Thursday, November 1, 2018

Autumn 2018

One of my grandmothers had a formal living room filled with furniture that you sat upright on, where tea was served and polite conversation was had. Her living room/sitting room was filled with treasures that had been collected from their travels around the world. My grandfather was a fighter pilot in the Air Force and his work took them to Europe, Asia and all around the United States and they had accumulated an eclectic collection.


More familiar guests often bypassed the formal room for the casual den where you slouched a bit on the sofa or put your feet up, put you glass down on the table (without a coaster) and laughed out loud. Today we call these spaces family rooms. It is where the tv is, where games are played and life is lived . Many homes have the two separate spaces still today but not in our house. Our house was built in the 1820's and we do have an "extra" room that we are still trying to figure out what to do with (more on that at another time) but only one living room. It is wonky shaped and poses challenges. One of those challenges is how to decorate the space but still live in it daily. 

I had a hard time with the hutch top this fall. I decorated it twice. After living with this for about two weeks I just didn't like it. 


I took everything away and started over.





I reused floral arrangements from the past two years.

I have a small dresser in the living room. It was handed down to us by friends years ago when my third child was born. The top had a fingernail polish spill and the poor thing was just beat up. A coat of paint, a wood applique, some new knobs and a coat of paint has given it a new life. I holds craft and decor items and adds light to the this corner of the room. 


I topped the dresser with a tray I picked up last year at a The Pro.found Vintage Market. This year I put the lamp inside the tray, layered in pumpkins, nosegays, pinecones and a hand printed sign I received at a church function last year.




I nestled old photos of my mom, husband and grandparents into the fall decor. I think they serve to direct my thoughts toward family and home as we settle into autumn and prepare for the holidays.




And, here is a little look at the kitchen coffee area.




I found this cute pie tin in a junk store and I think it goes perfectly with the crock I found recently. Both are Massachusetts companies. Table Talk Pies is still in operation but Johnson Made Preserves is not. It was bought out by the King Arthur Flour (another Massachusetts company) in the 1970's.




These were the only two "new" things this year. I just reused what I had from last year and the year before. Move things around, use what you have, shop your stuff...you hear me say these things over and over again.

I am already looking forward to decorating for Christmas and if you know me at all you'll understand that is wow moment as I am usually late for every season! I have even been shopping for Christmas already...that's Wow to the 2nd power!

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Sunday, October 21, 2018

Autumn 2018 On My Front Porch


The easy peasy hoop wreath is a new addition to my autumn decorations this year. After finding inspiration here I picked up materials at my local craft store. I added paper roses to my version.



We received our plaque from the historical society this year! 




As you can see, the rest of the porch is full of fall color!


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Friday, October 19, 2018

Stepping Out Of The Shadow Of A Humpty Dumpty

Hello, friends. Thanks for stopping by today.

Fair warning: this is not a crafting post or a decorating post. This post will be filed under the Faith tab. If you are here for the fun stuff, today is not the day...or maybe it is and the Lord brought you by for more than just the pretty, temporal things of this life.

I, my family, and our church have just walked through one profoundly hard year. Hearts have been broken. Relationships have been irreparably damaged-at least from this earthly perspective. Words have cut to my very core. All of it has left us tainted and spiraling downward like a bird in mid-flight whose wings were clipped by an invisible pair of sharp shears. There was no way to avoid the crash landing and we hit hard.

I could go into details of our particular experience and to tell the truth I wrote and deleted those kind of posts several times over the past year. Time and prayer has helped me to focus on the reason for writing a post on this subject at all. I wanted my readers to know why my posts have been few and far between over the past year.

More importantly, I want to to offer hope and help to anyone out there that may be serving under a spiritual abuser or for someone who has gone through it in the past and is still hurting.

Grab your bible or a bible app. I will be using the ESV for most of my references. I am not a teacher nor do I have any formal training. I am a child of God, daughter of the King, and follower of Christ. I do not want you to take me at my word. Search the Scriptures-our source of truth.


A confession: For my part, I allowed a man to be elevated in my heart to a position he could not possibly maintain. John Calvin said "man's nature is a perpetual factory of idols". Now, whether he was talking about the church or just mankind is irrelevant here as I think we can all realize that things and people get lifted up in our hearts and minds over what God would have for us or want of us. I was living in the shadow of a Humpty Dumpty I was lifting up.  My Humpty Dumpty was my pastor/elder. He was the sole pastor/elder for our church.


When we forget that a man or woman is nothing more than a sinful, broken version of the what God has planned for us-even in our redeemed state- we are in danger. Scripture teaches us that we are to obey our leaders, hold our pastors in high esteem-worth double honor, and not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought, putting the good of others first. All of these things I do believe and agree with. I find nothing oppressive or archaic about these things and more importantly than whether or not I agree is that God has said it is to be so.

I want to share some truth with you. Please read this verse slowly...

2 Timothy 5:7 says "Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching."

For years I never saw or read those three bold words. Who. Rule. Well. Honestly, if I had I would have been afraid to make an accusation...after all, one must be very careful when going against "God's anointed". 


Friends, here are some things to consider:


Do you feel like an "insider" with your pastor, like everyone else in the congregation is an outsider or not quite spiritual enough? God doesn't show partiality so why should his people? (Romans 2:11,  Romans 12:3)


* Does your pastor regularly engage in bashing other pastors/churches near you thus limiting communication/fellowship and ultimately accountability? Does he imply that because your church teaches the truth there is an exclusivity that others are falling short of. (Mark 9:40, Luke 9:50, Romans 14:4, Ephesians 4:29, Titus 3:2, 1 Corinthians 13:4-5) 

        -We are not talking about false teachers, cults, ect. Just churches that have a different view on the non-essentials. 

* Does your pastor misrepresent facts/events/circumstances? (The bible calls this lying.) (Exodus 20:16, Proverbs 6:16-19, Colossians 3:9-10, 1 Corinthians 13:6)


* Is there a pattern of people suddenly leaving the church because of problems with the leadership? Has your pastor referenced 1 John 2:19 to explain the departures, even questioning their salvation? Did not Paul and Barnabas separate from one another and yet both continued in the faith? 3 John describes believers leaving in a good light. (Acts 15:36-40) (1 John 5:16a, Ephesians 4:29, 1 Corinthians 2:11, Salvation is God's, and God's alone, to give to whom he chooses, Romans 9:15)


* Does your pastor insinuate that those who have left are in some form of sin. Does he try to "protect" you by not wanting to discuss the details of their sin? (James 4:11, Proverbs 6:19, Proverbs 7:19, Ephesians 4:29)


* Does your pastor protect himself from criticism by placing people around himself that are loyal to him; yes-men in the inner circle? ( 1 Kings 12:8, King Rehoboam surrounds himself with and takes counsel with those who better reflected his heart's desire.)


* Do you spend much time defending (even fiercely defending) your pastor's behavior as "understandably upset" to others outside and inside your church? Scripture tells us that God is our defender and that we are to be self-controlled-especially as a pastor. (Psalm 43:1, Isaiah 54:17, Galatians 5:222-3, 1 Peter 1:5-7, 2 Timothy 1:7, 1 Corinthians 9:27, Titus 1:8, 2 Peter 1:3-11)


* Does he insist on attendance to all sanctioned church gatherings. Does he talk about those that do not attend everything he sanctions even if those people are his own immediate family? (Leviticus 19:16, Psalm 15:3, Psalm 101:5, 1 Peter 5:3, 1 Corinthians 13:5)


* Does he discipline/shame/excommunicate those who question his character or authority even though they were once close friends/family/church leaders? (Galatians 6:1, Jeremiah 12:10,Jeremiah 23:1, Ezekiel 34:4) This is not to say the discipline should never be exercised. 


