Welcome! It’s wonderful to have you join me at my new site!

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After a year off from writing, my fingers are itching and my heart is bursting.  This new site is under my name, to make it easier to find and also because I want it to be a place I can be *myself.* I don’t want to have to focus on just one topic–even though that’s the “recommended approach” to blogging–because as a person, I’m about more than one topic!  I want to share what’s on my heart, whether that’s an encouragement for you as a mom, a lesson I’ve learned in my study of the Bible or prayer, a struggle or celebration I’m having with one of my precious kiddos, or the tale of (or recipe for!) something terrible–or fabulous!– I’ve whipped up in the kitchen (I won’t share the terrible recipes, I promise!)

 The truth is, you can’t learn everything you need to know from a blog.

And that, my friends, is the understatement of the century.

You know why? Because that awesome, wonderful writer you admire so much? Not only is she imperfect, she’s not YOU. She’s not parenting your kids, she’s most likely not living in your town or attending your church, and she’s not married to your husband (more on these topics in a future post!) All I can do is share my heart and story because at the end of the day, that’s all I really *own.*

It’s an honor to share a few pieces of all of that with you!

Another truth that’s incredibly important for you to know … It’s a beautiful life. Even when it’s messy and laundry piles to the ceiling and voices are raised and it’s cereal for dinner. Maybe especially then. But only if you make a choice: to make the beauty when you can’t see it. Sometimes you have to ignore the laundry to pull the child onto your lap and read a story. Sometimes you need to invite the neighbor over, sweep the piles off the coffee table, light a candle, and make a pot of tea. Because the beauty? It’s inside you, and it all comes from the Father of Lights, and if you don’t dig for it some days, the piles can cover up your soul and the souls of everyone around you.

Let’s fight that together, shall we?

And so here’s another thing: I’d really, truly be tickled right down to the bottom of my heart if you’d join me. That means first, *please* leave comments!  I want to hear from you, and the way comment systems are set up now means you can even talk to each other down there (go ahead and try it!)  Second, I’d love it if you’d sign up for email updates in that little box on the right.  That way, you’ll get  a quick notice whenever I write something new, and sometimes special notes just for subscribers.  And finally, join me on facebook, twitter and/or instagram with those little buttons on the right, too!

It’s Thanksgiving week as I write this, and my sweet kiddos are just so excited to be in for a week of cooking and baking and preparing for several special guests.  Tomorrow I’m sharing ALL of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes in one post, so get ready!

 

(a repost from Encouraging Beautiful Motherhood)

We smile at the child who spills milk on the floor, letting him know it’s okay and the mess can be cleaned up.

We are patient with the one overwhelmed by the complexities of algebra.

We take time for the story of the broken heart, the misunderstanding between friends, the dreams deflected.

Oh, dear mom, do you know who you are?

KamenskyFirstStepTo the tired one, you are rest and peace.

To the struggling one, you are an inspiration to stick with it; encouragement to go on.

To the brokenhearted you are the listening ear, a sounding board, the voice of hope.

You are more than you see in the mirror.

The world is a confusing, difficult place for a child sometimes. You have a marvelous opportunity before you: to create a haven for your children; a place where truth is taught and grace reigns and ideals are upheld; where hearts can be safely bared and dreams nurtured and talents developed; where acceptance is constant and loyalty is always sure and the prodigal is always welcome home.

Don’t buy the world’s lie. Don’t believe them when they tell you that what you’re doing doesn’t matter–that you’re not using your talents, that you need to do something bigger and brighter to really succeed.

Those precious souls in your keeping … they will last throughout eternity. When you stand before God He will call you to account for your stewardship of them, and you will not regret your great investment.

You are a keeper, a molder, a treasurer of souls.  

“To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labours, and holidays; to be Whitely within a certain area, providing toys, boots, cakes and books; to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can imagine how this can exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone and narrow to be everything to someone? No, a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute.”
~G.K. Chesterton

“Everybody knows that a good mother gives her children a feeling of trust and stability. She is their earth. She is the one they can count on for the things that matter most of all. She is their food and their bed and the extra blanket when it grows cold in the night; she is their warmth and their health and their shelter; she is the one they want to be near when they cry. She is the only person in the whole world in a whole lifetime who can be these things to her children. There is no substitute for her. Somehow even her clothes feel different to her children’s hands from anybody else’s clothes. Only to touch her skirt or her sleeve makes a troubled child feel better.”
~Katharine Butler Hathaway

Hold your head high, friend. You are something special. You are a mother.

