Dayspring Friends and Family Sale

Dayspring is having their Friends and Family sale right now with almost everything 25% off.

I'm particularly loving these Philippians 4:8 mugs since that's my life verse, for which this blog is titled.



And these tea towels are awfully cute.


American readers get free shipping over $50, but Canadians pay shipping (and taxes and duties, which  - word to the wise - are calculated on delivery so you have to factor that in...)

If you are interested, here is the link. (I don't get paid to post this, but the link is an affiliate link. If you click and buy anything, I get compensated. So thank you in advance!)


XO

Lightening

The world has felt very heavy lately.

So, I've been trying to take a page from Solomon in Ecclesiastes 8:14-15

There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: the righteous who get what the wicked deserve, and the wicked who get what the righteous deserve. This too, I say, is meaningless. So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.

In other words: this world is messed up. And while I do believe it is our duty to try to fix it whenever we can, we are also allowed to enjoy life. In fact, scripture commands us to be joyful time and time again, whatever our circumstances.

I've been going through a rough patch lately. Just the usual life is hard stuff: nothing earth shattering. So I've been making sure to put lots of coffee dates and fun things on my calendar.

The other day, a girlfriend and I went to lunch and then to Anthropologie for a little retail therapy.

This plate reminded me of Bringing Up Baby and for $16 CAD had to accompany me home.



Who says cheetahs never prosper?

And then there is this guy.


When he is not destroying our house, Teddy is really quite dear. 

I find that in the tough times, I cling to beauty extra hard. I think that one of the reasons the Proverbs 31 woman was so effective and good, was that she knew to appreciate the good things in life too. We are told that "she makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple." Back in the day, this stuff was fancy. I think that she'd totally be into coffee dates and moderate retail therapy. 

I hope that life finds you well and that the news is not grinding you down. I'm reading a bunch of encouraging books and will share them here shortly. 

XO


Dear Harvey



Thank you.

Thank you for being so incredibly terrible.

I mean it.

If you had not harassed and assaulted so many women, we might have believed you.

If they had not been such A-listers with a public platform, we might have believed you. I mean, people pay attention when Gwyneth Paltrow says anything, and you don't get much more articulate than Sarah Polley, so thank you for your lack of discretion in who you targeted with your behaviour

If you'd only stuck to harassing women with complicated pasts, we might have believed you. You certainly did give it the college try when you tried to cast doubt on Ashley Judd's initial statement by bringing up her experience with sexual abuse and depression about which she's been courageously open. Usually that "woman be crazy and can't be trusted" thing flies so well. So thank you for messing that up too.

If your behaviour had not been so blatantly egregious, over so many decades, we might have believed you. It was particularly helpful that you also had a reputation as a tyrant - with men. So thanks for being so awful to so many.

Thank you for being such a triggering force this week that you inspired the whole #metoo hashtag.

Thank you for inspiring other powerful women with platforms to share their own stories of other predators like you. Suddenly a whole lot of us who have been walking around with dark secrets feel so much less alone.

And thank you for trying to play the good guy. That fascinating apology invoking Jay-Z lyrics, and your Bar Mitzvah, and your mom, was enlightening on so many levels as it opened a window into how guys like you operate. When you said "I so respect all women" and then promised to focus on the NRA and funding women directors, you almost had us believe that you were this liberal good guy who just wanted to make your mom proud. I happen to know a lot of wolves in sheep's clothing who tell us they are good sons and good citizens and feminists. Thank you for pointing out that sometimes behind all of the female-friendly, do-gooder rhetoric lies the heart of a snake.

I've been having trouble processing things since this story broke. And it drove me into connecting with my girlfriends and reading. I finished Holley Gerth's gorgeous book, Fiercehearted, and in it there is this passage:

We will all have days when we're white-hot mad we have to go another round. We will all have moments when we want to run right on home. We will all have seasons when it seems easier just to take it. But that isn't our destiny. We are tree-swingers and babyrockers and mountain-movers. We are girls. We are women. We are daughters of Eve in a fallen world. This means we will never stop being under attack. But it also means we will never - Dear Jesus, may we never - stop fighting back.

Thank you, Harvey, for shaking off the complacency, divisiveness, and fear among the sisterhood. Thank you for showing us how pervasive the problem is. Thank you for being so disgusting in your actions that it is causing our men - our brothers - to review their own participation in this process and for them too to declare, no more.

And thank you for causing the other monsters out there, who have hidden for far too long, to lose a little sleep.  Woody Allen says he fears a witch-hunt and he should.

The shoe is about to drop and it's a stiletto.


World Food Day



Today is World Food Day. On Friday, I had the pleasure of hanging out with Leanne Prescott, a New Brunswick artist who - with her husband, food blogger and chef, Dennis the Prescott - is working with World Vision to make a hunger free world. It was so encouraging to hear about improvements in farming that are making this possible in the most vulnerable areas in the world. I encourage you to watch today's See Hear Love episode and consider making a donation.

XO

Wedding Rings and Broken Things

Happy Saturday!

I'm up early and working, which is a good thing. Busy is good.

I was in the studio yesterday. That's always a fun day, even if I am off camera. I love interesting people and See Hear Love brings in some good ones. There are a couple of amazing shows coming up. The one on forgiveness made me cry. Ugly cry. There is no kind of mascara out there that would have held up to that.

After the show, I bumped into Stephanie from Hallmark's Good Witch, aka Kylee Evans.

/via/


We LOVE that show as a family. So I was thrilled to meet her.

She's gracious and sweet and even prettier in person (I met a ton of actresses in my old career and they are all prettier in person. And skinnier. If not for the fact that most of them are also very nice, it would be rather disheartening!)

See! She's all skinny and gorgeous and I look like Columbo. 


She's co-hosting Just Like Mom and Dad, the remake of the1980s Canadian game show Just Like Mom. Remember that? Now it includes dads too.

This weekend, we are going to look at some country places to scratch the itch for the Town and Country two house plan when all of the kids are done school. I've been Pinteresting like a mad woman.

I've also put my wedding photos in an album. Look! I can too cute wedding IG too in spite of the fact I look like Columbo sometimes!



I have to concentrate a lot harder while driving post messed up surgery and I always have worship music playing in my car these days instead of podcasts. I have Matthew West's Broken Things on a loop.





I absolutely love the lyrics:

If grace was a kingdom
I stopped at the gate
Thinking I don't deserve to pass through after all the mistakes that I've made

Oh but I heard a whisper
As Heaven bent down
Said, "Child, don't you know that the first will be last and the last get a crown"

Now I'm just a beggar in the presence of a King
I wish I could bring so much more
But if it's true You use broken things
Then here I am Lord, I'm all Yours

The pages of history they tell me it's true
That it's never the perfect; it's always the ones with the scars that You use

It's the rebels and the prodigals; it's the humble and the weak
All the misfit heroes You chose
Tell me there's hope for sinners like me

Now I'm just a beggar in the presence of a King
I wish I could bring so much more
But if it's true You use broken things
Then here I am Lord, I'm all Yours

Grace is a kingdom
With gates open wide
There's a seat at the table just waiting for you
So, come on inside

There is a seat at the table. For you, for me, for everyone. 

Have a great weekend.

XO






Dynasty!

The Dynasty remake is on Netflix.

/via/


The remake is by the makers of Gossip Girl so you know it's going to be stylish.

Oh happy day.

I love terrible TV and this does not disappoint.

The weddings. The cat fights. The staircase.

Death by Wind Turbine!

It's all back.

The people are all back too.

Blake, Fallon, Cristal (the spelling is new), Sammy Jo, Steven.

Kind of loving Fallon right now.

/via/


And there are rumours - sweet rumours - that Alexis will be back. But who will play her? So many great choices. Hurley, Zeta Jones, Beckinsale. Georgina Chapman would be an inspired choice. She could give someone a dressing down for daring to wear Donna Karan to a function. And we would cheer.

There are so few things I can watch on TV or at the movies anymore. Most things are just too dark or too violent. (I found Zootopia triggering.) I'm glad there is something that is silly, frothy, soapy fun, so I can have as my guilty pleasure while I wait for Greenleaf Season 2 to hit Netflix.

What are you watching this fall?




Thanksgiven

Happy Wednesday!

I hope you had a nice weekend. It was nice having the extra time.

We Thanksgave.











