Saturday, November 29, 2014

Retire and Be Still

This man retired from his job with the City of Winston Salem after working there 30 years. I can't even begin to tell you how weird this sounds to me.  We are not old enough for this. How can either one of us be old enough to have worked at one job for 30 years?  

Working at one job for 30 years, by today's standards, is rare but is to be admired. Shucks, staying at anything for 30 years is amazing in itself. Hardly anyone stays with the stuff these days.

I don't think that it has sunk in yet for either one of us. No one really knows how many phone calls, emails and text messages he would get in a day. I think I know, but he would say to me, "you just don't understand." Maybe he is right. I do know this. He has been interrupted at every known family event.  He has been interrupted at almost every meal. On one vacation it took him three days to clear out all emails and answer all voice mails so he could turn off his phone, relax and rest the remaining days. There have been trips to Chattanooga to watch our son play basketball, where I would drive so he could make calls, answer emails and voice mails. There have been church services when he would have to leave to go check on broken water mains or to answer the phone.  There have been nights when he has been out all night long looking for a turn off valve that no one can find. Thanksgivings, Christmas Eves, Christmas Days, that he has spent at work, working with others to repair broken water mains.  He isn't any different than any other hard working man except for one thing.  He's mine and he retired last week and I'm so stinking proud of him.  

I think the most rewarding thing that came out of the past 30 years is watching our children have the same work ethic as their dad.  They work hard. They love their dad and have such a great respect for him. Kristen and I  were there  on his last day at the office.  As her dad was standing there in front of those men and women that he has worked alongside for so many years, encouraging them to "Grow, Glow, or Go" she had such pride in her eyes for her dad.  Brad sent him a text last week that said this, "I appreciate the sacrifices you made all these years, sticking with it to support us all. I couldn't be more proud of you." 

I couldn't help but notice the deafening silence as he deleted his email account last Friday night.  It was good silence though. It kind of all fits in with my theme for this year, "Be Still and Know."  No pings, no massive emails alerts from City-Link, no calls during dinner or in the middle of the night. I have to be honest with you. When I claimed this verse in January, I had no idea that James' retirement and the silence of  his phone would be part of me being "still." There is a calmness in our home now. That non-stop connection now belongs to someone else. That storm has moved on and the peace that comes after it is here. 

We will see where the next years take us.  I'm not retiring. I'm not old enough. Haha! I'm looking forward to see what God has in store for us as we head into uncharted waters.  What will my theme be for next year? So many questions, so little time.

Until we meet again, Fifi

Proverbs 22:12 says:  A good name is more desirable than great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.  I'm so thankful that our  children have a father that they are proud of and a name they are honored to carry.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

"Specializing" at a Special Time of Year

I can't believe that Thanksgiving is just a week away and I'm sitting here working on our December calendar and oh my goodness it is filling up quickly. Your calendar is probably just like mine. Not many free evenings.  Parties, family gatherings, office socials, church Christmas programs, shopping, baking, making crafts, etc.  How much can you cram into one month?

A precious family in our church always provides lunch for our church staff during the Christmas season and the lady of the house called today to schedule the day and time. I couldn't believe it had been a year since we were last there. Time is flying by.   

Lois is a wonderful cook and makes us feel so special and appreciated.  She and her husband Ben open their home to us, feed us a wonderful home cooked meal but they give us so much more than that.  When you walk into their home you don't feel like a guest. You feel like family. That is a gift. Some people work a lifetime to make that happen and never accomplish it. To some it comes natural. Lois is one of those. You know that she has prepared the meal with love and it comes from her heart. There is no doubt that she is giving of herself.

I have found that when I do something for someone, from my heart, without stressing about whether everything is just perfect, that somehow it all just turns out better. It took me years to figure this out. I used to stress for days about having people over. Was the house good enough? Did we measure up to the way other people hosted gatherings?  Did my table look as good as the next persons? Then the light came on.  I might not host the fanciest party in town. I might not have the biggest, brightest Christmas tree on the street.  I might not have the best dishes on my table, but I can make someone feel at home. I can make a simple home cooked meal and invite someone over. In the words of Barney Fife, I can "specialize" on someone. That's what Lois has done. She has perfected the art of "specializing."  

I would rather perfect the art of specializing than perfect the art of setting a table. I would rather perfect the art of making someone feel loved than perfect the art of folding a napkin. I would rather perfect the art of spending time with someone than perfect the art of spending time making sure my house is spotless. All of these things are great but people are more important. A blog that I love to visit Living Well Spending Less  (Click on the link) has great tips for being hospitable without breaking the budget or  stressing  yourself out  in the process. She has party planning ideas, recipes, budgeting ideas, decorating ideas, etc.  You can pick up great ideas from Ruth.  

The Bible says in I Peter 4:9:  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  As we prepare for family and guests during the holidays lets do so with a different  mindset. Let's "specialize" on people as opposed to perfection. 

Until we meet again, Fifi

Monday, November 3, 2014

Feed Them and They Will Come

We set up a tent and grilled hot dogs with all the fixins'.  Hot coffee, sweet tea, Hawaiian Punch and bottled water, hung a sign that we had free hot dogs and waited.

Last year we talked about doing this but didn't. I don't know why. Time and other "things" got in the way I guess. This year we were more determined. We decided this was the year. Halloween was on Friday. No better day to "test the waters." It was more than just trick or treat for us though. We are through with hiding behind our doors waiting for someone to knock, give them candy and close the door. Let's go to the them. Let's set up at the road. Give them more than candy. Give them real food with a little candy on the side too. Let's give them more than food and candy. Let's give them some neighbor love and share God's love with them.

And they came. More than 100 of them. Furniture delivery men, children, teenagers, families.76 of those who liked hot dogs and others who stopped because they were curious and wanted to ask questions or just to get candy or coffee. We met neighbors that we've never seen before. Darkness fell and the rain came and I found myself with eight teenagers under our tent. God had given me an audience and then said to me "you asked me for them, I delivered them to you. Now what will you do with them?" So, I told them about Him. I shared Roman's 8:28 All things work together for good to those who are called according to His purpose, and Romans 5:8 But God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. And they listened. Really listened and smiled and we ate a hot dog together. I gave them candy and wordless bracelets.  Precious teenagers who found themselves in our yard, huddled under our tent during a shower of rain, on Halloween night, eating a hot dog and "accidentally" hearing about God's love. They could have gone anywhere, but they came here!  People who now know the folks that live at 265. People who are more than just a face.

Until we meet again, Fifi

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Fifi's White Pizza

We have a favorite at our house. As of late it has become a Friday night tradition. It is one of my most requested recipes.  The recipe varies from time to time but for the most part the basics are the same.
  • Chicken, 2-3 breasts (I use chicken, free of antibiotics and hormones. On occasion, if I am in a hurry, I will use a rotisserie chicken. 
  • Alfredo Sauce. (Any brand will do  but I use Paul Newman or Bertolli)
  • Pillsbury Pizza Crust
  • 1/2 Medium Red Onion
  • 2 cups Mozzarella Cheese
  • Italian Seasoning or substitute seasoning of your choice
  • Parsley, fresh or dried
  • Variations/Additions: Mushrooms, Peppers, Broccoli, etc.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Boil chicken until done and shred.
Spray pizza pan or cookie sheet with Pam and spread out pizza dough.
Use a pastry brush and spread a small amount of Olive Oil on pizza dough and place in preheated oven until it begins to brown. Then remove from oven. (About 5-7 mins.)
Spoon Alfredo sauce on top of pizza crust. I use approximately 3/4 a jar.
Spread chicken on top of sauce.
Spread onions on top of chicken.
Sprinkle seasoning on top of onions
Spread cheese on top and bake for 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees or until cheese is bubbly and crust is browned.

Serve with a nice crisp salad and a glass of southern sweet tea.

Until we meet again, Fifi

Deuteronomy 31:8  “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Let Me Be Singing

Hello sweet friends.

