Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Go Organic.  
It's not just for produce and milk anymore!  
Christmas Edition!!!!

A few weeks ago I wrote about how to decorate "green," and I started thinking about how we can really incorporate our "green" living in our Christmas decorating.  This is a practice that I have seen my mom and grandmother do since I was a child, but they didn't consider it "green;" they just liked the things we see in nature for the Christmas design.  My grandmother had a huge magnolia tree in her backyard surrounded by pine trees, and every year she would take the magnolia leaves and pine cones and make great mantle and door decor for her house at Christmas. She also had a huge bush that had these beautiful red berries (I am not up on the names of plants and trees) that she would cut and incorporate into the arrangements.  My mom picked up on all of this, and we would go over to Grandmother's to cut pine and magnolia leaves and berries and pine cones for our house.  

My mom still uses these God-given decorations in her home to this day. She traditionally gathers stems of fresh pine and berries, wires them together, and then adds a pretty bow for her mailbox and front door decoration.  She also will take stems of magnolia leaves and put them in a large silver urn that she has in her living room.  It's all very simple and inexpensive.  All you need is the ribbon and maybe a little wire. Mom doesn't even realize that she is being "green"!!!

I found some pictures online of some neat ideas for decorating "green" for Christmas.  You can even go to Aldi, Sam's, or Costco and buy fresh garland and wreaths for a great price.  I love all kinds of Christmas decor, but I am probably more traditional when it comes to my favorites for Christmas.

God gave us the best gift we could ever get for Christmas, and using the nature He has created for our decor reminds us of Him.  Happy Christmas decorating!!!

In Him,


Stacy McSpadden
Manager of Interior Design Services
Chestnut Hall Interiors
3075 Forest Hill Irene Road
Germantown, Tennessee 38138

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


“I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins.  I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest - and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.”  Prov. 24:30-34

What a great picture of an untended field reminding me of an untended heart! Lazy, apathetic, ungrateful…you get the picture!  The scripture says:
 “thorns everywhere” - thorns are hurtful, uninviting, and avoided!
 “covered with weeds” - weeds distract, overcome, and are bothersome
 “wall was in ruins” - no protection, broken, not useful
The conclusion of the scripture was that the neglect of the field brought about poverty and need (scarcity) which rendered the field not useful! I am envious and even amazed at the detail of a master gardener.  The energy and perseverance to accomplish an award winning display - organizing, studying, caring for the growth of the garden, yet quickly dealing with the hurtful pests and weeds of the garden.

A thorny, weedy, unprotected heart has no fruit and is desperately in need of a Caretaker.  The Caretaker of the heart is attentive, caring, nurturing, and knowledgeable.  I am so grateful that the Caretaker of my heart has the same goal/plan for me as a master gardener has for his garden - to protect me from thorns that keep others from seeing Jesus in me, to weed out the “uglies” (attitudes, wrongs, motives, self), and then to keep His protection around and in my life.  

Fall is a great time to be attentive to my “field” as I prepare my heart for a season of colder and darker days – winter!  Having a teachable heart in the less busy time of “gardening” will yield a more glorious work in the season of spring – a display of Him in radiance!   


How cute are these Rudolphes!  Actually there is no recipe for making them, just instructions for putting everything together.  

You'll need:
Nutter Butter cookies
chocolate almond bark (or Wilton Candy Melts)
white icing in a decorator's tube (or bought icing in a ziplock baggie with a tiny hole cut in the bottom     corner)
mini chocolate chips
red hots
small pretzel twists

1.  Melt the chocolate almond bark in a microwave or double boiler.  
2.  Dip a cookie in chocolate, coating it, and wiping off excess chocolate.
3.  Lay on a sheet of wax paper.
4.  Immediately attach the pretzels for ears. You may need a little more chocolate as glue.
5.  Immediately drop on a red hot for the nose.  
6.  You may allow them to set now, or you can go ahead and pipe out a drop of white icing for the eyes.
7.  Drop a mini chocolate chip in the center of the white icing.