The girlie and I hit the outlet mall since that seems like a Stepford thing to do. I'm not really bricks and mortar shopper anymore but it was nice to get some bargains. I got a red coach bag for $66 and a Tory Burch necklace for $35. Bobbi Brown lipstick and Mac brushes were on sale too. How could I resist?



Have you been watching Jully Black on See Hear Love? I adore this woman.



Pink! is touring, finally. Her Truth About Love Concert remains one of my favourite ever and I've seen just about everyone live. Music restores my soul. I can't wait!

So, life finally caught up to Harvey Weinstein. Just when I think there is no justice in this world, there are little bits of it. I used to finance some film companies a hundred years ago and was invited to fancy A-list parties where, in spite of a magna cum laude MBA, I'd still be mistaken as somebody's paid escort.

For all of the women and men out there still seeking justice (and I consider myself among one of them - although my story involves the church and the legal profession rather than the entertainment industry) I always take comfort in a sign I have over my desk: you're an overcomer.


You will overcome this because Christ overcame the world. That's a promise.

The plaque is still on sale at Dayspring for $8 (US) if you are craving one for yourself. I need a daily reminder of this sort of thing.




I've been reading The Lifegiving Table: Nurturing Faith through Feasting, One Meal at a Time, by Sally Clarkson, since Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy.

I was excited to read this book. I am a big believer in family meals and in spite of business travel and music and sports and a blended family, we sit down for some sort of family dinner almost every night. I was looking for some new recipes and encouragement to keep on keeping on, even when it's hard.

This book was not at all what I expected.

At first, I did not like it. And I know I'm in the minority on this one. The reviews were very good and Ann Voskamp loves her.

I'd expected a cookbook, but instead it's a family memoir about how food had helped the Clarkson family - and you will come to know that name well - solidify their faith. They seem like a lovely family: truly they do. They are loving and giving and all of the good things we associate with good people. But the book reminded me of the beginning of We Were the Mulvaneys before Joyce Carol Oates took everyone down a dark path. There is a fine line between being grateful for a blessed life, and coming across as smug. I have to admit, I felt very excluded from this particular table in the beginning as my life looks nothing like hers.

But I kept with it and I'm glad that I did.

As the book progresses, the author gets more honest. It feels less like one of those Christmas letters outlining everyone's accomplishments and more like a real glimpse into her life. She has had struggles, and having meal times has helped maintain a sense of order and optimism throughout periods of crisis. Whereas the first part of the book seemed to imply that you could avoid crisis through good planning, the second part makes it clear that we will suffer but can still be joyful in spite of that. I'm a big believer in creating a beautiful home, particularly in times of crisis, and this book certainly reinforces that belief. As Clarkson wisely writes: "in times of exhaustion, grief, or trial, holding onto a sense of orderliness and loveliness is essential." Amen to that.

I want to get her book The Lifegiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming.

The recipes are decent and the book is strong on celebratory foods. I've marked up my kindle version of things I plan to make over the holiday season. Clarkson Snowballs/Russian Tea Cakes: I'm looking at you!

The most powerful part for me was the concept of teatime discipleship. I've always wanted to create a safe space in my home for sheltering the discouraged. Tea is such a perfect conduit for that and I have no doubt that the Clarkson household has proven to be a respite for many people in need. It's a practice I plan to implement in my own house.

As we enter the season of hospitality, this is a good book to remind you of what entertaining is really all about.



This and that

Happy Thursday!

In Canada, we are kicking off the Thanksgiving weekend. The kids have no school Friday or Monday, so it's an extra-long weekend. The weather is meant to be terrific: fingers crossed.

Teddy has been keeping us busy.




He likes to chew everything, from baseboards to Bean Boots. I guess it's a Cairn Terrier quality.

video


Speaking of Bean Boots, almost everything at LL Bean is 20% off this weekend.

I may pick up a pair of the tumbled leather, plaid lined ones.



I shall hide them from Teddy. 

I picked up this fair isle sweater a few weeks ago. It's lovely. 


I shall hide it from Teddy too. 

Teddy is so quick now. And he likes to hide under the furniture. He's a rascal, for sure. 