One of my favorite songs is "Ten Thousand Reasons" by Matt Redman and my favorite phrase in the entire song is “Whatever may pass or whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes.”  When we wake up in the morning we have no idea what we may be asked to face in the day ahead of us.  We do know that we can face whatever lies before us because of our faith in Jesus. 

This past week our family had one of those moments. I didn’t know when I wrote last week’s post that I was writing that post for us.  I usually write to encourage you. Last Thursday night was an exception.  When we woke up Friday morning, we had no idea what we would be asked to face by Friday afternoon and on into Sunday. My precious father in law, Pa Bennie, as he is affectionately called, has been having a health problem for several months, seemingly without any solution. A couple of weeks ago the doctors finally decided to start running tests to determine the reason behind the symptoms. On Friday the results of those tests came back with a diagnosis no one ever wants to hear. Surgery was scheduled for Monday and we all jumped on the emotional roller coaster ride of our lives.  You get a plan. Reschedule this. Drop this. Cancel that. Life stops all around you and your main focus is on this one thing.  Stopping “it” in its tracks.  You become consumed with it. You feel pummeled by it. Your every waking moment is used up. Processing and praying. You just don’t want it to be true.  Then a call comes on Sunday afternoon from the doctor. The preliminary pathology report is in. It isn’t quite as first reported and can be treated without surgery but with treatments instead. Praise the Lord for answered prayer!   And now we wait for the final pathology report and the next step.

Trials in life happen. They happen to all of us. They can make us stronger in our faith or they can weaken us. We  have His song in our hearts. We can sing!  Lord, let me be singing when the evening comes. Help my faith be this strong!  Help my faith be stronger than my worry!!! I have said this many times over the last few weeks. This is my new motto when things start getting tough. “Help my faith be stronger than my worry.” Is your faith stronger than your worry?

I Peter 5:7  Casting all your care upon Him; for He cares for you.

With love from  my heart,  Fifi

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Favorite Pins of the Week

I love a plaid shirt. Blame it on my country roots. This one with the pullover sweater is so cute. 
I just bough a new one this weekend and I think I will try this look,

Bedding can make or break a bedroom. This bedding is just gorgeous. James would think there were too many pillows but I love it.

You can always find great quotes on Pinterest. I think this is my favorite one
for this week. I think we can all use this one. Right?

Until we meet again, Fifi

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Long, Winding, Curvy Paths

You know those roads or paths that you can’t see around the next curve or bend? The ones that are unfamiliar to you. The ones that you’ve never been on before.  James and I love to go on road trips to the mountains but sometimes those beautiful, curvy mountain roads scare me.  You can’t see what’s on the other side. Will we be meeting another vehicle on the wrong side of the road?  Will there be a cow, wild turkey or deer in the road? Will there be a tractor puttering along at a snail’s pace?  I remember one time we were on one of those mountain roads on the motorcycle and we went around the curve and there was a beautiful clearing. An open field of wildflowers.  It was like a breath of fresh air.  I didn’t realize that I had been holding my breath, until I saw the flowers. What beauty had been waiting around the bend.  This summer we took a hike and picnic in the mountains. After a few minutes of hiking through the woods we came out on the other side and saw these beautiful mountains.  Sometimes we have to cross rugged terrain to get to the smooth beaten path. You can always tell that others have been there before you because the path is well worn. Beaten down.

Life is like that.  A curvy mountain road or path.  Situations are out of our control and we are winding around unfamiliar territory. Bills, cancer, separation, divorce, loss of jobs, etc.  We just have to put our faith and trust in God. We have to trust that right around the corner is something better. It might not be today, but it will get better. He promised that it would. 

AND OBEY HIM! "Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?" Romans 6:16.

Until we meet again,  Fifi

Cedar Hill Farmhouse

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Eradication Hot Pink

It just had to be done. I couldn't handle it anymore. I'm sure the neighbors are thankful too.  This adorable  little playhouse was built by Pa Bennie for Kristen several years ago.  When she was about 16 years old, she and a friend decided they needed a "real" hangout  place and decided to "upgrade" the playhouse by spray painting the trim hot pink. Yes!  Hot pink spray paint. It was terrible. They didn't tape off the windows or anything else, just started spraying. 

It had to go. We started scraping, washing, puttying, and then the fun part of painting.  

My beautiful niece, Mariah, helped  with the painting

Yes,  it was a very hot day and the task was daunting. There was pink everywhere.
(Thanks Kristen!)

I'm sure the neighbors are happier. I know for sure that we are. Lola seems happier too!
 Next spring I think I will put up hanging baskets or flower boxes.

We also cleaned out the inside.  Sometime back we began to use the playhouse as a storage building.  We piled and piled things on top of stuff until I was afraid to open to door. The inside was in definite need of purging.



It’s always hard to start a project but the rewards are always great! I love the new color and the organized storage is amazing too!  
The best part though, was spending time with my  precious niece.

What kind of projects did you accomplish this summer?

Until we meet again Fifi

Soul thought:  "Prayer is more about enjoying the presence of the King than getting 
something from Him."  Dr. Archie Norman

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Camping Fifi Style

I am not a camper! I do not like camping!
I do not like damp pillows, sheets and blankets. I do not like leaky tents.
I do not like lightning and thunderstorms when I’m sleeping in a tent under trees, or anywhere for that matter. I do not like spiders, bugs, snakes, toads or anything that resembles the aforementioned critters.I do not like feeling “sticky.”  I do not like to walk a ½ mile (slight exaggeration) to the “facilities”  in the dark by myself with only a flashlight at 2:30 in the morning. Nope! Not at all.  I do not like seeing my own shadow at 2:30 in the morning on the way back from said facilities. (insert scream)

However, I have made a few adjustments over the years because James does loves camping and all of the above. (I think he does anyway. Well, except for lightning.)  I have learned to put my bedding, (yes bedding) pretty shabby chic sheets with ruffles, quilts (several in fact) pillow and my sleeping bag in a Rubbermaid tub first thing in the morning. This is very important. I take them out when getting ready for bed at night. They are so nice and dry. I make up my bed on the cot provided by the best camping husband in the world, turn down  my sheet over  my quilt made by grandma, (some of the quilts are used as padding) and sleep as peacefully as possible. Then repeat next morning. After I make up my bed, I put the lid on the Rubbermaid tub and use it as a night table for my clock, phone, water bottle, flashlight and any other necessities that I might need in the middle of the night. I take an oscillating fan with me. This drowns out noise and provides a nice breeze. (In cooler weather, I take a space heater. J  So, toasty.)   If electricity is not an option there are battery operated versions available.  In some circles this is called "glamping."  An LED flashlight is imperative. Regular flashlights are just inferior. You cannot see the skunks, raccoons and other vermin in nearly enough time with an inferior flashlight at 2:30 in the morning when taking said trek to the facilities.  We have a very large tent.  I sleep on one side. He sleeps on the other.  It just works better that way. Trust me! (Remember, I am NOT a camper.)

Now, there are things that I do love about camping.  Yes, I said it.  I LOVE some things about camping and I will list them. 

I love the quiet and just being outside. I love the beauty of God’s creation. I know. It makes no sense. I love being outside, just not sleeping outside. Don’t even try to figure me out. You will surely get confused.  I love spending time with about 30 of the best in-laws a girl could ever have. Yes, in-laws. We go camping with James’ family. His mom’s brothers and sister (well Aunt Mary sort of goes. She’s a day-camper J ) All of the cousins and their children and  friends of many, many years.  I can't leave out the smell of the rain. I love rain, just not the hitting me in the face in the middle of the night inside of my tent kind of rain.  I love, love, love the food. We cook like there is no tomorrow. Full breakfasts, a sandwich lunch and all out food fest for supper. I’m talking envy of the campground.  James and Uncle Earl start cooking BBQ on Saturday morning about 6am and cook all day. This is serious business folks. They are not playing around. And just let me tell you, there is no better smell than bacon on the campground. In addition to bacon, we also had eggs, pancakes, sausage, grits, BBQ, pork chops, potato salad, slaw, baked potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, ribs as an appetizer, (you can't make this stuff up people), hamburgers, hot dogs, homemade beanie weanies. Did I mention dessert? Homemade ice cream, banana pudding, pound cake, chocolate chip cookies, rice krispie treats, brownies, crock pot lava cake,  (Family, if I left something out, please don't be upset. I'm sorry) You will notice a didn't mention one green item. Nope not one green item. No salad, no green beans, no broccoli. NADA. Let a man plan the menu and you get pork, pork, and some more pork, and they throw in a little starch as a side.

