Sunday, December 16, 2012

For the Tough Times...

While I was ordering turkey at the Gelson's deli counter on Friday, a man asked me if I had heard the news about the shooting in Connecticut.   I did.  But I didn't want to talk about it.  Didn't want to think about it.   A few hours later, my girlfriend called me crying.  She was crying because she felt blessed to be picking up her daughter from school.   

It's been three days, and I choose not to watch anything on tv about the tragedy.  I can't.   Or to read the yahoo updates that are flooding my computer screen.  I just can't.   All I can do is pray for peace for those who lost a loved one.

Today I ran into a thrift store on the way to a friend's house.  I found myself looking at the hundreds of books on the shelves. My eyes locked onto one with yellow words.  "For the Tough Times" by Max Lucado.  Yep, this would be the book I would need to read today.  I just finished it.  I wanted to share the last few paragraphs with you.  

The last chapter is called "Do It Again, Lord."

"Most of all, do again what you did at Calvary.  What we saw in this tragedy, you saw there on that Friday.  Innocence ended.  Goodness suffering.  Mothers weeping.  Evil dancing.  Just as the shadows fell on our children, the darkness fell on your Son.  Just as our world has been shattered, the very child of Eternity was pierced.

And by dusk, heaven's sweetest song was silent, buried behind a rock.

But you did not waver, O Lord.  You did not waver.  After your Son lay three days in a dark hole, you rolled the rock and rumbled the earth and turned the darkest Friday into the brightest Sunday.  Do it again, Lord.  Turn this Calvary into an Easter.  

Thank you for these hours of prayer.

Let your mercy be upon all who suffer.  Grant to those who lead us wisdom beyond their years and experience.  Have mercy upon the souls who have departed and the wounded who remain.  Give us grace that we might forgive and faith that we might believe.

And look kindly upon your church.  For two thousand years you've used her to heal a hurting world.

Do it again, Lord.  Do it again.

Through Christ, amen."

Friday, December 14, 2012

Home Tour, Part 2

OK, now that I'm more awake, I have more accurate numbers from our home tour.  YOU helped us raise a whopping $1,775 (are you kidding me!!!) and 34 girls have signed up to be His Flower Girls.  Wowza!

And now, in better lighting, I present to you Teri's home. 

Front Door

Living Room

Stockings in Living Room

Vintage Hymn on Tree

Handmade wreath on vintage armoire

Names of God surrounding a Christmas crown

Living Room Mantle

Family Room Christmas Tree

Family Room

Family Room


Master Bedroom

Guest Bedroom

Again, we thank you for making yesterday so very special.
After such a success, we look forward to hosting another home tour in the spring.  "He is Risen!" will naturally be our theme.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sharing His Birthday...

Well, it’s almost 11 o’clock tonight as I write this and I am overwhelmed.  Overwhelmed by your kindness, generosity and friendship.  

Today was the first Christian Girl’s Cottage Christmas Home Tour (say that fast three times) and what a day!  Both of our homes were visited by about 75 women, both in the day and in the evening.  And what troopers those evening ladies were!  It was freezing cold out tonight, but they were bundled up and once inside, made our homes feel cozy and warm.

I saw old friends and made sure-to-be new friends.  I loved sharing the day with women who love the Lord and love decorating homes.  What a combo!  

As I sit here tonight and reflect on my day, I am in awe of God’s blessings in my life.
I feel wonderful with no side effects from my treatments, have a husband who works hard so I can spruce up our home a bit and share it with others, and friends who come along side me and shower me with such amazing support.  In awe.

So to recap the day, I think Teri and I raised close to $1,500 from donations and boutique sales for the “can’t do cancer without God” ministry as well as for a local family who was recently brought to our attention.   And just as exciting -- 28 girls signed up to take an upcoming His Flower Girls class!  28!  Again, in awe.

So for those of you who couldn’t make it today, I took a few photos of our home.  I ran over to Teri’s between tours to take photos of her home, but the lighting wasn’t great.  So I will share photos of her home in another post.  

Front Door


Dining Room 

Dining Room

Happy Birthday, Jesus! 
Christmas Tree

Place Setting
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Family Room

Family Room

Family Room Christmas Tree

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Kitchen Fireplace

Homemade (not!) Cookies

The "Guest Cottage" Bed

Stockings in the "Guest Cottage"

Well, I'm whooped.
THANK YOU again to everyone who shared their busy Thursday with us.  Teri and I loved each and every minute of it!
From our house to yours, 
"Happy Birthday, Jesus!"


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Home Tour...

Well, just three more days until our first Christian Girl's Cottage Christmas Home Tour.  We are so excited to open our homes to you, sharing our love for the Lord to all who enter.  

If you love the look of modern homes, then stay home and wrap presents. :)
Because both of us love everything vintage, farmhouse, English and French (with a touch of thrift store!)
Our homes aren't dripping in Christmas -- we don't have the time and energy to do that.
Just a few touches here and there that say, "Happy Birthday, Jesus!"
Completely doable and enjoyable.

