November 25, 2013
I love writing the Home-ista Blog… and I have been working to expand the work by adding a blog called Better Day – Better Life.
I hope you will take a look.
April 10, 2013
The weather is warming up in southern Ohio. Now is a good time to update your home’s decor to welcome the Spring season. Since my budget is tight, I am holding off on the big project I hope to complete in the future.
In the meantime, I am doing some low cost Spring spruce ups by adding a few accessories made of glass. I think the transparency of bottles, jars and other items can add a fresh feel to rooms. The color can be vibrant or subdued.
The sparkle of glass reflects light and brightens all kinds of spaces and it is easy to find. Think stores like TJ Maxx, Home Goods, Pier 1, Hobby Lobby or JoAnns Fabrics. Here are some examples from our home. I hope they give you a few ideas for your home.
March 28, 2013
For many people around the world, the week leading up to Easter is a time of reflection and great meaning. Last year, I felt of bit of conviction that I didn’t have any noticeable displays to herald the season, like I typically do for CHRISTmas.
Hmmm… didn’t the birth that we celebrate at CHRISTmas happen specifically to enable the Resurrection commemorated at Easter?
I almost felt a sense of lament that I did nothing to acknowledge Easter.
And then God gave me a simple idea that gave me peace and joy. A few days before Good Friday, I bought several yards of tulle netting. I arranged it along our staircase like garland the Thursday night before Good Friday. I choose red to symbolize the sacrifice that Jesus had made on cross. It was a reminder of His love and His obedience, even unto death.
It was simple, inexpensive, and easy to do. Yet, it was immensely important to me. My kids asked why I did it and I explained that I just wanted to acknowledge Christ and His meaning our lives. They said they liked it.
So at the risk of sounding like I have it all together, because you and I both know that I DON’T – I am praying to start a revolution of people who do “Holy Week” decorating for their homes and businesses.
“Dear Lord, we praise You because You are gracious and kind and merciful. We are thankful for countless blessings. We are most grateful for the incredible gift of salvation. During this upcoming week, may the hearts of your people be more closely knitted to Yours and may we glorify You in all we do, even in decorating our homes to celebrate this season. In the Name of the Risen Christ we pray. Amen.
May you feel the gravity and joy of this season…
P.S. Bunny rabbits of any kind are NOT what I’m talking about.
P.S.P.S. You could use white tulle, to represent the purity believers have because of Christ’s work on the cross, or purple silk on a door wreath to show allegiance to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Reader Becky Keating shared how she adorned her dining area for Passion week. Thanks for sharing.
December 31, 2012
As we say goodbye to 2012 and hello to 2013, I can’t think of a better item to advocate than “The One Year Bible,” by Tyndale.
This Bible version is unique because for each day of the year, there is a selection of Scriptures that allows the reader to go through the entire Bible in a year. The selection includes a portion from The Old Testament, The New Testament, a Psalm and a few verses from Proverbs. Because of this format, I am seeing connections between the Old and New Testaments that I never saw before. And I have all of the books of the Bible.
(I admit that I used to treat some books like bad neighborhoods. They were places that I just didn’t go.)
Another benefit is that you will get to have a real soaking in the word of God every day. It enables me to read enough Scripture at one time to help me live a more grounded life. (Well at least most days I am grounded in Him and there would be far more ugly days if I weren’t reading this Bible.) Today’s reading covered the promises in Malachi 3-4, the last chapter of the Revelation, Psalm 150 and practical role model of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31.
I was introduced to this incredible resource in 1999 while attending a Women of Faith Conference. My original version was part of a promotional package from Becky Tirabassi (who is a great speaker/Bible teacher.) You can find a copy in your preferred translation, NIV, NLT, ESB, NKJV, at Family Christian Bookstores, Christianbook.com or most booksellers online or the city where you live. This week is a great time to get started. I am convinced that you will be blessed immensely.
Wishing you a Blessed New Year,
P.S. To make a habit of reading your Bible, try to connect it with a habit you already have in place. I read my Bible in the morning when I drink my coffee. I had been doing that since I was 5 years old and adding my Bible reading to that habit in 1999 made it stick within days. If you can attach your Bible reading time, to an existing habit, you have a much greater likelihood of successful adoption.
P.S.P.S. There is a smart phone app called the Daily Audio Bible. You can download and listen to the Scriptures in the same format. My husband uses it and gives it high praise.
