Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Ladies Tea [part 1]

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them."
-Matthew 18:20

On March 3rd, Mom and I hosted a table at our church's annual Ladies Tea.  Each year, different ladies in the church host tables for this event.  The church provided all of the tea fare, desserts, and tea trimmings, and the participating ladies set up their tables.  There were so many neat tables (over twenty, I believe)...  Each one was incredibly unique; it was fun to see such varied creativity. 

Mom and I had a good time together as we planned our table and prepared for the tea.  We enjoyed getting to fuss a little bit, since we don't get to do that every day.  ;)

A snapshot of our table after we had set it up and were waiting for the tea to begin...


We used my cream and sugar set, Mom's tea cups, and my grandmother's silver!

 Roses and Baby's Breath <3

Mom and I made up little favor boxes for each lady's place setting.

We had cute little white boxes at home, so we decided to fill them with melty mint drops
and then found pink flowers and green ribbon decorate them with.




Mom and me

Steeping Tea


Adorable Maili!

We were even provided lemon slices for our tea!


Erin Claire and Amanda...
two sweeties!

Delicious strawberry preserves for the scones

Cucumber, Chicken Salad, and Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches

There was always plenty of food on the platters!  Some of the young men at the church waited the tables, and the young man that was assigned to our table did such a great job.

Darby and Melissa!

We were so blessed to meet Melissa that day... Hilariously enough, even though she lives in Wisconsin, I got to see her seven times in the following nine days between church, getting together to visit the beach, and the Family Economics Conference up in Illinois.  Funny how the Lord works things out sometimes!  :)

I had fun picking out the font for the place cards.

Miniature quiches and scones


Maili, Darby, and Erin Claire
They're lots of fun, if you couldn't tell.

Lemon Petit Fours...


...and Chocolate Covered Strawberries were presented for dessert.



I hope you enjoyed!  In Part Two, I will be posting pictures of some of the other tables from the tea. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Azaleas and My Shepherd

Good evening!

I hope that you all are doing splendidly.  I am continuing to catch my pictures up to the present, and I am getting a bit closer!  These photos were taken back in the beginning of March when our Azalea bushes were in their fullest glory.  There were so many flowers bursting with color that you could barely see the leaves!  It was glorious.

I have paired the pictures with the lyrics of a song that has been a blessing to me in recent days.  The song's title is My Shepherd, and it is sung by Michael Card.  The music itself is beautiful and peaceful, and the lyrics were taken directly from Psalm 23.  I find that Psalm to be one of the most calming, comforting passages in all of Scripture.  It paints a sublime picture with words that are rich and deep.  The Lord is my protector and sustainer!  What do I have to fear?

Enjoy.   :)

| My Shepherd |

The LORD is my Shepherd
And so I lack nothing

In meadows of green grass
He lets me lie down

Beside the still waters
He patiently leads me
Restoring my soul, restoring my soul


For His holy Namesake
He guides me by right paths

Though I may stray to
The vale of deep darkness

I fear no evil
For You are there with me

Beside me Your rod and staff
They comfort me

You prepare a table
Before my enemies

My head you've anointed
My cup's overflowing

Your goodness and mercy
Will follow me all the days of my life

And I'll make my home place
In the house of the LORD.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Capturing Life's Precious Moments

I'm posting today on Raising Homemakers!

Click here to check it out!  :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Thoughts for this Lord's Day [eighteen]

The subject I am writing about today is a touchy one for many people, but it is one that I feel compelled to address nonetheless.  You may disagree with my position, but I would encourage you to keep an open mind if you feel yourself becoming defensive about what I have written.

I find it interesting that so many Christians have excitedly gone to enjoy the movie, The Hunger Games.  Their spent money has been added to the rest of the world's in helping the film to bring in a massive $214+ million in the first weekend.  In contrast, the debut for the pro-life movie October Baby only brought in $1.4 million.  (I have not yet seen October Baby, so I cannot endorse it.) That should reveal something about the condition of our world, Christian or otherwise.

We live in a culture that is in love with death and darkness.  It is a sad truth, and one that we need to realize.  Suzanne Collins, authoress of the book The Hunger Games, disclosed that much of her inspiration for the trilogy was a mix of the Greek mythology, Roman gladiator games, reality TV shows like “Survivor”, and the War in Iraq.  Does this concern you?  It should.

"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed,
do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God and the Father by him."
-Colossians 3:17

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink,
or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
-1 Corinthians 10:31

All kinds of arguments could be made in favor of watching a movie like this (believe me, I've heard plenty of them), but I do not believe that the film brings glory to God, period.

The other day, I came across a helpful article by Douglas Wilson, titled Christians and The Hunger Games.  Mr. Wilson makes some good points and I recommend it to you if you have been considering watching The Hunger Games.  You can click here to read it in its entirety.

[UPDATE #1:  Kevin Swanson and his daughter Emily recently put up an excellent podcast that paints The Hunger Games in a proper light.  He has much wisdom to share, and I greatly appreciated hearing his thoughts.  You can click here to find the broadcast if you would like to listen to it.]

