Thursday, July 31, 2014

Waiting on God (...and a Parenting Book) by Kim Wright

I have a bone to pick with James Dobson!

 …and Dennis Rainey! 

 …and every parenting expert, Christian radio broadcaster, conference speaker and book author that I’ve leaned on in my almost 24 year journey of raising kids! 

I have been well-trained in the terrible twos. I know all about the pesky puberty years. I have ridden the waves of the turbulent teens…and lived to tell about it! I’ve even been schooled in how to send your child to college and survive the empty nest (even though I still have some chirping around here!)

 …But when it comes to being a parent of an adult child (notice that oxymoron?):  SILENCE.  

Ask about how to train your “tween,” and there are books, tapes, weekend ceremony ideas, and more. Wondering how to get your newborn to sleep through the night, and you have ladies in the grocery store that you don’t even know willing to dispense advice. Wondering how you can insert yourself into your 20 something year olds' decision making process, when you really haven’t been invited? Silence, Nada, Nothing…in fact, you can hear the crickets chirping. 

So I’ve had to turn to the resource that I should have turned to first…the perfect parent, God Himself. I have been praying earnestly for guidance and wisdom for me, as well as the adults that I have raised, as I am watching them make decisions that could affect the rest of their lives. He has been teaching me, but let me warn you, the lessons have been difficult.

My daily Bible study has not been about parenting…or so I thought. I have been reading through the book of Genesis. I was praying about how I should handle some specific circumstances that had landed on my “parenting plate” and it just happened to be my day to read the story of Abraham and God’s promise to bless him and make him into a great nation. 

First, what a great reminder to realize that God can and will speak directly to our children at times….and He may or may not include me in that process! (Ouch!) I can’t help but wonder about Abraham’s conversation with his father when he first informed him that he and his wife were moving.  

“Son, where are you going?”

“I’m not sure, Dad, God hasn’t told me that yet…only that I’m supposed to move.”

“What will you do about a job? You’re making a good living here.  Why would you walk away from all this?”
“I haven’t worked out all the details yet, but I know that God will take care of me.”

“What will you do about insurance? My grandchildren won’t know me! Are there any good Baptist churches there? Isn’t that a high crime area? What if…” (I’m having a little fun here, but you get the idea)

“Dad, God has assured me He’s going to take care of us…and I believe Him!”

What if Abraham had listened to reason and common sense instead of God?

After that initial parenting lesson, God wasn’t finished with me. He proceeded to introduce me to woman after woman who shared a common trait with each other and with me. They were master manipulators. 

Sarah believed God’s promise that He would bless her husband with so many descendants that they couldn’t be counted. However, she started to wonder how in the world this would take place as the years passed and her body exhibited the signs of one who could no longer bear children. Perhaps she needed to take control of the situation herself, she reasoned. This was not a matter of faith…it was a matter of common sense! She could no longer bear children; her husband was given a promise that he would have children, so she must figure out a way to work it out. However, her way wasn’t God’s way…and it didn’t end well.

Rebekah also had a promise from God. When she was pregnant with twins, they jostled within her womb so much that she inquired of the Lord to find out what was happening inside of her. He assured her that she was going to bear twins, and they would be the fathers of two nations. He also gave her a prophecy that the older child would serve the younger. Years later, as her husband Isaac prepared to give the blessing to the older sibling, Rebekah intervened. Perhaps she thought it was her responsibility to make sure things turned out the way God had intended. After all, God had made it clear to her the older would serve the younger, and now her husband was about to ruin everything! So, Rebekah took things into her own hands…and things didn’t end well for her family either.

