Monday, December 31, 2018

A Housewife's Perspective for 2019

Happy New Year

Everyone wants something out of a new year. Here's a housewife's perspective for 2019. I wish someone would get to work inventing these things that will make my life easier.

  • A hands-free mop. We have the roomba aka the vacuum cleaner that runs around the room cleaning the floor. We also have an automatic pool cleaner that works in water. Why oh why can't some genius merge those two to invent a hands-free mop?
  • A self-cleaning refrigerator. We have the self-cleaning oven that works with heat. We need the self-cleaning refrigerator that evaporates spills and messes with cold vapor. Someone GET ON IT!
  • An automatic laundry sorter. I don't want to take up my laundry room space with multiple bins for whites and colors. Who could hit the correct bin anyway when tossing one's clothes across the room? I'm sure someone can invent a sensor that screams at you like the chip reader in retail stores when asking to remove your credit or debit card. If you put your colors in the whites, there should be an arm that automatically moves your clothing into the correct place for washing.
  • An automatic dust sucker. I'm thinking someone can invent a device that can be armed to work while no one is home. Set the timer. Go out your door and just like magic, the device would sit in the middle of your home and pull all the dust from all your rooms without sucking the pictures off your walls.
  • A cardboard eater. I love to shop online. I hate to recycle the cardboard boxes. We already have the garbage disposal that lives in your drain to eat your unwanted and leftover food. We need a cardboard eater kinda like a chipper shredder but something less industrial for home use.
There you have it. A happy new year from a housewife's perspective for 2019! Someone can be a millionaire in 2019 if any of these problems are solved with a gadget. Please...cut me in on your earnings for thinking of such great ideas!

Always thinking 365,

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The One Question You Need to Ask Yourself


The mantel is decorated. The fire is lit. The Christmas tree lights glow in hurried anticipation of soon-to-open gifts, upcoming festivities, good friends and oh yeah, family. The air is crisper than usual. People seem happier than normal. Christmastime, after all, is the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas is the most beloved holiday in American culture.

The season makes one giddy with memories of Christmases' past. Remembrances of that one great gift you can never forget. The one question you probably ask yourself most is "What can I get (you insert name here) for Christmas?".  Gift-giving is a fun experience but gift-buying is a totally different aspect of Christmas, usually a dreaded one. Although that's probably the most asked question, it is not the one question you need to ask yourself.

There are so many legitimate questions to ask at Christmas:
  • Should I buy that beautiful expensive wrapping paper?
  • Wonder if I'll get a Christmas bonus at work?
  • What date should I mail Christmas cards?
  • How much should I spend on Christmas gifts?
  • Will I cook for the pot luck or pick up something at the store?
  • Where do I find a knock-out outfit for the office party?
  • How will I take care of everything on time?
So many questions! But, these are still not the one question you need to ask yourself. So what is it?

When Jesus came into the coast of Phillipi, he asked his disciples, Who do men say that I am? The disciples told him some people say he is John the Baptist or Elias or Jeremias or another prophet. Then Jesus said, "WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?" The one question you need to ask yourself is who do you say Jesus is?

Simon Peter answered Jesus saying "Thou art the Christ! The Son of the Living God!" Is Jesus your Christ? Do you call him your Savior? Is he the Prince of Peace in your life? Is he your Counselor? Is he ordinary to you or extraordinary? If you don't get all your holiday season questions answered or maybe even skip one, please don't miss the one most important question that effects you forever. The one question you need to ask yourself effects your eternity, not just one month out of the year.  This Christmas, please take a moment and concentrate on the one question you need to ask yourself...

What can you get me for Christmas this year? Answer the one question you need to ask yourself! Tell me in a comment who you say Jesus is!

Jesus is Lord 365,

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

I Don't Measure Up

measure up

The world wants me to be an average height, say five feet six inches tall. People may immediately react to that statement with "That's not true!". But, it is. If you live in my four feet eleven inch world, you'd find I always have to hem my pants (one reason I love shorts). Cabinets are a "standard" height which means I usually can't reach past the bottom shelf. I can't drive vehicles without power seats because the "regular" seat won't adjust so I can reach the pedals. I barely make the height limits at Disney World. I don't measure up.