Monday, November 28, 2011


1 Peter 1:10-12
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
We are a people of promise. For centuries, God prepared people for the coming of his Son, our only hope for life. At Christmas we celebrate the fulfillment of the promises God made—that he would give a way to draw near to him.
(Excerpt taken from Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper)

This week, reflect on God's promises, which He ALWAYS fulfills. Thank Him for His promise of a Savior. Thank Him for your salvation. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Many of us have eaten the last of the Thanksgiving left-overs, packed away the cornucopias and ceramic pumpkins, and already have our houses decorated for Christmas.  Now it's time to get and keep our hearts prepared.  Perhaps this short, 30 day devotional book will help keep our soul and spirit focused on Christ.

Celebrating Christmas with Jesus: An Advent Devotional by Max Lucado (Kindle Edition - Oct 4, 2011) - Kindle eBook price: $1.79

Another suggestion is A Family Advent: Keeping the Savior in the Season [Kindle Edition] Thomas Nelson 


"A charming story about giving and the simple things in life was inspired by a folktale about that orange that seems to appear in Christmas stockings each year. Thomas and his parents leave England in 1824. Tragedy strikes and despair and destitution follow, but warmth and love are returned from a simple orange. This is an instant classic and beloved by all who read it!"

Thomas & the Christmas Orange: Storybook Advent Calendar Singles [Kindle Edition]  Price: FREE


The Jesse Tree: Stories and Symbols of Advent [Kindle Edition]  Raymond Anderson (Author), Price: $4.79

Kindle books can be downloaded to any iPhone or computer these days...and for less than the hardback paper copy costs. But feel free to go to to check out the version you prefer.  And let us know if you have another book (alongside your Bible) that slows you down and helps to keep you focused on Christ during this busy, hustling-bustling season of Christmas.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Tacky Christmas Refreshment
Christmas Cookie/Candy/Treat Swap and Party
Mon., Dec. 5, 6:30-9:00
Sign up at the Ministry Table and pay $5.00

~bring 6 dozen goodies to share and you will take home 6 dozen
~make homemade items-please no store bought 
~place 3 items in a cute bag (you will have a total of 24 bags)
~bring 24 copies of your recipe

Other activities planned for that night
~please bring canned goods to donate to Heartland Hands (food pantry)
~bring 1 Christmas Card and envelope-to be addressed to a shut-in or widow
~a Christmas craft (your $5.00 covers this)
~directions for making a meaningful, symbolic Christmas dessert

Prizes will be given for
~most unique recipe
~most creative packaging of goodies
~tackiest holiday outfit

Refreshments will be served

Friday, November 25, 2011


Are you looking for something to do with your children for advent?  Do you need something to help you focus on Christ this Christmas rather than Santa and all the commercialism?  Truth in the Tinsel looks like it might be perfect for drawing hearts and minds to the Word as well as  providing an opportunity for craft time...and what child doesn't love making crafts?

The author Amanda White writes, "This ebook will lead you and your children on your own experience through the Christmas Story. You’ll take a few minutes each day in reading the Christmas Story directly from the Bible, making a fun ornament craft and talking about it together."

This e-book is only $2.99 at


Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Meet my new friend...Pinterest

A couple of months ago, a former client of mine and her daughter were in the store buying a bench for the daughter's new home.  They told me they had seen a similar bench used in an entry hall on Pinterest.  I looked at them and said, "OK.  What's Pinterest?"  They looked at me with shock and disbelief because it seemed that I had asked such a ridiculous question.  They tried to explain it to me, but it was the end of the day and I am not the most creative or thoughtful at 5:00.  A couple of days later, I was sitting in bed looking at Facebook (a major time waster as so many of us know) and saw that someone had posted something from this Pinterest.  I decided to look at the sight and check it out for myself.

What you need to know about Pinterest is that you have to ask to be a part of the network or someone has to invite you to join.  I requested an invite and a few minutes later I was up and going.  It takes a little while to figure out what to do or where to look, but once you get it, watch out.  It's addictive!  But my theory on Pinterest is that it is a more creative way to spend your time than reading Facebook or watching t.v.

Pinterest is a great way to help you "Discover Your Style."  You can see lots of great ideas that your friends may be posting or even search for interior design on the site.  If you follow me, I try to keep up with designers such as Lillian August, Bunny Williams, and Charles Faudree.  I also follow several interior designers that I know, and it is always fun to see what others who work in my industry are liking.  If you are trying to figure out what direction you would like to take your home, I suggest becoming a part of the Pinterest community.  Repin the looks that interest you and take it from there!  If you are interested in the site, let me know and I will send you an invite.

