Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Awesome Prayer!

My sweet friend Linda, the servant/prayer warrior behind Daily Prayer for You, has once again (with the Holy Spirit's guidance of course), got right into my head and heart with her prayer and Scripture selection for today!! I don't know about you, but this time of year, leading up to the New Year, is both exciting and daunting...there are so many challenges ahead, resolutions and plans, and the work we know the Lord has for us to do. It can be least it is for me...especially when I know my not-so-great track record for follow-through. I hope you too will be encouraged, as I was today, to "run with confidence" the course set before us...and to KNOW the Source of this confidence and to seek Him first in all things. Sounds like a good #1 for my resolution list this year!!

If you'd like to receive Scripture based prayers (prayed for you) like the one below 365 days a year in your inbox, simply access the Daily Prayer for You website and enter your email into the form at the bottom - easy-peasy! I guarantee you will be blessed!!


"Do not, therefore, fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward. For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised." Hebrews 10: 35, 36 (AMP)

"Let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us..." Hebrews 12:1b (AMP)

"And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint." Galatians 6:9 (AMP)

May you run with confidence, with courage, with persistence, and with patience the course that is set before you. May your heart be strengthened and your spirit be encouraged for the journey ahead. I pray the Lord would inspire fearless confidence in you to perform and fully accomplish the will of God for your life in the days and months ahead. May you be more than a conqueror through Him who loves you (Romans 8:37). Keep running the course, keep fighting the good fight of faith, keep persevering, and keep loving. Great is your appointed reward! In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

"Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called..." 1 Tim 6:12 (NIV)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men

As I sit here on Christmas Eve, snug in my PJs, listening to the cold North wind howl around the house, I'm happy to say that it *finally* feels like Christmas to me. Sweet Hubby and I along with my parents attended the Christmas Eve service at our church, and it was wonderful! It was JUST what I needed...a glorious reminder of the Reason for the Season, and some precious time worshiping and celebrating His birth!

As part of the service, our pastor told the tragic but beautiful story behind the poem-turned-Christmas-carol called "Christmas Bells" (the carol is called "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"), penned by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The year was 1863 and the US Civil War was raging when Longfellow received word that his son Charles had been seriously wounded in the battle of New Hope Church, VA. Just two years prior, near the dawn of the Civil War, Longfellow lost his wife in a tragic fire. Still reeling from the loss, the war, and the news of his son, he would soon pen the following words while listening to the church bells on Christmas morning...

"I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The Carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent

The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;
‘For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Through the pain of loss and the cloak of despair, the bells of Christmas had pierced Longfellow's heart with hope... a hope born of the Good News of the arrival of the Prince of Peace. I pray that the prevailing hope in the story of Jesus' birth and the incredible love the Father has for you will pierce through your circumstances and fill you with inexplicable peace - the peace that passes all understanding...

My favorite rendition by far of the carol is the 2008 release of "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" by Casting Crowns. I invite you to listen to this live performance of the song and allow the Holy Spirit to renew your peace and joy, just like He did for me this night...

For each and every one of you, my family and friends, I pray you'll have a wonderful Christmas and a Blessed New Year! Thank you for being such a treasured part of my life!!

Love and Hugs,

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Shopkeeping Update!

After a week of looking at my last depressing post about rainy days and Mondays (ugh), I am happy to finally be able to share some cheery Christmas photos from our space at Whispering Willow! Throughout November I had featured a shabby pink tablescape at the front of our shop space, which I loved, but early in December we switched over to a more traditional Christmas palette featuring our Moss Rose china set (which had been in the china cabinet) set on a deep red plaid tablecloth with touches of cranberry and burgundy. I love this look too and had a lot of fun pulling it all together. Here are some of the details...(click any image to enlarge)

The cranberry chargers are from Hobby Lobby...and the roses are from Big Lots. I love how all the pinks and reds work together, as well as the plaid and floral...

I used a small wooden shelf and made a riser in the middle of the table, covered it with black velvet, and added a tiered glass platter, greenery and ribbon, and a trio of glass pedestal-jars filled with small ornaments. I made the pedestal-jars by gluing inexpensive tree-shaped jars ($.25 each at a garage sale) and a regular candy jar I already had to glass candlesticks of varying heights...

Likewise, I made some simple candleholders using more inexpensive jars glued to varying height glass candlesticks...then I added fake glittery snow, candles, berries, and a burgandy bow as a finishing touch...

I made this tall candleholder from a metal stand I bought at a garage sale - it was painted silver and covered with white silk flowers and greenery stuck into a piece of floral foam at the top (I assume it had been used at a wedding). I removed all the greenery and flowers, spray-painted it black, glued a floral saucer to the top, added Christmas greenery, pinecones and berries, a burgandy ribbon, and a cranberry candle...

We topped it all off with this steal of a deal...a gorgeous chandelier that we got for $25.00 at a garage sale!!  I can't believe the prices some people sell things for...but I'm glad they do!

To the right of the table I added a hand-painted sign I made to my cupboard - it was was a custom order for the shop owner ("Thyme began in a Garden"). She let me keep it displayed until Spring so I can take special orders. Thanks to my Daddy for cutting and routing the wood for the sign! I also had a "Merry Chritmas" sign I had made displayed on the plaid table, but I wasn't able to take a photo of it before it sold. It was painted black with cream script lettering and painted holly and was pretty, but you'll have to trust me on that  :o)  I have lots of plans for many more hand-painted signs to add to the shop after Christmas - I think they add a nice touch...people love reading signs and having something handmade...

