Monthly Archives: March 2011

Is your house a “home”?

Is your house a “home”?

Funny how you learn what things are important to you in a home over the years. Like that perfect sun-lit window over the kitchen sink that you can stare out at a green leafed, bird-filled tree while scrubbing a crusty casserole dish after dinner.  Or, the bright and dewy morning sun streaming through your breakfast nook window lighting your morning newspaper.

It takes many years and some mistakes to come to realization that the light is missing inside your home set in a lovely tree filled lot.

You really like that two story clapboard with it’s wrap around porches holding comfy old wicker chairs, the perfect hideaway to sink into a novel after the kids have bathed and been tucked into their beds far away up the stairs. How you smile when you lay on your daughters bed and realize she has a birds-eye view of the comings and goings of your sociable neighborhood right from her own snugly nest.

You also recognize the importance of architectural choices. It had cost a bit more to raise the ceiling heights to ten or twelve feet, but when you entered the room for the first time you felt small in that ten by twelve bedroom. Or the placement of that oval window in the staircase landing that adds just enough light during the day to make the trip up the stairs to put away the laundry just a bit more enjoyable. You listen for the telltale creak in the hardwood floor as someone late in the night tip toes to their bedroom. And it had been wise to expand the laundry to make room for the second refrigerator or add on that covered slab to install a summer kitchen.

A house quickly becomes a home when a little more thought and planning goes into the process. Proof you have done it right comes when upon entering your house after seventeen years and you still say…”I love this old house.”



a perfect day?

a perfect day?

Treasures from the sea....

Sunday marks the first day of Spring. The winter was long and although tolerable, the break in the weather is welcomed.

People are friendlier on my walks and bike rides to the ocean. They wear bright colors and expose their milky white skin in hopes of easing into that beautiful sun-kissed look.

The flowers are perky and colorful and the grass has finally turned a beautiful light green. Vegetable plants, herbs and flowers fill local nurseries as the cars line up to score the perfect mix for this years garden design. Mowers are humming up and down the street as the gardens are cleared and replanted and fresh new mulch is spread in preparation for our annual Players Championship.

The birds are plentiful in the bright blue sky. Today I saw a huge formation of geese heading north. Some  of the travelers visited a bit longer this year, basking in the sunny warmth of the hills and streams surrounding the golf course.

The ocean tides seem to reach farther out to sea this time of year leaving the spring sea harvest of cockle shells and coquina, jelly fish and more. Little feisty fiddler crabs dance sideways across the warm sand folding like origami as they escape into holes just beyond the reach of the waves.

Spring-breakers swarm in groups along the beach tossing frisbees and flexing white arms as the bikinis’ lay on colored towels close by tapping to the sounds from their earbuds. Sunbathers are peering into paperbacks having left their blanket at home. Locals power-walk as their dogs run alongside a bit friskier than normal. Everyone smiling in salutation as they pass.

Seafood restaurants are overflowing with Lenten observers on Friday evenings. In an instant one can recognize the familiar smell of a BBQ grilling nearby.

Another wonderful season is upon us.  We are so blessed.

I ponder over the victims in Japan and feel a pang of guilt wash over me as I silently ask God to be with them.

In search of my God-given gifts…

In search of my God-given gifts…

Mediterranean Dinner for our friends

God lovingly grants each of us personal strengths.

For many of us it takes years to discover those skills while many pass without ever realizing all or sadly even one. I was never told that God had graced me with special talent of any kind. My parents taught that my report card dictated the areas I excelled or fell short. They stressed the need for good grades but even more important, good citizenship. In their eyes if you tried your hardest it did not matter what the grade as long as the citizenship mark was the highest given. While this is a  measure of the use of our skills and effort it is not the only yardstick. They never shared the existence of the ultimate present or asked me to search for it. They never told me I could be anything I wanted to be.  They never taught me to pray about it.

I didn’t hear of the concept until much later in life. Perhaps that is why I had to work so hard throughout my life striving to be the best at something God never had in mind for me in the first place. But, the good news is, around the age of 45 , I realized one gift was that of hospitality. Actually, the realization came in the form of a compliment from a dear friend. Later that day, when I happily reflected on the comment, I agreed that was truly my gift from God.

Tom and I love to open our home to our friends. We have done this since the day we met by often throwing neighborhood parties. When we moved north to Ponte Vedra Beach, we designed our home to be “party central”. Tom redesigned the original plans in the back of the house to include a summer kitchen and large pool deck that was used frequently for a DJ or band and still left plenty of room for dancing. As friendships grew along with our families and the small town became our home….so did the house grow and the backyard party area…and our parties evolved too.

Over the last 15 years or so I have held Prayer Coffees and Bible Studies for my “sisters”.  When we tore down the wall between the family room and expanded our kitchen to double the square footage to accommodate a buffet on our long kitchen island, it called for a huge sectional around the fireplace and flat screen TV. We now call this the “Bible Study couch” because we can gather at least 25 ladies on and around the back to view a DVD. Since then, we have held a regular Wednesday Morning Bible Study for a growing number of friends of all ages. We gather to study His word and pray for any and all. This has to be the biggest blessing our family has ever received because as we read in Matthew 18:20, “For wherever two or more are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

So, I still search for my gifts. I am zeroing in on a few more areas I think have potential. Once I have confirmed them, I will share them here as well.

One thing for sure, I constantly remind my children and my grandchildren about a wonderful present God has for them. I know how happy He must feel when it is revealed and we acknowledge that gift with a “thank you Lord”. Always give the glory to God.

Thank you Lord for Tommy and my gift of hospitality. We love you .

Our Bible study sofa