Monday, January 30, 2017

Breaking the temptation cycle: Strength to Strength




Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
    in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the Valley of Baca
    they make it a place of springs;
    the early rain also covers it with pools.
 They go from strength to strength;
    each one appears before God in Zion.
Psalm 84:5-7


I remember one of the first times I read Psalm 84:5-7,  I chided  myself, "You don't go from 'strength to strength'; you go from 'worry to worry'.

You see, even as a youngster, I recognized the fact that I essentially "sought after" things to worry about.  Once one worry didn't come to pass, I'd move on to the next one...  In my early 20s,  you could say I had legitimate concerns to worry me which ramped up my anxieties to a new fevered pitch.  It was as if the only normal I knew was to dwell in the "Valley of Baca"; a valley I created by living from worry to worry instead of from strength to strength...

Where should my strength come from?  Trusting in God whose strength provides spiritual rest as it carries me along on the highway to Zion...

But I must let Him...

Happy are those whose minds are wholly set on pilgrimage to Zion...

...those who in the strength of God, surmounting every obstacle,
 appear in His Presence and offer their prayers.
Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

 I've definitely come a long way from my worry wort roots.  You can read about those here.

But, that's not to say I still don't struggle with worry and anxiety...

The reality is, one of my biggest besetting sins is falling into the temptation of worry; lack of trusting God...

When I look back at my almost 57 years of worry, I see all the time that was wasted worrying -   because I'm still here!!  You guessed it, my worries, more times than not, were focused on health concerns.

Since my 20s when my worries about health were for the most part unfounded, the Lord, in His lovingkindness, sent big tests in the area of my health... Creating even bigger opportunities to trust Him and kick temptation to the curb as I went from...

strength to strength...

A mystery illness that left me dizzy and incapacitated for six weeks; doctors unable to truly diagnose what was going on...
  • Although I was practically debilitated from anxiety through this illness, the Lord provided a friend who was going through a similar phenomenon which encouraged me in a very discouraging situation
A baby step in trusting God as I experienced God's strength through the encouragement of a friend - strength I would  need for the next time...

An unusual EKG that alarmed the doctor...
  • It was then I felt my first sense of true peace in the midst of a scary finding.  I remember handing the situation over to God right in the exam room and saying, "Lord you know exactly what is going on with my heart.  This is too big for me to worry about, I leave it with you..." {It turned out my heart was just fine.  In fact, the unusual EKG reading was a result of how God designed the tilt of my heart.} 
A big step in experiencing the strength of God through trusting Him when it was just too big for me to do otherwise - strength I was DEFINITELY going to need for the next time...

The discovery of a thyroid nodule with the possibility of thyroid cancer...
  • My immediate response was to storm the gates of Heaven, through the prayers of the Saints, for a clear biopsy.   I believed God would answer, and He did!
A huge step in experiencing the strength of God through believing the power of the prayers of the Saints.  

All paving the way for the peace I would feel the next time...

And now we come to last week when I went for my routine dermatology full body skin exam.   I was not concerned about anything, and as the doctor began her exam, she said she wasn't finding anything concerning either.  Until she got to the very end of the exam, and I heard her say, "Hmm, what's this?".  She said it is probably a lichenoid keratosis which will clear up with a six week course of cortisone cream.  But then she said, or it could be a squamous cell carcinoma...
  • I can honestly say that I stayed very upbeat and didn't even become alarmed.  I even joked about it when my husband came home.  I truly feel totally at peace about this.
In every instance God provided strength greater than the temptation.  I became stronger and stronger in resisting the temptation to worry.  God allowed this series of temptations as a form of strength training. The temptation cycle is now broken.  

The means by which the  Lord used to strengthen me through the situations above, were certainly quite pivotal, but did not work alone.  As I grew in God's strength to fight those particular temptations, I was also growing in the Lord, through daily Bible reading, Bible study, prayer and not forsaking gathering together with the body of Believers.

A firm foundation to stand on, and the Sword of the Spirit to employ.

Jesus set the example of how to effectively use of the Sword of the Spirit when fighting temptation...

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.  And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”  

But he answered, “It is written,
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

  Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” 

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the 
kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you,
 if you will fall down and worship me.” 

Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
    and him only shall you serve.’”

 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
Matthew 4:1-11


When the Word of God is hidden in our hearts, we are able to discern the lies of the Devil when he tempts us, and to stand firmly on the Truth.

