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Well, Happy New Year Sugar Pie Darlin’! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! I so wanted to do another blog post before Christmas but I had soooo much to get ready for… lots of company comin’, food to cook, places to go, people to see and my little shops to stock!

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I wanted to share with y’all my itty-bitty booth at Spring Creek Antique Mall. I had lots of farmy goodies for sale!

dsc08122I hung these sweet little stocking ornaments on a string of twine over  the vintage wood burning stove to ” warm and dry” the frost on the toes.

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Guess what?! Right here in my hometown of  Branson, Missouri I got to meet Joey and Rory (squeal!!)… hubby and wife country music stars! Their show “A Farmhouse Christmas” was just darling ! It was so fun and they are just as adorable as they look! I also bumped into one of my Sugar Pie Sista’s there too! (Hi honey!) Joey and Rory’s song and video “It’s Important to Me” is one of my favorites! It reveals the essence of  the American Dream and honors our American values…God, Family, Country…the things we need to preserve in our nation!! (I think I heard some “Amen’s!” out there!!)

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Well, for Christmas our home was bursting at the seams with family and friends for Christmas dinner…25 in all. We had lots of food, an old fashioned sing-along and skits that bubbled with fun and laughter. Then just a few days after Christmas my son JJ, and his adorable wife Tiffany, flew in from California to visit for a week. My heart was so blessed seeing my whole family sitting around the supper table once again! We all gathered every night for a home-cooked meal and played rip-roarin’ games by the crackling fire. It was so fun cooking in the kitchen with all my daughters too!

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This is my family! Including my 4 kids, son and daughters-in-love and grand-babies! Having our whole family together doesn’t happen very often so having this photo is precious to this mama! Later this year we will have two more babies to add to the family photo!

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We got a light dusting of snow here in the Ozarks! At dusk that evening a few of my kids couldn’t resist breaking out the sleds for a brisk ride down the frosted hill. They didn’t stay out for long because it was soooooo cold!

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We had plenty of hot cider and a glowing fire to get ‘em toasty warm when they came back inside with their teeth chattering!

securedownload-3In the afternoons we braved the cold and went out to lunch with the gang. Here are my boys J.J. and Dusty! It warms my heart to see that after all these years they are still best buddies!

dsc05465Here they are back in the day…Dusty trying to console his little brother! (J.J.’ snow-boots crack me up! I think they were the boy-version of Hello Kitty! Ha! They were greatly needed in sunny southern California weather don’t-cha-know! Hee hee!)

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Here in Branson one of our favorite places to eat is my dear friend’s restaurant, Danna’s BBQ!  It’s been so much fun being with my kids! JJ and Tiff left just two days ago to go back to California and everyone has gone back to work and school… now my house is too quiet! My only consolation is looking forward with excitement to my goals, dreams and adventures of the new year ahead!

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A brand New Year is always fun to dream about with a Susan Branch Calendar! I get one every year! She is perfectly adorable! I love her artwork and writing so much…you know what I’m gonna say…I WANNA MARRY IT!

img_9940-1Each brand-spankin’ New Year I so look forward to sitting down (with something yummy to drink of course!) and making a list of my dreams and goals! I take time to really think and pray about the direction the Lord has planned for me. Well, in the last few years I’ve come up with “a word for the year”…a word that sums up my focus, it seems to just pop in my heart. This year my word is…

bucks-county-antique-images-and-prints-carversville-cottage-farm-original-size-10x12Yes, BLESSINGS! I really want to be a blessing to everyone that God puts in my path, to you and of course to my family and those I meet along my pathway. Galatians 6:10 says to “be mindful to be a blessing”. You know that old saying “It’s better to give than receive?” Well, I think it’s because it truly fills your heart with sparkling joy when you’ve blessed someone. When you’ve offered comfort and encouragement. When you’ve filled a need or offered a solution. When you’ve brought warmth and love into your home by taking good care of it and your loved ones.

oct2008-ashley-trail-ride-vintage-141Every day I want to think of ways to be a blessing to my hubby. To be more mindful of the little things that I can do to make him feel loved and appreciated. That includes praying for him and with him.

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I also want to be mindful of my blessings. To be in constant thankfulness to the Lord for His goodness. I know that doing so will  keep a song in my heart, which will put a happy spring in my step. A thankful mama is a happy mama. A happy mama makes a happy home!

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Mother Teresa said “Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor…let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.”

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I want to speak blessings to everyone I talk to. Our words have the power to lift someones heart or tear it down and crush it. I remember as a little girl hearing the phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”…boy is that untrue! Unkind words and name-calling does hurt! I think we need to live by what our mama’s used to say…”if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” We must keep in mind that we never know the hardships that someone is going through…whether it’s the checker at the grocery store,  a neighbor, a relative, a friend, anyone we meet along our path.  I want to be thought of as someone who is kind, thoughtful and encouraging,  rather than someone who is hurtful, negative and critical. Let’s speak sweet!

“When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need–words that help others become stronger. Then what you say will do good to those who listen to you.” Ephesians 4:29

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In order to be a blessing to my family I have to be careful about my time by not accepting too many obligations and commitments. If I’m too busy tending to my own things then I run the risk of neglecting what really matters…taking care of my family and home…and being the best wife, mama and grammy that I can be! Sometimes we think we can handle a little bit more, here and there…but then after a while we find out that we are stretched to the limit! Way too busy!  We feel like we have too many pots on the fire and they’re all bubblin’ over! Things can get messy! Recently, I had to say good-bye to my friends at The Feathered Nest, where I was renting a booth.  I began to realize I had too much on my plate. (Even though I don’t have a space there anymore, if you are ever in Ozark, Missouri, I encourage you to stop by The Feathered Nest…it is always filled to the brim with fabulous things to decorate your vintage style home!) I will be keeping my itty-bitty booth at Spring Creek Antique Mall and Tea-room for now, and will see how it goes.  I have lots of new ideas for this ol’ blog of mine and I need more time to devote to them…ideas that I hope will be a blessing to you! Things that the Lord has placed on my heart!

