Sunday, December 14, 2014

{Monday Musing} Gentle Domesticity

Oh, you dear friends!  Thank you so much for your feedback on my post last week.  Your comments and emails were so sweet and encouraging.  I am so thankful that you all will be walking with me on my journey through this next year!  The day after I posted, I read a post on Jenni's blog  that resonated with me and encouraged my heart.  She said that she was making the theme of her blog next year, "A year of gentle domesticity.... It's all about making a home, wherever you are, with whatever you have, and with the people you care about... ".  Isn't that precious?  That is my goal for next year as well.  She used the words "gentle domesticity", which my heart translates as "peaceful homemaking".  What can I do this year to be a peaceful homemaker?  To make a peaceful home?  Do I need to be more gentle?  To slow down and step back to refocus?  Do I need to remove visual clutter from our living areas?  Do I have areas of hidden clutter in cabinets or drawers ... or in my heart of hearts?  Am I using my time to create a gentle, peaceful home for those I love?

This year I would like to view my time as more than just a list of to do's or a schedule to be filled out and worked through.  I would like to see it as a portfolio of investments  - like the coins that were given by the Master to his servants in the Gospels, to be used and invested until his return. (Matthew 25) I would like to invest my time in loving my husband and my children, increasing in godliness, being a keeper at home, serving others and being a blessing.  Somehow that thought of investing puts some of the mundane things that I do every day in a different light.  Investments bring returns.  If I invest my time in doing dishes with a loving heart toward God and others, the interest earned is precious and eternal.  And on the flip-side, if I invest my time in saying I'm too tired and complaining that I'm ill-used and someone else should be doing it, that interest (or lack of it!) will be eternal as well.  Hmmm....

So, shall we invest together this coming year?  One of the things that I would like to do is work through the Monthly Home Blessings with you.  I'll be posting a few tasks each week, starting at the beginning of January.  In some rooms I'll be right on track while in other rooms I may have to take the entire month just to declutter, but I'd love to have you join me if you'd like!  It would be encouraging to work side by side to make our homes more peaceful and to make good investments that count for eternity.

Have a blessed week!


Your Happy Monday prompt this week...
I can invest my time this week in...

Monday, December 8, 2014

{Monday Musing} Rhythm

It's been five months now since my Mom passed into Glory, and it was just a week ago last year that she was first admitted to Hospice Care.  I started a 5 year diary last year, so every day I've been reading back over last year's entry - which is just a sentence or two -  and, as it is still so fresh in my mind, the feelings and emotions I experienced during her last 7 months on earth sweep over me just as they did then.  My responsibilities have changed since her death.  I don't have to make daily or every other day trips to see her.  I don't have to worry about whether she is eating, or taking her medicine.  I don't have to talk to nurses or CNA's or make funeral plans, or even figure out what to talk to her about when she was unable to respond.  Whether I was there or not, her care was always on my mind.

Many of us have experienced those type of seasons in a different intensity - an ailing parent, a child who is making wrong choices, a marriage that has lost its joy, a friend or family member with a chronic or terminal disease, or even tension in a church family or work situation can absorb our mind and sap us of our focus and our sense of rhythm.   Life becomes a series of disconnected problems.  We don't seem to be able to focus our thoughts.  Things that were once important habits are now hit and miss, and we feel defeated and discouraged because everywhere we look the things we had been passionate about are either left undone or not done to our expectations, and the relationships we value above all have suffered.

As a creative person this disconnect can be especially disheartening.  What can I give to others when I am struggling?  How do I regain my focus?  I'm in God's Word.  I'm following all the formulas.  I'm learning to trust.  I'm trying to obey.  How can the grieving process take this much out of me when I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my Mom is with the Lord?  Why do I feel flat, overwhelmed and terribly useless?

With all these thoughts running through my mind over the past months, I "just happened" to pick up a book last week called "The Accidental Creative" -- of course it wasn't an accident!  It was a book talking about how to reestablish avenues of creativity in your life.  It spoke of rhythm, and how, in music, the times of silence are as important as the notes themselves.  I realized while reading that my mind for the past number of years has been always "on".  Constantly on the alert for the "next development" in a number of unresolved or uncomfortable areas of my life.  This "always on" mentality mixed with adrenaline had taken me through the different stages of my Mom's final journey, and had helped me to pick up clues that others may have missed, but it took a toll on everything else in my life.  To make menus was an overwhelming task.  To write blog posts was like trying to pick a beautiful apple from a dead tree.  To prioritize my different responsibilities was mind-numbing.  And to live out what makes me passionate - being a blessing to others through teaching and encouragement in God's Word - was becoming impossible.

