Friday, February 28, 2014

From My Front Porch ~ February 28, 2014

Welcome back to my weekly series, From my Front Porch, where I share updates from my home and family. My hope is that you'll fix yourself a cup of coffee or tea and imagine us sitting together on my front porch, chatting about life and catching up on the latest news!  I hope you'll join me each Friday on My Front Porch!  

Have you missed our front porch chats?  I have! The last two Fridays found me on a trip to California enjoying a grand adventure!  (Well, it was a pretty big adventure for me, because I'm very much a homebody and not a world traveler!!)  Today I'm hoping to catch up!  So, get ready for lots of pictures!  :)

On February 14th, I flew into Los Angeles so I could attend the first ever Lilla Rose convention. You can read all about that fabulous event here.  

It was hard being away from those I love on Valentine's Day, as I always make one or more special meals for my family.  However, Tiffany stepped up to the plate and hit a home run with this yummy breakfast!!

Then, Alan donned his apron and made a special dinner for the family. I hear that Hannah made an amazing chocolate cake and set a beautiful table!  So, my family still had a special Valentine's Day celebration.

Alan ("Coach") got to enjoy some Sarah time!  (Can you believe she is already 3 months old??)

Back to California ~ after the Lilla Rose convention, I hung around Anaheim for a couple days waiting for Alan to join me in California for the second part of my adventure! He had a board meeting in Santa Monica Thursday through Saturday, so he flew into Los Angeles on Wednesday evening, and I met him at the airport, and we took a taxi to beautiful Santa Monica!

This is the gorgeous view we were able to see from our hotel.

Santa Monica is a fascinating place -- Such a beautiful city featuring a diverse population and a very active lifestyle.  I don't think I'd want to live there . . . but it was very fun to visit!  :)

This is famous Muscle Beach.

We happened upon a beach wedding!

I loved this giant chess board on the sand at the International Chess Park, which is located by the Santa Monica pier.  My boys would have loved this, as they used to compete successfully in scholastic chess tournaments back in the day!  In the background you can see "pick-up chess games" being played.

One afternoon we were taken on a tour of the city by the City Manager of Santa Monica.  This is the beautiful place where he gets to go to work each day!

This is a view of an innovative open air "mall" in the center of downtown.

Walking through Picturesque Palisades Park.

Sunsets over the Pacific can be stunning! Here is one we got to enjoy.

A stroll down Santa Monica Pier, which used to be where famous Route 66 ended.

We ate dinner here one evening.

Sunday morning I boarded the plane in Los Angeles in the fog, excited to be going home!  I met a fascinating lady on the flight home!  Perhaps I will share about her in another post!

I had a Great Trip . . . but there's no place like home!  

Thanks for stopping by my front porch for a visit! I'd love for you to take a moment to "sign my guest book" (leave a comment!) so I can know that you stopped by and enjoyed your visit!  Please join me again next Friday on my front porch!  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Make Me a Blessing: How to Bless a Widow {Guest Post}

It has been quite awhile since I've posted anything in my ongoing "Make Me a Blessing" series. In fact, it has been so long that you may have forgotten that I had such a series going!  ;)  If you'd like to read the previous posts in that series, click on Make Me a Blessing.

Today, I'm privileged to share a guest post by the amazing "Aunt Mae," who shares candidly from her life experiences what you should do -- and should not do -- to be a blessing to a widow (or widower).

Do you know someone who has recently suffered some kind of tragedy or loss?  I know it can be hard to know what to say or do.  This is written from the perspective of a woman who has just lost her husband, but this also pertains to a husband who has just lost a wife or parents who have lost a child or their own parents.  Having recently suffered the loss of my precious husband and being left financially destitute I can tell you what has and has not helped me.

