We peered out the window overlooking the neighborhood, our noses smashed up against the glass. “She has never mentioned the period. And I’m starting to develop. I’ll need a bra soon.” Her voice dropped. “Am I supposed to ask her to take me bra shopping?” she whispered, uncertainty in her eyes. “I guess so…” I stammered.
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The beginning of a new year can be exhilarating, a blank slate waiting to be filled with new opportunities and experiences. For many people this is a time to think about accomplishing new goals. Whether those goals are mentally filed away or physically written on paper, it can be fun to challenge oneself to accomplish something new.
I’ve been on Instagram for a long time. Coming up on five years to be exact. I’ve seen a lot of things on IG in those five years: algorithm changes, trendy catch phrases, trendy fashion/home/life styles, and more. One thing that I keep seeing time and time again are strong reactions to those photos/accounts that are deemed “too perfect.” You know the ones I’m talking about. The photo of the perfectly organized kitchen, the stunning living room, and the wardrobe to die for. The perfectly dressed children, not to mention their seemingly complete cooperation in having a hundred photos taken of them daily. And did I mention the ones of the moms who are impeccably dressed in the latest boutique style on an almost daily basis?
I used to think that my personality would somehow magically change when I got married, that I would have a new air of confidence, that I’d be that cool newlywed at whom all the young teenage girls stared googly-eyed (like I used to do), that I’d be that hostess who’d give those guests hugs and I’d know how to tell them with perfect graciousness to fill the water glasses or fluff up the salad, and then we’d all laugh merrily and they’d stay till all the taper-candles smoked and dripped their last wax-tears somewhere down close to the tablecloth, and they’d leave and wouldn’t even feel like they had to offer to wash all those pretty dishes. I used to think that maybe, just maybe, I would slowly find myself recharged, not drained, by being with people.
Christmas gift shopping can either be an adventure or something to be dreaded depending on your preference. We are pleased to bring you this list of carefully curated gift ideas from trusted small businesses that we hope will take the guesswork out of holiday shopping this year. The best part? Every gift listed is $25 or less!
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
We've probably all heard it at one time or another. Something new or exciting would come along and we would get swept up into it. With much enthusiasm we’d tell our parents about this new thing or new idea. Then, with the wisdom granted them through many more years of experience, they would see right to the end of this “new fad” and try to dissuade us from jumping on board too quickly.
There was the possibility of a tornado dropping down out of those amazing, blue-green, billowing clouds, but it was still incredible! The storm suddenly came ripping across the local park where we were gathered for VBS, bringing sheets of rain and winds so strong that it sent everyone running for the nearest four-sided, solid structure (which was the now crowded bathrooms). There’s papers flying and everything’s in chaos, but for a fleeting moment, I spread arms wide and broad-side the gusts and pricking rain, letting the forces of nature swirl out of control around me.
March 1671 Eggiwil, Switzerland
The early morning fog hung like a wet cold blanket around the Shank’s farm. Christian hurried along the steep gravel path towards the house. His foot skidded and the milk in his pail sloshed over the edges of the bucket. “Really?” His little brother Peter muttered. “Like we didn’t need that milk.”