[UPDATE #2:  Since my first update above, Kevin Swanson did another radio broadcast, again referring to the The Hunger Games.  You can click here to find the broadcast if you would like to listen to it.]

I saw these beautiful pine cones and branches on walk
during a windy day in Des Moines, Iowa.

Some would argue, "It's just a movie!"  I would have to ask, "Is it?  Is it really?"  Has there ever been a movie made that was not religious in nature?  Movies contain powerful ideas, religious presuppositions, subliminal messages, and hidden agendas.  Christians need to be very aware of that because writers and filmmakers are not at all ignorant on that score; they know full well that they are communicating effectively.

When we make statements such as... "It's just a movie."  It's just a book."  It's just a song."  "It's just a ____ (you fill in the blank)" ...we are showing our ignorance.  It would be foolish to make a similar statement about any kind of media because the ideas presented have serious and real consequences.  We often do not even realize this because the effects are subtle.  "For as [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7).

This is where we need to show great discernment as Christians.  Whether you realize it or not, you are supporting an author, musician, or filmmaker, when you purchase their books, songs, DVD's, or tickets to see their movies.  In some ways, you are also supporting the ideas these people are trying to communicate.  Be very careful before you recommend media to others.

"And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me,
it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck,
and he were cast into the sea."
-Mark 9:42

The Hunger Games may contain an interesting plot and a few redeeming qualities, but are those things really enough to make a book worth reading or a movie worth watching?  Consider the cost.

I do realize that there is no perfect movie, song, or book (apart from God's Holy Word), and am obviously not calling for a ban of all literature, music, and movies.  I am, however, asking you to carefully examine what you see, hear, and read.  What goes in will come out.  "Garbage in, garbage out," as the saying goes.  This is true even though we may be discerning about what we are watching and are able to tell what is good and what is not.  Why would we want to think about children brutally murdering one another?

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." 
-Philippians 4:8

Just because something may be lawful does not mean that it will be profitable to your soul!

"All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient:
all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not."
-1 Corinthians 10:23

Ask yourself, "Could my time (and money) be better spent?"  Christian, your merciful Savior bought your life with His precious blood.  You are not your own.  Your resources are not your own.  Your time is not your own.  Remember that.

"Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men."
-1 Corinthians 7:23

"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body,
and in your spirit, which are God's."
-1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Spiritual battles are being fought each and every day. Are we working to advance the Kingdom of God?

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." 
-Ephesians 6:12-13

Whose side are we fighting for?   

"He that is not with me is against me;
and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad."
-Matthew 12:30

It is not my desire to sound judgmental or condemning toward those who have decided to read or watch The Hunger Games.  I only wish to give you something to ponder.

I would like to close with an amazing story from Foxe's Book of Martyrs about a man named Telemachus.  It is well worth the read.  May each of us be about doing great things for our glorious Lord, without whom we have no hope.

"After this fortunate victory over the Goths a "triumph," as it was called, was celebrated at Rome. For hundreds of years successful generals had been awarded this great honor on their return from a victorious campaign. Upon such occasions the city was given up for days to the marching of troops laden with spoils, and who dragged after them prisoners of war, among whom were often captive kings and conquered generals. This was to be the last Roman triumph, for it celebrated the last Roman victory. Although it had been won by Stilicho, the general, it was the boy emperor, Honorius, who took the credit, entering Rome in the car of victory, and driving to the Capitol amid the shouts of the populace. Afterward, as was customary on such occasions, there were bloody combats in the Colosseum, where gladiators, armed with swords and spears, fought as furiously as if they were on the field of battle.

The first part of the bloody entertainment was finished; the bodies of the dead were dragged off with hooks, and the reddened sand covered with a fresh, clean layer. After this had been done the gates in the wall of the arena were thrown open, and a number of tall, well-formed men in the prime of youth and strength came forward. Some carried swords, others three-pronged spears and nets. They marched once around the walls, and stopping before the emperor, held up their weapons at arm's length, and with one voice sounded out their greeting, Ave, Caesar, morituri te salutant! "Hail, Caesar, those about to die salute thee!"

The combats now began again; the glatiators with nets tried to entangle those with swords, and when they succeeded mercilessly stabbed their antagonists to death with the three-pronged spear. When a glatiator had wounded his adversary, and had him lying helpless at his feet, he looked up at the eager faces of the spectators, and cried out, Hoc habet! "He has it!" and awaited the pleasure of the audience to kill or spare.

If the spectators held out their hands toward him, with thumbs upward, the defeated man was taken away, to recover if possible from his wounds. But if the fatal signal of "thumbs down" was given, the conquered was to be slain; and if he showed any reluctance to present his neck for the death blow, there was a scornful shout from the galleries, Recipe ferrum! "Receive the steel!" Privileged persons among the audience would even descend into the arena, to better witness the death agonies of some unusually brave victim, before his corpse was dragged out at the death gate.

