Monday, December 31, 2012

Thanksgiving Procrastination

 Well, there is nothing like squeezing in a belated Thanksgiving post right before the end of the year.   
 Like so many of you, I like to collect different letters from different places; gas station letters, subway letters, old cards or cardboard letters to name a few.  I don't have an 'i' so I drew one on the small slate 'place card.'
 I love the fall colors; it is probably my favorite season!
As the year comes to a close, I want you to know how very thankful I am for you!  Many of you support me here at Three Pixie Lane and take the time to check on me if I haven't blogged in a while.  With the unbecoming characteristic of procrastination and keeping up with the lives of three kids, my little blog has taken a back seat.  I love to decorate, make things and write and I love having a place to share it all; here at Three Pixie Lane!    I really appreciate all of you for your endless inspiration, creativity, encouragement and support!
I wish you all a happy, happy new year full of many blessings, much laughter and lots of creativity!
I am planning to attend the Haven Conference August 1-3, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia!  If you are going, let me know!  My family and I are staying at the Buckhead Hyatt for the conference.  I hope to see you there!
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Thanks for stopping by!
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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Life Lessons on Sunday- Grace

Brooke at Hawksnest, NC 2012

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide- What can avail to wash it away? 
 Look! there is flowing a crimson tide-Whiter than snow you may be today.
Grace, grace, God's grace, Grace that will pardon and cleanse within, Grace, grace, God's grace, Grace that is greater than all our sin. ~ Hymn by Julia H. Johnston

I was watching my daughter play in the snow wearing her ski pants two sizes too big.  The snow was so white, almost blinding and the red of her clothes shouted in dark contrast to the clean white backdrop.  As I stared at the beauty of the landscape and my sweet daughter, I was reminded of the verse that was shared with me the day that I found freedom in Christ at the age of twenty-one.

"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow..." ~ Isaiah 1:18

I was invited to attend a college bible study by a student I hardly knew.  Surely, God uses people to fulfill His plan, because I doubt the young man would have put it high on his list to invite me to a Bible study; we didn't exactly run in the same crowd.  All I knew about him was that he was quiet, had red hair and was a year behind me in Pharmacy school.  I was walking quite a different path than him, and to this day, I wonder what it was that prompted him to invite me to the study with him and his friends. 

Although I shudder to think what he knew about me, it is certain that he didn't know I had been searching for something for a year.  I didn't know what the 'something' was or Who it was, but that night something, or rather, Someone found me. 

The Bible study leader, another young man whose name I wish I remembered, spoke to me after the lesson.  I wondered why he wanted to talk to me and concluded that it must be because I had the look of one covered in the ashes and soot of sin with tears held back like the floodgate of a reservoir.  Certainly, in a room of church going teenagers and young adults, I must have stood out like a lump of coal.

The leader pulled me to the side and read to me a verse in Zechariah.  "Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel.  The angel said to those who were standing before him, "Take off his filthy clothes."  Then he said to Joshua, "See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you."  (Zechariah 3:3-4)

The floodgates broke and my tears poured out as grace poured down on me.  I cannot hear the words of 'Amazing Grace', "How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed" without crying.  The grace given to me was undeserved, yet so unbelievably freeing.  It would take years before I really understood that God's grace is greater than our sins.

Where sin increased, grace increased all the more. ~ Romans 5:20

I often tell my kids that I write these lessons for them, not from a perch, but from a ditch.  I am thankful the Lord put people in my life to help me dig out of the trenches.  While I will always carry mud on my shoes and wrestle with sin, I am so grateful for the beautiful and unlimited gift of grace.

Blessings to you and Happy New Year!

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Why Mary?

Brooke, Mason and Ashlyn 2010

Mary was possibly between the age of twelve and eighteen, when she was told she would carry the Son of God.  My oldest daughter is eleven years old.  While she was quite a feisty toddler, she has grown into a beautiful, caring and sweet girl.  She is reserved and a bit shy, but very motivated and dependable.  Her work ethic and determination amaze me.  Often I reflect on the love the Lord must have for me, to give this precious first born child.  I am so grateful for her.  She loves the Lord and has a sweet relationship with Him.  As crazy as I am about her and as mature as she is for an eleven year old, she is still a child, maturity is incomplete, and a deep knowledge of God's word is not adequately developed.

When I consider my own daughter, I can't imagine the obligation given to Mary at such a young age to carry a child.  Even greater, I can't imagine the incredibly awesome proclamation given to carry the Son of God!  I am not disregardful of the fact that even before this responsibility was given, she was engaged to be married. 