1) DO NOT tell her to call you if she ever needs anything. She never will.  She won’t remember who said it.  She won’t know what kinds of things you could or would be able or willing to do, so she won’t EVER call you. Ever.  It isn’t that help isn’t needed for IT IS.  But the offer is too broad, too general and she is not in a state of mind to remember.
Initially she is in shock.  Shock plays havoc with the brain rendering her unable to remember simple things and the days pass by in a blur.  Getting out of bed is – a chore.  Getting dinner on the table is a challenge.  Simple everyday things are now mountains to scale.  Memory is a thing of the past she wishes would return!  Alas… even simple everyday things are too soon forgotten – and can even be a hazard to herself and her family.  We’ll not talk about the numerous times I ~could have~ burned down the house… just trying to reheat my tea on the stove…
Instead let her know what kinds of things you can and would be able to do AND WRITE IT DOWN ON A CARD FOR HER: fill the car with gasoline, cook a meal, rake/or mow the lawn, weed the garden area, shovel the sidewalk and driveway, clean the gutters, help her with the taxes, take a load to the dump, help organize a room/the books/the garage, help inventory what’s in the freezer and plan some simple crock pot meals with what’s already on hand (things that don’t require anything more than opening the bag and dumping into the crock pot… sauteing onions is beyond impossible…).
2) Go to all the hard appointments that are coming up (Social Security, VA, insurance, etc.) where they have to go over and over and over and over the same information ~ he’s dead ~ he’s dead ~ he’s dead. It’s draining.
3) Show up in a few weeks and just take her out to lunch and let her talk about her husband. I long ~ LONG ~ to hear someone speak about Robert or to just let me talk about him and how much I miss him.
4) Help her establish a budget and figure out how to pay the bills. He may have been doing all this and she has no clue, or she could have been doing this and if he lost her he’d have no clue. THIS IS A BIGGIE!!
5) Offer to help her write thank you notes. These can easily pile up into an unscalable mountain.
6) Get her a notebook (something medium-sized and pretty (or masculine for a guy) to keep track of what’s been donated/gifted and what needs a Thank You note. SET IT UP FOR HER with column lines and category titles on the first few pages. Don’t ask, just go buy her some thank you notes, a pretty pen and some stamps. You will be her hero. Another possibility is to help her set up a box (cover it in butcher paper or something pretty) to keep the cards in with some kind of divider for the ones that have had a TY sent and the ones that have not. I highly recommend a lidded something ~ my box got dumped over and I had to attempt to figure out what got a TY and what didn’t’. I do not recommend keeping track on the computer. The last thing you want to do is go turn on the stupid machine when you are in the other room and ready to write a Thank You note that is long over due.  Show up in a month or two or seven afterwards JUST to help with Thank You notes.
7) Make sure she is taking care of herself. Regular meals, regular showers, getting out of the house, exercise, etc.  Is she supposed to take supplements?  Help get them organized so they are easy to take and easy to remember (they might need to be kept IN sight… as there is no memory right now…).  Or a list on the cabinet door might be helpful.
8) DO NOT EVER PUSH her to make a hard decision that isn’t *necessary* (that should read critical) right now.  Decisions about the funeral will HAVE to be made now. What to do with his clothing IS NOT critical right now. Neither is it a critical thing to take his name off the car title… unless she is selling it tomorrow.
9) Help with painting the inside or outside of the house.
10) Help in locating repairmen for furnaces, appliances, and vehicles as well as helping her establish some kind of regular maintenance for these things.  Has she ever used a Home Management binder?  Maybe help her set one up with maintenance for appliances and home things on there.  She may not have a clue what should be done and when or how often.
11) Help in purchasing a new appliance or vehicle.  There are plenty of nefarious folks who love to prey on the helpless, uninformed widow.
12) Help with computer problems. You don’t have to be an expert. But when someone is in shock (and it can last a whole lot longer than we’d like to think or have to slog through) the brain just doesn’t function. Figuring out that the stupid thing isn’t plugged in fully might just be beyond one’s ability to cope right now. Having someone come to help WITHOUT judging her inability is priceless.
13) Offer to help organize the kitchen, living room, garage, garden tools, books, office, bedroom, whatever.  NOT with the idea of helping her get rid of anything but to help with the clutter. I know I can’t be the only one with it. DO NOT JUDGE. Make NO comment to anyone else EVER about what was or was not organized. It will get back to her (ask me how I know). Those kinds of things are not helpful and hurt. Needlessly hurt. When one is overwhelmed, it can be helpful for someone else to come in and help, NOT to judge. When you’ve lived with the mess for so long… you over look it and just move through it as best you can. True confessions here.  Thinking you’ll help her establish new cleaning routines is not for the initial aftermath.  She can barely get a shower… or out of bed… address something like this in a year or earlier if she asks.
14) Offer to help her lay out the pros and cons of big decisions and *IF* they even need to be made right now. It is highly recommended that one who has just suffered a tremendous loss NOT make any big decisions that are not critical to be made for at least a year so that there are no regrets about those decisions later. It’s too easy to make a hasty decision, especially if you feel pushed by well meaning friends, that you WILL regret later.
15) IF you are going to offer her advice make sure YOU have studied God’s word for yourself first on the issue.  Not some time in the past but RECENTLY.  Yes it will take you a bit of time to do.  Offering un-biblical advice to the recently bereaved is unwise at best and unrighteous at worst.  DO NOT read *into* what the Bible says but find out what the Bible does say.  I have been given an abundance of un-biblical advice.
16) Do not ever think that a sympathy card sent in a few weeks or even a few months later is bad manners.  It is NOT bad manners.  Getting a sympathy card anytime is letting her know you care.  Getting a sympathy card with a short hand written note is precious.  Did you know her husband?  A short note sharing a fun memory or how he impacted your life would be priceless.  You are not writing a novel or article for publication but a personal memory to the widow ~ and she will be overjoyed to receive it.  Are you the organized type?  Send her a card every month on the anniversary of her beloved’s death letting her know you are praying for her.
The same things can be said for a phone call except for the personal remembrance (that would be better written so she can save it).  Everyone is there in the initial aftermath.  Don’t get me wrong.  I was thankful for the initial phone calls, visits, help, cards.  But after that first week…  then there was ~ nothing.  Everyone has returned to their own lives and the widow is left alone, bereft, penniless, and in great need ~ and no one calls, sends notes, stops by.
17) When you see the recent widow in person don’t think you need to have some wise thing to say.  A hug goes a LONG way.  Don’t worry that something you say will cause her to cry.  She’ll cry no matter if you say anything or not!  Tears are healthy.  Tears are necessary.  Today’s society doesn’t like tears.  Everyone is supposed to be ~happy~ but life isn’t always that way.  Tears, loss, anguish, pain are a very real part of the human experience since Adam ate that fruit.  Acknowledging that she is hurting is helpful.  Talk about her recently departed husband; tell her a story about your interaction with him.  She longs to hear about him.  He’ll always be a part of her life and not talking about him or changing the subject if his name is mentioned is hurtful ~ bordering on cruelty.
I hope you find these suggestions helpful.  This is by no means an exhaustive list.  If you are stumped at how to help, pray and ask the Lord to give you an idea.  He’ll do that for you if you listen.  He’s creative like that!
Aunt Mae has been married to The Patriarch for 26 years. She is a homeschooling mother and on-line entrepreneur at, where you can find her handmade natural soaps and other handmade products (like her amazing earrings!).  She is also an essential oil fanatic who enthusiastically shares her love of natural remedies all to the glory of God.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

