Saturday, April 19, 2014

Simple Easter Setting

I love holidays, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas! I enjoy family, food as well as all of the festivities.

This Easter it will only be Wonderful, Darling Daughter and me, but I still wanted to set a nice table and fix a celebration worthy meal. Now we will probably eat leftovers for the rest of the week, but for Easter dinner we will have ham and all of the "fixins".

My various colors of Fiestaware work on any table for any theme or occasion. The chargers are the cheap ones from Michaels that I painted Heirloom White, they also go with anything! I switch it up with salad/dessert plates that I find as well as cute napkins. I have a thing for cloth napkins. And the bird nest napkin rings, so sweet! I love fresh flowers, I picked these up at Kroger and decided to use my mason jar for a vase with a frog lid that I bought from Decor Steals. A simple setting!

I pray that as you celebrate Easter, you will remember the One who freely gave His life for yours and then rose again on the third day! Until His return!

Linking with friends:  Anything Blue FridayGraced SimplicityJennifer Rizzo

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Tale of Three Crosses

My precious husband wrote this poem several years ago and it is so fitting this Good Friday. I pray that you reflect on the Savior and His love for you.

A Tale of Three Crosses
Not every tale that is told is make-believe,
Some tales that are told are true.
This Tale of Three Crosses is one that is real,
A tale that I now share with you.

Three crosses hung on the hillside that day,
Suspended between earth and sky.
Three instruments of death with common design,
A place upon which men would die.

Two crosses bore criminals, defiant and desperate,
Deserving of death soon approaching,
One cries for mercy, begging for life,
The other, to the end, still reproaching.

Strangely calm is the Man on the Cross in the center,
As if His life was meant for this time.
Enduring the pain with graceful resolve,
Displaying a peace so sublime.

We find ourselves on one of these crosses,
Our stories thereon are told.
Which cross is yours, which cross is mine?
Decide from this tale of old.

For on these crosses our natures are shown,
Upon them our destinies sealed.
A Tale of Three Crosses will show us ourselves,
Our futures they will reveal.

The Cross of Defiance, a fist if not nailed,
Would be raised to the heavens in anger:
“You’re the reason, O God, my life is a mess,
You’re the reason my soul’s now in danger!”

“If you really cared, I would not be here,
My life slowly ebbing away,
Things would have been different, my destiny changed,
But now it all ends today.”

“And if this man in the Center is truly your Son,
Then why is He hanging here too?
If you are the Christ, then save You and me both,
Come on! Let’s see what You can do!”

The crowd joins in the rancorous revolt,
Mocking and sneering at Christ,
“Oh, King of the Jews, if You be so great
Then why not save Your own life?”

“If You be the One who came to save others,
Then why can Yourself You not save?
Come down from the Cross, Oh Chosen of God,
Come down, spare us all from the grave!”

The Cross of Defiance is the Cross of the world,
The cross upon which many hang.
It is the cross of rejection, the cross of rebellion,
The cross of self-induced pain.

It is the cross of the person who will not admit wrong,
The one who refuses all blame,
The cross of the proud, the cross of the damned,
The cross of the one with no shame.

It is the cross of the one whose faith rests in self,
The cross of the unbending knee,
The one who spurns salvation from God,
Confirming his doomed destiny.

Is that cross, your cross, O Sinner today?
Is his the cross that you choose?
Are the criminal’s words, your words,
A Savior, you defiantly refuse?

Then rest assured that your end, your eternal fate,
Will be the same as that man’s.
The blood of the Son, the dear Lamb of God,
Will be blood that is on your hands.

Another cross hangs on the other side of the Lord,
The cross of one not nearly so bold.
Here hangs one who realizes, perhaps too late,
That his life is beyond his control.

The Cross of Despair is the cross of this man,
He’s aware of what lies ahead.
He has little doubt about the fate of his soul
In the imminent realm of the dead.

He knows that in life he rebelled against God,
Choosing instead his own way.
His cross is a fitting conclusion
To a life that’s been wasted, astray.

“My sin-filled life has led me here,
No mercy should I expect.
I’ve lived my life in darkness and shame,
Most I have done, I regret.”

“What I don’t understand is why this Other
Is crucified along with us two.
What is it He’s done that could ever deserve
A death so terribly cruel?”

He knows that he and the other one there,
Have earned whatever they get.
Yet this One called the Christ has done nothing but good,
His life has done nothing but bless.

Here hung between two criminals true,
Is One who is free from all wrong.
No stain on His life has ever been found,
No evil has He ever done.

How can the crowd so defiantly rail
Against One as perfect as He?
“Do they not realize who it is that they kill,
Can they not see what I see?”

He turns as well to the Cross in the center,
But unlike the man filled with hate,
He spews no words of bitter rebuke,
He prays that his plea’s not too late.