Mary is one of the most amazing women in the Bible and in all of history.  Certainly, this is true because as a virgin, she carried the Son of God.  This fact alone places her in a category all of her own.  But, why Mary?  Was she perfect?  Was she befitting to carry a King?  To answer these questions, we must first acknowledge that God is Sovereign.  He "works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will." (Ephesians 1:11)  Choosing Mary was God's choice, because He is Sovereign.  He is Creator of the universe and Mary was the one chosen to fulfill His will. 

We cannot assume that Mary had done great works in her young life, and such was the reason she was chosen.  Doing good works to earn salvation defies the premise of the christian faith.  If we could do good works and actually keep the law, Jesus' death was in vain.  There is nothing we can do to gain entrance into heaven.  We fall short constantly, and it is the recognition of this and the acceptance of the Sacrificial Lamb of God, which offer us salvation.  The 'works' of Christians come from an outpouring of love to serve our Lord, and is a result of our salvation.  Salvation is not a result of our works.  I think Mary had a deep understanding of this and an acceptance of the Christ-child growing within as a fulfillment of the Old Testament prophesies. 

   As a young Jewish girl,  Mary would have studied and respected the law.  It is clear that she was knowledgeable about God's word and had a deep love for Him.  It is also clear, by her actions that she was full of humility.  Then the angel said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored!  The Lord is with you.  Mary was greatly troubled." (Luke 1:28,29)  We can assume by the angel's response, "Do not be afraid" (Luke 1:30) that 'greatly troubled' meant Mary was fearful or terrified.  She was 'troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.'

Imagine Gabriel, the angel who "stands in the presence of God" (Luke 1:19) coming to you with a message, "Greetings, you who are higly favored!  The Lord is with you." (Luke 1:28)  I think I would look around and think, "Who? Are you talking to me?"  I would be in disbelief that an angel would want to talk to me ,and out of shame and unworthiness, probably hide!  This would not be from humility so much, but more of a remembrance of the sea of sins flooding my mind!  I, too would wonder what kind of greeting this might be!  I might be 'greatly troubled' thinking the angel was sent to bring me 'home!'

Mary was just a girl and I am sure the presence of the angel of God with a commanding voice caused her to tremble; however, I think it was the humility of her heart that caused Mary to be 'greatly troubled.'   She knew the stories, the prophesies, the angels and the miracles of the Old Testament; and she believed them.  I think her fear was from a feeling of unworthiness.  Dr. Tom Berry in his sermon, "Why God Chose Mary," states that she may have had the fear of uncertainty, the fear of inadequacy, the fear of change and even the fear of criticism.  Often when presented with change, we respond in the same way and assuredly, we have never had such a powerful change to be presented that would alter the path of mankind.

After the angel comforted her by saying, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God," Mary probably relaxed a bit and with eagerness, listened intently.  Can you imagine the thoughts and feelings going through Mary's mind as these words fell upon her, "You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." (Luke 1:30-33)

Mary did not question the messenger of the Lord with, "How can this be?"  Recalling the Old Testament verse Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign; The virgin will be with a child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel,"  Mary asked, "How will this be?"  (Luke 1:34)  With an acceptance of her fate, Mary wanted to know the logistics!  God's miracles are plentiful and as a response, Gabriel said the Holy Spirit would come upon her and the power of the Most High would overshadow her.  He assured Mary, "For nothing is impossible with God." (Luke 1:37)

Mary replied, "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said."   As I attempt to empathize with Mary and understand the awesome responsibility before her, I am overcome with one consistent and powerful thought: the first christian was a woman; Mary, the mother of the Most High.     Excitement must have overcome Mary as she realized she was a part of the fulfillment of over three hundred prophesies foretold about Jesus.  Mary believed the little baby soon to be born was Jesus Christ, well before He was old enough to perform any miracles.  She believed the Child she carried was a miracle!  After He was born, I can't imagine the overwhelming feelings she must have felt as she nurtured and kissed the precious face of God!