The show went on; many had been slain, and the people, madly excited by the desperate bravery of those who continued to fight, shouted their applause. But suddenly there was an interruption. A rudely clad, robed figure appeared for a moment among the audience, and then boldly leaped down into the arena. He was seen to be a man of rough but imposing presence, bareheaded and with sun-browned face. Without hesitating an instant he advanced upon two gladiators engaged in a life-and-death struggle, and laying his hand upon one of them sternly reproved him for shedding innocent blood, and then, turning toward the thousands of angry faces ranged around him, called upon them in a solemn, deep-toned voice which resounded through the deep inclosure. These were his words: "Do not requite God's mercy in turning away the swords of your enemies by murdering each other!"

Angry shouts and cries at once drowned his voice: "This is no place for preaching!--the old customs of Rome must be observed!--On, gladiators!" Thrusting aside the stranger, the gladiators would have again attacked each other, but the man stood between, holding them apart, and trying in vain to be heard. "Sedition! sedition! down with him!" was then the cry; and the gladiators, enraged at the interference of an outsider with their chosen vocation, at once stabbed him to death. Stones, or whatever missiles came to hand, also rained down upon him from the furious people, and thus he perished, in the midst of the arena.

His dress showed him to be one of the hermits who vowed themselves to a holy life of prayer and self-denial, and who were reverenced by even the thoughtless and combat-loving Romans. The few who knew him told how he had come from the wilds of Asia on a pilgrimage, to visit the churches and keep his Christmas at Rome; they knew he was a holy man, and that his name was Telemachus-no more. His spirit had been stirred by the sight of thousands flocking to see men slaughter one another, and in his simple-hearted zeal he had tried to convince them of the cruelty and wickedness of their conduct. He had died, but not in vain. His work was accomplished at the moment he was struck down, for the shock of such a death before their eyes turned the hearts of the people: they saw the hideous aspects of the favorite vice to which they had blindly surrendered themselves; and from the day Telemachus fell dead in the Colosseum, no other fight of gladiators was ever held there."

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tricia's Baby Shower

On the last Saturday of February, we attended a lovely baby shower for a sweet friend of ours, Tricia Case!  (To help make a connection, she is my friend Emily's sister-in-law.) It turned out to be a good date for the shower because baby David William decided to make his appearance less than a week later- two whole weeks early!  :)

The day was positively beautiful in every way, and everyone enjoyed themselves immensely.  Mrs. Case and Emily did such a great job planning and preparing everything!  The theme was jungle animals, and they did such a sweet job pulling everything together.

The adorable little welcome sign, letting us know we'd come to the right place!  ;)

Two really great ideas... A book basket to start baby David's library (the shower invitation requested that each family bring a little book) and a basket to collect cards of advice, tips, and words of wisdom for the new mommy.  Aren't those great ideas?

A little scene from the refreshments table... That little bear is adorable!  Plus, I love peanut M&M's.  :)

A friend made the beautiful cake and cupcakes to match the colors of the jungle theme.  They were delicious and matched the plates perfectly!

Sweet Bethany enjoys a cupcake.

Mom and I made two sandwich rings to bring to the shower.  Both were ham and turkey, but one ring had cheddar cheese and the other had Swiss.

They were super fun and easy to make (and garnish!)... We purchased two "ring leader" loaves from Publix, sliced them in half, added meat and cheese, and then cut them into sections.  We then garnished the platters with kale and cherry tomatoes and bowls of mustard and mayonnaise.  To finish them off, we brought a plate of lettuce and tomato with a bowl of pickled peppers for those who wanted to dress their sandwiches up a bit more.  Next time, I'd like to try making my own bread ring!


Tricia got some really lovely gifts, and they were wrapped in such cute bags and paper!

Emily sat with Tricia and wrote down what was inside each package.

Tough guy, Luke. One of the few little men at the shower.  ;)

Cheesy smile(s) for the win!

Our little packages, waiting to be opened.  Picking out and giving gifts is so much fun!  I love it. 

A scene from the happy party.  Little (and big) girls look excitedly on as Tricia opens her gifts.  

They were enraptured, and positively adorable to watch.

Tricia was tons of fun to watch as she opened her gifts!

"It's so cute!"   <---  Phrase of the day.


Sweet sisters...

Very creative wrapping... There was a huge box that was wrapped in a soft blanket, and it worked much better than wrapping paper!

My sweet friend, who also happens to be an excited mommy-to-be.

A cloth diapering lesson I sat in on.  It was rather fascinating.  :)

Emily, Tricia, and Mrs. Case

Tricia spending some time with her charming little niece!

She has such gorgeous eyes,

and lots of hilarious expressions to boot!

Five terrific sisters that I enjoyed spending the day with!

Emily and I got to spend some time with one another afterward... walking, talking, and enjoying the beautifully cool day together. 

I am very excited about meeting Cody and Tricia's sweet baby tomorrow when we bring over a meal!  I've really been looking forward to it.  :D

"Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD:
and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 

As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man;
so are children of the youth.

Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them:
they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate."
-Psalm 127:3-5