Uncomplicated Hospitality

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Uncomplicated Hospitality

Hospitality does not have to be elaborate to be special. These tips for uncomplicated hospitality can help free you up to relax and offer your guests the most important things: welcome, rest, and friendship.

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The Real World

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The Real World

It started with a desire to help people, a love of things unusual, and it was sprinkled with the influence of some dear friends. Going into it I knew that in this part of the country, it was a rough profession, with swearing and crude jokes being a normal, but I was armored with prayer and my parents’ blessing, so I jumped in feet first. 

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My Holiday Home

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My Holiday Home

As the holidays approach and cold weather sets in, my creative energy is channeled into my home. I love the challenge of finding fresh ways to decorate, while maintaining a cozy, inviting atmosphere! I’m going to share a few tips I’ve learned about styling my home for the holidays on a budget.

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Miss Mannerly

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Miss Mannerly

“Sometimes I’m afraid people view me as being like Barney Fife,” a friend confessed to me once, as we sat watching The Andy Griffith Show.

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Claiming Your Family Tree

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Claiming Your Family Tree

IT WASN’T THAT MUCH FUN BACK THEN. Each autumn, we were sent out to the pasture to gather hickory nuts. Although encased in a large outer shell, the actual nut itself is small. Do you know how many nuts it takes to measure one cup of chopped nutmeat for a recipe? A lot!

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You Are Not a Life Boat

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You Are Not a Life Boat

Imagine you are stranded in the middle of the Atlantic. Your ship has sunk and now you are in a lifeboat with six other people, about to sink if you don’t get rid of some weight. Someone has to be thrown over.

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Embracing the "M" Word

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Embracing the "M" Word

The big “M” word. It can falls upon us like the judge’s irrevocable gavel, leaving a bitter residue in the mouth. We give it crust, stigmatization, repulsion. We tread on glass in its presence. We avoid it, abuse it, misuse it, ignore it, disdain it until we’ve turned it into some mental monster. We don’t know what to do with it so we package it up as something left unknown, misunderstood, and even feared. We gingerly toss that packaged “M” word to the women, hoping that instinct will take over and they’ll be able to interpret and apply its mystery in an inoffensive way.

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How Do You Do It?

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How Do You Do It?

When my husband and I got married nearly four and a half years ago, I never dreamed that I would also become a mommy to four little boys in less than three years. I always wanted a big family and loved babies, but never thought it would happen so quickly. Twins and a super surprise baby were not in the plans, but apparently, God knew that was what our little family needed.

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Loneliness and Belonging

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Loneliness and Belonging

When I married, I moved away from my home state to live with my husband in his home town. I loved our trips back to the south. Going home meant family, friends from first grade, dear relationships, a place of comfort and belonging. I so enjoyed these visits because I felt loved and accepted and it was so wonderfully familiar. Leaving all this was more difficult than I had anticipated. I was no longer a part of a small community where everyone knew me and I belonged. I did eventually get to know people and make friends in my new community but the process seemed long and painful. I gained a new appreciation for deep friendships and was able to empathize a bit more with others who are experiencing hard things in life.

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How Much For Your Song?

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How Much For Your Song?

18th century, Paris, France. Times are hard and money is scarce. Within the city, though, there is a tiny basement that’s filled with warmth and light and joy. This is because the basement is inhabited by a cobbler, Alaire, and his good wife Sophie. The basement serves as a home and workshop for the couple, and, although their earthly possessions are few, the couple lives a happy life, for they love each other and have learned the art of contentment. Alaire expresses his joy through singing, and as he works the shoe leather with his skilled and experienced hands, he warbles with vigor and gusto.

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Gather: Classic No-Bake Cookies

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Gather: Classic No-Bake Cookies

Many of us are probably familiar with no-bake cookies, and for good reason. They are simply to whip up, don't require baking time, and best of all, they taste delicious! This classic recipe is perfect for school lunches or when you need a quick snack, but don't want something that requires a lot of effort.

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The Craft of Coffee

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The Craft of Coffee

I can’t hide the fact that I love coffee. Whenever someone says that I can’t give up coffee for a month because I’m addicted to it, I just look at them, grin, and agree.

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Made for More

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Made for More

LURKING IN OUR MIDST IS A GREAT THIEF. He is the enemy. Can you see him? Do you hear him calling your name? Is he tantalizing you with forbidden fruit? Eve, the mother of all creation, knew him as the serpent. Cunningly, he deceived her by offering eternal life, but in turn, she found death. Presently, you may be deceived by the unnecessary pressures of measuring up: wearing the best clothes, driving the newest car, having the most fit body, and the list goes on. If you are facing these unnecessary pressures, you are not unaccompanied. Women throughout the ages have been warring with the enemy. The modern church is not alone in the battle of true femininity. From the days of Eden until present, Satan still seeks to destroy the beautiful design of women. We find ourselves with tainted hearts and mixed desires. Within us a war is raging. Our desires are contrary to our nature, and thus, we constantly fight the battle over truth and pleasure. Find a place of solitude, and seek to unveil the freedom found in being the woman God desires and has designed you to be. May we find ourselves refreshed as we being to unlock the life-giving freedom God offers in His design for women.

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Jesus Paid Enough

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Jesus Paid Enough

This person had done so much to ruin me that I didn’t know if I had it in my heart to forgive. Over the previous months, I had gone through many messy steps to try to attain healing. 

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A Love Story Charge

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A Love Story Charge

SOMETIME BETWEEN WATCHING from a third floor balcony as he played in an open fire- hydrant with a crowd of children and saying goodbye a summer later, I realized I could love this guy. Sometime between the phone call from Indiana and the stroll through Central Park a year later, I knew I loved him. And sometime between that moment when our strolling stopped as he reached for my hand and when I walked down the aisle toward him, I knew that our love was deeper than I’d ever dreamed love could be.  

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Gather: The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

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Gather: The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

Every cook needs a chocolate chip cookie recipe. One that is delightfully full of chocolate chips and with just the right texture. If you enjoy chewy cookies with slightly crisp edges then this is the recipe for you. These gems are perfect for school lunches or a mid-day coffee break. This particular recipe is best prepared in advance to allow plenty of time for chilling. Enjoy!

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Keeping Relationships Simple

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Keeping Relationships Simple

CS Lewis said, “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” In other words, life without friendship is reduced to mere survival. We can function, we can make do, we can go through the motions yet we are alone without friends. This is simply not part of the design for mankind.

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Rich in Simplicity

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Rich in Simplicity

My parents gave me the gift of an authentic, homespun heritage. I treasure it, but I didn't always feel this way. As a child, I often felt we were dull and unrefined, perhaps even a bit too "backwoods."

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Uncommon Ground

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Uncommon Ground

I walked into my Hebrew class not knowing what to expect and not imagining the diversity that I would find there. It was still one of my first weeks in Jerusalem and I didn’t have a clue about what life was like in a city filled with so many extremes! Glancing around the room, I was surprised at the mix of people, cultures, religions and skin colors. Over the course of the next few weeks people came and went, but the way our lives brushed up against each other in a stuffy classroom in Jerusalem left an impact on me that will last forever. I learned so much more than language in that classroom.

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