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Written by Aunt Ruthie on January 13th, 2015
Happy 2015 dear Sugar Pie! My oh my! Where did last year go? Is it just me or does it seem like 2014 just flew by? Well, either way, here we are starting a brand spankin’ new year! As always I just get giddy thinking about all of the possibilities for the new year ahead! Last year I reached my goal of starting my Sweet Home Revival Video Series. I love dreaming up new ideas to encourage you, dear darlin’, in one of the most important roles that our world depends on us for! The role of Homemaker and mother! Our job is to be faithful in nurturing our home and family! Wholesomeness, goodness, love, care, guidance, nurturing and nourishment…all words that describe what our families need! Abraham Lincoln once said, “The strength of a nation lies in the homes of its people.” You know, I do believe that is so true, a great nation begins with a good and loving home. That’s my passion. That is what drives me. So this year I hope to bring you more encouragement to help you make your home-life more fruitful.
Here’s how to make 2015 a more Fruitful year:
1. Decide what you want. What is it that you need to change to make your life better? What do you want your home, family, job, relationships, to be like? What are your dreams and passions? What do you love? Make a rough draft list.
2. Choose a word for the year. This word can become your theme. If you don’t have a word, join me and use mine! My word for the year has helped me guide my goals. At first I couldn’t decide if I wanted it to be Faithful or Fruitful. So I prayed about it. I felt the Lord spoke to my heart by revealing that when you are faithful at something you’ll become fruitful. Yes!! Fruitfulness comes by being faithful!
You know, if a farmer had a bag of corn seed in the barn but decided to sit on a rocking chair instead of going out to the field to plant that seed, he would not have any corn to harvest come harvest-time. Ah, but the farmer who plants that bag of corn seed in good soil and is faithful to tend and nurture his field will harvest a bumper crop of fresh sweet corn! We harvest what we plant. The devoted farmer is the perfect picture of what faithfulness and fruitfulness looks like.
“Whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” Matthew 6:33
The definition for faithful is: steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant, devoted, honorable, dependable.
The definition for fruitful is: producing good results; beneficial; profitable, abundant, plentiful, bountiful, flourishing, successful, gainful, rewarding.
Faithfulness and fruitfulness go hand in hand.
Fruitfulness is a result of faithfulness!
I want to be faithful in spending time with the Lord and in His Word.
I want to be faithful in praying for my family.
I want to be faithful in taking good care of my husband.
I want to be faithful in taking care of my body.
I want to be faithful in planting seeds of goodness and kindness in the lives of others.
I want to be faithful to the gifts God has entrusted me with.
I want to be faithful to God’s calling on my life.
3. Seek God first and pray for His guidance in choosing your goals. God tells us in His Word, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33.
God’s Word ” is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” Psalm 119:105. I decided a long time ago that I don’t want to do anything unless the Lord is guiding me to do it. Because if God isn’t behind it, it won’t be blessed. I want to live in His blessing.
“I can’t grow anything good without Him. Period. He wants me to plant good seeds in good soil, tend to them, prune, and generously share the harvest. But, I need His gifts of sun and water — I need His Son and the living water of His Word — to make anything good happen. That is just plain truth in my life.” ~ Lara Casey
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.” John 15:4
So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow‘ (1 Corinthians 3:7 NIV).
4. Write your goals down: Experts say that you are much more likely to accomplish your goals if you write them down. And the percentage of that success goes up exponentially if they are in view and you read them daily because, as we know, sometimes out of sight means out of mind. Goals make our purpose in life clear so we don’t just drift through life. The Word of God says “Where there is no vision, the people perish” Proverbs 29:18. The more specific you are the better. For instance instead of writing “lose weight” write how many pounds you want to lose or what your goal weight is. Also attach a by-when date.
I took some time to brainstorm and pray about which goals I was to focus on this year. It was such a happy feeling once I corralled all of my ideas that were running around my head onto a piece of paper. I actually had too many goals. In order for us to not become overwhelmed, it’s best to have 10 goals or less. So I had to cross some out and put them on the back burner.