Over this next year, I hope you'll join me as I work to establish new rhythms and routines in my life - perhaps they are things that will resonate with and encourage you as well.  I'm going to be taking time to re-evaluate my life against my purpose statement and update it.  I'm going to be looking at the routines I'm following in my housework, at the time I waste and how I can redeem it, and look to see if any of my old habits have been outgrown and need to be replaced with new ones.  I'm going to explore new areas of study, reorganize my menu notebook, and streamline the GraceWorks product lines to make room for new pages and ideas.  I'm going to reestablish some family traditions and work on making some new ones.  I'm going to prune away some things to make room for new growth, and I'm going to open myself up to give to and teach others what God is teaching me.

This is a frightening post to post.  What if I don't follow through on everything?  What if I fail?  But accountability is SO good for us, and I truly look forward to sharing God's goodness with you over this coming year.  I'm so excited to see where God will take us together!



Your Happy Monday prompt for today is...
I look forward to learning about ......  this coming year.

Monday, December 1, 2014

{Happy Monday} It's Here!

It's Here, It's Here!  The start of the Advent season and the beginning of December!   What an opportunity this time of year is to grow deeper in the hope of Christ's return, in the love of God and others, in the joy of obeying God's Word, and in the peace that the bustle and uncertainty of the world cannot touch.  What a time to truly soak in the miracle of His birth.   Mary's unhesitating obedience and trust.  Christ's glory veiled in humility.  Joseph's unwavering steadiness in protecting those entrusted to his care.  

But how easy it is instead to focus only on the present (or the presents) rather than hoping for the future.; to be short tempered and stressed rather than displaying Christian love; to neglect time in God's Word for extra Christmas movies; and to find ourselves running so fast to try to get it all done, that we just wish it would "all be over" so we can have some peace.

I challenge us all to approach this Christmas season differently.  Begin your day in God's Word and purpose to be obedient like Mary.  Practice the humility of Christ in your family, your church family, and among those you come into contact with.  Let Joseph's peaceful steadiness be your goal and temper the frantic pace of the world with thoughtful, purposeful steps that are directed by God's Spirit.

May we each be a blessing this Advent Season!


Your Happy Monday prompt for today...
I purpose to focus this holiday season on Christ by...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thankful for You Sale

Hello friends! 

I'm getting ready for our Thanksgiving guests here, but I wanted to drop by and let you know about the THANKFUL FOR YOU sale that we have going on right now!

From now through next Wednesday, use the code THANKS14 to take 25% off everything in the Downloadable Home Journal section of the website.

- or -

Use the code CHJ14 to take 20% off the Classic Home Journal line!

The website will only allow you to use one code at a time, so if you'd like to purchase things from both lines, place an order for your downloadable items separately, since there won't be any shipping added, then put your Classic Home Journal items and any other items you'd like in a different order.

And, don't forget, that you will receive a set of handmade notecards with Scripture if your order reaches $50 after discounts and before shipping...  
And shipping is free over $75!!

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 17, 2014

{Happy Monday} Thankful!

Happy Monday!

Thankful just doesn't seem like a big enough word for how we feel right now.  We are thankful for each of you, thankful that our new webstore is up and seems to be functioning correctly, and even thankful for the snow outside!!! :)  God has been so good to us!

Just a note or two. --

First -- if you've placed an order for the 28 Day Challenge in the last few days and have not received it, please check the email you put in your profile.  I've had at least one Challenge email returned to me in the last week because of an incorrect email, and I feel horrible that I don't have any way to reach you to let you know!!

Second -- I have heard through the internet grapevine that Feedblitz emails may or may not be reaching you.  If you are signed up to receive our blog updates by email, you might want to check in to a blog reader like Feedly instead.  Also, be sure that you are signed up for our newsletter to stay up to date with current sales and specials, and I'll try to research another option for you to follow the blog by email over the next few weeks.

I hope you've all had a chance to look through our new store.  If you are still having trouble accessing it, would you mind dropping me an email to let me know?  We'll see if we can figure it out. : )

I pray your week will start well, and I'll talk to you again soon!



Your Happy Monday prompt for today...
When I am thankful I like to show it by...

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The New Store is Open!

Hello everyone!

The new store is up and running!  I'm sure there will be some glitches over the weekend,  so let me know if something comes up, or if you run into any problems.  If you are still coming to the old store, try typing in the complete web address...

And if you can't get it yet, just wait a little and try again.  You may have to clear your computer's cache or just wait for the site to update across the internet.

If you do get in I'd love to hear your thoughts!! :)



Friday, November 7, 2014

Scheduled Store Down Time

Hi everyone!   I will be taking the store off-line as soon as I'm done with this post to start the switchover to the NEW STORE!!  I am SO excited!!  I hope you will like it as much as we do!!  It will take between 2-3 days for the switchover to be complete, so the new store should be open Monday morning or before.  I hope you'll stop by to take a look!

Here's a sneak peek of the Home Page...

It should be so much easier to work with!! 

I'll be back with another post when the store goes live.  : )

Thanks for your patience!!