I've been very busy on the writing front. I've been in studio, behind the scenes, meeting various people. I LOVED meeting singer Jully Black. She was fiery and awesome. Her show airs this coming Monday on YES-TV in Canada or on the web at SeeHearLove.com.

I'm looking forward to some downtime this weekend. I think we may do some apple picking. I've been mainlining pumpkin muffins since this fall seems to require a lot of comfort food. I suspect that's why I've been so drawn to cozy clothing and home goods, as well. I sort of just want to hide under the flannel covers and watch This Is Us or Suits. 

Anybody else planning to hibernate?

XO




For such a time as this


Happy Friday!

If you are looking for something to uplift you today, check out Kimberley Mitchell's video.



She talks about one of my favourite women of the Bible: Esther.

Esther was a queen who ended up as one of many in a harem (think the Playboy mansion with no AC). She had to humble herself and show tremendous strength to save her people, but knew she's been prepared for that role all along. It's good!

(Also, I had an great aunt Esther who wore smart suits, pearls, gloves, and a great fur coat. She had worked long before adopting her daughter and had a level of sophistication that reminded me of women in old movies. She was a fan of all things Elizabeth Arden. She sometimes took me to the restaurant in Woodwards with her women friends for lunch. I think I had my first Club Sandwich on her watch. So I'm super fond of the name, as - to me - it represents strong, capable women.)

I met Kimberley at Crossroads when we were both single mamas and she gave me a book on single parenting. She is as real as it gets.

We both did the single parent thing for the better part of a decade and are now both remarried. She's now in sunny Nashville with a horse in her backyard. It's a very sweet story. I need to road trip it down to Nashville to hang out with her one of these days.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I plan to get in lots of rest and have some lovely meals. Also, it's fall weather now and you know that makes me happy!

xo

#TBT: Seventeen Magazine

I've always loved magazines. As a kid, I devoured Seventeen magazine.

From time to time, I like to go on Pinterest to see some of the old issues people have uploaded. I remember spending hours pouring over these very images and planning my adult life.

Warning: it's pretty grim.

Like this gem:


/via Pinterest/





















I'm not sure if the drinking age was lower in the 80s, but if you are old enough to buy champagne, you are old enough to know that oversized hair bow is a solid 'no', no?


I'm not sure what this one was all about. At the time, I loved colourful knitwear but now I think they look like Pennywise groupies. 

Ditto for this one. I had a siamese cat growing up and thought these gals looked swell. Now, they just look kind of nutty, no? 




















Is this Lillian from Kimmy Schmidt? Sadly, I wore a ton of oversized Esprit back in the day, so I probably looked like this too.




















At least these ladies have a Cairn terrier to enjoy when they unravel themselves from the giant burgundy scarf.


















As do these ladies, who are taking a break from yodelling class. That's a young Jennifer Connelly in her pre-Noah days.






I still like the boiled wool jacket / skater skirt look. Then again, I'm 45 years old, so it's probably a lot more appropriate for me than my teenaged self. I always was an old soul. 


I remember thinking clear mascara was a really good idea. 




Now, not so much. I need a thick layer of paint before heading outside.

Were you a 1980s fashionista? What kind of things did you wear?

XO

See Hear Love Part 2

Happy Wednesday!

Don't trust this innocent looking face. He will play with the ball for about 10 seconds max! 


Teddy is now into chewing my Manuel Canovas fabric and got the corner of a Scalamandre pillow. I wish he'd like to chew his many dog toys or - at the very least - something from, like, Homesense. Maybe he was an overworked design assistant in a former life and hates nice fabric.

Part 2 of my interview on See Hear Love is up.

It's shorter than the first piece and focuses on practical suggestions for bouncing back after hardship. Love Mel's, Cheryl's, and Abby's comments. They offer good, actionable tips.

Hope you enjoy!







See Hear Love Taping


Happy Monday!



Teddy says hello! He loves to chew on just about everything, but his favourites seem to be LL Bean's Wicked Good Slippers and Manuel Canovas fabric. At least he has good taste.

The show I taped on my faith walk is up on SeeHearLove. It's always a bit nerve wracking for me to do TV since I'm somewhat of a perfectionist and - unlike with my writing - I do not have final editorial control. I wrote about my neurosis here.



