Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Office Christmas Party

The table is set with Christmas plates, green & white paper napkins,
and our everyday silverware. When I took this picture, I had not yet
put on glasses!

Hospitality is a gift. You can give it to anyone, anywhere, at any time.

It doesn't require a long & strenuous day of decorating & baking! All you need is to open up your home, and make people feel like family.

Every year, we try to have an Office Christmas party, and all my father's employees are invited, as well as their families & friends. It's just a way to say "Thank-you" to them.

Mom's sweet centerpiece~yes, those are marshmallows!!!
The cake stand is resting on a little silver tray, and the Bible is opened to the Nativity Story in the book of Luke.

This year, we had Spaghetti and Grandma's Special Spaghetti Sauce *recipe in upcoming post*, and everyone brought a salad, bread, or dessert. YUM! There was apple cider & sparkling cranberry punch to drink, as well as coffee to go with the brownies & ice cream Becky brought.

Everything was easy & simple, but the time we enjoyed was very precious. As people walked in the door, I realized that everyone who worked for my Dad felt at home in our house. They knew where everything was, could sit down & relax without feeling hesitant, & encouraged their children to join in the conversations.

This little drink buffet was sitting right beside the dinner table, so people could easily
refill their cups, and choose what they would like to drink! It helps eliminate some time & mess.

I am just beginning to figure out a very simple truth~ your home doesn't belong to you. It belongs to Christ, and through Him, it belongs to every single person who walks in your door. It's a Sacred Trust, a servant's gift to his Master, one never to be withheld.

Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Winter Wonderland...

The day after Thanksgiving, a sparkling tree appears in our front parlor, with all the twinkling splendor of a Nutcracker Fantasy.

It stands proud and tall, with each branch bearing a different story...

When I was little, our Christmas tree was magic. Every ornament held a meaning, a fantastical tale or adventure, a personality of its own.

I took pictures of some of these precious things:

Father & Mother's Wedding Picture

"Twelve Days of Christmas" Ornament that used to be my grandmother's

One of the many ballerinas that grace our tree

Baby Brother

Delicate Little Ballet Slippers

Another Ballerina

What keepsakes/traditions do you have at Christmas time that remind you of your childhood?


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Giving Thanks

We celebrated Thanksgiving at my grandparents' home this year.

The house was beautifully decorated in golds, reds, browns, & oranges, and the smells that wafted from the kitchen were tantalizing!

Our entire family (+1 boyfriend & 1 friend) was there, and it was fun to watch the youngest cousins ooh and aah over the giant turkey.

I took some pictures of the Thanksgiving table that Grandma decorated:

Some kids ate a little TOO much, maybe??? :)

Psalm 100 says:

Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.

This season is such a reminder to give thanks, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior! We are thankful for YOU and this blog, as it has introduced us to so many new friends! :)


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Kreativ Blogger Award

Thank you, Karla, for nominating us for this award!

When you are nominated, you are supposed to:
  • Mention the blog that gave it to you.
  • Comment on her blog to let her know you have posted the award.
  • Share 6 values that are important to you.
  • Share 6 things you do not support.
  • Share the love with six other wonderful blogging friends
6 values that are important to us are~
  • Charity
  • Generosity
  • Service
  • Trustworthiness
  • Integrity
  • Kindness

6 things we do not support are~

  • Abortion
  • Adultery
  • Child Abuse
  • Pornography
  • Profanity
  • Same-sex marriage
  • Slavery

(I copied Karla's, because she stated it so well! I did add one, though, so I have seven!)

We would like to nominate~

Rene @ Miss Gracie's

Grace @ Miss Gracie's Sweet Shoppe

Sandy @ 4 Reluctant Entertainers

Deby @ Apples of Gold in Pictures of Silver

Farrah @ Light in the Sphere (LOVE your new header, Farrah!)

Katie @ Girl Gone Glad

Preparing for the Christmas season~ expect lots of recipes, place setting & table arrangements, and fun events to come! :D

Love to all of you~

Gayle & Gracy

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Getting ready for Thanksgiving!

Fun Recipes to try this Thursday:

Gingerbread ( Miss Gracie has a wonderful recipe for gingerbread!)