God promises that He is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13b

The Word of God directs our thoughts and actions in the ways of righteousness.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Psalm 119:105


The more we memorize Scripture,  the more we know God.  The more we know God, the more we love and trust Him.  The more we love and trust God, the more of His strength we build up to break the temptation cycle.

...that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,  so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
Philippians 1:9-10

You might say, but Karen I am in the Word of God daily and I have memorized Scripture, but I still seem to fall short and succumb to the same temptation over and over again.  I would respond, I do too...

But there is great encouragement to be found for our dilemma in the following excerpt from Streams in the Desert...

Temptation is necessary to settle and confirm us in the spiritual life. 
It is like the fire which burns in the colors of mineral painting, or like winds that cause
 the mighty cedars of the mountain to strike more deeply into the soil. 
Our spiritual conflicts are among our choicest blessings, 
and our great adversary is used to train us for his ultimate defeat...   
So temptation victoriously met doubles our spiritual strength and equipment.
Streams in the Desert


"Every temptation victoriously met doubles our spiritual strength and equipment!"

Think about a diet.  In the beginning it is hard not to be tempted to have sugary junk food, but we persevere keeping our eye on the goal of reaching a smaller size once again.  It certainly is hard at first and can be down right uncomfortable when the hunger pangs hit us, especially at  night if you're like me, but each time we resist the temptation to snack on junk food, it inevitably gets easier and easier to pass up that sweet treat to the point that there isn't a struggle anymore, but almost a resolve not to have desert - you have lost your desire for excessively sweet food.

We have the strength to fight the temptation to eat sweets through the establishment of a new habit; a good habit!

Why do I bring up the example of a diet?  Because when we fall into the same temptation repeatedly, we have formed a sin habit.


Wikipedia describes a habit as  "a routine of behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously.[1][2][3]

"In the American Journal of Psychology (1903) it is defined in this way: "A habit, from the standpoint of psychology, is a more or less fixed way of thinking, willing, or feeling acquired through previous repetition of a mental experience."[4] Habitual behavior often goes unnoticed in persons exhibiting it, because a person does not need to engage in self-analysis when undertaking routine tasks. Habits are sometimes compulsory.[3][5] The process by which new behaviours become automatic is habit formation. Old habits are hard to break and new habits are hard to form because the behavioural patterns we repeat are imprinted in our neural pathways,[6] but it is possible to form new habits through repetition.[7]

As the habit is forming, it can be analysed in three parts: the cue, the behavior, and the reward. The cue is the thing that causes the habit to come about, the trigger of the habitual behavior. This could be anything that one's mind associates with that habit and one will automatically let a habit come to the surface. The behavior is the actual habit that one exhibits, and the reward, a positive feeling, therefore continues the "habit loop".[13] A habit may initially be triggered by a goal, but over time that goal becomes less necessary and the habit becomes more automatic."

I found this explanation quite sobering applied to the context of temptation to sin.  

Instead of the temporary feel good sensation of sin which causes us to continually fall into the same temptation, let us make Jesus our reward and turn our sin habit into a Jesus habit.  Every time temptation knocks at our door, we must pray and ask God to bring to our remembrance the very Truth that banishes Satan's lie.  Each time we say no to temptation, we will become stronger for the next time, until finally, the temptation no longer has power over us.   

Let us break the temptation cycle and go from strength to strength.



The strength of a man 
consists in finding out
 the way in which God is going,
 and going in that way too.  

~ Henry Ward Beecher



You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home  ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up Tea & Word Tuesday Heart Encouragement Thursday Hearts for Home


Monday, January 23, 2017

Be the Best Version of You





I don't know about you, but whether I am reading an excerpt from my devotional or spending personal time in God's Word, a blog post idea is usually given birth to.  I jot down a little note to myself in my planner and also mark-up my Bible or devotional with what the Holy Spirit has revealed to me.

While reflecting upon what I might write about tonight, I was looking through my planner and found a note I had written about an insight I received from my January 13th devotional reading.  I pondered it for a moment, and then continued looking at another notation I had written down a week prior regarding a different blog post idea.  Stopping for a moment, I prayed that the Lord would show me what He wanted me to write about.  After I finished praying, a phrase at the bottom of my planner page jumped out at me...




