Monday, July 28, 2014

{Happy Monday} Mother's Eyes

Hello friends,

I'm sorry that I've been away so long.  It has been a difficult month.  My dear mother went home to her Saviour on the seventh day of this seventh month.  God's perfect timing.  My daughter and I were so, SO privileged to be the ones He allowed to be with her as she entered Heaven's gates.  We still can't quite get over the feeling of having had a glimpse of Glory.  The days since then have been filled with her burial, preparations for her Memorial service, keeping track of my Dad, the actual service, and company.  We are doing well -- the Lord has been SO good -- but, at the same time, we are physically and emotionally tired.  I think everything has quieted down now, so we're going to take a week or two to regroup, eat right, and catch up on sleep.  We've been involved with Mom's care on a regular basis for the past two years and it seems strange not to have to plan around it anymore, but I'm sure that in time the Lord will make our path clear again.  We are able to ship GraceWorks orders fairly regularly at this point, so don't hesitate to place your "Back to School" order soon! : )

I'd like to leave you with the tribute I wrote about my mom for the Memorial.  She taught me so much these past two years of her illness.  Just watching how she handled it day after day after day was both a challenge and an encouragement to me.

Mom's Eyes

There are so many things that I loved about my mom.  Her hospitality, her butterfly rolls, the cross cookies she would make for the little ones on Easter Sunday, her love of birds and picking berries, the special napkins that we would have on holidays, the movie nights we would have watching Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility… but I think that I learned the most over the years by watching Mom’s eyes.

Mom’s eyes could be stern at a little girl’s mistakes, or tender when the same little girl was treated unkindly by others.  They were often tired eyes as I was growing up, busy with 4-H projects, high school musicals, sports events, band concerts and kindergarten graduations.  They were generous eyes, often getting a meal on the table for more guests than there really was food available.  They were laughing eyes, enjoying dessert and coffee when the meal was done.  They were loving eyes, telling me about Jesus, and compassionate eyes, letting me know that accepting His sacrifice for my sin was something she couldn’t do for me -- it was a choice I had to make for myself.

I saw Mom’s eyes filled with sadness as she saw us children make choices she knew would bring pain, and I saw them overflowing with happiness, as she rejoiced with us over our salvation, or a special event or honor.  Her eyes could be determined when she had a goal in mind, or focused on a task that needed to be done, and yet they remained unflustered when scores of grandchildren would be playing underfoot.  And, if you asked her, everything was “just fine.”

A few years ago Mom’s eyes began to change.  Little by little there was confusion where there had been strength of mind.  There was uncertainty where there had been confidence.  Simple things like watching her birds and mixing up a box of brownie mix were no longer possible, and Mom’s eyes grew pensive, trying to understand when God’s ways were unclear.   What a beautiful testimony these eyes portrayed!  Those were the eyes that held pain, but gave smiles.  That held sorrow, but gave encouragement.  That held grief, but gave grace.  Up until her last day, her eyes were on those around her.  Clear eyes.  Calm eyes. Trusting eyes.  Blessing a new baby, loving a special CNA, telling each of those around her bedside that she loved us.  

To the end Mom always thought of others, going out of her way to be a blessing to them.  Those are the eyes I will remember and cherish.  The eyes of grace, without thought of self.  The eyes that hid their own hurt to be an encouragement to others.  The eyes of peace that showed a life hidden with Christ in God.  Eyes that proved that when Mom said she was “just fine,”… she really was.


Today's Happy Monday Prompt...
Something the Lord has taught (or is teaching) me this summer is...

Thursday, July 3, 2014


Hello friends,

Please know that the orders you have placed over the past few days may not ship until next week.  My dear mom is approaching Glory and we have been spending the last few days at her bedside.  The time has been bittersweet.  Full of blessings that have been almost indescribably sweet, but also full of tender memories and sorrowful hearts. Not sorrow that she is passing into the arms of her Saviour, of course, but at the realization that she will no longer be here in the flesh to love and care for each of us, and for us to love and care for her in our turn.

Thanks for your prayers.

So blessed,


Monday, June 23, 2014

{Happy Monday} Exploring the Valley

Good morning!