Finally, I read about Lot’s daughters. These girls had endured much. They lost their home, their friends, their fiancĂ©’s, and their mother. They had barely escaped with their lives. They found themselves living in a cave with their father, and no other human beings in view. Surely they had been saved for a purpose! The command had been given to Adam and Eve in the beginning…and then again to Noah, as God gave his family a second chance: “Be fruitful and multiply!” Now here they were, saved from God’s devastating wrath on their hometown, but with no man in sight to carry on their family line. Was this really the way God intended things to end for them? But wait, there was one man in the cave… of course, he was their father…and their idea was a little unconventional, but desperate times call for desperate measures! It seems they would have to work things out the best way they knew how. Once again, their plans were not God’s plans…and the results were devastating. 

Four women who were sincerely trying to do the right thing for their families…

Four women who jumped into action when God’s plan seemed to be taking too long or not working out quite like they thought it would…

Four women whose impulsive decisions impacted not only them, but their children and future generations, as well…

So what did I learn from these women? 

I need to trust God with my adult children. I need to be quiet, and quit hinting, suggesting, and advising. I need to pray. I need to claim the promises of God, and wait patiently for Him to act. I need to resist the urge to take matters into my own hands when things don’t seem to be going "according to plan."

I need to “…cease striving and know that [He] is God.” (Psalm 46:10 NASB)

These are hard lessons for a girl who has never been afraid to speak her mind or make things happen! While I’m sure there will be times God prompts me to speak the Truth in love or spur people to action…the resounding message I’m hearing from God at this particular time is “Wait on me. I can be trusted.”

I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg in my parenting adults’ adventure! I feel certain there are many more lessons to learn, and I’m sobered by the fact that as spouses and grandchildren are added into the mix… the stakes will be greater, because more people will be affected by the decisions my adult kids make. It’s a tough gig to be a mom, but I’m committed to praying and trusting all the more!  

In the meantime, will somebody get busy and write a book to help me out already!!???

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Meaty Spaghetti Sauce by Paula Roten

I've got all 6 grands coming over today for a "cousins sleepover." Trying to figure out kid-friendly meals can be quite a challenge, but I'm pretty sure I know one meal all kids like. Spaghetti! I've been making this Taste of Home spaghetti sauce recipe for quite a while now. The main thing I love about it is that the crock pot does all the work. But I also love the fact that there is lots left over to bag up and put in the freezer for another busy day with no time to cook. 

Feel free to personalize this recipe by reducing or even eliminating the sugar (it IS a very sweet sauce) or even using the Italian tomato sauce rather than plain. I make it slightly different every time based on what I have in the pantry. This time I put the onion, garlic, green pepper, and tomatoes in the food processor since my kids tend to not like chunky bits in their sauce. But one thing I always do is to use all ground beef. My family just doesn't care for Italian sausage in their spaghetti. 

Meaty Spaghetti Sauce

  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 1 pound Johnsonville® Mild Ground Italian Sausage
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) Italian diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) tomato sauce
  • 2 cans (6 ounces each) tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Hot cooked spaghetti


  • In a large skillet over medium heat, cook beef and sausage until no
  • longer pink; drain. Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker. Stir in the
  • green pepper, onion, garlic, tomatoes, tomato sauce, paste, sugar
  • and seasonings.
  • Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until bubbly. Serve with
  • spaghetti. Yield: 12 servings.

Read more:

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Obedience by Paula Roten

"My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice." Ezekiel 33:31

These words are haunting me lately.

I was at my grandson's house recently. When I was ready to leave, he excitedly gave me a bag and asked me to hand it out to someone homeless. 

You see, his church emphasizes ministering to the community. The congregation made up small bags with bottled water, granola bars, tissues, wet wipes, and other small needed items, and then began handing them out to the homeless people they came across. 

This project is a direct response to Matthew 25:35-36, 40: "I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me...whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."

My grandson and his dad have made these bags and keep them sitting on top of the refrigerator. Several weeks back, Eli got one and showed me all that was in it. He was so excited about it. Then this past Monday as I was about to walk out the door, he took one down and told me to find someone homeless to give it to. 

