Friday, September 30, 2011

I finally got a "mantel"

No, it's not a real mantel I know. Still no fireplace for Mimi. Someday, sigh.

Until then...

I found this beauty at Goodwill for $7.00 Yippee. It sat in the corner of my kitchen for 2 months because I thought I needed a man to help me put it up. Turns out I didn't need a man for this afterall.

Here's the before of this spot on the wall.

And the after (hearts)

It's not taking much for me to imagine what to do with it for the Holidays... (smile)

Linking up to this party now that I can join in :)


Thursday, September 29, 2011

31 Days (Toward Fully Enjoying the Season)

For the past two years I've been an avid READER of the 31 Days series that many bloggers participate in. I've enjoyed so many of them and have gotten a lot of useful tips. This year I've decided to join in on the challenge. For the month of October I write along the same subject EVERY DAY. I've never written that faithfully on my blog, but I'm up for the challenge. Since I've never done this before, I took my inspiration from Melissa at the Inspired Room and the topic she's chosen but then modified it. Here's her outline:

Week One: Cozying Up Our Homes for Fall and Winter
Fresh ideas to embrace the fall season of contentment and prepare your home for the cozy season ahead.

Week Two: Thankful for Fall Traditions
Be inspired to creatively embrace fall traditions at home.

Week Three: Holiday Entertaining
I’ll share simple ideas and tips to prepare our homes for entertaining and really enjoying the holiday season.

Week Four: Christmas Bliss
And finally near the end of our 31 days, we’ll gear up for Christmas with ideas for gift giving, tips for creative wrapping, simple crafts and ideas for decorating your home.

I of course have no clue how to make those fancy's my humble attempt

and here's my outline:

Week One Preparing Our Homes for the Season

I'll be writing about the practical things things for welcoming the season to our homes and also how to engage all of the senses for full enjoyment.

Week 2 Autumn Traditions

I'll be sharing some of our families annual events, highlighting how we enjoy the fall season in Niagara and in our hearts and home.

Week 3 How to ENJOY Entertaining

I'll be sharing the practical things and many new simple ideas for making the most of togetherness.

Week 4 Christmas Bliss

An avid lover of Christmas, I thought I'd follow right along in Melissa's footsteps, I believe the key to getting the most out of the holiday season is "thinking ahead". Most people don't want to think about the holidays before December rolls around, because they don't really enjoy them. I'll be sharing not more things to add to your December "to do" list, but things to think through well before the holidays arrive, so that you can enjoy the ENTIRE season fully.

Anyways, I'm kind of excited about this, even though I'm not sure HOW I'm going to do it between Homeschooling and doing Dinner Shows several nights a week, but my intention is there and I hope you enjoy the journey with me.


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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Doubting the Message...


To some people doubt is a bad word.
It is scary.
It is uncertain.

Most people don't like uncertainty.
But life is uncertain.
Some people are "all or nothing" people.

These people tend to think..."If I'm not sure about this one thing....then maybe I'm not sure about anything".

There is nothing wrong with being an all or nothing person, but it can be a scary place.
The light is very very bright, but the dark is very very VERY dark.
Sometimes it's so dark, they get lost, and they need someone who is less "all or nothing" than them, to go into the dark place, find them, help them see the light, and drag them back out. It's these people that need to be careful - the ones doing the dragging. Not only is it dangerous that they could get hurt by the ones they are trying to help, but more so, they can do more damage if they are not themselves focused on the source of the light, and letting the light be the WAY out for them both.

Now that may sound confusing to some of you, but if you are one of those in the darkness - you may have a flutter of hope, and if you've been the one going in and dragging someone out - you are not confused. For everyone else, just walk in love. No one knows everything, even you. Be love, be the difference, be the vessel Jesus uses to demonstrate His very LIFE to others...the rest will work itself out.

Back to DOUBT.

Our God is bigger than all DOUBT.
He is LIFE, He is LOVE and our reality is this.
We are here to live...fully. (We do this in God alone)
To be productive, to make a difference.
As we are IN HIM, we learn to BE LOVE on the earth.
In the church...
Out of the church...

As He is without walls,
So we are meant to live outside the walls,
Walls of our own making, walls that others make for us
Walls that religion creates by default
So we are meant to live outside the freedom.
We can make a difference whether we are inside or outside the walls
Its more fun outside them, but there is no judgement either way

Doubt does not make God smaller.
It does not have to make our faith weaker.
It does not have to lead us into darkness.
We do not have to be lost in it...
We can use it to draw us closer to TRUTH.
When we've come across doubt, and not just dismissed it,
But instead considered it, found it wanting, went back to what we KNOW
Went back to To WHO we know.

