Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014!

You have been handed a new book.
Its pages are blank.
Its spine is stiff and the paper smells fresh.

You crack open the ledger and thumb through the crisp pages.
All empty.
Not a single line of prose.
Not a single jotting of a memory.
Not a single letter, sign, or symbol.

Every space available.
Every room a vacancy.
Every chapter void.

What will you do with this diary?
Is your memoir a mystery, comedy, or tragedy?

What would the title read?
The chapters?

Will you do with this diary the same as you did with last year's?

Will you write within its pages the same verses, the same resolves, the same worries?

What if, instead of being bound within the binding of yesterday,
you could scribble new dreams?
What if your journal, instead of failure, recorded fruition?
Instead of regret, rejoicing?
Instead of fear, faith?

But, despite your own determination,
your quest for perfection is unattainable.
Your hunt for holiness, useless.

However, the hero in our story defends our honor.
The villain who would hinder and sabotage our deliverance is bested and crushed!
Our worthless virtue becomes exquisite beauty.

Since God reconciled us through Jesus,
we all get a fresh start with new mercies and new grace.
Every single day.
Every single page.
Every single line.

As you pick up your pen to write in your new year's book, 
within the narrative will you record the truth, when confronted with lies?
Will you testify to hope when driven to despair?
Will you submit to His authority as the Author and Publisher of your faith?

 If you belong to Christ, you are a new creation. 
The old things have gone; everything is made new!

What a note-worthy novel yours will be!


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Our Christmas Dining Room

Our family is really enjoying living in less house.
It means less to clean, less to maintain, and less space to decorate.
There are no more formal rooms or "company/guests only" rooms.
We live in these rooms and use every single one of them, every single day.
Which also means more time to focus on living and loving 
and less time spent on the shuffling of stuff from one spot to the next.
It means contentment.

Our dining room is not only the place where we dine,
it is also my office and our music room.
(I talked about our plans for this space a few months ago HERE.)

To have one large room do triple duty is a blessing.
As I switch out the office stuff spread out all over the dining table 
for place settings, silverware, and  candles,
I thank God for the versatility of this house.

I also welcome the quiet times I can write and work,
and spread out all my office-y stuff all over the table,
yet while I do, I ponder and pray for the friends and strangers-become-friends
that we've laughed with, sung songs around the piano with, and been encouraged with in this room.
And I smile.

This is what this sideboard looked like when I got it 
(bartered from my friend, Ann, who got our theater room TV console in exchange).

The top two drawers hold my Gram's silver, candles, and linens.
The long, large drawer holds my paperwork, laptop, and crafting things.
In the bottom baskets, the left side (for now) holds Christmas gift wrapping supplies
and the right side contains board games and cards.
(Hmmm... I guess this room is also our game room!)

This Christmas, as we settle in this house, fresh from unpacking
and determined to keep only those things that we actually use and enjoy,
a new layer of gratefulness has spread itself over the floors and walls.

It's an understanding that joy doesn't come from inanimate belongings.
It's a realization that hope isn't found in the acquisition of paraphernalia.
It's a discovery that peace can't be found by holding onto stuff.


The items that we chose to keep have all been merged together to create our home.

The things that we've kept with us are the things we are willing to enjoy and share.

And, through the years, as tables and lamps and rugs and candles come and go,
these things will always remain within these walls:
The hope that our lives will reflect the glory of the One Who gave us life.
The joy of knowing that our security rests in eternity, not in the trappings of the here and now.
The peace, that our Emmanuel is always with us.


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I am joining the Christmas Celebrations at:
The Nester's Place HERE for the 2013 Tour of Homes
Richella's Home for Grace at Home #86 HERE
HERE at Kate's Place for Flaunt it Friday #185

The Halls are Decked :: Our Bungalow Entry

Please, come in out of the cold!
Welcome into our small, yet cozy front entry.
Our "foyer" is actually just a long wall with the office door right in the middle of it.

 What I really want to show you is my new favorite wreath.
Isn't she festive?

When Solutions contacted me to send me a Christmas-y products to review,
I was excited, because I had donated 75% of our Christmas items
to Salvation Army back in June, right before we moved here.

I'd cleared out all the extra stuff that never got used,
or had simply been accumulated after 20+ Christmases.
The 15 boxes were now 5 boxes:
lights, ornaments, a few silver trees, and some heirlooms.
No wreaths.

We wanted simple, silvery, vintage, nostalgic in this 1938 home.
So, I chose this gorgeous silver twig and pinecone wreath to hang on a mirror.
(I added an "H" for our initial.)
It is what I would call antiqued silver-looking, not bright silver.
And we liked it that way.

  • It is battery-operated (which I love because this house has approximately two outlets per room--old house quirk).
  • It has an on/off switch AND a timer switch that stays on and comes for 6 hours every evening based on the time you turn it on the first day.
  • The mini LED lights (which do not look like LED, but are actually a soft white) give off the prettiest sparkle when reflected in the mirror.
  • This wreath is HUGE! It measures 30" in diameter which is perfect because we have high ceilings and need decor with "presence". 
  • The pearl berries and silver pinecones are just right for not Christmas, but all Winter long.
  • It can also go out on our front door (it's safe for outside) or be used as a centerpiece.
  • Their shipping was FAST! It arrived in 2 1/2 days!

I don't think I've ever shown you our hallway, either.
It is 24' long and has 6 doorways off of it.

There's no art here, yet.
But, we think we will call this our Heritage Hall, and put all the reminders
of our heritage of the Lord in it: baptisms, births, reminders of God's faithfulness
 to our family through many generations.

 One of the things that we love about our home is these glass knobs.
Here is the one remaining skeleton key...

I took this picture with my back to the basement door.

This is the view through the dining room.

And the next post will be about simple Christmas in the living room.

And back to the entryway, again.

I smile every time I pass this wreath. 
To get one for yourself, go HERE to Solutions.
Or to their Pinterest board of all their wonderful, small-space, simple Christmas decor.
Their whole site is filled with products to make life easier.

And I'm all about making things easier!

Have you decked your hall(s) yet?


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A Home Maker's Christmas Guide

If I decorate my house perfectly with satin and burlap bows,
strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls,
but do not show love to my family,
I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of sugar cookies,
preparing gourmet meals, and arranging a beautifully adorned table for mealtime,
but do not show love to my family,
I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, 
put all my money into a red bucket next to the bell ringer, and carol in the nursing home,
but do not show love to my family,
it profits me nothing.

If I trim the Fraser fir with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes,
attend a myriad of holiday parties, and sing in the choir's cantata
but do not focus on Christ,
I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child,
love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china
and table linens.
Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way.
Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return
but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.

Love never fails.

Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust,
but the giving of LOVE will endure.


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