Monday, October 31, 2011

What If?

If you’re like me, you’re probably concerned about the direction our country is headed. What if you had another choice? A real conservative choice?

But I don’t want to persuade you or convince you. Please check him out for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

Read more about Herman Cain and what he stands for here.

What do you think?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Bench Makeover

My mother’s friend, Ms. Sally, gave Mama a bench that has been stored above the garage that is now The Cedar Loft. Since she had not done anything with it, Mama graciously gave it to us to be used in the loft. Thank you, Mama!

I forgot to purposely take a photo of it "before", but I found one in a shot that I took of the general loft area before we got started on it:

We finally got around to giving it a makeover! Jason used the sprayer and painted it the same red (heirloom red) as the kitchen cabinets in the loft. I then distressed it with my favorite antiquing glaze and then we gave it one layer of polyurethane to bring out the distressing.  Actually these pictures really don't show the distressing that well.  It shows up much more in person.

Here's the bench now:

I love all the little dings and dents in it. I think they show up a little more with the polyurethane. Actually, I think those dents are kind of special. Ms. Sally’s daughter, Tracy, was a friend of mine through school. Ms. Sally says that bench sat in their hallway near the telephone and those dents came from all the times her three kids sat on the bench talking on the phone.

When I first saw the bench, I knew it would be perfect placed at the foot of the bed for additional seating space for the small loft. I love the way it looks there.

Every little detail that we add just seems to more character to The Cedar Loft. It is coming along slowly now, but we will eventually get it the way we want it. In a way, not being able to do it all at once is a blessing in itself, because it gives us something to look forward to. And that’s always a good thing!

Thank you so much to old and new followers, for your visits and your comments. I’m thinking about a giveaway when I hit 500 followers, which means I need to give my carpenter some ideas too. Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Faithful Friday - "Encouragement"

I’m a little later today getting my Faithful Friday post on. But I didn’t forget! Faithful Fridays was started by my daughter, Joy, as a way to set aside one day a week to share something from our Christian Walk with the blogging world. Sharing should be done everyday, in the way we live, and the words we say and in our relationships, but we like to specifically set aside a day and this is that day. If you would like to participate, just grab the button, and leave Joy a comment here, letting her know you are participating, so we can visit your blog too.

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that wasn’t in need of encouragement at some point in their life. We all have low points or just a time in our life where we need a little push, or know that someone cares about what we’re going through. Sometimes that comes through family or friends, and that’s great. We should encourage one another. But family and friends, because we are all human, will fail us. Not intentionally, but because we are all imperfect. However, there is One that we can depend on no matter what. First you have to know Him. His name is Jesus. And his invitation to know Him is open to anyone.

“Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13 (NIV)

And that’s not by how good we are or things we do, it’s a gift from God to anyone who desires it:

“For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

So you see, it doesn’t matter where you’ve been, what you’ve come from, how bad you’ve been, how good you are, we all come to Christ the same way! And you don’t have to be in church to do this. You can do this anywhere; wherever you are. Jesus meets you right where you are.

After you know Him, then you have a special relationship with God and He is with you, everywhere you go and everything you do. He gives us encouragement through promises in His Word. And God’s Word can be trusted and depended on for all aspects of a Christian’s life:

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Honestly, I don’t know how folks get through this life without that assurance. I know that I can depend on God, no matter what. If everyone else fails me, or if everything falls apart, He cares. He won’t leave me or forsake me. That is the only true comfort that exists.

Here are few scriptures of promise from God’s Word that especially encourage and comfort me:

“Be strong and courageous. Do no fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

And this one is one of my very favorite sources of encouragement and comfort:

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

And there are more:

“It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

“Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29

God didn’t promise that we wouldn’t have problems, troubles, or tribulation. Because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve, sin entered this world, at which time entered pain, death, and suffering. But God did promise us that He would be with us, giving us peace and comfort. We must seek Him for this and trust Him. God is faithful, folks. It’s true!

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world”. John 16:33

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

And He promises to guide us and carry us through these times:

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” Psalm 32:8

And here's another of my very favorite ones for guidance because a lot of times I can’t understand why I’m going through a particular trial or why this is happening, but God tells me to not worry about understanding it but to lean on him and trust Him in all my ways and He will carry me through and guide me:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him; and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

And lest you think these words were meant for previous times and not for modern days, know that Jesus Christ never changes. What was real and true back then, is real and true for today.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

I know how discouraging this world can be. Whether you’re going through something emotional, something financial, loss of a loved one, stress, depression, a tragedy, hurtful relationships, feeling of being alone, thoughts that you can’t escape, and more…….God cares! He yearns for you to seek Him, lean on Him, trust Him, and let Him carry you through.

