Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Thoughts on Leadership

Recently, I found a beautiful book entitled. To Bless the Space Between Us by John O'Donohue.  It is a book of blessings filled with poems which encourage and bless.  In it, I found a wonderful reminder about the honor of leadership.  Oh how we need good leaders!  Perhaps you are a leader and need a reminder of how a leader is able to bring blessing to others!  Maybe you lead from a table in a board room which is honorable but,  I think many of us lead from our homes around our kitchen table. May God bless you and encourage as you seek to become all HE has ordained for you whether at home or in an office!  Be blessed my friend!



FOR A LEADER 

May you have the grace and wisdom
To act kindly, learning
To distinguish between what is
Personal and what is not 

May you be hospitable to criticism.

May you never put yourself at the center of things.

May you act not from arrogance but out of service. 

May you work on yourself, 
Building up and refining the ways of your mind.

May those who work for you know 
You see and respect them.

May you learn to cultivate the art of presence
In order to engage with those who meet you.

When someone fails or disappoints you,
May the graciousness with with you engage 
Be their stairway to renewal and refinement.

May you treasure the gifts of the mind
Through reading and creative thinking
So that you continue as a servant of the frontier 
Where the new will draw its enrichment from the old, 
And you never become a functionary. 

May you have a mind that loves frontiers 
So that you can evoke the bright fields 
That lie beyond the view of the regular eye.

May you have good friends
To mirror your blind spots.

May leadership be for you 
A true adventure of growth.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Thoughts on the Feminine Woman.......

I feel truly blessed that the good Lord saw fit to give me the gift of mothering four  daughters and one son.   These  sweet gifts are grown AND are now, 39, 37, 34, 31, and 28.  Each one continues to hold a special place in my heart and soul.  Daily, even though my time now with them is limited [because they are living their lives with their wonderful families].  I continue to pray for them and think of them.  What mother doesn't think of her child daily and it doesn't soften with the passing of time or distance.  It changes, but in a good way!  I am extremely proud of each one.  My husband and I together balanced rearing them throughout childhood and into adulthood.  Then we let go..........

As I think of our daughters, I think of their femininity and the lovely qualities that have emerged from their lives and the women they are and continue to become today.   How did and how does this happen?  Our investments in our children as their parents began with one decision. We desired TO BE with them as much as possible when they were growing up.  These daily acts of providing for their physical, emotional, spiritual and educational needs contributed to the whole and wonderful people they have become.  Other people invested in them as well to make them whole.  There is so much I could say about parenting, but I was thinking this morning about the beauty of a woman who is feminine.  Yes, I was a mother who taught my girls the beauty of being feminine. 

One of my most favorite books and one which was made years ago into a film is REBECCA!  There is a quote about REBECCA, the person,  who is mysterious and actually never seen in the book and film, only described as "The most beautiful creature ever seen".  Of course, this description was of her physical beauty.  As I think about beauty, I think of what it means in relation to being feminine.  There are all sorts of role models.....so, we have to be careful in where we look when we look for the woman we hope to become.  It is wise to think deeply about whose ideals you follow.  It is true, we must all choose our own paths.....this is good and this right and if you prayerfully ask for guidance for help in making wise choices, God will give it to you and me. 

By nature, I am a feminine woman.  I enjoy spending some time each day in quietness reading  and listening to God's words from the Bible. I talk with HIM in prayer and give HIM my burdens and my prayer request for my family and for others who have asked me to pray for them.  This helps me to empty myself of me......such a renewing action I am thankful to experience each day. I don't want to be the center of my life because GOD is the center of my life.  I have learned over many years that emptying ones self before God gives a JOY that radiates from the soul.   No amount of beauty cream, exercise, health food,  job, or education can provide what God wants us to have as a free gift! Trust me, I have learned this the hard way sometimes! :) We must choose wisely who we follow and how we lIve and love. Our faces will soften, our voices will soften, and our expectations will soften.  You can be a strong and feminine woman without being forceful and harsh.....qualities which are not feminine and just plainly not attractive in a woman.

