Linking Up 31 Days: From House to Home

Sunday, September 30, 2012

We'll call this the home page for my part in the 31 days link-up! 

Over the course of the month of October, I'll be talking about everything from schedules, traditions, and entertaining (the "fun stuff)  to cooking, cleaning, and laundry (the "not-so-fun" stuff).

I hope you'll join me! 

Day 4: Get It Done

Day 23: Free Falling

Day 24: Be Our Guest

Day 28: Days of Rest

Frankly Friday

Friday, September 28, 2012

I've mentioned a book called "The Jew Store" several times now. Reading it has reminded me how grateful I am for people before us who have fought for human rights.

This book is written by a Jewish woman whose parents came to America separately after living in Russia. Both lived in New York but didn't know each other until later on in life when they finally did meet and marry. Together, they decided to head south (they ended up in a tiny town in Tennessee) in order to open up a store. At the time of the move they had two children and left all of the rest of their family behind. A few years later, the daughter who wrote the book was born. 

As I read this book, I realize that some things might be embellished a little bit.  Still, I have been confronted with the hatred that this world has for certain "kinds" of people. 

In Russia, the Jewish people were hated and despised and considered filth. 

They move to America and they are still hated. (This is the early 1900's, before WWII, before Hitler's slaughtering days, etc.) 

Hated not for their religion, but their ethnicity. And what's more, hated by people that hadn't even personally KNOWN a Jewish person before.

The thing is, I can't really figure out why they were hated so much. 

When they moved south, this family learned that they had company. Sure, they were hated. They didn't know if their store would be welcome and were given quite a hard time. But, the south hated them just like they hated the black people.  


I don't know the answer to that either. I have studied history, I have read books, and I know my fair share of prejudiced  people, but I do not understand it at all. 

Today, I am grateful for men and women who have recognized the sheer stupidity of this hatred. I am thankful that they gave their time and energy to a cause that resulted in people being free to live and serve God as they ought regardless of who they are or where they came from. 

One of the heroes that comes to mind is obviously Martin Luther King Jr. I am sure glad that he had a dream. What's more, I am glad that I get to live during the days when that dream has come to be a reality.

Whoever you are, where ever you came from, God made you and He has a plan for your life. What dream has He given you? Don't waste it! 

Something Homely

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I finally "know" who "The Nester" is. 

I have certainly heard of her, but I had no idea who she was or what she stood for. I have seen pictures of different rooms of her house and admired them. Just a few months ago, I read an article in a magazine that featured her. Now I have a better idea of who the lady behind those rooms and that article is. 

I am sure others have done it, but she is also the mastermind behind the 31 days of solid blogging challenge. Once a year, 31 days, pick a topic, and WRITE! 

The "31 Days" series that has gone on for the last few years is growing. This will be the second year she has opened it up for other bloggers to link up with her for the challenge. 

I have decided to do it. Sometimes it takes challenges to keep me (or even get me) writing!  The challenge starts October 1. I have picked out my topic and designed my button. 31 days of "how-to" on making a house a home. 

I just want to let you know, that while I'm excited about this challenge, I'm also excited to continue with the regular posts I write. 

During October, you can expect some straight 31 Days posts and some combo posts. 

I'm telling you all of this just in case you haven't heard about the challenge yet and want to join in. 

Go check out the challenge. Pick your topic. Make your button. And let's do this together. 

Good Afternoon

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It's that time again, fall is HERE. 

Today, I have been enjoying a nice quiet afternoon at home. I love afternoons like this. 

When I was really young, I would rush home after school and eat a snack. Then I would head straight outside to play until it was time for dinner, chores, or homework, whichever came first.

When I was a little older, it meant sports practice or a bus ride to a game, and then the rest of the evening plans. 

When all of that was over, it became nice to just sit and be still. The air is quiet, clean, and cool. The sky is blue, leaves are falling off the trees, and the sounds of lawnmowers are no more. 

Today, I happen to have a roast cooking in the crock pot. I sat down a little while ago with a couple of cookies from the freezer and to make a little more progress in the book I have been reading. I ended up taking a short nap right on the couch. Then, I went outside to bring in some sheets that I set out to dry earlier and enjoyed the stillness that much more.