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Speaking of the Lord…He is the source of our blessings. To honor Him and all that He has done for us, we must not gripe and complain about things. I know that is not easy to do sometimes! Especially when things don’t go as planned…or like when the washing machine breaks down and the laundry is looking like Mount Everest and your child comes in and tells you that for a special event at school they need to wear their “Sunday Best”  and they need to bring 4 dozen cookies…today. The dog is barking, the phone is ringing and…oh yeah, and you realize you forgot about your dental appointment, yesterday. We’ve all had those “Calgon take me away” days! (I’ve been married 34 years and have 4 kids…been there…done that…got the T-shirt!) When icky stuff happens, tell yourself that in a month (or 20 years from now) you’ll look back and laugh at this or you’ll have forgotten all about it. Inconvenient things happen. They are a part of life. Tell yourself “This too shall pass”. You know, there are so many people facing tragedies that if they could turn back the hands of time and go back to a day filled  with the normal, everyday things of life they gladly would!  We need to keep things in perspective and keep looking at the sweet, good, and beautiful  that the Lord has brought into our lives. All day long keep thanking the Lord for His blessings.

“If you believe in goodness and if you value the approval of God, fix your minds on the things which are holy and right and pure and beautiful and good. Model your conduct on what you have learned from me, on what I have told you and shown you, and you will find the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8

winter-snow-vintage-buttermilk-pie-074In order to feel the joy of God’s blessings and to bless others with tender, loving care, anger cannot live in our heart. We need to forgive. Forgiveness is like lifting the dark shades and opening the window to see and feel the warm sunshine and sweet, fresh breeze of a spring day. We are in charge of lifting that shade and opening that window. If there is someone you need to forgive, do it now (ask God to help you)…you will feel so much better.  Your heart will then have room for joy, peace and the thrill of hope for a happy future!

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Oh yes and we need to cancel the pity-party! This will steal your joy!  We cannot be a blessing to anyone if we live in the land of discontentment. We can’t even see our blessings when we feel sorry for ourselves.

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Everyday I say this verse out loud: “This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!” Psalm 118:24. It’s sets the tone for the day. I also think it’s a good idea to put a smile on our face, as we dab on our lipstick, and think about what we can do to bless others.

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And now I want to bless one of my Sugar Pie Darlin’s with a special GIVE-AWAY!! Woo hoo!

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Well, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you know that I love everything vintage and farmy! So I thought I would bless one of you with what blesses me! I’ve gathered 6 goodies to bring you a spark of joy!

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1.  A darling Farm Fresh flour sack towel and hot pad set,(and the cute hanger too!) created by my adorable, dear friends Sara and Abbey of Sweet Magnolia’s Farm!  Sara and Abbey advertise here on my Web site and have a wonderful Etsy shop with so many cute farmy things!  They also have a blog  that I know you would enjoy and they have over 15,000 followers on Pinterest with the most wonderful, inspirational pin-boards ev-ah!! These gals are super duper talented and are my farm-girl-at-heart kindred sisters!

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2. One of my favorite things! A chalkboard! I sell this at my little shop in Ozark, Missouri. It is galvanized metal with a cute scallop edge!img_9957-1

3. A vintage style white enamelware candle holder.

4. A cute battery-operated candle…so sweet to tuck in a little corner somewhere for a golden glow.

5. One of my favorite, yummy smelling 1803 candles! “Grandma’s Kitchen”. The little story on the label says: “Grandma’s kitchen is filled with needful things for baking; cookie tins, spices, rolling pins, dough bowls, recipe books and boxes.”

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6. The Farmer’s Wife Harvest Cookbook! LOVE IT!! It’s filled with vintage recipes, photos and darling illustrations from back in the day and down on the farm!

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As I mentioned before, I LOVE all things vintage and farmy…things that remind me of sweet old fashioned days and ways….so if you would like a chance to win these goodies please share something you do in your home that reflects a vintage way of living to bless your family (like making your own laundry soap, cheese, bread, pies…while wearing a cute apron of course… etc) AND a web site/blog that inspires you to live a vintage life…a web site/blog that thrills your heart with all that is adorable, good, wholesome and old fashioned!! (For me, one of my faves is Susan Branch’s blog!!! Love her!!!)  This way everyone will be blessed with ideas, inspiration, and new resources  that will bless our hearts! I will announce the winner on January 31!

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For lots of  New Year inspiration please head over to The Lettered Cottage for the WORD OF THE YEAR  linky party! Over 160 bloggers have chosen a heartfelt word to focus on this year…read all about it!


Hay!

(I know, hay is for horses!)

I need to say one more thing!! Follow me on INSTAGRAM!! @sugarpiefarmhouse

AND…if you have a question for me ask me on Facebook! It’s easier for me to answer there!

Well, I want to thank you dear Sugar Pies

for always blessing me with your sweet-as-pie comments!!

I can’t tell you how they lift my heart and make me want to keep blogging!

God bless your darlin’ heart!

Aunt Ruthie

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