautiful—it is 118 feet tall and 35.4 feet in circumference. The words on this plaque read, “The National Arborist Association recognizes this tree and commends those who had the vision and the foresight to preserve it.”

I find these words moving because a preserving vision and foresight is something that our culture lacks. This applies to preserving something in nature, but even more tragically, it applies to preserving less tangible things. A family heritage. A good reputation. A marriage. All of these are things that must be preserved, and preservation always requires vision and foresight. It means living less for the thrill of the moment and more with a long-term end in sight. It requires both good reason and a good imagination in order to draw conclusions about how the things we do now will affect the outcome later.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The First Post

To write the first post on a blog feels a lot like writing on the first page of a new journal. Stressful. Nerve-racking. Yes, I am starting a blog. I am glad that the first post is now behind me.


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