I hope you all have a safe and blessed Thanksgiving, and let me know how Pinterest is going for you!!!

In Him,

Stacy McSpadden
Manager of Interior Design Services
Chestnut Hall Interiors
3075 Forest Hill Irene Road
Germantown, Tennessee 38138

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

RECIPE OF THE WEEK by Saundra Stroud

I made this for Care Group recently.  Very very good, but very rich.
Caramel-Banana Pie
2 (14 ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
2 to 3 bananas ( I only used 1 1/2)
1 graham cracker crust (extra serving size) 
1 cup whipping cream  (You could use Cool Whip but would not be as good)
1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 or 2 (1.4 ounce) English toffee-flavored candy bars, crushed
   (I bought a bag of toffee bits in baking section)
Pour condensed milk into an 11 x 7 inch baking dish; (COVER WITH ALUMINUM FOIL).  Place covered dish in a 9x13 inch pan.  Add hot water to the 9x13 pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake at 425 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until condensed milk is thick and caramel-colored (add hot water to pan as needed).  Remove foil when done, and set aside. (I cooked mine exactly as time said) Allow to cool about 30 minutes.
Cut bananas into 1/8 inch slices, and place on crust.  Spread caramelized milk over bananas.  Cool in refrigerator at least 30 minutes.
Beat whipping cream at medium speed with an electric mixer until foamy; gradually add powdered sugar, beating until soft peaks form.  Spread over caramel layer.  Sprinkle with crushed candy.  Chill at least 3 hours before serving.
I think this would make two pies if you wished to use the smaller pie crusts.  Also, it would be equally as delicious without the bananas.
Keep refrigerated.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Be joyful in hope, 
patient in affliction, 
faithful in prayer.  
Romans 12:12

What season of life are you in right now?  Good times, painful times, times when no one but God can make your situation right? Does the season change day to day rather than month to month? This week, make a deliberate point each day to be joyful, patient, and faithful, looking to God to meet your every need.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I have seen the Church body working together in the past few weeks as we have watched a dear family suffer loss.  We grieve and groan with them as they walk through this tragedy, lifting them up to the Savior and loving Father.  We know that “all things work together for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.”  But we see no purpose, no plan, and no good thing coming from this.  It is at times like this that we have to “know” what we believe in and trust in that belief.  I know my Heavenly Father has my best interest in His hand. Psalm 73:23-26 states “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? The earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

At times of great trials, we must allow our roots to go down deep into the soil of what we believe and bear fruit above.  Others will come to know Him by the pain our fruit produces.  When our faith is stretched by the pain of our circumstances, we learn to trust in Him and not in our own understanding.  We will learn to develop an eye to see God working in us even in our darkest hour.  Our “Why, God?” will become “Why not, God?”  Our lives will be different, and our fruit will begin to ripen.  Others will see us differently also. 

I told a friend not too long ago that I desire to get to the place in my life that when trials and hardships come (and they will come), I want to be able to thank Him for them.  But most of all, I want to learn to be able to rejoice and praise Him in them.  Can I count it all joy when trials and hardships come like James 1?  Honestly, I don’t know.

We are all a work in process and God is not finished with the work He began in us yet.  But He did say He would never leave us nor forsake us. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Go Organic.  It's not just for produce and milk anymore!

After all the hustle and bustle of a crazy Open House weekend at Chestnut Hall, my co-worker Tonya and I were talking about the use of what we call "organic" materials throughout the home.  When I think about the word "organic," I think about foods that we eat.  I do not consider myself to be an organic shopper, but I have turned to organic milk because I am not much of a milk drinker and it lasts longer.  Well, we have a lot of opportunities to use organic materials throughout our home.  Think about our recent adventure to Mud Monkey.  A big pile of mud that is thrown and formed into a beautiful bowl, plate, vase is considered "organic."  It is a material that comes from the earth.  And in a way, without sounding like some beatnik or guru, everything God has created could be considered "organic."