There is always someone sitting at the expressway exit as I turn to go toward home. So I knew this "assignment" would be easy. As I drove, I remembered reading an article one time about making up this very same type bag. They were called Blessing Bags and could be put together as a family project or even as a church mission outreach. And while my heart had been stirred by reading this article, I never did anything about it. And now my heart was stirred again. 

As I came upon the exit, I realized that no homeless person was sitting there! Then it dawned on me that I had approached this "assignment" all wrong. I had approached it like an assignment rather than as a ministry. I immediately began to pray that God would point me to just the right person who would benefit from this practical gesture. I asked the Lord to please allow me to find someone that very day on the way home, someone that He wanted to receive this blessing bag. And sure enough, not too far down the road, there someone was. As I pulled up to the stop sign, I rolled down the window, and handed the bag out to the man. 

"It sure is a hot day today, Sir. Please receive this water and this bag in Jesus' name."

He thanked me, and I drove on. 

Now, I know, some of you are wondering if that man was really homeless or just too lazy to work. I don't know the answer to that question. I just know that God answered my prayer immediately, so perhaps this particular man needed this particular bag this particular day. I also know that I was convicted about doing more to meet people's physical needs. And, finally, I know that the Holy Spirit seems to be working in my grandson's heart lately, and God allowed me to be used in His plan this particular day. I let my grandson know I had done as he had asked and handed the bag to a homeless man. He responded that that sure was fast! I replied that there are needy people all around us. I then prayed and asked God to use this incident to build my grandson's faith and to encourage him in working for the Lord and being obedient to what the Word tells us to do. 

"My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice." Ezekiel 33:31

I promise that if you pray asking God how you fit into the above verse, He will most certainly show you. And when He does, I want to encourage you to be obedient.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Word for the Week

Notice rejoice and trouble being in the same verse here? Yeah, me too. Why is rejoicing in the midst of difficulty so hard to do? Maybe the end of the verse is the key - keep on praying.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Keep Showing Up by Christie Smith

I'm the mother of five children, and now that my youngest just turned four, I feel as if I'm wandering out of a very dark forrest. I can see some light at the edge of the woods. I can even see some sort of civilization in the distance. But my eyes haven't quite adjusted to the light. And conversation with the mortals? Someday maybe, but for now I've grown accustomed to only being able to associate with people from my own world who speak my language.

Some of you may laugh at my exaggeration, but if you're a mother of "littles," then you know exactly what I'm talking about. It's something I never expected as I embarked on motherhood. And I never thought of how becoming a mother would change my church experience. First, you're basically missing in action for the first couple of months after having a baby. And when you finally make it back into the land of the living, it's a brand new way of doing church. If you manage to physically make it into the building, that doesn't mean you're going to be able to show up mentally. It's as if your newborn's attention span has now become your own. Sitting through a church service and being able to focus emotionally for worship and mentally for any sermon lasting more than five minutes is next to impossible.

Now, multiply this experience by five. Imagine the drama on Sunday mornings of getting five kids dressed and out the door on time. Even if all of us are healthy enough to go to church (because another thing they forget to tell when you have kids is that the first five years of their life they pretty much catch EVERYTHING), the chance of you actually being able to sit down in that pew and absorb anything is a miracle in and of itself. The feeding of the five thousand has nothing on the miracle of a mother being able to attend church and actually connect on any level with anyone other than the little people that seem to be superglued to her legs. 

There are so many times I ask myself, "Why am I even here?" I could stay home in pajamas watching church on tv and have a better chance of absorbing something of value. What does it matter if I actually show up to the building? Can't I meet with God anywhere at anytime? True. I have had many meaningful experiences with God at 2a.m. during those early morning feedings with one of my babies. (And still do when they get me up then because they're sick or have had a bad dream.) But I do believe it's important to keep showing up. There's value in staying connected to your church family. Being a stay-at-home mom, it's easy to become disconnected from the world around you. There is so much to do everyday just to keep your home running smoothly. But what about your heart? Mothers are so busy getting everything done, making sure everything and everyone is taken care of...getting this kid to practice and that kid to piano and making sure this one makes their doctor's appointment and then squeeze in a play date for another that needs to be involved in some sort of socializing activity. We spend every ounce of energy making sure our kids' physical and emotional needs are met, and then our husbands get home and we're supposed to make sure they're ok physically and emotionally as well. It's not that there's little left at the end of the day for our own needs. It's that we usually reach empty hours before the day is over. 