I was astonished!  Although I didn't realize it at the time I recorded my scrawly note,  the very insight the Holy Spirit revealed to me, directly related to this phrase at the bottom of the planner page!  It was then that I knew I was going to be writing about 2 Corinthians 10:11-12...

Let such a person understand that what we say by letter when absent, we do when present. 
Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are
 commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.

As bloggers, we are like modern day apostles - sharing the Gospel; testifying to God's great love and power; and encouraging obedience in both our own Christian walk and that of our readers.

I think it is true for most of us, that our blog posts, more times than not, are bolder than what our own face to face personal interaction might be...

I can remember years ago when AOL's instant messaging was all the rage - everyone had an AIM account.   For me it was a great way to stay connected to a loved one while they were overseas.   It was always so exciting to hear the alert sound when that person had sent me a message.  Although we were half a world apart from each other, instant messaging closed the gap, at many levels really...  I found that my conversations through instant messaging were much bolder than they ever would have been face to face with that person.

Are we a different version of ourselves in writing than we are face to face?

Could it be because we are hiding behind a desktop or a smart phone that our inhibitions disappear, and we share what's on our hearts more boldly.

In full disclosure, when I prepare blog posts, even though I know people read my posts, I don't seem to think in those terms as I write.  It's almost like I forget that anyone reads them.   As a result, I write more freely and boldly.   Because I can't see the stranger on the other side of the world who reads my post or in a more intimidating sense, the people who actually know me personally, you could say I write boldly because of the safety my desktop screen provides.

Speaking specifically to bloggers, the reality is, many times we are laying our souls bare in humility about all that the Lord has taught us; there is nothing that we are hiding from our readers.

Further still, there is no hiding from the God who sees.   The Lord knows what I have written and whether my actions align with what the Holy Spirit has laid on my heart to share.

 With boldness in writing for the Lord and about the things of the Lord, comes accountability...

In my blog post, Blogger Heal Thyself, I confessed that too often I blog about ways to encourage a spiritual walk, but end up only writing about it and not actually doing it!

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
James 1:22

The Apostle Paul is telling the brethren at Corinth that everything he writes to them he is also doing.

Oh how I was convicted anew.  Am I practicing what I preach?!  Do those who know me, see in me the walk of Faith that I have encouraged?  Do those who don't know me, see a walk of Faith - the walk of Faith that the Holy Spirit prompted me to write about?


 MAY WE LIVE OUT OUR LIVES IN HOLY 
BOLDNESS - NOT JUST IN OUR WRITING, BUT WHOLLY LIVED OUT FOR THE LORD.


BE A CONSISTENT VERSION OF YOU!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And there was more treasure to be mined from the passage in 2 Corinthians...

...Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are
 commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.
2 Corinthians 10:12


The Barnes notes on the Bible has this to say about that passage...

"The sense of Paul is, that they made themselves the standard of excellence; that they were satisfied with their own attainments; and that they overlooked the superior excellence and attainments of others. This is a graphic description of pride and self-complacency; and, alas! it is what is often exhibited. How many there are, and it is to be feared even among professing Christians, who have no other standard of excellence than themselves. Their views are the standard of orthodoxy; their modes of worship are the standard of the proper manner of devotion; their habits and customs are in their own estimation perfect; and their own characters are the models of excellence, and they see little or no excellence in those who differ from them. They look on themselves as the true measure of orthodoxy, humility, zeal, and piety; and they condemn all others, however excellent they may be, who differ from them."

 But as I read those verses, another insight was impressed upon me, you might say in the opposite sense...  

Do not be overly critical of yourself by comparing your work and your walk with other bloggers and believers...

As a blogger, thinking you are not as popular as other bloggers; that your posts aren't as eloquent; that the content isn't as engaging; or that your pictures are amateur looking...

OR

As a believer, that you don't pray as often as a sister in Christ does; that your devotion and Bible time aren't as organized and in-depth; that you aren't good at evangelizing door to door; or that your ability to show hospitality is lacking, etc., etc.,

 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;  if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching;  the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
Romans 12:4-8

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10

God never intends for us to be like another blogger or believer in our gifting...

He intends for us to blog how He inspires us - within our own unique gifting using the experiences He has ordained in our own lives.

