“No matter where I serve my guests, it seems they like my kitchen best.”
That little painted plaque in my kitchen is more than just a cute saying for the wall. It’s the way I’ve felt all my life. Wherever I’ve lived, the kitchen has always seemed to be the place where warmth and love reign.
Family and friends are drawn there like chickens to their roosts. Of all the rooms in our home, the kitchen is the place of comfort, the preferred gathering place for shared conversations and the teamwork of preparing good meals for and with each other.
For me as a young girl, the kitchen was always where I wanted to be – sitting on the countertop as ingredients flew everywhere, tantalizing aromas floated through the air, and meals and memories were created.
After my father died and my mother and I took up quarters in three rooms behind her little dress shop, the kitchen was still the center of warmth.
I remember so many times when Mama welcomed me home with a baked potato, hot cocoa, cinnamon apples, or popovers in winter; popsicles or ice cold lemonade in summer.
All these were expressions of love, and they all came from the kitchen.
The Heart of the Home
Even today, the kitchen feels like the heart of home to me. The smell of garlic and onions being sautéed in butter draws me to the kitchen. Coffee, brewing fresh in the pot, lifts and warms my heart.
I love to bend over a bubbling pot of soup or gaze out the window while quietly bringing order to my countertops. And I love to smile at all the photographs of family and friends that smile back at me from the refrigerator door.
My kitchen is filled with heart. My pots hang on hooks above the stove the way my dad’s pots did in his commercial kitchens. Plants line the windowsill, including a few pots of herbs to snip when needed. A crock holds my whips, wooden spoons, and spatulas in a space-saving and attractive bouquet. A collection of special plaques and pictures from friends and family decorates my “love wall” at one end of the room.
Above all, make your kitchen a room you enjoy and feel good in.
“A special time to show your husband he is very important in your life is when he comes home from work. Make it a pleasant time for him. Put the housework aside. Greet him with a smile. Have his favorite beverage ready for him. If he wishes to talk, listen attentively. If he doesn’t, give him space to unwind. Such a greeting will make an amazing difference in his life.This may not always be possible with many little ones, but make it happen as often as you can. Your thoughtful consideration for his welfare will make him feel respected and loved.” -Paraphrased from Fascinating Womanhood
It’s here and reprinted!!! Celebrate the Feasts and Seasons with the von Trapp Family!
In this joyful and charming book, Maria von Trapp (from The Sound of Music) unveils for you the year-round Christian traditions she loved traditions that created for her large family a warm and inviting Catholic home and will do the same for yours.
Here are the songs they sang for feasts and holidays, as well as Maria s personal recipes for traditional holiday foods. Here are stories and games to delight your children, and countless other ways to turn events such as anniversaries, baptisms, graduations, birthdays, wedding receptions, and even funerals into feasts celebrated in the Lord.
Most people only know the young Maria from The Sound of Music; few realize that in subsequent years, as a pious wife and a seasoned Catholic mother, Maria gave herself unreservedly to keeping her family Catholic by observing in her home the many feasts of the Church s liturgical year, with poems and prayers, food and fun, and so much more!
With the help of Maria von Trapp, you, too, can provide Christian structure and vibrancy to your home. Soon your home will be a warm and loving place, an earthly reflection of our eternal home.
Make a statement with these lovely and graceful handcrafted aprons….fully lined….made with care. Aprons tell a beautiful story…..a story of love and sacrifice….of baking bread and mopping floors, of planting seeds and household chores. Sadly, many women have tossed the aprons aside and donned their business attire. Wear your apron with joy….it is a symbol of Femininity….”Finer” Femininity! 🌺 💗
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First…thank you, dear ones, for your prayers for our little guys yesterday. We were all exhausted fighting thoughts of what could have happened to them…and were so grateful that all turned out well! God is good.
(For those wondering…look on this post.)
A little throwback for some inspiration today….
Emilie Barnes has always been an inspiration to me through the years. She has taught me that our environment, its “ambiance” is important for our own healthy outlook and also for those around us.
We show we care by making our homes comfortable, homey and lovely. It doesn’t take a lot of money…..and now with so many helps, like Pinterest, or the internet in general, we can figure out ways to make our environment special that is cost-effective! Our loved ones will appreciate it! And so will we!
It took us many years to get to where we are now. We lived in a little one-bedroom home with seven kids for 10 years on this property (adding a couple of bedrooms as big as boxes 🙂 )!! But it was always “home” and I did my best to add touches to that little “shack”. The kids were sad to leave it….