 You'll be treated to hot apple cider and sugar cookies as well as our boutique filled with gifts of faith for family and friends. 

 The tour is our gift to you, though we hope you consider making a small donation to my ministry, "can't do cancer without God."

Here are the details:

Thursday, Dec. 13th
9:30 am to 2:30 pm and
6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.

My home is located in the Foxmoor neighborhood (right before Westlake Elementary School) at 1608 Brentford Avenue, Westlake Village.   From Westlake Blvd. turn right onto Devonshire Avenue, then left onto Brentford Avenue.  We are in the cul-de-sac with the white picket fence.  805.373.1986

Teri's home is located in the North Ranch neighborhood (right past the Thousand Oaks Post Office) at 3333 Alleghany Street, Westlake Village.
From Thousand Oaks Blvd., turn onto Duesenberg Drive, then right onto Clearwater Street, then right onto Alleghany.  She is on the left hand side before you enter the cul-de-sac.  805.796.8194.

Feel free to start at either home, but make sure you see both.
 (The boutique is located at my home.)

We are so very excited to share this Christmas with each and every one of you!  

"Oh, Come Let Us Adore Him!"

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas Memories...

Whenever I read Country Living magazine, I find myself a tad envious when I read, “My grandmother’s garden smelled of gardenias,” or “the smell of pumpkin pie reminds me of home.”   No smell reminds me of home and I don’t even know if my Grandma had a garden.  But one thing that brings my childhood immediately back to me is the sound of Christmas music.  You too?  Or is it just me?

I was recently leaving Cost Plus (by the way, they have the cutest linen Christmas hand towels I’ve seen this year!) and as I got into my car, I heard my first Christmas song on the radio, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by Bing Crosby.   And before I could put my car in reverse, the tears were beginning to well up in my eyes.   

And as they do each and every single year, I always ask myself, Why?  What is it about Christmas music that always gets to me?

I’ve thought about it long and hard this year, and I think it reminds me of safety.  Being safe in the home that I grew up in.  No one had died, no one was sick, all was well.  My life consisted of Barbies and brownies.  And maybe, although I couldn't wait to grow up, there’s a little part of me that misses that.  Really misses being back home with my family.

As I hear familiar Christmas songs like the Carpenters’ ”Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" or Perry Como’s “Do You Hear What I Hear” (boy, am I old or what?), I’m instantly transported back to our family room.  I remember sitting on the couch, watching the Santa Claus Lane Parade while my mom reaches over my head to balance our little red and green felt elves on the branches of a manzania tree branch that “decoratively” hung on the wall over our couch.  I think I hated that thing.  

I remember our fake Christmas tree lit with old-fashioned colored bulbs and lots of silver tinsel.  It stood beside two shelves that held our Encyclopedia Brittanicas.  Anyone remember those things?   And I remember my mom hanging our red "velvet" stockings with the white furry cuffs (that I think everybody had in the 1970s) on the mantle.  Since our mantle was made of used brick and you couldn’t put nails in to it to hang up the stockings, my mom would wrap a rubber band around each loop of a stocking and then wrap the other end around the end of a brick.  I remember, even as a kid, thinking that was an ingenious idea.  Then she would put a sheet of flattened cotton on the mantle and nestle some white plastic reindeers in it.  Each year, it seemed that a reindeer would lose another leg or another antler.  But up they went.

And that’s the visual each and every year I hear a familiar Christmas song.  Funny what sticks in your head, isn’t it?  

Another thing that sticks is at the end of the night, when I would be in my bedroom putting away my presents (one year I got several pairs of Dittos and Luv-Its with matching tops -- now that was a good Christmas!) my mom would come in my room and ask if I liked everything I opened.  Then she would hug me and choke back the words, “I love you” while standing in front of my closet.   I would also choke back the words, “I love you, too.”  We’d pull back from each other and kind of laugh that we were both crying.  I think the tears came because we only said, “I love you” on Christmas night.  Kind of weird, huh?  But those three words just didn’t flow in our house, though we knew our parents loved us.   Hearing those words was kind of a Christmas gift too.

So as December begins and we draw closer to Christmas Day, may your memories be good ones.  I hope my kids remember loving their stockings more than their gifts (I did!), sharing God’s love with family, friends and strangers (we’ll be “elfing” this year -- knocking on a few doors sharing cookies and small gifts) and most importantly, that Jesus’ birth trumps any Christmas gift they could ever ask for.

Speaking of Jesus' birth, my friend Teri and I will be opening our homes on Thursday, December 13th for the 
Christian Girl's Cottage first Christmas Home Tour.  
Our decorating is nearly complete and we're thrilled to share our love of Christmas and our love for the Lord with all of you.
Once we put the final touches on them, I'll share a few photos of both of our homes along with an invitation with all the details.
Our home tour is free, but we're hoping to raise a little money for the "can't do cancer without God" ministry that God has so richly blessed our lives with.

Please mark your calendars (before they're jam-packed) for December 13th so that we can see each and every one of you.  Now that would be a good Christmas memory!