If we all wrote exactly the same, there would be no point to visit other blogs.   Different blogs and writing styles speak to different people in different ways.  Your blog might be written in just the perfect way for Betty to understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the first time.  While Susie's blog would not have had the same effect, BUT WAS ABLE to encourage Lucy with great hope in the midst of heartache.  God uses each of us uniquely for His good purposes.

Much the same can be said about the life of a Believer, our unique personalities and experiences reach people who can relate to us.  Not everyone relates the same way to every person.  Every Believer has different steps ordered by God for him/her to take; a path that He has ordained so that they are the best equipped to accomplish the unique works He has prepared and set aside for them to do beforehand.

Think about that!  God has chosen us as bloggers and as believers to accomplish His Kingdom work in our own unique way!  A way that only WE can!

We may not have a gift for evangelizing door to door, but our gifting for writing blogs reaches to the other side of the world.

We may not have the prayer and devotional life that Sally has, but we communicate with God throughout the day, His Word hidden in our hearts, as we serve God by serving others.


BUT...  God does intend for all of His children to be imitators of Christ...

Bloggers and Believers should strive to imitate Christ through obedience in their daily walk.  Now that IS an example EVERY blogger and believer should follow and attain to...

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.  Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.  Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.  Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.   Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.   Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.  Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.  Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:9-21



 MAY WE ONLY HAVE EYES FIXED ON JESUS, AND TO SEE CHRIST IN OTHERS, REJOICING IN THEIR SUCCESSES AND GIVING GLORY TO GOD FOR OUR OWN.


BE THE BEST VERSION OF YOU...

THE YOU GOD CREATED YOU TO BE.

You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home  ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up Tea & Word Tuesday Heart Encouragement Thursday Hearts for Home

Monday, January 16, 2017

Empty Nest Redecorating Reveal


A couple of months ago, I wrote a post about my experience as a new empty nester which you can read about here.   In that post, I shared about my grief, but I also let you in on a fun little secret...  How I cope when children leave the nest -  by REDECORATING!  

As the weeks moved toward our empty nest, I would think about the colors I wanted to paint the rooms that would soon be vacant; imagining how I would style each one.  

I decided to paint the guest room a crisp gray which I knew would go well with the black furniture that was already in the room.   It would take some time to find the right gray - a cool gray - as there is only one window in that room which faces east and only gets the morning sun.  I poured over paint swatches (no pun intended - lol) and settled on one.  I brought the paint swatch home and hung it up in different parts of the room at different times of the day.   After much deliberation, I was satisfied with my choice.  

I would like to say that once I painted the room I was completely happy, but with the color gray, it can either have a green undertone or a blue.   Due to the shadowing of my guest room, mine tended more toward blue which of the two, if it had to tend toward another color, I'd prefer the blue over the green.  To help counter the blue hue, which only occurred during certain times of the day, I made sure to pick out a lot of gray accent pieces.

The paint color for my office took a lot longer for me to pick out.  I had settled on choosing a darker tan color for that room which I felt would work well since the room faces west and the sun floods into it most of the afternoon. I was a little nervous because the room was currently white, and I didn't want an already small room to appear even smaller with a darker color.

I was very particular about the type of tan I would paint my office.  I did not want it to have a purple undertone as some taupe's tend toward.  I wanted the color to definitely be in the brown family.   I probably stood in Lowe's paint department for almost an hour trying to find the right swatches.   I found several contenders and brought them home.  The process of hanging swatches and moving them around the room at different times of the day commenced in the office.   I would even put the swatches behind my back and mix them up and then quickly hang them without looking too closely at the names to determine if I would consistently pick the same color, and I did!   My decision was made - one that I could not be happier with!!  I LOVE the color in my office.  It is so warm and cozy.  
Funny how I went in two opposite directions.  The guest room - monochromatic with a crisp airiness to it; and my office - warm with earthy tones.

Once the rooms were painted, I started to search for pieces that would fit what my mind's eye had imagined.   I didn't want to rush and just buy anything, but was deliberate and patient in my choices.  Ten weeks later, the rooms are finished!!  And I LOVE them!! 

So as promised, here are my reveal pictures!  :-)

{I must make a disclaimer here.   You will not find high-quality pictures from a special blogging camera or pictures taken with a photographer's eye for showcasing a room and its contents in their best light, but you WILL find humble pictures taken with my Iphone.}

Enjoy!