So don’t get discouraged. Do what you can where you are….bloom where you are planted!
In this article Mrs. Barnes talks about surrounding ourselves with the things that we love and making it part of our home’s decor. I guess you can tell what we love around here. 🙂
Beauty is as necessary to the spirit as food and clothing are to the body. Fortunately, beauty is easy to invite into any home, for beauty has many faces. Beauty can be found in a hand-colored photograph or a hand-stitched quilt, or in shelves lined with bright-hued jelly jars. A pot of graceful ivy can be beautiful and so can a sweet potato vine growing in a jar.
Even the arrangement of a home can be beautiful. When furniture and objects, whatever the cost of the style, are combined with care and attention, the result can be warmly beautiful, even if the individual pieces are less than lovely.
What is beautiful to you? What makes you smile or your spirit soar? That is the beauty that should surround you in your home, and it will be shared with all who come to visit.
Seek out beauty in whatever form it speaks to you. Surround yourself with beauty. In the process, you will be creating something truly beautiful as well: a lovely home graced with a happy, welcoming spirit.
I feel immediately at home in houses where people have surrounded themselves with what they love. I like to walk into a house and immediately have a sense of what they read, what they collect, what they like to cook, how they like spend their time. (This gives me something to talk about as well.) I enjoy meeting well-behaved pets and seeing evidence that there are children in the home.
Our home overflows with objects that remind me of who I am and what I love. Clusters of family photos – on a wall of our great room, on a table in the bedroom, on my desk, and on the refrigerator – fill the spaces of our home with smiling, familiar faces.
Teacups from my long-time collection retell their stories to me each time I look at them. My mother’s secretary and my auntie’s crystal build a bridge for my memories. Books and signs and plaques collected on our trips fit together like pieces that make up the puzzle of our lives.
Somehow, it all manages to come together in a homey atmosphere that says, “This is who we are. This is what we love. Please have a seat and let us get to know you, too.”
Cleanliness Creates Hominess
Bob used to tease me that I would die with a broom in my hand. And it’s true that the first thing I usually want to do when I come home from a trip is grab a broom and sweep off the front step. I love that sense of getting my home in order. To me, it’s hard to feel comfortable and at home in a house that is dirty, cluttered, or disorganized.
Create a comfortable nest where people you love, including yourself, can work and play and relax and visit without worrying about whether they will step on a toy or be faced with a discouraging pile of undone chores.
It Takes a Lifetime
It takes a lifetime, this process of making yourself at home.
Homes grow and change just as people do. But these simple secrets of “at-homeness” hold steady through the ongoing homemaking process.
Make yourself comfortable – and create a comfortable environment for yourself and others.
Add the little touches that make a house feel like a home.
Surround yourself with beauty.
Surround yourself with you.
Create peace by ordering your environment.
Above all else, listen to your dreams of home. Allow them to guide you as you learn to make yourself and others happily at home.
“It will not then matter to us what our work is; the smallest action will be performed as carefully as the greatest, and our life will be beautiful in the sight of God. Yes; it is not always what appears to us to be grand actions that are grand in the sight of God.” -Mother Mary Potter, Our Lady’s Love of Domestic Life
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The following little story about the Gift of Hospitality struck a chord with me.
Like Emilie Barnes, our life was not an easy one, growing up in the big city of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Oftentimes we didn’t know how the food was going to be put on the table.
My mom went through a lot in those years, trying to work as a nurse’s aid, manage a household of an unusually large amount of children for those parts and that time (there were 6 of us kids).
Yet through it all, my mom had an openness and kindness to other people that was an example to all of us.
She never turned down anyone when it came to raiding the refrigerator or making them feel welcome. If someone walked in at mealtime they were invited to sit with us even though the fare may not have been ample.
It was an inspiration to me!
This little anecdote reiterates the value of an Open Heart, Open Home mentality and what an example we can be in this realm for our children.
The “parlor” was tiny, just an extra room behind the store. But the tablecloth was spotless, the candles were glowing, the flowers were bright, the tea was fragrant. Most of all, the smile was genuine and welcoming whenever ever my mother invited people to “come on back for a cup of tea.”
How often I heard her say those words when I was growing up. And how little I realized the mark they would make on me.
Those were hard years after my father died, when Mama and I shared three rooms behind her little dress shop.
Mama waited on the customers, did alterations, and worked on the books until late at night. I kept house – planning and shopping for meals, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry – while going to school and learning the dress business as well.