It makes me want to pour a glass of tea and just sit in a rocking chair or on the porch swing. Just to listen. To just watch. Just to think. 

I thought about taking pictures to share with you, but then I just decided to enjoy the day and give you words. I'll let you "take" your own pictures! 

The sun is bright. The sky is blue. Shadows and leaves are everywhere. You get the idea. It's beautiful. And quiet. And peaceful. It's fall. 

Enjoy this season, ladies! We all have our favorite seasons and our favorite things about each one. 

The Scenic Route

Monday, September 24, 2012

This was a quiet weekend. On Saturday, I made my first and last trip to the river for the summer. (That's where all of these pictures came from.)

Sunday was a lazy day. There was sleeping in, reading (I started a new book at the river), cooking, movie watching, ice cream making, and that's about it. 

The book was "The Jew Store" by Stella Suberman 
The movie watching was "It Started With Eve" (1941)
The ice cream was Hot Chocolate complete with chocolate chunks and marshmallows

water and sand
Even though I'm settling right into this fall weather, it has me feeling a little "melancholy". I love the joy of the Lord. It is sweet for me and I know other people benefit from it when it is mine too! But, sometimes I feel like it is being held back.

Don't ask me why. I don't have an answer. I miss being the one always smiling and laughing. It wasn't fake or put on, it was who I was. And the absence did not come with the entrance of this fall.

flowers and clouds
Anyway, it's not very lady like, but I have something to share with you. I was sitting thinking and this thought came to me - "Even though today sucks (that's the crass part), that doesn't mean the rest of my life will or has to suck."

Then, in the book that I reading called (which is a memoir written about a Jewish family who moved to the south with the hopes of opening a dry goods store around 1920), there was a line that kind of went right along with it. The Mother of the family had quite a hard time growing up as a person of Jewish descent. The mantra that always got her through was that, "this is temporary".

So there you go, some words of wisdom for those hard days, times, weeks, months, years.

drawing in the sand and a sunset straight from the camera.

As John Piper puts it, "For the Christian, the best is ALWAYS yet to come." Whether our days are marked by one perfect circumstance after another, a mixture of joy and pain, or hurt after hurt, for God's people, the best is always yet to come.

What was on your mind this weekend? I'd love to hear about it! 

Frankly Friday...Three Simple Gifts

Friday, September 21, 2012

I couldn't make up my mind about what to be frank about this week. Since I have been pretty serious on the last two Fridays, I thought about choosing a lighter topic. 

Grocery shopping came to mind. I love grocery shopping and thought about telling you why. But then, I thought, who really wants to read about that? 

That's about as far as I got on "not so serious" topics.

Then, with the release of the iPhone 5 and pictures, status updates, etc. about it everywhere, I thought about getting frank about people's OBSESSIONS with technology.

Then, there was the birthday get together I had last night....Well, maybe that's what we'll talk about! (Up to this point, you have been brainstorming with me. Now, I have a topic and you get a real post.) 

* * * * * * * * *

Last week, I turned 22. I was BUSY getting ready for a houseful of guests to arrive. I wasn't really in "celebrate" mode. I did manage to pull together one of my favorite meals. I had thrown some pork chops into the crock pot that morning. By the time evening rolled around I decided on shredding them and turning them into BBQ sandwiches (I had buns in the freezer). I added southern mac and cheese, watermelon, and sweet tea to round it out. 

That night, I opened the gifts from my family and cards that others had sent in the mail. People called, my family ate dinner together, and that was that. 

Well, last night was the night to "officially" celebrate. I was going to fix a torte (chocolate, peanut butter, cream cheese), but then decided I would just make a batch of brownies. From a box. There was also ice cream and coffee. 

The time came to sit and visit with the friends that came and open the gifts they brought along. 

One of my friends is an older gentleman from our church. He has two sons who are in their late 20's and neither of them are married or have any children. He has been a big part of my life for quite a few years. We talk theology and life and constantly challenge each other to think harder and grow in the Lord. 

Anyway, he brought some gifts that really meant a lot. They were things of his Mothers. I didn't know his Mom, but knowing that he passed them onto me means A LOT. He has no daughters or granddaughters to pass them onto. As I was opening each one, there were instructions and stories. I almost cried!

 Three simple gifts, a potpourri jar with fresh potpourri, a little heart shaped glass box, and a little gold "pill box".

