What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Soles for Souls

We had a brush with fame recently and I just had to share!  We had the great pleasure of hosting Jamie and Val Soles in November on their singing tour of the Northeast. They traveled all the way from Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada and we just happened to be right smack dab in the middle of two churches on their tour.  They spent the night in our Spare Oom and gave us a little impromptu concert in our very packed living room.

Ever heard of them?

Jamie and his wife are singer/songwriters who have a passion for putting biblical truths, stories and memorization facts to music.  His music is geared toward making these things accessible to all ages- even to very small children.

 This is how the children I do so much of our memorization work- music has a really wonderful way of etching things into the hearts and minds of people.  I am really surprised I had not heard of them- but was so glad to meet them and hear some of their music!  A whole new world has opened up for the children and I-- we have already gotten to work on memorizing some of his songs.

As a bonus, they happen to be some of the sweetest people!  Never having opened my home up to complete strangers before, I didn't know what to expect.  And in my mind, all I saw was the scratched up dingy walls, the single, solitary bathroom, the clothes rack in the Spare Oom.  But they were very kind and gracious to our meager offerings.

Not to mention:  If ever I had to pick the best laugh in all the world, it would, hands down, be the laugh of Mister Jamie Soles.  He has the most wonderfully jolly laugh I have ever heard.  (And I've known quite a few excellent laughs in my day.)  His exuberance is contagious.

It was such a pleasure to meet them.

If you are interested in supporting Jamie, Val and their important and good work you can head to their website, support them on patreon or buy some of their cd's or mp3downloads on Amazon or through their website!

His music would make excellent Christmas gifts for the children and grandchildren!  Just sayin'.

(I don't make a red cent writing this.  Just wanted to share with you their good work!)

Tree Trimming


In which we eat a dinner of SnacksWeNeverGet, we hang oodles of lights and we toast to a season filled with Light.

Monday, December 10, 2018


This photo practically gets me lactating.  We need a new baby in this house.  ASAP.

Thursday, December 06, 2018


Grandma and Grandpa just left to take the children to a Christmas tree display for a few hours-leaving me with a few precious hours of alone time in which I will be converting the house into Santa's Secret Workshop.  We will be celebrating Ineke's birthday on Sunday which means there could be birthday crafting in the mix too.  

Maybe I'll plug in A White Christmas for some background music.

And I can guarantee there will be a nice hot cocoa suffocating under an obscene amount of whipped cream somewhere close by me at all times.

***  Just a reminder:  Today is the last day to sign up for the O Christmas Tea swap so if you were planning on joining up- better not put it off much longer!  Names will be drawn tomorrow.  WooHoo!

So glad for the enthusiastic response~  apparently I am not the only one who gets excited at little surprises in the mailbox!  There is one person who may have signed up but I can't seem to 'accept' into the group because you may not have provided an address or email?  If you are "Jesse Lee" and want to participate, I think you have to fill in that information before you can be accepted into the group.  It will only be shared with your secret swap partner and no one else.  I wanted to write that here because I don't want you to miss out or be disappointed by not being included.  ***

Saturday, December 01, 2018

A Little Something for December: a Gift Exchange!


Happy December!  Since it is December 1st- how perfect to announce some fun Christmas shenanigans here at Renaissance.

I was making my morning cup of tea the other day (tea of choice: Bengal Spice) and, as usual, my teabag was the last bag in the box.  (Bengal Spice is a favorite with the children too.)  I went to throw the box away when it occurred to me that a cute little tea box would make a nice little surprise in a mailbox for someone.  And it was just the right size to fit lots of fun goodies!  Not too much pressure to become a burden but just right to make someone's day.

I immediately starting thinking I should surprise someone with a little gift.  Then I thought how much I too would like to be surprised with a little something in the mailbox!  And it occurred to me-

Why not host a little gift exchange here on the blog- for anyone else who might like a bit of Christmas cheer to brighten these wintry days?

Enter ..............    The Christmas Tea Exchange

Details............. This exchange is open for anyone who wants to play along.  I'll keep the sign ups open ONE week.  On the 7th of December, Elfster will pair everyone up and email you your secret friend.

(I have never hosted an exchange with Elfster before but I have participated in them- and it is very simple and handy to use.   You can even ask questions anonymously of your secret friend or add details about your own likes/dislikes on your profile to give (or get) a more personalized gift.  You do have to sign up your email address so they can send you the name of your partner.)

Packages must be mailed by December 21st to get to their destination by Christmas.  Please make sure that if you sign up- you follow through!!  I don't want anyone who has been promised a surprise to not receive one! 

Every surprise must be packaged in a tea box but does NOT have to be filled with tea! 

Some ideas for filling your box-

cuddly socks
hat or headwarmer
something handmade !!
twinkle lights
hair things/ jewelry
a pocketknife (Andrew suggested this-ha!)
card games

Of course, you can simply mail a brand new box of tea, as well. 

Anything at all you can fit in a box of tea- or any combination of things.

There is no end to the possibilities!

And don't forget a note or letter to introduce yourself~ sometimes the notes are the best of all.

There is no minimum cost of your package- a box of tea is just a few bucks.   Handmade goodies can't have a price put on them.  Besides- it's not how much something costs that makes it special, is it?!

I don't want anyone to not be able to participate because they can't afford it!  And I won't limit your gifts either- if you wanna bless someones' socks off- go for it!  Just make sure that your gift is something YOU wish you could receive and I know it will bring joy. 

I trust ya'll to make someone's day!

It's the little things that matter most.  This will be fun.

Friday, November 30, 2018

The Month That Was: NOVEMBER

haircut time once again

November 17th dumped over a foot of snow on us.  It's been covered in white ever since.

helping make bread.  Or, by the looks of her chin, maybe just licking up flour.

Notice the tousled girl gets the the tousled doll and the perfectly coifed girl gets the perfectly coifed doll.  Perfectly suited.

When a neighbor shares homegrown leeks...you make leek soup

Andrew's first day out hunting, he came back with a nine-point!  

Pheasants in the flower circle!

The craft show that the girls set up over Black Friday was a fun (and freezing) experience.  Everyone made a few dollars for their efforts and they had a chance to hang with some of their favorite people in the world.  Success!

Everyone contributed something.  Corynn painted canvases and made stationary.  Adele made hair barrettes.  Friends brought knitwear, stationary, paintings, origami, jewelry, mittens, scarves and ornaments.  It was an ecclectic mix but I think their display came together nicely.

and here is the mansion barn where they set up.  It happened to be FREEZING (single digits for most of the first day) but boy was it GORGEOUS.  I wonder if Matt would ever build me a barn full of twinkle lights?  Hmmm, Mattie?

If you take time to look inside a half-frozen gallon of raw milk sometime...you may be surprised by the beauty you discover!

And that was November in a nutshell.  

The month disappeared- as all months are seeming to do this year.  Am I getting old?  Is time speeding up?  

I was having a morning brew of warm tea (Bengal Spice- one of my favorites!) when I had a little spark of an idea!  If you are someone who would appreciate a little surprise tucked in their mailbox this month-I know *I* am!- be sure to come back tomorrow to hear details and sign yourself up for some fun.  

It should be fun.  Even if only one other person signs up!  ;-)