Monday, October 11, 2010

$3 Chair Makeover

I have a little antique chair and ottoman here at Gentility that is absolutely my favorite chair in the house.  It has a wonderful little print on it, it's just the right size and the ottoman is always at my feet, even if I'm on the couch instead of the chair!  But my pretty little chair was showing her age and I needed to cover it or reupholster it before the threadbare fabric began to tear. 

Today I got out my latest Goodwill treasures (two matching king size pillow shams and a crocheted dresser runner) and decided to give my dear little chair a makeover.  The results are in the pictures below.  I am so happy with my pretty little chair!!

Hope you are inspired to do a little project to beautify your home too!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Your Daily Worship

I ran across a quote today that made me really stop and think today and wanted to share it with you.  Here is the quote from William Barclay:

“The humblest and the most unseen activity in the world can be the true worship of God. Work and worship literally become one. Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever; and man carries out that function when he does what God sent him into the world to do. Work well done rises like a hymn of praise to God. This means that the doctor on his rounds, the scientist in his laboratory, the teacher in his classroom, the musician at his music, the artist at his canvas, the shop assistant at his counter, the typist at her typewriter, the housewife in her kitchen -- all who are doing the work of the world as it should be done are joining in a great act of worship."

Paul wrote to the Romans, "Therefore I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship." (Romans 12:1 NIV)

Are you discouraged in the mundane work of life? Do you finish the laundry only to find more dirty clothes to wash the next morning? Do you wonder if anyone notices the noses you wipe, the dishes you wash, the stories you read again and again, the checkbook you balance, the card you send to a sick friend?  Does it really make a difference to God, or to anyone else?

Your Father God sees and knows every act of service you perform for someone else, every tear you cry, every hug you give, every small thing you do day in and day out that seems to go unnoticed by the rest of the world.  He sees the extra time you give to a project at work so that it's done well, the pride you put into your school assignments, the love in your heart as you fold your husband's laundry.  And here, my dear, is what should make you rejoice - not only does He see and know, but all those little things you do bring Him glory!  Your love for the Savior and His love for us is reflected in your work and it is continually pointing those around you to Jesus.

Praise God that He does not require what we are unable to give. He does not need a choir. He does not need a great sermon or graceful dance. He is able to take our humble everyday tasks and use them to bring glory to Himself.  So be encouraged.  You do not work in vain.  Your work does not go unnoticed.  When you work with your whole heart as unto the Lord, whatever you do, it shouts "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!" to the world.  And He is glorified.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Home Matters

This fall I'm taking a class called Home Matters.  It focuses on how to organize and rid your home of clutter, making it a beautiful and peaceful place for you and your family to enjoy.  As we go room by room through our homes, we are learning some spiritual applications along the way.  I wanted to share my home's transformation through the course of the class session with you on the blog.

Last week we concentrated on our front porch.  I finally put away an empty bubble container and a whole collection of assorted bubble wands and toys.  I also grabbed the bag of phonebooks left on the porch and put them away.  The last thing I did was to gather all the little containers of insects I had sitting in various places on the porch and combine them into one jar.  Ross and Gracie are collecting insects for an insect board for co-op, but more on that in another post!

Once I cleaned up the clutter, I started thinking about how to spruce up the area.  Our front door is navy blue and is a little scuffed and dirty after six years of going in and out, so a scrubdown and paint touchup is definitely in order.  Same goes for those faded blue shutters!  I've tried in the past to create a little seating area on my porch but still never go out there to sit.  I decided the back of the white bench out there leans back too far and isn't very comfortable so I never want to sit there.  So I am going to spruce up two of my patio chairs from the backyard (think cheap plastic stacking chairs) with some spray paint and a cushion and put them in the seating area instead.  Then I'm going to move my tea cart from the kitchen to the porch to hold outside necessities (like bubbles!) and give me a place to put my glass of wine while I'm out there reading or journaling or spending a little time chatting with my hubby.

Stay tuned for pictures!! And join me this week as we concentrate on the living room.

If you'd like to follow along with the Home Matters class, visit their blog at for summaries of the lessons and ideas from class members about what they're doing in their homes.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pen to Paper

Last Saturday night, my hubby sent me out alone for the evening.  He told me to go do something just for me.  Without children to drive to an activity or an errand to run or a birthday gift to buy, I'll admit I was at a loss for what to do.  Finally I decided to head to my favorite store and buy myself a new journal.

I have a whole collection of journal books.  I always bring a journal to church or to Bible study to jot down notes and quotes and Scriptures in.  I write prayer requests and answers to prayer.  I have other journals I use just in my quiet times and include great quotes that are meaningful to me from books I read or an email I get.  These journals will give my children an intimate picture of their mother when I am gone and I keep that in mind as I write in them.