How I Fell in Love at the Lilla Rose Convention!

I was so blessed to be able to attend the first ever Lilla Rose convention in Anaheim, California last week! It was such a privilege to be there with about 60 other consultants from across the USA!  Many of us already "knew" each other from our Lilla Rose Consultant's Facebook group, and it was so exciting to actually meet face to face and already feel connected!  

The night before the convention, many of us gathered under the Lilla Rose lighted logo for a picture (photo on left).  It was so amazing to meet the founder and president of Lilla Rose, John Dorsey, and his sweet wife, Missy! They are pictured below with my beautiful roomie, Loralyn!

Although I've been impressed with Lilla Rose from the beginning, after meeting the Dorseys and the LR staff, hearing John's story of how he ended up in the hair jewelry business, and witnessing his humility, generosity, and devotion to his family, I was really in love with Lilla Rose!  I'm just so grateful to be a part of such a wonderful company!!

The focus of the convention was not to pump us up and prod us to sell more hair clips, but to thank us for all we've done to help make Lilla Rose successful and to encourage us to look for ways to be a blessing to our customers!  {Love!!}  We were really pampered and appreciated, honored for our achievements, fed scrumptious food, and showered with little gifts!  {So blessed!

We were also entertained by the Dorsey's sweet and talented daughters, Justine {Rose} and Kerris {Lilla} who are singer/songwriters!  You can enjoy a small taste of what I got to listen to by watching the videos below!  :)

I love the harmony which exists between these two beautiful sisters!  You don't just hear it -- you see it and feel it!

I loved the breakout sessions where we learned many practical tips to help us succeed as Lilla Rose consultants, including suggestions for successfu shows, fun home parties and fabulous hair styles.

I encourage you to check out my Lilla Rose website, where you can learn more about the company, discover the Lilla Rose product line, or explore the opportunities available with Lilla Rose.  I would really love to have you join my team!  Did you know you can get started with this fabulous and fast-growing company for as little as $49.95 plus tax and shipping? When I signed up, I had no idea how much fun it would be and what a blessing it would be to my life!  

If you are interested or even just curious, please email me ( and I'll gladly answer any questions you may have about this ground-floor opportunity with a fabulous, family-friendly company!  Who knows?  You may be the next Lilla Rose consultant!  :)

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Marriage Monday: The Traveling Wife! {Link up}

Welcome back to Marriage Monday!  I'm so glad you've joined me as we focus on strengthening and promoting godly marriages, both in our nation and in our own backyards!

In recent weeks, I've been exploring the various characteristics of a godly wife.  If you missed it, last Monday I shared some thoughts on being a Supportive Wife.

I arrived home about 8 pm last night, much to the delight of my family!  After being on Pacific time for 10 days and returning to East coast time, my body is a little confused about when to sleep, when to wake up and when to eat!!  

I was hoping to work on a draft for my Marriage Monday post yesterday on the plane, but instead, I spent most of the flight talking to an intriguing woman who sat beside me on the flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta. (I plan to share more about that later in the week!)  Lastnight was spent connecting with my children and hearing about my oldest son's mission trip to Haiti, and this morning, I slept in and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast with my family.  So, unfortunately, I don't have any inspiring thoughts to share with you this morning for Marriage Monday.  How about you share with me instead?  Please leave me a comment and share how you've built up your marriage this past week, and as always, you are welcomed to link up any marriage related posts. I'll be back next week with my godly wife series!  

Your Turn to Share:

I'd love to hear how you've encouraged, admired, supported, or blessed your husband this week!  Please leave a comment here on my blog or over on my Facebook page, so we might all be encouraged! You may also email me at if you wish to share a private testimony.

If you were blessed or encouraged by this post, please consider sharing it with your friends on Facebook or other social media sites.  Thank you!

Link up:

I'd love to have you link up your blog to mine!  Please link up any past or present posts related to Christian marriage.  Don't forget to link back to my blog!  Thanks!

marriage mondays

Blogs I link up with from week to week:

What Joy Is MinePhotobucket Making Your Home Sing Monday!


a-wise-woman-builds-her-home   I Choose Joy!     

   Wifey Wednesday button Wholehearted Wednesday

 A Little R & R   Messy Marriage

Proverbs 31 Link Up       

Please link up your blog post on marriage below by entering the url of your specific post. Where it says "Your Name" enter the title of your blog post, not your personal name! Thanks! :)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Marriage Monday: The Supportive Wife {Link up}

Welcome back to Marriage Monday!  I'm so glad you've joined me as we focus on strengthening and promoting godly marriages, both in our nation and in our own backyards!

After starting off the year sharing some thoughts on being an Abiding Wife, I've been exploring the various characteristics of a godly wife.  Last week I discussed the powerful impact we have on our husbands when we focus on becoming an Admiring Wife.  I hope you took time to read that post, because it's so crucial to the success of your marriage!