I recently attended a workshop at one of our upholstery manufacturers in North Carolina.  This particular plant has been the first to receive the prestigious Sustainable by Design registration from the American Home Furnishings Alliance.  As we toured their plant, we learned five sustainability features that they have implemented into the make of each piece of upholstery that they create.

~ Frames are made from sustainably harvested hardwoods
~ Water-based wood adhesive with no volatile organic compounds emissions
~ Eight-way hand-tied coil springs made from approximately 50% recycled metal
~ Seat deck and trim pad made from 80% regenerated fibers
~ Foam padding and foam seat cushion core made from at least 10% natural soy base I know you are thinking, what does this have to do with me?  Well, why wouldn't we try our hardest to use the natural materials that God has so richly given us on this earth?

Also, you are thinking, what does this have to do with decorating my home?  Well, that is a good question too!  What is your biggest investment to the interior of your home?  Your upholstery.  It is where we truly show our style and where we find our comfort.  If there are ways that we can protect the land God has given us by choosing sustainable pieces, then why wouldn't we?  I haven't purchased an upholstered piece for my home in 6 years, but I will be considering these points when I look for my next piece.

Now down to the fun part.  What are some other "organic" items that we can use in our home?  Let's go back to our trip to the Mud Monkey.  I know that last year, Pam Gross made a beautiful bowl that she could use in her home decor that was more sophisticated than the sad Christmas plate that I tried to paint.  When our Pastor's wife was apprehensive about coming Monday night because of her lack of artistic ability, I told her about Pam's bowl. She was convinced that she could do this too!  Think about flowers and leaves and all the things that we find in nature that look beautiful.  Organic!  This is a picture of the table in our entry at the store right now.  It is an excellent example of the use of organic materials in decorating.

The combination of pottery and greenery are perfect examples.  And that wild chair in the background (which I covet for my house) is from the manufacturer that I spoke about earlier.

Think about your children's artwork that you want to show off.  Frame it and use it for great splashes of color throughout a playroom or hallway.  Organic!

I think a goal of mine in the upcoming year is to think of ways that I can practice "sustainability" in my home.  Our Lord created a beautiful earth, and we should make every effort to protect what He has so graciously given to us!

Think Green, girls!

In Him,

Stacy McSpadden
Manager of Interior Design Services
Chestnut Hall Interiors
3075 Forest Hill Irene Road
Germantown, Tennessee 38138

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Last night, about 30 ladies showed up at Mud Monkey Pottery for some fun, fellowship, food, and that order.  It didn't really matter what we did, we just enjoyed the talking and mingling and laughing and getting to know each other better.  But getting to make something for our home or for a gift was an added bonus! We also came away with a few really good recipes.

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 bag milk chocolate toffee chips

Mix cream cheese, vanilla, and sugars together.  Stir in toffee chips.  Serve with sliced apples.  

WHAT IS THIS? by Alanna Bledsoe (I forgot to get the actual name of this recipe, but all night, everybody was asking, "What IS this?"  It was the hit of the buffet table.)

2 bags of butter flavored microwave popcorn, popped
6 oz. white chocolate chips, melted in microwave

Pour white chocolate over popcorn and stir well. 

ROLO PRETZELS by Belinda Hendrix
square waffle pretzels
Rolo candies, unwrapped
pecan halves

Line a baking pan with the pretzels.  Place a Rolo candy on top of each pretzel.  Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 4 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately place a pecan half on top of each chocolate piece and mash down.  Place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes until set.  

BEAN DIP by Lisa Lampley
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 can Rotel tomatoes, drained
sliced green onion
1-2 T. cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
garlic powder, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
chipotle seasoning, a few sprinkles
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

Lisa mixed all the ingredients together pretty much according to taste, not measurements.  She did say she used more oil than vinegar, perhaps a 3:1 ratio.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.  Psalm 17:8

Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.  Psalm 63:7

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.  
Psalm 91:4

Take time every day this week to thank God for his help.  Determine to stay under those protective wings.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

PRAYING WITH CHILDREN by Lindsey Moss, Sunday School Preschool Director

I love to hear my children pray!  However, I have begun noticing that their prayers are very similar whether they are saying the blessing, praying on the way to school, or praying before they go to sleep. Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a session entitled “Praying with Children” and came away with several different ways to pray with them that will get them thinking about what and to Whom they are praying and praying from their hearts, instead of from their memory.