December 20, 2012
It’s the last few days to prepare for CHRISTmas 2012. For many of us, the road to this point has been rocky, as communities mourn over numerous tragedies, and particularly the recent events in Newtown, Connecticut.
I was torn whether to Blog – and then I was reminded that the reason for this whole CHRISTmas affair – is the only hope for those who mourn.
So I am writing to remind others and myself that in the midst of senseless tragedy, God is the only One who can ease the fear, who can diminish the pain, who can bring peace – when there is no human reason for peace. The One True God is the Father of Jesus, and He is the reason for this season.
As you continue your preparations – the shopping and cooking, the eating and cleaning, the visiting others and hosting visitors, the crying and laughing… please remember that this huge celebration is a half-birthday* party, for the Son of God. We give gifts to each other to remember His gift to each of us.
Jesus gives people the way to be reconciled to God. His gift helps us to enjoy the knowledge of good and by His grace to ultimately overcome the knowledge of evil. If we receive Him, we will become the sons and daughters of God – and there is no better gift than that.
So practically speaking here are some ideas to try-
Have cake with candles before or after you open your CHRISTmas gifts. (We eat the birthday cake with our breakfast on CHRISTmas morning.)
Open your home to people with the motive to provide a place of emotional “rest” for those who are weary and who carry heavy burdens.
Don’t sweat so many of the detail this year. Eat what you already have. Clean what is really dirty, but ask folks to show grace for the small things. They probably won’t notice.
Play games that create opportunities to talk.
Blow up balloons. Scatter them around the tree or in the dining room. I think birthday parties are better with balloons.
Be mindful that we might be allowing loved ones to partake in violence as they interact with video games, movies, and television, etc. Becoming desensitized to violence is a dangerous thing. Instead let’s make every effort to focus on things that are good, peaceful, kind, funny, thoughtful, and godly.
Eat some healthy foods along with the not so healthy fare.
Wishing you a joyous celebrate of His birth…
* Many Bible scholars believe that Jesus was born in the springtime. The winter CHRISTmas celebration is six months later, and in a sense, a half birthday.
November 1, 2012
You guys already know, that Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Even though the whole “event” can be stressful with all of the traveling and cooking. There might be strained relationships and the challenge of old family traditions vs. new ways of doing things. There is a lot of work to do and maybe not enough help to do it. But nonetheless I am still counting down the days.
This year I want to enjoy not only the final destination of dinner at 3:30pm on November 22, but I am hoping to enjoy the journey to get there.
Over the next several posts, I’ll be sharing tips, ideas, strategies and recipes to encourage you in your preparations.
Grab your calendar and begin to map out what “big” things needs to be done to have an enjoyable and meaningful time of giving thanks over a shared meal.
Do you need to travel? If yes, what’s the mode of transportation, the logistics needed to make it work. If you are headed to parts of the country that have been affected by the storm what adjustments need to be made.
If you are hosting guests, could some part of your home, benefit from a spruce up before the holiday season get going?
Where are you planning to eat? Is a plan in place for the location and guests?
If you are the primary cook for the big meal, what is on the menu? Can others help by bringing dishes? Will you try to offer healthier options? Doe you need to brush up on a dish you don’t make very often by preparing it over the upcoming weekend.
And the biggest question of all – how will I set aside time to spend time daily with God in prayer and thanksgiving remembering…
I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, And will call upon the name of the LORD. Psalm 116:17 (New King James Version)
Once you start answering the big questions, you can begin to fit these and the support activities on your calendar. The support would be if I want to be in Chicago by Tuesday afternoon, when do I need to leave to drive or fly or get there by train, and then secure the tickets, etc.
My calendar has been extremely useful for Thanksgiving preparations.
Happy Planning & Preparing
October 29, 2012
Even as one-third of the Eastern United States braces for a big storm, I can’t help but hope that our community gets to go Trick or Treating on Halloween night. I guess part of it is because October 31st is my birthday and I love the idea that so many kids are celebrating. And, more importantly, it is a perfect opportunity to show the love of Christ to the people who ring our doorbell.
Before you start typing a rebuttal email, I ask you to consider two passages from the Bible:
This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and the regaining of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19
- The enemy has not created any days. Every day belongs to God and October 31st is no different. So I am going to rejoice by giving out candied blessings to the people who come to Trick or Treat.
- God has given His followers the ability and responsibility to share the good news of His love with other people so that they can be fully connected with Him. One simple way to share this message is with the treat you giveaway.