I then designed my Goal list on the computer. I just think it’s more fun if you make your goal page look cute! I use Canva and PicMonkey. I LOVE these design applications! I plan to share about them more in an upcoming blog post, if you’d like me too! I printed a few copies. I framed one to keep on my desk so I can review my goals often, another copy went into my daily agenda planner and one for my Plan of Action binder so I can look at it there too. (The navy gingham agenda planner pictured above is the Day Designer by Whitney English. It’s my first time using it so I’m excited to try it out. Hopefully I’ll like it since it was pretty pricey. But if it keeps me organized, focused and on task it will be worth it.) Here are my goals for 2015:
Here’s the thing, my goals are set in place to give me direction, to help me fulfill my purpose. They are not meant to overwhelm me or cause me to beat up on myself if I mess up or miss a day. We all have days, for whatever reason, where we just don’t get as much accomplished as we would have liked. No worries! God’s mercies are new every morning. We can just pick right back up and continue doing a little bit each day, getting closer and closer to our dreams.
After you define your 10 goals, the next step is to create a Plan of Action 3 ring Binder with 10 page tabbed dividers, one for each goal. Then for each goal list at least 5 things you need to do to head in the direction to accomplishing that goal. These are your Plan of Action steps. You can use an online app like Evernote to collect everything if you’d rather. I like to do both because if I want to review what my next step is while I’m out waiting to pick up Summer from school or something, I can go to Evernote on my iPhone. It syncs with most mobile devices.
I refer to my binder when I’m planning out my week and plug in the time slots for when I can work on that goal. Here is a blank Goal sheet for you to print out and use if you’d like:
5. Be faithful to do a little bit toward your goals and dreams each day: whatever it is that you want to achieve or become better at…be faithful in doing those things…a little bit, every day.
If you want to write a book…be faithful to write a little every day (A writer writes!).
If you want your home to be more organized…be faithful to un-clutter and clean a little bit each day, one drawer, one shelf, one closet at a time.
If you want to save money for clothes, car, home, redecorating…save a little bit of money each week. (I have a friend that saves all her $5 bills in a jar to go toward her family’s vacation each year).
If you want to be a better photographer…be faithful to practice taking photos and study camera tips on a regular basis to gain more know-how.
If you want to lose weight…be faithful to eat healthy, drink more water and exercise.
If you want your marriage to be stronger…be faithful to be a blessing to your husband, encourage and build him up daily.
If you want to be a more loving mama…be faithful every day, in encouraging and nurturing your children, praising, laughing, hugging and guiding them tenderly.
If you want to be closer to God…be faithful in spending time with Him, in praise, thanksgiving and prayer.
Here’s the good news…
If every day you poured water into a jar, before long the jar would be overflowing.
Likewise, when we are faithful to do the things God has placed in our hearts,
and we do a little bit today…
and a little bit more tomorrow…
and a little bit more the next day…
Guess what honey?
We will be overflowing with joy as we become fruitful by being faithful!
A little bit really adds up! Can I get a YEE HAW?
You and I can be faithful to do a little bit each day!
We can do this! YES INDEED-Y!
“A faithful man will abound with blessings” Proverbs 28:20
Life is what you put into it.
Jason Womack says “Chipping away at a goal a little bit at a time is the most efficient strategy to get better. This applies to every area of our life. The way people cause momentum in their lives is they improve little by little in specific areas of their life. If you improve a certain area by only 1% a week, you’re going to have generated consistent, significant gain in just one year. If you read (books to help you grow) 1% more each day… or you drink 1% more water each day…you show more kindness to others…whatever it is you want to get better at…what may feel like a small tiny improvement over a week and then a month and then 6 months and then 12 months –it’s going to be huge!”
If you want to be…do!
6. Be your own cheerleader! What we say to ourselves has a lot to do with what we can or can’t accomplish. Be your own best friend. Be your own loving mama. Tell yourself encouraging words that you would tell someone you love to inspire and motivate them. Speak kindly to yourself. Don’t allow critical words or fearful thoughts to enter your heart. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23
James 3: 4-6 compares our tongue with a rudder on a ship, it sets the course for our life: “A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything – or destroy it! A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos…”
I think the thing that holds us back the most are the negative things we tell ourselves. When we voice those thoughts “I can’t do this…this isn’t going to work…this is too hard…I’m not talented enough…I’m such a failure…” (All the things I’ve told myself in the past) When we speak those things our ears hear it, it goes into our heart and we begin to believe it. Don’t let those negative thoughts be the boss of you and your dreams! Declare, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” Philippians 4:13. Say Amen Sistah! God is right there ready to help us!
