Sunday, October 31, 2010

Light to This World

My little football player is missing!  He had already discarded the gear!

Growing up, I never really gave Halloween much thought.  We dressed up and got lots of candy.  I didn't know the Lord, so all holidays were about 'me!'  Christmas was about 'me' and how many toys 'I' would get!  Halloween was about how much candy 'I' could get and devour in one night!
Since the Lord plucked me from the world of 'me' at the age of 21, I tend to look at things differently now.  This year, Halloween falls on the Sabbath day.  Hmmmm...I thought maybe I should see if this is something that honors God.  Should we 'trick or treat' on Sunday?  Should we 'trick or treat' at all?  I know there are wide opinions on the subject.  A preacher on a podcast said "families make decisions based on their past experiences, their present circumstances, and what they want for the future."  It looks different for every family.   I would add that for our family, decisions should be made after much prayer...a relatively new concept to me.
After much prayer and seeking counsel from some wise friends, we did a little research.  Wow...the history of Halloween is not pretty.  And honestly, there is nothing honoring to God about this holiday.  Now, I might have suspected that, but the details of its origin and all the scary things that go along with Halloween are a bit unsettling.  The difference is that the Celts back in the day actually 'believed' and worshipped these things.  They believed that the dead walked around on Halloween and folks gave 'soul cakes' and had bon fires to ward off the evil spirits.  People dressed up to mimic the 'dead.'  The most common costumes for thousands of years have remained the witch, the skeleton, and the ghost.  Werewolves and vampires are also common costumes. 
Why do we go door to door?  Why do we 'celebrate?'  Why do we dress up?  Are we honoring God?  If it is not honoring God, should we participate at all?  These are some of the questions we pondered with our children. 
I read more history on the subject than I know what to do with!  My husband and I explained it in simple terms to our children, and then we asked them those questions.  To our surprise, they had some good thoughts.  Our son felt that we should not participate on Sunday, but go to a festival at one of the churches on Saturday.  Our oldest daughter agreed and added that we shouldn't wear anything scary. 
We do not typically let them make decisions of this kind; after all, they are only 8, 7 and 4.  What better topic, though, to give them the chance to use some discernment? 
Our goal is to raise these children to be light in this world.  Halloween is a dark night, but is it really unlike any other day?  Are people worshipping the same things the Celts did many years ago?  I doubt it.  (Sure, there are some that do.)  But, I tend to think Halloween to most folks is what it was to me growing up...just getting dressed up and getting lots of candy, visiting neighbors or friends and eating too much sugar until we are sick of it! 
My goal as I grow toward the cross is to not accept a 'watered down' faith.  So, that is where I find myself today.  I have prayed about this and feel the Lord leading me a step closer to the cross.  Am I 'there' yet?  By no means...only a step.  Last year, my daughter was a witch and my son a wolf to my youngest daughter's little red riding hood. 
We did attend the festival yesterday and it was perfect!  It was at a church in a big field with some great, clean music playing, games, hayrides and free hotdogs...everything was free!  We might visit with a few friends tonight, who have had us over every year since our kids were tiny for hotdogs.  We may even go over to see a few neighbors.  We may stay in our yard and roast marshmallows, not to ward off evil spirits, but just to eat some s'mores!  Who knows?! What we do know is exactly what we believe and Who we believe in!  The children know that we want them to be light to this world, even on Halloween.
In my quest for answers, I was most surprised that many believers didn't really know what Halloween was about or why they participate in it.  I encourage you to dig deep and to understand your traditions!  Maybe take this time to understand more about 'Reformation Sunday.' (Rent the movie, 'Luther.')  Consider having your children dress up as historical figures and research the person or era.  I know there are some who will strongly disagree with our decision.  I welcome your feedback!  We made this decision based on "past experiences, present circumstances and prayer for what we want for the future!" 
Since, we can't do much about all the 'evil' billboards, pictures or costumes in stores that our children see this time of year, we have memorized this verse, "I will set before my eyes no vile thing...I will have nothing to do with evil" (Psalm 101:3-4) When they see these evil things, we tell them to look away, and not to 'set their eyes on them.'  This is a lesson for everyday...not just Halloween!

Bless your family on this night and every night!