Pumpkin Pecan Waffles with Cranberry Butter (William Sonoma's Baking Cookbook)

Pecan Butterscotch Cake with Maple Frosting (Martha Stewart Living Magazine)

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

Enjoy this blessed season with your dear ones~ may the Lord fill your hearts with things to be thankful for as you celebrate!

~Gayle & Gracy

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Young Woman's Hospitality

"Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder. And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.

And the servant ran to meet her, and said, 'Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher.'

And she said, 'Drink, my lord': and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink.

And when she had done giving him drink, she said, 'I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking.'

And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels. And the man wondering at her held his peace, to wit whether the LORD had made his journey prosperous or not.

And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold; and said, 'Whose daughter art thou? tell me, I pray thee: is there room in thy father's house for us to lodge in?'

And she said unto him, 'I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, which she bare unto Nahor.' She said moreover unto him, 'We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in.'

And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD."

I love this story. Not just because Rebekah's kindness ensures her a rich husband, either. ;)
Rebekah was an unmarried women with no house of her own~ however, she offered what she had to a stranger who was needy.

>She served him
>She served his camels
> She offered him shelter
> She poured out kindness and courtesy

But did these reflections point to Rebekah? Who were they to glorify?
ALL the glory was God's. Remember what Eliezar prayed for:

"O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham.
Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water:
And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.

God answered the servant's prayer, miraculously, generously, and beyond what Eliezar had hoped for. Rebekah's willingness was used by the Lord in a way that she never could have expected!

May the hospitality we offer be a gift from God to those we minister to! No service is too small~ all Rebekah offered to do was give water to a thirsty man.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Gold Dust: Part II

To whom should we give our love and devotion?

First, to those of our own family, and whom God has given us to be our support and consolation.

There, in this little circle, may the heart’s daily work be done; if we only dry a tear, spare someone fatigue, or raise a smile. It need not be a great work, but is must be a daily one.

The day that passes without having done good to someone is a day wasted.

You can never be happy as long as you know that some member of your family is suffering under some trouble that you might have spared them.

Oh! Then, let your heart each day expand and overflow in kind words, comforting sentences, loving smiles, little gifts – ever so little though they be, still let it give! The heart needs as much the power to give as the lungs need air to breathe...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Gold Dust

My own Grandma left behind a tiny volume entitled “Gold Dust” which my father gave to me after her death. In the preface it says, “This little book is a translation from a collection of devotional thoughts published in France under the title of “Pailletes d’Or”…the value of most of the thoughts seems to me well to deserve the term of gold”. Chapter 28 (XXVIII) is entitled, “Give the Heart Each Day Its Work To Do.”

Part I

The heart has a life of its own, and this life requires nourishment. If you fail each day carefully to supply it, it will experience pain and torture, just as the lungs would suffer without air to breathe.

The nourishment for the heart is love - love given and love received. Love is the outflow in deeds, more than in words, of the kindness and goodness implanted by God in the heart of man when He created him.

True affection makes us ready to give help to everyone, to minister to the wants of those around us, to try and lessen their troubles, even at the cost of our own peace. Love consists in little acts of kindness, little attentions, little deeds of love. Love is generous – not only sharing, but giving all. It bears all burdens – lightens all troubles – sweetens every trial – nothing is an effort, and it knows no weariness. Our Lord is an example of perfect love. “He loved us, and gave Himself for us.”

Love and Blessings to you all!


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fall-Inspired Centerpiece

The weather is frosty & brilliantly hued...

A smoky fragrance touches the air; you can smell the change of season, as odd as it may sound. It's there- something softly hinting at harvest & hay, happiness and...


You may not have expected that- but it is the perfect time of year to be hospitable. Company instantly feels at home in a warm, fire-lit house, filled with the perfume of candles & comfort food (like stews, yummy pumpkin & gingerbread desserts, & apple cider).

As you welcome company into your home, here is a fun & easy experiment to try- these will look lovely anywhere in your home- as a centerpiece, a delicate touch for a mantelpiece, kitchen, or table, or a sweet detail on a coffee table!


Simply spray mini-pumpkins with adhesive, & roll in fine iridescent glitter.