But I have to believe that my presence matters to God, even if no one else in the church cares. Hebrews 10:24-25 talks about this very thing. I like the way the New Living Translation puts it: "Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near." The Bible does not say: Don't forsake the assembling of yourselves together unless you're a mom and it's just really inconvenient, or Sunday is your only day off, or you just want to hang out at the pool, in which case you are excused because you just don't need fellowship as much as other Christians do. No, I'm thinking God had a perfectly good reason for including this in the Bible, and I don't think it was to give us one more thing to do. He knows that we need relationships, and as mothers, we may need them more than ever before in our lives. The issues that come with raising children are overwhelming. We need other mothers who have our same priorities, women we can confide in and share our struggles, fears, and concerns with. These Godly friendships not only keep us connected to people outside our own four walls, but help us sort through the overwhelming realities of motherhood that can become narrow and distorted if viewed only through our own perspective. 

And if that's not enough to keep you committed to staying connected, here are a few statistics that might motivate you. 
Studies show that if you don't go to church for a month, the odds are almost 2 to 1 that you won't go for more than a year. And think of all we pass on to our kids. One study shows that if both parents attend church regularly, 72% of their children remain faithful in attendance; if only Dad attends regularly, 55% remain faithful; if only Mom attends regularly, 15% remain faithful; and if neither attends regularly, only 6% remain faithful.

What legacy will you leave your kids? Are you committed to demonstrating to them that going to church is important? I know there are times when you feel like you're drowning in responsibilities and commitments that are all centered around your family. Be very careful, young mother, of what qualities you are passing on. Trust me...your presence matters, so keep showing up! 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Italian-Style Stuffed Yellow Squash by Paula Roten

I've been trying to eat healthier lately. I found this stuffed zucchini recipe at a blog called Gleams of Sunshine. Please make sure you look at the original recipe because I did change it up quite a bit. But I post it here because my husband really enjoyed it and told me it was one of his favorite things I had fixed lately...since trying to eat healthier ;)

Italian-Style Stuffed Yellow Squash 
4 large yellow squash, cut lengthwise 
1/2 lb. Italian sausage 
1 small onion, chopped 
Two Roma tomatoes, diced 
2 cups frozen spinach (some I had left from a bag of fresh baby spinach I had put in the freezer)
1 cup sugar-free (or reduced) spaghetti sauce (I used Colavita Spicy Marinara Sauce)
1 cup cottage cheese (I used 2%)
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and Truvia to taste 
Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, enough to  top squash (This is what I had. Original recipe calls for a 4-cheese Italian blend)

Pre-heat oven to 350°. Pre-slice and dice all veggies before beginning. 

Place sliced squash into a foil-lined pan and pre-bake for 20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, begin browning the ground sausage and onion. Cook meat completely, with no signs of pink. Drain grease. 

Take the squash out of the oven and scoop the middle, creating a squash “boat.” 

Chop up the squash innards and add it to the meat (I omitted the really large seeds), along with the diced tomato and spinach.

Cook the meat & veggie mixture for an additional 5 minutes, and then add the spaghetti sauce, cottage cheese, and spices. Heat through. Add Truvia if a little sweetener is needed. 

Stuff the squash boats with a generous portion of the filling. Place in the oven. 

Bake 20-25 minutes. 

Top with a generous sprinkle of the cheese blend and pop them back into the oven just until the cheese is melted. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

God's Not Dead by Paula Roten

...and all the time, God is good!

Yes, I saw the movie God's Not Dead at church Sunday night. I had already seen it, but I think I got more out of it this time than the first time. 

