Simple Things that Make a Difference

Gratitude Day 333

Wed., Oct. 2, 2019

Psalm 116:6: The Lord protects the simple and the childlike;

I am reminded again and again how important the simple things of life are.

I call this blog Simple Words of Faith for a reason. My whole goal here is to connect faith to our everyday, ordinary lives. The “real” parts of our lives. Where the rubber hits the road. Where we find just a little bit of faith and God at the intersections of ordinary, real life.

It happened again for me in the simplest of ways. While I didn’t snap a single photo to capture the moments, I realized later, these little things are exactly what I want to treasure in my daily life.

Sometimes, I am present when three of our grandchildren get off the bus after school. These three are Rick’s son, Darran’s children. Darran runs a milk route. This means he picks up milk from dairy farms and transports it to a processing facility. This isn’t a straight 9 to 5 job. Sometimes, he runs late and needs someone to be with the kids until he gets home from work.

This fall, I have made myself available to do this. Together, the three kids and I spend quality time together.

Ellie is 9 and is into cooking. Well, really baking. A few weeks ago, she told me what she wants for Christmas. She marked some cookbooks and other cooking items on my Amazon account so I would not forget what she really, really wants.

Today, I brought along promised cookie dough so we could make cut-out cookies. As soon as she knew I had brought dough along, she was washing her hands. Her brothers, Waylan and Dylan, were only interested in taste-testing the dough. They headed upstairs to find other things to do.

We used season-appropriate cut outs to make the cookies. I showed Ellie how to tell when a cookie is appropriately baked by touching the top of a cookie and seeing if your fingerprint remains. We frosted and decorated the cookies as well.

Soon, Ellie was looking for a container. She wanted a container, so she put cookies in it, and she take them to school and share them with her classmates. “What a great idea,” I told her. We found a container just large enough to hold all 25 cookies. Unfortunately, the dough wasn’t gluten free. So, one boy won’t be able to eat these cookies. Next time, I’ll know.

I loved how she decided to share these cookies with her classmates. She wasn’t just thinking about how she could keep them for herself and her family. It made making the cookies with Ellie even more special.

After we finished the cookies and worked on a school project, I hunted down Dylan. Earlier, he had showed me a game he was making. Using paper and a pen, Dylan’s game had counted squares on it. Participants roll a dice and move their little paper tokens through the maze to the finish line. On some spots, players receive rewards. On other spots, people are penalized. While the rules changed a bit every time we played the game, I loved seeing Dylan use his imagination. His creativity shown through and included a written list of rules. we discovered that his game was really fun to play.

Making cookies. Playing a homemade game. Nothing big. Just simple things. But oh, so meaningful times that I get to spend with our grandchildren.

I purposely try not to look at my phone while I’m with the kids after school. Our time should be playing outside, making a special trip to the Dollar Store or helping them with something they want to do. Making sure homework gets done. I treasure every afternoon that I get to spend with these important people.

Pause for a minute. What is something that seems so simple but really makes a big difference in your life when you do it? How often do you make time for this? Why is this activity so special to you?

I’m sorry that I didn’t get any photos of the cookies nor the game. My memories just recorded in my brain. But they certainly are special ones.

For rediscovering the simple things in life, I am grateful. 

Lord God – Too often, we get caught up in making sure things get done. And we miss out on prioritizing things that will fill our soul. Thanks for the weekly time with our grandkids. I pray they value this time as much as I do. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

A Whirlwind Family Tour

Gratitude Day 330

Wed., Sept. 25, 2019

Acts 10:2:

He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.

My heart is very full, following several days full of family opportunities.

On Friday, I picked up two cousins at the airport. Cousins Heather and Renah flew to Wisconsin from Maryland because my niece, Carissa, married Jesse, on Saturday. It was a lovely wedding and celebration with lots of fun.

I hope the official photographer captured a better family photo taken on my camera. Clearly, Hubby Rick must have made me laugh and some other family caught it as well.