I've spent my lifetime being less than, shorter than, feeling inadequate in a lot of ways. In America, if you're a woman, shoes ARE the most important part of your wardrobe. No, they're not an addition to or a compliment thereof, they are the MOST IMPORTANT ARTICLE of clothing a woman wears. The high heel has an interesting history dating back to the 1500's when Persian soldiers first wore heels to help their feet stay in their saddle stirrups during war. High heels were invented for men. The high heel waved and waned until the pin-ups girls of the 1950's. Around that time, the stiletto heel was invented concreting the relationship between women, sexuality and appearance. Today, cultural value dictates high heels are the "norm" for women in professional settings. Ironically, I was born in 1963 smack dab in the height (pun intended) of the high heel craze. I can't wear high heels. I don't measure up.

After a recent encounter of falling short of people's standards, my damaged ego appealed to God for an answer. Why don't I measure up? He showed me this comparison.

The world measures us by:
1. Appearance - Are you attractive and desirable?
2. Transportation - What kind of car do you drive?
3. Shelter - Do you live in a big house?
4. Occupation - Do you have a big job or big title?
5. Possessions - How much stuff do you own?

The world measures Jesus in the same ways. Here are the his results according to the Bible:
1.  Appearance - Jesus is not physically attractive.  Isaiah 53:2 states For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 
2. Transportation - Jesus drove a donkey (could have been a Dodge colt, maybe).  John 12:14-15  And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt. Jesus drove a donkey.
3. Shelter - Jesus was born in a stable. Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
4. Occupation - Jesus was a carpenter. Mark 6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.
5. Possessions - Jesus had no need of material possessions. Matthew 19:21-23 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

God revived my heart with this age-old fact, according to many,
Jesus doesn't measure up.

don't fit in

The moral of this story is compare yourself to Jesus, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. If you measure up by his standards, all is well. I'm pumped there's not a mention of "high heels" in the Bible and obviously Jesus loves short people. He went out of his way to visit a wee little man named Zacchaeus. 

Measured 365,

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Family Dinner Night

I started a thing about two years ago now. Every Thursday night is Family Dinner Night (FDN) at my house. There's nine of us including me and my husband, my mom and dad, my two daughters, my son-in-law and my two precious granddaughters. We have a blast! I look forward to Thursday every week for a couple of reasons but the top reason is FDN.

I plan and cook the meal all by me little lonesome. For the past few weeks, I've been focusing on soups. The weather is a bit cooler and soup just seems to be a Fall food. Tonight we had lasagna soup. I found the recipe at A Farmgirl's Dabbles.

This is her photo. I always forget to take a picture of new recipes. Well...not always but I did tonight.

Image result for lasagna soup

I used fusilli pasta I got at Kroger. I followed the recipe almost exactly. The soup turned out nicely. Quite delicious and overly satisfying. The guys in my fam really enjoyed it. My husband and son-in-law had seconds. My son-in-law even agreed to take some home for lunch tomorrow. SCORE! Lasagna Soup is a definite "must-try" recipe. Oh and I followed her tips on the recipe also.

Stuffed 365,

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Our Master Bedroom Reveal

I'll only get one chance at this Florida Dream House decorating gig so I better get it right. Decide the color scheme. Plan it and execute! Push always seems to come to shove wrapping things up to move in. I'm still way happy with the results. Today, I want to share with you our master bedroom reveal.

I can never leave God out of anything I accomplish because without him, I'd never accomplish anything. If you listen to God and do what he says, he takes care of all the big stuff and especially the small! The best thing about this bedroom is five years ago when I bought our master bedroom bed for our Georgia house, God encouraged me to buy the Ashley Furniture Protection Plan. This plan covers anything that could go wrong with your furniture for five years. If, in five years, you don't use the plan to replace your current furniture, you get the money you paid for the plan off the price of new furniture. The five years perfectly expired January 2018, just in time to purchase our master bedroom furniture for Florida. His plan, not mine.

The Master Bedroom

master bedroom reveal

beach pillowsmaster bedroomI ended up paying around $200 for the bed and nightstands. The bed frame is a king. I used a bunky board ($80) instead of a mattress foundation to make a platform bed which is low to the ground. King mattress from Mattress Firm $700. The lamps are from Home Goods for $39.99 each. The canvases I found at Kirkland's in Canton, GA on sale, reduced from $99.99 to $24.99! The pillows are from a Belk clearance for $80. The white quilt and shams is from TJMaxx for $39.99. The storage bench is from Amazon for $105. The drawers really work. My design on a dime for around $1300.

