The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Saturday 6 January 2018

The world within your walls.

Last year I found myself feeling heartbroken. The world around me seemed to have gone mad.

During my life so far Christian persecution was something that happened overseas and we were very lucky to be free here.  But all of that has gradually changed.
I felt like I would like to stop the world and get off if this is how it is going to be.
I also feel like get me out of the city and on to a farm away from some of this!

My heart and peace were really disturbed.  I just never have seen such a fast decline of many things all at once!

I decided to read my Bible and do some study every day.  And from day one I started to feel better.
From that day I saw this has always been the way.  We are not meant to conform or fit into the world. We are meant to have the Word of God as the light for our feet and keep to that.   What the world thinks doesn't matter.

I read and re read Laines Letters.  Years ago she shared a story of how her son was the only young man in the Christian Youth Group who would take a stand against pornography!  And later how he was given a terrible time at his place of work because he was a Christian.  It was awful.  You expect it in the world but you don't expect it at Church!
The other day when I saw a Church near us with a sign out the front openly promoting sin that I finally thought... this is it.  All is lost.

Now I have had time to think about this.  No, it is not new.  It is just more up close and personal that it has ever been in my life.  So that is confronting.  But so far at least we are still free inside our own
homes and no one can take away from you what you believe  in your heart.   Peace in the home and peace in our hearts give us rest.

Even if you don't relate to this you will probably relate to feeling the news is depressing and that you see things in society you find downright scary.  Or that when things are running smoothly at home you feel so much better, happier, calmer.   From any perspective the atmposhere in your home matters a lot.

From all of this I know that keeping our homes a place where we feel safe, peaceful, nurtured and relaxed is so important!  Our home is our sanctuary!  So this year we are going to have a series on keeping your home feeling beautiful, comfy, calm and welcoming.  We need that.  Our families need it too.  

I started by reading my Bible.  I immediately was reminded "do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed"  and plenty on the subject that tells us if we follow along and agree with the world we are on the wrong path!

It is also plenty on coming away and having nothing to do with terrible things.  Instead we are advised "whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" (Philippains 4:8-9)

So this is my mission or one of them!   If I keep to thinking of good things, reading encouraging and beautiful books,  leaning new skills and working on something lovely then I feel happy.

I started my daily Bible and study.
I began re reading Laines Letters.

Immediately I felt better.
I read where Laine said "I don't listen to the worlds words much anymore"  and how she found so much peace just trusting the word of God to be true forever.

If you need peace and encouragement just read your Bible every single day!
If you haven't read Laine's Letters they can be found here.  They are the best encouragement and guidance I have ever found!  They also serve as a very easy way to do a Bible study.

I also have found Jenny of Elefantz (see my favourite blogs on the side) is a place of peace an beauty. There is a Facebook group called Gentle Domesticity that is just lovely and fits the bill for the above verse about whatever is beautiful, whatever is lovely. It is so peaceful!  This gives me a daily lift.

Some of the ways we can create a peaceful haven in our homes include:
Deciding what to say yes to and deciding what to say no too!  Being too busy is guaranteed to ruin peace in the home.
Your organisation and decor.  If you feel a mess and overwhelmed you are getting no relaxation at all!
Keeping beautiful things to look at everyday.  This might be flowers,  family photos, beautiful words to think on,  things you love as part of your decor, childrens drawings...

The way your house smells!  haha this sounds bad!  But I like things to smell clean and good!
The way your house sounds.  Happy music while you work.  I mostly hate background noise and never have the TV on in the day.  Give me birds chirping any day!
Interruptions. If I let it I would have to answer the phone during dinner every night to someone trying to sell me something. Just no way!
A routine.  I like a routine of chaos.

The garden and plants.  They are part of my surroundings and give a lot of peace and calm.

We need to work out how to get time for reading good things,  learn new things and create beauty?  I know I am much happier if I have time to work on something creative.   This really increases my contentment!  And something else... I find I am thinking lovely thoughts as I work away.

How can each person have a space of their own that makes them feel nurtured and happy?
How can we carve out for ourselves a quiet space or a craft/sewing/writing space in a full and busy household?
If we love feminine things how can we have these for ourselves in a house full of boys!?
Do you feel you should decorate in a certain way because it is fashionable but your don't even really like it?  Did you inherit or somehow get stuck with decor that bugs you?
Are there small changes you could make that would make a big difference to how you feel at home?
We are going to consider all these things!

I have known for a long time just what I like and some of what I need.  I like light, white, calm.

Quiet, flowers, pantries, baking, the house to smell good.  Clutter or a big mess unsettle me.
I struggle to get the "being home and doing things out of the house" balance right.  If I am out too much everything suffers.   The wheels fall off! haha!

My home is far from perfect.  I get in a mess.  My spare room is terrible at the moment!  The dining room table is my sewing centre right now.
I am really lucky to have a nice house.  But I have made each home nice, ordered, clean and pretty.   I have painted four houses top to bottom.  I have wallpapered, stencilled,  gilded, decoupaged, you name it!   The truth is most of my furniture is really old.  My lounge was Mum and Dad's fifty years ago. My dining table was Nan's.  A lot of my stuff came from the side of the road!   I have a beautiful dressing table found in an old farmhouse.  I paint everything white so completely random things kind of go together!   I have collected many mirrors free and I use them to hide bad bits and reflect the good stuff!   I do all this knowing that my surroundings affect me so much.

We wake up to, walk into, breathe and absorb it all.  So does our family.  And it just seems that as women we have a lot of power to set the scene,  create a home,  set an atmosphere.   The world within our walls is mostly up to us.

What is it that makes you feel nested at home?  How can you make things feel more like "you" as well as a haven for each member of the family?   Maybe I better take some photos of Andy's havens.  I will do that as he has a large music room, an office and a "man shed" haha!  But these are his personal spaces and he is not drowned out by feminine stuff.

For both of us we need a retreat from the world and we are going to have to have less media or a shoe will go through the televisions screen sometime soon!

How do you quieten things down and feel restored when the world is too much?

The next post in this series will be about choosing what to say yes to and what to say no to!  We have to say no sometimes and be good at it.  I used to find it awfully hard to say no!

And so ends week one and me posting everyday!  I hope we got off to a good start for the year.  We have set the scene for several challenges and set up our plans.  Tomorrow I will have a slow day,  plan the new week and keep myself on track!   A little planning on the weekend makes a world of difference!  xxx


  1. Lovely blog today, thank you. I agree that the world seems more crazy than usual, so I too am determined to not listen to the news or otherwise get into a tailspin about things I cannot change...instead focus on personal development, helping my little family and working to change those things I can. The older I get, the more the serenity prayer makes sense :)

  2. I LOVE everything about this post Annabel!

    I am really looking forward to this series.

    I have the problem of what I like house decor wise, hubby doesn't, so nothing changes...ever! I do make subtle changes that go unnoticed which is good news, and he has agreed to let me paint these horrible apricot walls a nice white, so that is a little win lol!

    I enjoyed reading every word of this post and now I can go to bed happy, relaxed and at peace.

    Have a lovely day tomorrow and rest up. You have had a busy week.

    Love Tania xxx

  3. My sister never watches or listens to the news anymore since it was stealing her joy and she is so much happier! She focuses on loving and serving those around her. It's what we are called to do.

    I love having a quiet home, too, without background noise. This was a beautiful post! Blessings.

  4. I am looking forward to these posts. I am reading Max Lucado's book about anxiety and it focuses on Philippians 4:8-9. It truly helps to focus on the good things!

  5. Dear Annabel,
    Amen! There is so much I could say here but I think you are spot on with everything you said and I will just wholeheartedly agree. I can relate to everything you said, and yes, even the church is in a sad state. In an attempt to attract the world, many have become just like them.
    As you know, living at the ranch has sometimes been a big struggle for me, as we share it and I am surrounded by things I am not used to. The TV on all day is one of them, among many other things. I decided a few months ago to write down all of the things that I enjoyed doing in our old home and try my best to do as many of those things as I can here. I found that I could do most of those things! I can still read my Bible in the mornings while I enjoy coffee in the quiet. I love light and fresh air so I open the windows whenever I can. I love to bake and that also makes the house smell good. I play music on my record player whenever I get a chance. Keeping our personal spaces clean and organized makes me feel relaxed when I go into our rooms. I can decorate with fresh flowers and linens to my heart's content and I can still do my crafts. I can keep our finances in order and budget, which I actually really like doing! So while I don't have as much freedom as I used to, I still REALLY have it made! Our home can be a refuge wherever it is if our Lord is the center of it and we are surrounded by those we love most. In those two things alone, I consider myself most richly blessed.
    I am looking forward to this series. The first installment has already been a blessing.
    With lots of love, Kelsey

  6. This just might be my favorite post ever! You said so many things that are on my heart. I'm striving for peace this year. I need that feeling of calm, rest, quiet and contentment. Like you, I feel that the tone of my home will help achieve that peaceful feeling. Thank you for putting into words what I have tried and failed to express.

  7. All your posts are wonderful but I think this might be my favorite one ever ❤️
    Such good, true advice.
    Hugs to you Annabel.

  8. Dear Annabel,
    You have just written a post on what I received in prayer over a month ago. God never fails!! This is confirmation, for me.
    There was a bit more to what I received, but this will be a wonderful way for all of us to focus on peace, love, beauty, and the Words of Adonai. Regardless, of what happens in the world, God never changes. His truth and Words will be the same forever.
    This post and series; input and support; and Bluebirds sharing will be such a blessing as 2018 unfolds.
    Thank you.

  9. Yes, Annabel! Yes! Yes! Yes! I agree wholeheartedly with what you've said and am looking forward to this new series. Thank you for taking what so many of us are feeling and putting it into words.

  10. All of my walls are yellow, I love color and whimsy and sparkle because it energizes me. I'm naturally a bit of a couch potato (always with needlework or craft in hand, though)and the color invigorates me and gets me busy polishing and cleaning, cooking, baking, gardening. It won't surprise you that my garden is like a box of crayons. That being said, your house and interiors are beyond gorgeous and I really look forward to your d├ęcor updates and projects - really inspiring and so romantic! Love this oasis, where I feel like we're all sisters under the skin because we revel in domesticity and providing a loving, cozy environment for our families and ourselves.
    I keep meaning to do an embroidery of the Philippians verse because it keeps me going in times of uncertainty.
    I'm ready for a joyful, productive year and wish the same for all of our "club."


  11. Dear Annabel and Blue Birds
    I missed my quiet, organised house when my husband was working from home. He likes noise, he has to have the radio on. If he is in the kitchen then the TV goes on.

    When he started a job that took him out of the house every day apart from his rostered day off it took me a while to adjust to him not being here, it took me a while to enjoy the peacefulness of the house.

    I no longer had him stopping for a cup of coffee when I needed to get things done.

    Don't get me wrong it was good having him here for when things needed doing but the impact on day to day life (especially him taking over the kitchen) was huge.

    I took me ages to get into a new routine and get the house feeling happy. Now the house has a horrible feeling as we bring more and more of the 'stuff' we need to sort through, bring it here for safe keeping etc etc from my mother in law's house.

    Yesterday we were down there and now I have a box sitting on my grandmother's table, along with the papers that were in a brief case, and bag with photos and certificates and....

    Our home is small, need I say anything else?

    I know that 'this too shall pass' but I also know that 'it is going to get worse before it gets better'.

    I need the table back, I had plans to sit at it with my recipes and do up a book ala Jane.

    I had plans to sit at grandma's table for at least one meal a week - no TV in that room.

    I might have help in getting grandma's table back to being a table - our son looks like he will be working up the Sunshine Coast in a temporary position and he has said that he will pop in on his way home for tea. Our kitchen table only seats 2 so grandma's table will be needed.

    We had a spate of door to door salespeople who were not content with knocking at the front door - they would walk around the veranda peering in each room (we have french doors on most of our rooms). That has now stopped, we put a gate at the top of the stairs so that is as far as they can come.

    If I am working in the back of the house and I don't hear them they just end up walking away.

    The gate was our job for last year. This year it is a front fence and gate/s. We need to put a barrier between us and the people who walk down to the beach. Some of them have wandered onto our land, also we have had problems with people letting their dogs of the leash and not controlling them.

    Our house in Melbourne was serene - we had huge problems happening out in the street but once you got inside it had a wonderful calm feeling.

    That is what I want to achieve here.

    I know it will take time but, it will eventually happen.


  12. Dear Annabel, I have read your blog for a some time but this is my first comment (internet shyness). Thankyou for putting the time into your blog, it is beautiful. I really needed this post - everything you said rings true for me and you have inspired me much this morning. Thanks again, Clare

  13. What a lovely post! One of my goals this year is to get back in the habit of commenting on every post I read...I know that bloggers like you spend a ton of time creating such a beautiful space, and I appreciate it so much. Your home is gorgeous! I agree with you on the smell of a home, and it's funny how the habits we have can help with the smell. My husband commented the other day on how fresh our bedroom smelled. All I had done was hang the sheets outside after washing them, which I don't always do in winter (I'm in the US), but it really did make a difference! On the days that I don't have good cooking or baking smells going on, I try to light a candle in the afternoon. Little things really create a lovely atmosphere. Thank you for the inspiration!