On Sunday, my sister Debbie and I traveled with our cousins to central Iowa. We attended a 60th anniversary party for my Mom’s first cousin, Jerry and his wife, Katherine in Ames. They have four daughters. It has been decades since we’ve seen these daughters. When my sisters and I were kids, we visited our grandparents each summer. We often played with these four sisters. It was great to reconnect with them at the anniversary party.

During our summer grandparent visits, we also rode the Story City Carousel, which we did again on this trip. For dinner, we visited another second cousin, Butch, at his farm.

We visited various cemeteries. Debbie and I found our paternal Deaton grandparent’s grave.

My Mom’s maiden name was Sowers. We knew of an old Sowers cemetery just outside of Story City, Iowa. Butch gave us directions, to the cemetery, which included “walk between the two houses like you own them. The cemetery is behind the houses.” He was right. While we felt a little awkward tramping through someone’s yard, the cemetery was just as described.

It has been about 30 years since I had been to this cemetery. It includes the founding Sowers family that settled in the Story City area in the mid-1800’s. One of the homeowners chatted with us. She and her husband take care of the cemetery.

We traveled to a rural cemetery where my Mom’s family is buried. We found Heather and Renah’s dad’s grave, our grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents from the maternal side of my family. We drove by the first farm where my parents farmed, as well as the farm where my maternal grandparents farmed. After lunch at a favorite restaurant of my maternal grandmother’s, we took Heather and Renah to the Des Moines airport. Amazingly, they made it back to Maryland before Debbie and I made it to our respective homes in Wisconsin.

While the weekend was a whirlwind trip with lots of driving, it was wonderful to spend so much time with our adult cousins. We never had cousins who lived near by while growing up. We’ve always lived in different states. It was fun to share stories and learn new trivia about our families because we remember different things.

We don’t get to pick our families. We do get to pick whether or not we develop relationships with family members. After years of little contact with our first cousins, we have re-established relationships with several. Life will always be busy. It’s up to us whether or not we choose to maintain relationships with our cousins who have the same grandparents as we did. It’s a heritage built on farming, faith in God and being hard-working people. We commented about how many of our current genetic and personality traits have passed down from generation to generation.

We often comment how important family is. It’s weekends like this past one where I am reminded how important it is to spend time with family, share stories and connect through God.

For wonderful family time, I am grateful. 

Holy God – thank you for special time with family the past few days. Sometimes, it’s easy to focus on how we view life differently from other family members. I pray we cling to those things which we hold in common together. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

Refresh Wednesday – Making My Home My Sanctuary

Gratitude Day 303

Wed., July 17, 2019

Proverbs 8:34 – Come to my home each day and listen to me. You will find happiness.

If you walked into my home, I pray that you WOULD find happiness. Because this is how I long for my home to be.

One filled with happiness.

One filled with joy.

One that immediately lowers your blood pressure.

One that feels like a respite, because for me, it IS my respite.

I love being home … because I love our home. I love a day when I can just be home. All. Day. Long. There are times when Hubby Rick will say, “Can’t we just stay home?” We both enjoy just being in the place where we feel joy. Happiness. Content.

Does this describe your home? If so, YEAH! If not, what would it take for your home to feel like this for you?

One of the reasons why I love our home is because it represents who we are. I love old things. I enjoy things that remind me of happy days. I look forward to walking into our home and knowing that my heart will beat just a bit slower because it truly is a place I love to be.

If your home doesn’t quite feel like this, what can you do? Here are just a few suggestions I have used to make our house truly feel like a home.

First, leave your house. Walk down the sidewalk or driveway, far enough away so you can get a good perspective of your home. Stop and turn around. How does your heart feel? What comes to mind? Are you excited to walk into your home? Why or why not?

Now, walk to the front door. RING THE DOORBELL. Yes, seriously, pretend you are a visitor coming to your house. Open the door and walk through the house. As you do, take note. What do you LOVE about your house? Where would you take me so we could sit and drink peach iced tea? What areas of your home bring you the most joy?