Although we are not told about any glaring sins in Mary's life, she, like the rest of us, was a sinner.   The image I have of Mary is that she was a sweet girl; young but wise beyond her years.  She probably had the reputation of being a good girl who obeyed her parents.  She was probably smart, as she had studied and knew God's word by heart.  Mary would have known that the engagement to Joseph was binding.  A public announcement among the Jewish people would have been made and a formal engagement was probably held.  A Jewish engagement often lasted a year and was like a marriage without the consummation.  A woman found with child out of wedlock was to be stoned to death (Deuteronomy 22:23-24.)  Her reputation and her life were at stake.  The most amazing thing to me is this:  Mary "regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value"  than her reputation and her own life. (Hebrews 11:26)  Can you imagine giving up your good reputation, and risking your life for something you knew others would surely mock or worse,  stone you to death?  Mary believed and trusted her Father God.  She knew He would protect and take care of her.

Mary was not perfect, but she was humble and totally submitted to God.  She loved the Lord and she knew His word.  Mary was poor, but this hardship did not deter her from trusting the Lord to provide.  She enjoyed a simple, yet blessed life.  She was probably characterized by holy living and demonstrated a heart of gratitude.

Mary is only mentioned a few times in the Bible.  I think she would have wanted it that way.  When asked why God chose her, I believe Mary would have answered, "I do not think I have any special qualities.  I don't claim anything for the work.  It is His work.  I am like a little pencil in His hand, that is all.  He does the thinking.  He does the writing.  The pencil has nothing to do with it.  The pencil has only to be allowed to be used."  (Mother Teresa) Mary's soul glorified the Lord and she rejoiced in God her Savior, but she didn't seek the praise.  Mary sang that all generations would call her blessed (Luke 1:48;) blessed not because of her greatness, but because she carried Greatness himself, the holy Son of God.

Have a blessed Christmas!

Sources: The NIV Bible; Biblegateway;; Bible Probe;
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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Little Bit More Christmas...

I submitted this small tree in the Country Living Christmas Tree Contest.  If you like it, follow the link and click 'like!'  But, hurry...the competition ends tonight!  The most 'likes' wins a Kindle Fire HD 7! 
I found some Mistletoe in a tree at our church.  At night, my daughter scaled the tree and clipped it off.
 Something doesn't seem right about that, does it?
I put little bunches tied with ribbon all around the house.
The girls and I have been cutting triangles forever to make this banner for the tree.  I can't say I have a theme going here, but it feels very L.L. Bean-ish with a pop of spunk.  I glued the paper to twine and wrapped it all around the tree.
I don't scrapbook, but I love all the different papers and patterns that are available.  The triangle with the circles is actually the back of our Christmas card. 
Since it is the season of giving, I thought I would give myself this rustic star.  I found it at a consignment store next to a really large one.  I snagged only this one and drilled a hole in the bottom to put it on top of my tree.

Now, I have a banner on my tree and a star on top.  I'm making progress.
Merry, merry Christmas!  I hope your holiday is full of peace and simplicity!
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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Where is the Lamb?

"The fire and wood are here, "  Isaac said, "but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"  
Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb..."

"By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, 'It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.' (Hebrews 11:17-18) Can you imagine the raw emotions of this elderly man as he took his beloved young Isaac to the alter? 

Not much is mentioned about what the sacrifice of Isaac might have been like, when Abraham reached out his hand for the knife.  Abraham would have surely given hundreds of burnt offerings of sheep or goats in his lifetime. The sacrificial animals had to be year-old males and without defect.  (Exodus 12:5) More than likely, an animal was placed on an alter, and with a sharp knife, the neck would have been slit quickly, so that death would have been sudden.  Afterwards, the fire would have been lit.  A burnt offering represented the total dedication of the offering unto God.

Burnt offerings bore witness of the great sacrifice God was going to make for the sins of mankind.  In Genesis, after eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve hid from the Lord God, because of their sin.  God knew from the fall of man, all of mankind would spend the rest of its existence hiding in shame because of sin.  In His loving kindness, God sacrificed an animal and made garments of skin for Adam and Eve and clothed them.  (Genesis 3:21) The ultimate Sacrifice was to come, not just for Adam and Eve, but for all.  For our depravity and nakedness, with this Sacrifice, God would clothe us, too; in righteousness.

We choose sin, just as Adam and Eve did.  We choose to hide our sin and hide from God.  His deep and unfathomable love for us is so great that He gave his 'one and only son' as a sacrifice to pay for our sins and to clothe us in righteousness.  The sacrifice of the Lamb of God; however, would not prove to be sudden or without pain.  