I was overwhelmed with the fact that GOD LOVES PEOPLE AND WILL PURPOSELY PURSUE THEM.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

I was reminded by Josh, the college freshman in the film, that God will take me out of my comfort zone and ask me to make a stand for Him...but I have the choice of whether or not to do it. 

"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven." Matthew 10:32-33

Mina reminded me that even as Christians, we sometimes look for love and acceptance in all the wrong places. We want people to meet the deepest needs of our lives instead of God. 

Pastor Dave showed me a mistaken view I sometimes have. The grass often looks greener on the other side. At times, I romanticize someone else's Christian life and their opportunities to serve the Lord. If I would only open my eyes and have a willing heart, I would see the many ways God wants me to serve Him right where I am, at whatever stage of life I'm in.  

Amy, the young woman who discovered she was dying from cancer, reinforced the concept that the fairy tale ending of "...and they lived happily ever after" is not always true in this world. There is disease and pain and suffering on this earth. But we can be assured that there will be no more tears in heaven. Jesus will take all that away.

"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:4

And Professor Radisson. So much to say about him. I don't want to be like him and let circumstances dictate what I think about God: My circumstances are awful; therefore, God must not love me. My circumstances are awful; therefore, I will hate God because after all, He could have changed the way things turned out. 

I want to start with God and look at my circumstances through the lens of God's character: 

"The Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished." Exodus 34:6

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

God is good; therefore, whatever comes into my life is for my good and God's glory...even if I can't figure it out. (Merciful, Gracious Father, please help me to always remember this!)

Didn't you want the movie to end differently? (I won't be a total spoiler here just in case you haven't seen the movie yet.) But I came away from the movie with even more of a conviction that I need to live for Jesus NOW. 

I need to stop using excuses: 
"I'm too busy and don't have time." 
"I'm just a.........(teenager, housewife, senior citizen, shut-in, person with no skills and no education - you fill in the blank)"
"I'm too intellectual."
"I'm young. I have plenty of time."
"I'm building my career. I'll do it later."
"Raising kids is a full time job!"

I need to look for opportunities to share Jesus and and serve Him in my everyday life.

Only one life, 'twill soon be past, 
Only what's done for Christ will last.
~ C. T. Studd

Monday, July 21, 2014

Friday, July 18, 2014

Even When by Christie Smith

Elisabeth Elliot wrote,  “Faith is not an instinct. It certainly is not a feeling – feelings don’t help much when you’re in the lions’ den or hanging on a wooden Cross. Faith is not inferred from the happy way things work. It is an act of will, a choice, based on the unbreakable Word of a God who cannot lie, and who showed us what love and obedience and sacrifice mean, in the person of Jesus Christ.” 

I spent the weekend watching a family who is in the "lions' den" so to speak. They buried a son when everything inside of us says it is not the natural order of things. She buried a brother, her only sibling. They buried a parent while they were still children. She buried a husband before they could grow old together...before they could watch their children have children...before they could finish their dreams. Friends mourned with memories and with regret over time not taken that they'll never have again. A congregation is left without their leader. 

Why him? Why now? Why when he had such a passion for life and for people and for God? Why when it seemed that he was doing it right and accomplishing so much for the Lord?

So many questions left unanswered. 

As Christians, as people who believe in the Creator of the universe, shouldn't we have the answers? 

“Faith does not eliminate questions. But faith knows where to take them” (A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael).

So, the question is not "why," but "where" do we go for answers? "Who" do we turn to? 

“I do know that waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God." (Elisabeth Elliot, Passion and Purity).

Our faith is not found in knowing all the answers, but in knowing WHO holds the answers. Our LIFE is not found in this world, but in the world to come. Our peace does not lie in our lives being perfect, but in the TRUTH of knowing everything works together perfectly for those of us who are in Christ Jesus. 