Here are a few suggestions:
  • ·   Mad, Sad, Glad: (from Generation to Generation by Wayne Rice) pray for something you are MAD about, SAD about, and GLAD about
  • ·        Thankfulness Color Prayers:  pull out crayons, markers, etc., and have the children name everything they are thankful for that is that color.  For older children:  pull out a piece of colored construction paper and have them write what they are thankful for
  • ·       Hand Prayer Guide:  THUMB – pray for those closest to you, family and friends; INDEX FINGER – pray for teachers at school and church, and for your pastors; MIDDLE FINGER – pray for leaders in our country, cities, and our church; RING FINGER – pray for the sick and helpless; PINKIE FINGER – pray for missionaries and those around the world who don’t know Jesus
  • ·       Photo Album:  go through a family photo album (or church directory) and pray for the different people in the album.  Write them a note telling them they were prayed for!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank you, Veterans

Thank you to all the service men and women, past and present, who sacrifice family and life for our freedoms.  We can never say thank you enough.

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  I thank my God every time I remember you.  (Phil. 1:2-3)

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Preparing Your Home for "Living Thanksgiving"

With Thanksgiving only a few short weeks away, I thought I would take a break from the step by step ways of discovering your style and focus, instead, on decorating for the holiday.  The "season of chaos" has once again rolled around.  If you are like me, the thought and preparation that take place for the holiday season are, at times, completely overwhelming.  I was so relieved when my mother informed me that she would be hosting our family Thanksgiving dinner this year.  When I moved into my house, Thanksgiving became my holiday.  The first few years, I was so excited that I reached that point in my life where I could play a grown up role!  Well, as time passed, I became like most people and lost my joy of playing host for Thanksgiving.  I became so focused on all the things that had to be done, that I missed the reason for the celebration.  My problem was that I procrastinated so much, and then when the week of Thanksgiving rolled around, I had so much to do and so little time to do it.  All this to say, I have some tips for preparing your home for the celebration so you can experience "Living Thanksgiving."  (I have been so thankful for Christie's blog posts!)

One thing that is necessary is all that cleaning.  If you are like me, I find myself "deep cleaning" when I know that I am having a big event.  Take it a room at a time and use the opportunity to purge your home of unused or unwanted items.  We can especially make time to clean out our closets because there are so many opportunities to give our used clothes and coats to those who are in need.  Sometimes when I am in the mood to purge, I make a point to take one item 
that I am tired of out of my closet every time I get ready in the mornings.  You can also do some "decorating" purging.  Unlike clothes, there aren't starving people on the streets that need our decorative items, but you can host a quick yard sale and take the money earned to support a ministry opportunity in your church or community.

Something else that we can do ahead of time is to plan our table.  Usually at this point in the game, we have a number of guests.  By knowing this, we can plan for the number of tables that we will need or whether or not we need to plan buffet style.  Last year, I had a house full and I just planned buffet style so that everyone could sit where they were comfortable and enjoy each other's company.  If you are planning on a smaller number, there are some cute and simple ideas to decorate your table.  Here are some examples:

When setting up your centerpieces, use things that you might find in nature.  I don't know if you all have noticed, but the leaves are beautiful this year.  Pick some off your trees and scatter them around on your serving table.  Pine cones are fun for kids' tables because you can make the old standby "turkey out of a pine cone with construction paper feathers and beak"  for making their table festive.  One thing that I like to use for serving is McCarty's and Peter's Pottery.  Since a lot of us are Mississippi girls, we can usually find a piece or two of this in our cabinets.

I think that Thanksgiving is my favorite celebration of the year.  Thankfulness should be the essence of our 
everyday lives as Christians.  If we get too wrapped up in the craziness of preparation and clean up, we will miss the valuable opportunities that we have to spend with our families and friends.  Make it easy on yourself with the good use of your time and energy, and prepare your home so that others feel relaxed.

In Him,

Stacy McSpadden
Manager of Interior Design Services
Chestnut Hall Interiors
3075 Forest Hill Irene Road
Germantown, Tennessee 38138