Sunday Serenity :: Cookies and Creme Cupcakes

Each Sunday, I will feature a picture or two taken by one of my daughters,
and some words of faith, hope, and love given by our Father.

Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Blessed are you who run to Him.

~Psalm 34:8


10 Simple Kitchen Organizing Tips

As a professional organizer, I am excited that I get to share both 
my love of organizing with you today, 
as well as the tidy, frugal ideas that I use 
to simply keep my sanity in my own kitchen. 

Maybe you can use some of these solutions, too?
Here we go!
1.  To save drawer space, hang your oven mitts in a hook inside a cabinet door near the oven, and hang your aprons on the pantry door or a wall hook.

2.  Store like items together in zones. A common space for small appliances makes their access handy and easy for your dishwasher-emptier to put the accessories that belong to each appliance with its mate.

3. Store your utensils out in the open, in an urn, crock or ceramic pitcher, so that they will be easier to find and to use and to be returned after being cleaned.

4. If you can afford to do so, buy matching storage containers, like these jars from Ikea, and label them.

5. Remove a few cabinet doors to have easy access to dishes. Contrary to what you might think, these dishes don’t get dirty simply because they are out in the open. They are frequently used and don’t sit still long enough to gather dust.

6. Use baskets INSIDE the refrigerator to group like items. They keep those science experiments out of the rear of the fridge, make the good foods easier to grab, and shelves stay cleaner longer.

7. Use an ordinary plate easel as a cookbook stand. It keeps your book open, clean, and in view while you are creating your newest culinary masterpiece.

8. Keep daily-use supplies handy and corralled. This is my coffee station, resting on a marble cutting board.

9. Keep only the best of your kitchen helpers. These are literally all of my casserole dishes and pie plates. 
I never need more than a few of these at a time.

10. If you notice a “theme” in my kitchen’s gadgets, it is that of white, glass and silver. A simple, complimentary color scheme brings unity and harmony to the space and is easy on the eyes. This is the easiest way to “organize”.

May you be blessed as you make your home!

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Lessons for a College Mom :: Letting Go

I thought I'd repost this from last year, in honor of you moms that are sending 
your child off to college, for the very first time.

It's okay to let them go from your nest.
They will fly.
(I know this from experience!)

So, we took our daughter, Miss S, to the University last night.
It's her Sophomore year.
I miss her like I did last year when she went away for the first time.

Sure, the college is just across town, 1/2 an hour away,
but her room is empty.

She drives me crazy sometimes when she's home.
She sleeps in. Her room looks like a war zone.
She makes her own schedule that doesn't jive with mine.

She makes me laugh and learn with her wisdom and insight.
She sweetly encourages her sister. She puts her dishes in the dishwasher.
She embraces a hope for the future that inspires the socks off of me.

My sister sent me the YouTube video below--I had never seen it before.
But, oh! How beautiful it is!
Get some tissues and be blessed!!

I have had 18+ years to raise and train my daughter, yet it went by quickly.
I am proud of the woman that she has become, and I want her to fly!
I am letting go, so she can.

She'll take the painting in the hallway
The one she did in Jr. High
And that old lamp up in the attic,
She'll need some light to study by.

She's had 18 years to get ready for this day.
She should be past the tears, she cries some anyway.

Oh, oh, letting go.
There's nothing in the way now,
Oh letting go, there's room enough to fly.
And even though, she's spent her whole life waiting,
It's never easy letting go.

Mother sits down at the table.
So many things she'd like to do.
Spend more time out in the garden,
Now she can get those books read, too.

She's had 18 years to get ready for this day.
She should be past the tears, she cries some anyway.

Oh, oh, letting go.
There's nothing in the way now,
Oh letting go, there's room enough to fly.
And even though, she's spent her whole life waiting,
It's never easy letting go.

Oh, oh, letting go.
There's nothing in the way now,
Oh letting go, there's room enough to fly.
And even though, she's spent her whole life waiting,
It's never easy letting go.

~Suzy Bogguss


Guest Room Souvenir :: Home State-shaped Pillow

When I went to the cottage at Gina's near Nashville, TN, last month,
I wanted to bring some handmade thank-you gifts 
with me for the other 5 girls to thank them for selecting me to come be with their gaggle.
Something that represented me and my home state of South Carolina.
And my city, Greenville.

Would melt.

Too common.


I had to think...



and then it came to me.

craft paper pattern 
piping cord 
ribbon roses (to represent Greenville's location) 

(Yes, it looks like an oddly-shaped bird. Don't laugh.)

My hubby and I celebrated our 22nd Anniversary while I was at the cottage,
so I brought a picture of us on our wedding day along to remember him.
(Don't worry, he drove to Nashville, and we celebrated later in the week,
he took me to the Grand Ole Opry.)

After sewing 5 of these, let's just say, I was wishing my home state was Colorado.

Colorado State Map

Thank you, Gina, for letting me stay here in this lovely space!

With love, from South Carolina,

P.S. The next thing I want to sew, is this pillow that Gina designed:

The Big, Fat Flower Pillow.

florette pillow

HERE is her tutorial on that.

Soon, I will be having a giveaway, Nashville-style.
When we stopped or shopped someplace, I got something for the giveaway.
Think Anthropologie, Grand Ole Opry, Forever 21.

Heart and Seoul

I know I haven't been posting much, and I am sorry!
Remember THIS post?

Well, in it, I give you an overview of my summer.
And this coming Monday, the 8th, it officially comes to an end with Miss A's first day
of being a Junior in High School.

But before that happens, we have a wonderful blessing happening today.

FOREIGN. -adjective
1.of, involving, located in, or coming from another country, area, people, etc.
2.dealing or concerned with another country, area, people, etc.
3.not pertinent or related
4.not familiar; strange an abnormal place or position: 
6.outside the jurisdiction of a particular state; alien

Our new daughter/foreign exhange student, Lovely (our nickname for her), 
arrives tonight on a Delta flight from South Korea!
We will greet her with a sign, balloons, smiles, hugs, and (from me) a few tears.

I cannot imagine how hard it would be for me, if I were 16 again,
to travel to a new country, on a 16 hour flight that takes me to the other side of the planet,
to meet people who live differently, speak differently, eat differently.
Unsure of my new surroundings, feeling out of control since my former home
was so familiar. 
Would I feel wanted? Loved? Missed? Misunderstood?
Would I feel alone? Would I feel homesick? Would I be liked?
Would I feel excited to learn about my new-to-me and foreign country?

I cannot imagine how hard it would be for me, if I were the parent
of that 16 year old, my daughter, to send her to a strange new place.
As I watched her plane leave the runway, would I now realize that there would be 
an empty space at the dinner table, the backseat of the car?
An empty room where she once slept, an empty hole in my heart?
Would I be proud of her bravery and would I be simply happy to know that this is part 
of her life's journey and I wanted her to experience something I never have?
After her safe arrival, would her host family treat her well, kindly, and gently?
Would her new mom and dad listen to her concerns, fears, and dreams?
Would they believe in her, encourage her, love her?
Would she have all she needs?

I have been pondering these thing since Mother's Day when we signed the paperwork
to make Lovely a part of our lives.
I want to always be aware of this responsibility I have.
That of motherhood.
To my children. To others' children.

The example I set (sometimes it's rotten), the attitude I have (sometimes it's rotten, too),
and the faith I have in God, the joy I have in living, the heart I put into that living,
is being watched and mimicked and that is just plain scary.
But, I know that His grace over me will highlight the beautiful things
and dim the ugly things.

I told Lovely's parents, in an email, that we 
"wanted Lovely to feel safe and comfortable with us.
We will welcome her and care for her like one of our own daughters.
We will teach her to treat others like she wants to be treated,
to use her gifts and abilities for good with her heart,
to be responsible for her actions, and to love and forgive others,
how to be a moral person and a beautiful young woman."
And these things we will do.
With the Lord's help.

I pray that I won't only get to share our America with her,
but the hope, peace, and joy that I have because of that Stranger 
that left His home, traveled through time and space, to meet people who live differently, 
speak differently, eat differently.
He'd be loved, misunderstood, and alone. He came anyway.

Because of His desire to know me and save me, 
He made the journey so He could come and live in my foreign heart.


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The organization that has helped us find Lovely is PIE, Pacific Intercultural Exchange.
There are students all over the world that need a host home.
To learn about them, go HERE.

Welcome to our home and hearts, Lovely.


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