Thursday, December 31, 2015

10 Most Important Posts of 2015

Of course I think everything I write is important. I wouldn't bother posting it otherwise. Sometimes the posts I consider to be better, wiser, more significant, aren't as widely read as say, a recipe. I recognize that I go back to practical posts more often than wisdom posts, but I like to think that as I get older, and seek to know God and His Word better, that some of what I write will keep others from making mistakes I made and help them live their life purposefully. To that end, I have a collection of the posts I think are "most important" from 2015. 




  • How to Stop Procrastinating -- I'll start with a good New Year's post. We arbitrarily choose the beginning of the year for a new starts in everything from losing weight to taking up new hobbies. But sometimes, those little things that we'd like to become better at just don't happen. Here eight tips on how to get around to it.
  • People with Clean Houses -- You know those people who always seem to have clean houses, trimmed yards, back seats they don't have to unload to give others a ride? I had a revelation this year about how they do it.
  • Ten Habits of Families that Eat Together -- How do they do it? They have developed these habits and it happens. What's their secret? Take a look!
  • 16 Photos You Must Take -- My kids are out of the house (mostly), all grown up. There are so many memories of things we did together--reading so many books to them (even into their middle school years), doing chores, how they lounged while "studying", the bread store we stopped at every time we walked past. I don't have photos of these things. Cameras are with us all the time now and photos don't cost 50c a piece (film and developing) so take these pictures, you'll be glad you did!
  • 60 Conversation Starters -- When the family gets together, or friends, or new acquaintances, the conversation can range from superficial to critical. These conversation starters, set up for printable business cards, can help you get to know each other in lighthearted or deeper ways. Don't go out without some!
  • Start a Spiritual Conversation -- The best kind of conversation to start either to help edify yourself and another or to witness to an unbeliever is one that leads to talking about God. Here are forty-four ways to turn the conversation to a topic that is truly important borrowed from Chris Walker's blog "Evangelism Coach" (with permission).
  • 3 Ways to Stop a Gossip Fest -- Don't think conversation starters are helpful? Next time the guys or girls get together, use these "secrets" to keep them from just having a gossip fest!
  • Get Along at Get Togethers -- Whether your family has a grump, a gossip, or an arguer you can plan ways to get along when you gather. Here are six tried and true ways to help that along.
  • It Happens Every November -- Have you ever thought about the juxtaposition of Thanksgiving and Christmas? At one we profess gratitude and satisfaction and at the next we make lists of things we think we need to be happier. Take a minute to read this post and think about it. It will keep you from being the grump at your family gatherings if you put true thankfulness into practice.
  • 55 Bits of Wisdom -- And finally, everything else I have learned in 55 years of living! Humorous, helpful, and hopefully wise, you'll enjoy reading this list written on my birthday last year.

Have a Happy New Year!



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Thursday, December 24, 2015

I am Mary

Last year for our Christmas devotions my husband, daughter, father-in-law, and I each wrote a first person account of one of people involved in Jesus' birth. It was a great way to get a new look at the amazing truth of the Incarnation. We read them on Christmas with the whole family. You can read the one I wrote on Elizabeth here and the one my husband wrote as Gabriel here. This is the one I wrote about Mary.

I am Mary, wife of Joseph, the woman who was given the gift by God of bringing His Son, our Messiah, into the world to be our Savior.



I'm sure you'd like to hear my version of the angel coming to me, but, you know, even after all these years I find it hard to explain. But I'll try:

He was just there. He didn't come in, he didn't dazzle me with bright light, he just started talking. And more than anything, his greeting took my breath away!
"Greetings approved one! The Lord is with you."
I didn't know what he meant and was trying to make sense of it when he kept talking. He told me to not be afraid. That's when I realized that my heart was racing with the start and confusion.



Then he said, "God is happy with you." And he began to give me more information than I could take in, so I concentrated hard because I realized it was important. He said I would conceive a child...that it would be a boy...the boy's name would be Yeshua, Jesus in your language...that His actual identity was the Son of God...the He would be King!

And the only thing I could think of to say was, "But I'm not married!" You know how we never know what to say to someone on the spot, but two weeks later we have the perfect response? Well...I've thought about this quite a bit, and I don't think I would change my statement. I knew how important my purity was to God and the way this man, this angel, answered let me know he was from God.

He explained that God, through the Holy Spirit, would work a miracle in my body and I would have this child without losing my virginity.

I knew then that is this was an angel sent by God and I submitted to God's will for me.