This year our church staff made it super easy for us. They provided stickers that read “Because God Loves you BIG! (Not just fun sized.)” And they encouraged us to buy large-sized candy bars to give away. You can create your own version on your computer, just tape them to the candy and maybe include the website URL for the place where you worship.
Our family usually gives a sample Adventure in Odyssey CD to the first 20 families along with some candy. (Adventures in Odyssey is an outstanding children’s radio program that teaches faith-based concepts in a creative storyline. Check your local radio station for air times, or listen online at http://www.whitsend.org.)
If you have already bought a bunch of fun sized candy packs, maybe you can bundle them with a note that says – Here’s some Fun Sized Candy to say, “I love you” from a Super Sized God.
I hope you will share your stories of how you are putting the meaning into Halloween.
Blessings to you and yours,
September 28, 2012
I love Whole Food Markets. The products are great and the staff is friendly and knowledgeable. At the store near my house I met a team member who was helpful and brutally honest, in a good way.
On a trip last year, I was looking around with a puzzled expression as I searched for a popular powered version of coffee creamer. The young woman stocking the shelved asked, if she could help me find something. I told her I was looking for my regular brand of the creamer. She said in a dry, but alarmed voice, “You mean white death.” I said, “I beg your pardon.” She repeated the phrase and went on to explain why my former favorite brand wasn’t the most healthy choice I could be making then pointed me toward a liquid soy coffee creamer. She finished with, “Try it and of you don’t like it, we’ll give you your money back.”
I admit that it has helped me shave calories off of my beloved morning cups of coffee goodness. Try it. I think you will like it. And now as it has grown in popularity you can buy it at conventional and health focused grocers.
Because it need to be refrigerated it can lower the temperature of your hot cup of Joe. I typically poor a couple of tablespoons into a glass server and microwave for 30 seconds on defrost. This takes the chill off without affecting the composition. And that time of microwaving gives me a moment to do a plank core strengthening exercise. A bonus for my tummy.
I hope you will enjoy the soy…
August 10, 2012
I was recently visiting a new neighbor of mine. Sherry Grzanka moved to Ohio from Nashville with her husband and two sons about a year ago. Sherry is a true Southern Bell. She loves the home. Ironically she injured her arm a few weeks after moving to greater Cincinnati and despite her best efforts to get the family room arranged, she was not still thrilled with the layout of the space.
After we talked about the room for a few moments, I said, “How about we just tweak a few things.” She said “Sure, let’s do it.”
Sherri’s spacious family room is open to the kitchen. Surveying the space, I asked Sherry what the room was primarily used for. She said, watching TV and entertaining. In the before picture, a love seat and club chair were positioned in a “v” shape directly across from the television. The longer sofa sat perpendicular to the TV. So I said, let’s try moving the sofa directly across from the flat screen so more people have a front-on view.
With the sofa now parallel with the TV, we made an ” L” by moving the shorter love seat to now be perpendicular with the TV. This created a more balanced room. We also moved a red accent chair that had been in the front corner near the TV to the back corner. We made this area a secondary focal point by hanging the artwork that had been leaning on the mantle on the wall where it could connect with the red of the chair.
The brown leather chair, which originally formed a “V” with the love seat was now in front of the room near the TV. This allowed all of the brown leather to be in a cohesive unit with accents of color added in. (I suggested the Sherri buy a red throw blanket to go on the brown leather chair in the future.)
We finished by positioning the various side tables and bringing two larger lamps from a different room. Though the moves only took 15-20 minutes, they made a world of difference to the function and feel of the room. And Sherri’s son Jack, seen “enjoying” the sofa agreed with this sentiment.
Here are a few principles that might come in handy, if you want to do some rearranging:
- You might have to do the actual move to see if it will work.
- If you can’t do the move without help, try to draw the floor plan from eagle eye view on a sheet of paper. Draw your current arrangement on one sheet and your new proposed plan on another. Compare to see if the new arrangement has the potential to be an enhancement.
- Sometimes you need to get rid of something. Less furniture might be better.
- If you are watching TV in the space, consider centering the sofa directly across from the TV. Place a sofa table or attractive bench behind the sofa to add “jewelry” to the back.
- Place coffee or accent tables so that each seat has a spot to place a beverage or book.
- Artwork can bring focus to an area. It’s a great way to share your personality.
- Pillows and Throw blankets are ways to tie colors together and they are comfy for lounging.
If you would like ideas on how to rearrange a room in your home – please let me know.
Get your furniture groove on…
P.S. The red wreath in the first photo is now adorning Sherri’s front door.