The Master Bath

florida bathroompinterest showerThe Master Bath is small but oh so lovely and adequate.  The Master Bath does not lend itself well to picture taking because it is narrow. The custom shower design on the right is from a late night Pinterest binge. It has a tile pebble bottom with a rain showerhead and custom window. You can't see the seat on the inside left. The vanity is shaker style matching the kitchen cabinets. I prefer overlap porcelain sink bowls, the sunken sinks are too hard to clean. lol The mirror is framed with the same coastal trim we used on all doors and windows painted white. Again, I will discuss paint colors in another blog post.

double closet doors
The double doors are our master closet. I love double doors! The bath rugs are from Bed, Bath and Beyond $24.99 each. The seahorse picture is from Rose's for $14.99. So inexpensive and perfect at the same time. I have a small linen tower holding our towels and washcloths in the right/left corner of the shower area from Walmart for $20.  I couldn't get a good picture of it. The linen tower is open and provides the ultimate area where Steve can pick up a towel and washcloth without having to bend over. Bending over restricts his breathing drastically.

The small square box you see beside the toilet is a set of scales. Weighing every day is so important at the Holiday House!

Everything else you see in the bathroom, hooks, toilet paper holder, etc. were included in the house contact.

And there you have our Master Bedroom Reveal including the Master Bath. I will post pictures and descriptions of the other three bedrooms, two baths, laundry room, living room, porch areas and paint colors later. Until then, have a good one....

Loving it 365,

Saturday, September 8, 2018



Does this picture speak to you? What does it say? The surfer has two choices; get in the water or remain on the shore. He may be anticipating the exhilaration of his morning surf? He could be procrastinating about the small swells or all the people in his way?  One thing is certain. Action is required! He can move to the water and enjoy his surf or allow his negative thoughts to rob him of an activity he loves.

bible action words

Mary Ann shared one of her favorite verses with me yesterday. Isaiah 41:10 says "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." I shared one of mine. Psalm 37:4 says "Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart."  Three phrases stood out in my mind; Fear not, Be not dismayed and Delight thyself. All three require action!  My photographic memory quickly sped through many Bible verses, all requiring action from me to obtain my desired results from Him!

Jesus performed the ultimate action giving his life to redeem us. The plan is finished. Now, action is required from us. Is it too much to ask for us not to fear? Is it too much for us to be not dismayed? Is it too much for us to delight ourselves in Him? Some days, not being afraid and not being dismayed are monumental tasks! I lose my footing. I allow the enemy too much brain space. I find myself wanting to run into a cozy corner where I can shrivel up and cry uncontrollably. Who's with me?

However, those sweet, sweet days I purposefully delight myself in God's grace and mercy, the half has never been told! He makes me feel like I could ride the gnarliest crest hanging ten!  Which situation requires more action? The sweet one. The delightful one I want to wake up in every day. The delightful one I can wake up in every day if I keep my actions toward Him, in Him and for Him.

God requires action from us. Ongoing action! Action is required! Action is necessary! Action is a must! And as a gentle reminder, doing nothing is an action.

Staying active,

Friday, August 31, 2018

What Exactly is Concrete?

what exactly is concrete

This may sound like a repeat from last week but no, because this week has been rougher than last! . So many downs. Very few ups. I'm writing these words from the confines of my mom's hospital room. She continues to struggle for breath due to multiple blood clots in both lungs. You know the dread you feel when a close family member has a serious illness. I'm give thanks to our gracious God she is improving slowly. 

I have a couple of thoughts to share this week. Mom was visited by a hospital chaplain this morning. He asked "Can you have fun in a hospital?".  He shared some anecdotal stories with us that were somewhat fun, but not as funny to me as the stories I want to retell on my parents:
  • My dad was hospitalized in March after his fourth stroke. A couple of days had passed when he requested to shower. "I can do it myself" he said. I insisted we call a nurse to help him. His face lit up when a young beautiful blonde-haired nurse walked in. He quickly agreed with her help! She went to gather some bathing supplies. I asked him, "Have you ever showered with a blonde?" He giggled and said "No! But I'm about to!"  His bathing experience is a standing joke at our house.
  • My mom's doctor came to explain about placing her on blood thinners. He said "I want you to take Coumadin because it's tried and true." He waited for her approval. She answered him saying "That sounds good to me. I like spices!" Although she wasn't joking because she was thinking of Cumin, her reply has become a standing joke as well. The doctor was gracious and asked if he could use that one. 
  • Here's a couple more funny stories that are medical jokes at our house. Just click the link to read them. Sloane's kidney stone experience entitled "We had our very own Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day"  and Tammy's kidney stone experience entitled "Pande-"monday"-ium of Laughter"
Yes! We do believe you can have fun in a hospital. We do admit, however, we'd rather have fun almost any place else. 