The result= a delightful, easy project that will complement the festive fever of autumn!!!

Enjoy your fall days!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Grandma's House

If you were to ask us kids where our favorite home-away-from-home is, we probably wouldn't have to even think about the answer.

Our grandma & grandpa's house!

We usually call it Grandma's House. I'm not sure why it's her house, not Grandpa's. But we've called it Grandma's House since I was a toddler.

It is a beautiful white house with navy blue shutters, surrounded by tall trees, and with a large green lawn in front & back, where the boys love to play football. There are always daffodils & tulips in the spring, roses in the summer, a beautiful magnolia tree, & crab-apple trees for the finches.

We have a big family. A really BIG family. And this family loves to have get-togethers. Can you guess where these parties take place?

Yep. Grandma's House.

There's always a big delicious meal, bunches of hugs & kisses at the door, & something sweet to go along with a football game or opening birthday presents (usually both).

But most importantly, Jesus is the center of this home. His love & generosity is exemplified everywhere, and TRUE HOSPITALITY is an almost instinctive gift as soon as you walk in the door.

Stop by sometime.

You're always welcome, and there's plenty of room-- both in this house, and in these hearts.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Company's Coming!

"Company, company!!! Where would we be without company?!"

~Sir John Middleton, a truly hospitable heart in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility

Saturday, October 18, 2008

New Layout!

What do you guys think of our layout?

It's still in process, but we're really enjoying the new look.

Hope that you're enjoying the beautiful fall weather!

New post upcoming; stay tuned!


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Muddy, Messy Company!

Yesterday, my brother's best friends, Dan & Nate came over. I had been scrapbooking when they first arrived, but as I heard them playing upstairs, I began to feel... left out. ;) So I asked them to play football with me! And we had FUN. Here's some pictures of the game:

Dan making a touchdown!

The boys were pretty excited about this picture!

Although I get more excited about tea & a movie with my friends, or a fancy family dinner, I learned yesterday that hospitality consists of many different activities. Even football. Getting to enjoy your guests is a priceless gift that won't fade with time.

These boys are growing up before our eyes! It's a blessing to get to freeze that speeding clock, & watch them...

Have a lovely day!!!


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Apples & Pooh Bear...

Apples of Gold...and Red...and Green!
We have a small apple tree out back that is finally yielding enough fruit to turn into a pie, cake or some other yummy treat. Our tree has three different varieties grafted in: Red Delicious, Granny Smith, and Fuji. The apples, too, are small, but packed with flavor.
The boys have been hungry for an apple dessert (me too!), so I used the Granny Smith apples today to make an Apple Cake with Maple Frosting, a recipe we love from the Williams-Sonoma Baking Cookbook. The flour mixture spiked with the warm scents of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg brings such comfort on this dark and drizzly day. Hmmmm...could it be that fall really is arriving (yesterday the temperature was 85 degrees!), and it is time for our annual viewing of "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day"??? I can hear him singing now:

Rumbly In My Tumbly

"Hum dum de dum, hum dum de dum
I'm so rumbly in my tumbly
Time to munch an early luncheon
Time for something sweet

Oh I wouldn't climb this tree
If a Pooh flew like a bee
But I wouldn't be a bear then
So I guess I wouldn't care then

Bears love honey and I'm a Pooh bear
So I do care, so I'll climb there
I'm so rumbly in my tumbly
Time for something sweet

I don't need a pot of honey
I'd be greatful for a platefull
When I'm rumbly in my tumbly
Then it's time to eat

It's the tasteful thing to do
Be it ten or twelve or two
For anytime is food time
When you set your clock on Pooh time

Bears love honey and I'm a Pooh bear
So I do care, so I'll climb there
I'm so rumbly in my tumbly
Time for something sweet to eat"

_____ honey in this recipe, but I'm sure it is an apple tree Pooh mentions in this tune, and it's definitely time for something sweet!