“Lord, I know that no claim to Your mercy, have I.
I’ve no right to You even to speak.
But if You would know my heart and hear my voice
There is only one thing that I seek.”

“I do not ask to be saved from this death I have earned,
I can make no promises stand,
All I ask for is mercy, forgiveness and grace,
These all I ask from Your hand.”

“When on the day that Your Kingdom comes,
For I know that at last it shall be.
I appeal to Your love as my only hope,
When You come , please remember me.”

Is that cross, your cross, O sinner today?
Do you fear for the judgment ahead?
Does your desperation grow as your life slips away?
Are you facing the future with dread?

Then turn to the Man on the Cross in the Center,
Follow the penitent thief,
Let your despair turn to hope, as you do what he did,
On the Savior place your belief.

Our tale’s almost finished, it’s almost complete,
This tale of great hope and deep woe,
But there remains one more cross, one more Person dying,
One more about which we must know.

Up to this point we each have a cross,
A cross of defiance or despair.
But the Cross of Deliverance is the Cross of the Christ,
He’s the Only One who can hang there.

From the dawn of time, rightness with God
Has been possible solely through blood.
A sacrifice, pure and spotless, required
If one wants to be good.

But good no one is except for the One
Who on the middle cross died.
Whose death brings salvation to saints and to sinners,
And all who upon Him rely.

His cross is the Cross of Justice,
Of sin receiving its due.
He bears in His soul and His body,
Punishment for me and for you.

His cross is the Cross of Love,
Of God displaying His heart.
The divine demonstration of why Jesus came,
For salvation to all impart.

His cross is the Cross of Grace,
Of forgiveness beyond expectation,
Mercy extended and cleansing from sin,
Freely offered to all of the nations.

His cross is the Cross of Hope,
Hope of Heaven and of life anew.
Hope that is given to all desperate sinners,
Hope that is offered to you.

These three men, like many before,
Lost their lives on their crosses that day,
Each man suffered, each man died,
And each was placed in a grave.

But the grave could not hold the Man in the Center,
A stone could not keep Him inside.
For the love of the Father and His promise to man,
Miraculously brought Him to life.

He conquered His cross and He conquered the grave,
To prove that He was who He claimed:
The Savior of sinners, the One Son of God,
The Name that’s above every name!

He will be crowned as King of All Kings,
This humble Man on the Cross in the Center.
Before Him we’ll bow and proclaim Him as Lord,
Into Heaven saved sinners shall enter!

We one day will gather with all the Redeemed
To praise the Father and Son.
We like that one who turned to the Christ
Will find that our victory’s been won!

Defiant or desperate, upon which cross do you hang?
Each can be saved, if you turn
To the Man who once hung on the Cross in the Center,
To the God who your salvation earned.

He bore the shame and the pain and the loss,
So that you and I would be spared.
Will you turn this day to the Man in the Center,
To the One who has Glory prepared?

Our tale is now finished, this Tale of Three Crosses,
Yet the ending I cannot share.
Each one’s ending depends entirely upon
What they do with the One who hung there.

Will your tale end with joy or conclude with regret,
With Heaven or Hell as your home?
It all hangs upon your decision this day,
To the Savior will you now come?

“Our Father, we have heard this day a tale unlike any other. We see ourselves on these crosses. We are often defiant, sometimes desperate, always needy. Give us the grace to turn to the Christ who endured His cross and arose victorious over the grave. May we live our lives in devotion to the One who died so that we may have life.”
In His name,
Copyrighted protected by author, Barry Jeffries

Mr. Wonderful blogs at A Sojourner's Life

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Carrot Cake for Easter

Nothing says Easter like Carrot Cake! I have had this recipe for years and it always makes an appearance at Easter.

I love Mexican Vanilla!
Does anyone remember homemaker clubs? Do they still have those? I was a member of the Dixie Belles of Harrodsburg, Kentucky. We would do fundraisers and every few years one of those would be a cookbook. This is one of the recipes I included.


This is a simple, easy recipe that makes only an 8 or 9 inch pan size. Perfect for a small family or get together. Although I topped mine with cream cheese frosting at Wonderful's request, it can also be sprinkled with walnuts or pecans before baking and enjoyed without the extra icing calories. It is moist and just plain good.


Carrot Cake
1 1/2 C All-purpose Flour
1 C Sugar
1 tsp Baking soda
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Salt
1 C Shredded Carrots
Juice from 1 Lemon
3/4 C Water
1/3 C Coconut Oil
1 tsp Vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 for glass). Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add carrots and stir until well blended and all carrots are coated with flour mixture. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes until wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Top as desired and enjoy!