I've been asked why I didn't ask him to explain it to my parents and my fiancé. But he said two things to me that just took care of everything. One was his first greeting, "The Lord is with you," and later he said, "Nothing is impossible with God." I just rested in that, believing God would take care of the details.

And, you know, He did.



I was so thrilled when the angel told me that my relative Elizabeth was expecting a baby. Thrilled for her! And thrilled for me. I needed someone to talk to who would understand. I knew Elizabeth was a godly woman and would be able to help me sort this all out in my mind. So I went to visit her. When I saw her she was delighted that I came and immediately she recognized what was happening. In response to her loving, accepting greeting, I told her the poem of praise that I had composed on the journey down.

In it I said
I rejoice in God, my Savior, who chose me to play an important part in His plan of salvation for all of us. My soul thrills at God's great mercy toward sinners.
This is not about me, but about God. He took notice of this servant girl and favored me by including me in His amazing plan of salvation.
All generations will call me blessed, but I hope no one loses sight that it was God who did great things.  
 He came down to our world to bring us salvation!




May you have the merriest Christmas ever
as you contemplate the Greatest Gift ever!






Thursday, December 17, 2015

I am Gabriel, yes That Gabriel

Last year for our Christmas devotions my husband, daughter, father-in-law, and I each wrote a first person account of one of people involved in Jesus' birth. It was a great way to get a new look at the amazing truth of the Incarnation. We read them on Christmas with the whole family. You can read the first one here. This is the one my husband wrote. I think you will enjoy it as his humor comes through as well as his deep spiritual thinking.

Hi, my name is Gabriel. I am an angel. Unlike you might think from watching "It's a Wonderful Life", I was not a human before who died and I don’t need to earn my wings. Like I said, I am an angel. The Bible doesn't tell you when we were created, and we don't think about time like you humans do so I can't really explain it. We, as a movement, have gone on for, well, a long time. We serve God in many different ways. 




You are a very confusing people, but we understand something of how you needed a Savior and I was chosen for the special task of being involved in the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.

When Messiah came, I got really active in human history. First, I was sent to talk to Zacharias, a priest who knew the Scriptures. He knew that there would be forerunner to announce the coming of Messiah. But when I told him he was to be the father of that child, he wouldn't believe me.  We angels don't get humans. God sends them a message and they won't believe! “Just give me a sign,” he said. How about an angel appearing? But God must have anticipated this, because he sent me with the ability to make Zacharias mute for his disbelief. When he should have come out of the temple praising and worshiping God, he couldn’t say a word.

But Elizabeth understood the Zacharias' charades, believed, said something about not having a headache that night, and we watched her worship God as her tummy grew with little John! She was an inspiration to us, allowing God's miracle to happen in her body, something that we angels can never participate in.

My next, and most famous assignment, came soon after talking to Zacharias. I didn't have any experience in talking with pretty teenage girls, especially about such a delicate subject, but God gave me some lessons. And that humble, God-minded little girl joyfully accepted the news that God was going to perform one of His greatest miracles ever, right inside her body.

I told her that she was going to be the mother of the Messiah. And she accepted that.



She had a question about pregnancy outside of marriage, but again her faith embraced my explanation of the divine incarnation. We angels still contemplate what happened and we don't fully grasp it. I am sure she didn't either, though it was wonderful to observe her over the years holding her baby, watching Him grow and train Him, contemplating Him, and seeing Him as a man doing his Father's work, and although sometimes she spoke out of turn, she listened to Him and learned as she thought about His responses. 

And Zacharias? He came around when John was born and the Holy Spirit himself came down and prophesied through Zacharias. 

But I got into action again the night Jesus was born. Well, your Bible doesn't actually say it was me, but I think a number of you probably guessed that the angel that showed up to talk to the shepherds was me! But I'm not a soloist, and besides, there was a clamoring of multitudes of angels to get in on the action that night and sing at the birth of man's Messiah, so I was joined by myriads of angels and we sang "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."

We angels have also observed that peace has not come to earth yet, but take my word for it. When God says something is going to happen, it always does. So make sure you are enjoying peace with God, which He offers you to take care of your sin problem And the peace of Christ which can be yours every day while you live in a world that wars instead of making peace. It is my senior colleague Michael the Archangel gets to make the announcement for believers to come up to heaven and meet their Prince of Peace face-to-face, but I hope to be right there by his side singing, or upping the voltage of the glory when we dazzle those who have believed what I said 2000 years ago, 


"I bring you good news of great joy 
which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there was born for you Savior, who is Christ the Lord."