A Rather Blustery Day

Hum, dum, dum, dee, dee, dum
Hum, dum, dum
Oh the wind is lashing lusterly
And the trees are thrashing thrusterly
And the leaves are rustling gusterly
So it's rather safe to say
That it seems that it may turn out to be
It feels that it will undoubtedly
Looks like a rather blustery day today
It seems that it may turn out to be
Feels that it will undoubtedly
Looks like a rather blustery day today


Have A Blessed "Windsday"!!!


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Go Under the Mercy

Fall is beginning to chill the air, and bring a cheery red to leaves & berries.

Winds that nip at your face & hands have started to softly blow.

People are wearing their scarves & coats, football sweatshirts, & hats.

I have started drinking larger amounts of tea, and our hot-beverage drawer is losing stock at a busy pace.

Fall. Don't you love it?

Well, I'm extremely excited-- Katie and I are going to a retreat tomorrow! :) Eric & Leslie Ludy, two of our favorite authors, offer a "Set Apart Girl Weekend", where we get to fellowship with other like-minded girls, spend time in the Word of God, hear great teaching, be encouraged, & encourage one another! I've been looking forward to this time so much, & am very thankful that Leslie Ludy & her family are willing to open their home to young women they haven't even met before! What a great example of godly hospitality & servanthood.
We'll be flying out tomorrow, so please pray that we would have a safe flight, & be a blessing in Colorado!

The Ludy's hospitality reminds me of another Christian couple I read about this spring. Both of their stories have inspired me to have a Christ-centered marriage that will not weaken, but grow stronger & sweeter with time. They have also encouraged me to live a life wholly dedicated to the Lord, no matter the consequences.

This other couple is Sheldon & Jean Vanauken. Sheldon Vanauken wrote A Severe Mercy, a biography & story of their lives together. It is one of the best books I have ever read! I would encourage you to read it!

Here is an excerpt that I was thinking about today. Sheldon & Jean are attending Oxford university together. They are brand-new Christians & close friends with CS Lewis. Their home, known as "The Studio", was a center of Christian hospitality. Here is Sheldon's account of it:

"Because the Studio was central and, incidentally, on the way from North Oxford to St. Ebbe's, and because, perhaps, of its extraordinary atmosphere, compounded of the gas-lit cobbled lane outside and the warm upper room, with its skylight black with rain and its cheerful fire (except when the wind was wrong, of course), it became the centre of a lively life in Christ for a great many people.

"We soon accepted that if we hoped to get any work done we must do it in the Bodleian Library; and even then we often came home to find that friends had arrived and were already deep into some absorbing discussion.

"The diary indicates that in one week, taken at random, twenty-four people came, six of them twice, so there were thirty times that the brass knocker sounded and one of us leaped down the narrow stairway. For nearly two years, except when we went up to London to see plays or went visiting or travelling, there was hardly a day or night that people did not come, both Christians and non-Christians (those who said they weren't); and there were literally hundreds of absorbing conversations... all our friends and acquaintances, Christian or otherwise, came by, sometimes bringing others-- sometimes only for a few minutes, sometimes for hours.

"There were conversations upon almost every imaginable subject, yet sooner or later, it seemed, that talk would drift round to ultimate things and Christianity. Never was there such talk as there was at St. Udio's, as we sometimes called it, talk gay and serious by turns, or both at once. No one who was a part of that scene has ever quite forgotten it.

"And as a background, accepted, hardly noticed, yet a part of the texture of the hours, there were the bells of Oxford, ringing across the night. Hardly less part of it was the rain on the skylight. And, as in Julian's poem, the goodbyes: going down the narrow staircase and out into Pusey Lane to speed the departing friend with 'Goodbye, goodnight. Go under the Mercy.' The phrase comes from Charles Williams, and we all used it-- indeed, still use it, some of us, after the years.

"There would be a halo round the gas lamp in the lane, and the slight English rain like a mist, and the cobblestones of the lane would be glistening. 'Goodnight. Go under the Mercy.' And the friend would say perhaps: 'Sleep under the Protection. Goodnight.' And then the sound of heels marching away into the Oxford night and perhaps bells marking the midnight."

An opportunity to serve & to share, to encourage & admonish, to evangelize & teach by example-- hospitality is one of the ways God lets us reach into another person's life, and pour ourselves out in servanthood in order to bless them.

Go under the Mercy!