I hope this encourages you as much as it does me. Remember first you have to know Him, and then boy when you do, just look what you have! You have something that has overcome this world! You have victory in any circumstance.

And can I add one more thing? If you’ve never seen the movie, Facing the Giants, watch it! I think God wants us to give Him praise through bad times as well as through the good times. Just continue to trust Him through it all. This movie is a good example of all of this. You will be encouraged watching it. One of my favorite quotes from it has to do with a point where fear and faith collides. When they do, will your faith win or your fear? Watch this movie! It is available on DVD.

Oh, and another thing..... When you get in your car or you’re at home where you can listen to the radio, find K-Love on your radio. It’s positive, encouraging, and uplifting music that continually feeds my soul. It’s available across the nation in most every city. You can actually listen at home on the link I provided above, and you can go here to find a radio station near you. Why not let these words flow into your ears and to your heart as you drive or are at home relaxing? I promise you that you will be blessed and encouraged!

I hope these words and God's Word encourages you as much as it does me. And from me to you, here’s a big hug to go with it too!

**EDITED** I just came from Joy's blog to preview her post (and she previews mine) and we both just discovered, without knowing what the other one was doing, that our posts coincide with each other. So please go over and read her post. She talks about how God can use your sufferings for Him and how some of these times when you need encouragement are actually a blessing. Read it here.

Be encouraged……and be blessed!
~ Tammy ~

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Me......From A to Z.

I've really enjoyed reading "Me...From A to Z"  on several of my blogging buddies' blogs. I thought it would be fun, so I decided to participate. So did Joy.....and you can read hers here.

Okay, here goes:

A – Age. I just turned 48 in August and I’m very glad and blessed to have another birthday to celebrate!

B – Bed. We still sleep in a full size (double) bed. No queen or king size. Until a few months ago, it was Luke in the bed with us too until he decided that he would sleep with Joy (he doesn’t sleep in the beautiful bed Jason made him), and that he would keep Joy warm and daddy could keep mama warm. I feel like we have SO much room now.

C – Chores I hate. Hmm….I think that would have to be cleaning the shower in the master bathroom. It’s hard to reach it all without just getting in and getting totally yucky!

D – Dogs. No dogs now. We have one very spoiled cat named Bambi.

E – Essential to start my day. Well I don’t want to ever start my day without praying. Other than that, I do want my diet dew.

F – Favorite color – Red. Most definately red.

G – Gold or silver? – Neither one really. If I have to pick, I’d have to say I like silver better. I do like my earrings, and probably prefer silver between the two. However, my wedding ring is gold, so I do love gold for that reason.

H – Height. I’m 5’7”. One thing I’ve always liked….being relatively tall.

I – Instrument I play. Piano. I love the piano. I started taking lessons when I was 10 and began teaching lessons when I was about 14 to fill in for my teacher when she couldn’t teach. I started playing piano in church at age 14 also. I am now a piano teacher. I got my piano for my 12th birthday so it's special to me.

J – Job Title. Christian. That's the most important one. I really love being wife and mom, although I don’t really consider that a job. Let’s see, homemaker, piano teacher, Mary Kay beauty consultant, homeschool coordinator, blogger....

K – Kids. I have 3. I would have loved to have a house full of kids. What is not to love about kids? I love teaching them and have taught kids in church and still do, as well as homeschooling my own.

L – Live Where? In the Mid-South; with farm fields around.

M – Make of car. (Black) Mazda 3 Sport. Love the gas mileage, but it is small.

N – Nicknames – By my daddy: “Toots”. By Jason: “Tiger”, “babe or baby”, “hon or honey”, and he calls Joy and me “his girls”. By a previous employer as a teenager: “Tammy Tutu”.

O – Overnight hospital stay – I think I had several as a baby. I was sick as a baby to the point that my dad wasn’t sure if he wanted to have more kids. Luckily my mom talked him into it, or my brother, Richie, might not be around today. In my adulthood, my only overnight hospital stay was when I was in the hospital giving birth to Ms. Joy Max.