The sound of boats on the lake. 
A walk through the woods, down to the lake with my best friend.
Sitting by the campfire listening to the different conversations going on.

Singing "Amazing Grace" with your husband’s four year old cousin.  Seriously, look at those eyes.

Sitting quietly, reading a book.  Having conversations about salvation with a new member of the family, who just happens to be a pretty neat kid.
Listening to the crickets. They never get tired, do they?

But the #1 thing I love about camping is this…when it’s all over, I get to shower in my bathroom and sleep in my bed and trek across my bedroom floor to use the “facilities” at 2:30 in the morning without an LED flashlight because of the threat of vermin creeping down the path.  Ahhh.....home sweet home.

Ephesians 5:20  And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  

*Food and  family campfire photo credits go to Cary Hendrix Johnson

Until we meet again,  Fifi

Friday, September 12, 2014

What If...

What if.....
What if we prayed...
What if we really prayed....
What if we really prayed and put into action what we've been taught? What if we put our tennis shoes on and walked our neighborhoods and stopped in front of each home and prayed for the people in each house?  What if  we prayed for God to meet the spiritual, physical, emotional and financial needs of our neighbors?  What if we prayed for God to speak to our neighbors about their need of Him?  What if we prayed for our churches to be a light in our community?  What if we prayed that God would use us in our communities to be a witness for Him?  What if we were bold for Jesus Christ? What would happen? 

What if?

There are a group of us that do this each Thursday night.  We walk and pray for people that we've never met, seen or know anything about. It's a beginning. It's something. It's something more than just sitting on a pew. And occasionally we meet someone. Someone who is thankful for the prayers. Someone that needed a blessing that day. Someone that needed to know that they were being prayed for.

What if....
What if prayers...
What if prayers were answered?
What if lives were changed?
What if our churches and communities were changed?

Just something to think about...

Until we meet again, Fifi

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

"Change Stinks, or Does it?"

The landscape is changing. Again. The earth moving equipment was moved in and parked across the street from our house a couple of weeks ago and for a few days, sat silent, unmoving and making no changes. Just sitting there, seemingly staring and taunting me every time I looked out the window or walked out the front door. The land that James’ grandparents owned. The field where we played kick ball, baseball and where Brad “tried” to secretly teach Kristen to drive a stick shift while their dad was out of town.  Yes, that field.  The field where deer sneak in and out and come across the road to our front yard to eat our acorns.  Last week the silt fence went up. This week the digging started.  We walked over there this evening and sadness filled my heart.  Sadness for days gone by. Sadness for yesterday.

We wanted to see them one last time. We walked across the road and across the property.  We came upon the barn and an old corn crib that was used later as a storage building. Both buildings are now old and dilapidated. No longer usable and in fact, dangerous. By the end of the week they will be gone. Hauled off on a dump truck. 

As James and Lola walked on in front of me, I started thinking about the new homes that will be built and the families that will be moving in those homes. People that the Lord is placing, basically, in my front yard. Opportunities to build relationships and all I have to do is just walk out my front door.  I’m reading a book that is altering my “spiritual” life these days.  I’m no longer satisfied to simply just “do church” week in and week out. I want more. I NEED more. My soul is convicted about not doing enough. (Transparency? Totally!)  I want to reach my family, friends, my neighbors and community.  Do you ever feel that way too?  I asked myself this question “Why is it more scary to surrender to God’s will than it is to live out of God’s will?”  There is great peace in knowing that you are living in the purpose and plan that God has for your life.  I think, for me, that I’m so afraid of rejection or of offending  someone that I just don’t do or say anything. That’s just not good enough anymore.  We must share Jesus with others. We are commanded to do so. Sharing what He has done for us is not just for Pastors, Evangelists and Missionaries. He has done a work in us and we need to tell others about it. People are dying without Jesus because we’re not telling them about Him! 

I decided last weekend, on a family camping trip, that I would just jump right in and get down to business. No need in planning out what to say and when, just get started and let the Lord work out the rest. James’ cousin, her fiance’ and his son were there. I’m guessing this young boy is around 12 years old.  He is the coolest kid. Smart as a whip and he quickly became one of my favorites. He was helping me tear down our campsite and pack up our gear.  We were having a great conversation and I asked  “T” if he went to church. He said “yes” and then he asked me this. “Shouldn’t you be asking me if I’m saved.”  Have you ever been schooled by a 12 year old?  I said “Well, I was working up to that.”  We continued our conversation and I asked him to tell me about when he got saved. This was his answer, “I cried and cried and cried when I gave my heart to Jesus.” Oh my goodness. Yep! “T” is my favorite right now. I wanted to bring him home with me.  I learned something from “T” last weekend. Boldness.  If a 12 year old can be bold, so can I. 

So…are you saved? Do you know Jesus? Do you know that He loves you and that he loved you so much that He died for you?


Until we meet again,  Fifi

Thursday, September 4, 2014

What? I've been Blogging for a YEAR???

August 28 marked the day for my blogiversary! Is that even a word? I think so.  I've been blogging a year now and I can't believe it. When I started this "journey" of sorts, I didn't know if I would stick to it or not. I've had a couple of miniature breaks here and there but for the most part I've stuck with it.  Thank you all for sticking around and reading. It means a lot that you’ve been here with me. 

Have you ever watched someone walk on a tight rope?  Most of the time they will have a safety net placed beneath them. The net is there for a reason. They have taken precautions so if they fall the net will catch them. It will prevent them from injury or even death.   We, as children of God, have a safety net as well. God is that safety net. He is right there waiting to catch us if we fall. He is there to protect us from danger, to guide and direct and to carry us when we can't seem to carry ourselves. We only need to call on Him.  Take your cares, concerns, and burdens to Him.  Breathe his name, Jesus~

Until we meet again, Fifi

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Where Did the Summer Go?

I can't believe that I haven't posted since July 8. I decided to take a couple of weeks off and those couple of weeks, evidently, faded into a few extra. I've missed you all. It's been a great summer with lots of activities, projects around the house, family gatherings, cookouts, traveling, weddings, etc. School is starting back and hopefully things will be slowing down soon.

The Fall and Winter is promising to be exciting. We have some new projects that are in the works. I'm starting to read a new book this weekend that I'm sure you will be hearing about as I "work" through it and God works in and through me.  Our choir and orchestra has started working on a new Christmas presentation that is AMAZING!! Can't wait for this production.

I'm still clinging to my word for the year "still."  God has really been teaching me that my idea of "still" was way off from what He had in mind for me this year. Oh my goodness!!!  You will hear more about that as well. Wow! Some of those "lessons" have been very interesting.

So, I will leave you with this thought...

Until we meet again, Fifi

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Did We Just Move the Fridge?

On a whim, on a Sunday, right before lunch, when we bumped into each other for the 1,596,439th time, we decided the fridge had to be moved. It was just in the wrong place. Always has been. It has never been right. Not from the start, ever. For 31 years the kitchen has been all wrong, all because of this fridge. Well because of other reasons too, but mostly because of the fridge.  I'm at the stove, James opens the door to the freezer to get out the ice and I have to move so he can get the door open. He says to me, "You know what I hate most about this kitchen." "No what?" "That this fridge is here and we keep running into each other, every single meal." "So, move it." "Really, where?" "Over there." So he did.  (Can you really move the fridge like you move the sofa?) I guess so!  Of course we had to take a door down and sheet rock the wall in and add electric and a water line to the ice maker. (LOL) But we did it and the kitchen has a totally different feel.

(Door on the left goes into the living room and the door on the right goes down stairs into the den.
Well it did anyway.)

(This was the practice session. Would we like the door on this side of the kitchen and could we live without that door. My mother-in-law would call this a dry run.)

(James taking out the stairs.)

(The door and trim are gone.)

(The studs go in, as well as the water connection for the ice maker)

(The sheet rock and putty are up. Oops, forgot to mention the electrical outlet)

(After sanding, the best part begins...the painting)

(Security system keypad was moved to the other wall.)

(Copper tubing was connected to the water valve, tested for leaks, YAY, no leaks. Good job honey.)

(Move the fridge.)

This kitchen has (had) four doors that go into it. That's right FOUR! One to the living room, one to the dining room, one to the downstairs den and one to outside. Closing off this door to the downstairs den wasn't a problem because we have another entrance to that room.  It did take me a couple of times of going around the corner to go downstairs before I figured out the door wasn't there anymore. Hey, don't judge! I went through that door for 31 1/2 years before we closed it off. Old habits die hard.  

We still have a little more work to do. We are going to build in a cabinet base where the fridge was. This will give us more counter space as well as more storage. We've changed out the light fixture and we've decided we want to switch out our counter tops to butcher block. (My style is farmhouse/cottage style so butcher block will fit in better with my tastes.) It was time to upgrade those anyway. We will need to build in cabinetry/shelves above the fridge to give it a built in look. In addition, we are in the process of upgrading the appliances and I would like to put shutters on our large bay window. But for now the semi-sheer white curtains work. We will probably begin the rest of the work this Fall after all the summer hoop-la has subsided.  We did it and the kitchen has a totally different feel and we love it like this. What ever took us so long?

Do you do things like this on a whim? Say "let's do it" and then just start?  We do that all the time. Well it's more me than him but sometimes he is the one who gets the idea first.  I do love a good project.

Sometimes, I like to Google the verse for the day just to see what pops up. Today's verse was just perfect for what I needed. It has nothing to do with moving a fridge though. Just thought I would share.  2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

Until we meet again, Fifi

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 All Things Heart and Home
Savvy Southern Style

Saturday, July 5, 2014

What About Tomorrow?

When I started writing this post, it was 12:26 AM on Saturday morning, and all was quiet in the house. James had been asleep for sometime. I hadn't been asleep yet. I had been to bed but got up because I couldn't sleep. My mind wouldn't stop. So many things going on in there? How can I fix this? How can I fix that? Can this even be fixed? Should I even be thinking of fixing this? What if I said this, did that???? What in the world am I thinking in the first place? This is not a Fifi fixable problem.  And it is then that I hear... "Whoa, wait just a minute..... slow down Felicia. Haven't we had this talk before? Why do I have to repeat this over and over again? Why do I have to keep reminding you that this is mine.You even chose the word 'still' for your word this year and we continually have to go over and over it." I might just be a  little thick headed. Just maybe. Yes, Lord I hear you and no I don't know why I can 't get it.

I'm so glad He is patient with me. I'm so glad that He is willing to go over and over it, time and time again. I'm so glad He doesn't give up on me.   Matthew 6:26 says "Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?"  The scripture goes on to say in verse 34 that we shouldn't worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about its own things. I remember a song that we have sung for years. When I hear it in my head, I hear my mom singing it. "Many things about tomorrow, I don't seem to understand, but I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand." I can remember her singing it as she cleaned house, folded laundry or cooked supper. I wonder if, just maybe, she was reminding herself that God was very much capable of fixing the problems that had come up in her own life. 