But I'm happy with the piece. I think I shared what I wanted to share without looking like an idiot, which is always good. Whenever I talk about my faith, I always ask myself is this my utmost for His highest, in a nod to Oswald Chambers. And I think I did my best.

Plus, I love the SeeHearLove ladies. They are warm and engaging and easy to have a conversation with. I've really been enjoying blogging for their show.

This show is well-timed as a reminder for me. Last week, I had a disappointing visit with the eye clinic and it seems that if I want my messed up laser surgery corrected, I'll be in for multiple surgeries that may or may not work. It was obviously not the news I wanted and, while I'm waiting for a definitive plan from the surgeon, I'm trying to stay optimistic. It's never easy. I hate waiting and non-clear answers and this process is involving a lot of both.

On the positive side, the weather is expected to cool next week and it will start to feel like fall. And there is NFL football, which makes a nice focal point for the family. We are reestablishing our practice of big Sunday night dinners and it's nice to have the game on during prep time. I've just started reading an advance copy of The Lifegiving Table courtesy of Tyndale Press and I'm hoping it gives me lots of dinner ideas for fall and winter.

I hope you have a fabulous week. There is a lot of crazy going on in the world and I hope you are safe and sound.

XO

Update: We were very sad to hear about the passing of David Mainse, founder of Crossroads Communications and 100 Huntley Street. He pioneered faith-based programming in Canada and our thoughts are with his family. 

***

Affiliate Link. I love Christmas. And while I don't want to see the stuff on the shelves until November, I love a sneak peak at the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! It's time for DaySpring's Annual Christmas Preview. Check it out!

Meet Teddy!

Sorry I've been absent, but on Sunday we brought home this little guy!



Meet Edward Angus McDuff, aka Teddy, our 12 week old Cairn Terrier.

After Serena passed away this summer, I really missed having a little sidekick. Sailor is a sweetheart, but he can't travel in the car or be carried. So, I started to think about another dog. I loved Frenchies, but Serena was one of a kind and I felt that if I got another one, I'd be disappointed if he or she lacked Serena's big personality.

So I started to think about other breeds.

In Nova Scotia, we kept running into Cairn Terriers. We saw the sweet pups everywhere. I've always loved terriers. Who does not love Toto?

I accosted a lady walking a Cairn near our place in Blue Rocks to ask her about her dog. She told me if I ever wanted a Cairn, there was an excellent breeder she'd dealt with for decades not too far from us in Stepford.

And so, in July and part of August, I had Cairns on the brain. I wanted a hypoallergenic breed, and a small dog with a big personality. Cairns seemed to fit the bill.

When Serena and I used to do therapy work at the Senior's Centre, there was a lady whose husband had bought her a Cairn right before he died. She always felt that he knew he was going to die and bought her the dog so she would not be lonely. Isn't that a sweet story? She used to talk all about her little Cairn all of the time.

And say a lot about Wallis Simpson, but her style was impeccable. So Cairns were an excellent style play too!



So, later in the summer, I called the breeder and asked about her dogs. There are not that many Cairn breeders any more since they are an old fashioned sort of breed. And she had none available. Then, we had a bit of a wild goose chase with a couple of other breeders and I started to give up hope.  But then the original breeder called me back and a family had changed their minds about wanting a pup over the summer and we were able to get Teddy!

I'm going to call that a God thing. I think God was having a really great day when he decided to invent the dog, don't you?

We had to wait several weeks for him to be ready to come home, and we visited him a few times at the breeder. And then on Sunday, we brought him home.

I've never done the puppy thing, having always adopted adult dogs. Puppies have a lot of energy. It's hard to work since he's forever bounding around nipping at our heels. But thankfully, Teddy sleeps through the night.

It's fun to watch him grow and change. He has a dark puppy coat which will likely turn to light red. And, I swear, he's bigger already.

Next week, we start puppy classes, which should be extremely cute. It's hard to get a lot done right now, but it's worth it!





Greenleaf, organizing, and simple neutrals for fall

So, how are you? Ready for the weekend?

I always find the second week back to school the hardest, as the routine is not set yet nobody has that first-week nervous energy to rocket them out of bed anymore.

To compensate, I binge-watched season one of Greenleaf and am waiting for the next season to be on Netflix Canada. Love Lynn Whitfield as Lady Mae. Her character is fabulous.