Sometimes I felt like Cinderella – work, work, work. And the little girl in me longed for a Prince Charming to carry me away to his castle. There I would preside over a grand and immaculate household, waited on hand and foot by attentive servants. I would wear gorgeous dresses and entertain kings and queens who marveled at my beauty and my wisdom as they lavished me with gifts.
But in the meantime, of course, I had work to do.
And although I didn’t know it, I was already receiving a gift more precious than any dream castle could be. For unlike Cinderella, I lived with a loving mother who understood the true meaning of sharing and of joy – a mother who brightened people’s lives with her gift of hospitality.
Our customers quickly learned that Mama offered a sympathetic ear as well as elegant clothes and impeccable service. Often they ended up sharing their hurts and problems with her. And then, inevitably, would come the invitation: “Let me make you a cup of tea.”
She would usher our guests back to our main room, which served as a living room by day and a bedroom by night.
Quickly a fresh cloth was slipped on the table, a candle lit, fresh flowers set out if possible, and the teapot heated. If we had them, she would pull out cookies or a loaf of banana bread.
There was never anything fancy, but the gift of her caring warmed many a heart on a cold night.
And Mama didn’t limit her hospitality to just our guests. On rainy days I often came home from school to a hot baked potato, fresh from the oven. Even with her heavy workload, Mama would take the time to make this little Cinderella feel like a queen.
My mother’s willingness to open her life to others – to share her home, her food, and her love – was truly a royal gift.
She passed it along to me, and I have the privilege of passing it on to others. What a joy to be part of the warmth and beauty of hospitality!
“Hospitality is so much more than entertaining-so much more than menus and decorating and putting on a show. To me, it means organizing my life in such a way that there’s always room for one more, always an extra place at the table or an extra pillow and blanket, always a welcome for those who need a listening ear. It means setting aside time for planned camaraderie and setting aside lesser priorities for impromptu gatherings.” -Emilie Barnes. Simple Secrets to a Beautiful Home
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Some thoughts today to spur you on to keep ahead of the clutter! 101 Ways to Clean Out the Clutter by Emilie Barnes
The 80/20 Rule
The 80/20 rule is one of the greatest principles you can use to figure out your top priorities. If all of the items on your to-do list are arranged in order of value, 80 percent of the value comes from only 20 percent of the items. The remaining 20 percent of the value comes from 80 percent of the items.
Sometimes a little more and sometimes a little less. The 80/20 rule suggests that in a list of ten projects, finishing two of them will yield 80 percent of the value.
So don’t be overwhelmed by a large list. Remember the top 20 percent of the list gives 80 percent of the value. What’s left undone today can go on the list for tomorrow. Rearrange your to-do list so that it is in order of priority and keep the 80/20 rule in mind.
Accordion Files Fit the Bill
One item that makes great use of space and effort is an accordion file. Go to your local stationery store and purchase one or a few. Accordion files are wonderful and oh, so versatile.
You can use them to store bills for future payment, to keep track of important papers, and to gather greeting and thank-you cards for those special occasions. Set the files up with labels. For example, your bills folder could have pockets labeled “Pay,” “Read,” “Answer,” “Pending,” and “Hold.”
Designate a shelf for a row of accordion files. You’ll be able to store many of your most needed paper items in these. And because accordion files are portable, you can take them with you to meetings so your records are handy or to the kitchen table when it’s time to pay bills.
Don’t forget to purge them occasionally. The files won’t serve you well if they are full of outdated or unneeded items.
Managing the Mail
Now, let’s talk about the mail. The key to managing this area of our lives is doing it daily. If it can’t be done when it arrives, assign a specific time each day to process it.
One area of your home should be designated for this purpose—a desk, table, or a section of the kitchen counter. If you use the kitchen counter, be careful that it doesn’t become a catchall area.
Remember the rule about paper: Don’t put it down, put it away. It only takes a minute to sort the mail when it arrives, even if you can’t process it at that moment.
A simple file system can help you do this. You could use one file for letters you want to read. If you have older children, each might have his or her own folder to check when arriving home from school.
There needs to be a file for bills, another for things you need to discuss with someone in the family, one for mail that needs to be answered, and maybe another for those that require a phone call.
Juggling the Junk Mail
Don’t hesitate when junk mail and unwanted catalogs arrive. Don’t worry about what you might be missing because the same items will be listed again in the next catalog—due to arrive in a couple of weeks.
In fact, if you can get in the habit of instantly tossing junk mail, you’ll get rid of at least 30 to 50 percent of your daily mail.