As you walk through your home, note what spots aren’t your favorite. What is it about an area that makes your face cringe? Make a list of these areas and put them in order of “easy fix” to “most difficult fix.” Pick the #1 “easy fix” area and make a date with yourself to fix it in the next week.

Now, grab an empty box. Walk through your house a second time and put anything in the box that you do not 1) love; or 2) brings you happiness. If you do not love something and if it doesn’t bring you joy, then remove it from your house. It doesn’t matter how much it cost. Or who gave it to you. Or why you inherited it. If an item does not make you feel good about it, then move it out of your house. Let someone else love it. If there is something in the box that you feel someone else would love, ask them. Otherwise, put the box in your car immediately. Next time you are remotely close to a thrift shop, happily make a donation. If large pieces of furniture are involved, this might require another set of hands, truck and help. Put a sticky note on it with the word “Donate” written on it. Enlist the necessary help to have the item(s) removed from your home in the next week.

How do you deal with those areas that make you cringe? The quickest and easiest fix is always paint. I know it’s all Captain Obvious, but a simple coat of paint can change so much. Remove everything from the area before you paint. When it’s ready to be re-decorated, only put things back into the space that you love or bring you happiness. Load everything else up for the thrift shop or sell.

Sometimes, an area just needs a little tweaking. I “shop my house” and find something I have and move it to a new space. When you only have things you love and that bring you happiness, moving them into their best location is really easy and fun.

If a space is still looking dull, add some plants or flowers. If you can not grow plants to save your soul, use nice artificial ones. It is amazing how plants and/or flowers make a room feel alive and fun.

Now, if reading this is making you a little anxious, that’s OK. Maybe you feel starting a project like this is too overwhelming. Or not something you can do. It’s out of your wheelhouse.

If a little respite area, a little spot where you can go and be and drink your favorite refreshment sounds wonderful, don’t give up. Find a little spot just for you. Put your favorite chair in it. Have it face outside so you don’t have to see the rest of the home. Make this a little place where you can stop, be and release all those things that fill up your life. Let one little spot be enough.

Whether you filled up your car with items to get rid of or just created a spot for a chair … now, breathe. Smile. Fill your soul with happiness. Be content that your home is your safe place.

For a home that is my respite and happy place, I am grateful.

Holy God – we can find you in so many different and wonderful places. I pray that our homes are places where we see Your thumbprints in our daily lives. May we discover the joy and happiness of creating our houses into homes where we see you daily.  

Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

It’s Summertime!

Gratitude Day 292

Wed., June 26, 2019

Psalm 74:17  – You made summer and winter and gave them to the earth.

It’s the season Hubby Rick waits for EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR.

Summer.

It’s been VERY SLOW in arriving this year. Officially, the calendar says summer has arrived. The weather just hasn’t quite figured it out yet. Nonetheless, here are just a few signs that summer has FINALLY arrived in Wisconsin.

The garden is planted.

Our garden isn’t huge. It’s really quite small. But we make sure every square inch is utilized. Yes, we’ve left room for things to grow. Slowly, they are. Rick planted several hills of cucumbers. It appeared none were really taking off. So, he brought home a few plants from the neighbor’s garden. He now assures me that we will have plenty of cucumbers.

Notice that long row on the left of this picture? It’s the hedge of zinnias that I LOVE to plant every year. I put them right on the edge of the garden. By August, they should be oh, so pretty.

The peonies are blooming.

We have two different colors. And they are always so gorgeous. We were not disappointed again this year.

The backyard swings are ready for rest and relaxation.

A couple years ago, Rick completed this lovely area in our backyard. He envisions plants growing over the canopy, but this hasn’t quite happened yet. We’re still excited to sit back here and drink coffee. Or watch a fire in the pit. Or simply relax. It’s seen minimal use. We’re hoping to up the ante soon.

Whenever it’s difficult to find God, I encourage you to simply turn to nature. Who else could make grass grown and flowers bloom and tiny seeds turn into beautiful tomatoes and green beans and broccoli? Who else could design outrageously lovely different flower varieties? Who else could inspire a spot just to unwind and enjoy nature?