In the Proverbs, in chapter thirty one, there is a beautiful passage about a virtuous wife.  I wish all young women could read this. It begins by asking a thoughtful question...."Who can find a virtuous wife?  For her worth is far above rubies."  It goes on and on about this industrious woman. She gives without expectation to the needy.  Her tongue is kind. Her children rise up and bless her.  Strength and honor are her clothing.   This beautiful woman has the feminine qualities as a mother,  I pray, continue to develop throughout the lives of my own daughters and.......even more importantly...... I pray they teach them to their own daughters so that the legacy of womanhood lives on as God intended.  It gives us something to think about......doesn't it?  Everyday, my friend, is a beautiful gift!  May you enjoy yours! 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Restorative Friendship......

Beautiful words inspire me!  I love words! I find reading the words that others have written soothing and often beautiful.  Actions though always speak much louder than words.  I hope over the next three years to build a lovely new home with my husband for the next decade of our lives and beyond. Below is a small rendering of what I am hoping we can do!  I want our home to be a place where others know they are loved and welcomed.  I want our home to be a place where others are restored and loved fully.....sort of a place for restorative friendships!  Waiting is the hard part.....but it will be worth it!  There is a time and season for everything in life!


Restorative Friendship:  this kind of loving restorative friendship is rare but it is the kind of friend we all should strive to be.  In the film, Chocolat, an outsider enters a beautiful French village and opens a shop with her meager funds. She wasn't a religious person so she was gossiped about in the little village where church was more of a ritual and a social event. I find her situation so sad mainly because my faith is so important in my own life. We must be about the business in our faith of loving others....truly! In life, talk does little to refresh one's spirit. Unconditional love seems to be the answer. Her little shop became a haven for the unloved and wounded in spirit.  She used the resources that she had, though meager, to accept, love, and repair what had been broken in others.  It worked!  The entire little village was changed because of her choice to act instead of just talk.  Oh, how I pray we can leave our own selves for a short while and act on behalf of those who are hurting.  If we could.........the world would be a more wonderful place! Love someone today without any expectations and trust God's power to change the situation!  Everyday is a gift!


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Becoming a LADY



When I was growing up, we spent a great deal of time at both of our grandmother's homes  I understand now that I am older exactly why!  My mother was quiet young when we were born and  sadly I know now, we were not all that treasured.  It's okay and there were blessings everyday because I learned so much from  the time I spent with my grandmothers.  I learned from my paternal grandmother how loving a mother could be to her child.  From my maternal grandmother I learned the values of an education and a university degree.  I also was taught by this same grandmother how to be a lady. She had high expectations for us and daily instilled them in us.

Thinking about this now, I understand that becoming a lady is a learning process just like being a gentleman.  These qualities are taught, over and over again by parents who desire this for their child or children.  You could say, a mom and a dad just have to STICK with the hard lessons of  teaching manners, respect for others, respect for nature, love of our nation, and respect for God.  These qualities are fading today  and sadly fading even among adults.  Elegance defines a true lady and this usually appears quiet fast when you meet a lady because she rarely speaks negatively of others.  Her integrity is apparent.  Her relationships are personal and private and she speaks of her interest, rather than people.  A lady always shines! Always!

Manners are so closely connected to our actions.  My advice for the day.......... Be genuine, be real, be loving, be kind and........always be a little mysterious! Yes, mysterious....that for sure is the mark of an elegant and beautiful lady!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Living Room



Living Rooms are the home's most public room and the place where you and your family are most comfortable.  In the past, many homes had a formal living room and a more informal family room.  Today, this trend has changed and instead of two rooms the one living room is larger.  I still have a small living room, which is peaceful and enjoyable to use with a wide opening so it's feel is not so formal.  It's decor is very French....of course! 

In our main living room, the furnishings are larger and the room is used for many different activities. Separate spaces are used for reading, writing, watching television, and just relaxing.  It is linked in style to the more Formal sitting room but more spacious and not as many antiques. Homes are more inviting when they are uncluttered. When someone visits me, I want the focus to be on our time together not on all the collections or decor  found in my home. 