Even when things don't make sense. 
Even when people die too soon.
Even when the daughter's cure never comes or the son doesn't survive the car wreck or the mom stops breathing or the daddy's heart just stops beating. 

Even when, even then. And even here, in my own life, when I don’t suffer well, and I don’t give thanks, and I don’t pray once during the long day. Even then. God is still God. His love is still unconditional. And His will is still perfect. Even when I don't like it or understand it...even then. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Iced Coffee by Paula Roten

I love coffee...all things coffee! But my husband doesn't :(

So when I find a one-person serving of a coffee flavored food or drink, I am really happy :)

This particular iced coffee is designed to be a healthy version, but you can certainly use regular milk and sugar if you're not into that healthy stuff.

Iced Coffee
1 cup strong coffee
stevia to taste, optional
1 cup unsweetened plain or vanilla flavored almond milk
1/2 scoop Whey Protein powder (I use Jay Robb's vanilla flavor)
10-12 ice cubes

Add the sweetener to the hot coffee and then let it cool just a bit. (I put mine in the freezer for about 15 minutes) 

Whisk together the almond milk and the protein powder. 

Put the ice cubes in a large glass. Add the coffee and the milk mixture and stir well. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I Surrender All by Kim Wright

God has allowed some hard things into my life lately. Difficult parenting issues, worrisome health issues, and weighty decisions to make…the load has been heavy. I tend to be a worrier, and my mind has been busy, especially at night, trying to fix and manipulate and work out all of these “bumps” in my road. I have to believe I am not alone. Behind the cheery greetings and cute outfits on Sunday mornings, I know there are others in my church family who are carrying heavy burdens as well. Last night, as I was trying to calm my restless spirit, God allowed this verse to leap off of the page and land in my heart. Perhaps it will encourage other “restless souls” as well. 

“So those who suffer according to God’s will should, while doing what is good, entrust themselves to a faithful Creator.”  I Peter 4:19

He created us…and He cares about us. He is faithful. I have experienced His faithfulness over and over again throughout my life. He can be trusted! I must entrust each of these things to His care!

…And then even more encouragement this morning:

“…casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you.”  I Peter 5:7

He can be trusted with these things and people who are precious to me because He cares about me and those that I care about!

“Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little. The dominion belongs to Him forever. Amen.” I Peter 5:10-11

God Most High…our faithful Creator… will reach down and personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support me when I suffer. He will not send someone else. He will personally attend to my needs. What a humbling thought!

The trials are temporary. He is trustworthy. He holds the future in His hands.

“All to Jesus, I surrender, all to Him I freely give; I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live. I surrender all! I surrender all! All to Thee my blessed Savior, I surrender all!”

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mixing Metals by Stacy McSpadden

Mixing Metals....YES!  It is ok!

All of my life I have either been in my silver phase or gold phase. Mainly concerning jewelry. Mostly silver. I have never been one to wear silver earrings with a gold necklace. In design, I never mixed a silver mirror with gold lamps.  Until recently...

In Spring 2013, the High Point Market highlighted the use of mixed metals in design. This carried over to fashion as well. My co-worker Lana and I loved the trend and look so much that we made the mixing of metals a priority in the Vesta Show House in 2013.  

This living room was a classic way to incorporate lots of color, texture, and use of metal. We placed a silver lamp on the bronze iron table base and popped it with a bright gold accessory on the hearth. We also used a gold cocktail table with antiqued glass in front of the emerald sofa.  

I love this mix of color and texture as well. The sunburst mirror really sets off the mercury glass lamp. And nothing looks better than mixing in traditional blue and white porcelain.

And mixing metals doesn't even mean mixing color. It is really fun to use different textures and finishes of the same metallic. As you can see here, the designer used different shades of silver. I love the use of the "disco" balls for accents.

Ladies, don't be afraid to pull out those brass candlesticks and use them on your dining centerpiece with your fine silver. Mix it up. It's fun!

Stacy McSpadden
Interior Designer and Store Manager
Chestnut Hall Fine Furniture and Interiors
3075 Forest Hill Irene Road
Germantown, Tennessee 38138
901.753.8515 phone
901.756.1966 fax

Monday, July 14, 2014

Word for the Week

My people come to you, as they usually do, 
and sit before you to listen to your words, 
but they do not put them into practice. 
With their mouths they express devotion, 
but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. 
Indeed, to them you are nothing more 
than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice 
and plays an instrument well, 
for they hear your words 
but do not put them into practice. 
Ezekiel 33: 32-32

Perhaps today might be a good day to examine our heart. Let's ask God to search us, know our heart, and see if there's any offensive way in us (Psalm 139:23-24). 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Blueberry Lemon Oatmeal Smoothie by Paula Roten

It's blueberry season here in the South. And this smoothie is perfect for a high protein, easy, on-the-go breakfast that will keep you full till lunch.

Blueberry Lemon Oatmeal Smoothie

1 cup almond milk
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
3/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup dry old fashioned oats
1 lemon, juiced
a dash of vanilla extract
2-3 pkgs. Truvia, or sweetener of choice
1-2 cups ice

Put dry oats in a heavy duty blender and blend until a fine flour dust. Then put the rest of the ingredients in and blend until desired consistency. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

I Believe by Paula Roten

I happened to see this in my Facebook newsfeed this morning. It went along with our last Bible Study video last night when Beth Moore said that we must cling to Romans 8:28, especially when life is dark and hard. I just love how God reminds me through different sources that He is sufficient, that He is for me, that He will work everything for my good. 

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, July 7, 2014

Word for the Week

You were running a good race. 
Who cut in on you and 
kept you from obeying the truth? 
That kind of persuasion 
does not come from the one 
who calls you. 
Galatians 5:7-8

Every now and then, it's a good thing to take a personal survey of our Christian life. Are we running the race with the same enthusiasm with which we started it? Have we slowed down? Have we become side-tracked? Have we let people and problems put us on the sidelines? Or have we let prosperity and the lack of problems take our focus away from what is important?

Take a look today and get back in the race.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Being the Hands and Heart of Christ by Christie Smith

I love my garden. I love taking care of it everyday...the watering, fertilizing, weeding. But today, the thought occurred to me, "You can't just plant a garden and leave it and expect it to grow and flourish. It would dry up and be chocked out by all the weeds." I know, I know...pretty elementary. But then I thought, "How many times do we do that to relationships and situations in our lives?" We just expect them to flourish and grow with no work on our parts. But our lives are flawed. We are flawed. No matter how hard we try to live day-by-day in His will, we mess up and the weeds of sin take root. And just as in our earthly gardens, those weeds will take over unless we tend to them. We have to pull sin out by the roots. We have to nourish our lives and relationships with the Living Water. And we have to be thankful for the soil which supples the nutrition for the harvest. There's a big difference between dirt and soil. Too often we label the mundane, everyday chores of our lives as "dirt" when in reality, it's in these tasks that God prepares us for the bloom.  

This world will never be what we want it to be. Our relationships will never be everything we want them to be. Yet even God did work to fix the situation. His relationship with His children was broken. His creation was in trouble and needed help.  But Jesus didn't just sit up in Heaven with God watching the whole debacle, discussing theologically what should be done. He put on flesh and bones and did the work.

How will things ever get better? How will my relationship with them ever be fixed? How will the conflict ever be resolved? How will the suffering ever end? How will children dying of starvation in another country ever get fed? How will women if abused ever find a place to go? How will girls ever be rescued from the slavery of prostitution? 

Jesus became our example when He put on flesh and bones and placed Himself in the middle of the question and then walked the answer. 

Take the most heart-wrenching questions of your life—sin, loneliness, broken dreams, shattered lives - those are the questions Jesus came into the world to answer. And He still answers those questions today through us. We are the answer of Jesus to a world that is broken, hurting, and lost. We are His flesh and bones now, and it's up to us to put ourselves in the questions and live out the answer. There are women in our midst doing just that. 