May you have the merriest Christmas ever as you contemplate the Greatest Gift ever!





Thursday, December 10, 2015

I am Elizabeth

Last year for our Christmas devotions my husband, daughter, father-in-law, and I each wrote a first person account of one of people involved in Jesus' birth. It was a great way to get a new look at the amazing truth of the Incarnation. We read them on Christmas with the whole family. Over the next three weeks I will share two that I wrote and one by my husband.

My name is Elizabeth…wife of Zacharias.

But you probably know me best as the mother of John the Baptist.



My husband was a priest and together we studied and pondered many things in the scriptures and determined, to the best of our ability to live according to the commandments of the Lord. —That gave us great joy.

The one sorrow and prayer in our lives was for a child. But God did not choose to bless us in that way. Finally, well, that became impossible. But we remembered Sarah and once in a while we would remind God of how much we would love to be parents.

Then the angel came.

You’ve heard the story of Zacharias in the temple being told we would have a son who would prepare the way for the Lord. Poor Zacharias, he just couldn’t comprehend what he heard. As he delicately told the angel, “My wife is advanced in years.” Like I said, it was impossible…or so we thought.

Then Zacharias came home mute. Have you ever played charades? Have you ever played for ten months straight?

Yes, in my “advanced age” I was privileged to become the mother of a boy. And this boy grew up to become John the Baptist who preached and baptized in the wilderness to help people be ready to believe in Jesus, the Christ.



But I’m a little ahead of my story.

When I was about six months along I had an even greater privilege —I was visited by my young relative, Mary. When she came into my house and called out to me, I actually felt John leap inside me! It wasn’t a regular baby kick, it was a movement of, how can I describe it? It was a movement of joy, and, somehow of…recognition!

Then God filled me with His Holy Spirit and gave me an understanding of what was happening in Mary’s life and I exclaimed, “How has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me?” That was a great privilege.

But even that was not the greatest privilege of all in my life.

The greatest privilege is probably expressed best by my husband…when he finally got his voice back. He, too, was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied about our son:
You will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways; To give His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God.

That is the greatest privilege I had in my life—to understand and believe that God, through Jesus, would forgive my sin by His mercy.


I found salvation in Jesus Christ, the child born to Mary.



May you have the merriest Christmas ever
as you contemplate the Greatest Gift ever!




Thursday, December 3, 2015

Too Much on My Plate

I recently discovered I had too much on my plate...
          ....everyday
                    ...at every meal.

Five years ago I had to go on a steroid inhaler for my asthma and my weight (which due to my health was underweight for only the second time in my life) shot up fifteen pounds almost within a couple of months. Since then it has continued to creep up a few more pounds till I was twelve to fifteen pounds overweight



I knew the meds made me hungrier, but I didn't realize how much I was eating until...
          ...I started using an app that counted every calorie and told me how many I could eat if I wanted to lose a pound a week. I like to think that the Plexus I've been taking helped give me the appetite control that I've had for the last ten weeks during which time I'm proud to say I've lost ten pounds! But the real deal is keeping track of what I put on my plate (and in my mouth).



One thing I've learned is that it's not only too much, but the wrong thing on my plate. That delicious sweet potato soufflé my sister-in-law makes for Thanksgiving? Oh my! Many, many calories.

My favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner, the stuffing, is another dangerous food.

So I'm learning what to put on my plate.



But...
          ....what if I'm speaking metaphorically?

Too much on my plate, too busy, too many projects, activities, events, meetings, sports, lessons, recitals...

That's an excuse I hear for not having family meals, "We have too much on our plate to sit down together."

Maybe what's "on your plate" isn't the right thing to be on your plate. 

If you asked people over 75 what they wish they had done more of with their kids when they were at home, I don't think many would say, "I wish we'd put them in another activity," or "I wish they'd had more extra classes," or "I wish we'd spent more time in the car running from one thing to another."  

They also might not say, "I wish we'd had more family meals," but I bet they would say, "I wish we'd spent more time just enjoying them."


A little chaotic, but oh so worth it!

This month is a good time to evaluate what you've put on your plate and to ask yourself if it is the right things or not. To think about what's important and to put that on your plate and take smaller helpings of things that are sweet potato soufflé and stuffing and the right amount of veggies and meat. 