One of my favorite designers, Josephine Ryan, has a lovely book I have mentioned before called simply, FRENCH  HOME.  In the book, she shares many photographs of  her simple style and gives wonderful advice on how to pull a room together.   I have always said and she says this as well, invest in one good piece and build your room around it.  In the photo above, the French chair and ottoman were purchased eighteen years ago and still looks good.  I have never changed the fabric. A quality piece of furniture always is a good idea! 

In my home, I want people to sense that The Lord is welcome in my home.  JEHOVAH NISSI, which means The Lord our Banner.  His is the standard I hope to live by and be filled with.  It is His cause and His Victory for which I live!  

Psalm 20:5. "We will sing for joy over your victory,  and in the name of our God we will set up our banners, may The Lord fulfill all your petitions."  Yes, May JEHOVAH NISSI be welcome and may our home be a beautiful place for prayer and for TRUTH!  Have a beautiful Sunday! 


Monday, July 21, 2014

Stourhead: The Home and Gardens

 The Palladian Mansion
 The View of the estate from the entrance


Stourhead Landscape Gardens 

 The Palladian Bridge
 
 The Gothic Cottage

England is a living piece of art and an old, old country filled to the brim with beauty!  Just a little over three years ago, I visited England for the first time and have been back each year since, for a total of three times. I feel blessed that my wonderful son in law, Philip, has such a rich British heritage and many of the places I have visited, he has driven me....very patiently as I asked him to stop so I could snap a photo! He drove on tiny one lane roads to show me villages that are in fairytales....or so it seems.  There is still so much I hope to still see and experience in other visits. One of my favorite experiences in my travels there has been visiting homes and gardens of The National Trust of England.  The National Trust is a registered charity and is independent of the British government and was founded in 1895 to preserve places of historic interest or natural beauty permanently for the benefit of the nation.  The national trust relies on the generosity of its supporters, through membership subscriptions, gifts, legacies and the contribution of many thousands of volunteers. There are over 300 historic houses and gardens.

I was invited by my daughter's husbands grandparents, who are British citizens and hold a membership in The National Trust to tour the beautiful Stourhead Landscape Gardens.  I was enthralled by its beauty, a true paradise!  We visited on a beautiful spring day and walked the gardens around the beautiful clear lake which is tastefully surrounded by classical and Gothic buildings set against wooded slopes.  From the beginning, I was in love! It is such a well designed landscape garden full of formal and native plantings and well maintained today as a park like setting around a fourteen acre lake. It's hard to believe that it was one man's vision.

The entire Stourhead estate consist of 2,650 acres at the source of the River Stour near Mere, Wiltshire, England. On our visit, we arrived by car and the winding roads which take you to the entrance seem to have a way of drawing visitors in..... immediately!  The vast beauty of the setting and the landscape attracts visitors daily.  This past Spring when I visited England again, I wanted to visit the beautiful Palladian mansion on this visit as well as the gardens. I was not disappointed!  The history of Stourhead manor house is just as interesting as the gardens. The original estate is 800 years old and passed from the original family, the Barons of Stourton, to Sir Thomas Meres in 1714 and he sold it to Henry Hoare i in 1717.  The original manor house was demolished and new house was build in 1725.  Over the next 200 years the Hoare family collected many heirlooms, a library of books, and an art collection.  In 1902 the house was gutted by fire but many of the collections were saved.  The house was rebuilt but in 1946 the only remaining son gave the home to the National Trust. On our visit, the house seemed neglected and in need of paint and restoration in comparision to other National Trust homes I had visited, but still the beauty of its setting and the beautiful antiques were interesting. Once I understood about the loss due to the fire and the early death of the last owner, I understood more and appreciated its place in the history of Stourhead and Wiltshire.  On the day of our visit, volunteers were cataloging the antique books in the library. They wore gloves in order to preserve the delicate papers of the volumes and volumes of books.  It was as though they understood they were being entrusted with a valuable piece of history. They spoke quietly among each other with their findings as we watched in awe. These volunteers are another resource that makes England so very special. British people love their country and their heritage in honored by one another and those of us who appreciate the joy of visiting.