When your favorite catalogs and magazines arrive, be sure to read them and then put them in the recycle bin or pass them along to a friend.
If you begin receiving too many catalogs and they are not ones that suit your lifestyle, call to cancel them and request that your name be removed from their mailing lists. Some catalogs are available online. You might consider receiving the email version of your favorite store’s publication or an organization’s email newsletter.
Break It Up
To accomplish a big task, break it into a few smaller parts—these become “instant tasks” that you can easily handle. It’s the big items that throw us and leave us in a panic.
Think of one project that you have put off because it seemed too big to take on after a busy day or in the middle of a hectic one.
For example, let’s choose cleaning out the refrigerator as your dreaded project. Can you give it 15 minutes? Even the craziest of days usually have a few breaks in them that could be put to good use.
Set a timer and work like mad for those 15 minutes evaluating leftovers, checking expiration dates, and wiping off shelves.
Tomorrow, set the timer and toss out old vegetables, refresh the ice trays, and rinse the meat and produce bins.
In a day or two you’ll have invested two or three 15-minute sessions and completed the larger task of cleaning your refrigerator.
“We must have a daily habit of prayer; it should be ingrained in us. Morning and Night Prayers, the Rosary and frequent lifting of the mind to God will help us to hear His Voice.The daily habit of prayer leads us to spiritual health. We are more “tuned in” to know what God’s will is in our life, to desire it and to do it. By our habit of prayer we will experience the tranquility and happiness that comes from Him Who sees our efforts and loves us so much! He will give us the peace that passeth all understanding….” – Anne Joachim
Download the Finer Femininity App on your smart phone! Available on both Androids and Iphones! A neat perk about the App is that even if you are not on Facebook you can still look at the beautiful quotes and pictures that are updated several times a day on the FB icon….filling your heart with inspiration and encouragement!
“I’ve long been wanting a book on various virtues to help my children become better Catholics. But most books focused on the virtues make being bad seem funny or attractive in order to teach the child a lesson. I’ve always found them to be detrimental to the younger ones who’s logic hasn’t formed. This book does an awesome job in showing a GOOD example in each of the children with all the various struggles children commonly struggle with (lying, hiding things, being grumpy, you name it.) But this book isn’t JUST virtue training… it’s also just sweet little chats about our love for God, God’s greatness, etc…
And the best thing of all? They are SHORT! I have lots of books that are wonderful, but to be honest I rarely pick them up because I just don’t have the time to read a huge, long story. These are super short, just one page, and very to the point. The second page has a poem, picture, a short prayer and a few questions for the kids to get them thinking. It works really, really well right before our bedtime prayers and only takes a few minutes at most.
If you like “Leading the Little ones to Mary” then you will like these… they are a little more focused on ALL age groups, not just little ones… so are perfect for a family activity even through the teenage years, down to your toddler.” https://www.etsy.com/listing/246688723/cheerful-chats-for-catholic-children?ref=shop_home_active_7
Organize your day with tips from Emilie Barnes and her book 101 Ways to Clean Out the Clutter !
Most people are interrupted at least once every five minutes. If this is true for you, analyze what’s causing those interruptions.
You and your situation are unique—the things that disrupt your day are different than the things that disrupt another’s day. If you haven’t studied this loss of time, become aware of it. You will be amazed at how much time is whittled away by these interruptions and disturbances.
Consider how to safeguard your time. There’s nothing wrong with telling people you can see them at 9:30, 12:15, or 6:40 exactly. Even family members can be taught not to interrupt.
Maybe you cause the interruptions by insisting on checking email every few minutes or answering your cell phone even when you are in the middle of something. If you don’t respect your time, others certainly won’t know how to respect your time.
The Family Communication Center
Hang a bulletin board, pegboard, racks, or other wall-mounted storage where it can be seen by all members of your family. This will become your home “communication center.” Messages can be sent, messages can be received, and messages can be displayed here.
Other helpful supplies to keep in this area include a dry erase board, a calendar, a list of important phone numbers, and a key holder. Encourage your family to use this area by leaving special notes or treats for them to pick up every now and then. This center is really helpful to have in place when babysitters and houseguests are over. Be sure to write a nice greeting on the white board for your guests, or pin a greeting card and their guest keys to the bulletin board.
Purge the Paper Piles
Get rid of extra paper. Almost 90 percent of all paper in your home and office is never referred to again. That’s a staggering amount of paper!
Choose a room, any room, and there is probably a pile of paper stashed in a drawer, cupboard, or even loose on furniture surfaces.