THE GUEST ROOM

I knew I wanted to do some type of wall stencil for both rooms.  
I found this perfect one for the guest room!  




Which came first - the tree over the bed or the tree on the night stand?  The tree on the night stand! I found this free Scripture printable and I just loved it!  That's when the tree theme was born!




When my husband and I found the metal tree at Hobby Lobby which matched the night stand picture, we knew we had to get it as it was perfect!  We absolutely LOVE how it looks!




 I was very particular about how I wanted to do the bedding.  Since we have such a high bed, it is nearly impossible to find a bed skirt that goes long enough, and they can be difficult to work with.  I was searching around online and found this great idea which apparently Martha Stewart suggested which is to put a fitted sheet around the box spring mattress, and I did!  The dark gray was the perfect contrast to the colors I had picked out for the bedding.  I found the sheets with the gray accent along the edging at Anne & Hope.  The bedspread was exactly what I had envisioned and I was so happy I found it.




I've had this book case for years which was perfect for housing items for our guests.

That glowing orb on the right is just the sun.  I warned you about my photography skills!  LOL.


My husband and I found this picture at Hobby Lobby.  Isn't it absolutely perfect?!




I've always admired lifestyle bloggers and how they style their rooms which inevitably always have white flowers in a silver box-shaped vase.  lol  I thought that would be the perfect accent for on top of the bookshelf so as not to take away from the picture above it.  I set out to look for one thinking never in a million years would I find it, and sure enough, I did!  On clearance at T. J. Maxx!




I knew I wanted the guest room to have lots of Scripture verses throughout.  I found this candle at Hobby Lobby and thought it was so unique and perfect!





In the gray bin on the first shelf, I have travel size toiletries for our guests to take if they forget something at home.  Imagine my delight when I found this perfect free printable online to go alongside of it!  The printable fits perfectly in this gray shadowbox type frame which I bought at Hobby Lobby!






I found this free printable online which goes along with the tree-theme of the guest room.  :-)  I love how the verse is written throughout the branches.  The frame I found brings out the colors of the printable perfectly.  And, by the way, this frame is outside of the box for me.  You see I  have a problem.  I need symmetry!  lol.  To have a bronzy colored frame when everything else is silver or gray cool tones was a real struggle for me.  (True story!) But I was like, nope, it's a bit of  warmth and color which adds more interest to the book shelf.  So I am at peace with it.  ;-)





Why looky here!  A pop of color!  lol.  I bought this chair at Target a few years ago.   It serves as a nice statement piece for the room.




I've had this bowl and pitcher for years and liked the idea of having it in a bedroom hearkening back to another era when you would find a wash stand and bowl and pitcher in the bedroom. (I actually just remembered I have an antique bed pot.  I need to go retrieve that!  lol.)




It was actually my husband's idea to put a clock on this shelf.  I was somewhat surprised since he doesn't like the sound of ticking clocks. I personally find them soothing.  lol.  I can hear this clock ticking from the hallway and I love the sound.  We found it at Hobby Lobby and the gray weathered color goes perfect in the room.



Another Hobby Lobby find in gray. Perfect!




I was looking around online for free Guest Room printables and found this 
quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson.  I liked the sentiment and placed it in this metal 
frame which I bought a few years ago at Hobby Lobby.






The Office/Second Guest Room

I absolutely LOVE how my office came out!  The contrast of the white curtains and the white trim against the the tan walls work beautifully together.   As I've shared before, ever
 since I was a little girl, I have always loved curtains; in particular, tie-back curtains. 
 I found these curtains at WalMart, and they were EXACTLY what I envisioned, especially
 with being blessed to have an office space that looks onto my backyard, 
and the fields behind it - a beautiful frame for a very peaceful setting.








I wanted a Scripture stencil that would speak to my heart every time I entered this space, 
and indeed, this was the perfect one!

It was important for me that my desk showcased pictures of my son and 
daughter-in-law; my daughter and son-in-law, and granddaughter.  
Sweet reminders of the most cherished blessings in my life.




I had went on quite the search for a table lamp that actually used a bulb that would provide good lighting.  I had settled for one that I wasn't happy with, but then randomly found this one at Christmas Tree Shop last week.  The colors are absolutely perfect!

The sweet frame for Lexi's picture I bought at Hobby Lobby, and matches perfectly.





