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

Sunday, June 22, 2014

6 Ways to Have a Staycation All Summer Long in Your Own Home

1.Simplify and change minor d├ęcor  in your home

I love changing up the decor for the seasons.  I have an Old Salem Spring print that I just took down and have now given the mantle it's summer "do."  I enjoy using beachy elements during the summer. If you can't go to the beach, bring the beach to you.  All of the shells, starfish, driftwood, nets, etc. have been collected by myself or given to me by friends. You can make your home feel like a vacation home if you put a little effort and imagination into your decorations. Just think about the ways beach or lake homes are decorated and bring those elements into your home.  It's really fun and makes your living room, bedroom or other areas of your home relaxing and gives it that "vacation" feel.

A mirror, some starfish, fishnet, shells, sea glass and other colors from the ocean grouped together take an ordinary mantle straight to the beach.

2.  Spend quiet time outside every evening

Spend some time outside each day even if it's just for a short time. If you were on vacation you would. We just put up a new swing under our shade tree. We bought it at the Farmer's Market from the sweetest little old man. We love to go out to the swing after dinner and just rest, catch up from the day and just chill. It does a body good.

 3.  Something Fun to Drink

Get out the old ice trays. Yes, the old ice tray. Drop a maraschino cherry in each compartment. Pour your favorite juice or punch in the ice tray and freeze.  After frozen, put cubes in a fancy glass with a straw, pour ginger ale over it.  YUMMY!! So refreshing, fun and good! The kids will love these too.

 4. Play Beach Music

I love the Beach Boys. Turn the music up, the air conditioning down and staycation away.

5. Ice Cream and Ice Cream Cones.

Buy your favorite ice cream and don't forget the cones. If you have little ones, don't forget the sprinkles and chocolate syrup.  Take a blanket outside and eat your ice cream park style. I love to eat ice cream but eating it outside is even better.  Why is that?  Props to Homeland Creamery. Oh my goodness. They have the  best ice cream ever. No kidding. Just buy it! Today! If you live in the Winston Salem area you can get it at Washington Perk. Our favorites are Apple Pie and Butter Pecan. Seriously if you haven't had their Butter Pecan, you haven't had Butter Pecan. Just sayin'.

6.  Have your dinner outside.

Light the tiki torches and the citronella candles (gotta keep the mosquitoes away) and have dinner outside.  I love to use a table cloth, real flatware, candles, etc when dining outside. It just takes dinner up a notch and it's so much fun. Don't save the good dishes for a special day. Remember, everyday is special. 

(Our beautiful daughter Kristen came over after church today. 
Just say "we're cooking" and they will come.)

BBQ chicken off of the grill, oven roasted potatoes, cauliflower and onions, fresh cucumbers out of Pa Bennie's garden with a splash of red wine vinegar, strawberries and some southern sweet tea in a mason jar.   Life is good.

I sure hope you make some time for yourself and your family this summer.  Even if you can't leave town for a vacation at the beach, take an evening at home and make it fun and special. You don't have to leave town to make a memory.  Do you have great ideas for making your home like a vacation? Please share them. I would love to hear what you do in your home. 

Have a safe and happy summer and until we meet again,  Fifi

Psalm 139:9  If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Father, The Father in Law, The Husband

Seems fitting that I should post about these people on this particular weekend. These three men are in a particular order because without the first two there wouldn't have been the last one. You see, without the first, there wouldn't have been me. Without the second, there wouldn't have been the third. When the first two started talking at work one day they decided that me and the third would make a great couple and they introduced us and that's how the third is "The Husband" in this story.  That makes sense.  Right?  Did you follow?

The first two, "The Father" and "The Father in Law" are probably two of the best men I've ever known. I feel very privileged that I get to call them mine.  Not many people get to call these two Daddy or Father in Law.  Those of us who do, know that we have a prized possession. A great gift.