In the kitchen you might have recipes, cooking articles, and grocery lists piling up. In your office school papers, bills, and receipts gather. Your bedroom ends up being a place for scraps of reminder notes and magazines to accumulate.
Pick a room and go straight for the papers. Allow yourself to keep only a few pieces, maybe five, and toss the rest.
Yes, you can keep more if they are important. However, if it’s a piece you haven’t referred to in a while, won’t need anymore or mean to read but never will…it goes.
Toss at least ten times the amount of stuff you keep. Your rooms will look and feel so much better—and so will you.
Today Is the Day!
Resolve to make each and every day count. Instead of constantly anticipating tomorrow, live for today.
When you invest in tomorrow’s worries or schedule, you’re missing out on what is supposed to happen or be experienced today!
Have you ever spent a great deal of time fretting over a future obligation or task only to find that it was not that burdensome—but the weeks of worrying were?
Make today count toward your pursuit of a more organized life. Select one item and find an ideal place for it. Now, when that item ends up on the coffee table or on the kitchen counter, you’ll know exactly where it belongs. Your quest to de-clutter your home can truly be this simple.
“A true wife makes a man’s life nobler, stronger, grander, by the omnipotence of her love ‘turning all the forces of manhood upward and heavenward.’ While she clings to him in holy confidence and loving dependence she brings out in him whatever is nobles and richest in his being. She inspires him with her courage and earnestness. She beautifies his life. She softens whatever is rude and harsh in his habits or his spirit. She clothes him with the gentler graces of refined and cultured manhood. While she yields to him and never disregards his lightest wish, she is really his queen, ruling his whole life and leading him onward and upward in every proper path.” J.R.Miller
If you purchase items through my affiliate links, I receive a small commission but your price doesn’t change. Thank you for your support.
Outlaws of Ravenhurst
Do you want a gripping Catholic novel for your youth? Outlaws of Ravenhurst is it! “The Outlaws of Ravenhurst has been a popular children’s classic for almost a century. Filled with sword fights, secret passages, and mysterious strangers, this tale of adventure and intrigue portrays lives of courageous virtue amid trials and dangers. The bold spirit, selfless charity, and heroic sacrifice of The Outlaws of Ravenhurst are sure to stir in the hearts of Catholic readers, both young and old, a deep love for their faith and a passion to defend it.” (afflink)
Come Rack, Come Rope
“Come Rack, Come Rope is one of Robert Hugh Benson’s best-known novels. Based on true events and individuals in the time of the Elizabethan persecution of Catholics in England, Come Rack, Come Rope centers on Robin and Margaret, who give up their love for another and hope of marriage in order to minister to their persecuted neighbors. Masterfully weaving the historical source material with his own creative additions, Benson presents an unflinchingly truthful portrayal of the terror of those times along with an achingly beautiful depiction of true faith.”
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From 365 Things Every Woman Should Knowby Emilie Barnes
If you’re at home when your husband arrives from work, be ready. Drop everything and go to greet him.
Yes, that’s what I said. You know what it tells him when you run to the door to greet him? He’s important to you. He’s number one in your life after our Lord.
You don’t know all that transpired in his day….the frustrations he’s encountered.
That husband of yours could’ve gone a hundred different places tonight.
There are tons of women out there who would like to have him around, no matter what he looks like or what kind of shape he’s in. But he’s coming home to you.
Enjoy him. Let him know you love him.
Is your home comfortable? I find it hard to feel comfortable in a house that’s dirty, cluttered, or disorganized.
I know we are all different in what we can tolerate or like, but I’m convinced that some sense of order is necessary for most people to feel relaxed.
Create a comfortable nest where people you love, including yourself, can work and play and visit. Keep clutter under control and add little touches that to make a home feel warm and welcoming.
Today so many children aren’t involved in their families’ lives. Let’s change that! Get them active in your family.
Start by creating times for sharing and conversation….at the dinner table. Turn off the TV, all phone calls (including cell phones), and any other distractions.
Toward the end of the meal, ask everyone this question: “What’s the best thing that happened to you today?”
Make dinner time fun. Find out what’s happening in your children’s hearts and lives, and let them know what’s happening in yours.
Honor jobs well done, good grades, and positive contributions to the family and community.
No matter what happens keep on praying. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with everything you have to do, I want to encourage you.
So you haven’t gotten everything done… who does, really? But that’s OK as long as you’re in the process.
Keep praying no matter what is going on. When you don’t feel like praying, that’s when you really need to do it!
When was the last time you did something really special to say “I love you” to your husband?