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Thursday, November 26, 2015

It Happens Every November



Just as sure as the leaves change color and fall off the trees.



And then it is all undone in December.

Facebook friends begin using #30daysofthanksgiving hashtags and talk about a Thanksgiving Challenge. At churches and in homes paper turkeys and trees boast of all the things for which we are thankful.

But in December we begin to make lists--mental, written, or on Amazon--of the things we want. 

Does that strike you as incongruous? 

I did it with my kids every year, but a couple of years ago I was asked to speak to some college girls on "contentment" and it gave me a whole new perspective on thankfulness.



The world thinks we'll be content if we have a little bit more. 
Or if we learn to want a little bit less.

Is that what the Bible teaches?



Or how about:



In other words: God is enough.

How can we teach our children this? I am not sure I succeeded with being the one who taught this to my children. I'm not sure I have come to truly believe this in my own life. But I'm working on it.

I'll give you a few of my ideas of how we can teach this to our children, but I would love to hear from you and know how you are working on this. Please let me know.


  1. Be an example. Are you someone who is always talking about wanting the newest, the better, the improved? Or do you exhibit contentment? What do you talk about?
  2. Talk about contentment. If you look online you will find all kinds of quotes about contentment. Read one to your kids each night at dinner and ask if they think it's true. Is this is a clever statement or the path to contentment?
  3. Read what the Bible says. Look at the verses I have mentioned here and others. What does the Bible say is the basis for a Christian to be content? Ask who they can think of in the Bible that lived contentedly...or didn't.
  4. Look for real life examples. Talk about people who are living life content with having God in their lives. Ask your children, "What would true contentment look like in your life?"
  5. Be thankful. That year I challenged the college girls and myself to not just list things they are thankful for, but start their thanksgivings with "I'm thankful for God's presence in my life because..."
Leave me a comment and let me know your ideas for living and teaching true contentment.

P.S. I took these photos a couple of years ago while on a "leaf crunching" walk with my youngest daughter when she was a college sophomore. Today she is a senior getting ready to move overseas for her internship and then her first full time job!

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Get Along at Get Togethers

Who will be at your Thanksgiving table? 
  • Great Aunt Evelyn who never stops talking and generally about topics no one is interested in
  • Crotchety Uncle Harry who has made an art of finding something to grumble about
  • Your twin cousins who at 34 give new meaning to the term sibling rivalry
  • Three darling nieces and nephews who cry, spill their milk, and scatter food all over the table and on anyone within reach
  • Grandpa who  has adamant political views that are the polar opposite of his lawyer daughter
  • Your gossipy sister who tries to "figure out" the evil in everyone's life
  • Your husband who will see if he can hide in the study watching football most of the day
  • Your son who loves to play board games and your daughter who absolutely refuses to
  • Your sister-in-law who insists she is allergic to everything on the table and tries to make it a pity party for her when you know she's just on a continual diet

Sounds like a great setting for a holiday comedy movie...or a murder mystery!


I hope that even if you have one person who in your family who comes close to these descriptions, it's only one and not a table full. But every family has it's foibles and people who struggle to get along with each other. While none of the above are people I know personally, our holidays include four generations spanning from 9 months to 89 years old! You can bet we don't all want to do, talk about, play, or eat the same things.

In the years since we've been back in the states and been able to have our holidays with family (after 24 years in South America) we've learned a few things to help make the holiday fun for everyone. And some of my happiest times are when all my kids are in my house enjoying being together!


Be Flexible--easier said than done for some. My husband and I are consummate planners but the younger generation not so much. So we set up a schedule but if it doesn't happen, we try to let it go. The main thing is that we all have a great time together. If that happens when the kids oversleep their nap (or the adults!) and we don't get to take that family photo. Oh well. (At least that's the attitude we aim for.)

Something for Everyone--When we first started hosting holidays, I had tons of ideas for things we should do, places we should go, people we should visit. But as I became mother-in-law I did not want to be that mother-in-law so one time I planned nothing and asked them to plan. One daughter told me, "But you are mom. You're the one with the plans and ideas!" So now I try to get ideas from everyone about what they would like to do and then we put them in the schedule. Everyone gets at least something they enjoy and that makes them happier about joining what isn't their preference. That said, no one has to do everything. Prefer not to play games? Then sit and visit, read, nap, play with the littles.