These beautiful estates scattered all over England are well worth a visit if you plan a trip abroad. The city of London is beautiful and rich in history and modern as well however..... it's in getting out to the countryside that one truly sees England and its history. It is beautiful. indeed!!!

If you've seen the 2005 period film Pride and Prejudice then you've seen some of Stourhead.  The Temple of Apollo which stands high on a hill at the western end of the garden is where Mr. Darcy declares his love for Lizzy.  The Palladian Bridge is where Lizzie runs in the scene hoping to run away from her fear that she is falling in love with Mr. Darcy.  

Stourhead is to be enjoyed over and over again!
 The Temple of Apollo
 Beautiful hybrid rhododendrons fill the landscape planted in the
20th Century!
 The gorgeous 14 acre lake!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Moving......A Home Filled with LOVE!

 
Every home seems to have an ambience!  We have lived in our current home longer than any other we have ever owned.....six years and five months. The longest was six years, until now.  As my husband took on new career changes and challenges, we moved.  We have lived in twelve different homes in forty one years! Yes, we were babes when we started the marriage journey!  Two of those were rentals until our homes were finished in Los Angeles, California and Jackson, Mississippi.  It could seem mind boggling if you've never moved but for us well, it was wonderful! I loved each place we lived.....well, I take that back. One was deleted from my memory! :) our children took on the nomadic life well and each one has never been held back by change......life is an adventure.

Finding personal style in the home can be a daunting task when moving but it is also a great time to purge of things you do not wish to keep.  Over the years, I have learned to keep things neutral and more simple when it comes to collections. I do not add to them anymore and have actually given away or sold lots of things I thought were necessary at one point. I do have a love for all things French now so some of my French decor I am planning to always live surrounded by!  I hope my husband doesn't mind.

Four of our five children, who are now grown, have moved this summer. Two in California, one in Colorado, and now our youngest will be making the journey from England to the states, and on to California as well.  Each one of them have lovely taste in decorating.  I look forward to visiting each one.  Each of our children inherited a collectors and artist style of sorts.  This, to me, is what makes their homes each unique to who they are individually.  I also think they really enjoy each others company and just hanging out together in their homes always filled with love and laughter.
I have prayed for their empty homes before they arrived. I have prayed today because one is moving into her new home with her family. I pray for the rooms to be filled with love, with laughter, with joy, with happiness, with health, with peacefulness, with forgiveness, and with protection.  In all my moves, I have learned that where God dwells there IS blessing and there is goodness and LOVE!  May love abound in each of our homes and be a place of refuge and comfort for all who need us in this journey of life.  It's really quiet simple and short! 





Friday, July 11, 2014

Living A Healthy Life: Wellness

Having reared four daughters, and now interested in the well being of my three granddaughters, I wanted to share this information! Listed below are six wonderful examples of how we can all promote well being in young women and young girls and also, ourselves, as women. Wellness or well-being is essential in today's world. The all girls school that our youngest daughter, Kara, attended 7-12 grade in Nashville, Tennessee has opened a beautiful new wellness center for the students.  They list these examples of proactive things we can do and they are SO worthy of sharing!

1.  Wellness is physical health, well-being is emotional health, self esteem comes from doing things that we feel good about.

2.  Close friendships rather than large groups of friends are more predictive of psychological well being than popularity.

3.  When we over praise, girls do not believe us.  Authentic praise is better than inflated praise.

4.  Optimal sleepers show many benefits: Improved mood, relationships, personal growth, and more.

5.  Exercise gets the blood pumping and makes the brain function at its best.

6.  Time with an adult can have positive results.  For example, eating dinner with at least one parent at night has a high influence on school performance.

I would add one more....teach them that their body is a temple created by God for His glory and His purpose.....He has a beautiful plan for each and every life!  Everyday is a gift!