Today I want to talk about the importance of being a Supportive Wife.

I'm here in Anaheim, California for the first annual Lilla Rose convention!  It has been such a blessing!! However, my body is still on east coast time, and I can't seem to sleep, eat (or blog) at the right times, so this post is going to be rather late coming to you!  

One of the greatest blessings has been to meet the founder and owner of Lilla Rose, John Dorsey, and his amazing wife, Missy, and their very talented daughters, Justine (Rose) and Kerris (Lilla).  They are such sweet, down-to-earth people!  I've been so blessed by John's devotion to his family, his generosity and his humility!  He shared openly about his various business failures, the years he spent not answering the phones because there were creditors on the other end, the times of feeling hopeless and fearful for the future, etc. 

Privately, his sweet wife, Missy, shared with me and a couple other consultants how even during their darkest days, when trials, tribulations, financial hardship and depression ruled the day, she never considered divorce.  She stood by her husband and believed in him.  She supported him when he was down and they struggled to pay rent or keep food on the table.  She learned to live very frugally, and to do things for herself that other women paid people to do.

Eventually, she had had enough -- she sent John to the garage with instructions to "pull out your old beads and wire, make something and go sell it... NOW or else!"  LOL!  That ended up being the turning point for the Dorsey family!  John made up a bunch of flexi clips with the supplies he had on hand, went to a weekend market, and sold out his inventory and came home with $1000 cash in hand and new hope!  He learned then that he did indeed have a fantastic product, but that it had to be demonstrated for ladies to appreciate it and want to purchase it!  This lightbulb moment eventually led to the birth of Lilla Rose, as a direct sales company in late 2008.  

I loved John's acknowledgement that, "Without the willingness of my wife to allow me to follow this path, none of this would be here today."

Here is a picture of John and Missy Dorsey, with one of the top-selling Lilla Rose consultants.  

I share this account of the founding of Lilla Rose with you because it illustrates to me the importance of being a supportive wife, one who embraces her husband's dreams and helps them become a reality.  Many husbands have dreams; some die with those dreams unfulfilled.  Many die daily to their dreams because of wives who discourage their dreams and remind them regularly of their failures.  Other men are blessed beyond measure to have wives who believe in them, sacrifice for them, and are willing to help them accomplish their dreams!  (Often a husband with a dream needs a practical wife to balance him out and help him actually put steps in place to achieve his dreams.)

This is so poignantly illustrated in one of my all-time favorite movies, The Glenn Miller Story, starring Jimmy Stewart and June Allyson. I love this movie because I love big band music, and because I love the way June Allyson portrays the ideal wife -- she didn't know a thing about big band music, yet she adopted her husband's dream, and scrimped and saved and encouraged and supported until his dream became a reality!

I also love the poignant story of an unusually supportive wife, which I read in the book, The Resolution for Women. You might want to grab a kleenex before reading that unforgettable story HERE.

How about you?  Do you show your husband that you believe in him and support him during good times and bad?  Do you throw water on his dreams or do you adopt them as your own and help to make them a reality??

Your Turn to Share:

I'd love to hear stories of how you've learned to support your husband in good times and bad and how you've learned to encourage and help him accomplish his dreams! Please leave a comment here on my blog or over on my Facebook page, so we might all be encouraged! You may also email me at if you wish to share a private testimony.

If you were blessed or encouraged by this post, please consider sharing it with your friends on Facebook or other social media sites.  Thank you!

Link up:

I'd love to have you link up your blog to mine!  Please link up any past or present posts related to Christian marriage.  Don't forget to link back to my blog!  Thanks!

marriage mondays

Blogs I link up with from week to week:

What Joy Is MinePhotobucket Making Your Home Sing Monday!


a-wise-woman-builds-her-home   I Choose Joy!     

   Wifey Wednesday button Wholehearted Wednesday

 A Little R & R   Messy Marriage

Proverbs 31 Link Up       
Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate link.

Please link up your blog post on marriage below by entering the url of your specific post. Where it says "Your Name" enter the title of your blog post, not your personal name! Thanks! :)
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