There are women like Ellen Humerickhouseof who left everything she ever knew to feed children that were starving. A woman who left the comforts of the world she grew up in to live the hard and uncomfortable life millions of people call normal. Their normal became her normal and their struggles became her struggles. She placed herself in the middle of their question, "Who will ever feed us, teach us, love us?" and she answered, "I will." She became Christ's answer by physically living out His love. 

( or ind Ellen on Facebook)

There are women like Michelle Moyers who let their hearts be broken for women who are broken. Women who don't just say, "Oh, I'm so sorry for what you're going through!" but say, "I will go through it with you and do everything I can to help you out of it!" 

Or find Leah's Restoration House on Facebook)

There are women like Joy Williams Reyes who say, "No baby girl, there is a different way to freedom. There is a different way to love and be loved." She shows them another way through New Hope Girls' Academy. 

( or find New Hope Girls' Academy on Facebook)

The questions are many, but the answer is still the same..."the greatest of these is love." They live 1 Corinthians 13 everyday of their lives. So, how are you being the flesh and bones of Christ? How are you showing someone how to love and forgive and grow? It doesn't have to be in another country or on a massive scale. It doesn't have to be huge in the eyes of many...just huge in the eyes of One.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Guacamole My Way by Paula Roten

Anyone who knows me knows I love to cook and that my favorite cooking site is In fact, I am a volunteer Allstar Ambassador for this site and enjoy doing projects for them each month. One month, I had to create a recipe using avocados from Mexico. I had eaten a delicious guacamole at my daughter's house one time and asked her to help me recreate it, using exact measurements, instead of a little of this and a little of that as she had done. This is the recipe we came up with, and Avocados from Mexico decided to publish it on the allrecipes site. 

Guacamole My Way

2 avocados from Mexico, peeled, pitted and diced
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
4 tablespoons finely diced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1. Combine avocados, tomatoes, onion, garlic and lime juice. Stir well, mashing but leaving some chunks of avocado. Season with salt; stir to combine.
2. Serve immediately or chill for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Idol Worship - Being Real by Donna Clayton

In recent weeks, I’ve seen and heard several messages, Sunday school lessons, and read articles about God’s people being judged for worshiping idols.  

My first response when I hear these messages is usually to pat myself on the back and think, “Well, I’m glad I don’t have any idols.” (I’m just being honest here.)

However, as I have been on a quest to grow spiritually by reading and meditating on God’s Word, He (God, my Savior, my Father) has gently put His finger on my heart and said, “Oh, yes, you do have an idol.”

"What!? God, is this for real? Lord, NO! I can’t be guilty of breaking Your commandment!" 

Under compulsion to settle this conviction, I looked up the word idol on to see exactly how idol is defined. Here is what it says:
1) an image of a deity other than God. 
2) any person or thing regarded with blind admiration, adoration, or devotion. 

Definition one – not guilty – I don’t have any golden calves or statues or graven images lying around.

Definition two – not guilty – hmmm, maybe – no wait – I am guilty of this very thing with my grandson. I adore him, and I’m totally devoted to him when he’s here. Is that really idol worship? I think it would qualify.

In reflecting on those definitions, God helped me see the truth. When Conner is with me, I think about what would make him happy, what I could do to make him enjoy his time with me, and how I feel elated in his presence.   

Again, I felt God’s finger on my heart. “You don’t feel or act that way with Me.” OUCH! He is right!! The One Who infused me with new life, paid my ransom, and gave His only begotten Son is worth me asking myself some hard questions.

“What would make Him happy?” 
“What can I do to make Him enjoy His time with me?“
“Doesn’t He make me feel elated in His presence?” 

I had to confess my sin. "Father, please forgive me for doing for Conner what rightfully should be done for You - You alone are worthy. Help me to love that baby boy with the correct amount of devotion and admiration AFTER I give You the most devotion and admiration."