The potpourri jar was just a nicety. The heart box was to signify my heart and that it belongs to the Lord and He is keeping it. The pill box, was that the way to a godly heart is through the renewing of the mind. He chose that because in WWII, the soldiers had a sort of "bunker" that was called a pill box. It was a place where they would be safe, but also be able to shoot at the enemy. So, God will protect my mind and heart and these gifts are a reminder of that.

Hope that makes sense. The point: they were special. A lot of thought went into them. And I love them. 

I also got a gift certificate to a Christian bookstore and  candle called "Southern Magnolia". It's burning right now and I love it. Not very fallish, but I got it for my birthday and it kind of reminds me of my Grandma's perfume.


I'm very sentimental. 

Gifts that come from the heart are my favorite kind. 

Getting together with people is always special. Even if you don't "feel" up to it. 

22 is getting off to a pretty good start.

I can see why I take pictures at birthdays...This is one of the five pictures taken last night. And of course, I have a grimacy smile on the ONE that isn't dark!

Boxed brownies are pretty awesome. 

BTW, here's a little something I saw today and it fits pretty nicely so I'll share it with you too! 


Let's Go Fly A Kite

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A few weeks ago, there was a VERY windy day. And what do kids do on a windy, "last few days of summer" day? They fly a kite! 

I haven't flown a kite in YEARS, probably over 10 years to be exact. When I was growing up, kite flying was pretty much limited to windy days at the beach. 
As you can tell, I am sure that this kite got picked up on some beach vacation.

On this particular day, I didn't actually fly the kite. I just watched and grabbed the camera. 

I had just as much fun watching the operation as they had flying it! The laughter, the instructions, the panic as it got too close to the trees. 

I was watching as two children, who really aren't "children" anymore, were having a good time. 

Who ever knew that this girl and this boy could become such a part of me? These are the babies I "made room" for. The toddlers I adored. The kids I was always trying to surprise and delight. The two that made me grow up and look "OLD". These two are the friends who go with me on picnics, hikes, horse rides, and to the movies. Who have come along on countless shopping trips and doctor's appointments.They made going out for fries and milkshakes fun and exciting.Playing countless games, having heart-to-hearts, pulling loose teeth, doing chores, cleaning bedrooms (ie HAZARDOUS areas), and making believe.

As young as I am, these two have made me feel like I've done pretty much everything I hope to do in life. (I have the gray hairs to prove it!)

They're right behind me. Always watching, always listening. They're right behind me, growing into a lovely lady and a great guy. They're right behind me, enjoying the "summer" of their life. 

One day, it will all be over. We'll all have very separate lives of our own. Maybe we'll all live close and get together just because. Maybe we'll live far away and only see each other on holidays.

Only God knows what things will turn out like. In the meantime, I'm very grateful for the time that we have had!

Me Myself and I September Edition

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Well, I did it...I scheduled a post for today before I remembered that I already had a commitment to post another link up today. The scheduled post went "live", so you just get two posts today! Hope you don't mind. :)

1. When you're feeling down, what do you do to pick yourself up?

I know I SHOULD always PRAY and seek God through His Word. And I often do, but I also like to talk. When I'm feeling down, I don't actually want to be alone. If I can't be with people, then I will watch a movie or listen to music.

2. If you had to live in a different time period which would you prefer?

As an American, I would love to go back to the days of the American Revolution. The days when American's knew what it was to honor both God and the country He had given them. I realize life would be a lot different, but I would just want to TALK with the people who lived back then and see what they were made of.

Mount Vernon

3. What is the most creative Halloween costume you've ever worn?

I don't celebrate this holiday anymore. However, when I was about five or six I was a gypsy. I wore a black leotard with a million different silky handkerchiefs tied and pinned together on it, I had some crazy big hair,  lots of jewelery, and I believe a good bit of makeup. My Mom was pretty awesome like that! 

4. Five weird things about you we wouldn't know without being told?

A. I am always racing myself...I race to put grounds in the coffee machine while the carafe fills. When I used to babysit, I would race to see what I could get done at people's houses (cleaning, etc.) before they got back. While the water warms up, I race to see what I can tidy in the bathroom before I hop in. 