Only God.

Find God in nature. Today. Tomorrow. All summer long.

For God’s presence in nature all around us, I am grateful.

Holy God – thank you for blessings us with wonderful seasons of the year. Thank you for bringing into our lives big and little reminders that you have designed a world for us to enjoy, explore and observe. May we find You throughout this summer. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

Refresh Wednesday – Loving the Things We Have

Wed., June 19, 2019

Psalm 19:10  – They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.

I love old things.

I have an old house. Throughout the house, we have lovely old things from my family and Hubby Rick’s family. There are a few old things that we’ve picked up along the way. Like the old manual typewriter that I bought at the neighbor’s garage sale a year back.

Some might even say that I chose an “older” hubby … but that’s for another day.

I love to take some of the older, more meaningful items we have and use them to decorate and add character to our house. This is my theory: if we’re going to have these items, why not use them?

And so, I do.

I took a little tour around just our beautiful porch and was amazed how many of these items I found. Would you like to see them? Good. I’m ready to show.

As you walk up towards our front door, you see these old wash tubs and rack. For years, my mother-in-law used them to do laundry. Yep, these were her wash tubs. They wouldn’t be very helpful for laundry today, as there are rust holes in the bottoms. But I think they still look pretty cool.

Sometimes I have had them out. Other times, I haven’t. This spring, I brought them back up from the basement and put them on the porch. They were empty for awhile until I found these pretty petunias. They really do look quite stunning in the old wash tubs. And they kind of fit into the décor of our old Victorian farmhouse.

Just below the wash tubs are these baseball shoes. They were worn by Rick’s son, Nate. Over nineteen years ago, Nate was killed in an accident. Rick has kept a few of Nate’s things, including these baseball shoes. Rick loved watching Nate play. Sometimes, they even played together. Earlier this spring, granddaughter Ellie wanted to know if these cleats were Grandpa Rick’s. It provided an opportunity to share just a little something about Uncle Nate, who she never met.

We have milk cans at various places around our property. Rick hauled milk from the farm to the manufacturing plant for 25 years. His son, Darran, has continued this family tradition and is the third generation hauling milk. When Rick’s dad began hauling milk, he had a van truck which held 88 milk cans. In those days, many people who lived in the country had a couple of cows and would sell milk the family didn’t need. Most farms today sell more milk in a day than would fit on the van truck that held 88 cans.

Some of the cans are a little rusty, like this one. Others just need a good wash and they could be put into action. We’ve kept a few of the old Vielhuber milk cans and I like to use them in various places. It just reminds me of Rick and my roots of being raised on dairy farms.

This is one of my favorite items. It was my Grandma Sower’s watering can. When I was little, this is the can she used to water her flowers. Before it was vogue to be environmentally friendly, my Grandma had a rain tub where she caught rain and used to water her flowers and garden. I remember dipping this can into the rain tub, letting it fill up with water and then watering her plants and flowers.

Today, I use it to water my plants and flowers. It might be close to retirement age. But I’m not letting it collect social security just yet.

There are many other things, inside and outside our house, which we could tell you a few stories about. Rather than bore you with my stories, walk about your house. Your property. Where you live. What old things do you find? If the item could talk what story might it share?

None of these items are worth any amount of money. But they are precious to Rick and me because they are part of our family history. They tell a story. They bring back memories. They are part of our heritage.

If some of those things are collecting dust in the basement, bring them up to the light of day. Let someone ask about them and share a story or memory that item invokes for you. Pass down the stories and the history. Let the items help be a part of the story.

Our Bibles are basically stories told and retold of God’s redeeming work. We’re precious to God. We’re special and unique. Just like the antiques I have on my porch. Just in case you aren’t feeling too special today, please know that God loves you, cares for you and knows all the details about your special and unique story. No matter how old (or young) you are.

For the stories precious items in my life invoke, I am grateful.