I've been thinking a lot about the word "discipline" lately... more specifically about my lack of it in certain areas.  One of the areas I am especially struggling with is eating sugar.  When I don't eat any sugar at all I feel more energetic, happier, less prone to depression, more focused, and the list could go on and on.  But sugar is everywhere, and having eaten it for decades it is hard for me to totally leave it out of my diet without feeling deprived.  I especially struggle we eat out at a restaurant that has gluten free desserts, because it happens so seldom.  I've made lots of good resolutions, and I'll stick to them for awhile, but I just can't seem to keep on track.  To complicate things even more, if I have been off sugar for awhile, I can eat a little without any side effects.  Well, there is one side effect.  Once I've started, I have trouble cutting it totally out again until I start to feel sick.  Enter the "Exploring the Valley" page.  Did you even know we had an Exploring the Valley page?  It's the back of the Mountains of Success page from the Beautiful Life Management system, and probably the one that is used the least... and maybe should be used the most.  Here's mine... (You can click on it to make it larger...)

After going through the page I realized that my issue isn't just that I eat to much sugar and need to stop.  I am truly not governing my self - keeping my body "under" as the Apostle Paul says.  And in not being faithful in this little thing, I am undermining the Spirit's work in my life.

When you flip the page over you come to the Mountains of Success.  A place to record your progress toward the goal you make in number 6 on the Valley page.

I hope it helps you to see the page in use.  I know a number of you have asked how to use it! : )

Here's your Happy Monday prompt for today...
I received (or sent) a letter through the mail this week from (or to)...

Thank you for stopping by!


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

{Happy Tuesday!} Road Construction

Happy Monday, Tuesday!! :)

It must officially be summer here.  We had our first big summer storm last night, complete with large branches down all over the yard and various power outages around town, and road construction has begun!  The sound of crunching pavement and beeping trucks will be our constant companion for the next few months as the city reconstructs a major intersection near us that is in need of a makeover.

I remember the last time that road was repaired... and it really doesn't seem that long ago.  But when the scheduled road construction was announced, I started to notice the fading paint, cracked pavement, potholes, and dangerous traffic patterns that had developed.

Isn't it funny how much our lives can be like that road?

We look back on a big decision in our lives - a spiritual one, or even just a practical one -- and think, "I'm doing ok.  Look what I've learned... what I've done... what I've given... where I've been..." and we don't realize that our paint is fading, our pavement is cracked, our lives are strewn with the potholes of neglect, and we've developed dangerous traffic patterns by not keeping up with our good intentions.

I think it is time for some "road construction" in my life.  How about you?


Your Happy Monday (or Tuesday!) prompt for this week...

God is working on my life right now in this area...

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Day by Day - June - Print Version

Hi everyone!

The BLM Day by Day pages in print form are now in the Etsy shop here...

Watch for more goodies to come!

Monday, June 2, 2014

New Product and Shop Info!

I am so thrilled to be able to introduce the Beautiful Life Management - Day by Day Edition pages today!  Let's take a look!

(The pages won't have the orange watermark... that is just to keep them safe online!)

What's New?
* Dated Pages
* Simplified Design
* New Fonts & Colors
* Daily Tasks Assigned to Suggested Day
Most of these are from the BLM pages... but some are new and a few are missing...
* Available for Instant Download!

Yes, that's right -- Instant Download!  

I know it can be hard to wait for me to email you the downloadable pages that you have purchased, so we have opened an Etsy shoppe to house all of the designs we print "in-house", as well as our downloadable designs, and any other homemade goodies we can think of.  The blessing is that the downloadable pages will now be available to you immediately after payment.  Isn't that wonderful!   

  * PLUS - each month includes a one-page monthly calendar!

I hope to have the two page calendar available in the new font soon, (print version only), and I will be working on a full year of Day by Day pages, but for those of you waiting impatiently, you can purchase the downloadable version of the Day by Day pages (including the one page monthly calendar) for the month of June right now in the Etsy shoppe for only $2.50!  

Here's the link to the shop...

The Day by Day pages are sized to be printed at home on printer paper cut in half.  (5.5" x 8.5")  You will need to have access to a punch that will work with your chosen binder, but if that is a problem,  we will also offer the option of having the pages printed "in house" and shipped to you.  Feel free to email me if you need this option and it isn't available on the shop yet!

The Etsy shoppe looks pretty sparse at the moment, but we plan to continue stocking it with goodies over the next few days and weeks.  Some of the things you will find will include handmade Scripture greeting cards, and the full-size Home Journal line.

This is new to us, so thank you in advance for your encouragement and patience as we work out any bugs that may come up.  if you have any questions, or problems be sure to let us know.  And watch the blog and newsletter for new additions!!

Later Today!

Watch your e-mail inboxes and the blog later today for the introduction of a new line of pages... and some other fun things, as well!  We're working hard behind the scenes to get everything done!! :)

Here's another sneak peek...

Be sure to sign up for the newsletter if you haven't already!

Be back soon, Lord willing!


P.S.  Here's a Happy Monday prompt for you...  My favorite surprise ever was...