Simple reminders like scripture, that we've memorized from our childhood, or songs, that we've sung our entire lives, can help us to remember to let go of our control of issues. Things that are out of our control in the first place. Jerermiah 33:3 says: "Call unto me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not." We just need to call on Him. He is there waiting.

I snuggled up to a throw pillow on the sofa and started humming that old song of long ago and fell deeply asleep.  Yes, I do know who holds tomorrow. Yes.  He is in control. Do I know what the answers are? No. Does He? Yes! There was such a peace in my heart this morning upon waking. A stillness, a calmness. 

"Thank you Father for seeing value in me and caring for me and the issues of my heart and life. Thank you for loving me through my insecurities. Thank you for not giving up on me. I'm so thankful that you have everything under control and that I can look to you for help in time of need. Amen."

Music Video by Bill and Gloria Gaither

Do you have the same problems as I do? Aren't you thankful that you have a Father who values you and cares for you? Call on Him. Ask Him to step in and take over. He is willing and able to carry you through. 

With love and until we meet again, Fifi

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Happy Hearts

Things that Make my Heart Happy!
  • Quiet summer nights with a breeze.  (Summer breeze makes me feel la la..) Haha! That song just popped into my head when I typed that.

  • Quiet Monday mornings with coffee and just the right amount of sugar.
  • My sweet dog Lola's head laying on my lap and her big ol' brown eyes just looking up at me. "love" 

  • Some good praise music while cleaning the house. Nothing like the Brooklyn Tab to get the house cleaned.

  • The sound of my adult children laughing at each other's stories. Oh my goodness...that really makes my heart happy.

  • Sweet tea and lemonade. What could be better?  Really.... What could be better?
  • My sweet husband bringing me coffee when I'm getting ready in the morning. Oh my, what a sweetheart.
  • Still getting birthday cards in the mail from my mom and dad.  That makes me smile all day long.

  • Apple pie ice cream from Homeland Creamery. Look at that chunk of apple pie filling.  

  • Hearing my daddy tell me that I'm pretty. I'm 52 years old  and I don't think I will ever grow tired of hearing that.
  • Seeing my kids happy and content in their lives
  • Knowing that Jesus loves me so much that he died for me. Seriously, He gave his life for me so I could live. Think about it. It should make your heart happy too. What an amazing gift.

What makes your heart happy? Tell me. I would love to know. Find something in your life that makes you happy today. List it. It will make you smile. I promise.

Proverbs 17:22 "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine."

Until we meet again, Fifi

Imparting Grace
Savvy Southern Style

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Grace Abounding, Always

I ran across this quote last week and shared it with some of the members of our church who aren't able to attend regularly.  I thought I would share it with you also.

Those waters scare me.  You see, I just learned to swim three years ago.  Not jump off the diving board, or off of a boat into the lake swimming. Just from point A to point B swimming.  That kind. You know hold your breath, push off, go......  Yes, a little old to be learning to swim but never too late. Right?  I have a huge fear of water.  I don't know where it came from or why it started.  It's a fear. I have it. I tried to conquer it at 49 years of age. I signed up for private lessons at the YMCA, headed out two afternoons a week for a few weeks.  I was scared to death but I was determined and I did it. I don't do very well at it nor do I think I would have a very good chance of surviving if I ended up in a precarious situation. I have the skills that I need to know to survive if I just don't panic.  I know that I don't want to drown. That's a sure thing.

Our lives are like those waters.  Our guilt, regret and sin pulls us down. Even life in general sometimes. Drowning us in despair. However, His grace is there in the deepest of those waters to pull us through and hold us up. It's like a life preserver, wrapped around us, holding onto us, keeping our noses above the water.  Those waves crashing around us, tugging at us, yet that grace is always there, always forgiving, always abounding. Thank God for His amazing grace. 

Do you find yourself "drowning" in everyday struggles? Guilt? Regret? Let His grace and mercy cover you.

Citizen Way

I hope that you experience that amazing grace. If you don't know the author of that amazing grace, Jesus, please ask me how to know Him, the grace giver.

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Until we meet again, Fifi