/via/

I've always loved big family dramas with terrific houses and clothes. My tastes are firmly-rooted in the 1980s, I suppose, and Greenleaf fills that bill. I also love how each character wrestles with his or her faith. The hardest part of believing in God's goodness is the fallibility of His followers and, oh, do these people set trials for one another. I cannot wait to find out what happens next.

I've been cleaning out the kitchen cupboards at home. I have no idea why I felt the need to stockpile chicken broth like that. I've put the things I need to use up at the front so I remember them the next time I think I have no food in the house.

I've also been rearranging my closet to bring forward the fall-ier pieces. I decided to add the Ruffle-neck Silk Top in Black from J. Crew during their stock-up sale. With that neckline, it could be exquisite or clownish. We will see if it's a keeper when it arrives.

/via/
In general, this fall I plan to take a nod from Dr. Paula Agard on Suits with lots of simple neutrals. 

/via/


I hope you have some fun plans for the weekend. We are planning a fairly quiet one. Those are really my favourite. I'm a homebody at heart. 

Enjoy!

XO


On tea and friendships

Yesterday one of the moms organized a little tea party and I decided to go.

Yes, every once in a while it's good to put on clothes and get out of the house and talk with actual people rather than the fictional characters in my head. (I'm at the point in writing the novel where everyone is really real to me. I'm all - you should meet Sam, he's awesome! - and then realize that Sam only exists in Scrivener.)

So I put on my J. Crew Liberty-trimmed jacket that the receptionist wears on Suits in Season 7 because clearly she wants to be like me, and I headed out for tea.

/via J. Crew/


And it was lovely.

I'm awfully hard on Stepford at times. There is a competitive materialism in leafy suburbia that drives me slightly mental (mainly because I'm not winning that game...) And this particular community is hard for me since it's a place where I've faced the very worst days of my life. Add to that, the complicated social position of being the wife of a widower who lived in this town for almost two decades and you get a place that's kind of hard to inhabit. (My advice to widows and widowers: if you've been in a place for a long time and hope to repartner, you'd better pick someone already in your social circle or be prepared to move. There are the rare and lovely birds who will be warm and embracing to you in your new life - and man, do I love these people - but they are not in the majority.)

But yesterday's tea was a reinforcement of what I like about Stepford. It's pretty, it's safe, and the food is great. And it was nice to reconnect with women I see not nearly often enough. We are all facing a similar path: wanting the best for our children, trying to figure out a career going forward, trying to stay sane. There was a whole lot of "me too" in conversation, which is always comforting; particularly when talking about the secret desire to stay inside, cry, and day-drink while the children are at school. These years can be crazy-making and it's good to know one is not alone.

It's also good to know everyone struggles, in spite of the pretty pretty on Instagram. When you go out, it holds up a mirror to your own mask. People seem to see me as someone in the jacket from Suits who spends her day hanging with the Real Housewives and traveling here, there, and everywhere. They do not know from social media that some days, I'm not able to do much more than feed the children and then crash on the sofa with a bag of chocolate almonds and binge-watch Greenleaf. It's good to connect and get real.

Everytime I go to something like this I resolve to get out more often. I won't ,of course, because 1) introversion and 2) laziness. But it's good to note that when I do overcome inertia, things tend to work out well.

Are you a goer-outer or a denner-inner? Do you have to be coaxed outside or are you running around with wild abandon? Do you like to drop the mask once in a while or keep it firmly in place thankyouverymuch?

***

Dayspring - the faith arm of Hallmark that I love and am now an affiliate of - has a promotion to help us encourage each other. If you sign up at the #EncouragementDare link before September 15, they will send you some cute free printables and ideas.


Of Mess and Moxie

I've had to completely shut off the news. It's simply too grim. Instead I focus on novels, and blogs, and scripture, and Pinterest.