In the morning, tell your husband, “Honey, tonight is a special evening-just for the two of us.”
Then get busy. Set up a card table on your patio or deck – or even in the living room. Get out a beautiful tablecloth, your best napkins, flowers, and candles!
Fix him his favorite meal and your best dessert, put on some soft romantic music, give yourself enough time to look your best, and you’re all set for when he gets home.
He’ll feel like a king and know he’s a top priority in your life!
For Throwback Thursday….
It’s been a long and cold winter here in Kansas. I am not complaining, though. I grew up in Saskatchewan, Canada where we didn’t begin to get a glimpse of spring until well into April.
But now with the warm winds pushing their way through, the geese doing an about-face and the daffodils poking their heads through the soil, we may be thinking of our gardens.
I grew up in a big city so we didn’t have a garden. I have had a lot to learn and I have grown to love the garden, though I am still a tenderfoot at it.
So…with gardening just around the corner (or maybe in some places already started), I thought I would spark your enthusiasm with this tidbit from Emilie Barnes.
The real reason is that it gives me an excuse to post these pictures that get me (and you) dreaming about flowers again! 🙂
Simple Secrets to a Beautiful Home: Creating a Place You and Your Family Will Love
Gardens are places of life, growth, rebirth.
Working with plants and soil is a therapeutic experience to our stressed-out lives. You don’t have to have acres of land or an emerald thumb in order for gardening to be part of your life. Your garden can flourish in whatever space and time you have to give it.
In our first apartment, Bob and I barely had room for ourselves, let alone space for a garden plot.
But I was able to unleash the spirit of the garden even in that tiny place by setting out some small pots of geraniums in a kitchen window that received early-morning sun. Before long, blooms had brightened our little home.
Soon after, I added pots of herbs on that kitchen shelf.
Bob was amazed that I could season our meals with a pinch or two of herbs from my window garden.
That was just the start of our apartment garden. When I went to the market, I would occasionally pick up a potted plant in a gallon container.
Those little “instant gardens” would travel around the apartment, ending up at the middle of the breakfast table while we ate, on the bathroom vanity while I took a bubble bath, or on the nightstand while we flipped through magazines and dreamed of the beautiful landscaped grounds we would love to have someday.
When we lived in the Barnes Barn, Bob and I had plenty of room for that magazine garden we wanted so many years ago.
Our home was on garden tours in our city. We loved to hear people respond, “How beautiful it is!” “How can you ever leave it to travel?” “What a relaxing retreat center!” and especially “I would love to live here!”
We also heard, “Why go to all that trouble to keep it up?”
For me, the answer to that question goes back to those early years when God was preparing my heart to appreciate His beauty through our garden.
At that point I just knew I wanted a flower in a vase by my bed or in the center of our dining room table.
Over the years, God used that simple desire to get me outside.
For Bob, who comes from a three-generation farm family, the spirit of the garden goes back even further.
Bob truly has a green thumb. It seems that everything he plants grows. He is the one primarily responsible for helping our garden flourish so beautifully around our home.
But Bob and I both love being involved with growing things.
Even the hard work-weeding, checking for insects, watering-feels purposeful and worthwhile.
And then what joy to see a blanket of green outside our door or the bright splashes of color on our patio!
What a thrill to pick that first plum, orange, avocado, bean, corn, zinnia, marigold, or squash in our spring and summer gardens!
We are so much richer because of our love for plants, flowers, and trees and our involvement in their growth.
A Deeper Harvest
Gardening yields so much in our lives. It lets us participate in God’s process of creation. It provides wonderful opportunities for teaching and sharing and giving. But I have found that being part of a garden yields a deeper harvest as well.
Over the years, gardening has taught me a lot about who I am as a woman of God. Through many hours of working alone and with others-tilling, planting, mulching, weeding, pruning, re potting-I have learned to “slow down and smell the roses.”
I have moved closer to a healthy balance between “doing” and “being.”
That’s because the garden forces me to go at God’s pace, taking time from a busy schedule of writing, traveling, and speaking to do the simple daily chores that lead to beauty.
It’s an eternal rhythm: Sometimes I work, sometimes I wait… then God does the growing and I enjoy the results.
I thank God regularly for his gift of the garden.
Wouldn’t you love to have visited the first garden God created? It must have been beautiful-fragrant, fruitful, lushly green, yet ordered and balanced.
I trust that my life can somehow reflect that same beauty.
Yours can too.