Positive, grace filled words will help keep you moving forward and add sweetness to your life! Proverbs 16:24 “But Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”
You are precious, loved, and a one of a kind, treasure! Read Psalm 139! God is always watching over you…He loves you so much He just can’t take His eyes off of you! You adorable thing you!
You’ve got to know too that you don’t have to be perfect. I learned that a long time ago! Been there, done that, got the t-shirt! So if you mess up and start saying not so nice things to yourself, hush those words sistah and start singing praise songs to the Lord. The joy of the Lord is our strength!
One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Every morning before I get out of bed I repeat the scriptures from Psalm 118:24 and Psalm 23:6: This is the day that the Lord has made I will rejoice and be glad in it….Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the presence of the Lord forever. Amen.” This sets a blessed tone for the day!
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good.
At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing
if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9
7. Make sure to take time out for fun and rest! Get your goals set, create a plan of action but then be sure to schedule time to get refreshed, to regroup and to breathe. Our motivation becomes reignited when we have something fun to look forward to. So whatever it is that puts a twinkle in your eye and pep in your step make sure to do those things! I would love to know what you LOVE to do that ring joy-bells in your heart! Do share in the comments below!
Well Sugar Pie, may you have a blessed, faithful and fruitful 2015!
As always I love hearing from ya!
God bless your darlin’ heart!
Come follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest!
Written by Aunt Ruthie on December 19th, 2014
Welcome! Dear Sugar Pie! Happy Christmas bells are ringing at Sugar Pie Farmhouse! You know what? Life has been a little cray-cray around here! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down to finish this post and for some reason life-stuff has called me away! And one day my server was down so I couldn’t even log-in! Goodness gracious! Christmas is only a week away! Thankfully, I’ve finally got it up and running and I’m so thrilled that you’re here!!
As Andy Williams’ old song goes “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”. If you were here in person I would greet you with a warm hug, hand you a mug of hot cocoa with fluffy marshmallows on top and sit you down near the fire for a fun chat all about the blessings of Christmas. But since I can’t do that the next best thing is to welcome you with open arms via this little-o blog of mine to celebrate this glorious season!
So darlin’ go grab yourself something yummy to drink, turn on your favorite Christmas music and even light a candle to create a festive, Christmas-y ambiance! Let me show you around…
A blanket of “snow” and frosty “icicles” drip from the mantle! This simple snowy blanket is just made from quilt batting! I cut the “icicles” along the edge, painted it with white glue and sprinkled clear glitter on top to make it glisten like frost. If you’ve followed my blog for long you may recognize my matching buckets. I use them over and over for every season. I’ll never forget, a few years back, when my hubby and I were in St. Charles, Missouri and I went into a gift shop filled with all kinds of fancy and sparkly Christmas decorations. He waited outside while I shopped and was so surprised when I walked out with these two very old and crusty galvanized buckets. “Huh!” he said, “I can’t believe out of everything in that store you chose those junky buckets!” I chuckled, “HELLO!!! I LOVE JUNK!! Trust me honey, I have big plans for these!” to which he shook his head from side to side with a grin, kinda like Ricky did with Lucy. I am so thankful he trusts me to decorate our home! ‘Cuz that’s my thang! So see, those buckets turned out to be the perfect container for my little lighted trees!
Noel…born is the King of Israel.
Just a little trivia for fun: This old Christmas Carol was most likely from the 18th century. The word Noel comes from the French word Noël meaning Christmas, from the Latin word natalis which translates as birthday”.
“Vintage” mittens and jingle bells hung over the fire. I bought children’s white mittens from Walmart and soaked them in a bucket of instant coffee and hot water for a day to “age” them. After they dried, I dipped the end of the mittens in glue and glitter. They look like they’ve been kept in an attic for decades.
I love to create vignettes as I decorate and after I finish sometimes a story pops in my head. Here’s my story about these mittens, it goes like this:
The Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee. December 20, 1910
(Before you begin reading, if you want to add a little excitement to this story go open a new tab and go to Pandora.com then type in “Yo-Yo Ma” as your music category. Then come back here. Yo-Yo Ma is an amazing Cellist, I listen to this station while writing. LOVE!!” )
Since Pa took the wagon into Knoxville for a few days to get supplies, Mama thought it would be a good time to finish up the Christmas present she was making for him. With Christmas just a week away she had so much to do. So she sent her children, Henry, Andrew and Emma outside to get their wiggles out by frolicking in the snow. All buttoned and mittened-up, they giggled and squealed, throwing snowballs, playing tag, and catching snowflakes that lazily floated from the heavens onto their tongue.
After a while, the icy north wind began to blow hard with a fierce and rapid flow of thick snowfall. Inside, as mama placed the steaming skillet of browned biscuits onto the table, shutting the heavy oven door, her eyes caught a glimpse of the heavy rush of snow streaming sideways past the small kitchen window. The yard was a white blur. How long has it been snowing like that? Panic struck her. Flinging the front door open she dashed outside onto the porch. The raw wind was so biting it took her breath away. Her children were nowhere to be seen. She couldn’t even see ten feet in front of her. She shouted, “Henry! Andrew! Emma!”. Only the wind replied, with a forlorn, hollow whistle. Her heart dropped and her legs felt weak. They must have wandered beyond the barn and perhaps through the thicket into the woods. She shuttered at the thought. “Lord have mercy!” she wailed. In a frenzy, she grabbed the rope of the hefty dinner bell that stood tall next to the porch steps. Her long skirt whipped and snapped as the wind howled passed her. She rang the bell again and again and again, praying they would hear it and walk toward the sound. Clang. Clang. Clang. Echoing throughout the hills, it pealed the call to come home! Tears poured from her eyes, wetting strands of hair blown across her face. Her hand, frozen numb, tried to wipe them clear. She struggled to see through the blinding milky haze. “Lord please!” she pleaded, “Lead them home!” Clang. Clang. Clang. Time seemed frozen.
Suddenly a tiny flash of red began to pierce the blizzard veil. Squinting with all of her might, it appeared to be coming closer. It was Emma’s scarlet-red knitted bonnet! “Oh!! Thank you Jesus!” she trembled. Henry, Andrew and Emma holding hands, mitten to mitten, pushing through the bitter whirlwind as mama raced to gather up her chicks and whisk them into the comfort, safety and warmth of home.
Henry, the eldest, explained they decided to play in the barn and didn’t realize the storm outside until he heard the dinner bell. He instructed his siblings to “hold hands real tight and walk to the sound of the bell!”.
That evening after supper, Mama gathered the damp mittens. Tenderly, she kissed each one with heartfelt thanks to the Lord as she hung them from the mantle to dry above the fire. Thank you Lord, that the dear little hands that filled these mittens are safe and sound!
Calling her children to come, they knelt in front of the glowing embers. Basking in the soothing heat, she wrapped her arms around them and cuddled them close to her heart. One by one, she cupped each little plump face in her hands and looked into bright, trusting eyes. She kissed their warm foreheads, inhaling deeply, savoring their sweetness. Mama prayed aloud thanking the Lord for His goodness and for bringing her babies home, safe. Her eyes glistened as tears of overwhelming gratefulness welled up. Softly, she began to sing.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.
Mama spoke gently, “You know children, when I saw the itty-bitty speck of red from Emma’s bonnet poking through the blurry-white of the swirling snow, it flooded my heart with such hope! I was so relieved! I thought, my babies are going to be alright! And when you heard the dinner bell ring, even though you couldn’t see me, you knew I was there, waiting for you. That’s just like The Lord! Out of His great love for us, He came to this stormy world, in the midst of all it’s turmoil and chaos, to bring us hope, to rescue us and bring us safely home! Jesus is like that dinner bell, we just need to follow the sound of His voice. Even though we can’t see Him, we know He is there. His love surrounds us. The Bible tells us so”. She swallowed hard. “He’s promised to be with us, always and forever! Darlin’s, don’t ever forget that. No matter what.”
“Yes Ma’am” Henry nodded.
“Henry” Mama commended, “you did the right thing, taking care of your brother and sister. I’m proud of you son.”
Andrew spoke up bravely, “Mama, when I heard the dinner bell, I wasn’t a-scared! I was thinkin’ how good them biscuits was gonna taste in my mouth at supper.” Mama, smiled as she ruffled his curly head.
“Emma” Mama quizzed, “Do you have anything to say?”
Four and a half year old Emma, pondered for a second, then gushed brightly, “I think red is my favorite color!” Mama confided with a knowing heart, “mine too!”.
Mama saved these mittens even after Henry, Andrew and Emma outgrew them. She saved Emma’s scarlet-red bonnet too. You see, every year, at Christmastime, Mama brings them down from the attic and hangs them from the mantle fastened to twine, interspersed with bells. It serves as a reminder and testament of God’s blessings, His grace, daily mercies, His faithfulness and eternal love. She never wants to forget that. No matter what.
Ok…so my “story” turned out to be a movie in my head! Heehee! I just felt the Lord drawing it out of my heart to share with you. Perhaps you are facing a storm in your life. Sorrow or fear has gripped your heart or maybe you can’t see past the past. Jesus is ringing the dinner bell…even though you can’t see Him, He’s there. Walk to the sound of His call. Come out of the shivering cold and into the bright, warm, presence of Jesus. He knows you best and loves you most. You are the Apple of His eye. His beloved. His treasure. Read His Word. Listen to worship music. Pray constantly. He’s right there. Don’t ever forget that. No matter what.
“Christmas offers its wonderful message. Emmanuel. God with us. He who resided in heaven, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit, willingly descended into our world. He breathed our air, felt our pain, knew our sorrows, and died for or sins. He didn’t come to frighten us, but to show us the way to warmth and safety.”
“This will be a sign to you:
You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
The starry heavens sparkled brightly as God sent us the greatest Christmas gift ever!
Splendor and majesty are before Him;
Strength and joy in His dwelling place.
1 Chronicles 16:27
My sister-in-law recently blessed me with this darling vintage window. I could think of a story behind it…but maybe I should wait for another time! Hee hee!!
My Christmas kitchen! Gearing up to do some baking here!
Who wants to lick the bowl?
A simple evergreen in a white mixing bowl, atop a cake stand. I love using what I already have.
I found a couple of these Vermont Country Egg Nog bottles at a flea market and fell in love with that sweet cow’s face! I filled it with salt to make it stand out more and to support my broken tinsel tree.
Bucket O’ snowballs!
My table is ready for my family to gather ’round. That’s my favorite!
“I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars
and open a jar of it every month.”
~ Harlan Miller
Y’all might remember a few posts back, I was needing some help naming my “Mr. Cow Head”. Well, I decided she ain’t a “Mr.”! Hee hee! So many of you mentioned that it looked more like a Heifer. The more I looked at her sweet face I realized, indeed, she was a lady Cow. I absolutely loved reading all of the names y’all suggested!! I kept saying “Awww!! That’s so cute!”. It was so hard to decide! I just felt like Bessie Mae was the perfect fit! It’s a sweet southern name…and I love everything southern! So thanks to those of y’all for pitching in!
“Moooooo-ry Christmas!” ~Bessie Mae
I just love her! Ain’t she the cutest thang!
Sometimes it’s the simple things that inspire me. A red bowl, rolling pin, old timey flour sifter and a fresh cut tree in a farmhouse washpan. These make my heart go pitter-patter!
A crackling fire makes me smile!
“I just like to smile, smiling’s my favorite!”
-Buddy the Elf
Sing a song of snowflakes flying in the air,
sing a song of sleighbells tinkling everywhere
Earth in dazzling white, sparkling in the light.
Christmastime is sure to find me
on a high snow-covered hill,
Where an old farmhouse is standing weather-tight and sturdy still
There the plumes of smoke ascending from the Chimneys low and wide
And are a silent invitation to the glowing fires inside.
Where the warm sweet air is laden with fragrance that combines
The pleasant smells of cookery and the spicy scent of pines.
~ Ida M. Brookshire
I love me some red trucks with Christmas trees in the back!
Well, Sugar Pie, thank you so much for stopping by!
As always I sure love hearing from you!
Y’all are such a blessing!
May you have a Very Merry Christmas!
You are precious and loved!
Sugar and hugs,
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