My Dad

My daddy is known by everyone as a cut-up. He doesn't leave anyone alone, ever!  He is always stirring the hornet's nest. However, there is another side to this man that not many people get to see. The side that I know.  A hard worker that left for work every day and came home at exactly the same time every day. Yes, exactly the same time every single day . A man whose yard was dubbed "The Yard of the Week" in the local paper several times. Our woods were so immaculate that snakes didn't even want to live there. This is the man who tried very hard to teach me to catch a fly ball,  even though I never could. The man who sat at the table countless hours and drilled multiplication tables into my head. "YOU WILL NEED THIS SOME DAY!!!!  The man who can memorize scripture and poetry like nobody's business. The man who gathered us around the table and read nightly devotions with us and taught us that God was omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, etc. The man who would give every penny he made to his children and grandchildren to make sure they have what they needed. The man who went to baseball and basketball games, book signings, recitals, concerts and plays of the grand-kids and cheers and coaches them on from the side lines and is as proud as punch of those kids.  This man sat on the side of my bed and cried with me when my heart was broken. Yes, cried with. This is the man that I know and love. Thank you daddy for being a man that I and my children can look up to. For being a Father and a Poppy of integrity and character and for being faithful to my mom. For always being there for me. I love you and am very thankful for you.

My Father in Law

My father in law is one of the hardest working men that I've ever met. This man never, ever stops. Most people can't wait until retirement so they can rest and vacation, etc. Not this man. He has worked harder since retirement than he did when he was employed.  He started his own lawn mowing business after retirement. He trained the grandsons as they got old enough to run the equipment.  He cuts trees and pulls brush ALL of the time. You would think there wouldn't be anymore but somehow he finds it. When there is a project, he is all in.  He jumps right in there. There isn't anything that he isn't willing to try. He helped us with our major bathroom project.  I came home one day and he was putting new siding on our house. Our kids have learned what hard work looks like from this man.  His tender heart and spirit will get to you every single time.  He has a tenderness like I've never seen before.  He is a softy for sure, especially where the grand-kids are concerned.  He, like my dad, is right there when a game, concert, recital, etc comes up and is in the stands cheering the grand-kids on. These guys don't miss a beat. Thank you Pa Bennie for being such an upstanding man.For being a Father and Pa of integrity and character.  For your tenderness and kindness. Thank you for being such a good daddy to James. For always being there when I've called needing "help." You've never said no when I called. I appreciate you so very much. I love you and am very thankful for you.

My Husband

And this man, my husband, is without a doubt one of the most patient, hardworking men I know. He gets it honest. He grew up around it.  Hard work was drilled into him.  He does not come home at the same time every day. (This, I had to get accustomed to and it took a while. Why you ask? Because my daddy came home at the same time every day. insert smile.) Not only did he get the hard working gene from his dad, he also got his tender heart from him.  James is a great father. His children have such a great respect for him. They run to him for advice.  If they want drama they come to me. Anything else, they run to their dad.  He's the fix-it guy. Emotionally, work related, socially. He can talk them off the ledge so quickly.  It is amazing. He is truly the leader in our home, he wears the pants, no question about it. He is the calming force. Solid and true.  He has attributes of both of the men above and I love him dearly. Thanks honey for being such a great dad to our kids.  I love you so much and am so very thankful for you and for the father that you have been and are to our children. I have loved parenting these two great kids with you.

To these great men, I say thank you for the role that you play in the lives of my children. They wouldn't be who they are today without you three.  Happy Father's day.

With love, Felicia

Linking With: Cedar Hill Farmhouse
Kayla's Kaboodle
Coastal Charm

Monday, June 9, 2014

A "Girly" Breakfast

This weekend I hosted breakfast for my mom, sisters, niece and daughter.  It was just us girls. No guys allowed. We did this once before when my sister Melissa came home from Romania. She requested that we do it again.  We gathered around the table, just the seven of us and had a quiet time of just being us. We giggled like girls do, ate a lot (someone ate a lot of bacon) and just enjoyed being together.  We would love to do it more often. I can't bring myself to do it if everyone can't be here though.

I love decorating for girly get together's.  You can do so much more when just the girls get together. I love to bring out the old dishes that our grandmothers used. Mawmaw Smith's butter knife. Mawmaw Miller's Cream and Sugar Bowl. We sat at the dining table that my parents used before they moved to a smaller home and I set the table with my mom's dinnerware and a tablecloth that she gave me years ago when she was "cleaning out." I don't know about you but I love it when people "clean out" and get rid of their "old" stuff.  Some Blue Ridge Pottery from the Lost in Time Antique Mall, (if you love old stuff and are in Winston-Salem you must visit this place) fresh roses from Costco and everything was perfect.

As we sat there together, I thought that it wouldn't be long before Melissa would head back to Romania and then we would be separated again. By oceans and time. I sat at one end of the table and my mom sat at the other and I looked around at some of the sweetest people I know. These girls that I have literally tortured (because I'm the oldest) in one way or another throughout their childhood, but wouldn't take a million dollars for.  A lifetime of memories that I wouldn't trade for anything.  Each one different. Each one unique. Each one special. Each one of them means the world to me and I'm thankful for every moment that we have together.

The day was short but special. I wish we had more days like Saturday. More time together. If you can, make time for your family. Life is too short. Bring out the special dishes and table linens. Buy the roses and send one home with everyone when they leave. What special occasion is more special than today. Today is a special occasion. Every day is a gift from God. Tomorrow may not come. Let's celebrate today!

James 4:14   Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor,  that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Until we meet again, Fifi

Linking to: All Things Heart and Home
Linking to: Savvy Southern Style
Linking to: Sand and Sisal
Linking to: Imparting Grace

Thursday, June 5, 2014

"Joy Stealers"

Isn't this a beautiful rose?  A co-worker, Carolyn, grew this and gave it to me.  I snapped this picture next to the scripture that I've been thinking about the last two days and thought I would share it with you.

Do you ever come across "joy stealers"  Those people or things that come across your path that just trip you up and cause you to lose your joy. Maybe it's just for a minute or could even be for an hour or could go into days or a week even. It can be in the grocery line. The stop light. A phone call or even on the news or radio. Can we even call "joy stealers" a trial?  I think so!  Sometimes my "joy stealers" sure seem like a trial.  They sure do test my faith.  Yours too I bet?  I certainly feel tested and feel like I'm losing the battle against them most of the time. That's the way defeat starts in.  So,  I think that for today I'm not going to let the "joy stealers" win.  I'm going to keep my joy because my real joy comes from the Lord.  Amen!

James 1:2 Know this, that the testing of your faith worketh patience.

With love and until we meet again,  Fifi

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Lies of the Enemy

I read this quote on a new blog that I happened upon this past week, Gracelaced.  I decided to look up the definition of the word complacency.  The Merriam Webster definition says that complacency is a feeling of being satisfied with how things are and not wanting to try to make them better. I've been complacent in areas in my life before. Complacent in my Christian walk. I shouldn't find it amazing that complacency is right where Satan wants me. Right where I'm most ineffective.  When you and I are complacent, we are no good to to anyone, especially in our Christian walk or our calling.  We are just satisfied with the way things are, lukewarm. In Revelation Chapter 3 it says that God would rather us be hot or cold than lukewarm.  I definitely want to be in a mode of being a better Christian. I don't  want to give the enemy any more ammo than he already has. Seriously, he has enough already, right?  

So, now that we know what complacent is, how do we combat it?  We stay in God's Word, we fellowship with Him. We pray and talk to him. We stay faithful to church and to our ministries. We work at it. Yes, sometimes it is work, but we have to. We don't have a choice. This is the only life we have. We only have one chance to get it right.  I don't want my daily walk with God to be just "good enough."  I want it to be extraordinary. I want other people to see me and say I want what she has. I want to be a testimony that Christ lives within me.

Are you experiencing complacency as well?  Maybe it is at work, your health or in your Christian walk. I pray for you as well as myself, that we will work our way out of it.That "good enough" is no longer "good enough." That we will want to be extraordinary for a King who gave His all for us.  I think Psalm 143 is very fitting for this post. This is my prayer.

Until we meet again,  Fifi

Psalm 143 
Hear my prayer, O Lord, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness.
And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.
For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead.
Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.
I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.
I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.
Hear me speedily, O Lord: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.
Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.
Deliver me, O Lord, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me.
10 Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.
11 Quicken me, O Lord, for thy name's sake: for thy righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble.
12 And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant.