O Come Emmanuel

by Lynn on December 20, 2017

One of my favorite Christmas songs is O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. The lyrics speak of the long-awaited arrival of the Jewish Messiah.

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, o Israel

O come, Thou Day-Spring
Come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, o Israel

O come, Thou Key of David, come
And open wide our heavenly home
Make safe the way that leads on high
And close the path to misery
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, o Israel

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height
In ancient times did’st give the Law
In cloud, and majesty and awe
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, o Israel

The rendition of this favorite carol by The Piano Guys is truly stunning!

May the blessings of our Savior be yours this Christmas!

On the journey toward Home,

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Collecting Blue Vintage China

by Lynn on December 13, 2017

I love collecting antique china and finding new ways to display it in the house. One of my favorite focal points is the marble-topped sideboard, which features a blue collection anchored around a vintage ornament wreath.

The two plates are RS Prussia.

The blue-dotted bread plate is a Minton. The top plate in the tiered server is a Royal Crown Derby, pattern Fifth Avenue. The middle plate is a Paragon, and the bottom plate is a Minton, pattern Malta.

The art deco cream and sugar set are Paragon. The blue paisley trio is made by Royal Standard, while the solid blue trio is a Swansea. The fleur-de-lis cup and saucer set are Aynsley, and the turquoise blue set is Royal Crown Derby, pattern Fifth Avenue.

A glittered pine cone basket adds to the Christmas theme of this display. The top tier plate of the server is a Richard Klemm Dresden. The bottom tier is made by Grosvenor. The floral trio in the foreground is made by Roslyn China in England.

The cup and saucer set are Queen Anne.

The blue and gold trio are made by Shelley, pattern Caribbean.

A monochromatic design utilizing just one color can be especially appropriate for the holidays and add an elegant touch to your decorations. I hope you enjoyed the little tour of my Christmas-themed vintage china display!

On the journey toward Home,

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Bringing the Autumn Indoors

by Lynn on November 5, 2017

Fall is one of my favorite times of year—not only because of the cooler weather, but also because I love watching the trees change color. Now I know that California is nowhere near a fall-color destination, but we do have a smattering of deciduous trees in my neighborhood and I wholeheartedly enjoy seeing them go from green to yellow to orange to red each year. The Modesto Ash in my front yard sprouts berries in the fall, attracting a lot of little bird friends. Lately the wind has been blowing the fallen berries toward the house and onto the porch, where the birds have been routinely setting off the Ring doorbell motion detector. It’s been fun getting all these alerts at work, only to see my little bird friends hopping around after the berries!

Inspired by brilliant colors of autumn, I love decorating with fall fruits. Pomegranates displayed in a ceramic baking dish provide rich color to the kitchen. The dishtowels are from the Disney Store, while the vintage bullion cup and saucer are Copelands China.

The oak mantel is decorated with colorful gourds, mini pumpkins, and a burnished gold basket adorned with sparkly fall leaves.

This teacup bird in autumn colors is available for sale in my Etsy shop!

In the library, clove-studded oranges are displayed in a vintage Depression glass bowl. The cake plate is RS Prussia, and the art deco vintage cup and saucer are Plant Tuscan.

Another autumn decoration in the library includes this village vignette made from a Christmas wreath. Years ago, my church had an annual event called Preparing your Heart and Home for the Holidays, where great craft ideas and recipes were presented. I was a volunteer who helped make some of the demonstration crafts. This wreath features lighted village pieces, sparkly trees, faux grass, and tiny fall leaves.

A few of the great recipes from the Heart and Home event are shared in other posts. These include the pecan melts, and the chicken cranberry spread.

Mistral soapSweet smelling fall-inspired soaps are a great way to bring the autumn indoors! These, made by Mistral, are displayed on a hand-painted vintage Limoges dresser tray.

My oak desk features fun autumn-inspired resin figurines.

The hall tree is adorned with sparkly garlands of fruit, vines, and leaves. The wired vines provide branches to hang colorful bird ornaments—another craft I learned to make at the Heart and Home event. The vintage teacups displayed on the hall tree are made by Coalport, Paragon, Dresden, and Imperial Crown China Austria.

In the dining room, an autumn-inspired tablescape features a lovely palette of fall colors. Art deco designs can be found in both the GDA Limoges salad plates and the Hoogosil Solingen cutlery. Cranberry wine glasses made by George Borgfeldt, are paired with yellow hobnail Anchor Hocking cordials.

The table centerpiece consists of assorted gourds, mini pumpkins, pomegranates, and silk fall leaves, scattered between two fresh flower arrangements of yellow sunflowers, orange marigolds, burgundy carnations, and red celosia.

Fabric pumpkins are a fun craft to make and can be easily customized. This one features a mushroom bird and a raffia bow.

Here is another autumn village vignette—this one in a moss wreath. These are started by gluing a cardboard round to the bottom of the wreath and then gluing a Styrofoam round to fill in the center, which should be roughly even with the top of the wreath. When gluing both, a small area should be left unsecured toward what will be the back, to run electrical cords through. Moss or faux grass is glued down and then the lighted village pieces are added. The cords are pulled through the open area of Styrofoam and out a hole between the bottom of the wreath and the cardboard round. Additional moss can be glued over any cord areas still showing from the top. Then the rest is purely creative. Use other materials to resemble ground, like grass, rocks, cobblestones, bricks, dirt, or snow. Real sticks and branches can serve as deciduous trees, while other miniatures can be purchased at a craft store. These wreaths can be adapted to other seasons as well, and since they are portable decorations, you can place them in any room near an outlet.

I hope my little collection of fall décor gives you some great ideas for bringing the autumn indoors!

On the journey toward Home,

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Outnumbered and Surrounded

by Lynn on October 9, 2017

Do you ever notice how much bad stuff is reported in the news, and hardly any good stuff? I’d like to think it’s because the media chooses to report the bad over the good, and not because there is just less good to report. But increasingly, I’m beginning to think that there really is less good in the world. It seems that evil is so commonplace now, much of it we hardly even notice anymore.

The Judeo-Christian values the majority of Americans held dear years ago are now being marginalized as extreme. Christians are especially targeted for name calling by those who not only think we’re wrong, but wish us dead. Young people are rejecting God and embracing socialism, while congressional members apply religious tests to exclude believers from public office. We need voices of truth, now more than ever to counteract those inverted messages—which is why it is so disconcerting when we lose one of those voices.

Nabeel Qureshi was a beloved Christian apologist, exceptional at speaking but even more gifted at presenting the truth in love. Raised as a Muslim before turning to Christ in college, his unique ministry provided insight for sharing the Gospel with people of other faiths. Nabeel traveled the world with Ravi Zacharias Ministries, touching the hearts of audiences who found him authentic and personable.

Last year Nabeel was diagnosed with stomach cancer. It was a painful blow to those in the apologetics/evangelical community, many of whom had worked with Nabeel. Countless other thousands like me, who had never met him but had been encouraged by his ministry, were praying and pleading with God to miraculously do the impossible. Nabeel was such a powerful witness and a voice of truth in this messed up world—surely God could spare his life. However, healing for Nabeel on this side of eternity was not part of God’s plan and the Lord took him home a few weeks ago at age 34. While I am happy that Nabeel is now with his Savior, death always leaves some destruction in its wake. I especially feel sorrow for his wife and young daughter, his parents and his sister. Like many others I grieved the loss and prayed for the family left behind.

All that week though, there was something gnawing at me. Along with the sadness, I felt a bit perturbed. I wasn’t mad at God, but I have to admit I was disappointed. From our human perspective, Nabeel’s death didn’t make a bit of sense, although in most cases whose death ever does? In my frustration, I blurted out to God what I was thinking. “Lord, it feels as though evil is winning—like the enemy is just taking us out one by one!”

There it is—the big lie—the one we hear when the enemy tries to convince us that we are losing.

Gratefully, the Holy Spirit reminds us of the truth before we can spend too much time wallowing in self pity. Just as those words fell out of my mouth, I immediately recalled one of my favorite stories in the Bible.

It is recounted in Second Kings, chapter 6. The king of Aram is at war with Israel, and he is frustrated that every time he plans an ambush, Israel’s troops avoid the area. After interrogating his own officers for possible saboteurs, the king learns that Israel’s prophet is the one thwarting all of his plans. It seems that God has been revealing the enemy’s strategy to Elisha who has been reporting the information to Israel’s king. Enraged by this, the king of Aram vows to put a stop to it by targeting Elisha.

“Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city. When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. 2 Kings 6:13-15, NIV

Clearly outnumbered, the situation looks grim. But Elisha recognizes that reality is not all that it appears to be, and encourages his servant.

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6:17-17, NIV

After this vivid display of angelic forces, Elisha prays for the enemy soldiers to be struck with blindness. He then leads them into one of Israel’s cities. Once inside, Elisha prays for their eyes to be reopened where they realize they are now trapped. Although the enemy could have been easily slaughtered, Elisha advises the king of Israel to spare their lives.

“Do not kill them,” he answered. “Would you kill those you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.” So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory. 2 Kings 6:22-23, NIV

Wow, what a turn of events. In this situation, Elisha extended some kindness to the enemy and was rewarded with an end to hostilities. And while the two kings probably didn’t become fast friends after this event, the king of Aram did stop invading and that was good for everybody. Not only did God protect his people, but he used the conflict to bring a measure of peace. He does the same for us today.

At times it may feel as though we are outnumbered and surrounded by the enemy, but there is more going on than we can see. God’s unseen army protects and defends us. When we get discouraged, it’s good to remember the calm assurance of Elisha—those who are with us are more than those who are with them.

On the journey toward Home,

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Women of Faith Returns to its Roots with Sisters Event

September 20, 2017
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Last week my twin and I attended Sisters: Celebrating the Art of Friendship, the latest conference sponsored by Women of Faith. In 2015, Women of Faith completed the Loved Farewell Tour after 20 years of ministry. The event essentially retired the original speaker team and the large event format. Since then the company was sold […]

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New Teacup Bird Flock Lands in Etsy Shop

August 1, 2017
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My Etsy shop has added a new flock of teacup birds! This group features a wonderful assortment of repurposed vintage cups and saucers. Years ago I found a way to use broken and mis-matched sets, incorporating them into colorful silk floral arrangements. Many of the sets in this new group feature R.S. Prussia, Limoges, and […]

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Patriotic Oreo Pops

July 1, 2017
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To celebrate the Fourth of July, I wanted to share these easy-to-make patriotic Oreo® pops. I originally saw them on Pinterest, and thought they’d be fun treats to bring to work. For the ingredients you’ll need red, white, and blue chocolate melts, lollipop sticks, assorted sprinkles, and Oreo cookies. Additional supplies include wax paper, microwave-safe […]

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When God’s Answer is the One We Dread

June 21, 2017
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The month of June always brings my thoughts back to 2007. Up to that point, I had endured a few life-altering trials, but that year my family was broadsided by the most difficult challenge we’d ever faced. When my mom was diagnosed with cancer in late 2006, we earnestly prayed for her healing. In fact, […]

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Honoring Those Who Have Secured our Liberty

May 21, 2017
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Next week we will honor the men and women who gave their lives in defense of our great country. In the photograph above, older family members representing three branches of the armed services, take a moment to pose with my dad, age four. The year was 1944, and many families had loved ones fighting in […]

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DIY Victorian Style Vintage Easter Greetings

April 8, 2017
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Easter is a great time to make holiday crafts, especially when there are so many lovely vintage images available online to work with. Owning a few antique doily cards myself, I wanted to see if I could duplicate the vintage layered paper look with modern materials. I found some old Easter card images online and […]

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