On the other side of Doubt...
We see that God is bigger that our doubt.
His faith and even our faith is stronger than it...
The darkness will fade away in the LIGHT,
And because we've found our way...
Going back through that dark path again, is never quite as dark
and so we will find our way out again and again...
Because we have understood TRUTH again, in a new way
And then we see that He has been carrying us, all along.
Ps 23:4
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Don't be afraid of doubt,
hold fast to that one or two or three things that you KNOW.

John 1:1-5
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

RSVP faux pas

There aren't a lot of things that REALLY irk me, but this is one topic that sorely does. I'm not sure if this is due to the generation gap, because I hear people who are in my parents generation and older complain about this too, but it definitely is not limited to my generation and younger any more either.

PEOPLE, when you are invited to an event and you see these four little letters...

R S V P (followed by a certain date)

It means that you are to do the following.

1. Look at your calendar

2. Make a commitment, YES or NO to the event.

Remember you mattered enough to the hosts, to be invited. No one will be offended if you can't or even don't want to attend but you must decide. (side note: It's also very shallow of you to withhold your decision based on whether something "better" comes up or not - but that's for another rant on another day)


With your answer - email, call or send it in. Make sure you do. I know we all forget things and have busy lives, but this is extremely inconsiderate. The host(s) who take the time to plan these events, are trying to make sure they have enough food, etc.

4. If you reply NO

Do not just show up without contacting the host beforehand, they will not be prepared for you, and you will be an inconvenient irritation to them (despite the fact that they smile and say "it's ok" - IT IS NOT OK. Ever.

5. If you reply YES

SHOW UP. If crisis prevents you (like death) CALL the hosts and let them know immediately - not just prior to. This way they can invite someone else last minute to take your place if needed.

Finally, the more important the occasion is, the more important it is that you do this - usually because the budget is effected directly by your courtesy. Occasions that involve rentals and caterers for example, weddings, involve deposits and often times retainers that are non-refundable.

I recently attended a wedding where about 10 guests who had RSVP'd didn't show up to the reception. Honestly, I almost wrote down the names of the offenders to send nasty messages to - but I didn't, I thought I'd blog instead...

Think of this couple (most couples now a days pay for most or all of their own weddings), starting out life together. First the insult of empty chairs in the hall. Second, the cost. the deposit for the hall was probably astronomical. They get charged for the number of guests who rsvp'd. Including same day no-shows. This particular wedding was absolutely lovely, and it was a very nice meal, etc. I'd wager a guess at $100 a plate (or more).

10 no shows =$1000 down the drain

What an insult to the bride and groom and their families. "Congratulations! Now, I'm gonna rip you off to show you how much I care."

You people who didn't show up, you are not great friends and you should feel bad enough to send them a gift that more than makes up for your poor manners.

There you have it. I've gotten that off my chest.

Please, if you want to keep your friends and be a better person. RSVP and follow through on your commitments, no matter how big or small the event is.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fall Nesting at My Place

My favourite linky party is this one over at the INSPIRED ROOM I wrote this post, just to be able to join in J

Every year I stir up the nest at my place in the late days of Aug or early days of Sept depending on the weather. When that first cool snap happens, I get started.

I clean and clean and clean.
I purge and purge and purge.
(the difference from the spring is that the stuff I purge ends up in the garage with the intent to garage sale - whereas in the spring I usually send it all off the goodwill)
Then I pull down all the "summery" stuff; the white curtains, the seashells and the turquoise cushions, etc.

Then I nest.

It usually starts with moving the furniture around (I am limited in this because of a lack of available walls); then I pull out the Autumn decor boxes from the garage...

In the spring, the decor is designed in my head to freshen things up, to keep things airy and open so the air and sunlight (and people) can pass through easily.

In the fall, I want cozy and inviting. I want people to want to snuggle in and stay awhile.
I want my home to smell yummy and spicy and soft.
I want to see rich colours and fabrics.
I want people to be able to fall asleep on the couch.
Still, I like to leave the windows open.
I like to feel the crisp breezes and hear the cry of the Canadian geese passing by.

This year I was very inspired by the colours i saw here and here.

And from this piece that was a thrifted gift from Jodi T.

So I added some new tones to the reds I've used for the past couple years. I love my reds and saw no reason to get rid of them, and they so easily are incorporated into Christmas. It's much more colourful, but not over the top. I'm inspired by them, and now that I'm home all day everyday, inspiration like that is even more important to me. Some purple, orange and green tones - they were easy to pull in.

Let me take you on a tour...

First -the main entrance (no I have not really finished the front door/step...I will later)

I'm a big fan of subtle changes, but distinct ones. I feel like when its subtle, peace continues...

My antique dresser in this area always gets dressed up. This area I keep soft and neutral with the brown and earthy tones. This year I really love birds (my "kind of" new fav) so I added some to the branches. The wreath I made in the summer, but the colour works with the fall decor, added some potpourri and my scentsy burner...

...around the corner I carry over the neutral and earthy tones but added my living plants that were in the sunroom til the dropping temps threatened their continued existence with updating
The Formal Living Room. I think this is the happiest I've been with this room. I'd still really love a fireplace in here and think it would get more use if it had one. But ahh, budget constraints...

Then we move up to The Kitchen.

This is a very busy area, so I just pull out the colour punches...

Tray with ceramic Pumpkin cookie jar; dishes and pie plate on table (easy to remove for meals)

I love this pitcher I thrifted. I'm adding hydrangea's from the garden to it.

Leftover ceramic pumpkins under the cake plate along with my new pumpkin patch cake tin from friend Jodi T and the Give Thanks scentsy burner from sister Andrea...

I put the thrifted pumpkin garland on the wall until my fairy shelf installer comes to put up said wooden shelf (thrifted) on wall instead :)

Even the bathrooms got a touch up...


New Scentsy plug in. Steel blue shower curtain and metal leaf art gifted from Jodi T.


Installed hanger for purple plant from sunroom and added pumpkin display, orange fingertip towel added to green stuff already there.

However, the room that gets the most attention is our Family Room...this is where the real punches of colour show up...

We spend the most time in here, and it's where everyone congregates to visit, eat, sleep, study, watch TV/Movies, read, play, snuggle...etc. So of course it got the most attention.

The room is a bit dark (esp at night like in these picks) so I...

1. Used purple shears with the red curtains I already had (they let more sunlight in. The orange shiny fabric on the small table was a gift from my friend Davina and her recent trip to India. I love fabric from far away places! green blanket (costco) and purple throw pillow (Ikea 2 years ago)

2. I added some lamps behind the couch (thrifted bases, purple shades from IKEA)

In moving the furniture I created a sofa table and vignette...

are these stuffed pumpkins not awesome?! (THRIFTED!)......and they have all the colours....!!!!

Plus my fav. fall inspirational books and some red and yellow mums - delish.

Grandpa's chair was updated with a table, lamp, throw and beaded cushion.All things I had or thrifted.

The bookshelves got some attention too.
Mostly decorative pumpkins.

Not sure where to put these metal rust coloured butterflies....but I'll figure something out. Love them!

Got this new red Scentsy from my sister...
This corner display was updated with orange butterfly clip from Dollar Tree and pumpkin bowl. Painteing gifted from Becky L.

Well, there you have it. I will probably tweak until the week before I take it all down to set up for the Holidays which is very far away but coming quickly... until then, I hope you've been inspired even a little by my compulsive nesting and if not, you'll have to wait for a more thought-provoking blog post, they're on their way J

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years ago...

It's a day for reflection for most of North America.

Much gratitude is in my heart today as I remember and give value to the lives of those who were lost in and because of 9/11.

Ten years ago I was at work in a Bible College.
I had just finished leading the students in worship and prayer.
I watched the horror and tragedy of the second tower on live feed in someone's office.

What would this mean for us in Canada, especially those like us who live on the NY border? Will there be war? Who would do this? Are we a target in Niagara?

We rallied the students to pray, we spent much time together and in prayer and in the few offices with TVs.
It was an uncertain time for many... and then gradually, life moved on.

Ten years ago I didn't have kids.
We'd just had our second miscarriage after years of trying to get pregnant.
I worked a lot, I spent most of my time with my students.
I loved my job. I loved my church. I loved my life.

A year later, my father in law moved in with us.
A year later, I was pregnant - this time it stuck.
A year later I had a son.
Then my sister got married and had a son.
Then I went back to work. I wish I hadn't.
Then I had another boy.
Then I went back to work. Too soon. I wish I hadn't.
Another sister got married. And the one with a boy, had a girl.
Another sister got married.
And then another.
Then my father in law passed away.
Then my dad was diagnosed.
And I had another boy.
Then I went back to work. I really wish I hadn't.
But I did and God is faithful.
Then my dad passed away.
And then a 2nd sister had a boy.
Then my mom moved to Niagara.
Then we bought a business and it didn't work out.
My hubby was blessed with a new position in his work.
Then more babies were born to the sisters and I was finished working.
And Here we are at today again. We are truly blessed.

Ten years ago, we didn't have a lot of the things we have today.
But we had people who we don't have today...
and yet today we have little people who were not here then.
and the Circle continues.

The Hope that we had then, is stronger today.
The Faith we had then, is stronger today.
The Love we had then, is stronger today.
Because of the trials, the work, the heartache and loss.
The joys.
Our lives have been seasoned. We have continued to live.
And we will continue in this...

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