My second thought this week involves the concrete picture. What exactly is concrete? Concrete is such an everyday term; yet do we really know what it is made of? As I was thinking about how rocky my path has been for the past couple of weeks, God caused me to visual concrete. I immediately thought Ah! yes! Concrete. I love concrete. Concrete hurts most folks' feet but it is absolutely the easiest surface for me to stand on. It is firm and solid. The non-rigid surface of concrete makes my feet and gait so happy. After a moment of sheer joy thinking about concrete, I asked why the image of concrete Lord? I looked up this explanation of concrete at Concrete consists of Portland cement, sand, gravel or aggregate, small rocks, and varying amounts of water. These ingredients are blended together to generate a paste, which is then poured into a frame, and dries hard with time. A chemical reaction occurs between the water and the cement to create a solid foundation.

I began to ponder how you can take jagged rocks and create a smooth, solid foundation. I recalled many of my struggles during the past weeks. I felt every single problem or "rock" my feet had walked over the past two weeks. I remembered the way my feet turned over when they encountered the rocks. The twisting of my feet made my back hurt. Then God whispered, "Tammy, for every rock you walk over and get tossed here and yonder, you're making concrete. I am your solid foundation. You may have to walk over a few rocks but trust me, you'll always find your footing on my concrete." Praise Jesus! I said "God, you have the biggest concrete trucks because you're pouring it out for me all the time!"

Just like the chemical reaction with concrete, a spiritual reaction occurs between my Savior and me. He takes all the rocks, gravel and sand of my life and puts them in my frame to mold me. He smooths them all out so I can walk firmly on his foundation. The process takes a while but the end result is smooth and pretty.  How firm a foundation ye Saints of Lord, is laid for your faith in his excellent word....That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I'll never, no never, no never forsake.

Standing firmly 365,

Saturday, August 25, 2018

5 Things I Learned from Divorce


My week has been rough. My week contained so many variables; some favorable and some unfavorable. (I'll admit it, I have an accounting background.)  I've been blessed. I've learned things. I've been schooled. I've lost my temper. I've exercised self-control. I went to the movies. I ate out too many times. I weeded my pool fence. I broke my left prosthetic. I made me a new left prosthetic. I could go on, but you get it. It has been a week! 

My life has been enriched over the past months with my high school bff, Mary Ann. I credit Mary Ann for my marriage to Steve. God placed her exactly where she needed to be in my life to accomplish his goal for Steve and me. Shortly after the "lost my temper" stage this week, Mary Ann sent me the picture above with the following message. "I bet God finds our efforts to do anything amusing. These are plants I threw in my trash pile that wouldn't grow in the greenhouse. They are not even planted and look how pretty." God used those words to teach me but also to show me some things divorce has taught me. Here are the top 5 Things I Learned from Divorce (in no particular order):
  1. Divorce hurts. It hurts everyone it touches, especially this ex-mother-in-law. Divorce is one of those excruciating hurts like a kidney stone. You know you have a stone. You wake up feeling pretty good and BAM! Within the next five minutes the blood supply is cut off to your kidney! You immediately find yourself rolling around in the floor begging, screaming, praying for comfort, even if it's only for the shortest while. The pain subsides. You think it's over but here it comes again...worse.
  2. Divorce is necessary. My parents' 60th wedding anniversary was yesterday. Kudos to them! Steve and I will celebrate 33 years in November. Divorce was not in my vocabulary until God showed me, sometimes, it is so necessary.  I couldn't even ask him to stop it. 
  3. Divorce is ugly.  I can't find one thing pretty about divorce. My daughter's tears of sorrow are ugly. My grandchildren riding off for the weekend is ugly. The destruction of the completeness of my family is ugly. The mistrust and resentment are ugly. Being wronged is ugly. Period.
  4. Unconditional love is unstoppable. It is difficult for me to understand why I still love my ex-son-in-law so much. He makes me so mad I could rip his head off! But, I can't stop loving him. I can't stop feeling for him when he creates his own demise. I can't stop making concessions for him when he deserves none. God's love in me for him cries out for mercy, grace and above all, forgiveness. If unconditional love were stoppable, Jesus would have succumbed under the weight of the cross. He fell, but got back up, not once but three times. Praise be to Jesus for his love for us!
  5. I can't change things. This is the hardest lesson ever.
Today, when Mary Ann sent me the photo of her trash pile, it hit me. Mary Ann threw out what she couldn't get to grow. She gave up. Her plants flourished. God showed me I must give up my ex-son-in-law. Quit hoping he will grow. Stop wishing he will be different. I'm asking Jesus to help me release him so he can find his way into the good God has prepared for him. I'm praying my release will somehow help him find a better life. I can do nothing but God can morph a caterpillar into a butterfly. And that, is a beautiful thing!

Overcoming 365,

Friday, August 10, 2018

My Next Endeavor

My next endeavor is to speak Spanish. I never dreamed at the ripe old age of 54 I would wish to learn another language. We had VBS 2018 last week at First Baptist Chatsworth. I had no idea the theme of VBS would "play out" in our Kindergarten Boys classroom. It truly was "Game On" when our class of three Latino boys; Jorge, Jake and Paschal, didn't speak a word of English!

Sloane and I were dumbfounded but not defeated. My next endeavor was making Google translate our friend. We tried our best to teach them about Jesus leaving the 99 to find one lost sheep. This is harder than it sounds. Google translated the word sheep for us as orvejah. Thankfully, Google also speaks the word through their translator. I learned animal sounds are the same in any language. Have you ever thought about that? I find it quite interesting! So, in a manner of minutes through body language and an iphone, Jorge was crawling around the floor acting as if eating grass repeating the phrase "orvejah baaaaaaa"! Sloane and I giggled as the sheep imitation caught on and all of us were being sheepishly silly.

Our little guys came to VBS on night three of five. The boys were giddy after crafts the second night. My next endeavor was to communicate Jesus loves you. I taught class alone. I left wondering if anything I said stuck. I didn't even attempt to use Google without Sloane. I spoke to them from pictures nodding my head up and down looking for a knowing nod back. Not happening! No knowing nods just dancing brown eyes. After about five minutes, I said "orvejah, baaaaaa". We laughed. The boys finished their crafts.
The next night a surprising and welcome event happened that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws. I consider it the work of a divine agency. In other words, a miracle from God happened right there in our classroom. Sloane used Translate again to ask our three amigos a question. "quien ta ama?" The artificial intelligence repeated. The boys finally understood Sloane when she asked them to listen to what her phone was saying. "quien ta ama?" Who loves you? As quickly as Paschal understood the phrase, he immediately raised his small arm and pointed straight at ME! I almost burst into tears. YES! Yes! I do love you, I squealed! I'm not sure what happened during our three days with those darling boys that made Paschal feel loved. I'm just so happy it did! How amazing our God who loves us is. For people who say it's not nice to point, they've never overcome a language barrier through the holy spirit of God. Paschal's pointed finger is a blessing I will remember forever. I pray my next endeavor is half as successful as these three nights of Vacation Bible School.

Thanks to Benny Huggins for use of the photos.

Endeavoring 365,

Friday, August 3, 2018

Does God Fulfill Our Desires?

Your relationship with God is yours. You own it. You possess it. You give it energy. Like everything in life, you treasure your relationship or trash it. You nurture and grow it by obeying what his spirit commands you to do. You, my friend, can be as close or far away from God as you want. You can use him as a "Get out of Jail free" card or you can surrender your life into his hands and wholly follow him. I'm opening with this thought to give God all the glory for the 1500 sf gray jewel pictured above, lovingly known as The Holiday House. Lisette gave it the sweet name and "it 'tuck" as Mil says! We enjoyed a glorious Summer 2018 at Mexico Beach. You might ask why I would give God the glory for our beach house? Does God fulfill our desires? I believe he does!

My grands: Milisende and Lisette.
My relationship with God began at age 19 when I asked Jesus to be my Savior. I surrendered my life to him somewhere around the age of 35. Saved, I felt free. Surrendered, I feel empowered. Empowered means to give someone the authority or power to do something. 2 Timothy 1:7 says "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." Empowered also means to unshackle, liberate, set free; make stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights. My God certainly empowers me! But does God fulfill our desires?

Many people will say God will not empower you to build a beach house. They just won't believe it. Oh, but he will and here's why. Psalm 37:4 is one of my favorite verses in the Bible and it goes like this; Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Now you're getting excited because you want some things too, right? Have you ever considered that scripture and asked yourself "Does God fulfill our desires?". I DIDN'T desire a beach house. Let me say that again. I didn't desire a beach house. Building that house is one of the scariest things I've done in my life, trusting God fully. I'm not talking about prosperity gospel here. My household of two people living on disability incomes went from zero debt to the largest debt responsibility we have ever carried! Let that sink in also. My husband and I were debt-free when we accepted the challenge God laid before us to build this house. I, personally, would be scared to death if I didn't have the power of God making me stronger.

The Lung Institute has a great article about The Health Benefits of Ocean Air. You see, I didn't desire a beach house. My toes, real or silicone, have never been stuck in the sand. The desire of my heart is to spend as much quality time as God will allow with my husband who has a serious lung disease. When Steve was diagnosed in 2012, we spent a month at the beach upon God's direction. We saw improvement in his lungs. I've been wrestling with building this God-ordained house for five years. The house is unimportant. God orchestrating our lives is priceless. I have no idea how this house will fully play into giving me my hearts desire to spend as much quality time with my husband as possible. I do know God fulfills our desires and this beach house is part of his answer to fulfill mine.

I wanted to build in our subdivision the first time I laid eyes on it. Steve did not. How can you go wrong with an address of Ocean Plantation Circle? We ended up buying a lot in Port St. Joe instead of Mexico Beach. I could not get comfortable with the lot. Everything about it was annoying, although it was .08 of a mile closer to the beach than the lot we built on. The HOA was pushy. The neighbors were rude and pushy. Yep, they bombarded us every time we simply walked onto the property. One lady, behind us in a different subdivision, sent us a letter stating we had a tree on our lot that was "leaning" toward her house and she'd appreciate it if we removed it. We removed the tiny sapling.  This particular subdivision allowed weekly or monthly rentals until we submitted our house plans to the HOA whereupon they called a "special" meeting to deny all short-term rentals. Geez!!! Does God fulfill our desires? Not with an unreasonable HOA! We left that meeting and listed our lot. The lot sold profitable in two short months.

Now this monster is being built directly in front of that lot we sold in Port St. Joe. Our planned 1200 sf tiny home would have de-valued immediately in its shadow. God always knows best!
Last piece of God's orchestrated plan for our beach house. After selling the lot, we traveled back to Mexico Beach to look again. We rode all those small streets with a vengeance searching for our lot. I asked Steve to go back to Ocean Plantation to look one more time because that subdivision was my heart's desire. We were so disappointed and maybe a little devastated when no lots were for sell. I called Sally, our real estate professional.  Sally was such a saint dealing with all my questions and indecisiveness for five years! This time, persistence paid off. Sally told us zero lots were available in OP. However, she knew a gentleman from New Jersey that might sell his. Our little piece of heaven sits on that lot. And I'll add, there are four lots for sale in OP now at 40%-50% higher than what we paid. God takes care of us in so many ways.....IF we surrender our life to his plan. I can hardly wait to share all the ways God will use his beach house!

Click this link to see pictures of our kitchen/dining room...

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Our Beach House Kitchen

Welcome to our Beach House Kitchen!

The first night my husband and I spent at our new beach house was on an air mattress. I couldn't sleep. I felt like running around the circle at 155 Ocean Plantation yelling "I did this! I did this!". Y'all I had this house plan drafted, engineered, financed and built remotely from Georgia. I am so excited about the result. I hope you like it as much as I do! Here are some of my take-aways from our beach house kitchen.

I highly recommend "box" cabinets. I had no idea box cabinets were a thing! They are actually pre-built cabinets like you buy unfinished at Lowe's or Home Depot. They are configured for your space just like custom cabinets and finished to your liking. They look fabulous! I estimate they are 25%-40% less expensive than custom cabinets but just as classy with soft close doors and drawers. I worked with a designer to customize the look I wanted although I had to arm wrestle her a little to get her to install my vision. The customization includes the glass doors, cabinets to ceiling height (9 feet), plus built-in decorative panels for the refrigerator and dishwasher. The distressed look of the cabinets aren't visible in my photos.

florida kitchen

I love the white quartz counter tops! The drop-down bar area I designed for my grandkids is a home run. I ordered the stools from Amazon for $19 each. Score! I have an "insinkerator" aka waste disposal in the sink in our beach house kitchen that I adore. I want one for my kitchen in Georgia.

beachy kitchen

The appliances are GE. The faucet is Delta. The kitchen area is small but so lovely.

small area kitchen

The dining room table and chairs are from the Trisha Yearwood Home Collection by Klaussner Furniture. Notice the angled left wall that made this dining area a difficult space to decorate. I tried two other tables and chairs, one from Ashley and one from Pier One, before Steve picked this favorite at a furniture store in Panama City. They couldn't deliver it until the end of July so I ordered it online form Nebraska Furniture Mart where it was in-stock in Dallas, TX. This beauty arrived in two weeks.

beach dining room

The wall art is from Hobby Lobby. The lighting is from a Panama City store called Lighting by Lavonne. I stressed so much over paint colors that I will do another blog detailing them. If you see anything you'd like more information on in our beach house kitchen, just leave me a comment. I'll be happy to share any of my experiences building a beach house including how to stay on budget, permitting and why you need ceiling fans in Florida! Oh and you can also hover over any of the pictures and pin them to Pinterest.

Beaching 365,

Sunday, July 15, 2018

New Location, Same Holy Experience

living water church on the beach
This sign captured my attention every time I drove by it. I've driven by it at least 30 or more times in the last month. More than that, I read it every time I drove by telling myself I have to experience church on the beach. I purposed last week to worship with fellow believers at Sunset Park on Mexico Beach at 8 am. I anticipated a new location, same Holy experience.  Last Sunday morning I woke to rain pattering on the tin roof. I rolled over to sleep purposing to attend next Sunday. This Sunday I awakened to overcast skies that looked like impending rain. The time was 7:54 am.

The battle started. In 8.6 seconds, the devil gave me all kinds of excuses. It's too late.  You'll never make it in time. It's going to rain. I rolled over and went back to sleep for about 8.6 seconds. God woke me with a cha-ching on my phone. The cha-ching was an order from my Etsy business. That simple cha-ching reminded me God takes care of me every day! My heart desires to worship him for giving me life, not just life for today, but eternally. I threw my clothes on, my hair up, slid my prosthetics on and out the door I went to a new location, same Holy experience....
sand and church
I arrived in time to walk with two other people onto the beach and take my seat. The service had already began with about 20 to 25 people seated comfortably wearing shorts, t-shirts, sandals or flip flops and sunglasses. Shortly, I wished my sunglasses weren't safely in the glass holder in my car. New location, new sunshiny experience! The pastor played the guitar leading worship and then a gentleman read a scripture. The pastor delivered the message. Prayer requests were taken and prayed for. Then, we took communion right there on the beach in a new location, same Holy experience! The surfboard served as a table for the bread and wine. We walked up for a piece of torn bread to represent Christ's body, and was instructed to dip our bread into the wine representing Christ's blood.

Pastor Gieseking titled his message "Growing in Your Mission: Grow Team!" He spoke about spiritual gifts. I love the nuggets God always gives freely to those that seek him. I've heard spiritual gifts preached many times but the fresh idea delivered today went like this:

The pastor played sports in his youth. He was quite good. He admitted he can't play sports with 20-year-old guys now, he's approaching 60. Things he did when he was 20 are no longer within his physical abilities. Ideally, the gifts you used for God when you were 20 may not be the same ones you use when you are 60. God can develop a gift in you at any time. You are not born with spiritual gifts. Your gifts develop as you grow in grace and knowledge. His message resonated with me. Many people think they become useless when they grow older. Simply untrue.

My takeaway....Our gift may shift but the goal is still the soul! You may go from community visitation to stuffing packages for community visitation. All jobs are needful. The message encouraged me. God can always use a willing vessel no matter how many cracks are visible. Truly something to remember.

So, I'm glad I got my socks sandy in a new location, same Holy experience!
sandy socks

I loved they used a sand bucket to collect the offering. I also loved their driftwood cross.
driftwood cross and offering sand bucket
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Communing with Jesus 365,

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Grace is Amazing

john 1:17

Hello from Mexico Beach, Florida! We moved into our second home here May 17th. God has prospered me many things during my meager existence but I never ever imagined this. No, I've not turned into a prosperity believer but I do believe God entrusts us with things. His grace is amazing! We live in a physical world so a lot of the things God loans us is physical. The bank and Jesus owns this house. We make payments. I plan to share it with you through this newsletter in the days ahead. 

One thing I love about God (among SO many) is he truly is everywhere. I'm sitting on the beach yesterday. BAM! Jesus speaks to my heart. I created this video as an illustration. Fingers crossed you can hear me in the video. Crank up your speakers!

Wow! Wow! Wow! WOW! Jesus is too cool! Did I say His grace is amazing? We are born with sin because we are human. Jesus died for us to take away our sin. The ocean changes the sand every time the waves push water to the shore. The reformation of the beach each day is amazing to watch. The reformation of an individual under Jesus' control is more astounding than the ocean. The definition of reform is to cause a person to abandon wrong or evil ways of life or conduct; put an end to. Grace is the one power causing permanent change in people; spiritual rebirth to an abundant life through Jesus.

Have you ever asked your mom and dad for something? Have you asked a friend to do something for you? Ask Jesus into your life the same way you asked anyone for anything! The words to repent are easy. Just say "Jesus, please forgive me. I accept your forgiveness". Getting yourself to say the words and really mean them in your heart is the difficult part. Let go of your pride. You have never felt relief like this before. The moment your soul is cleansed when Jesus washes over you, forgives you of your sin and makes you free of guilt and shame. Do it now! Just say the words...

Enjoy your summer. Enjoy your family. Enjoy your life enriched by the blessings of Jesus. When you visit the ocean, meditate upon his grace and goodness. The very hairs of your head are numbered as is every grain of sand. How miraculous to know the same God that controls the universe offers us his grace, mercy, forgiveness and blessings. The list of his gifts are too vast to count. The depth of his love is deeper than the sea.  Please feel free to contact me via email at or leave a comment.

In continual praise 365,

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Best Trunk or Treat Idea for 2018

trunk or treat
VBS is planned or completed and your mind is dreaming about the next big church activity - Trunk or Treat! Decorating the back of a car is challenging. You definitely want something fun that the kids will love and maybe entertain adults too. Good news! I have the perfect idea for you. This idea just hit me out of nowhere last year. It was a HUGE success.

I love Disney! Kids love Disney! My 2015 theme was Alice in Wonderland. Please click the link for another cool trunk idea. My mind turned to Princesses this year. How does a princess relate to a church trunk or treat theme? Jesus is the King of Kings, therefore, being his daughter, I'm a princess. My Daddy is the King of Kings. How cool! This idea works best in an SUV type vehicle.

What you'll need for the Trunk: (All links are Amazon. I receive a small commission if you buy through my link)
princess castle

I started in my garage. Use two square cardboard boxes and two tall rectangular boxes to fashion a castle tower as pictured above. I spray painted the front and sides white and then used silver to spray paint the brick look. Do this free-handed as you want the brick to look old and imperfect. If the paint runs, it only adds character! Take one of your extra square boxes and cut out the turrets to match your box sizes. Fasten the turrets to your boxes using wire ties. I put one through the front and on each side. They were quite sturdy for transport to the church.

i am the doorjesus is the king of kings

Cut two large pieces to fit the back back of your vehicle like the pictures. Ideally, the trunk resembles a drawbridge door. I attached the chains to my hatch at the top and the "I am the Door drawbridge" at the bottom with wire ties. The drawbridge is drawn and written with black wide tip marker. I spray painted the "King of Kings" sign to resemble the inside of the castle with curtains like so. Then I wrote "Our Daddy is the King of Kings" in Elmer's glue and glittered. This sign is simply stuffed inside the hatchback, no mounting needed.

I loaded all my pieces into the car and setup at the church parking lot. The weather was perfect. I didn't have any problem with the boxes standing up without being weighted. If you expect bad weather or wind, try placing a large rock inside each box for stability. After setup, we strung the lights. Using scissors, we punctured holes in the boxes to insert the lights (see picture below). Use the car converter to power the lights once it is dark.
trunk or treat idea

castle trunk or treat
Notice the three gold dishes sitting in the trunk. Pour your candy here.
The finishing touch is the costumes. 
Princesses trunk or treat

Kids and adults had so much fun meeting the prince and princesses! Such a fun night for Jesus!
Shimmer Genie
Prince Charming

I took a stool to sit beside the trunk to greet kids and for pictures. Most of the kids want their picture with the beautiful Belle and handsome prince!

One funny thing I discovered with this trunk...this 54-year-old found out most kids don't even know who Snow White is! I still enjoyed playing the part. :)

I hope you are inspired by this trunk idea. I estimate the cost to create the trunk at $150-$175 if you buy all the items. Please feel free to ask any questions via comment about details I may have overlooked or failed to include. Have fun!

Ideals 365,