I had chosen a gold theme for the room's accents.  Coincidentally, I received this vase as part of a Ghiardelli chocolate gift basket from the Superintendent I work for.  I couldn't get over how perfectly the colors matched my theme!  And it was the perfect home for my artificial plant from Ikea.  :-)




I found both of these accent pieces at Hobby Lobby.  I got the idea for using my initial from another lifestyle blogger, and I think it works quite well in this particular cubby of my desk.  :-)



I love all the shelves and cubbies that my desk has; a desk I found at Wayfair.  
The L-shape makes the desk very functional.




As you can tell, I am loving free printables!  
I wanted my desk to have inspiring verses everywhere I looked.  




As I shared in an earlier post, my son brought back the adorable 
owl calendar from Punta Cana. 

I am a to-do list person and ended up buying this $1.47 small white board at WalMart.  
It seems to be working well in this space.  :-)

It was becoming apparent that I had a need for a month-at-a-glance calendar. 
 I found this free printable online and framed it.  I love it!




Both of these pictures sit over the desk's extension.  My mom had given me the picture of the Irish landscape with an Irish blessing written on the top right corner.  
I find the picture so calming.  Maybe it's because of my Irish ancestry.  ;-)

I found the plaque at Hobby Lobby.  The inspiration from Micah 6:8 is a good daily reminder for me.



Another wonderful blessing of having my office located where it is in my house is that the afternoon sun streams through the back window.  I have ALWAYS loved how it looks when the sun casts a shadow of the window panes and curtains onto the wall.  It just feels so cozy. 




When I used to visit my dear friend Bekki at her momma's house, I always admired the vintage paintings her mom had hanging on her walls.  They just invoked such peaceful feelings.  
I knew I wanted a vintage picture for my office.  I found this classic - Charles Burton Barber's "Suspense", and it looks perfect over the bed.  :-)

The color of the walls probably looks the truest in this picture


It took me a long time to find a bedspread, but I knew that I would know the one when I saw it!  And I did!! The colors of this bedspread compliment the colors in the room beautifully!  
I found this on super sale at JC Penney's.



My good friend came over when I was deliberating on what type of picture I would 
 hang over the head of the bed.  I showed her my choices.  One was another vintage 
picture which we both loved and another was a nature scene.  I ended up 
going with the vintage picture only to find out a week or so later that they could not locate one in stock.  Back to the drawing board I went.  {No pun intended.  ;-) }  




My friend Debbie told me that when we choose art it's not about being matchy matchy, 
but how it makes you feel.  When I found this picture, I couldn't stop staring at it!  
It's like I feel present in the picture, and it just makes me feel happy and at peace.  
It is called The Oak and is a painting of a scene from California with the mountains in the background.  I just LOVE the colors against the tan wall.  When I hung it, I literally clapped with joy! :-)




I wanted to have a neat space to hide keep all my stuff.  lol.  I bought this nine compartment cube at Big Lots.  The cubby bins match the room perfectly!



I'm told I get my love of family pictures from my grandma.  She was always taking pictures.  After she died, my dad gave me her camera.  You know the old kind that had the flash cube which connected on top.  It brings back so many wonderful memories.  <3

So with my love of family pictures, I knew I wanted my cube to showcase family photos of my brothers and their families, my parents and the annual Thanksgiving group shot of all of us together.

The large picture on top is of my Aunt Laura when she was about four years old; an aunt I never met because she died when she was six years old.  I've always treasured this picture; even more so now as her resemblance to my granddaughter is stunning.  How special to see such a strong family resemblance span generations.



I hope you've enjoyed this glimpse into my home.  I've loved sharing it with you.  :-)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

While proofreading this blog post, I realized I repeatedly said perfect when referring to the pieces I found.

As I pondered whether I should go to the Thesaurus, I decided to leave every perfect in the post as a reminder of how God showed appreciation for us.

God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. 
Genesis 1:31a

We are His creation.  He sees us as perfect through the blood of the Lamb.

For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
Hebrews 10:14


The definition of appreciate is to recognize the full worth of...

Our Heavenly Father appreciates us!  He recognizes our full worth in Christ Jesus...

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus
Ephesians 2:10a

 Let us all walk in the knowledge of our full worth in Christ Jesus.  Amen!


You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home  ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up Tea & Word Tuesday Heart Encouragement Thursday Hearts for Home