His Law Is Love and His Gospel is Peace

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Before I share this post I want to begin with my favorite Christmas verses that break my heart wide open.

Verses that put my heart and mind RIGHT where they should be this season (or any season).

Really read the words.

Lincoln Brewster – O Holy Night (Another Hallelujah)

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
‘Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth
The thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
Let all of us praise His holy name
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever
His power and glory evermore proclaim
His power and glory evermore proclaim

Hallelujah…

Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born
O night divine, O night, O night Divine

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The older I get sometimes I am very aware that I don’t have the simple awe and excitement of Christmas I did as a child.

The whole Christmas season can go so fast and before we know it…it is gone.

This is obviously because I have a house to clean, bills to pay, laundry to do, groceries to buy etc.

Being a child is pretty sweet:-)

I have also figured out that when I slow down and focus on what this season is really about…my awe and excitement returns.

As an adult I have also figured out that I don’t like or react well to the busyness of any holiday.

So. I. Don’t.

We are nine days away from Christmas.

Nine days away from celebrating the birth of Christ.

Nine days away from being awoken by excited children ready to open their gifts.

Nine days away from eating way to much sugar and loving every moment of it.

Nine days away from a house of family (for some that is bliss and for others it is stressful).

Nine days away from the reality that unless you make it about more than the gifts…it is just about the gifts.

Nine days away from contentment or feeling that you didn’t get what you wanted and the next day you will go and get what you really wanted.

Nine days.

If you have gotten lost in the busyness you still have time.

You do.

You can choose right now to slow down, connect and make it about more than the gifts.

I don’t remember my mom being stressed out at Christmas.

My mom really tried to make it about Christ and the gifts were the extras.

I am grateful for a mother that taught her children how to be present in the holidays and I am getting better each year.

I have plenty of examples when I got off track.

Heck, when Jack was little we bought him so many gifts he was so tired of opening them that he started bawling.

In the early years of being a mom I was so concerned about it being perfect for my family that I lost sight of my family.

I have been more concerned about the house and keeping it clean than connecting with my guests.

I wanted to take a moment and just share some of my family’s favorite ways to make the Christmas season special.

{I would also love to hear how you make Christmas special within your own family}

I love this movie so much because it helped me to see Joseph in a completely new light.

I also LOVE  Zechariah and Elizabeth in this movie.

Did you know that Zechariah means “The Lord has remembered”.  LOVE!!!!

It has given us so many good discussions about judgement, shame and embarrassment that is still a problem with young girls pregnant today.  Jesus would never shame them…He would love them.

One of our most special activities is to handout words of kindness.

I know it blesses us even more than it blesses them.

You can read about it HERE.

We have really enjoyed doing more acts of service this Christmas season.

I am wanting to make this something we are more active about throughout the year.

It has shown us over and over that to help others feels pretty wonderful.

Each year we do some kind of devotions during Advent.

I have come across different ones that we have enjoyed based upon the children’s ages.

The past two years we have loved THIS book.

You would think this would be a no brainer but I have had to make this choice over and over.

We say no to most Christmas parties, gift exchanges, cookies exchanges but they stress me out (maybe they don’t for you and that is great).

Instead of busyness of going out we really try to plan more movies, books, ice skating, cookie making, crafting with cousins and gift making.

Whatever slowing down looks like for you…I think you will like it.

The more we make not just this season but all seasons about Him…we will show more love and experience more peace.

When your focus is Christ this season your holiday will not just feel stressed, busy and empty.

Take time to “follow on your knees” and be awed by God coming to earth.

That is love.

That is Christ.

Love!

Merry Christmas!

You are deeply loved and appreciated.

Thank you for being a part of my life and allowing me to share my heart.

I will see you after Christmas.

Acts of Service Advent Tree

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Good morning!

I have been getting a lot of questions and emails about our acts of service Advent tree that was seen in the housewalk.

I had intended to write this yesterday but you know how that goes.

Even though it is December 11 (how did that happen) you still have time to do some of the acts that I will share.

Obviously, you can create your own that work with your family too.

This idea originally came to me while I was watching Anne Marie’s Twig Tree video in Home for the Holidays.

She was creating a small twig tree to hang on the wall and I knew right away that I wanted to make it big and hang acts of service off of it.

I sat down with my mom and we started brainstorming things we could do as a family.

We even asked the children to help with a few ideas.

I typed all of the acts up in Word and printed them out.

We cut the acts of service into strips and folded them over to get them ready to stuff into the stars.

Our stars are made from craft paper using a star template I found online.

We (my mom) started to sew them all shut with the acts of service inside but my machine was driving her NUTS so I told her we could go with Plan B.

Always have a Plan B.

For half of the star we glued them shut with a glue stick (only getting glue around the edges to keep the glue off the acts of service) and we used a white gel pen to make thread marks on the outside.

It worked for me and possibly saved my mom’s sanity.

If you are going to hang the stars as shown …make sure that whether you sew or glue them shut that you include the end of the string in the star before you close it.

I then just randomly hung the stars on the twig tree.

Here are our acts of service for this year.

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I hope to do this each year as a family because

1) who needs more candy each day through December

2) who doesn’t need more times in their lives to think of others more than their selves

As much as I love, love, love the month of December if you are not careful it can turn into just shopping, eating too much and sugar comas.

I feel like each time we so something like this we take a huge exhale, slow down and focus.

I am thinking we will keep it up year around and have weekly acts of service.

I will let you know.

Thank you for asking about this and thank you Anne Marie for inspiring this project.

Home for the Holidays is still open for registration.

This course is full of projects videos for gift ideas, decor and recipes.

Come back on Friday to find out more about my brand new e-course Studying Under The Masters {becoming an apprentice} and I will also announce the winner of the $300 Dick Blick gift card.

Some of my Favorites {Come and Join Us}

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I was inspired all last week with the 2013 Holiday Housewalk!

32 creative bloggers all coming together and opening their home was so much fun to be a part of.

I loved so much about each home but I put together a little collage of some of my favorites.

Once I put them together I thought it was obvious how much I love a touch of black in my decor and typography!

If you want to see the whole tour from the beginning click HERE.

You can find tons of inspiration by checking out the Deck The Halls Holiday Housewalk Pinterest page.

Now you can be a part of the walk too!

Jen is having a linky party where YOU can link up and share your home all dressed up for Christmas.

I can’t wait to see your home.

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 Handmade is my favorite gift to give!

Kelly is having a HUGE Kelly’s Favorite Handmade Things giveaway!

Come and celebrate the beauty of handmade.

Kelly's Favorite Handmade Things Giveaway!  eclecticallyvintage.com

 

Kelly – Eclectically Vintage (that’s me) – Little Bit Country, Little Bit Rock and Roll vintage silver spoon keychain

Stamped Silver Keychain eclecticallyvintage.com

Lucy – Craftberry Bush – stag watercolor art pillow (Shop Craftberry Bush)

Stag pillow

Angie – Knick of Time Interiors – hand painted Milk & Cream on glass sign (Shop Knick of Time)

Milk and Cream Co. Sign available from Knick of Time

Jeanne – JuNxtaposition – vintage typewriter key necklace (your choice) (Shop JuNxtaposition)

typewriter key necklace

Jen – Jennifer Rizzo – set of 3 original art silkscreened dish towels

Handmade Santa dishtowel

Melaine – My Sweet Savannah – salvaged wood Christmas tree (Shop My Sweet Savannah)

Salvaged wood Christmas tree

Jen – City Farmhouse – hand painted Ski Lodge sign

Handmade ski lodge sign

Jeanne – Jeanne Oliver Designs – Sadie Handbag or $89 shop credit (Shop Jeanne Oliver Designs)

Jeanne Oliver Sadie handbag

Lucy – Bel Monili – vintage buttons and baubles bracelet (your choice) (Shop Bel Monili)

Vintage bauble bracelet

Denise – The Painted Home – music sheet flowers in new blue mason jar

vintage music sheet flowers

Jade – Jaderbomb – gold glittered PEACE letters (Shop Jaderbomb)

Glittered Peace letters

Laura – Top This Top That – burlap wreath

burlap wreath

 

{This giveaway is open to Continental US residents only}

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Vintage Christmas Tree With Balsam Hill

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If you have had a chance to see our home dressed up for Christmas you will see over and over that I love vintage.

I love beautiful things that tell a story.

No matter where we travel I am always drawn to the art and the history of the culture.

If I have the choice to buy something new or go searching for something that may be a bit tarnished…I usually choose the tarnished.

Even when decorating I search for ways to incorporate my love of vintage, art, textures and layers.

I think that sometimes the holidays can feel overwhelming if you think your home, your tree or your gifts need to look like others.

We all have a style and have beautiful things that we surround ourselves with.

You don’t need to look far to find the inspiration you need for your whole home this holiday.

This year when I was offered the opportunity to try a Balsam Hill tree I jumped at the chance.

I decided to put the tree in my art studio and to make the theme of the tree the vintage items that I have around my studio.

My son and I were dumping out vintage hardware, crystals and vintage treasures from my trips in Europe, Mexico and even local flea markets.

Before long I had vintage French pocket watches, French laundry labels, French convent chore name sticks and vintage buttons ready to decorate the tree.

I found some of my favorite ornaments, some red ticking ribbon, star garland and starting playing with the tree.

It seemed perfect to make the final touch to the tree some pine cones I had collected in our neighborhood, simple cream candles, “chalkboard” ornaments created from Pickmonkey and of course the star made of twigs.

Under the tree was my beautiful vintage grain sack tree skirt and packages wrapped with our hand stamped wrapping paper.

I want to fill our home with beautiful items that we can use.

Look around your home.

What are you drawn to and what do you collect?

Have you ever thought to decorate with your vintage china, your grandma’s lace or your favorite art supplies?

Did you notice that I snuck three vintage paintbrushes in my tree?

It is in my art studio…why not!

Do you crochet or knit? Your tree would look stunning with crocheted garland and ornaments.

Your tree would look amazing with white lights, berries and a pine cone garland.

How about decorating your tree with white lights and black and white photos of your family tree?

Your decor should reflect you, your passions and your family.

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When I was asked to go to the main page of Balsam Hill and pick out a tree I felt completely spoiled.

I sat with my children looking at all of the trees and to be honest…it was hard to choose.

We finally decided on the Nantucket Blue Spruce Christmas Tree because of the color, how real the branches looked and it was a smaller tree.

We chose the 6 1/2 foot and prelit with white lights.

I thought it looked beautiful in the photo without one ornament.

I am a live tree girl so I didn’t know what to expect.

When the box arrived I asked Kelly to open the box and help me put it together because…

1) I don’t like to read directions

2) I don’t like to read directions

Kelly called me to the garage 5 minutes later.

He started to laugh and told me to look at the tree.

I was worried.

Then I saw what he was talking about.

It was perfectly put together in minutes.

I think it took him longer to open the box than put the tree together.

He told me I could have done it without reading directions:-)

The tree was gorgeous. Serious!  So pretty and came in three sections that snap into each other and it is all prelit.

When we put it into my studio to decorate it my son touched it and still asked if it was real.

I think THAT is impressive.

I think we should also go back to the fact that you won’t have to read any instructions:-)

Thank you Balsam Hill for the beautiful tree!

Here is a sneak peek at the gorgeous (and I mean gorgeous) tree of Courtney of French Country Cottage.

I am honored to be sharing my Vintage Christmas Tree as part of

Balsam Hill’s 12 Bloggers of Christmas Series!

Here are the links to all of the Christmas tree posts.

Monday December 2nd:

Vanessa (At The Picket Fence)

Ashley (Cherished Bliss)

Tuesday December 3rd:

Beth (Unskinny Boppy)

Candace (Vintage News Junkie)

Wednesday December 4th:

KariAnne (Thistlewood Farms)

Kristin (My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia)

Thursday December 5th:

Kim (Sand and Sisal)

Laura (Finding Home)

Friday December 6th:

Courtney (French Country Cottage)

Jeanne (Jeanne Oliver)

Saturday December 7th:

Jen (Jen Rizzo)

Heather (At The Picket Fence)

You will love all of the inspiration!

2013 Holiday Housewalk {Welcome To Our Home}

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Good morning!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

It is hard to believe that we are into the Christmas season.

I am so honored to be included in Jennifer Rizzo’s 2013 Holiday Housewalk.

If you are coming from KariAnne’s blog I want to welcome you.

KariAnne’s home is always so beautiful and full of lovely touches.

I hope you enjoy a peek into our home.

My children are thrilled that the house smells good, the tree is up and that presents are beginning to appear under the tree.

This next month is so special to our family as we celebrate the birth of Christ, love on others around us and slow down to enjoy the season.

Welcome to our home…

{Our Advent wreath this year. Each star has an act of kindness inside to do throughout our community}

{My studio}

{Come back later this week to see this beautiful tree by Balsam Hill all dressed up}

{The Living Room}

{ A peek into our library/piano room}

{The kitchen}

{This runner was created from the beautiful print made by Word Art by Karen. You can find the print HERE.}

{Butler’s pantry and coffee station}

{Our window seat at the top of the stairs}

{Madolyn’s room}

{Jack’s Room}

{Benjamin’s room.  I left it exactly as he set it up for you:-)}

{Our bedroom}

In the midst of your shopping, wrapping, decorating and baking we hope you have a big ol’ pillow fight.

It really helps especially when your kids are tired of cleaning:-)

We hope you have a beautiful Christmas.

Thank you so much for stopping by!  What a joy it is to share a bit of our life and home.

{go to the bottom of the post for FAQ about our home}

I know you will love the next house.

Head on over to The Yellow Cape.

You are going to leave so inspired!

To take the tour from the beginning click the button below…

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To see our house in the 2012 Holiday Housewalk click HERE.

You can connect in our online creative community HERE.  There are over 8,000 members taking creative and lifestyle online courses!

If you want to be inspired this Christmas to create your own decor and gifts I know you will love these two online courses …

If you have always wanted to learn how to paint with watercolors or want to paint your own Christmas cards this year you will love this online course…

You can see our bags HERE.

If you love vintage …

FAQ about our home and where we have purchased some of our items.

*Woven basket, vintage grain sack tree skirt, vintage linen bags on each plate, vintage French bells, lavender sachets are all from Dreamy Whites.

*Many of our furniture pieces, the boxwood wreaths, architectural pieces, milking bench, Patience/Strength mugs are from Old Glory Antiques.

*The vintage ironstone, vintage caddies, French cutting boards are from Dwell.

*If my vintage French linen is not from a trip I have taken I often find them at French Larkspur.

*The “Fall on Your Knees” painting in my studio is from The House of Belonging.

*The wool pom pom wreath, chunky throw in the window seat photos, Merry Christmas banner on our mantel and many of our mugs are from Anthropologie.

*The star idea out of twigs came from the online class The 12 Artsy Ornaments of Christmas.

*The garland on the tree made from finger knitting is from the online course Creatively Made Home.

*The advent wreath was inspired from a twig tree project from Home for the Holidays.

*The “Sweet Melissa” cow print on wrapped canvas is from Paige Knudsen.

*Red Cross pillow made from vintage fabrics on Jack’s bed is from Komedal Road.

I will try to answer more of your questions in the comments section.

Sneak Peeks {Week One}

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I can’t believe that the first week of Creatively Made Home {Home for the Holidays} is almost here!

Only TWO more days!

I wanted to share just a little, tiny sneak peek of week one.

Week one will be all about decorating for the holidays.

Besides all of the decor project videos there will also be videos from each of the teachers, videos about their favorite holiday memories and even videos about when things didn’t go as planned.

Tuesday morning the course will begin!

Join us and start loving on your home, friends and family with new inspiration this holiday season.

Meet the teachers…

{You are going to freak out}

Edie Wadsworth {Life In Grace}

Jennifer Rizzo {Jennifer Rizzo Designs}

Cathy Penton {Cathy Penton Designs}

Carol Spinski {Raised In Cotton}

Andrea Fowler {Keeping It Cozy}

KariAnne Wood {Thistlewood Farms}

Jennifer O’Brien {City Farmhouse}

Anne Marie Klaske {Na-Da Farm Life}

and me:-)

I want this course to be a reminder of what you bring into your home, your family and the beauty that your life and gifts bring to those around you.

We all desire for the ones we love to leave our homes knowing that they were welcomed and loved.

My hope is that this course will help you to slow down and find the joy and beauty in the holidays.

What Is Included

* Each week you will have amazing truthful videos from the nine teachers.

* There will be 30+ project videos.

These will be incredible videos that include everything from cooking, gift giving and decorating.

·      Tons of beautiful house photos from each of the nine women

*Supply lists and PDFs for each project

*A digital recipe book of the recipes shared in this course

The course is available for two years!

This course is about loving your home, loving your family and blessing those around you….and having fun doing it.

Join me and eight other creative bloggers for interviews, decorating, gift giving and cooking videos.

This course will change how you love on your friends and family this holiday season.

I also hope it will change how you love on your family day to day.

To read more click HERE.

To register click HERE.

You can also pay below.




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I wanted to also let you know that we have new cuffs in the shop.

Yummy!

What Makes It Special For You? {i bet it is the little things}

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It was November 2001, days before Thanksgiving and only a few days before my sister’s wedding.

Family had flown in from all over the country and we were hosting Thanksgiving dinner in our first little home in Ft. Collins.

Jack was just a little over 1 year old and this would be the first Thanksgiving meal I had ever prepared for more than just us.

I was excited about having my aunts and uncles in our home and blessing them like they had done for me over and over while I was growing up.

I was using my favorite entertaining cookbook (at the time) and excited to plan out the whole meal and put together the table setting.

I like things to be pretty but even more than pretty…I have always wanted people to leave our home knowing how much they are loved.

If you can imagine a 150 sq ft kitchen and eating area being used to prep and cook food for 10 people.

All of the women were in the kitchen working together (very closely).

I think there were five-six of us chopping, boiling, roasting:-)

It was quite a sight.

The best part was that I had never cooked a turkey this big before and it scared the crap out of me.

We were making butternut squash and apple soup from scratch and making the biggest mess you can possibly make in 150 square feet.

I was cooking with some of my favorite people.

I was with my mom, sister, my Aunt Jeannette and my cousin Jen.

We were laughing at all of the mishaps and just enjoying being together.

The turkey wasn’t done on time.

Shocker.

We had to put it back in and wait a little longer.

Jack had a melt down right as we were sitting down to eat.

We squeezed 10 people around a little table and I am sure more than knees were touching and not one person complained.

{I can’t believe we even found this photo}

The boys all washed the dishes and gave the girls a break after dinner.

It was perfect in all the ways that mattered.

I remember little about that day except the joy of being with family in my kitchen.

The help, the conversation, the love, the laughter and the joy I felt to host Thanksgiving dinner at OUR home.

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I asked each of the girls that are joining me in the brand new e-course Home for the Holidays to share with you a favorite tradition they love.

If you notice for each of the girls it isn’t something expensive or flashy.

It isn’t about perfection.

It is about friends and family.

It is about creating memories and traditions.

What is one of your favorite holiday traditions?

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Creatively Made Home {home for the holidays} begins October 15th.

{ less than two weeks away}

This is a three week online course PACKED with videos on traditions, memories, cooking, gift giving and decor.

This course will change how you love on your friends and family this holiday season.

I also hope it will change how you love on your family day to day.

To read more click HERE.

To register click HERE.

You can also pay below.