Linking with:  Create With JoyDwellingsThe Dedicated House

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Thrifty Gardening

I love to add new plants to our yard and planters, but just to be honest it can get quite expensive. We bought the Italian cypress and Meyer lemon trees that we added earlier this spring at a local garden center, but when it comes to annuals and perennials my favorite thrifty tip is to shop the clearance section of Lowe's. Lowe's tends to mark plants down several times weekly when their new shipments arrive. I usually drop in up to a couple of times a week (one of the nice things about living so close to everything), it is best to stop in early if possible.

Clearance plants provide great value!

I have a loose idea in mind, but nothing specific beyond what works best in sun, partial sun and shade. Sometimes these plants can look quite sad, but usually with a little water they will perk right up. My latest trip I spent just over twenty dollars and was able to plant in three containers and add several things to my walkway.

Front Porch Urn

This is an urn on my front porch. I was able to plant the whole urn for 5 dollars. It is pretty full and includes petunia, corkscrew rush and something else that I can't remember!

Unusual planters can be so much fun!
This is a bird cage that was purchased at a neighbors garage sale. I must say the only bird I plan on having is this little guy. But I added a coco liner and filled it full of impatiens that were $1 per 4 inch pot.


This is coreposis that I planted along the garden path. They were so pitiful looking that I only bought one at $1, I sure wished I had purchased a few more!
Hosta for $1!

This hosta also bought for $1 was added to the walk as well. They only had one and it was the first time I had ever seen a hosta discounted.
Dianthus the Second Year

These are dianthus. I bought these last year in the six packs on the clearance and was pleasantly surprised they reappeared this year as they were marked annuals. I am looking for some Sweet William to add between them and the mondo grass that borders the bed.

Patience definitely pays off when it comes to planting! What is your favorite flower to add to your garden? I also always have at least a couple of Boston ferns hanging although with the patio in its current condition I am looking for other areas to put them until the pergola goes up!

Linking With:  Titus 2 TuesdayWow us WednesdayA Little Bird Told MeHope in Every SeasonHome and Garden ThursdayGraced SimplicityImparting GraceLiving Well Spending LessCraftberry BushCreate With JoyAmaze Me Monday

Monday, April 7, 2014

DIY Your Small Backyard II - Building a Walk

It has been a hectic week, but it is so awesome to see the body of Christ being the hands and feet of Jesus. What is even more awesome is when it is a regular occurrence and not just an occasional thing! Love my church family.

On Friday, which tends to be our big work days around here, the weather forecast was wet and we didn't know if we wanted to start anything only to have to stop and leave a muddy mess. In the end the DIY spirit prevailed! I am so glad we did because the rain held off and we completed one more project in our yard.

In the burbs you usually have two long, for lack of a better word, alley ways on either side of your house. Those who don't live in the burbs, this would be your side yard, but trust me, here they are just alley ways. On one side is the air conditioning unit, trash cans and lots of utilitarian necessary but unsightly stuff. The other side is the same space without the obstructions. Planting beds are precious in our small yard so we wanted to make this an appealing, usable eye catcher instead of just being wasted.


My inspiration for this space is more of an idea than an actual picture. One of my favorite things to do when I visit New Orleans is to walk in the French Quarter and view the gardens (and eat). I love it when you can only see a portion, or peer through a gate and just get a taste of what is beyond. There is something so intriguing and yet mysterious when you have to imagine what is just out of site.

I want our space to be a taste of what is beyond and right now it is not a taste of anything pleasant! We had several stacks of brick pavers from our demo couple of weeks ago (here), so we decided the first step in transforming this space was to make a walkway. I wanted something that wasn't too wide and allowed for planting on either side. So we did a little math, (who knew DIYing involved so much math) and staked out the center of what would be our walk. We then figured out a pattern to use and Mr. Wonderful started digging. He works so hard, I love that man! We tried to preserve the sod that we removed in order to use it on another part of our yard.

When that was complete, the hubby tamped the ground and we started carrying the pavers and creating the walkway. It went pretty quickly! Because it was such a good, snug fit to get the brick in, we are not going to use sand to fill in cracks, we could always add it in later if the need arises.

I love how it turned out. There is a lot of planting yet to do and that will be a slow process, but I can't wait to see my vision become a reality. Because we recycled the pavers, the project didn't cost any money, just time and a hard days work. At some point, when we replace the last section of fence, I hope to make a small window in the gate to give that sense of allure and mystery that I love. My garden will have a cottage feel and less of the formal designs that I imagine in New Orleans,but more fitting for my suburban setting and easy lifestyle.

One step at a time, one project at a time, DIYing our small yard!

This girl needs a manicure!

Linking with:  Inspire Me TuesdayThe ScoopThe Dedicated HouseTitus 2 TuesdayWow us WednesdayA Little Bird Told MeHope in Every SeasonHome and Garden ThursdayGraced SimplicityImparting GraceLiving Well Spending LessCraftberry Bush