    1. Dear Leigh, Thank you! Now it is some kind of mystery but none the less a true thing that sunshine and fresh air have a smell that comes inside on line dried sheets! Sometimes if it is warm enough I do everything, the underlay, the quilt cover, sheets, pillows, quilt itself. After a day on the line and I make the bed back up it is unbelievable! But every week I wash the sheets and they go on the line. Usually Saturday but yesterday was so hot here I couldnt face it so today is the day. That night we notice overtime the smell of sunshine. Nothing you can buy is a good!
      Litle touches make a big difference to the mood. It can be very subtle but people notice!
      Thank you so much! I do appreciate the comment. This year I am going along differently which is a bit scary! with love

  14. Hi Annabel, wow, I can really relate to this post. I too have been feeling very world weary for some time. I agree with your sentiments about tv, my husband is someone who likes the TV on in the background, but with amount of horrible news being posted around the world, it really feels like over saturation sometimes and robs me of my peace and scares me about the kind of world my kids and eventually grandkids are going to inherit. But you are very accurate in saying we can make our homes a haven of comfort, love and beauty. The tv goes off, I am limiting social media this year also, i find stories about child and animals abuse in my news feed incredibly upsetting, I have learnt to support charitable groups though donations and liking their pages however if there are a steady stream of graphic images or stories I will continue to like their pages but unfollow their posts. This to me is self preservation, at times I have seen these images or pictures so heartbreaking i have wept or felt angry and this has stayed with me for days. I am a sensitive person and find myself unable to switch off mentally so now I will guard against the sensory bombardment with other tactics. Reading, praying gardening, loving my family and focusing on the positive beautiful things in life. My son lost his watch at the gym, it was a birthday present and he was quite upset, thankfully some honest soul had handed it in, likewise my daughter dropped her purse while looking at Xmas lights and a lovely lady found it and contacted us through the ID in her wallet. There is still a lot of good in the world and we need to be seek that, focus and it and be thankful. In saying that, a very big thank you Annabel for this post and this beautiful blog that is a happy positive place for many of to come. Love Lisa xo

    1. Dear Lisa, I always think you cannot unsee something! Images can be very bad. Much of what is on TV is inappropriate also they invade a persons privacy for money and show things that should not be shown. I have seen things so terrible where you think WHY isn't the camera man helping the person!? They are filming a dying person rather than helping them. Heaven help us all.
      I always have been sensitive. It is hard being a sensitive person. I often felt I was too sensitive for this world. The flip side of this is a sensitive person notices things that are heavenly and so beautiful and appreciates all the beauty too! So it is like the volume is turned up on everything both good and bad... We need to consider this.
      You are right, each day that I go out I see and meet wonderful people. Look at the comments that have come on this post so far.... there is such kindness, generosity and everyone is feeling the same about the bad news and awful things being pushed by the media. Ugliness! We need more beauty not more ugliness!
      Thank you so much for your encouraging words. its love Annabellxxx

  15. We no longer listen to any news of the world, it's all so depressing with rarely a nice uplifting item to be heard, sensationalism at its best. We have found that sitting quietly together in a comfortable place, perhaps the deck in summer or in a cosy nook in winter, just chatting about the day's events, our hopes and dreams, our family - that is what it's all about. We do need that feeling of peace and contentment within ourselves. OUr home is the way we want it to be but there's always room for improvement. I look forward to more posts like this - I'm not religious at all, and not happy with the churches these days, but I am a Christian and often 'chat' to the lord above.

    1. Thank you so much! I think this series will bring out lots of interesting ideas thanks to the comments and different perspectives too. Your evenings sound just lovely, peaceful and happy. Beautiful. This is what we need to be doing! xxx

  16. Hello Dear Annabel,

    I'm truly looking forward to this years posts too, it sounds like a breath of fresh air :)

    I try very hard not to watch the news & turn away to anything that will crush my spirit & that includes people. If they are someone I can't avoid then I treat them with kindness & lead the conversation to gentle things & if that doesn't work I leave as quickly as possible & treat it as a life lesson LOL. Infact most things that go wrong in life are best looked at as a learning experience & can have something good taken from it.

    Practice Kindness, to yourself first, then your family, your friends, your community, your state, your country, your world & of course the creatures in it. This includes saying NO & not letting others take advantage of you, remembering that often stepping back after giving good advice IS helping others for they have lessons to learn too.

    Showing empathy & helping others makes you feel amazing & can transform your life, feeling needed & being valued to me is the key to existence.

    Thank you for the great post Annabel & love to you & the fmaily.
    Susan xx

    1. Dear Susan, You are right. I think kind words and walking away are often the best way to go. There is tearing down and there is building up. I look at it this way as it is almost immediately obvious if someone is going one way or the other. So we can install a few building up words or encouraging words but then move on!
      Another one I remember always is it takes a good friend to tell you the truth as anyone will tell you a lie. Sometimes the truth is tough. So this made me think ok I just have to tell the truth and if the truth offends anyone oh well! Another thing is life hard times really do teach us empathy! Thank you for your support and encouragement! With love

  17. Annabel you are such a gifted writer. You have the ability to articulate and capture the essence of what you need to do and have to maintain your equanimity and thrive. Like others I immediately connected with your writing in this blog.
    Home is definately my safe place in the world. Slowly over time we are making improvements that add to our quality of life. We save first and then comes the improvement. I am in awe of your painting your house exterior last year. As much as I would love to I simply dont have the physical stamina to do this. I have to pace myself carefully through the year in my demanding full time job and living with some health issues. Thats ok though, each year I have gotten better at this.
    We will be having our house painted in the next couple of months having saved all of last year for it. To me knowing we have a good emergency fund and know debt other than our mortgage helps give me a sense of peace.
    I have grown to love working and being outside in our garden. Lots of natural light and sunshine is an integral part of my well being. I do struggle in the winter and have been considering purchasing a light box to help me with this.
    I also need lots of quiet time in my day to be able to manage and thrive. I love this time of year when I have a months holiday to potter around home, sit under a tree in the garden with a good book, cold drink and the cat beside me. Bliss.
    I am another who does not have the tv on in the background. The noise of the advertisements especially grate on me. Next month we will be going to my favourite holiday spot of all. While it is a full day of driving, it is through beautiful countryside. Where we stay is right by the beach, mountains and clear rivers. I am not a sea swimer but love to swim in the rivers. This will set me up nicely for another busy year.
    Maintaining our sense of well being is so important to living a content and peaceful life. I feel blessed with wonderful family and friends. This has come from some difficult times of letting go of old friendships that were no longer compatible with my values and who were not investited in the relationship as they once were. That to is okay for both me and them and I am the better for having had them in my life.
    Annabel thank you so much for sharing the beautiful photo's of yours and Andy's home. As a fairly private person I appreciate this. They so encapture the feeling and thoughts of your writing. If there is a heaven I think it might be like your home.


  18. Truly, truly. I think we are homesick for a place we've never been.....Heaven (to quote a song;). But, while we are here, the things you wrote about are what we can be about: making a difference in our circle of influence. Your words made me realize how vital a peaceful, beautiful space is to my sanity. My "happy place" is my corner of our bedroom. It's quiet, private and feels safe to me. I can read, scour Pinterest, think my own thoughts... I don't mean to flatter cuz that's manipulative, but the reason I come here to read is because you offer up-lifting, beautiful, inspiring thoughts and ideas for me where I live my life as a homemaker, daughter-of-God. To quote Anne of Green Gables: we (all the Bluebirds here) are kindred spirits. What a needed quantity we are in a brutal world. And, we have to keep going to our Source, lest we wither and die. xoxo

    1. Love what you said about being homesick for a place we have never been. Never heard it put like that before but it is how I have felt recently. I sometimes wonder, if through the Holy Spirit, God is "waking us up"? We have the government attacking our freedoms on homeschooling in parts of the U.K. At the moment, Wales and likely England. Their aim to force their agenda/indoctrination into and onto our homes and children. I believe this is a spiritual attack and would appreciate anyone here to pray for us in the Uk.
      Blessings to you all.

    2. God bless you. When you see how many Christians seem to be getting the same message, it does look like we are hearing from His Spirit. Yes, the indoctrination attempt is ghastly pretty much all over. I will be praying for you and those who want to teach their children Biblical principles. We have work to do (including living His love out) in the meantime. You are not alone. Love, Mary

  19. Love, love, love this post! I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said. I love being at home, although truthfully, the decor frustrates me sometimes. So looking forward to this series, just as I look forward to all your posts.
    Bless you,

  20. I guess I am the odd bod once again. I am a newsaholic. I watch several versions each night and I also look it up on my computer. I have a need to know and to keep watch. I have a son, currently on active duty, and this is part of my need to know what is happening in the world.
    My home is my sanctuary and is full of the things I love. Bluey has made me many pieces of furniture and has restored many others. As a carpenter Bluey cannot cover beautiful timber in paint. He has agreed that to keep pieces clean they need some sort of sealer and wood oils are not sealers. So our home is white walls, ceilings and floors(tiled) and a myriad of coloured woods and fabrics. I love colour and this is reflected in my home.
    I love that this series is to be about creating sanctuaries. We all need a place to safe and feel secure in our lives.
    Life is good.

    1. Dear Jane, I also think I need to know whats going on and be watchful. I just have to find a way to do it where I don't also have to see too much and know which Kardashian is pregnant and all the rubbish they push. So many times knowing has helped us be prepared like with the baby formula. So I am still watchful as well and understand why you would be very much wanting to keep an eye on important world events.
      Your home is a sanctuary and a beehive of activity all of which is very happy and good! We have to go with the things that make our hearts sing. I see beautiful colourful patchworks and things and think of you as I know you would love them. Flamingo Toes is a blog that makes me think of you. Also another I think it is called Posy it is a crochet blog.
      Chloe loves soft colours and feathery things and Lucy likes monochrome and more modern. It is so interesting how we all have our own loves and favourites. Thank goodness or I would never get anything in the op shops! Today I am on to making my jam. Having a cup of tea now before the next batch! With love

  21. Very nice. And your home is always lovely. Especially when our kids were/are little, home is such an important fortress against the world. It can be our "domestic church", not to replace church but to continue church at home. I enjoy NOT reading the news of the day...except once in a while to check -in to see what is happening and pray for the people that are having troubles. Andrea

  22. Annabel, this post is amazing! Tonight I have been listening to my best friend who is having some problems with most of the things you write about in this post. God led me to you and I led her to you. Thank you as always - Hugs, Holley

    1. Dear Holley, I feel for your friend. No she is not alone. This can feel overwhelming though. We feel it is bad but throughout history there have been shocking times of hardship and persecution. This is nothing compared.... but I still felt so depressed about it. I have just changed my perspective and its helping so much! Thank you for telling me this, with love

  23. I agree with all of this! I've made an effort to make home a sanctuary. Recently I have been depressed and unsettled and I realized it happens when I watch a certain Christian TV show. He is always putting down other ministries and has an extremely negative view of anyone who believes differently than him. I decided recently to stop watching it. It may be Christian but it's not for me if I want peace. I have a couple online sources to keep up with the news headlines.

    1. Dear Brenda, Feeling bad or unsettled is a sure sign! There is something wrong there and we are looking for building up not tearing down. We do want truth but the truth can be preached without tearing anyone down.
      Your home is a beautiful and peaceful sanctuary I always think! With love

  24. Annabel, I feel so touched by this post and one from a few days ago. To remember that I have the power to control what is in the walls of my home...what a comforting reminder. This past year was not a good one for our family. Between my 17 yo son suffering with post concussion syndrome (I am currently in Ontario where he is receiving treatment), and our family suffering persecution from other Christians because I attended a different Christian denomination and have good friends of this has been overwhelming to be honest. You wrote in one of your last posts about thinking you could count on people, and then, no. That too.

    Well, to say that it is a breath of fresh air to come here, is putting it mildly! I too started reading my Bible early every morning, with a cup of coffee, before my three younger boys got up. It's what sustained me. Thank you for all of the energy you put into this blog. I have read it regularly this past year, but I think this is the second time I have commented. I will do so more often. Here's to Godly, loving, peaceful homes and families, and being "in the world, but not of it".

    It's a fresh new year full of hope and new possibilities. To HIm be the glory!

    1. Dear Karen,
      I hope your son is ok and his treatment has helped him. That would be a real fright.
      I am sorry you are having a hard time especially with Christian friends. Stick to the Word as you see it is written. This does not suit a lot of people now. Friends can agree to disagree but if it is more than that i.e. bullying or persecution they are not friends. It feels a great loss and hurt. I know. But surprising friends will emerge!
      Your early morning habit will help so much! We have to be built up! Put on the whole armour...
      I do really appreciate your comment. With love,

  25. Thank you for being a Titus 1 woman, Annabel.

    Question for every day: “Is Jesus pleased with me?”


    1. Thanks Kelley. Mostly I have had wonderful support. Titus 2 has turned out not to please some but I don't take it personally I didnt write it Im just following it! xxx

  26. Thank you Annabel for the lovely post and let me say I admire Laine's son for sticking up for what he believes in which is not an easy task sometimes. I have also found that negative influences or comments can come from those at church too with what I call the "gospel according to Bob" which is how others perceive the gospel to be or their interpretation of it and consequential chastising of other people. Before I used to take the negative comments towards me and walk away but now I state my point of view on the subject, relate it back to the scriptures in a level headed and compassionate way that what they are saying about me is totally incorrect and I feel proud that I have come that far that I can defend myself.

    I have a personal belief that we can be "in the world but not of the world" which means that we can and do have the power to block out most negative worldly things and beliefs not aligning with our own out of our home. We also do have to be aware of worldly events (especially those that may effect our household) to prepare our family and ourselves but not allow ourselves to be inundated by it.