If your life is “farmless” because you have become convinced that you have a “black thumb,” you can still fill up that void with something green or something blooming. You don’t have to turn your home into a greenhouse.
Just pay a visit to a nursery or the grocery store or a florist-or visit a neighbor whose thumb is green.
Pick a plant or a flower that makes you feel good, and put the pot or vase on your table or nightstand.
If necessary, get instructions for the care and feeding of your new plant friend-and follow them.
Then stand back and wait for the joy of the garden to begin transforming your life.
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How can we make every day growth in holiness? We imitate the Holy Family and look to them for examples. Remember to say 3 Hail Marys for the priest
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Organize your day with tips from Emilie Barnes!
Don’t Delay Small Tasks
Do small chores as needed so they occupy the least amount of time possible. Put a shirt back on the hanger, repair the sag on the gate, replace that burned-out lightbulb, and put new batteries in your smoke alarm.
If you start taking care of the immediate tasks rather than save them for later, you’ll notice an amazing difference in your clutter problem.
The small stuff adds up to big projects later – don’t let them snowball.
As you go about your day today, pay attention to which tasks can be done immediately. The dishwasher can be loaded, the cereal box can be put in the cupboard, the dining table can be cleared so that it’s clean for dinner, and your paid bills can be filed. Things are looking better already!
Be My Guest
Be a guest in your own home for a day. If you walk into your living room, what stands out? What looks messy? Inviting? Fun? This fresh inventory of your living room and each room in your house will awaken you to ways to clean out and cheer up your home.
I’d encourage you to have fun with this.
Do one room at a time and take a few notes about this “first impression” makeover. Then get ready to make a difference in that room.
What’s working? What’s pleasing? What draws your eye? Look for items that just don’t fit.
Most importantly decide the focal point for your room. What do you want people to see when they enter the room?
The focal point is the anchor – the center of gravity. Find that and you’re well on your way! Not a bad idea for every area of your life!
Little Tasks Take Little Time
Few of us have several hours to clean out our closets. The key is to use the 10 minute segments you do have to accomplish a small task or make a dent in a larger one.
Clean one shelf in your closet
Make an appointment with the dentist
Put in a load of wash
Make your shopping list
Answer a few emails.
You’ll declutter if you learn to do small tasks in small blocks of time.
Just Give It a Try
Is your accumulation of stuff burdensome? I can relate. Most women can. What many people don’t realize is how incredibly freeing it is to get rid of clutter. They hesitate because they just see the work involved, the logistics, the possible changes, and the future commitment to keeping a home clean.
They can’t envision the openness, the beauty, and the peace this change will offer them and their families.
Keep your eye on the prize – the sanctuary you will create when you remove the obstacles of clutter! If you’re new to this or hesitant to begin, don’t look at your house as a whole. Start with one room.
If you incorporate just a few of the suggestions in this book or ones you’ve gathered from magazines, you will see transformation. The results of your one room makeover will give you the energy and the desire to keep life simple and lovely.
Happy Ninth Day of Christmas! “There is nothing insignificant in the life which we live within our own doors. There is nothing which is without influence in the building up of character. Let no one think that the history of any day in the life of a home, is not recorded imperishably on the sensitive lives of the children.” -J.R. MIller
How much is the harmony in your marriage worth to you? Do you insist on your own way, your own opinions even in situations that are, in the scheme of things, not that important? This short story is a reminder that insisting on our own way is not the path of peace….
Isn’t it difficult to change when you think you are right? We get so stubborn that we won’t change our thoughts and opinions for anything.
“Why should I? I’m right!” we say.
One foggy night the captain of a large ship saw another ship’s lights approaching. This other ship was on a course that would mean a head-on crash. Quickly the captain signaled to the approaching ship, “Please change your course 10 degrees west.”
The reply came blinking back through the thick fog, “You change your course 10 degrees east.”
Indignantly the captain pulled rank and shot a message back to the other ship, “I’m a sea captain with 35 years of experience. You change your course 10 degrees west!”
Without hesitation the signal flashed back, “I’m a seaman fourth-class. You change your course 10 degrees east!”
Enraged, the captain realized that within minutes they would crash head-on, so he blazed his final warning: “I’m a 50,000-ton freighter. Change your course!”
The simple message winked back, “I’m a lighthouse. You change…”
You, too, may get so frustrated with your mate that you give out stern warnings that he or she had better change course.
Because of past experiences, you and your spouse may not want to budge from your respective positions.
Satan would like to destroy your marriage using the differences in the way you like to do things.
You need to pray to be set free from stubbornness. You must be willing to support one another.