(a repost from Encouraging Beautiful Motherhood)

We are big fans of breakfast around here–especially for dinner! Of course, with so many people to feed, I’m always thrilled when I find something *everyone* enjoys. This was a new find this year, and I had to pass it along–they were a bit hit at my house!

Pumpkin Waffles with Apple-Walnut Sauce

1 1/4 cp whole wheat or regular flour
1/3 cp sugar
1 TB baking powder
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

Mix these together in a large bowl.

In another bowl, mix
3/4 cp milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cp melted butter
1/4 cp melted shortening,
1 extra large egg

Pour wet ingredients into dry and whisk together to create batter which will be slightly lumpy. Use this to make your waffles!

For the topping, melt 2 Tb butter in a skillet. Add 2 peeled and sliced apples and cook for about 4 minutes or until apples are slightly browned. Add 1/4 cup maple syrup and 1/2 cup toasted walnuts and toss to coat. Then pour this fabulous-smelling-and-even-better-tasting concoction over your waffles and prepare to roll your eyes with bliss.

And make sure you invite me for breakfast!

Come in–and please make yourself at home!

I know your time is precious.

So thank you for spending a moment here with me! It’s an honor I take seriously and am truly grateful for.

I believe moms have the most wonderful responsibility and one of the greatest privileges in all the world. And as one myself, of course, I’m aware that you bear great weight without much encouragement.

So I wonder … Could online become a lifeline?

In my own life as a mom I’ve often found myself feeling alone and unsupported. When I hold to ideals, I’m out of step with most of culture. Sometimes, the rushing current threatens to overwhelm me. I want to be a great mom. I want to be patient and kind and wise and understanding. I too often instead find myself selfish, lazy, impatient and disagreeable. I need Jesus to change me. And I have a sneaking suspicion that the arena of my home is just the place for such a transformation to happen.

But how?

I’m incredibly grateful for the women who have gone before me; the ones who hold conferences and exchange advice over coffee and keyboards; who have typed encouraging words on paper and screens–words that serve to uplift, exhort, and impel me to keep going on the tough days.

I pray now to join them, and to create a place here where you’ll be uplifted, exhorted and impelled to keep going. And even more … I’m hoping you’ll be inspired to create beauty in your home while you’re at it!

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What is beautiful motherhood?

Is it about having a perfectly decorated, immaculately clean house? Cooking all organic? Having every month of your child’s lives artistically scrapbook-ed? I hope not, or we’ll have to find someone else to write this blog. I believe it’s about a wide variety of things. It’s surrounding ourselves with beautiful music and art, delicious foods and tantalizing scents. It’s lighting a candle for dinner, keeping your children’s pictures on display, reading stories together at bedtime.  There may still be Cheerios under the couch and crayon drawings on the wall, but there’s a determined effort being made to transcend all of that.

Of course there’s more to it than externals. Beautiful motherhood refers to all the little things a woman does to subdue her home, to civilize her children, to point everyone around her to the great Creator of all. It’s embracing God’s vision for home and family. It’s determining to incorporate true beauty into every arena of our lives–to make our homes a haven where our family can retreat from the world’s onslaught, a place to rest and refresh and regroup so that we all may go back out into it and make a difference there.

I love these words by J.R. Miller …

 

“Home is the true wife’s kingdom. There, first of all places, she must be strong and beautiful. She may touch life outside in many ways, if she can do it without slighting the duties that are hers within her own doors. But if any calls for her service must be declined, they should not be the duties of her home. These are hers, and no other one’s. Very largely does the wife hold in her hands, as a sacred trust, the happiness and the highest good of the hearts that nestle there. The best husband—the truest, the noblest, the gentlest, the richest-hearted—cannot make his home happy if his wife be not, in every reasonable sense, a helpmate to him.

In the last analysis, home happiness depends on the wife. Her spirit gives the home its atmosphere. Her hands fashion its beauty. Her heart makes its love. And the end is so worthy, so noble, so divine, that no woman who has been called to be a wife, and has listened to the call, should consider any price too great to pay, to be the light, the joy, the blessing, the inspiration of a home.

Men with fine gifts think it worth while to live to paint a few great pictures which shall be looked at and admired for generations; or to write a few songs which shall sing themselves into the ears and hearts of men. But the woman who makes a sweet, beautiful home, filling it with love and prayer and purity, is doing something better than anything else her hands could find to do beneath the skies.”
― J.R. Miller