    The way I create peace when things are in turmoil around me is -
    - Read the scriptures.
    - Do service for others and give someone a genuine compliment.
    - Give my husband a hug and counsel together.
    - Look in our pantry and admire how far we have come to building up security for our household as well as being able to help others.
    - Look at the good news, yes some news sites actually have a good news section here in Australia.
    - Concentrate on the good in the world and not the bad.
    - Cook something lovely for our household or preserve something we have grown in our own gardens.
    - Go for a walk in our vegetable and herb gardens and look at the plants growing and the birds and animals around me.
    - Create something new and beautiful for the home.
    - Design something new in my head and then map it out on baking paper and do a prototype (not everything turns out the way I visualise it will be).
    - Pat our rescued cat.

    You are so right Annabel that our homes can indeed become our "sanctuary".


    1. You made me have a good laugh. The gospel according to Bob. I see this all the time. I have seen lengthy arguments over a verse not being true or relevant as it doesnt suit someone and get an ear battering as to why. The verse is still true! haha! I agree with you on everything. Conformity to the world has a terrible price. We are just passing through anyway!
      I love your list it is beautiful! We need to protect our homes and our hearts really.... I am thinking on this a lot! With love and thanks,

  27. Annabel, loving this post it speaks to me also, I need to make our home more of sanctuary, and I also need to say no to more people and their requests. I also enjoy quiet time in my home, I have a few goals that I want to achieve this year and I believe that a lot of what you have written will help me, as much as it will you and other Bluebirds.
    Mrs. Kelley Dibble I agree with your question for everyday "Is Jesus pleased with me"
    Love xx

    1. Thank you! I am working on a post on saying no! This used to be a terrible struggle for me. Keep those goals in front of you and think of how to work on them every week. I know you can achieve them! xxx

  28. Hi Annabel, I love seeing pictures of your home and am exactly the same way as you! I need bright and cheery and white is my chosen decorating color. I cannot function in a house of clutter nor can my outside surroundings be cluttered or unkept. My home and outdoor space is my sanctuary. I agree that the world has changed so much so quickly around us. I'm thankful for having a home which looks nice, smells nice and the sounds within it's walls are nice. I believe we need to invite God in our homes and study his words so we have a testimony of knowing that he is in charge and to have courage and hope in him. Thank you so much for taking us on your journey through life.
    You are such a good example!
    Lots of love,
    Melody in OR

    1. Thanks so much Melody. I would love your home! It sounds serene and beautiful to me! I agree with all your words

  29. Can you see me cheering from the sidelines? The further I read, the more my heart was swelling in joy at your sharing of truth, encouragement, hope and a way to live within our homes with Jesus as the centre, even while our politicians and too many Christians are sweeping Him away bit by bit in a hope they can live ungodly lives in full agreement with a majority of our country's citizens. It's heart breaking...but it's always been this way, yes. We're noticing it more though, this turning against Christianity in our own towns, states and country.
    Thank the Lord for His Word, our source of perfect truth and hope and correction and direction. I'm inspired by your post, Annabel, and grateful to have 'found' you through this blog because you have a heart open to God and willing to speak out His wonderful truth. xxxx

  30. PS: You have given some wonderful questions about my home atmosphere to ponder.

    1. Thank you Jennifer! I feel its like something we have to keep on all the time. Things creep in. A refresh is always lovely!xxx

  31. Thanks for sharing. Everything you have said is so true. Our home is my special place to just be!

    1. Thanks Susan. You will like the next post! xxx

  32. Amen to all of this! ❤️ JES

  33. Love this post and the comments. Isn't it a great comfort to know we have the Friend that sticks closer than a brother to lead and guide us as He traveled this road before us?

  34. Yes and Amen. So eloquently stated. I tried to Leave a comment yesterday but I think it went into space. Thank you Annabel for the lovely blog post.
    Much love,

  35. Thank you for this wonderful post. It sounds like many of us are sharing the same feelings and convictions. I used to be a news junkie, but my husband and I stopped watching the news on tv six months ago. We still read the papers but we can skip over the sensational and the stories designed to make us angry or worried. This has really helped us to feel more peaceful. Your bible quote is one of my favorites and I think I will try harder to live by those wise words this year. It is hard to live in the world and not get sucked in to its unhealthy ways. I thank you for your inspiration and I'll be joining along.

  36. This post couldn't have come at a better time, Annabel. I literally have tears running down my face. My husbands family has been a nightmare from day one. My husband and I are Christians and believe with our entire hearts. It wasn't until we had been married for awhile that I realized how evil they were. Too make a very long story short the last few years before my FIL died, we have spent thousands of dollars defending ourselves against the fraud that my husbands brother and father have committed against the state of Illinois and Florida, US. The sad part about this is I expect nothing less from the Atheist that they are. We made the decision Saturday night that we're moving to another state and away from his side of the family. Our love of the Lord and our children come first. It's the first time in 2 yrs that my heart is at peace. I'm so tired of looking over our shoulders constantly and worrying when the next shoe will drop. Sorry to let loose your words hit home..... Thank you, hugs Patti Ann

    1. Dear Patti, I am so sorry. I relate to this more than you could know. This is very heartbreaking when its family. I really hope the move makes a new start for you. Pray a lot over it as really toxic people will hate it if you are out of their line of fire and try to mess up your plans. So be very private about everything. I learned a long time ago this lesson... I was a very open door person. The door only has to be open a crack for some people to cause trouble. But you stick to it and I hope you find peace and happiness and ways to protect your new home. With love

    2. Patti special hugs to you as my DH and I both have toxic families :( .

      I can honestly say that we up and moved, didn't let any of them know where we were going to, and put our names on the silent electors (or electors) role so we could not be tracked by them too. Yes in our case also there was legal nightmares and violence from them towards us. The last address they have me at is care of my solicitors office :) .

      May I say that once you move it will take you around 6 months to settle and stop worrying but life will be far better and more peaceful.

      Know that you are not alone in the world and many people have gone through this.


    3. Annabel and Sewingcreations15, Thank you for the encouraging words and advice! I know that I have to let this go as my heath has suffered because of it. The two of you have made my days much brighter knowing that I'm not alone in my situation. All the money we've spent on attorney's while we have scrimped and saved our entire married life ( 30 yrs in June) for a honeymoon we never had. I trust in God's plan for us and Karma will see her way back. Thank you, hugs Patti Ann

  37. Dearest Annabel,
    What a beautiful, life-giving message you have blessed us with! You are a precious soul and I am so grateful to have found you years back. You will never know the impact you have had on so many others...I just know that God loves you so much and it pleases Him greatly that you have gratitude for the many blessings He brings to you. That is why He keeps bringing you more!
    Sending so much love to you from a very grateful heart,
    Marybeth xoxo

    1. Dear Marybeth,
      Thank you! Thanks you for such kind and encouraging words! With much love

  38. Annabel thank you so much for your encouragement to stand strong in our Christian walk, it is so easy to become disheartened by the state of the world. You are right that we need to go to the Bible each day for strength and encouragement, I know I need to do this for myself. I am looking forward to this series as I like a serene home but my husband bought a red lounge suite from a friend a few years ago....I have hated it but yay it is going on monday, everything else in my home is white or neutral so I get to buy a new lounge suite now and am so excited. I think my pearls are going to be seen a lot more too, God bless you Sharlene

    1. Dear Sharlene,
      Oh I hear you on the red lounge. Yet many would love it! Sharlene sorry it has taken me so long to reply! I have been reading Scripture everyday and I feel so encouraged and when I hear terrible things like yesterday I heard on the radio they were attacking a great Australian Christian woman because she obeys the Bible and I thought Praise God! What a woman of God! She must be doing something right she has them so upset! Before this would have got me down. Now I think how the apostles were attacked/ murdered... nothing has changed.
      Do what you can to build yourself up, put on the whole armour of God and make your home a lovely sanctuary! With love

  39. Oh, Annabel! I love everything about this post and I am really looking forward to this series! We bought a fixer-upper 18 months ago AND I live in a house full of boys! Slowly but surely, I'm finding ways to make the home as lovely and calm as I can. It's hard not to get anxious and just want to rip everything out and start fresh! I'm finding little touches here and there, smells, flowers, music, ect really have an affect on my mood, so I should do them for myself. Even if they don't matter to anyone else, everyone is affected by mama's mood, right?? lol I just love everything about your blog, Annabel. Thank you so much for the time and effort you put into posting here!

    1. Dear Tarin, Thank you! My friend who is very feminine had five boys and no girls. You have to carve out little spaces for yourself and have "your" places and things so that they make you happy. I think the bedside table is one area for instance that you can have so pretty! Thank you so much for your kind words! With love

  40. Ah so inspiring and encouraging! Your post was a real blessing to me! Thank you! Are the photos in the posting of your home? White is so serene. I did love the countertop in the kitchen! Is is butcher block white washed? Thank you!

    1. Dear Villarosa, Yes this is my home and I do white wash the wooden counter tops. I love white and light. It just agrees with me! Thank you so much! Love


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