B. I'm almost always multi-tasking.This was probably given away in A.

C. Most of my friends live at least an hour away. Some live across the country. I haven't seen some of them for two years. We talk as much as we can (FB and skype work wonders!) so it doesn't seem like it's been that long.

D. I love to read, even if it does take me quite a while to make it through most books. 

E. All of my travel dreams have been fulfilled. They were totally unplanned and happened unexpectedly in the course of one year. I had no idea what God had in store. I hope to share them with you soon!

5. What would you tell your 16-year-old self?

Being goofy after getting "lost" at a hospital. (FYI I'm 16 here)

Technically, I'm 17 in this picture. (Also, this hair was never meant to be seen in public...I did not wear that thing out of the house.) That would be my little brother. I no longer have to bend in half for him to be able to do that.
Victoria, don't ever think you have life all figured out. It's not going to look like you thought it would and that's okay. Pressing into God is good. He mainly wants to know you and you to know Him. That's your identity. Nothing else really matters. Don't wear yourself out trying to do it ALL. Just live to treasure God the way Christ did. Along the way, help who you can learn to do this too. 

Remember this sentence and the next few years won't be so bad:

" The life of the godly is not a straight line to glory, but they do get there...all along this hazardous, twisted road that doesn't let you see very far ahead there are frequent signs that say, 'The best is yet to come.'...all the perplexing turns in your life lately are not dead-end streets. In all the setbacks of your life as a believer God is plotting for your joy."

(This comes from a very influential sermon series on the book of Ruth that John Piper preached.)

Just so you know, I preach this to my 22 year old self almost daily!

Sometimes You Just Can't Wait

I am a seasonal person. There is a time for everything. If it's not time, I wait.


 Sometimes, I just can't take it any longer.

The other day, I decided it was time to pull out a Christmas movie. The night was complete with a warm blanket, chocolate covered peanuts, a Christmas candle that left things smelling AMAZING, and the movie of course.

The movie was stupid, but cute. I loved that it was set NYC. Thanks again to Mary Higgins Clark who made me fall in love with that place. 

God grants us so many simple things to enjoy. A nice quiet night at home with a good, clean, funny movie happens to be one of my favorites.

What about you - What's something simple you've enjoyed lately? Do you have a favorite Christmas movie? What are your "rules" about seasonal living?

The Scenic Route

Monday, September 17, 2012

The weekend is over. The guests are all gone. I survived and there is food left over.

I realized something this weekend...Well, I'm pretty sure I already knew it and just forgot. Anyway, before guests come I clean like crazy. While guests are here I resist the urge to keep cleaning like crazy as they make messes. (I'm not used to having a little ones around with food and crumbs and fingerprints on everything.) When the guests leave I clean like crazy, again.

Where there are people there is cooking and cleaning to be done. And it just so happens that that's not so bad! In fact, those are two of my favorite things to do. Seriously!

In other news, we stayed up late, ate every time I turned around, talked a lot, laughed more, and enjoyed the last cook out of the summer.


For today's "scenic route" post, I'm going to share some pictures of a drive I took a while back. I have wanted to capture some roadside "sun flowers" for quite a while now. I know they're not actually sunflowers, but whatever they are, as I drive by that's what they remind me of.

On this particular day, I pulled over and got my camera out not minding the cars that happened to pass by. Thankfully, no one stopped! And even more thankfully, I was stopped because I wanted to be, not because of any kind of trouble or problem. 

Hope you had a nice weekend! Has anyone else noticed that the days are getting considerably shorter? What do you do with long nights?

Frankly Friday

Friday, September 14, 2012

Amy, I can't thank you enough for coming up with this. I am loving this prompt.

I have decided to get frank about 9/11.

I "love" my country, I am glad to live here. I am grateful for the many men and women who have spent their lives helping to make sure that I have a place where I can live with true freedom.

America was founded and (despite the work and opinions of many) still exists so that everyone can live not as they might want, but rather, as they ought.

Yes, I said it.

We're a Christian nation ladies and gents.

Which brings me to the real point of this post. 

I remember September 11, 2001. I know exactly what I was doing. I pretty much know what happened that day, and the day after, and the months that followed.

Every year, I remember.

But, I also get a sick feeling in my stomach when I think of how people respond.