Two thousand years after Adam and Eve, another sacrifice took place, which would offer a glimpse into the ultimate Sacrifice to come.  Certainly death was imminent for Isaac the moment God commanded to Abraham, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love..., and sacrifice him there as a burnt offering..."( Genesis 22:2)  He trusted God and knowing that God abhorred human sacrifice, a pagan ritual, Abraham must have believed whole-heartedly that the Lord would spare his promised son Isaac from slaughter.  Early the next morning, Abraham and Isaac set out for the three day journey.  On the third day, Abraham with an obedient heart, built the alter just as God had commanded.  "Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death." (Hebrews 11:19)

As Abraham built the alter and prepared for the sacrifice of his favored child, I can envision Jesus standing in their midst observing the obedience of the son to the father;  Isaac to his father Abraham and Abraham to his Father God.  The young Isaac would have been fully capable of resisting his elderly father or fleeing from him, as he was bound and prepared for the alter.  Like Abraham, Isaac trusted his father.  I cannot imagine the pain this act of sacrifice was surely inflicting on the heart of Abraham, and yet, Abraham never questioned God.  "Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son."  (Genesis 22:10)  This act would have been quick and without delay, as Abraham would not have wanted his son to suffer.  The angel of the Lord called out to Abraham and said, "Do not lay a hand on the boy.  Do not do anything to him."  (Genesis 22:12) 

I can picture Jesus standing near watching the child get up from the alter, knowing that the day would come when he would be given as a sacrifice by his Father.  He, too would rise, but only after a long and painful death, accompanied with ridicule and mockery.  A few minutes earlier, innocent Isaac had asked, "Where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" (Genesis 22:7)  I picture Jesus with the knowledge of what was to come, transforming into a ram to be sacrificed in Isaac's place; just as He was sacrificed in our place.  However, as fully man and fully God, Jesus would die on the cross at Calvary in the full knowledge and pain that the human flesh experiences.  "Abraham looked up and there in a thicket was a ram caught by its horns."  (Genesis 22:13)  Abraham had answered Isaac, "God himself will provide the lamb," because God himself is the Lamb.

Human sacrifice was not a part of the Jewish religion, as it was with other religions.  Abraham by faith, obeyed God's command, although it was completely foreign to anything he had known or ever done.  As I attempt to understand Abraham's position in offering his son as a sacrifice, I can barely
comprehend it or fathom how a Father can love all of his children so much that He would give his "only begotten son." (John 3:16)  The thought is so unbearable, and even more so to think of the extended pain and agony Jesus went through in order to redeem us and to restore us to our Father.  We are all deserving of the death on the cross, but in His love He gave the Sacrificial Lamb, Jesus in our place.  As horrible as His death was on that cross, it was and is, the only act that could atone for the impoverished state of mankind.
  There are some significant similarities of the two sacrifices. Isaac, like Jesus bore his own wood, the means of sacrifice, upon his back.  Both men were strong and capable of resisting, but neither fought or thrashed about.  Like innocent lambs taken for slaughter, Isaac and Jesus both accepted their lots trustingly and quietly following the voice of their Shepherd.  On the third day, Isaac was received back from the dead. After the crucifixion, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day.  Isaac was taken to Mt. Moriah to be sacrificed. This is the site where the temple of Jerusalem was built many years later and is near the location where two thousand years after Abraham and Isaac went to Mt. Moriah, Jesus would be sacrificed.  Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket.  This grown male sheep with its horns represented power and represented the grown Lamb of God that would be sacrificed for all of mankind.

At Christmastime, one can only celebrate the birth of Jesus with the perspective of why He was born.  He was born to die.  Without his death and resurrection, his birth is insignificant.  When you visit a Nativity, look at the little baby in the arms of 'Mary' and imagine him as a sacrifice for you and me.  Look past the pleasant scene with sweet animals and a clean barn that modernity has purported and reflect deeply on what the birth of Jesus was really like.  The environment in which He was born and the condition in which He died are more than our modern minds can absolve.  Jesus was born and passed through poverty, because it is the natural state of mankind.  Thirty-three years later, he bore the impoverished condition of our hearts full of sin and depravity and hung on the cross at Calvary for one reason.

He loves you and me more than we could ever imagine.   
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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Snow Globe Fun

We followed the Martha Stewart steps (here) to make our snow globes.  I couldn't decide about adding the water, glitter and glycerin, because I had read on other posts that the green from the bottle brush trees wears off and eventually turns the water green.
 It just didn't seem like a snow globe without the water and glitter!  It was my daughter's idea to make these, but I am lovin' them and getting a little carried away!  There are so many ideas on Pinterest, too.