However, I have fallen out of the habit of writing just for pleasure.  It's been years since I've written just to record my thoughts or special events of the day, to work through my anxiety about an unknown future or recall an amazing turn of events only God could bring about.  Yes this blog has been an outlet for that type of writing.  But a journal is so much more open and honest - it's just between you and the pen.  And so I went shopping for such a journal.

As I shopped I looked for something special, something beautiful, but something that was a reflection of me - nothing uppity or too fancy, nothing too plain or practical.  Looking at all the journals though, I thought about a larger journal I had sitting at home, still empty since I bought it - too big to carry to church or Bible study.  I decided to use that journal as my every day life and thoughts journal.

Then a seed started to grow in my mind.  Why not buy a journal to write a book in? One of the items on my "bucket list" (stuff I want to do before I die) is to write a novel.  Several times I have started and gotten stuck, not consumed enough by my own story to give it any more time to write for someone else.  If I don't want to read it, why write it?

I found a beautiful composition book - white covered with green and yellow flowers.  It's a bit unusual - kinda like me - because the paper is made of stone not wood.  The paper is soft and almost velvety, like it's damp.  And my pen just glides across it.  It's truly a pleasure to write in!  And so this lovely little book will become THE BOOK that has been in my dreams, waiting in the back of my mind for the day I would sit and begin to write it out into the world.

It is not a true story, nor based on anyone's story.  To be honest, at this point even I do not know the whole story.  But tonight as I wrote, it began to tell its story to me.  It introduced me to Lizzie and Mr Roman and gave me a glimpse of little Caleb.  There are others I have yet to meet but I see them there in my mind, waiting their turn to tell their part of the story.  I cannot wait to meet them all! I am writing again! And my heart is happy.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back to School

We started school this year earlier than ever before! Today marks day two of our fourth week and we are having so much fun this year!!  We are using an excellent curriculum package from My Father's World that combines Bible, Latin, History, Science, Art and Composer Study into one well rounded, connected study.  Our time period this year is Rome to Reformation, so we are up to our elbows in mosaics and Caesar right now.  What an amazing time in history, leading up to the birth, life and death of our Savior.  It's been so interesting to connect people and events in history with the Scripture and see the events leading up to the life of Jesus.  I can see the faith of my children growing deeper and more sure with every connection they make.

One of our favorite times together is Art.  We are using a wonderful book called God and the History of Art by Barry Stebbing.  First we are learning the foundations of good drawing - lines and circles and ellipses and shading.  I have agreed to go through the assignments with my children and it has become something I love to do outside of our class as well.  Sketching and coloring and shading are very relaxing and give my mind time to think and wander in a way that isn't allowed in my normal hectic routine.  What a gift it has been to me!  And what a lesson to my children, a reminder that a love of learning can continue to teach you things throughout your life.  Never stop learning!!

Hope your school days are starting off well.  I would love to hear your back to school stories! Do you have any traditions or special memories of going back to school?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Back to Basics with Baby

This week we started the transition from soy formula to soy milk with Georgia.  It is not going well!! She is having issues with diarrhea and diaper rash very similar to her reactions to milk based formula.  We have decided to switch back to soy formula for now and try again in another couple months.

Georgia has had little patches of excema here and there for quite a long time.  Over the past two week, the excema has spread and now covers quite a bit of her tummy and shoulders and the creases of her knees and elbows.  We are suscipious that it may be food related as it has gotten progressively worse as she has eaten more and more table food and less baby food and formula.  So in addition to going back to soy formula, we are going back to just fruits and veggies.  We will keep grains out of her diet for a week or so and watch to see how her skin reacts.  On one hand, I'm hoping to find the answer but on the other hand I want very much to be wrong about my gut instinct.  I don't know if I'm ready for a wheat allergy or other food issue!!

I have experimented a lot in making my own baby food for Georgia.  It has been much easier than I thought it would be!  Here are a few of our favorites:

Sweet potatoes - I peel and chunk them and roast them with a little olive oil in the oven, then pulse it in the food processor.  Now that Georgia has teeth, we've skipped the food processor and just feed her the chunks.

Butternut squash - I prepare this the same as sweet potatoes.  Harris Teeter sells squash in already peeled and chunked for the same price as buying it whole!

Apples - I core the apples and slice them with the peels still on, then I cook them down and pulse it in the food processor.  I make it a lot chunkier than I used to and now my other children are enjoying the applesauce with her!

Pumpkin - Until I started looking for simple homemade baby food ideas on the internet, I never thought of pumpkin!  Now we buy canned pumpkin to feed her (not pumpkin pie filling)!  It's very easy to spoon it into an ice tray, freeze the cubes then store them in a freezer bag until you are ready to serve it.

So for now, I'm back to making baby food!  Once again, this baby has me walking paths I thought were behind me and in unexpected places.  We are continuing to trust that God knows the way better than we do.