9/11 should have sent us all to our knees. The days that followed should have had us all raising our hands to God with praise and thanksgiving.

It's not about remembering what happened 11 years ago on that day....What's even more amazing is looking at what we have been given. To this day, we are STILL FREE to do as we ought.

We are free in Christ and we are even free in America. Free to become like Him.

We can praise God for the gift of  His Son and His grace.

We can praise God for His DAILY work and provision and protection in our lives.

We can praise God that we have a country like the one we do.

I guess what I'm saying is, please let 9/11 go. Don't let remembering that day distract you from making a big deal out of something even more important.

Yes, lives were lost that day. A country was very much changed.

But, TODAY. We still have TODAY

On September 11, 2013 (and everyday until that day), I challenge you to think about the SOULS that are around you. The souls that need love while they are still here.

By God's grace, not everyone on those planes faced wrath.

By God's grace, we all have today and know others who are living it too. We are surrounded by people who may come to know the HOPE that God has given us.

In her post, Becky wrote these words about 9/11:
"This world is fallen, and our only hope is in Him."

So, let's remember THAT.

We humans do some pretty terrible things. Every terrible thing that happens is a reminder of who God is and just exactly what we are. What we are shows us how much we desperately need Him.

His goodness is what makes our wickedness so clear. For, we know we are wicked when we are not as good as He is.

Don't be any kind of terrorist in the lives of people around you. So, maybe you're not driving planes full of people into towers. Maybe you're just inconsiderate and rude. Maybe you are impatient and cutting.

Show the LOVE of Christ. The love that brings joy and peace and life to those around you.

If we learn anything from 9/11, may it be this:

The urgency of life and death
The goodness of God
The wickedness of humans and their need for a Savior
The call to be like Christ and the work of God making it happen


This is the "best" picture of the super moon that I got. I'm not impressed, but I know you saw the moon that night. As cliche as it sounds: As the moon shines by reflecting the light of the sun, so we were created to shine by reflecting the light of the Son of God.

*Pictures in this post: Washington DC 2007//Ocean City Boardwalk 2007//Historic Fort in Virginia 2007//Highway somewhere along the way 2007// Super Moon 2012

It Takes Work

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tomorrow marks the beginning of an awesome weekend. I've pretty much been looking forward to it for most of the summer. Our little house will be swelling from a few people to nearly 40 or 50. (That or is kind of stressing me out, but hey, what's 10 extra people?) It's kind of the last "Hoo-Rah" of the summer. Did I say that right? I have been so busy that I haven't been able to do ANYTHING to prepare until this week. 

Monday I went into panic mode. Thankfully, I have done weekends like this before so I have lists of foods that work, what do to on each day, and other little notes to help things go smoothly. Back to Monday, I woke up and put together this weekend's menus, to-do lists, and grocery lists. Then, we headed out the door to do some serious shopping. After everything was unloaded I went straight to bed.

Tuesday was BAKE LIKE A CRAZY LADY day. And start cleaning. I made this harder on myself by putting up the summer stuff and pulling out the fall stuff. And do some laundry. I made this easier on myself by only washing things that could sit in baskets so that I could fold them today. Last night it felt good to get off my feet! There may or may not have been a glass of sweet tea at 9pm last night...Just sayin.

It's fall, the doors and windows are open.
What I kept WANTING to do all day.
Fall apron, doing work.
Cucumbers number 2 and 3 from my little patch.
These just stayed out  all day along with quite a few other things.
The view from the kitchen sink.

What happens when you use a baking sheet in the freezer...Warming back up.
Switchfoot station on Pandora.
Ready for goodies (and the other baking sheet).
My brain.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip cookies for snacks.

 Today is Wednesday. It happens to be my 22nd birthday!!!! I'm pretty much crazy about any and every holiday, especially birthdays even if it's my own! I've been sitting here going through pictures and blogging for the last hour (or maybe more). Needless to say, it's not going to be too quiet around here for a while! After this post is up, I'm taking a break though. It's time to get moving on today's list. Fridge cleaning, laundry folding (and washing and folding), vacuuming,  veggie and fruit washing, and setting up some fruit trays.

I love loving people by making sure they have a nice place to be, good food to eat, and lots of laughs! Hoping I feel this amazing for quite a while. :)