P – Pet Peeve. – I really don’t like to be lied to about anything by anyone. But the little nit-picky thing is probably that I can’t stand people smacking their gum. I have been known to take it away from piano students. (Mean, mean, teacher, I know). It’s a joke around our house to not give Jason gum because I tell him he doesn’t know how to chew it – he kind of has a sort of way that I call “cocky” when he chews gum. Told you I was nit-picky about it.

Q - Quote from a movie. – Around our house for a few years, we’ve jokingly done quotes from Nacho Libre. I love several quotes from Facing the Giants and Courageous – one that I remember especially was “the point where fear and faith collide”. I like that. I also like from Facing the Giants, "With God, all things are possible".

R – Right or left handed? – Right handed, but I do some things as a left-handed person would do, such as I hold a baby in my right arm and feed them with my left. I hold my purse on my right shoulder. I have always placed my children in their crib or lay them down in the manner that a left-handed person does (as in putting their head at the opposite end of the bed). My mother tells me I’m confused. Also I when I sit down certain items, I might turn them as a left- handed person does (such as pitchers with handles).

S – Siblings. I have one brother, Richie, who is 4 years younger than me. My parents lost twin girls before me, so had they lived, I would have twin sisters that would be 51 years old.

That's my brother, Richie, and his family (before Sydney & Ellie).

T – TV Shows. – We don’t watch TV; no cable or satellite; only Netflix and DVDs. I would have to say that I have always loved Little House on the Prairie though.

U – Underwear. - What?

V – Veggie I hate. Spinach

W – What makes me late? – Getting all of our school done, getting Luke ready, then remembering to take everything I need for where I’m going since we live a ways from town and I try to take care of everything I can when we make trips to town.

X – X-rays. – None lately. Have never broken a bone except my little pinky finger. Do mammograms count?

Y – Yummy food. – Mexican is my favorite! I also love Italian and Asian food though!

Z – Zoo Animals - Well I think visiting the monkeys is fun and the most entertaining. My brother and I used to stand in front of the monkeys for the longest and watch them. My brother could make this sound just like them and get them all going….making the sounds. It’s the kind that their throats puff up when they’re making the sounds. I also thought that the orangutans were interesting but they sometimes are kind of scary because they stare so much.

What scares me? – Well I really don’t like snakes at all. Not any kind of snake. Don’t even tell me there are good snakes. That doesn’t work. I don’t like them. I don’t like lizards either. And I don’t like horror movies. The direction our country is headed also scares me. Oh, and I'm afraid of heights.

And 5 Things You Didn't Know About Me:

1) I love to smell coffee but I don't like to drink it.

2) I don't like to go out without my makeup if I can help it. I even got up early the morning after Joy was born and put it on to be ready for visitors.

3) I would love to adopt again.

4) My middle name is Lyn. (only one N).

5) When I was little, I always said I was naming my daughter Laura. I still like that name too. (Joy is named after my mom and Jason's mom and Joy just fits her anyway).

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Little Cabin in the Woods

Peaceful. Relaxing. Serene. Beautiful. Refreshing. Those are just a few of the words that describe our little getaway at the little cabin in the woods.

And to think that it’s less than an hour’s drive from our home is encouraging because I foresee more little hopeful getaways in our future.  :)

But, I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

And yes, it was cold enough for a fire.  So cozy!

Joy's friend, Christina, went with us.

Luke hung right in there with us through all the hiking and kept up like a champ!

We found a tree, along the trail, carved with Jason and Joy's initials.  :)

It was a greatly needed simple retreat for us all, next to nature. We’re home now and of course, there’s no place like home. :)

Thank you so much for stopping by today! Have a great week!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Faithful Friday - "I Trust in Jesus"

Earlier this week, as we were preparing for our mini vacation, I was thinking ahead to what I would like to post for this Faithful Friday. I wanted to get a post scheduled for Friday, since we were leaving on Wednesday. Several things came to mind, but nothing really felt right. So I did nothing. Now I know why.

For quite some time now, for probably almost two years, Jason and I have been praying about some changes in our lives. We’ve just turned it over to the Lord and asked Him to lead us and to have His way and show us His plan for us. It really has seemed like nothing was happening – everything was the same – and we really weren’t seeing a real answer to this prayer and we kept wondering why God wasn’t answering or showing us. And we didn’t want to act ourselves and make wrong decisions that were of our own doing, instead of His, so we’ve just been waiting for God’s Will to unfold concerning this. And waiting isn’t easy.

Well, as I write this post on Thursday afternoon (and schedule it to post for Friday a.m.), we are away on our little vacation, snug and cozy in our cabin, our family (minus Colt) plus Joy’s friend Christina. While here, just earlier today, Jason received news that will affect us a great deal financially. Not exactly the news we want to hear anytime, let alone on vacation. And not exactly the news we hoped to hear in answer to our prayer either. However, after getting this news, I know I should have been worried and even depressed, but honestly I’m not. I feel more of a peace. This is not of me, but only because I know God is in control. God is good. He loves us and promises He won’t leave us. If he cares enough for the lilies of the field and the sparrows, how much more He cares for His children!

So then, I also had the answer to what I would post for Faithful Friday. I know this has to be part of God’s plan for us and in the days and weeks to come, reality will set in and it’s going to be tough and I’m sure my human nature is going to kick in at some point and I will worry and Jason will worry. I had to put it here so that when we see God’s will unfold, all can see what God can do and will do if we trust in Him. And it is our desire to trust Him completely! And because I know I have Christian friends that read this blog, and I’m asking you to please pray for our family. We trust in Jesus to handle this and not only carry us through, but to give us Victory in it, and we will give Him the honor and glory for it!

Thanks in advance for your prayers, as we trust in Jesus and wait on Him to show us His plan.

If you would like to share something for Faithful Friday, we'd love for you to join in. Just grab the Faithful Friday button above and click over to Joy's blog and leave her a comment letting her know you participated, so we can come visit you too. :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

This is the Stuff.........

I love moments like this. In a rare moment (on camera), Luke cooperated and sang with Joy. Notice the foot motion. And they’re holding their pretend microphones. Yeah, “This is the Stuff” I definitely treasure! :)

** Song - This is the Stuff (by Francesca Battistelli) **

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Pinch of Autumn (The Cedar Loft)

Since we’ve been staying out in the Cedar Loft on Friday nights, I just had to add a “pinch” of fall out there.

The center of the table:

Three simple pumpkins on the bar:

Linda of Parker’s Paradise sent me another little fall goodie envelope the other day, so when I opened it, I knew immediately where at least part of it was going…..into The Cedar Loft! Thank you, Linda! You are SO sweet!

It was more bittersweet (like she sent me last year which I reused in the house this year)! I think having bittersweet sprinkled throughout just oozes autumn! So I knew adding that to the loft would definitely give it the touch of fall it needed! It added instant cozy, I think. :)

On top of the refrigerator

I have plans to cover that outlet.  :)

She also sent this little “Autumn Blessings” stitched pillow tuck that she made. Actually Mr. Luke helped figure out where to put it. He was trying it out different places. (I guess he can’t help himself with a Mama that walks around tweaking with her decorating constantly). And he really did come up with a good spot, so there it stayed! I added it to the fabric pumpkins that Gina made me. I think it’s perfect there. This is in the house, not the loft.

And slowly, but surely, I’m adding a little more décor to the loft. I will share it with you later, when I have added more. My goodness, before I know it, it will be Christmas décor time and I can’t wait to add Christmas touches to the loft too!

Oh, and this is the fabric I’m thinking of using for the valance above the bed and the tier for the dormer window. What do you think?

Thanks so much for stopping by! I appreciate each and every reader and comment!


Friday, October 14, 2011

Faithful Friday - "You Never Know"

You never know just who might be watching, reading, or listening to what you have to say. I knew that already, and I take very seriously what I put out there on my blog for others to read. I always pray that God will use me, in the way I live my life, as well as what I write. Well, what a confirmation and blessing it was to hear that God used me through something I wrote. I was brought to tears, with a smile on my face, as I opened my inbox to find an email from Sarah W., all the way from England. Sarah had emailed me awhile back telling me that she read my blog and thanked me for what I share. She also shared with me at that time that she had come to Christ, as did her husband and daughter. Well back to yesterday’s email that I opened, there was even more good news and to think I played a tiny part in such a blessing. I asked Sarah if I could share with my readers today on Faithful Friday, and she said she would be honored for me to share it and that she wanted to be an encouragement to others. So here’s Sarah’s email. Thank you, Sarah!  And congratulations! :)

Hello Tammy,

Do you remember me…the girl from England who became a Christian about a year and a half ago? I sent you an email months ago to tell you I was so inspired by your blog, and I have followed it avidly ever since then! We read about your talk with your husband about having more children (before you adopted Luke). Well, on discussing with my husband about Christian families having Godly offspring and passing on their faith through the next generation, we decided to have another child! So I am 16 weeks pregnant now, and this is pretty amazing as our other kids are 13 and 18 (I am 38) and my husband always said he didn't want anymore! (he is 41 and felt he might be too old, but changed his mind obviously!) But the Lord has really worked in our hearts and changed our views of having more children. We can see now that it is His ultimate blessing for us. Seeing the photos of Joy showing such obvious love and care for Luke, really spoke to my heart too! Anyway I just thought you might like to know that what you write on your blog can contribute to the spiritual journey of others...and even help to bring another life into this world- Praise the Lord!!! I will keep you posted!

Love in Jesus,
Sarah W. :O) xxx

I want to encourage all Christians out there to share what you can, when you can, because we all need encouragement. And although you might think you don’t have anything extraordinary to share, you never know just who might need to hear what you have to say. Each one of us have different experiences and by sharing our experiences, we never know when we may be helping or encouraging someone that may be going through the exact same thing, whether that be a hardship or just a new chapter in their life or spiritual journey. By sharing what God has done for us, it encourages other to not give up hope and to trust in the Lord because He cares about even the smallest of things when it concerns His children.  And sometimes, it might just play a part in another child coming into this world into a Christian family. :) Can you see me beaming here?

Faithful Fridays is just one way we can share. My daughter, Joy, came up with the idea awhile back of setting aside one day a week to share on our blogs (hers and mine) what God lays on our heart or an experience or answered prayer from our Christian walk, in hopes that we may encourage other Christians along their spiritual journey, and to invite others to join us. We would love for you to participate! Just grab the Faithful Friday button and leave Joy (or me) a comment letting us know you are participating, so we can read your post and be encouraged as well!

Another thing……..if you haven’t seen the movie, “Courageous” yet, please…….GO SEE IT! And take your tissues with you, because when you’re not laughing, you will be crying! It is a wonderful movie!

Oh, and one more is my sweet hubby's 51st birthday! I want to wish Jason a Happy Birthday! You make 51 look good, honey! And thank you for being a "courageous" man! I love you! :)

Be Blessed!
~ Tammy ~

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Pioneer Days

The pioneer days are absolutely my favorite time period in history! I’ve always felt that way, even since my childhood. It was evident by the names I chose for my dolls (old fashioned ones), the things I pretended (traveling in a covered wagon and living on a prairie), stories I wrote (wrote a book called “Country Girl”), books I read (books from the pioneer era), and the shows I loved to watch (greatly anticipated every episode of Little House on the Prairie).

As much as I love the pioneer days, I am still very grateful for many of our modern conveniences. I really don’t care for outhouses. And yes, I have had my experiences with those at my Aunt Jo and Uncle Wayne's cabin. :) I also like my washing machine. They washed them by hand, but then again, they didn’t have the (unnecessary) excess of clothing we have these days.

I think what appeals to me about this time period is the simple way of life. I especially like the way life was centered around the family in every way. I really like their morals much more than these days' morals. I even like their dresses, bonnets, and aprons as well as the guys’ overalls and suspenders. And of course, the pioneer homes (especially log ones) appeal to me, as well as their simple décor.

And speaking of simple décor, I thought I’d share a little with you from a homeschool field trip we took a couple of weeks ago. It was a pioneer homestead complete with homes, school, church, blacksmith, and more. The folks were dressed in attire from the pioneer days sharing with us and making things such as sorghum, soap, brooms, quilts, kettle popcorn, etc. I’d thought I’d share a little of the pioneer days for all of you out there that share this love of the pioneer days with me! :)

And you know I have to share one of my kiddos......  :)  And I loved this one.  They were listening to the men playing the guitars and singing on the front porch of one of the cabins.

And back in April while in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, we also visited another little walk through pioneer village. Here’s more from that day:

And what pioneer loving person doesn’t love episodes of Little House on the Prairie? We most certainly have been enjoying them! My mom owns a few of the seasons on DVD (and has loaned them to us), so our family has been watching an episode or two every evening, beginning with Season 1.  Just about every episode teaches a great moral lesson and I get to take in all that (prim) prairie décor in the Ingalls’ cabin! And I love their prairie cabin! I actually feel like I have my own little prairie cabin now with The Cedar Loft.  :)

I know not everyone shares this love of pioneer days as a favorite time period in history. I have a friend that just loves everything about the medieval times. So what about you? What’s your favorite time period in history?