What Ingredients are You Using?

What do you prepare in the kitchen of your heart? 
I know that's a weird question.
But if there were a kitchen in your heart- what's in the pantry?

The pantry is a place where we store the items needed to make something edible, 
and hopefully delicious, to serve.
The pantry is a place where we store the items needed to keep us well, healthy and nourished.
My pantry used to be a place where I stored all kinds of junk and processed food. 
Malnourishing and harmful to the very family I was trying to sustain!

Here's how I went from having an unhealthy pantry to a better one.

Two years ago, I lost 40 pounds with Weight Watchers, YMCA with a workout buddy, 
and my wonderful friends' and family's encouragement. It wasn't easy.

During the 7 months it took me to lose the weight, I made MANY lifestyle changes.
The major one was what I chose to put in my cart at the store.
My decision began there, in my mind
when faced with so many seemingly delicious, expedient, easy choices.

But what I had to remember when perusing through the aisles was, 
it was those easy choices that made me overweight in the first place.
While counting my "points":
  • I learned to replace the sugar with Agave or honey.
  • I learned to replace Hamburger Helper with whole wheat pasta/chicken/spices.
  • I learned to replace margarine and shortening with real butter.
  • I learned to choose unbleached flour, whole wheat flour and weird foods like Quinoa.
  • I learned to select all-grain cereals instead of sugary corn ones.
  • I learned to drink water and eliminate soda. (This was a hard one- I was a Coca Cola addict!)

I also found a magazine that helped me learn about why 
to make better choices: Clean Eating.
You'll hear me talking about clean eating 
(consuming food in its most natural state) a lot!

So, I threw away a lot of junk when I first started changing my habits.
I can't say that I didn't eat a cupcake or french fries now and then, 
but I didn't enjoy them anymore.
It took more work preparing a "slow meal" instead of eating fast food.
I still craved and desired soda 
when I walked past the open front beverage cases at the checkout counter 
and Coke was calling to me, I heard it!

But gradually, the changes became habit, and these new habits 
caused health AND smaller jeans sizes!!

Here's my pantry:

In my heart's pantry, sometimes daily, I need to throw out the food.
Especially the foods labeled:
  • DISCONTENTMENT (ingredients: unhappiness, regret and complaining)
  • ANGER (ingredients: irritability, critisism, distrust)
  • PRIDE (ingredients: self-importance, disdain, judgmentalism)
Do I think I am going to make anything tasty or good for others 
with a combination of any of these?
Who'd want to eat it?
Yet, I gather the jars and boxes, dump them out, mix them up, 
bake or cook them and serve them. 
To my family, my friends, my children and husband!

After the so-called savoring of these dishes, I and others are left unsatisfied.
We are still hungry! 
Eating more only makes us feel as if we are starving!
And I have served worthless and inferior fare.
And maybe I have lost a few diners, too.

What should I place in the pantry instead?
When a family member or friend opens the doors and reaches for something to enjoy, 
what will be on the shelf?
When I need to make a healthy dish- 
will I have organic, nourishing and wholesome options?

"My food," said Jesus, 
"is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish his work."

What does doing God's will taste like?

To me, God's will is:
  • Having a relationship with Him and learning from Him.
  • Using His word for wisdom.
  • Asking the Lord in prayer for more wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
  • Listening to the advice of other godly men and women in my life.
  • Pleasing Him with my life and home.
  • Using the gifts and abilities He has given me in order to serve others.

If there were a kitchen in your heart- what's in the pantry?


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This banner is super simple to make and tells your sweetie that you love him
and want him all for yourself.
I made this one for a friend of mine and her hubby, and they put in their foyer.

Select 12 papers that coordinate:

Print 2" letters on vellum paper. This is Martha Stewart paper. 
Trace 3" circles and cut, or use a circle cutter if you are blessed enough to have one:

Decide which papers will be the letter background color, and decide which papers will be heart-shaped. 
I chose mainly solid paper for the letter background color so the letters could be read better:

Trace the circles and hearts and cut. These are Creative Memories templates:

Lay the words/shapes out before deciding to adhere them, to make sure you like the way it looks. 
Then, use clear double-sided tape to adhere the stack of three pieces together. 
Use a hole punch to make holes in the top right and left corners of the hearts:

Satin ribbon hangs most nicely. This is 6 feet of it:

I am my lover's and my lover is mine. Song of Solomon 6:3


My name is Leslie. I am a Home Maker.

I am also a homeschooling mom and housewife.

I am also a Certified Interior Decorator, Home Stager and Home Organizer.
But, my main career is homemaking.

I live with my loving & tolerant husband, Mark, a really funny 16 year-old daughter & another part-time (a sophomore in college, she usually comes home on the weekends) really logical 20 year-old daughter. My four-legged children are playful ferrets named Claire & Sylvia (whom we call the little sisters) & a four-finned red Betta named Buster.

We live in a cul-de-sac in a white house with a red door & a bistro set on the front porch in Greenville, SC, with spiral (think Disney World) evergreen trees on either side of the porch & hydrangea bushes of every color in the backyard.

I spend my days in various places around the house: spending quiet time in the morning with my Lord, doing laundry or organizing something, sewing a slipcover here & a button on there, trying a new recipe, planning the week's menus or loading the dishwasher, laughing & chatting in our basement cafe' with new & old friends, listing things on etsy, eBay, Amazon or browsing Craigslist, hovering over the younger daughter as we homeschool & tinkering in the yard.

When I'm not doing those things, I'm usually daydreaming, taking a nap, taking pictures, making piles throughout the house of this & that, painting anything that's not moving or reading a book.

All of these simple, mundane tasks added up over the past 20 years* have turned a house into our home.

I love vintage cottage-y things, ironstone & toile, flea markets & estate sales, birds & bunnies, a hot cup of Lady Earl Grey & Jim's Organic Coffee, baking fresh triple berry scones & dark chocolate anything, seashells & cloches, parties and celebrations of life, travelling & then coming back home, hugs & kisses, but most of all I love turning ugly & abandoned things into beautiful & useful ones, for this is what Jesus' love has done for me!

(Our Eat-In Kitchen island before)

(and after)

What am I talking About?

Here you will find inspiring, creative, thrifty and fresh ways to make your house into a home. You will discover that what truly matters is not the furniture, the wall colors, the flooring or the accessories within the house--or even the house itself--but the heart that gets put into the making of a home.

When I talk about home making, then, I don't mean merely the keeping & decorating of a house & its rooms, but of our letting Jesus be keeper & maker of our heart & the "rooms" in it.

He is the One who transforms the messes into methods, clutter into calmness. He transforms the places in our hearts to reflect His likeness: love, redemption, grace, peace & holiness, and He wants to live in and be welcome there. Ephesians 2:22 says so: "And because you belong to him, you too are being built together. You are being made into a house where God lives through his Spirit."

Interior decorating is really His specialty!

So, as Jesus transforms us on the inside, 
may our house be transformed into a home as well!

(Most of the pictures here will be of my own home and homes that I have helped others add their hearts to. If they aren't my pictures, I'll tell you so and put the link with them.)

I'm so glad you stopped in & you are welcome here any time!

*Over the last 20 years, these are a few of the activities I have had: MOPS coordinator, Wilton Cake Decorator, Interior Redesign/Home Staging/Organizing, homeschooler (12 years so far), crisis pregnancy counselor, Financial Peace University Class Coodinator (with Mark), built 2 homes, seamstress, Once a Month cooker.

The Find

Sitting on the curb, amidst the overgrown weeds, is a piece of furniture. At least that's what it looks like at first glance.
The brakes squeal, the pick-up truck slows to a stop.
The driver hops out on to the street and makes his way around the backside of the truck, stopping to let the tailgate down.
As he approaches the abandoned cast-off, he smiles, knowing that this is exactly the conversation piece he has been looking for.
He imagines what color it should be re-painted.
He imagines what hardware it needs.
He imagines what its use will be.
He imagines where it will be placed in his home.
Upon closer inspection, he realizes that this piece is really rather ugly.
It is chipped from use and is in serious disrepair.
Years of abuse have carved irregular, misshapen tracks in the surface that will need to be sanded and patched.
The chipping paint reveals so many layers that the original finish is unrecognizable.
A faint, strange odor emanates from it.
As the restorer leans down to scrutinize it with keen eyes, he runs his hand over the surface, and realizes that this is actually a rare work of art.
He can't wait to get to work refurbishing it!
He carefully lifts and carries it to the flatbed and carefully slides it in.
A sigh and knowing nod of liberation of this heirloom, accompanies the slamming latch as it locks.
On the drive back home, the rescuer drives delicately, so as not to disturb the find.
His driveway welcomes the gravel-crushing wheels of the pickup, but this time, when the driver hops out, he skips to the tailgate, releases and delivers his new belonging to his workroom.
The craftsman lifts the find to the top of his dropcloth-covered workbench and pulls the cord above the bench to illuminate the area.

He then flings the windows open wide and switches on an old fan that hums as it sweeps fresh air across the room.
His first order of business is to remove the heavy layer of dirt and grime covering the surface.
A gentle wash with soap exposes the true irregularities.
He pulls on a pair of well-worn gloves and takes a just as well-worn brush and applies varnish remover across the entire outer surface which instantly dissolves the first layers of paint.

After inspection, the refinisher decides that this procedure must be repeated twice more, over the top and down the sides.
The fumes permeated the air more quickly than the fresh air could dissipate them, yet he cannot leave his endeavor until it's true finish could be seen.
After considerable scraping of the loose material, sanding, wiping of the dust, brushing of the intricate areas until all the residue is gone, the man grins in delight.
After all, to him patience is the best refinishing technique.
The first glimpses of the original hidden luster are spied!
It's time for revitalization with an oil.
Soon, the workroom is filled with the sweet-smelling fragrance of this distinctive balm.
After the find has received its new covering, the man steps back and with his whole countenance beams his approval.
The delicate intricacies of the carvings now gleam in the light, its unique designs once again, revealed.
Promptly, he takes up the find and carries it inside his home with pride.
As he transfers his new treasure to its new spot, he tenderly sets it down, and gently whispers to the find.
He tells her that never again will she be abused and neglected.
Never again will she be set outside as rubbish and abandoned.
He tells her she this is her new home and invites her to stay with him forever, all the while, calling her by her name: Leslie.


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