He who eats, works--For the main meal, like Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, I ask everyone to pitch in. They get to choose what they want to make/bring. That makes the main meal so much easier. Then during the weekend or week that everyone's around, we all help as much as we can. Sometimes that means I get to read a book to a grandchild while others do the dishes. Sometimes I'm prepping food while someone else takes a nap. Sometimes I ask for volunteers to take on even more house cleaning. It's only fair.

Conversation "steerers"--I'm known for my conversations starters and we will be using some this Thanksgiving, but we also plan ways of steering the conversation away from touchy subjects that don't edify. My husband and I have done this for years, just trying to change the subject, look for the good in someone or something that is being criticized, or look for a new activity to join in. It's fun to see our grown kids pick up on this and toss in their own "steerers" when someone (yes, even me) starts heading the wrong way in a conversation.


A, B, C--When you are stuck together and you've used up all your ideas to keep things happy and positive, use the alphabet. When you are sitting around tell everyone that you are going to do the Alphabet Thankfuls. The first person says something they are thankful for that starts with "A", the second something that starts with "B", and so on. For added fun, make it a memory game where you have to repeat everything everyone else said before you say yours. 

And finally, always remember to count...

2, 3, 4--Philippians, that is. "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others." 

I hope your Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year and all your holidays will be filled with love, laughter, and good memories!




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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Thanksgiving Conversation Starters

What do you do at Thanksgiving to remind yourselves what you are thankful for? We have done a variety of things to help our kids learn thankfulness at this time of year and to remind our family and guests about the true meaning of Thanksgiving. But going around the table to say one or even two things you are thankful for might make you miss out on some of the things that happened in the past year that you do want to be thankful for. 



That's where specific questions come in. If you have specific questions to ask people, that will open up memories that they might not have thought of otherwise. And as one person begins to share their answer, others around the table will have their memories jarred as well.

It also helps keep the conversation upbeat. After the food has made its way around the table or everyone has gone through the buffet line, ask someone (preferably someone who has been a bit forewarned) to read their question and answer it. Tell everyone that the "rules" are 1) no one can make fun of anyone's answer and 2) everyone who wants to can answer the question. Let the conversation flow. But if it starts to flag or degenerate, pipe up and ask the next person to read and answer their question. 



I've made the questions below available in printable format. If you buy printable business cards such as Avery® Business Cards 28878  (Avery®  Template 8371) they will print just right or print them onto cardstock and the guidelines will show where to cut to get cards of uniform size.

You might want to turn them over and print your guests names on the back to use as name cards.

Here is the link to the printable format.



Here are the thanksgiving questions:
What teacher are you thankful for this year?

What unexpected event came into your life this year that you are thankful for?

Tell about a Bible verse you are thankful for this year.

What are you most thankful for about your family?

What memory did you make this year that you are most thankful for?

What food on this table are you most thankful for?

I'm thankful for my job because __________________.

One thing I am thankful about my parents is __________________.

What place have you been able to visit this year that you are thankful you got to go to?

What event that made the news are you thankful for?


Have a Happy Thanksgiving!




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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Cook Something Bold and Pungent

The first time my husband and I visited India we stayed with an Indian family who, although we didn't know it, had never hosted Americans before and were quite nervous about having us in their home. 

We were a little nervous too. We got on a plane in Chicago and 15 jet-lagged hours later disembarked in New Delhi. While we were waiting to our luggage, I saw a familiar sign and told my husband I needed to use the bathroom and would be right back. I walked in and then into a stall where I was greeted by two foot rests and a hole in the ground. (I have since learned that this is fondly referred to as a "squatty potty".)  I suddenly didn't have the urge any more. I turned around and watched a large cockroach stroll across the counter where the sinks were. Where have I come to? I thought as I rushed to rejoin my husband.



Our suitcases arrived (since it was a non-stop flight they should have, but if you travel with me I recommend bringing pjs, medicines, and a change of clothes in your carry-on because I regularly have suitcase no-shows) and we headed out the door to meet our hosts. 

Have you ever watched a movie where the camera walks through a crowd of gaunt, staring people dressed in turbans and salwar kamises? That was pretty much what it was like as we stepped out to the throng waiting for arriving passengers. 

They were behind a rope and we gazed at them hoping for a sign that read "Fleming". The crowd looked back at us without one smile. So we stood in the center of the roped off area feeling rather on display in our American clothes and pale faces as we scanned the crowd for some spark of recognition. After all, they had our photo. Finally we saw the small, hand lettered sign held by a couple in their 50s and we introduced ourselves and followed them out into the fog of India at midnight.