/Victoria Magazine via Pinterest/

I'm loving Jen Hatmaker's Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life. Most of it is just this funny, slice-of-parenting-life memoir, but then she drops in these wise passages like this one, that just sum up how to cope with the crazy of today:
No matter how off the rails this world appears, God’s eye has always been on the tiny, fragile sparrow. He has never lost count of an injustice, a life, a human being. No nameless death was ever nameless. No senseless abuse was ever missed. He may have set the whole earth in motion with its mix of humanity and spiritual realms and principalities, but only One is on the throne where He has always been and will always be. If we are still holding a pile of tattered threads, it just means the story is not over yet. 
Isn't that hopeful?  It's what I've come to believe. It's all witnessed and all noted and if it seems that something is unfair -- that bad things happen to good people (hard to take) and good things happen to bad people (even harder to take) -- it is because we do not know the full story.

The challenge for me is not whether or not to believe in God. The challenge for me is to believe in His redemptive powers. To believe that there, beneath the rubble, can be hope. That no suffering is unnoticed. That no loss is for nothing. That no death is in vain. It's why I gravitate to stories of people who overcome. Who have used the struggle to build their heart muscles and go on to do tremendous things. For me, stories of personal redemption offers a glimpse of the Kingdom and what lies beyond. And that is so encouraging.

Dream a little dream

I've been dreaming a lot about the next phase of life. Right now, we are in the thick of kids: with a middle schooler, two high schoolers, one college student, and one working. Also, we have pets.

But the years race by remarkably fast and, before long, I know that we will have an empty house.

Long time readers know my struggle with living in a People Warehouse in the middle of Stepford. It's a beautiful home, complete with its own Dynasty staircase. But it's really not me. I'm a small, lots of rooms, century home kind of girl. This is my idea of heaven:

1980s Victoria Magazine photo via Pinterest



There is a reason why I have every issue of Victoria magazine that's ever been published. I gave them away once and then spent years buying them back on ebay. I'm fairly committed to that small, overstuffed, old house sort of look that right now is limited to my office.

My office cabinet of curiosities / bookshelf is slightly out of control


But I also know that families grow, not shrink, as the years move forward. The ocean house is lovely, but far too small for occasions like Thanksgiving. And, it's an airplane ride away.

So, I've begun to think about combinations and permutations that will work for us in the future. I think I'd like a small century home in a town where I can walk to everything. And by everything, I mean a really good coffee shop and a bakery.

Remember the town in One True Thing? I loved that movie. Oh, I know it was about death and cheating husbands, but the town! The town was glorious. Almost as glorious as Renee Zellweger's red brown lipstick.


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When I was younger, I was all about the cities, but now I'm all about the towns. I want a college town, if possible, with book shops and a good pub.

As for the house, it must have leaded glass windows. And a wood burning fireplace. And a porch. And a small kitchen because - let's face it - I have no idea what I'm doing in there anyways.

I want small, cozy, and bookshelf-lined, with lots of original wood. I want lots of breakables, because Town Grandma can be slightly intimidating to my future grandkids. I was terrified of one of my grandmothers as a small child, and I've come to like her best.

My rather formal, slightly intimidating Urban Century Home can be offset by The Farmhouse.

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The farmhouse is where kids and grandkids can come to have Adventures. Fun Grandma will live in the country. The wee ones can spill their milk and bake and run around in their outdoor shoes inside, without me having a heart attack. In blending two families, I've come to learn that I'm very particular with my space and that not everyone loves that. I want a space where people can kick back and relax and watch football without worrying about spilling chips or breaking my antique Foo Dogs, which I just might like a teensier bit more than them.

Self-awareness is half the battle. I've come to realize that chill is what I'm not unless I'm in a super relaxed place where things are meant to be casual.

Anyhow, I've been Pinteresting like mad my dreams for my Urban Century Home and The Farmhouse. Right now, it's all imaginary money, so sky's the limit my friends. This is how I planned the Nova Scotia house until the cruel reality of budgets and shipping costs set in. Then it was all, would you like some Ikea with that Ikea?

Are any of you at the stage of thinking about your next home? Are you at the dreaming stage or the reality? Is Pinterest your friend or your foe?

Have any of you been following along with the Uninvited bible study by Lysa TerKeurst? It's so very very good. This week's lesson is on being set apart -- not set aside -- by God and tells the story of Hannah. If you are looking to beef up your bible literacy and be inspired, it's well worth the watch.

XO






Dayspring Friends and Family Sale

Dayspring is having their Friends and Family sale right now with almost everything 25% off. I'm particularly loving these Philippians ...