In today's world, I pray we as mothers and grandmothers continue the legacy of sharing with our faith with the next generation.  God is very much alive and with us each day. His very name Immanuel means God with us!  Immanuel is with us at all times, in our every waking and sleeping hour!  His desire is to teach us how to live full and healthy lives.  Trials will come, days will be long, but our God has given us all we need to sustain every circumstance!  So....be strong my friend and get moving and find that connection between your body, mind, and spirit! Be healthy! Have a great weekend!

"Exercise provides an unparalleled stimulus, creating an environment in which the brain is ready, willing , and able to learn."  From the book SPARK by John J. Rakey



Monday, June 30, 2014

Finding Peace......in Jehovah Shalom


Summer time usually brings us all a little more peacefulness!  The pace slows as families plan holidays and our schedules do not seem as ordered as during the other seasons of the year.  In our family, we really enjoy our screened porch and hearing the peaceful sounds of birds early in the morning flying about seeking and gathering their morning food.  There is a peace to the quietness of the morning we can all cherish.  It's a time for morning reflections and devotionals and prayer time for many.  What brings you peace in the early morning hours?  In the Bible in Judges 6, The Lord speaks to Gideon and blesses him with the words of peace in the morning. "Peace be unto thee; fear not....."  Peace is the opposite of fear and because of the word he was given, Gideon built an altar unto The Lord and called it Jehovah Shalom.  Even though Gideon had spoken personally with God,  as a man, he did not fully understand the fragility of the situation he had been placed in or been prepared for as a leader. God can use any situation for His glory and His purpose when we surrender our own plans as we see in this beautiful story from the Scriptures. God was planning to bring him full circle as a leader to accomplish a mission He had called Gideon for.  Trusting God means leaving the complete results to Him.  A peace comes when this trust is given. In the Hebrew shalom means "completeness, health, and welfare."  We all desire to be whole and complete and repaired or as I like to say "restored". Do you feel whole, if not, what separates you from this wholeness and peace?  In Colossians 3:14, we are encouraged to put on LOVE to achieve this virtue.  "Over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."  This harmony can greatly be achieved in our relationships with others as well.  Today in our lives and in many families there is a lack of peace and a lack of contentment. Lives get tangled into the web of busy, busy, busy and the time to be quiet before The Lord and in His presence takes a back seat often for all of us.  Over the weekend, I was so blessed by a conference I attended with other women who love Jesus and desire to live more fully before Him. The word that the speaker, Beth Moore, taught on was "longing".  She asked the question throughout the day, "What is your longing?"  A longing is different from a desire because it is often long in coming to us, as in waiting.  She taught us that if we have a deep longing that comes often within our heart, then God has equipped us for it and that it will come.  It is similar to our calling in life.  So......on this morning, I pray that you and I will seek to know Jehovah Shalom and receive this peace of knowing Him and our purpose and our calling in life.  My place of peace and where I seek Him is a simple porch where I can be quiet in all the busyness of my life and begin by seeking to know God better and trust Him with the light and the direction that He desires to shed on my path. May your day be filled with peace and joy and love available to you this moment in the presence of Jehovah Shalom! In Zephaniah 3:17 the Word says, "The Lord your God is in your midst, The Mighty One, He will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Safely Home......





Jehovah Rohi
The Lord is My Shepherd

Guiding people can be interesting and also a challenge!  When my friends and I shared our holiday to England and France a few weeks ago, I had prepared for over a year to guide them with ease through two European countries. I learned, sometimes it's not always easy to guide or to follow! We had some good laughs over this later!  People get tired......but love guides, shows the best way, and goes along with changes.  The guide knows the goal and the dangers and the places where those following do not need to go.  The main goal is to guide and eventually make it safely back home.  We had so much fun together, but yes there were a few little challenges.  This is what makes life fun though.....in my opinion!  God is always teaching us and there are lessons to be learned along the way each and every day!

