by Terri Owens Blanchard

I remember as a little girl working on a very important, top secret project.  I gathered my supplies, went to my room and hoped that I would not be discovered.  With paper and crayons in hand, I sat on the floor and began to create a masterpiece for my dad. The result, a paper card that read “Happy Father’s Day” on the outside and “I love you, Daddy” on the inside. As colorful as the card was, looking back I don’t think it was about the card I gave him, but more importantly, that it was a gift that came from my heart.  

Several years later, I wrote a poem to my dad for Father’s Day. My grandmother scripted it in calligraphy on parchment paper and framed it for me to give to him. As touching as it was, my dad treasured it because it was another gift from my heart to his heart.  

Fast forward almost thirty years later. As I sat next to my dad on his hospital bed, the doctor informed us that he had, at the very most, three months to live due to cancer. That night, I was able to tell Daddy about Jesus and he was willing to listen. My dad accepted Christ as his Savior and committed his life to God, not knowing how much longer that would be.  

Amazingly, God blessed my dad and me with a year and a half together! During that time, we were able to mend past hurts and emotional healing took place for both of us. I am so thankful to God for giving us that time together. Three days before the next Father’s Day, my dad went to Heaven. 

That Father’s Day, and every one since, I thank my Heavenly Father for the gifts He gave to me and my dad: the gift of His Son, the gift of the opportunity to share Jesus with my dad, the gift of my dad’s salvation, and the gift of our time together before he went home to be with the Lord.

Daddy’s gift was no longer about what I gave him but what he gave me. It was the gift of my dad giving his heart to God’s heart. Furthermore, it was also about the gift of time with my dad that my Heavenly Father gave from His heart to my heart. 

By the way, the poem I wrote for my dad read:

You were there right from the start
I loved you with all my heart
We had some problems that’s true
But with each other, we pulled through.

You loved me through all the years
Happy times and moments of tears
Watching me grow from baby to almost grown
I was your girl, I’ve always known.

We’re alike in so many ways
When we’re apart I count the days
Like father like daughter, we’re a pair
I love you Daddy, I’ll always care.

I miss you Daddy, I really do
I hope we can be together real soon
You’re extra special, especially to me
‘cause you’re my Daddy and you’ll always be.

 

Terri Owens Blanchard is a wife, mother, and Mimi to her precious granddaughter. She is a Mary Kay Consultant, a small group leader to the Military Wives group, and an assistant small group coach. She loves to shop, travel, and shop as she travels! She also enjoys spending time with family, friends and her crazy pets.

 

By Kim Wiezycki

My kids’ dentist office just went entirely paperless. Every file, signature, photo, and record is digitally stored on the computer system. It is a very tidy place. My husband and I pay most of our bills online. Our filing cabinet is almost bare. My stacks and stacks of folders and binders I used to store my magazine tear-outs of kitchen remodel ideas, summer food and drink recipes, and pictures of how to wear the most current accessories is now… in the garbage.

I discovered Pinterest.

Yes, there is a new social networking craze you may have heard of called…Pinterest.  Have you heard the lingo? Maybe you recently complimented a friend on her funky braided hair-do with the cool handmade flower pin and she said, “It’s Pinterest! I pinned it last week!”  What???

Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board where you can ‘pin’ things you are interested in.  Get it? Pin+Interest=Pinterest.  My favorite thing is that it is clutter free!  No more messy bulletin boards, folders, or binders taking up space on your desk or walls.

How do you get started Pinning?

1. Go to www.pinterest.com and request an invitation, or ask a friend who is a current Pinterest user to invite you. Upon your acceptance, you can join in the fun! Note: It is much faster to ask a friend to invite you than to request an invitation from Pinterest. She will just need to enter your email address.

2. Set up your screen name and password and grab a cup of tea, because you’ll be in front of your computer for a ridiculous amount of time. I recommend waiting to join Pinterest when the kids or your husband won’t need you.

3. Start “pinning”!  When you click on the cute red Pinterest logo at the top of the home screen you will see pretty pictures of almost anything. When you see something you would like to remember for a future idea, simply click “repin” and the item will “pin” onto your virtual pin-board. When you are ready to try the idea, simply click on the picture and it will take you to the website link where you will find directions or a tutorial. You can also “like” items and comment on them, without having to repin them to your board. You can even set up titles for the things you repin. Among my categories are: My Style, Cleaning Ideas, I Want to Eat This, To Do This Summer, Gifts to Give, and Mantle Ideas. Like any other social media forum, you will learn best by clicking around and exploring the site to learn all the options you have.

4. The ideas to search for on Pinterest are endless. You can browse what automatically pops up on your screen or you can type something specific in the search box to find ideas. One Friday night, I had these cute tights I’d bought at Target and wanted a trendy way to wear them. I typed “tights” in the search box and found loads of pictures of outfits with tights. I would never have thought to pair mine with boots, but I saw a picture that showed me how to piece together what I already had in my closet–and I loved it!  You will see nail polish colors and wacky patterns.  Interesting vintage furniture and tutorials on how to refurbish them. Recipes. Proverbs. Exercises you can do at home. Fabrics. Clever Thank You Note ideas. Homeschooling storage. How to decorate a mason jar.  Just click and store these ideas for your future use. That’s it!

5. Finally, if you see an idea while browsing other web sites that you want to add to Pinterest, many sites now have a red “PIN” button that you can click and it will automatically pin that idea to your personal Pinterest page.

It is easy to edit your pages and to focus on certain categories and eliminate others.  Some random “pins” you may find offensive, so just hide or remove that user. You can control who you are “friends” with and you will see each other’s pins as they are posted. It’s a great way to share ideas and store the ideas without all the paper and magazine clutter!

Have fun Pinning!

 

Kim has been married to Larry Wiezycki for 16 years and they have two boys, ages 9 and 11. When Kim isn’t in church, she can be found teaching curly girls how to take care of their hair, spending way too much time on Facebook or reading real books, and running a 5k here and there.

by Leslee Stewart

I’ve always subscribed to home decorating magazines. Country Living is probably my favorite. The homes that grace its pages have inspired what I’ve tried to make my home look like over the years.

From the outside, I’ve done a pretty good job of making my house magazine ready. Welcoming wreath? Check. Potted plants with trailing vines? Check. Cute doormat? Check.

Front door

And when you step through the threshold, you might expect to be greeted with an entryway that looks like this, right? Warm and lived in, yet perfectly appointed with timeless, stylish décor.

entry hall

Well, it’s warm alright, thanks to the fact that we live in Florida. And lived in? You betcha. By me, my husband, our two rowdy boys and a dog that sheds year round.  Oh, and don’t forget the mile-long Hot Wheels track. Mind your step, please.

the real entry hall

As the lone female in my house (dog included), I pretty much make the decorating decisions around here. And while he might have chimed in on a few paint swatches, my husband’s only serious décor request was for the TV to line up directly with the couch. So by in large, our home definitely “feels” like me. It reflects my personality.

But since we’ve had kids, their decorating style has started to infringe on mine. Gone are the cool coffee table books, replaced by Nerf dart guns and Spiderman coloring books. A bowl that sat atop the coffee table now houses stray baseball cards, toys from Happy Meals and a pirate eye patch. 

The sunroom is the best example of where my kids’ and my decorating style clash. Here’s the left side of the room. It’s the side you can see from the main living room in our house. My original plan was to turn this into a reading room with vintage garden furniture, a rug and a few lamps. But, I haven’t done too much decorating in here.

Why, you ask?

sunroom 1

Here’s why. This is the right side of the same room. Knowing this was on the opposite side of the same room, would you be inclined to curl up with a good book? Me neither.

sunroom 2

As my kids’ have accumulated more stuff, I just keep buying more baskets, bins and storages boxes. That way when it’s time to go to bed, they just walk around and drop their precious plastic trinkets into one of the boxes and, voila!, my house suddenly feels like mine again. At least until morning.

I can hear all you moms of grown kids saying, “Enjoy it now. One day you’ll miss stepping on a Lego in the middle of the night.” Honestly, I don’t know that I will. Not the Lego part, anyway. Those suckers hurt! And in all honesty, there’s a part of me that’s looking forward to reclaiming what was once mine. I’d like to eventually use the hall closet for more than just a basketball hoop.

basketball

Until then, I’ll keep dreaming of what I wish my house looked like, while I enjoy living in how it actually is today – filled with the sounds, sights and people that make this house our home.

 

Leslee Stewart oversees communications for GFC Beautiful. She is a wife, stay-at-home mom of two boys and former communications executive. She openly admits she owns too many throw pillows, loves junky old furniture and can sing all the parts of Bohemian Rhapsody.

 

On Monday, May 14 over 800 women gathered at Grace Family Church for a Beautiful Girls Night Out. Women came from all over Tampa Bay to celebrate and connect, and enjoy a delicious dessert reception.

Beautiful Girls Night Out

Beautiful Girls Night Out

The highlight of the evening was a dynamic talk from Debbie Altman, wife of Senior Pastor Craig Altman.  Throughout her talk, entitled “No Comparison,” Debbie passionately shared how insecurity robs women of confidence, damages relationships and causes us to make foolish decisions. She challenged the attendees to recognize the lies of insecurity and begin to allow God to heal us of past hurts as we focus on being the women He’s called us to be. The message touched many hearts that night.

Click on the player below to watch Debbie’s message, “No Comparison.”

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If you are looking to connect with other women at Grace Family Church, consider joining one of our Beautiful Summer Groups. These weekly bible studies will run 6-7 weeks, starting in June. There are several studies to choose from. For more information, click here or email beautiful@gfconline.com.

Click here to Find a Group.