We had a wonderful few days with them before going on to visit other Emmaus Bible Course workers in other parts of the country. The thing that amazed me was the intensity of the faith of these people. We prayed when we arrived, when someone else arrived, when we were going to eat, when we finished eating, when someone was leaving, when we went to bed. Being a Christian is not easy in many parts of India and they recognize their dependence on God.

On the day we were to leave, the wife confessed to me their fears about hosting us. Then she said they had asked a friend who often has American visitors what they should do. His advice? "Leave the chilies out of the food." So, she told me, that's what they did...left the chilies out!


Wow! I had loved the curry dishes we had eaten with them, but my goodness gracious, they were hot! I mean hot and spicy! I was so glad they hadn't put the chilies in!

But we do love Indian food and Thai and many other bold flavors. For our anniversary in Colombia we always went back to an Indian restaurant we loved. I have brought spices back from India and have been learning to cook somewhat authentic Indian dishes. 



What does this have to do with family mealtimes? Well, November 8 is "Cook Something Bold and Pungent" day. So I thought you might want to celebrate with a simple recipe from the Tamil Indians who live in Durban, South Africa where my husband was born and grew up. 

Oh, but you might want to leave out the chilies!

Curried Meat
Fry 1 or 2 sliced onions in 2-3 Tbsp oil until golden.
Add 1 Tbsp your favorite curry. (Be sure there's enough oil so the onions don't stick.)
Add 1 pound cubed meat (beef, lamb, or chicken).
Stir to coat with curry.
Add a few peppercorns, 4 or 5 whole cloves, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp. ginger, 1 tsp. minced garlic, and 1 cup water. 
Cover and let it cook 30 minutes, stirring frequently and adding water as needed (you want there to be a sauce when you are done.)
Add 2-3 large cubed potatoes, 2-3 sliced medium carrots, and 1 cup inch-long green bean lengths.
Continue cooking until vegetables are done.
Remove bay leaves.
Serve over rice.

Have several (or all) of these condiments available to eat with the curried meat:
salted peanuts
shredded coconut
raisins
chopped canned pineapple
sliced banana
plain yogurt
diced tomato and onion mixed together


P.S. There aren't any chilies in this recipe.




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Check out the book Around the Table: Connecting With Your Family at Mealtimes. You can read the first chapter at this site and order a copy of the book.

Get a Conversation Starter question each week night by *liking* the Around the Table Facebook page! 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

What's On My Table?

I love the feeling I get when I see a well dressed table. 

I could be in a furniture store, a friends' home, a restaurant, or my own house. When the runner or tablecloth and centerpiece come together in beauty, style, grace, and a touch of whimsy it brings a smile to my face.



It's true, when my four children were all at home, I did very simple centerpieces most of the time--a flower in a vase, a couple of candles, a bowl of fruit--but I always took time to make sure there was some kind of centerpiece on the table. 

Now that I have more time and less people to play with the centerpiece, I often try to get that look in my own home. A centerpiece is always on the table, even when we aren't eating, even when I'm home alone, even when my grandchildren are visiting.

So what's on my table these day? Autumn!

One of the things I think is fun is to find things around my house to use as part of my centerpiece. I'm not the kind of person you will find with a variety of silk flower arrangements in different hobby store vases. I'm more likely to look through my knick knacks and kitchen to see what I can come up with to decorate my table. So when I saw a photo of a bowl filled with popcorn and a candle in it, I knew that was a centerpiece that was just right for me!



Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks! My wooden fruit bowl from the Bahamas was just right along with my pumpkin spice votive candles, and dollar store silk leaves on a table runner from Africa in the right colors.

I revisited the popcorn theme in a clear cylinder vase from my son's wedding. I put one candle in and put my scarecrows on guard duty beside it for another idea.




I bought a green, rectangle plate when I was in Goodwill with a friend a couple of years ago. When I saw the plate, I knew I wanted to add it to my collection, but I wasn't sure what I would do with it. Normally it lives on our guest bathroom vanity with some seasonal decoration, but I decided to move it into a more public eye on my table.

A few years ago I bought a leaf decorated candle holder that is my old standby for September and October table tops (before the Pilgrims come out). With a lit candle, a few silk autumn leaves scattered around it, on a runner from Ecuador and my table always looks festive.


What's on your table?


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For more ideas on centerpieces click here and here.



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Can't wait to read Around the Table: Connecting With Your Family at MealtimesDid you know it is available on Kindle?

You can get a copy today for only $4.75!


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