A Garden Table Setting with Azaleas, Roses, and Snowballs

It’s been a difficult week. Friends struggling with serious health conditions, a little one suffering in the hospital, so many needs, so many prayers lifted. And I have faced my own physical challenges as well. But today, today this wonderful bit of sunshine brightened my day just as did a walk through my garden. I hope you enjoy Mary’s post just as much as I! Just follow the link and prepare to smile! May it brighten your day . . . and your perspective.

Mimi

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I’m at the Table with Azaleas, Roses, and Snowballs~ Snowball Viburnum that is, in a celebration of spring flowers! Spring has in been in bloom for several weeks now, pollen has started to wa…

Source: A Garden Table Setting with Azaleas, Roses, and Snowballs

Happy Birthday, Mom

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The birthday girl’s monogram.

I can scarcely believe it. My mother will be 80 years old when you read this post. Not too long ago I thought that an 80 year old could barely function; that it was incredible for them to even be alive. Watching my mother grow older has taught me much about life and the graciousness of God.

Time may have slowed her a bit, but it has not altered her passion for living. All the things that brought her joy, all the creative talents with which she was blessed, all the humor (and mischief), all her hospitality, all the devotion to God — it’s all still there.  She still drives herself to town almost daily. In fact, if she’s not at the local department store and Arby’s for more than three days out of a week, they’re sending a get well card and a BOLO!

This birthday was one that could not go without special recognition. So despite the fact my two sisters and I live miles (and states) apart, we did some serious planning and came up with what we felt was just the right celebration event for her. Mother IS a southern lady and loves a touch of linen, lace, silver, crystal and a good cup of hot tea. What better way to honor her special day than a Tea Party with a Southern twist!

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As with many southern ladies she loves a good chicken salad croissant and a dainty cucumber sandwich. These were featured prominently in the menu along with lemon blueberry bread, fruit salad, assorted cheeses, fruit tea and raspberry lemonade.

Granny's bd 166Granny's bd 161Granny's bd 169Mom’s first name is very unique and begins with the letter “G.” As guests arrived they were asked to think of a word  beginning with “G” that describes her. Good-hearted, Genuine, Godly, Garrulous, Gracious, Gregarious, and Giving are just some of the attributes ascribed to Mother. Sharing of stories that illustrated these traits resulted in much laughter!

We transitioned from funny stories to one of Mom’s very favorite things to do – sing. And there’s nothing she’d rather sing than hymns. As my sister played the piano, our voices blended in sweet harmony unique to southern gospel music. Her favorite food, her favorite songs, favorite people.tea

As they left, guests received a cookie monogrammed with “G” and a custom
designed envelope with a tea bag as a reminder of the day. It was the perfect celebration for a remarkable lady.

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And in typical Mom fashion, just a few days later I received a lovely thank you card expressing just how “perfect” was the day. Mom, all I can say is, “Everything I know about hospitality – I learned from you.”

A woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done.

Proverbs 31: 30b – 31a

In His Grace,

Mimi

Magic Moments

Yes, it’s been a while since we’ve chatted. June was an eventful month.

Our son’s birthday.

My Dad’s birthday.

Father’s Day.

Baby Shower.

Our oldest grand’s eighth birthday.

VBS Kick-Off for Joyful July.

Each of these events resulted in some wonderful magical moments. I have to share a little magic from the baby gift tea.

Our daughter is expecting her third child (our first grandSON!) in 9 days! Her aunt and cousin graciously offered to host a Gift Tea in his honor and what better place to have it than  . . . HERE! You have a magical beginning when you are merely providing the location and someone else is doing the lions’s share of the work. My contribution was cupcakes and a favor bag of cookies. The hostesses did the rest!

The real magic began even in the planning stages. Aunt K. is a talented graphic artist that has never met a challenge she didn’t embrace. Throughout the pregnancy my daughter has referred to baby boy as “SONshine.” That was all the inspiration needed; the theme was set.  20150620_104054A simple but fun menu of “Sonshine” themed foods included Sunshine Fruit Salad, Habanero Due Date Cheddar Wafers (thank you Mary, Home Is Where the Boat Is) Home Is Where the Boat Is,  Baby Hub Cupcakes, Individual Veggie Cups and the expectant mom’s favorite – Chicken Salad Croissants!

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The guests arrived with beautifully wrapped gifts for baby Hub which continued the colorful sunshine theme, but the real magic was in the interactions among our guests. Much talking, laughter, sharing of wisdom and encouragement were magical and inspirational. Guests from age four to 80+ mingled and embraced the opportunity to celebrate the coming arrival of a precious new baby. One guest exclaimed as she left, “This has been SO much fun!” It was fun. No stress, no fuss, just a wonderful morning of fellowship and SONshine.

Enjoy some of the magic.

20150620_103848 20150620_103901 20150620_104059 April 2014 042With a nod to the nursery colors; gray, turquoise, yellow and orange were the predominant colors. The use of galvanized metal enhanced a more “masculine” look.