In the 23rd Psalm, David paints a picture of sheep being led to pasture by a Shepherd.  The Shepherd he describes is one who comes after the sheep and dwells with them and lovingly encourages them to lie down in the peaceful green pasture he has found and provides.  This would be the name Jehovah Rohi, the Shepherd who guides, someone who provides food and guidance and helps us along the way to get to this place where it can be found.  He carries us to clean waters where we can be refreshed and restored and filled.  He takes time, all the time necessary, to know us, to know our frame because His presence is with us as He guides.  It is in this Name Jehovah Rohi that we can sense His tenderness and love.  Have you ever needed tenderness? God's love is tender hearted, compassionate, and merciful.  Once restored and refreshed, we are able to be tender toward those who need us.  Kindness and compassion when guiding others into the sheepfold of the kingdom of God is the way The Lord brought me.  He was patient, He was kind, and He was a shepherd who became my Lord, my Jehovah Rohi.  A simple prayer for you today....Lord of love, I need your tenderness toward me. I need you o Lord of glory to be my guide, my Shepherd.  Amen

Psalm 16:11 
You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.  

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Remembering the Wonders He Has Done.......

 "Remember the wonders He has done, His miracles and the rulings He has given"
 I Chronicles 16:12
 
Over the past few years that I've written my blog, I've shared my faith and the joys and blessings of each day!  I love being in my home and sharing my home with others....there is just no greater place for me and I enjoy sharing tips on decorating and finding fulfillment in things that matter about life, about family, about the beautiful world in which we live and of course decorating!!!! My sewing room/working space is a haven for me to create window treatments and other items of home decor' for clients and my family. 
My Sewing Room

Recently, I read a short article in a beautiful magazine, life....beautiful.  The author of a page in the magazine gave seven steps to fulfillment. Please allow me to share this with you as I truly was blessed by the words!

SEVEN STEPS
TO FULFILLMENT
'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
1. Make God your priority.
Matthew 6:25 & 33

2.  Know your purpose.
Romans 12:2

3.  Love Him like your life depends on it.
I John 4:16

4.  Stop following the world.
I John 2:15

5.  Read the Bible.  If you don't know
what Scripture says, you can't follow it.
Romans 15:4

6.  Trust the Bible is true.
Matthew 5:18

7.  Reduce the risk of temptation.  Don't be owned
by your stuff, the mall or Pinterest.
Luke 12:15

There are just some things that don't matter!

My husband and I have been blessed with good health and overall good lives, a good marriage, amazing children, an amazing daughter in law, amazing son in laws, and even more amazing grandchildren....6 thus far!  Mothering has, by far,  been my greatest joy even though a few times I tried working out of my home at a regular job (teaching school and educational positions) but I knew quickly that in my home, I could accomplish what number two says above.  Know your purpose.  Five babies came along within the first ten years of our marriage. Most people freak out when they find out, God allowed me to have four children with one working ovary! It is sort of funny in some ways, but much more serious when I have sat along side a young woman who so much longs for a child.  I freak out too, when I think on this as one was born when I still had two ovaries!  I  was given a miracle in these children and now that I am now wiser with this wisdom, I do not take these blessings or miracles lightly.  Wisdom is really a gift as well.

Seriously though, walking with God now, forty years, it surprised me when I found a wonderful book three years ago and began to plunge regularly into it's pages about WHO God truly is.  The book is called Knowing God By Name by David Wilkerson.   He grew up in a strict, legalistic church that was more about rules and dotting the i's than actually understanding who God is and about His caring and loving heart which is full of grace and mercy.  He began to understand as he read the words of the Bible that our Heavenly Father is one who rejoices over us in love, He is patient with our failures, and available at all times, offering counsel and ready to meet needs.  He began to understand the heart-knowledge of God's names.  In his study, he became aware that God revealed His name to His people only as they needed them in their moments of deepest crisis.  I have always loved the quote that "everything that God allows into our lives has been filtered through His loving hands."  Such peace this gives me as I encounter each day that I live as a gift from my Father's hand.  He has a purpose and a plan for each day.  

Over the next few weeks, I hope to share on my blog some of the wisdom that God has taught me about Himself with you.  Wisdom, if we are blessed to live to become older,  increases with age...... and I am grateful, so, so grateful to still be young enough to realize God is wisely teaching me about His purpose for my life and how I can share my love for Him with others. He gives us blessings so we can share and make a difference in the world. He wants us to love all people! I want to make a difference each day! I want to love deeper and laugh more and be all that HE would have me to be! It's not about choosing who to love but HOW to love......unconditionally and fully!!!!


The first name I will share is one of the first Names of God that I learned in my own walk with Him.

Jehovah Jireh

Rearing a rather large family and deciding to do this with one income, while I would stay at home as the mother in the home full time was an act of faith for us as a young couple.  My husband had a good job but early on, we learned that we would have to decide about certain material things.  We excitingly bought a new car soon after the birth of our second daughter, only to have to sell it within the first year because we couldn't afford the car payment.  My husband also changed jobs during the pregnancy of my third child and our insurance would not cover her delivery.  We studied and prepared all we could about bringing a baby home soon after birth and we did.....with the blessing of our physician and at two hours old, we left the hospital with her.  Looking back, I see how God was our Jehovah Jireh in these times of provision.  It is a name that speaks of provision. "Even before we call out to Him, our God answers.  Long before we are even born, He is at work forming and shaping the circumstances of our lives."  David Jeremiah

Do you have needs in your life? I know I do.  You can simply trust that God is the One whose very name magnificently encourages us to trust Him in all things. A prayer of faith is a beautiful prayer to our Father in Heaven.  He cares and He loves! As I continue to trust Him these 40 years later, I can say without a doubt that God does supply for every need.  It may not be in the way you or I plan or think, but HE will supply.  His desire is to bless you and honor you with His favor and delight. His love for you is like no other!  It is pure and selfless!!!The apostle Paul describes the full meaning of this name when he writes, "My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:19

Friday, May 30, 2014

White Furnishings and Serenity......



While in London two weeks ago, I stopped in the antique shop of one of my favorite designers, Josephine Ryan.  I have enjoyed gleaning from her design knowledge from two of her wonderful and beautiful books.  She was kind enough to autograph one of the books for someone I love!  I really enjoyed meeting her and loved her shop for its clean and simple display of true French antiques.  She has a classic style which is similar to my taste and design.  She talks about the thrill of getting up early and hunting for antiques and enjoying it as a way of life.  She has a chapter in one of her books called ALL SERENE and it is about the home of Appley Hoare and her daughter Zoe whose home is in a tiny picturesque village in southern France. I also visited Appley's store just a couple of doors down from Josephine's.  What a delight to meet both these icon's in French interior design in the same afternoon!   Both shops were loaded with neutrals which I happen to love.  The mirrors, the linens, the accent pieces, the doors, the framed religious art, all would be at home in my house! 

 Home should be a place we can relax, be ourself, and restore and refresh!  It's the weekend.......so let's do just that!  I hope your weekend is filled with blessings of family and friends!  The photos are from last weekend when my son visited us.  He and his beautiful wife, Sara met us in New Orleans and the first photo is from the hotel lobby......all serene in white!  We laughed that the bench in front is a fertility bench from Africa.  It was beautiful.  The second photo is the layers of white in my home that are becoming more and more serene.  A White House is not what I aimed for but with white you can let your imagination run wild!  You can add pieces that tell a story and soon the mood is set!  This, my friend, is what a designer should always help you do.  Here's to a happy weekend mood!  Enjoy everyday.......each one is a gift, just waiting to be unwrapped!  



Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Caron de Beaumarchais Hotel.....In the Marais











A visit to Paris should be something always remembered.  There are numerous hotels to choose from and it can become quiet overwhelming for first time visitors!  I found this quaint hotel in a magazine a few years ago and I knew it was a hotel that I would love!  I have stayed in this hotel twice and both times the rooms were wonderful and the service was like being in a small Parisian home. This is perhaps because it is a nineteen room treasure right in the Marais district.  It's such a friendly hotel with history and the price is good also.