Lord God – Thank you for the old stories and history that are a part of who we are. May we see that our story is just as much of a part of Your story as David, Mary and Paul. May we treasure those things that help us remember our story. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

Stunned by Apple Blossoms

Gratitude Day 275

Wed., May 23, 201920190521_102802

Song of Solomon 2:3 – And you, my love, are an apple tree among trees of the forest. Your shade brought me pleasure; your fruit was sweet.

The streets and boulevards in our little town of Poynette are quite stunning right now. Would you like a little tour? Glad you are interested. Let me show you just a few of the reasons why the town is filled with the most precious whites, light pinks, dark pinks and rich pinks imaginable right now.

The crab apple trees are blooming.

20190521_103051

And they are gorgeous.

Driving down many streets, their stunning colors make you want to stop time and let them bloom all summer. But we know they won’t. And so, we enjoy the colors they elude right now.

Recently, I took a little tour around town and snapped a few pictures of these flowers in their hay-day.

20190521_102812

Notice the detail on the flowers.

20190521_123031

The different colors.

20190521_123159

If you look closely here, you will see trillium blooming in the background at our house.

20190521_103039

Right now, these trees are bringing me great pleasure. Their blossoms smell sweet. The sidewalks are littered with falling petals. And I’m drinking it all in.

20190521_123048

What is something this spring that is bringing you great pleasure? Take a minute and express your gratitude towards God.

20190521_123143

For the crab apple trees that draw me back to God’s glorious creation, I am grateful.

Lord God –Thank you, God, for creating these extra-special crab apple trees right now. And for putting on quite a show with their beauty and grace. May their beauty restore in me a deep sense of appreciation and pleasure. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

Refresh Wednesday – Lenten Edition

Gratitude Day 230

Wed., Mar. 13, 2019

Matthew 6:25 – (Jesus said,) “Therefore, I say to you, don’t worry about your life, what you’ll eat or what you’ll drink, or about your body, what you’ll wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothes?

It all started because I was looking for a package of sausage in the chest freezer. And became side-tracked.

Our chest freezer isn’t huge. It doesn’t need to be for two people. We knew our three youngest grandkids would be staying overnight this past weekend. I wanted to see if there was a package of sausage in the freezer for breakfast.

There wasn’t one.

What did I find?  At least 18 packages of boneless chicken breast, two large packages of hamburger, several packages of pork loin or chops, three pork roasts two small lamb roasts and a package of heart and liver. (Why? Why do we have these?) This was just the meat. There were multiple containers of our favorite sweet corn recipe, an ice cream bucket of rhubarb, a few containers from frozen beans as well as tomatoes, a bucket of ice cream, four loaves of bread and two large packages of ice. There were two packages of pork shanks that I kept out to make soup. I found a couple packages of bacon but no sausage. And, some other things I have already forgotten.

All for two people. And this didn’t include the fridge freezer.

Now with an empty freezer, I reorganized everything. I also made a pact: no more buying meat until we had eliminated what was in the freezer. Period.

I know. There could have been a lot more. There has been much, much more. But how did we go from a nearly empty freezer after the holidays to this? Rather easily, I must say.

pantry

Back in the kitchen, I opened the pantry. It’s pleasantly-plump full. Honestly, I don’t have a lot of kitchen pantry space. Our kitchen is moderate-sized. Having limited cabinet space encourages me to be thoughtful about what food I keep on hand. While I want to be prepared, I don’t want the kitchen cupboards look like they could run the local food pantry.

 

Standing by the pantry door open, I also decided to not buy any unnecessary food during Lent. I will shop the freezer and pantry when preparing meals. I will intentionally use up what I have before buying a more food, as much as I can. I will simplify the pantry and my life during Lent by choosing to eat what we have rather than simply buying more.

Yes, I know that we’ll need to buy eggs, milk and other basic necessities. I’m OK with this. What I’m not OK with? Simply buying more because it is on sale or it looks good or I could try a new recipe. I will intentionally choose to shop less and use more of what we already have.

Why is this a good thing to do during Lent? It’s a fasting of sorts; fasting from shopping and buying. Fasting from running to the store for a couple items. Fasting from adding more to the mix rather than trying to have less. It’s making a small sacrifice to symbolically acknowledge all that Jesus gave up for my sake.

Immediately, cooking from what we have officially began. I discovered that I had all of the ingredients to Hubby Rick’s favorite cherry fluff salad. And I made it. Those pork shanks? They became a great base for a pot of soup. We had enough ingredients to make a homemade fruit pizza while the grandkids were at our house over the weekend, which granddaughter Ellie proclaimed as, “So good. Really, seriously, so, so, so good.”

And I sent the leftovers with them.

I find myself drawn to a higher degree of simplicity this Lent. I want to be serious about eliminating some of the stuff in my life and enjoying less. I don’t expect to reduce my life to a couple suitcases of goods by the end of Lent. However, I am determined to live with what I have and be content.

It is so easy for us to worry. We worry about money, our health, our families, our jobs. Can you imagine what we could do in this world if we took all of our unnecessary worry and turned it into positive energy to advance helpful change?

Will we run out of food before this experiment is over? I highly doubt it. If so, we’ll deal with it then. What am I not going to do? Worry about it. Rather, I plant to put that energy into finding creative ways to creative fun dishes with what we have.

We can refurbish little parts of our lives when we make intentional choices to do with less. Use what we have. Bless others with what we no longer want or use. I’m confident that God will continue to speak to me this Lent. I can’t wait to discover what else I will learn about myself.

For the inspiration to shop the freezer and pantry first, I am grateful.

Lord God – forgive me for the many times I have mindlessly acquired and bought. May I see this Lent as an opportunity to live with less and worry less. I pray you will continue to inspire us daily.  Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

Refresh Wednesday – On a Tuesday

Gratitude Day 224

Tues., Mar. 5, 2019

Isaiah 28:5 – On that day, the Lord of heavenly forces will be a splendid garland and a beautiful wreath for the people who survive,

I like to do these Refresh stories on Wednesday. But with Lent beginning on Wednesday this, I’m opting to do it on Tuesday.

Actually, I hadn’t really thought about doing this post; until my friend stopped by the house last week and thought this decoration in our downstairs bathroom was SO COOL. This spurred me to share it here.

DSC06957

Let’s start with what this space looked like at Christmas. I attended a paint-a-sign event and made this sign. It looked great in our downstairs bathroom over the holidays.

For the last couple of months, the door on this storage area has been bare. One day, I decided to put something back up. And so, I began looking through what I already had. (One of my favorite redecorating ideas: shop your house. Use something that you have, just in a different way or in a different space.) I found this old picture frame, which I had redone a couple years ago.

unpainted frames

The picture frame came from the attic of my in-laws. Hubby Rick brought a couple home a few years ago. One night, I took these brown picture frames and painted them. I simply cleaned the frames and used some sample paint I had picked up. The frame of the left (which is the one which I used in the bathroom) was painted with a teal-blue color. I used a darker gray on the frame on the right. The whole painting process took no more than one hour. With the teal frame, I didn’t paint over the entire frame. I let some of the dark brown wood come through between the teal paint.

painted frames

And then, the frame sat. Yes, I did have it somewhere else for a while. When looking for something to use in the bathroom last week, I rediscovered the frame and started with this.

DSC07469

Once the frame was on the storage door, I felt it needed something else. In these situations, I think a wreath looks fantastic. I used a magnolia wreath that I picked up last fall for $10-15. Super cheap. But … it doesn’t look super cheap.

DSC07471

And suddenly, I have this new way of decorating the storage door in this bathroom!

DSC07476

Wreaths are an easy and fun way to dress up a space. I have come to enjoy layering the wreaths with other things. These layers give more dimension and give a simple wreath more character.

DSC07483

Notice the scripture verse at the beginning of the post. It says that the Lord will be a beautiful garland and wreath for the people. While we most often think of a wreath and God at Christmas time, the wreath can help point us back to God at all times of the year. A wreath has no official beginning and ending, just like the love of God has no beginning and no end. Wreaths can be made up of so many different materials. God covers a wide range of offerings for us as well: peace, love, kindness, mercy, compassion and so many more. God speaks to us through a variety of materials and mediums, unique to each of us and not necessarily like how God speaks to others.

 

DSC07477

It’s just an old picture frame and a wreath. Pretty simple items when it comes to decorating. But once again, taking simple things and layering them in your home can be peace, love, kindness and a whole bunch of other reminders of God.

DSC07475

For the never beginning and ending love of God, I am grateful.

DSC07473

Lord God – how easy it is for us to forget that your love has no beginning or no end. It is just comes no matter what. As we see every day things like a wreath, may it be a gentle reminder to us again. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

Refresh Wednesday – A Glimpse of Spring

Gratitude Day 221

Wed., Feb. 27, 2019

1 Corinthians 3:8 – The one who plants and the one who waters work together, but each one will receive their own reward for their own labor.

20190130_144347

All we talk about these days is winter. And how sick of it we are.

If you live in the upper Midwest, you know what I’m talking about.

20190130_144400

If you don’t, let me share.

Since Christmas, we’ve had SO. MUCH. SNOW. AND COLD. Like nearly every day. There was the week that it barely got above 0 all week. And windchills down to the -50 and -60 range. And then, the snow. Some weeks 10-12 inches. And some days that much. Or like last Saturday when we have a couple inches of ice.

What has this led to? Lots of missed school days. One family of grandkids might be going to school until June 12th. Seriously.

car accident

Lots of accidents. Over the weekend, there was a terrible accident east of us. Something like 130+ vehicles in the pile-up. One man killed and another 70 (yes, this is correct) taken to the hospital.

barn roof

Lots of damage. Roofs on barns and businesses caving in. Cattle having to be moved quickly in awful weather. Damage that will take months to fix. It’s been a little crazy.

So, who is happy this winter? Those who love cold and snow. And possibly the skiers and snowmobilers.

For the rest of us? We’re ready for spring! Or two sunny days in a row. Or a hint of warm weather when we don’t have to wear layers and layers.

Since I’m not sure when this is going to happen, I took matters into my own hands. Even if there’s lots of snow and cold outside, I’m ready to bring spring INTO the house.

I love having plants inside. It really does brighten my spirits when I see real life color that needs water. While we were on vacation, I loved seeing flowers and green grass and smelling all those wonderful flower and plants smells. Once home, I looked around the house and decided it needed a serious dose of color.

And so, I bought color.

DSC07423

This is an antique feeding trough that I’ve converted into a plant stand. The beautiful peace lily was given to me at the time of my birthday. But I never filled in the other half. I wanted to put another peace lily in it but couldn’t find one.

DSC07425

Instead, I bought these plants.

DSC07429

And proceeded to add some of them to the planter.

DSC07437

I’m not a florist. I leave this to my sister Debbie. But I can put flowers in a planter and try to make them look nice. The great thing about plants? If you don’t like how you have them the first time, just take them out and rearrange them.

DSC07436

I’m not sure that I have the plants exactly how they are supposed to be arranged. But my goal here was to add color to the house. Quickly. Easily. With little cost. This, I feel, I accomplished.

DSC07439

I also bought a bouquet of roses. I’m sure they were leftovers from Valentine’s Day, so not confident how long they will last. But if only for a week, I’ll enjoy every single one of them. I love having a bouquet of fresh flowers on our island. They just bring a smile to my face every time I walk into the house.

DSC07411

With this bouquet, it’s another mission accomplished.

DSC07412

Finally, I had a group of ladies over last week and wanted an arrangement for the table. Literally, I bought two packages of fresh flowers for $2.99 each. I cut and arranged pieces of them into some glasses I had and put them on the table. (The leftover flowers were added to the roses on the island.)

DSC07417

And so, it’s just spots of color here and there. But even these little bits make my heart feel like it’s closer to spring than outside the window says it is.

DSC07422

If your heart is longing for spring, what can you do to bring a little spring inside your house? Refresh something that speaks to your heart. I spent less than $30 on these plants and flowers and believe me, my heart is happy for it.

DSC07426

For color and glimpses of spring someday, I am grateful.

DSC07440

Oh Lord – I’m sorry that I’m not fully appreciating the cold and the snow and the winter. Thanks for the gentle reminder that a simple refresh with just a bit of color is what my world needed these days. May these flowers, plants and a bit of water brighten even the dreariest of days. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

Gratitude Day 212 – Refresh Wednesday

Wed., Feb. 6, 2019

Proverbs 7:6 – When from the window of my house, from behind the screen, I gazed down

Today’s Refresh Wednesday isn’t a recent project. It’s one I’ve had for quite a while. But it’s a fun one … one I hope you’ll enjoy.

Interested in knowing more?

Great. I’d love to share.

When Hubby Rick was about 5, he and his family moved into an old house. Originally, the house was built in 1850 by a General Starks who was part of the Union Army during the Civil War. He moved to Wisconsin from out east. When he came upon the small village of Ableman, WI (now known as Rock Springs, WI), he bought land because the countryside reminded him of the area where he lived out east. The year after the house was built, a barn was built.

While the house was an elaborate house in its original day, by the time Rick’s family moved to this house, it had fallen into disrepair. In fact, Rick’s maternal grandfather felt his daughter and son-in-law had made a poor decision in purchasing this house and farm. Over the next few decades, Rick’s family upgraded the house and made significant improvements.

At some point, new windows were installed. For years, the old windows were kept. A number of years ago, Rick brought home a couple of these old windows. I’ve used a few of them for decorating purposes in our houses. I’ve enjoyed using something historical from the house where Rick grew-up. And it doesn’t hurt that I LOVE me some good, old antique items.

DSC06698

When I started this project, this particular window no longer had glass in the panes, which was what I wanted. To prepare the window, I twisted a few eye hooks into the sides of the panes. Then, I used some thin but sturdy wire and hung it between the eye hooks. The wires became “clothes lines” of sorts, on which I can hang various items. Some window panes have two clothes lines; some have one.

This design allows me to change the decorations seasonally. For fall, I used items I had at home: cut-outs of leaves and such. For Christmas, I use repurposed Christmas cards. I keep an envelope with the fronts of some of my favorite cards and hang them during the holiday season. I’m behind on getting some hearts and Valentine’s hung up for February. (I kept thinking I’d get home hung and picture snapped. It didn’t happen.)

At Easter, I’ve hung cut-out Easter eggs. In the summer, I’ve hung pictures of flowers from our gardens that I’ve taken and printed. To hang items, I use small clothes pins from a craft store. I keep a supply of them on hand.

DSC06970

Windows have an interesting role in the Bible. Noah made sure there where windows in the Ark. Windows were used to lower people out of a location. Sometimes, particular items were hung from a window to identify the house. Once, a man was listening to Paul speak, who, apparently was long winded. After the man fell asleep, he fell out of a window!

I like to think of windows in another way. Windows allow us to look INTO a building or house. They also provide an opportunity for us to look OUT. Both ways, the window provides the vantage point of what we are able to see. A big window? Why, we can see a lot! Just a little window, it’s harder to see in and out.

Each of us chooses how much we allow others to glimpses into the “window” of our lives. We choose how much, or how little, another person can see. When someone takes a glimpse into your life, what do they see? Are they able to quickly determine what your priorities are? Through your actions and choices, is it clear what truly is most important to you? Or does the glimpse into your world portray a life lived differently from what your main priorities are?

While initially this window came about as a fun way to decorate for various seasons of the year, its true message is far more important and reaching. I pray this window is a reminder to let others look into my life and see God as an important part of my daily life. When I look out of the window of my daily activities, I pray they reflect what is most important to me and are easy for others to determine. When people gaze down into the window of my life, I pray Jesus is clearly there, for all to see.

For windows into our lives, I am grateful.

Holy God – may we see the windows of our lives as an opportunity to share glimpse of what is important to us. I pray we align our life priorities with what others see when they gaze into our lives and world.  Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.