Pin It Now!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Picked Just for You...A Party

 He picked her...
...and she picked him!
  On this special day, we celebrated an engagement!
I didn't think anyone would want to get too messy or wet bobbin' for apples, so we just put a few in with the drinks!  This vintage metal tub is huge, but perfect for holding ice and drinks!
With apples in mind, I went searching for some inspiration at one of my favorite party blogs, Celebrations at Home, and Chris had a lovely Autumn Engagement Party!  It was perfect for the inspiration I needed to add to my apples!  I just love the 'he picked her' and 'she picked him' theme!  Thanks Chris!  My vintage cart sits at the front door for a welcoming display.
The mum was too large for my basket, so I tucked in some burlap to mask the black container and added some decorative ribbon.
This little display is in front of our shed.  Again, to mask the black container, I tucked in some straw from the yard!
I made several of these little pumpkin candles after seeing them in blog land!  I stacked mine inside some lanterns for the front porch and added some leaves, bark, acorns and moss from the yard.  Click here to see how to make them!
Here is another 'shed' display.
I can't believe my hydrangeas are still blooming...I love the fall colors and added little vases of these all over the house for added color.
This little Diadem collection of songs is over one hundred years old (published in 1909.)  I had it opened to 'A Little Bit of Love.'  Appropriate for the occasion! 
I gave this little book to the bride-to-be as a memento from the shower!
Farmer's Market flowers...lovely!
I pulled this vintage European potato basket from my laundry room to hold the apples.
These candle holders welcomed guest at the entrance to our house.
Mums and more mums!  They add such great color, don't they!  I love this pot that my friend Katie painted!
A little spot by the lake is set for those guests who wander and want to sit outside for a while!  The blankets are just in case it gets too cold!  The minnow bucket is old and perfect for holding flowers.
More hydrangeas add to this display of curly willow, pepper berry, sticks and lights on my porch. 
The little pumpkins hold tea lights and add to the soft glow out on the porch.
I simplified my cider stand for the party!  Simple is good when there is a lot going on!

A bonfire is set up next to the s'mores table for warmth and to roast the marshmallows.  I love a bonfire and I love to be outside!
Who doesn't just love s'mores?  I put out the traditional ingredients of graham crackers, marshmallows, and Hershey bars, but our family favorite is Nutella!  You can spread as much or as little as you like of this yummy hazelnut chocolate spread!
I made up individual bags with the s'mores ingredients.  The treat bags are for holding the warm s'mores, so chocolate doesn't drip everywhere! 
Lucy at Craftberry Bush knew I was preparing for this party, so she sent another site to me with some fresh ideas!  The Ritzy Bee Blog inspired me with this little basket of apples and sign!  Check out Lucy's blog!  She is so delightful and very talented!  Thank you Lucy!
Here is my old farm door/table again!  The chandelier looks so pretty lit at night!  More blankets offer some warmth from the cool October night.
The hors d'oeuvres consisted of roast beef with horseradish and rolls, spinach and artichoke dip, pecan and onion cheese ring with strawberry preserves, spicy buffalo chicken dip, crab cakes, veggies, fruit and various cheeses.  I will provide a few recipes later!
The dessert table offered apple pie (of course!) made from scratch by my mother-in-law.  Other desserts were a 'Congratulations' cake, cookie bars, seven layer chocolate bars, almond joy bars and heath bar dip with apples and cinnamon sticks.  I grabbed this burlap at the Farmer's Exchange to make the table skirt.  I gathered the sides for a fancier look!  In a pinch, it works!
Click here to see more pictures of this pumpkin centerpiece.  It looks like it is about to fall over in this picture!

Here is the happy couple!  We wish you the very best Teresa and David!
We had so much fun!  I hope you all enjoyed our party!

With us, the shower was hosted by Rob's youngest brother and his wife and my in-laws.  I could not have done all the food without them!  Also, I borrowed glass punch cups and plates from my friend Jen and additional silverware from my friend Katie.  Jen has a set of 50 cups and plates that belonged to her grandmother and Katie has more silver than she knows what to do with!  They are always so gracious to lend me their special things!  I went shopping at my friend Mary's house and borrowed tables, display pieces and stools.  She and her husband graciously came to help host the party by serving drinks and managing the food.  Rob and I are so thankful for good, good friends!