It is located just a few blocks from the Seine!  This area is extremely popular with locals and with tourists. It is near museums and shopping and the cobbled streets take you back to a time gone by in Paris. Every little street is like a postcard!  You are far removed from the modern day Paris in the quaint place.  The rooms are not large, but adequate and the delicate brocades, gilded mirrors and sconces and antiques greet you like an old friend! Truly beautiful! 



 Breakfast is served in your room or in the beautiful and quaint breakfast room which is on the bottom floor down a winding stairway.  You will find fresh juice, wonderful coffee, and delicious croissants, jams and jellies, a soft boiled egg in a cup, fresh yogurt, fruit, cheese and the morning paper.  Fresh flowers fill all the rooms in small bouquets!  The staff's main goal seems to make you happy!  It's a beautiful place to stay! 

 You can visit their website:
www.carondebeaumarchais.com


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

More of Paris and Montmarte......






Paris had never looked more beautiful to me than on our last full day together with my friends! Our day began as we walked from our hotel, the quaint Caron de Beaumarchais, in the lively old Marais. It's such a pretty little hotel with history, pretty rooms, and antiques. [more on the hotel tomorrow] we walked along the Seine past Notre Dame and into the long line for tickets to The Louvre. If you are planning to be in Paris several days, I would advise purchasing your museum ticket pass in advance. We purchased the private museum passes in advance but arrived early for the Louvre, so the line moved quickly and we were in! My friends thoroughly enjoyed their time in the museum and were not disappointed! A great time and very relaxed! But then.....could the Louvre ever disappoint? I don't think so!

 We met my daughter outside when we were finished and headed to Montmarte in the 18th district of Paris! What a glorious day to be in Montmarte. The sky was a beautiful blue which was a perfect backdrop for the domed Basilica of the Sacre Coeur. Our taxi driver had taken us up the scenic route past the famous Coco Chanel shop and the Ritz Carlton where she lived. A beautiful high end shopping district where you can find the most beautiful silk scarves in all of Paris [which my daughter gave me as a gift, so sweet of her]! We climbed the steps to the Basilica and once again, I was awed by the beauty inside. No photographs are allowed inside [I had already snapped one when I was nicely told photographs were not allowed] but the image in ones mind remains forever. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are beautifully painted on the dome and the art is magnificent! A must see in my opinion! Once outside, our afternoon was spent in this fun district having lunch at a sidewalk cafe, interacting with the amazing artists selling their artistic talents to the tourists and just having lots of fun and more laughs than we deserved! This district of Paris was home for a while to artist such as Salvador Dali, Claude Monet, Palbo Picasso, and Vincent Van Gogh. Today it's bohemian feel attracts artist of all ages and two of my artistic daughters especially love it. I understand very well why they do.

 Once we finished there, we were back to the Marais district for some final shopping for gifts and dinner near our hotel. This area of cobbled streets and very fashionable boutiques is my favorite. It's a mixture of quaint shops, caf├ęs, people just relaxing and taking in all the culture of a Parisian evening. Paris is simply beautiful. It is charming in a way all it's own and each person who visits or lives there falls in love for life. There is nothing ordinary about Paris! Life should never be ordinary, in my opinion. If you can't travel to Paris or somewhere you may want to go, you can dream and create an environment when life is anything but ordinary. This begins by looking for the beautiful in life. Our Creator has given us a beautiful pallet of colors found in nature. HE wants us to find fulfillment deep inside. HE wants our lives to have purpose and meaning and in The Bible, we find answers and direction for a full and beautiful life! Such travel is fun and being with friends and family is the best but in the end, what matters most is our relationship with God and living a life where others are blessed, served, and loved because we took the time to care for and about them. This was truly my heart as I planned the trip for my dear friends and the steps we would take. I think God gave us His blessings and the beautiful blue sky in a beautiful place on the last day of a Parisian holiday was one I will always cherish! Giving thanks to The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit! xoxo