With this attitude you are free to serve each other. Anything less than this allows selfishness and pride to enter your life, creating an unwillingness to change.
Alter your course rather than insisting on your own way.
Coloring Pages for your children…..
Looks like someone is enjoying them! 😀
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365 Things Every Woman Should Knowby Emilie Barnes
Did you make your bed this morning? No, I’m not your mom. Yes, I’m from a generation that was taught to make their beds every morning. And I do.
Frankly, a made-up bed is so much more welcoming at the end of a hard day than a tangle of sheets. The message centers on clutter.
A wise person once said, “Clutter wearies the spirit and fights against serenity.”
These days there’s enough clutter of heart and home to last a lifetime. It’s so much nicer to “order your day,” as the Scripture says. That gives you more time for the really important things God has for you to do. We all need a place where we can rest and relax and refresh ourselves spiritually and physically.
Be honest: How many plastic bags do you have folded together in that kitchen drawer? And what about all those magazines stacked beside your bed? And is there any woman who doesn’t have a “fat wardrobe”… and a “thin wardrobe”…just in case? Why hang on to them?
Get some boxes and start labeling and storing away the important items you may need to find quickly and easily. Take those clothes you haven’t worn in a year or more to a local charity. Let someone use them instead of just keeping them in your closet. Recycle those plastic bags and magazines. You can do it!
Why do it now? There’s always tomorrow.” Procrastination may seem fine today, but it’s not a very good way to lead your life. I can pretty much guarantee you won’t accomplish much.
Putting things off until tomorrow is the universal “effectiveness killer.” We say things like “I hope” or “I wish.” How frustrating and how negative!
If this is you, here are some simple tips to get going:
• Make little tasks out of big ones. Hardly anything is really hard if you divide it into small jobs.
• Make a commitment to someone, and ask your friend to hold you accountable.
• Set up rewards for accomplishing tasks.
• Give yourself deadlines.
• Resolve to make every day count.
Be a woman of action. Treat each day as being precious. The truth is, when it’s gone, it never comes back.
Today why not do a spontaneous act of kindness? Write a note to someone who would never expect it. Put a rose in your hubby’s briefcase. Return a shopping cart for someone. Let someone merge into traffic and give him or her a big wave and smile. A thank you note out of the blue to someone who’s said something nice about you will bless his or her day.
Give another driver your parking spot. Leave a gift of money for someone anonymously. Call your mom or dad for no special reason. Send a letter to a teacher and thank him or her for all they do. Ask an older person to tell you his or her life story. The Holy Bible reminds us to “entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”
With all the fires and the hurricanes affecting so many people, we need to pray this powerful prayer from the Pieta Prayer Book! Let us support our brothers and sisters as they fight to overcome these dangerous situations!
This prayer is worth having around!! Print it and keep it handy!
Prayer / Blessing Against Storms from the Pieta Prayer Book
(Where you see the cross, make the Sign of the Cross.)
Jesus Christ a King of Glory has come in Peace. + God became man, + and the Word was made flesh. + Christ was born of a virgin. + Christ suffered. + Christ was crucified. + Christ died. + Christ rose from the dead. + Christ ascended into Heaven. + Christ conquers. + Christ reigns. + Christ orders. + May Christ protect us from all storms and lightning. + Christ went through their midst in Peace, + and the Word was made Flesh. + Christ is with us with Mary. + Flee you enemy spirits because the Lion of the Generation of Juda, the Root of David, was won. + Holy God! + Holy Powerful God ! + Holy Immortal God! + Have mercy on us. Amen!
The fires blazing in our country right now need Divine Intervention! Let us pray to Blessed Marie Rose Durocher for her intercession!
A little bit about her:
In 1973, sisters at their Spokane, Washington, convent claimed to have a stopped a fire at a chapel in Fort Wright College by invoking Mother Durocher through prayer. The fire, which started in Spokane River gorge, was approaching the campus when the sisters tacked Durocher’s picture to trees and prayed to her for help. Flames were reportedly within 15 feet of the chapel, with smoke filling the interior, when the fire changed direction. Similarly, in 1979, Frank Carr, the owner of a lake resort in Tonasket, Washington, observed an uncontrolled wildfire change direction after he tossed a picture of Durocher into the flames. Said Carr, “All I know is that we threw in the picture and the wind changed. There’s no question the fire would have taken the orchard, some farm houses and the resort if it hadn’t turned.”
1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, 1 Glory Be
Mother Marie Rose Durocher, Pray for us!