I found the lamb in a tube of farm animals in the train section of Hobby Lobby.  I found the bottle brush trees in the doll house section.  The ideas are crazy when you stare at all the miniature things!  I also bought many bottle brush trees from Wal-Mart.

Check out the Martha Stewart link, but basically here is what we did:

1. Gather jars, small items and glitter.  We used a sparkly glitter and a white glitter and combined them (Hobby Lobby.)  Also, I used some plastic snow that I had from last year and glued that around the animal and the trees on the lid, so the ground would be white.
2. Distilled water
3. Glycerin from the pharmacy (found mine at Wal-Mart)

Prep your lid by sanding it.  Use some rubbing alcohol to clean it.  If you decide to make these, don't skip the step of sanding the inside of the jar lid. We tried to skip it and the glue wouldn't stick. Also, I tried several types of glue, but found that E6000 Industrial Strength Adhesive worked quickly. We let them dry for twenty-four hours.  You could paint the lids first if you want a pop of color.  After they were dry, we filled the jars with the distilled water almost to the top; a good several drops of glycerin and the glitter.  We had to tweak the amount of glycerin and glitter by testing and adding if the glitter fell too fast or wasn't enough.
I have some more to share, once they are dry and complete!

Thank you for stopping by!

Oh, and Merry Christmas!! 

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Simple

I hadn't planned to make snow globes.  My daughter wanted to give some as gifts, so we made several, which prompted me to make a snow globe centerpiece for my kitchen table.  I found the caravan ornament at World Market and made the wreath for the door from a needle stem off the Christmas tree and a small bow.
Don't you just want to curl up in that cozy little spot?  My old dough bowl keeps all the 'snow' contained and the large cloche covers it all.

The reason for remodeling the kitchen fairly neutral was so that I can add any color according to the holiday or season.  Scandinavian style (A Swedish Intent)  is my fav, so I used simple decor and red and white check ribbon (Hobby Lobby, but if you live in my town, I bought it all!)
It was such a gloomy day to take pictures!  The bottle brush trees came from Wal-Mart, of which I bought almost all they had.
I made the wreath from a coat hanger and some boxwood stems from my yard.  The small hearts everywhere also hint at a Swedish style.
I love cinnamon!  Here, it is stored in an old ironstone vase for easy access during the holiday season.
The butcher block got a makeover for the holiday, too.  My daughter and I went on a walk through the woods and grabbed lots of greenery to decorate the house.  I cut the top of a small pine tree and placed it in an old enamel pot of my grandmother's with some water.  The garland is made of Scandinavian flags.  I love the crosses on each.

This fresh wreath is in our foyer.  I found the burlap brown and cream check ribbon at a specialty store in Memphis while visiting my sister.  I wish I had bought more!
There are lots of River Birch trees growing near the lake.  I peeled some of the bark off and punched these hearts out and stuck them on the wreath.  I think I will make more and punch a small hole in each to hang as ornaments on the tree is naked right now and has been for two weeks.

I am crazy about this ribbon...It looks so good with the brown and cream transferware plates displayed in the glass behind it.

I shared this truck with you last year where it was displayed in my son's room.  It stayed in there all year, as it seems I didn't quite get around to storing all my decorations.  The vintage lightbulbs hung on my grandparent's tree every year.
On a sign I passed the other day, it read, "J is for Jesus, O is for others, and Y is for yourself."  Placing these letters on the mantle helps us keep that in perspective.  Now, if we could just always keep that order!
 The lamb is a reminder of why we celebrate the birth of Christ.

I made the bow for this large wreath and added the pheasant feathers and some antlers for more impact. 

Last year, I tried the wreath without the painting, but the nail holes were so high, that I had to hang the wreath way above the mantle or proceed to do a big patch up job.  This year, I opted for easy and just hung it over the painting. 
It is so much cozier at night.
This has a Scandinavian appeal to it, too. I made the cake stand from an old seed dispenser (wooden part) I found in Charleston, SC and added the silver tray to the top.  The candles are held in Jefferson cups I found at flea markets.  They are easily found and usually inexpensive pewter pieces.
I hope to post a bit more regularly before Christmas...'hope' is the operative word.  We have moved on to our master bedroom and bathroom remodel and my house is in a bit of chaos.  Of course, you can't see my master bed that is sitting in my living room or the chairs and side tables piled around my naked evergreen tree!  Wrapping paper and Christmas projects or school projects are in every corner.  What a mess!  I'll share the photos with you later!

Thanks for stopping by!


Savvy Southern Style  
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