To the left of the plaid table is a tea-cart covered with the vintage red and white Christmas merchandse that had previously been displayed on a cute vintage white drop-leaf table...well, the table is now gone and we had to employ the tea-cart as well as a corner shelf we had to hold all the merchandise. (since taking this photo the tea-cart has sold and we replaced it with a drop-leaf Duncan Phyfe table...more on that incredible find in an upcoming post!).

When we changed from the pink table setting to the current red plaid one, we also swapped the china from the table to the china cabinet and this sweet rose china and all the pink decor is featured in the cabinet, plus we added some yummy etched glass tumblers, plates, and a tiny etched cloche...LOVE the etched floral detail on each!

After selling the vintage white table and chairs, we replaced them with this really nice solid wood round table and chair set that my parents found at a garage sale ($45.00 for all!). I covered it with a green tablecloth topped with a round hand-crocheted cream colored tablecloth. On top we featured my Mom's beautiful amber glass and marigold iris herringbone carnival glass collections...

Finally, here's another handcrafted sign I made. Using another sign blank my Dad made, I painted it black, hand lettered the "Paris Cafe" wording, glued on a cut-in half-teacup (bought as part of a large lot of various  half-teacups I got at a garage sale...the owners had cut a variety of styles of teacups in half and made nightlights out of them), added a vintage ceramic drawer knob, then topped it off with a black gingham ribbon hanger. I have lots of plans in mind for various ways to use the half-teacups...they are so very cute!

I hope you enjoyed this little Christmas tour of our shop space! I wish those of you that live far away could come by and visit...we would have fun, no doubt! If any of you live in the Houston area, I invite you to head over to Tomball and see us here at the Whispering Willow (click here for directions:,+Tomball,+TX&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=42.224734,78.662109&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=305+Market+St,+Tomball,+Harris,+Texas+77375&z=16)

It is a really wonderful shop and most all of our wonderful dealers are having sales. All the merchandise you see here in our space is currently 20% off through the end of the year!!


I hope you have a stress-free, Christ-centered Christmas week this week. We had one Christmas celebration with sweet Hubby's kids in Louisiana 2 weeks ago, a Christmas celebration with my immediate family this past Saturday, and one still to come on Christmas Day with Hubby's brother and family, sister and Mom!! Whew!!  After each of the two celebrations we already had I kept thinking that Christmas was already over :o(  But, hurray, it's not!!  Still 5 days to go...well, 4 and 1/2 now...  All the best to you and yours during this most special time of the year. I will be back with Christmas greetings on Christmas eve or before...until then, take care and God Bless!!! And thank you so much for stopping by!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

"Rainy days and Mondays....

...always get me down."  Or so the old Carpenter's song goes. That's not usually the case with me - Mondays are fine, rainy days are OK, and a Monday that happens to be rainy may be annoying, but not depressing. However, THIS rainy Monday, as I sit here at home, recovering from a bad cold, and having just returned from a Christmas trip to Louisiana where it rained the entire time, may just be getting me a little down after all...

Don't get me was a wonderful trip. All the kids and grands and the new sweet great-grand were there and we had a really fun time exchanging presents and eating gumbo. Even the 6 hour drive home wasn't too terrible. But to get up this morning, knowing how much there is to do this week, and seeing a wet, chilly, gray blanket of misty-fog covering everything, and still feeling a bit stuffy-headed from my cold just took the stuffin' out of me. I could do a hundred things, but don't feel like doing anything. So, I think that's just what I'm going to do today...nothing. It is really hard for me to do's not relaxing like you think it might's guilt-inducing and makes me antsy. But I'm going to give it a go. Doing this blog-post is the only thing I'm letting myself do. I need to rest so that I'll be 100% for the rest of the week. So after I post this I'm heading for the recliner to find some Christmas movies and old re-runs to watch. I'll have a bit of soup for lunch and maybe some hot chocolate later on...

And maybe, just maybe I'll sneak in some blog-reading/commenting before the day is through...I've been so out of touch with all of you at your blogs for such a long time, and I am longing to see what all you're up to during this most special Christmas season...  Visiting with you and your visits here are a very special and inspirational part of my life and I want to keep that up as much as possible. You always make me smile or think or LOL or weep or dream or wonder in amazement....and I am the richer for it.

Please feel free to help yourself to this little bookmark image if you'd says what I'd like to say to all of you today...."thanks so much for being there when life gets a little unbearable". I love you guys and I cherish our friendship so much! Thank you!

I'll have new photos from the updated space at the shop and an exciting announcement to share in the next couple of days, so I hope you'll stop back by soon!!

Love and HUGS to you all!!

Friday, December 04, 2009

An Interview (of me!) at Kate Harper's Blog!

A few weeks ago I was honored and thrilled to be approached by the talented and resourceful artist Kate Harper for an interview about my background and experiences in the art licensing field, and how I have woven my faith into my work. She posted the interview HERE today at her OUTSTANDING blog "Greeting Card Designer for Artists and Writers". Kate works tirelessly to find and share useful resources for fellow artists and writers primarily in the greeting card industry as well as general art licensing information. I am so humbled to have been featured there - Kate did a great job with the questions and layout of the interview. I hope it is helpful and inspirational to fellow artists as well as any one who has stepped out into a scary/challenging new endeavor or is considering such a move...

Thank you Kate for the opportunity to share from my heart!!!

Please stop by say Hi to Kate - you can see her portfolio and art licensing endeavors here:
and her blog here: