Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's Christmastime!

Probably like yours, my time this week has been filled with grocery shopping, wrapping presents, addressing Christmas cards, menu planning, shopping again for the one thing that I forgot on the first run to the grocery store, and doing some cleaning of my house for company. Whew!  My time online has been limited. 

Yesterday, my Mom, sisters, and two girls baked and decorated sugar cookies.  My Mom always says that a messy cook is a good cook- so we must be super great!  And our results were works of delectable art!!! Yum!

 Some in the family are more conscientious artists at work.

Sand-tarts~ Great Grandma's Brown's recipe.

                                               Sarah made a special cookie just for Santa.

As we are in the midst of this holiday season, I wish you the
  Merriest of Christmases and a very Prosperous New Year!

Enjoy the simple pleasures of colored lights, smells of pine and chocolate cookies, and a roaring fire in the fireplace, children's laughter of delight, and warm hugs from loved ones.  And may the magic of the Christ Child, grab your heart in rapture once again.

I will see you in the next year with fresh ideas of starting my year with perspective, purpose and passion.  Look for my study of "Mom's Planning" and free printables for you.  See you soon!


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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Giving Blessings

What a perfect time of year to bestow blessings!!!!

It is grand to GIVE and it is GREAT to receive!!! (Come on- I know that you like a gift as much as I do!)

I am pleased and excited to announce that Ladies Of Virtue has been awarded a new blog award from Rebecca over at Rebecca's Hearth and Home. Thank you, Rebecca! What a sweet surprise! And what a blessing! Thank you!

This is LOV's second award.  The definition of "award" is to "bestow merit".  The two blogging awards given to LOV is an acknowledgement from one blogger to another that they value and bestow honor to my blog and writing. I, in return, have the honor of bestowing these awards to fellow bloggers that I value.  For that I am so very thankful Rebecca!

In another way, it is for us to connect with other great blogs and the women who are writing behind the screen.   In my acknowledgement of receiving it, I have to list seven random things about myself.  So let's see what comes first to my mind.

1. I absolutely love to get a Chinese massage.  There are few luxuries that compare, except-
2. very hot baths to soak in!
3. very strong coffee with enough cream to color it caramel (with sugar too, of course)
4. and milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate, and any other kind of chocolate!
4. I love indulging!
5. I lived in Venezuela for a year.
6. I sleep with socks on almost year round.
7. I love to snuggle in flannel sheets and cotton comforters.
8. "Last of the Mohicans" is my all-time favorite movie.
9. I am currently in college studying to get a degree in English, History, and Women's Studies
Oh!  that is nine- I was on a roll! LOL

"Versatile" means able, accomplished, adaptable resourceful, skilled, flexible, gifted, ingenuous".  So with that in mind, with the intention of warm blessings, I give the Versatile Award to~
(and I am shortening the list to five for time's sake):

~ Wanda from Watered Soul
~  Natalie from Mommy On Fire
~ Jes from Heroines of the Faith
~ Kasey from These Five of Mine Plus Two
~ Stefanie from Uplifting Words

Please visit these ladies and, while you're there, please, be sure and leave them a comment, or as Shelby calls it, some blog sugar (isn't that precious?). And, Rebecca, thanks again so much! To quote you, "This was a super fun meme!"

If you have received the award please-
Thank the award-giver and link back to them in your post.
  • Share 7 random things about yourself.
  • Nominate  a group of fellow bloggers and let them know about it.


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Friday, December 16, 2011

Connected Pages of Life

I awake to another Friday- only this one is a bit different.  It is my birthday.  And while I have the slightest twinge of anticipation because the day is planned with fun and relaxing activities, I have to tell you that I am not thrilled at all with this hallmark in my life.  I had to consciously tell myself while lying in morning darkness, before I let my feet hit the floor, "This is the day that the Lord has made; I WILL rejoice and be glad in it."!!!!! I will myself to rejoice!!!

What is my dilemma?  simply a number.  Today marks my full duration of four decades plus one on this earth- I have had a year and I have not reconciled with the four decades yet. Oh, I know.  "Age is relative."  "You only are as young as you feel."  "You are still young!" .....but the time has come when I hear my own thoughts of  "Be thankful for your health."  "Wait forty more years and you will understand how young you are NOW."  "The gray hairs of a wise head are an honor."  (Well, I do not have any of those yet, but they are on their way.)

But, it's my party today and I will cry if I want to.  So bear with me a few more lines while I try to reconcile my thoughts this morning.

Today is Friday, when I have been habitually participating with other bloggers who write for five minutes.  The Gypsy Mama gives us the prompt.  Almost always, the words flow like water from the recesses of my brain and heart onto the screen.  No premeditation. That feels good- to just let the words topple out that have been crammed inside me and not have to worry about editing to make them "just right".  I edit everything in my life way too much.

Today's prompt is CONNECTED.
Here goes.

The middle chapter of the book.  Just into the thick of things.  The beginning already written, and the plot established.  I like the beginning.  There is not much that I would change.  "Tweak" maybe- some choices that I have made or words that I would like to take back.  But all in all- I like my story; it's made me into, well, me.  Doesn't it say in the book of Acts that each man has been placed in just the"time and place that we may grope for Him"?  Here I have been put- into this plot.  All events turn me to Him.

The ending is what I am concerned about.  I have only so many blank pages to fill and then the book is shut.  But there is so much that I want to do!  and experience, and live.  If only I knew when I was younger what I know now!  Oh, another proverb being fulfilled.

But the best is yet to come.  I cling tenaciously to any signs of youth still in me. And I think that is God ordained.  From the moment we are born, our fleeting lives are beginning their end. We are created to be vibrant youthful beings- forever.  The desire is for the secret of life.  But, oh, I have it- Life!  and it is in Jesus.  So while my physical clings to youth, my heart and soul stay connected with the cause of eternal life.  Where there are not enough books in all of the world to house all of the happenings that await me after that silver cord is loosened.

Happy birthday to me.  Excuse me, I have to go and start to write on my page for this day.
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Friday, December 9, 2011

Colors of Life

Today's five minute writing prompt is COLOR.

Color.  Red, blue, orange, yellow, pink, green.  Magenta, crimson, sienna, and ochre.

The hues of red poinsettia, of azure skies lightening, warm glow of yellow candle light, the caramel color of me coffee.  How the color around me adds variance to my scene.  I visually drink in the colors and my mood enlivens, or becomes subdued, depending on the hue.

Imagine a world of only black and white.  How bland, how sad.  We would not have the intoxicating hues that enrich our world.

Experiences can be like colors. 

The birth of a baby brings the red and orange of excitement. 

The calm blue of ordinary days of routine. 

The gray of sorrow.

The warm red of deep love that sets the heart on fire.

The days of chaos and stress are those crazy days of  colors all mixed into muddy brown.

The green of new dreams being birthed.

Some colors backdrop life's painting.  Some accent and punctuate the colors of memory.  And some compliment.

If we did not have dark purple, how would we fully enjoy bright yellow?  Without the fire of red and would the peace of blue satisfy us?

Enjoy your life's colors today.


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Friday, December 2, 2011

Tired or Not

  Today is five minute Friday- where we word-crafters are given a prompt by the Gypsy Mama and we type in our thoughts for five minutes ONLY.  That is the fun of it.  What can pour from my thoughts onto the screen in just five minutes?  There is an excited anticipation about it because I do not know WHAT I will write until it is on the screen.  So with the timer minding my limit and fingers sprung ready I begin.  And did I mention there is no editing?, I do not edit content but I have changed some spelling errors so that you could understand my words!

Today's prompt- TIRED


I make my uncooperative body break out of my warm toasty cacoon of comfort- flannel sheets, cotton quilts and comforters.  How can it be morning already?

Before my feet hit the floor I am rehearsing my "to do" list full of busy tasks for a day full of work and play.  My thoughts are layered with the dream I was just having five seconds prior about not being prepared on dress rehearsal time for the show I am in.  No, I am not in a play.  The show is my life. "Must get up!"

I push the button to begin making of brown liquid of "Good Morning" magic.  Looking out at the still dark sky turning violet with promise of a cold, crisp sunny day, "Thank you Lord- it's beautiful."

Sit at my computer screen because I know that if I do not type out words in this moment it will not happen today.  "Tired" is the prompt?   "Exactly".  I brush away the residue for Sand man, straighten my back and get he desired morning crack and I write...."Today is five minute Friday..."

Now my mind is already more clear.

The Gypsy mama was crying last night from feeling tired and overwhelmed.  And it is only December 2nd.... Yes, it's the best time of the year.  The hope and excitement of the season bring a cheerful welcome to me this morning as I am waking up.

Let's rejoice and appreciate the season of Christmas.  The season will be over too shortly, tired or not.

(oops 8 minutes!)

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Organizing Happiness

Few things avert the loveliness of a home and simplicity of routine as much as CLUTTER.  We all have experienced this menace and some of you, such as myself, may do battle with it daily.  Piles of paper, strewn toys, piles of books, discarded dirty socks, all littering the beautiful order of Home.

Sometimes, if I allow this clutter-monster to grow too big, I am at its mercy; the overwhelming feeling threatens to paralyze me.  However, I am learning the skillful tricks to combat this menace: small, purposeful steps towards disarming it.

Mrs. Lorie Flem from Eternal Encouragement has written an eBook with just us clutter fighters in mind.  With practical, concise steps, she disarms the mountain of menace one task at a time.  When I read her eBook my highlighter almost went dry!  "Organizing Happiness -Clutter Free" offers insightful advice for the conscious homemaker.  Read and put her advice to use, and you, too, will find Happiness in Organizing! You may receive your free copy by subscribing to her "eternally" encouraging emails. 

Visit Eternal Encouragement and please tell her that Nicol from LOV sent you!
Enjoy your homes, Ladies.   And try to stop by in the nest couple of days to see LOV's new look for winter!!!!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving & a Woman of Influence

  I have a wonderful idea- I hope that you will think so as well!

The degree for which I am currently studying at the university is a combined degree of English, History, and Women's Studies with the theme of "Women's Influence throughout History Upon Culture."  With that subject so close to my heart, I would like to periodically post articles of Women Of InfluenceTake courage dear woman --your sphere of influence ripples out into the vast ocean.

I have a perfect subject for the post today- the day before Thanksgiving.

Dear Reader,

You may be surprised to learn that we Homemakers of this current generation, can thank the Victorian mothers for the holiday of Thanksgiving.  If it has not been for the influence of one tenacious lady with ideals of steel, we may not have been sitting around the table enjoying our Thanksgiving meal this Thursday.

Our Puritan brothers and sisters -the iconic symbols of the history of Thanksgiving- censured feasting and merriment.  Their religious idea of seeking divine deliverance from trying predicaments was to seek the Lord through prayer and fasting.  After having had their prayers answered, a day of Thanksgiving occurred with the observing of religious services.  The holiday celebrated as we know it today took its form some two hundred years later.

However, in 1789, America's first national Thanksgiving Day was proclaimed by President George Washington.  This observance was set apart to acknowledge the favor of the Almighty upon the newly formed country. The actual day, though, for which Thanksgiving was to be observed was a haphazard placement on the calendar, set as each of the state's governors reckoned it.  The date of Thanksgiving was to continue without national unity for seventy five more years.
This confusion drove Mrs. Sarah Josepha Hale, then editor of the Victorian Godey's Lady's Book to devote three decades of her life to promote a national declaration of a one-day holiday to be observed as Thanksgiving.  She tirelessly wrote to every state governor and ten presidents.  (Talk about a woman with a mission!)  Her plea fell on the deaf ears of male politicians.  At last she realized her efficacious position as editor of America's most influential nineteenth-century women's periodicals.  Mrs. Hale appealed to the women, wives, and homemakers of America.  It is worth to note her appeal.

She wrote over one hundred and fifty years ago:

"I have thus endeavored to lay before my readers one of the strongest wishes of my heart, convinced that the general estimate of feminine character throughout the United States will be far from finding it an objection that this idea of American Union Thanksgiving was suggested by a woman.  The enjoyments are social, the feastings are domestic; therefore this annual festival is really the exponent of family happiness and household piety, which women should always seek to cultivate in their hearts and in their homes.  God gave to man authority, to woman influence: she inspires and persuades; he convinces and compels.  It has always been my aim to use my influence in this womanly ways."

Amen, Mrs. Hale!  And thank you for your tenacity; we all enjoy of your endeavors.

Mrs. Hale expounded on her idea featuring in the periodical elaborate menus of Victorian interpretations of Pilgrim food fare- roast turkey, giblet gravy, creamed baby onions, and cranberry sauce.  She wrote spiritual stories of mercy and redemption which compel our hearts to give thanks.  She advocated, "Let Thanksgiving, our American holiday...awaken  in American hearts the love of home and of country, of thankfulness to God and peace between brethren."

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the first national proclamation that the observance of Thanksgiving should be the last Thursday in November which we still enjoy today.

I am thankful for the influence of women.
Have the most blessed of Thanksgiving days!


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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

His Presence

I ponder this week about "Thanks" and "Thanksgiving".  What am I thankful for?  Family, friends, health, so many bountiful blessings.  But as I consider the things that I am thankful for I remember the Giver.  He is so good; all that is good.

"God's quest to be glorified
and our quest to be satisfied reach their goal in this one experience:
our delight in God which overflows in praise."  -John Piper

I love getting lost in God's presence......"Your grace has found me just as I am, empty handed but alive in Your hands.  Forever I am changes by Your love in the presence of Your majesty."

All of the problems, annoyances, stresses, and worries all melt away in His presence.  Take a moment today and listen to the song  below and get lost in His glorious Majesty.
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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Liebster Blog- Friends

Celebrating the

AWARD!  Yeah!

This was new to me; I love the idea. 
As Jennifer from "Renewing Housewives"
so graciously bestowed the Liebster Award to me,
I in turn choose five blogs that are as the German word "liebster" means
"dearest, friend, or love".

 This award is shared and given to up-and-coming blogs that have less than 200 followers.
To be honest, the five blogs that I chose to bestow the Liebster Blog Award to, may have more than 200 followers.   However, they are each "dear" to me in different ways and worthy of your visit.  Please let them know that Nicol from LOV sent you.

My five chosen blogs are~ - Amy has a very blessed way of finding joy in the journey. This Amy has the heart to Leave a Legacy Purposefully. And this Amy- a pure coincidence! has a safe haven for encouragement, especially reaching out to victims of assault and rape. Shelley's vocation is to encourage mentoring for Moms and young ladies.  Visit Shelley's home page then click on the top bar for the blog- you and your daughters will love it! Craig has incredible spritual insight and writes about it in a most creative, vulnerable, and intelligent way.

All of the above blogs are kindred spirits; they all promulgate godly living, homemaking, mentoring, and loving Jesus- all subjects close to my heart.  Visit them and I am sure you will be as blessed as I am.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

A Growing Award!

Wow! Oh my goodness!  Ladies Of Virtue Blog has received her first award!  Thank You!  What a wonderful surprise and encouragement!  God is good.

The "Liebster" is a German word meaning "friend, love, or dearest".  This award is shared and given to up-and-coming blogs that have less than 200 followers.  THANK YOU Jennifer from Renewing Housewives- I do so appreciate it!  Tomorrow I will discuss this "dearest" award and my five picks with you.

Today, I want to incorporate The Gypsy Mama's prompt of GROWING to share my heart with you.
This writing exercise is only to last for five minutes, so I will undoubtedly run  out of time.


When you are passionate about something you want to share it with the world.  Or at least influence as many people as you can.

A message, a topic, a vision which can change lives- "the Goodness of the Lord and the radiant life He gives us as Women."

So I pray, I write, I share, I ask for encouragement for myself through all of my life's blunders, I seek out wise women, I study, I live, I experience, and the passion grows stronger.

The numbers are small.  My reach could seem insignificant.  But YOU are reading (and I pray that you are encouraged).  I read YOUR words and I am encouraged.  Keep writing. I will too.

We water and we will grow as He adds to us.


Have a blessed day dear friend.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Blessed HOUSEwife

Oh dear housewife, do you know that you -yes, YOU- have the power to influence the world? 

For more on "housewives" read yesterday's a post below.

Today I want to encourage you concerning the most holy and sacred of vocations, that of Motherhood.  The poem here says so eloquently than my words are unable to paint.  The poem is over 100 years old written by a man.  When first published it was titled, "What Rules the World."

The Hand That Rocks The Cradle
Is The Hand That Rules The World

 Blessings on the hand of women!
                                                       Angels guard its strength and grace,
                                                            In the palace, cottage, hovel, 
                                                         Oh, no matter where the place;
                                                       Would that never storms assailed it,
                                                         Rainbows ever gently curled;
                                                        For the hand that rocks the cradle
                                                         Is the hand that rules the world.

Infancy's the tender fountain,
                                                           Power may with beauty flow,
                                                       Mother's first to guide the streamlets,
                                                       From them souls unresting grow--
                                                           Grow on for the good or evil,
                                                       Sunshine streamed or evil hurled;
                                                         For the hand that rocks the cradle
                                                         Is the hand that rules the world.

                                                      Woman, how divine your mission
                                                           Here upon our natal sod!
                                                   Keep, oh, keep the young heart open
                                                        Always to the breath of God!
                                                         All true trophies of the ages
                                                    Are from mother-love impearled;
                                                     For the hand that rocks the cradle
                                                       Is the hand that rules the world.
                                                     Blessings on the hand of women!

                                                      Fathers, sons, and daughters cry,
                                                      And the sacred song is mingled
                                                        With the worship in the sky--
                                                    Mingles where no tempest darkens,
                                                       Rainbows evermore are hurled;
                                                        For the hand that rocks the cradle
                                                          Is the hand that rules the world. 

                                                                  published 1865
                                                   William Ross Wallace

Oh that our country would esteem Motherhood the same way!  Perhaps the morality of our culture would be so much for the better if that were so.  But we know.  And lest when dirty diapers, snotty noses, fights, and wining make you forget your sacred calling- look into the eyes of that dear one and consider the influence that you have upon that one life who will in turn influence countless people.

Print this poem out and keep it somewhere noticeable.

Have a great day -you house wife- who has the world in her hands.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Are you a house-wife?  Apparently, this can mean many different things to many different people.  Also, the compound word -housewife- can conger up just as many different visages.  What comes to your mind?


I usually do not get upset by what secular people say or write.  I expect them to have a secular view point, what else can they?  But I admit this article got me under the skin.  Perhaps because it is about a subject that crosses from our spiritual lives into the mundane and vice-versa.  And I am so passionate about this subject of HOUSEWIVES!

I was going to begin my long awaited study of Ladies Of Virtue (awaited by me, who has been procrastinating in writing it) but this article takes precedence.  If you would like, you can click to read it now (just remember to come back) or wait until after you finish this post.

real housewives
Volumes could very realistically be written discoursing the various aspects of the house wife.  I will try to be succinct.  You, Christian woman -who live in your house with your husband and perhaps children- are you content in your role?  Or would you agree with the secular media that you need liberated from the demeaning title of housewife?

Whatever the other work that we may do outside of the home, ministries in which we serve, or ventures that we partake of, scripture is clear that the home is the domain for the family with the wife being the overseer of its affairs.  (See Titus 2 and Proverbs 31.)

                                                       Home allows us women to flourish-
We are managers
-law makers
 to name some of our tasks and opportunities.

As for "wasting" my talents while being at home -I garden, paint, love decorating, and hand crafts (that I use to beautify my home); I have teaching opportunities through bible studies, book clubs, and homeschool co-ops; I do graphic art for the situations named above, plus for my own managing tools.  I love to plan a meal, prepare it, and show hospitality to those who enjoy those efforts. I write on this blog (from my home) reaching women all over the world.  My home is my realm where I can grow and flourish, not to mention providing that same disposable to others.

What are your talents and skills that you are using from home?

Dear Christian sister let us REVEL in our vocation of being a house wife.  It is God's wisdom to confound the wise.  Let us be HAPPY in our homes, not discontent and grumbling like the daughters of the world.  Let us not be ashamed to be called "housewife" for to the discerning that word is a definition with infinite possibilities.

Visit tomorrow to read about one of the most important opportunities that we have as house wives.
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Friday, November 11, 2011


Putting mumbled thoughts and words together onto the screen for five minutes today.The prompt from The Gypsy Mama is UNEXPECTED.


Eight days ago a group of men were living at the climax of their careers.   Their lives full of the abundant fruit of their labors through the years.

Then the UNEXPECTED happened.  Some brave soul spoke up.  They spoke up for the tragedy that had occurred a few years before.  A tragedy, that was so unexpected to them, could not be held back any longer.  The silence is always broken by the sound of truth.

Now eight days after the fallout in the media three men are facing criminal charges.  Two others, whose reputation for their culmination of dedicated work, were tossed aside like yesterday's old newspaper.

Truth always prevails- sooner or later.  And what is expected becomes unexpected.

"Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy."
-Proverbs 31:9


I have a vested interest in PennState University (I am a student there as well as my sister.)  The shame I felt for the Univ. concerning the actions of this group of men was restored to pride in hearing the decision of the Univ. Board to displace its President. It is good to defend the needy and speak out against the injustice of the afflicted.

Prayers go for the victims and their families.


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Friday, November 4, 2011


Tapping out words this morning for five minute only with ladies from The Gypsy Mama.  During a breakout session at Relevant, a room full of bloggers got to do this 5-minute writing exercise.  I love what Lisa-Jo told us, "There are no rules in 5-minute Fridays!!"

Today's prompt is REMEMBER.


The prompt is BECOMING.

I sit in this room full of other writers.  I cannot help but notice the sound of tapping fingers onto key pad letters, getting banged with such velocity that my thoughts are hard to organize.  Thankfully, not every woman brought a handy laptop with them, so most of us are scratching out words onto paper with old fashioned graphite.  Before I know it the five minutes are up.  Unusually I actually finish before the timer is sounded.  I think having had this particular prompt before, the same subject matter comes to mind.
Becoming- each day is a challenge and a blessed opportunity to become more like Him- unto that final day when we see Him face to face.

As a handful of others ladies read aloud their words woven so beautifully, I am amazed by the giftings and talent.  All have hearts to become more like Him.

I am thankful to have sisters encouraging me along this journey.

I will remember their words.  And I pray that they REMEMBER to keep weaving their words into stories and exhortations because I need them.


The link to The Gypsy Mama.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


HI Ladies,

I wanted to write everything that I was experiencing at Relevant as I was experiencing it, but the time was too full.  Then I went home (don't you wish that you could stay on the mountain top a lot longer sometimes?), throwing me in the midst of Life.  Figure that.  And now it is four days and a page-turn on the calendar later!  So I am grabbing a few moments this morning before I take my daughter to co-op to share some thoughts with you.

First, PLEASE- please -please- do not let any one's talk about Relevant or anything else make you feel "out of the circle".  I know that some times when I hear about something great going on and I am missing it , then I can feel very isolated and lonely- or just not part of "it".  But I have to tell you that that feeling of isolation is not uncommon among all women, and I believe that the Holy Spirit is doing a work in Christ's body of uniting women's hearts in the bond of Christ and sisterly love.  THAT is one of the main themes that I had been pondering before Relevant and a recurring theme at Relevant.

The enemy wants us to feel all alone, but God's Holy Spirit is bringing to the forefront of our awareness that He wants His daughters to have an intimate bond of sisterhood.  Imagine relationships without competition, without malice, without self-seeking.  Aaaah- doesn't that sound refreshing?  Imagine joining hearts and hands with your sisters, sharing each other's joys, sorrows, and burdens.  That is what I see the Holy Spirit doing among us.

I am thrilled because that is what I wanted for LOV (Ladies Of Virtue) from the beginning- to create a community of women who are sisters in Christ, joining together on this journey of biblical womanhood, a distinct path with all the delights of living a godly life that is uniquely feminine.  Will you join in spirit?

This is a picture of my dear friend Angela Dively and I.  We were roomies.  She writes at when a fire is under her bottom.

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