I am joining these sites and blog events!
Pin It Now!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bee Pillow at Cottage Hill

Lindy at Cottage Hill made this AMAZING pillow!  She is so super talented!  The little bee pillow in my kitchen inspired her, but I tell ya', if I had seen this one first, I would have snagged it!  You have to check out her blog and her ETSY shop to see more of her great pieces! 
Here is her painting on canvas...
And here is the finished pillow!  I just love it!  (You need to check out her incredible headboard that is next to this chair, too!)
Here is the inspiration!  She has her some talent, now doesn't she?!
Great job, Lindy!
Pin It Now!

A Fall Centerpiece

These greenish-blue pumpkins provide the perfect 'vase' for some fall foliage.  We were celebrating an engagement, so I didn't want too much orange to dominate the space!  I bought both pumpkins for $8 and with some flowers, plants, acorns and leaves from around the yard, I made this centerpiece. 
After scooping out the center of the smaller pumpkin, I lined it with tin foil and filled it with dirt.  I planted some different plants and pansies.  Right before our party, I added the fresh flowers.
The round wooden display piece belongs to my friend Mary and worked great to hold the centerpiece!
 Someone in blog land gets the credit for this great idea!  I remember seeing it and thinking it looked simple to do, but didn't note the site!  Use the tea light as a template to mark the real pumpkin and draw a circle around the candle.  Then, just cut out the circle!  The candle fits perfectly and is less expensive than pumpkin shaped candles!  Whoever you are, thank you for the great idea!  I made several of these and used them all around the house for a little bit of color!

I got the idea to use the pumpkin as a vase from Southern Living Magazine.  A friend said that Country Living also had an example of a planted pumpkin.  The article said to enjoy the display for about a week, then remove the plants, plant them in your yard and discard the pumpkin. 
I am linking this display to these parties!  Check them out to get some great ideas and inspirartion!

Pin It Now!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Reaching Down from Heaven...

This is the only picture I could find of just the two of us as glad to have it...
I couldn't have known on this very special day that it would be the last big event in my life that my mom would be present.  She passed away just four years later on October 25, 1997.  It has been thirteen years.  My sisters each have two children, plus my three, so mom would have had seven grandchildren today...something she wanted very badly!
Martha Valeria Owens Bartles
She was a beautiful woman with a gentle and quiet spirit...elegant and yet adventurous!  Last night, I enjoyed showing the children old photos of mom rafting down the Colorado river, skiing large mountains and playing on the lake.  She was the picture of 'health' when she got sick and the doctors  gave her only six months to live. 

We did not grow up attending church regularly, and I knew very little about the Lord.  The Lord found each of sisters and me at different times in our lives.  When my mother was sick, she asked us how we each knew the Lord.  It was such a blessing to share how God had worked on each of us and plucked us from the lives we were living and from the choices we were making!  

On the day that she passed away and after many months of suffering, my oldest sister whispered in mom's ear, "Reach up to Jesus when you are ready.  He is reaching down from heaven ready to take you home."  Reaching up was the last thing she did.  She was only 54 years old.  

I find such comfort in my sweet memories.  The Lord provides comfort to me from the loving arms of my husband, my sisters, and my dear friends...and my children.  They each possess some beautiful qualities of my mom.  Never again will I feel the loving embrace that only a mom can give, but when I hold my children, I feel it in a strange way...a hug that says, "everything is going to be okay."

Hospice has been very dear to our hearts and we were blessed to see a Hospice facility built in our own town with a room dedicated in my mom's name!  We had some beautiful flowers from our shower this weekend, so we decided to take those to someone at Hospice.  I took my oldest daughter and my niece and we delivered these lovely flowers with a prayer, "Lord, bless the person who receives these flowers and that as she finds death near, she would reach up, as Jesus is reaching down...Amen."
Logan Jackson (12 years old) and my daughter Ashlyn (eight years old).  When I was pregnant with Ashlyn, the 'due date' that was given to me was...October 25. 
I am a bit late posting this 'life lesson,' but it comes from the book of Job,

"The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the
name of the LORD." ~Job 1:21

While life has offered much tragedy and the 'Lord has taken,' He has also given much, and I am praising His name always! 
Hug your mom today and when you do, absorb that sweet, gentle loving embrace that only a Mama can give!

Pin It Now!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The CSI Project Halloween Extravaganza!

I was super excited to check out the CSI Project Challenge and to see my mantel listed in the top 10!  There were some amazing projects submitted!  The CSI project that won first place was amazing... I just can't even imagine how she came up with such a creative looks so real!  Check it out!

#1 — Dr. Jekyll’s Laboratory @ Three Pixie Lane

Pin It Now!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

An English Tea Picnic

I have such fond memories of  many distant lands and different cultures from travelling with my family as a child.  Since it is not possible for my little family to travel to faraway places, I am teaching my children about different countries here at home!
Since 'tea' is the iconic drink of England, we are having an English tea picnic!  We learned many facts about the country, such as, where it is located on a map, who is in charge and the basic structure of the government.  Of course, my girls were fascinated with the 'Queen!'  We also discussed a few of the great names like Shakespeare, Jane Austen and famous musicians like the Beatles.
It was a beautiful weekend with lovely weather, so this was a nice way to conclude our little study! 'Visuals' seem to help my children learn, and we got to practice our manners!

The last of our knock-out roses makes a very 'English' presentation in this teapot!
The breakfast menu was strawberry scones with fresh berries, Devonshire cream and of course, hot tea.
I have been collecting these beautiful mismatched English teacups for some time.  They were perfect for our morning tea. 
Did you know that the only commercial tea grown in America is in Charleston, SC?  The Charleston Tea Plantation produces American Classic Tea, and it is still the official tea of the White House!  The peach tea is my favorite!  Just a little plug for SC!  You can visit the plantation for free when you are in Charleston!
The tarnished silver was my grandmother's and the rose melamine plates add a nice 'English' touch.
In the scheme of life, it doesn't really matter if you hold the saucer a certain way or not, but it seems that children who learn manners, also learn respect for others around them.  This is an ongoing process, I will assure you! I feel like I say a thousand times a day, "Chew with your mouth closed" and "Please don't interrupt!"
I always think of England as being rather damp or 'rainy.'  We had several days of rain before this picnic, so the ground was still a bit wet...perfect for our 'trip' to England!
Do you hold the saucer or not?  Well, it depends if you are at the table or a buffet!
Never wave the tea cup in the air!  Ummm, we missed that little fact when we were invited to a birthday tea party recently.  It seems like common sense, but not to my four year old, who waved it in the air and dropped it...hence, the lesson in how to hold a tea cup!
Wherever we go, I bring a little tea set for my youngest child.  She loves to pretend and it keeps her focused and sitting in one spot!
These vintage shoes are finally the perfect size for my little girl!
As the sun came up through the trees, it was the most beautiful morning!  I am not much of a 'morning person', but it was worth it on this day to crawl out of bed early!
This wicker chair was a recent find in Asheville, NC.  It is a 1930's beach chair from Jacksonville, Florida.  It just looks kind of 'English-y!'
The vintage metal picnic basket and plaid wool blanket help set the tone for our picnic.
We are all done, but I wish we could have stayed at our little spot in the 'English' countryside all day!  I have a large imagination, don't you think!  It was funny to hear my kids act like they knew how to speak in proper English!  Good times, I tell ya'! (said in a long southern drawl...I can't even fake proper!)
As his shirt says, 'toys will be toys' and boys will be boys!  He came straight from his cozy little bed!  I can assure you that he would rather have a hammer in his hand than this teacup!  Can you tell by the way he is holding the cup?!  But...he needs to learn manners, too!  One day, his wife will thank me!
St. George's Cross, the English Flag

Devonshire Cream 
5 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
1 tablespoon heavy cream, reserved
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted

Beat softened cream cheese, sugar, and one tablespoon reserved cream with a hand mixer until smooth.  With a spatula, gently fold in the whipped cream.  Do not over mix.  It will be a bit lumpy.  This is so easy for the children to do! Enjoy!
(In Chelsea's Kitchen by Hudson and Campbell)

I wonder where we will go next!  Maybe France?  Maybe Germany...from the comforts of our own backyard!

I am linking to these great blog hops and parties!
Pin It Now!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...