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A framed invitation was placed beside a tray of SonShine Cookies for guests to take home as a token of our appreciation. “You’ve brightened out day. Please take a little sunshine with you!”

One of my favorite elements was the serving table centerpiece. A vintage toy dump truck (lovingly used 30 years ago by Aunt K’s son) was filled with succulents. 20150620_105042

Food, fun, fellowship and beautiful treasures given by loved ones for anxiously awaited baby Hub made the day truly magical.  Thank you to the two gracious hostesses that helped make this a delightful day!!

A celebration of the “abundant life.”

In His grace,

Mimi

Easter Tablescapes!

Part of the562 joy of Easter is the tradition involved in the celebration.

A risen Savior means a new beginning, a blessed hope, the beginning of transformation in us and in nature. While many have chosen to disregard the traditions of the “Easter frock” most of my beloved church family continues it, especially with the children. In the era of wearing casual clothing to worship, it is delightful to see something extra special on Resurrection Sunday!  There are Easter programs, egg hunts, special songs, Easter baskets, pretty dresses, pastel ties, and new Spring shoes!

During MC’s routine checkup this week, the nurse asked her, “Well, what will you do on Easter?” Without missing a beat she replied, “We go to church and then WE FEAST!”  Tradition brings out favorite menus and recipes that are special to members of the family. The food preparation is a joy but the highlight for me is preparing the table(s) for our guests. It gives me the opportunity to express (in my own quirky creativity) my gratitude for the blessed celebration. I love sharing these sacred days with family and friends – or as my daughter lovingly refers to them, “framily.”

  • My main rule for any tablescape: use what you have. Granted, over the years I’ve accumulated a lot of dishes and “stuff”. I try to be intentional about what I purchase, choosing only dishes, tablecloths, trinkets that are multi-purpose (and on sale.) If you stick around, you’ll see some of these objects used over and over, just with different themes and settings.
  • The second rule: tell the story. If it’s a sacred day of celebration, use your decor to visually speak the message. Secular holidays and just for fun get-togethers deserve the same attention. Give a nod to the event and then just make folks feel comfortable. I’m not about over-the-top centerpieces or elaborate flower arrangements. Things that are too staged and demand too much attention seem to put folks off – at least they do me. I worry that I’ll spill something, or knock things over. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee I will – just ask the hubby.

Take a peek at our Easter tables from 2014. They are not elaborate, but they speak to the risen Savior, a new beginning, a new life.

Easter 2015

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Table 2

Tip - buy inexpensive chargers in bulk, then spray paint them any color you need!

551This table (and the chairs) tell their own story, scars and all. My father-in-law built it 30 years ago for our first child.

The "littles" table.

Now, tell your Easter story.

In His Grace,

“Celebrating” Lent

Only a few more weeks until the glorious celebration of Easter.

It is easy to get so caught up in the planning and preparation for any event that we lose sight of the reason for the celebration. We obsess over details and become consumed with perfection. And then it becomes a chore, a drudgery, something to be endured – not celebrated.  Right now we are in the midst of the Holy Season of Lent.

I have almost no recollection of my church observing Lent when I was a child. Good Friday, yes – but not the 40 days of Lent. Perhaps it was my denomination that began to more actively promote the practices of reflection, examination, self-denial and repentance in my early adult years. Or maybe I just began paying attention.

Regardless of how it happened, I am very thankful. While Easter is full of joy, laughter, color and truly jubilant celebration; Lent is darker with shades of black and gray, the contemplation of our spiritual status, and an anticipation of spiritual renewal. It seems a far more appropriate time to take stock of our lives and commit ourselves to fresh beginnings than on New Year’s Day. Just as the gray and barren landscape gives way to bursts of green meadows, wild buttercups and the hint of tiny leaves; our hearts can shed the burdens of guilt, fear, anxiety and doubt as we walk through Lent into the resurrection power of Easter.

Instead of focusing on the external trappings of an Easter celebration, I encourage you to invite the “celebration” of Lent into your home. Young children are never too small to become familiar with the practices of contemplation and reflection. They are better at it than adults for most of their conversation begins with the word “why.”  Last year I created a very simple tablescape to honor and celebrate the importance of Lent and Holy Week. It achieved exactly what I desired:

  • Each time I looked at it I called to mind what happened during Holy Week.  Why it was necessary and how it has impacted my life.
  • My grandchildren asked many questions about why the table was set differently. Why is the silverware in the shape of a cross? Why does the wheat look sad? Why do you have a “fancy” plate on top of this rough stuff? On and on. And it was wonderful because it allowed me to tell the story, for their reflection as well as mine.

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Try some small visual representation to observe Lent in your home this season. It’s not too late. And don’t make this about something else to do. It is an opportunity for sharing, nurturing and growing. Just remember:

Simple is best.

Use what you have available.

Involve your little ones.

Think about the significance of each item.

Tell the story.

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“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Johns 10:10 NASB

In His grace,