Positive conversations with old and new friends. I'd love for you to join me on my back porch.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Happy 2017!

Changes are coming in 2017! I'll tell you more soon. Until then, happy new year!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Traditions by LeAnne Bristow

Christmas Traditions

I admit, when Jackie asked me to write a post on my favorite Christmas traditions, I was a little stumped. After all, I once wrote a blog for my own website about my complete lack of traditions. It’s not that I have anything against them. They are grand and beautiful and I get really jealous when people post about their wonderful traditions. I just needed to rethink my idea about traditions.
The large family I grew up in was rich in traditions and I looked forward to sharing them with my own family. When my children were young, I had preconceived ideas about what my family should do at Christmas. Of course, they were in direct opposition to what my husband thought. So most of my attempts to start something new were met with half-hearted enthusiasm and eventually died. Attending Christmas Eve service. Nope. Conflicted with the hubby’s family plans and I ended up attending alone. I had to settle for reading the Christmas story to the kids before tucking them into bed. Until they decided they were too big to be read to. Another tradition gone bust. It seemed everything I tried failed.
I told myself that it was fine. I didn’t need any fancy traditions each Christmas to feel like a family. Then this year, something marvelous happened. I discovered that the best traditions are the ones that are born, not forced, and that I’d unintentionally started my own unique family traditions.

I got home from work one night and my husband and daughter had bought a Christmas tree and were waiting for me to get home to decorate it. My daughter was eager to share our tradition of decorating the tree with her own daughter. I’m sure everyone has a certain order to put up decorations, but to my kids, these are hard and fast rules. First you put on the lights. Then the garland. Then the store bought ornaments and last the handmade ornaments. Only certain ones made the cut to be put on the tree. Each item was discussed and remembered and placed in certain spots. I never realized that my own pickiness about where to hang an ornament had become a tradition to my children. Last, of course, came the annual argument over star or angel. We have both and each year they argue over which one goes on top. Some years it’s the angel. This year, the star won out, so my angel gets to sit on the shelf.

For years it bothered me that I didn’t have a nativity set. My grandmother had a very old nativity and it was the first thing we put out when we decorated for Christmas. I must have complained about it every year because one year, my oldest daughter bought me one with her allowance. One of the wise men has disappeared, but it is still one of my most treasured decorations.

There are other decorations that my kids remember as fondly as I remember my grandmother’s. My Christmas music box. The wreath my aunt crocheted for me when I went to college. The miniature Santa Claus figurines that hung on my husband’s tiny Christmas tree when he was in the Army and serving in the Gulf War. Each item is full of memories for my family. Isn’t that what really makes a tradition?
Of course, the biggest and most consistent tradition in my home at Christmas is my amazing ability to procrastinate until Christmas Eve. I’ve never been one for shopping all year and you won’t catch me within five miles of any store on Black Friday. More than once my children have unwrapped a box that contained nothing but a picture of the present that would arrive the next week because their mother couldn’t remember to order it on time.
This year my granddaughter is a year and half and I actually bought a few Christmas presents already. And I can’t to snuggle her in my lap and read her the Christmas story. Maybe I can get her to go to Christmas Eve service???

So here’s to traditions, new and old. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and may the New Year bring many blessings.

**Thanks so much, LeAnne or sharing with us and Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2016

An American Success Story- Brahms Mount

Brahms Mount is an American success story, and I visited their store in Maine. They started in 1983 weaving their way into peoples homes and hearts. They create "premium cotton, linen and wool blankets, throws and towels."

I saw spools of threads of many beautiful colors.

My grandmother Lutz was a weaver, and I still have a few afghans, placemats, and a rug she wove. When I was young, she taught me how to weave. It was so much fun going back and forth and pulling the paddle forward before starting the next row. It was fascinating to see how she prepared the loom and finished off the projects.

Brahms Mount had a loom that brought back man happy memories.

Brahms Mount has many beautiful products for sale in their peaceful, light-filled store. You can also special order products.

The items at Brahms Mount will make gifts for others more special and will add grace and warmth to any home.

Brahms Mount didn't ask me to promote them, but they are an amazing American company. With Christmas around the corner, I wanted to ask you to consider Brahms Mount.

Friday, December 9, 2016

The First Noel by Chris Young & Brad Paisley

We hear the word Noel around this time every year. I thought it referred to Jesus' birth, but I decided to look the word up and I went to Merriam-Webster dictionary. They said it means a Christmas carol or if it's written with a capital N, it means Christmas. Merriam-Webster goes on to say:

English speakers borrowed the word noel from French. It can be traced further back to the Latin word natalis, which can mean "birthday" as a noun or "of or relating to birth" as an adjective. (The English adjective natal has the same meaning and is also an offspring of natalis.). Noels were being sung in Latin or French for centuries before the word found its way into our language in the 1800s. The earliest known musical use of noel occurred in the text of a Christmas motet called "Nova vobis gaudia," which was written in the 1400s.

I hope you have a moment to enjoy The First Noel performed by Chris Young and Brad Paisley.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Advent-Jesus Arrival into the World

Do you struggle to keep your focus on Jesus' birth during Advent?

This year I decided to try harder to keep my eyes on Jesus. Many of you know we're in the process of trying to sell our home in Kentucky so I can join Tim in South Carolina where he took a new job. It would be so easy to stress over the house not selling and lose focus on what this season is all about.

In my quest to focus more on Jesus, a few days ago I attended "Journey to the Manager" presented by Asbury University Equine Center. It was a cold night but well worth attending.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. John 1:14 NIV

This week I've also done a little Christmas decorating.

I've turned the TV off and listened to more Christmas CDs.

I also attended the children's Christmas program at church that focused on Jesus' birth. There were shepherds, angels, sheep, stars and kings.

I'd love to hear how you focus on Jesus during these busy days.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Bass Harbor Light Station

Years ago I became fascinated with lighthouses and began to collect different things with lighthouses. There are over seventy lighthouses in Maine, and this year I visited Bass Harbor Light Station.

The lighthouse is along a cliff in Acadia National Park. It was built in 1858 and still stands today. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 1988. The lighthouse belongs to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Bass Harbor is the only light house on Mount Desert Island and is automated. While visiting Maine, we heard locals pronounce Desert like desert and like dessert. Either way, I love the name.

In my opinion, Bass Harbor Light Station is a national treasure. I didn't get to go inside the lighthouse, but I found the area to be inspirational. I'd like to share a few pictures today.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Third Day - Your Words

We are coming up on some of the busiest days of the year. It's ironic that the season of Thanksgiving and Christmas, when we should be focused on Jesus, we're caught up in the world's business. Today I'd like to share this song by Third Day with you.

Happy Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for you my dear friends and family.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Grateful Heart

Because this is November, I want to share some scriptures on being grateful.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).

“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds” (Psalms 9:1).

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).

“Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25).

Psalm 95:1-6 – O Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, And a great King above all gods, In whose hand are the depths of the earth; The peaks of the mountains are His also. The sea is His, for it was He who made it; And His hands formed the dry land. Come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

November, a Time to be Thankful

Do you remember your blessings in November, or do you start scrambling to prepare for Christmas?

I know we're already a week into the month, but I'd like to share something to encourage you to be thankful.

I'm thankful for you, my friends. For the rest of the year, I'm going to scale back my blog posts. I appreciate your prayers as we try to sell our home and move to South Carolina. Bless you!

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” (1 Chronicles 16:34).

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Earthly Home

2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

Some have asked Tim and I how we can sell our beautiful home. We've been blessed with good homes during our marriage, but I've never felt tied down to any one of our homes. I will always have wonderful memories our our current home that won't disappear just because I move.

Philippians 3:20-21 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

My time on earth is short, and heaven is my real home. So if you should wonder how I can leave my earthly home, my answer will be this is only my temporary home.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Time for Change

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

A few weeks ago, Tim was offered a job in the great state of South Carolina. His first response was he could only think of maybe three reasons to take the job and move and hundreds of reasons to stay in Wilmore.

Over the years, we've dreamed of living at the beach. But we always agreed we had a good life in Kentucky. Our family and friends are here, we have a good church and good jobs. Why would we consider moving?

If this was not a God thing, we'd be staying. But God has other plans.

At first we each found God saying, "Follow me," through our devotionals, through our Bible readings, and through comments from friends.

Tim led a finance meeting at church, and in the parking lot Cathy Miller called out, "Tim Layton, you have the gift of administration." The new job is in administration instead of development.

Tim turned in his resume on a Monday, and on Wednesday he flew to Myrtle Beach for an interview. Our good friends, Willie and Melissa Lee, live in Murrells Inlet and picked Tim up from the airport.

(Here are Willie and Melissa at Scott and Kellianne's wedding.)

I stayed home and prayed while Tim met with two wonderful men in his new company. The three men immediately clicked, and Tim got excited.

Melissa and Willie prayed with Tim and gave him godly counsel. Before Tim left on Friday, he was offered a job.

Over the next few days, we lost sleep, we prayed, we felt nauseous more than once, we prayed some more, we cried and we listened and watched for God's answer. God continued to give us signs, and Tim still struggled. Scott asked how many more signs Tim needed, and he said one more. The next day, God gave Tim three more signs, and he said yes to the job.

We never thought we'd leave Wilmore and our beautiful family, but God has other plans. We're not sure what they are, but we feel blessed beyond measure to be called on this adventure.

Now begins the journey of selling our home and actually moving. We'd appreciate your prayers in the weeks ahead. Thanks so much.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Maine Lights

Back in August, Tim and I went to Maine for a long weekend. This month we vacationed in Maine with my brother and his wife, Chris and Carol Lutz. We'd planned this trip for a year, and it lived up to our expectations.

We arrived in Portland and after lunch went to see the Portland Lighthouse.

It was majestic and beautiful, and we couldn't have picked a better day to see it.

The next day we walked out to the Rockland Lighthouse. It's an amazing experience. You walk out on huge rocks that are somehow held together to make a path through the water to the lighthouse.

Here's Tim with Chris and Carol.

That's how our vacation started. Maine's coast is beautiful and rugged, and we saw the leaves starting to turn red and yellow. I'll share more about our trip later.

Psalm 8: 1-4
Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
in the heavens.
2 Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?


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