* Does he use Scripture to warn about not touching "God's anointed" or bringing accusations against an elder thereby refusing the counsel of or accountability to fellow believers. (2 Peter 3:16 warns of those who twist Scripture for their own purposes. )


* Does he refuse 3rd party arbitration (a pastor from a neighboring church or someone not connected with his congregation) to hear matters of concern that aren't getting resolved. Does he systematically discredit a church member that seems to be having an issue with him? Does the member end up leaving the church before biblical resolution can be reached? (Proverbs 10:17, Proverbs 20:3, Matthew 18:16, Ephesians 5:21, 3 John 9-11)


* Have you lost touch with/thought ill of someone you once loved as a brother or sister, because they left under a cloud of suspicion your pastor has perpetuated? Have you cut off believers as if they were dead because they dared to leave the church? (Galatians 6:10, Ephesians 4:29, Ephesians 4:32, 3 John 7)


* Does you pastor paint himself as a humble martyr, bearing the "attacks of hate and malice" by those who've fallen into sin. Does he stir up others' emotions of allegiance or demand votes of confidence? (Acts 6:12, Colossians 2:23, 1 Corinthians 13:7)

* Does he keep others from positions that would put him in submission to them or on equal footing? He may do this by making the qualifications unattainable by anyone other than Jesus or by putting so much work and demands on the applicant that they eventually give up. (1 Timothy 3:1-13 lists only character qualities for leadership positions-not matters of academia, tithing, reading certain authors, ect. 


* Does your pastor keep files on congregants like he was J. Edgar Hoover with FBI dossiers? (Matthew 6:14, Mark 11:25, Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13, Psalm 103:12)


* Do you feel you'll never measure up spiritually in your pastor's eyes no matter how much you give, serve, provide for him, ect. Is there a culture of fear and shame? (2 Timothy 1:7, 1 John 4:18, Isaiah 43:1, Proverbs 29:25, Romans 10:11, Romans 8:1)


* Does you pastor believe or has he expressed that if he ever left or stepped down your church would fold or cease to exist? This makes it paramount to support him for fear of losing your church family. (Isaiah 47:10, Matthew 16:18, 1 Corinthians 3:17, Galatians 6:3, Ephesians 1:22, Colossians 1:18) THE CHURCH BELONGS TO CHRIST!


* Does your pastor refuse to repent of sinful behavior or suggest that he has privately repented? (Galatians 6:1, Romans 2:4, 2 Corinthians 7:10, Proverbs 28:13, Romans 2:5, Ephesians 5:23-24 (not to stir controversy over wives submitting here))


Friends, these are all characteristics of a spiritual bully; an abusive leader. It is not an exhaustive list nor does every bully embody every point here but if you recognize some of these in your pastor consider these things. An angry man will stir up strife and controversy. People who lie and gossip are angry and often abusive people. Scripture is clear that we will become like them if we have fellowship with them. (Proverbs 22:24-25, Corinthians 5:11) You can only fool people for so long and then the facade will crack and little by little the truth will be made known; God is not mocked. Things done in secret will be revealed.  This sort of man is brutish. In Scripture this word means to burn, kindle or set on fire in his anger. Jeremiah 10:21 KJV, "For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD;  therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered." Throwing a public temper-tantrum or emotionally venting is not godly, pastoral, or loving.(Proverbs 29:11) If you are in this type of relationship seek outside counsel immediately.


Repentance leads to restoration. This is not a platitude, it is a biblical principle.  It is the principle by which we are saved. If we do not repent before the Lord of Glory we are not saved, redeemed or restored.  An earthly, fleshly sorrow does not restore relationships. We have the example of Judas Iscariot who hanged himself in his despair. By contrast, we have the example of godly sorrow that leads to repentance in Peter who denied Christ and who lived out his days strengthening his brothers and sisters after being restored. (Luke 2:32, Matthew 26:75, Accounts of his life are documented in the New Testament, his inspired authorship of 1&2 Peter.) 


Dear ones, people have been damaged by spiritually abusive pastors and church members! Maybe this describes you. You are not alone. Nothing has escaped the eye of our God. Your pain and tears are not in vain. (Psalm 56:8, Romans 8:28, Psalm 34:18, 2 Corinthians 1:3-8)


The Lord has brought me to a place of repentance and confession for my part in seeking the favor, supporting, and defending such a man. It did not come without cost, though. It has required that I recognize and repent of my prideful heart. It cost the loss of my church family and my friends of 15 years which has been literally nauseating. I know there are some who have found themselves in this place that have never bounced back. I don't know that I will completely bounce back either-nor do I want to. At least not in the sense that I return to what I was-a man pleaser and Humpty Dumpty supporter. By God's grace I have moved out of that shadow.




Here is another truth though you will not find it in the bible: You have no choice but to live in the shadow of Humpty Dumpty when you are the one holding the Humpty Dumpty up. If you choose to move out from that supporting position the Humpty Dumpty will fall. The nursery rhyme tells us that all the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't put him back together again.  

Does the Humpty Dumpty even know he is broken? In my case, no. He does not desire to look into the mirror that was held up to him. Moreover, his supporters (who are mainly family) are refusing to acknowledge the brokeness and subsequent mess. They refuse to see that anger and lack of self-control are characteristics of someone who is, according to Scripture, unqualified to hold the office or pastor/elder.

Only God can mend what is shattered. Only God can take these messes and make something new. 


Have you been shattered by a an elder that has abused his authority? Were you a Humpty that got dumped? Are you a shadow dweller? Jesus Christ has called us into the light and He can heal you! Run to Him, fall on His mercy and grace and cling to this promise from 1 John 1:5-9: 


"God is lightand in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darknesswe lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in 
the lightas he is in the lightwe have fellowship with one anotherand the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sinwe deceive ourselves and the truth is not in usIf we confess our sinshe is faithful and just to forgive us
our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

As a result of the past year, I and those who left after our family have committed to memory 1Corinthians 13. Do you know it? Do you practice it? It is a hard and beautiful passage. I would encourage you to learn it and preach it to yourselves often. 

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Thursday, October 4, 2018

In Anticipation of Autumn In My Garden and A Vintage Fair

With the passing of summer I do little to prepare my gardens for fall. Mostly, I just pick up my summer decorations like the plastic flamingos and bird houses and I let the gardens do what they do in the fall.

I am enjoying the zinnia I planted in late spring.





And the black-eyed susan are going by...


I met a new "friend" living in the middle of the wagon wheel. Can you see it? 



Actually, I hate spiders. When I see one in the house it has to die and nope, I don't kill them...I call mister to slay the dragon. That is one of his jobs as the man of the house and I am perfectly fine to have him display his masculinity and dominion over these creepy-crawlies.

I wasn't leaning in too close to get these photos so I was relying on my zoom lense. At one point I was zoomed in tight and then the spider ran out of the hole! Since I was zoomed in it looked like he was right in my face! I screamed and practically jumped out of my skin! Good thing I was wearing my camera strap around my neck because that would have been the end of my little Canon. And that's when I remembered I was really standing four feet back from the spider! It's okay, I was laughing at myself at that point, too.


Autumn means fall festivals, vintage fairs, crafts and pumpkins... This season started off great with a trip to the Pro.found Vintage Market. Creative juices are primed as one walks through. I walked away with tons of ideas and few treasures.




 (Only Prettier Design)



 (ItsBasicLeeDesigns.etsy.com)



(Found Things)

I am at peace with Autumn this year and while I am not singing about it just yet I am not fighting it. I am looking forward to cuddly sweaters and tall boots. I am waiting patiently for the changing leaves. In anticipation of them I decided to take a few photos around my area.






I think I'll take a drive with mister this weekend and I'll be sure to bring my camera! Thanks for spending time with me. Happy Fall!

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