On Purpose

white and puffy

It sounds a bit like a description of yours truly. Yes, I’m still struggling with too many extra lbs. (Another way of saying the Innkeeper does not “have it all together.”) But, let’s get on to a cheerier topic.

Think marshmallows, not margi.

When my kids were young I remember watching Martha Stewart make marshmallows. She made it look so easy. She also said if you hadn’t tasted homemade marshmallows, versus store bought bag, you hadn’t lived.

To remedy my 25 years un-lived, I bring you marshmallows from the Inn.

Cast of characters: inexpensive ✔

Fun factor: yes indeed ✔ The small pool of gelatin changes as the syrup mixture is added. Billowy white mounds! And they grow. And grow some more.  Kitchen Aid runs 12 minutes whipping the white. I felt transported back to science lab.

Quickly, finish the process. Time is of the essence. Do not even think about scraping the bowl. (FYI – there is no scraping in marshmallow fluff.)

Patience. Must wait ’til morning.

7 am. Excitement mounts, after all, it’s been 25 years the Innkeeper has waited for this moment. Will it or won’t it? Resemble anything like my 25 year-old Martha-memory?

The science experiment, a success!

Drumrollll, yes, YES! The Innkeeper takes a bow.

Mom also did a taste test. “Very good.”

According to the pleas of my grands for “just one more,” I’m sure they would agree with Martha. You haven’t lived until you’ve had a white and puffy.

May your December be filled with sweetness, not necessarily the kind that adds another pound.

Come, just as you are.

PostScript: Does the Innkeeper have a reduction plan? She does. She hopes.

Arrives at my island. Yours?
On Purpose

dad would love it

Every Thanksgiving I pause to remember and give thanks for my dad. Many of you too have had dads that led the way, that helped chart the course of your life. (Dad is pictured with our daughter, Danae.)

It has been 18 years this November that Dad is missing from our table. In those 18 years, there are 11 people in my family he never met.

Dad would have loved them.

Many have heard Chuck talk about my Dad being his mentor. I couldn’t help but think of Dad’s influence as Chuck led our Thanksgiving gathering. He carries on Dad’s tradition and legacy.

Dad would have loved it.

Flannel story of “Only One.” Ten men were healed. Nine went on their merry way, distracted by their gift. Only one returned to pour out his heart and give Jesus thanks. Our grands recreate the story.

Dad would have loved it.

As we close out our November, I take another pause to look at my December calendar ahead. I have made room on it to share Jesus.

Hello December! Snow falls, fire crackles, friends meet, ovens bake and I see a nap coming.

Dad, you would love it all.

Come just as you are,

PostScript: The Inn is decorated and all the shopping is done. In the midst of all the hustle, the Innkeeper managed to steal some moments of Wonder. Do you have one to share?

On Purpose

love it or leave it

Getting out ahead of Thanksgiving, I had a new recipe touted as “healthy” that I wanted to try. I liked all the ingredients.

Cast of characters: spinach, mushrooms, Gruyère cheese, eggs, milk, thyme, Dijon mustard. Toss in sautéed onions, garlic and S&P.

From my kitchen I bring you: Spinach Mushroom Quiche.

It was fun to put together. It looked rustic-ally delicious. The nutrition label chimed in with angelic voices.

I wanted so to love it.

But, I didn’t. In fact, it might be awhile before I face another mushroom.

I plan to set our Thanksgiving tables tonight and while prepping, I will count our many blessings. This quiche, however, will not make the list.

Here’s what does:

Traditional dishes. Turkey served at noon.

Around the Table Family Question: I’m most thankful for…

Flannelgraph story. Jesus heals 10 lepers. Guess how many out of 10 came back and thanked Jesus? Grands find the Bible, look up the account and act it out. (Shhh – the story is found in Luke 17:11-19. So much going on in this account. Google it to find the lessons!)

Pumpkin Pie & Chuck’s Apricot and Raspberry Foldover Cookies.

Bundle Up – walk around the Village. Thanksgiving Day Parade of 16.

Naps. Innkeeper smiles.

“Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!” Psalm 95:2

At the Inn we’ve got the joyful noise down. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Come just as you are,

PostScript: Further agenda at the Inn… we plan to go to mom’s later in the day. And then recoup for Next Day Christmas Decorating🎄

On Purpose

happy, a hack and a habit

So I did a thing. With my Bible, my book, my planner and coffee I switched seats.

I moved from my Nook out to our Great Room. (Is that what they still call it? Great things do happen in our open living room/kitchen but I need a better name. Great Room seems a bit stuffy for cottage life.) I digress.

Interesting what a change of scenery does for perspective, right? I think it is why vacations were invented.

So I’m writing from my Whatever Room, trying not to notice the meal halfway prepped for next hour. What I do notice is the empty loveseats and chair. And they are not sad.

Friday I had three gals over to talk about the Bible.  It was a delightful time, welcoming them into our Whatever Room. Over our discussion about Jesus, with coffee, tea and Cream Puff Cake, I made a new friend. Nothing warms my heart faster💗

A simple layout to say welcome. A lit candle and long-used glass dishes (many! years ago from our Marc’s store) to hold a sweet. Takes only a second to pull together.

My one touch I like to add is changing up paper napkins, according to seasons or whimsy. (Cloth napkins have not yet married with cottage casual life. Don’t hold your breath waiting!)

I like to pick the napkins up when I see them. My favorite spot is on the end caps of Target. They are a wee bit pricier but not to fear! As I pulled out this beautiful quiet thick plaid, an idea popped.

Scissors. Cut on seam. In seconds I doubled my Guest Plaid Napkins from 16 to 32.  Not one lady noticed they were using only half a napkin. Whatever Room smiles.  

I know this is very small hack, (seems one could have invented a lovelier name for good ideas!) and it won’t change the world’s ills. But it did charm a certain Innkeeper’s heart.

And before we leave Target. Here is one more. I was reminded of it Friday by my new friend. If you have a lovely view from your kitchen window that you don’t wish to curtain over, here you go.

Walmart for tension rod and hanging clips. I found the best towels to hang come from Target. Great seasonal options. No ironing necessary. Easy on the budget. Cut off tags and hang. Instant decor that is charming, Inn or no Inn.

Reminder from the Inn

My candle-lit hour is up. My pineapple glaze is calling. But I have enjoyed my switched-seat so much I may make it a once daily habit.

It is always good to shift scenery. Even if only in a 1600 sq ft Inn.

Come just as you are,

PostScript: On Monday, I walked to the podium and proudly received my trophy. The last 6 were the hardest, not for difficulty, but losing momentum. Nevertheless, my shiny trophy declares, “You can do hard things.” And so I did. Back to #63 -fridge needs cleaning.


On Purpose

candles & truth

As I emptied out my white and gray hutch, which houses all my candles, this phrase ran through my mind. “To thy own self be true.” 

A few years ago I made a pact with myself (in search of minimalism) to burn the candles I already have before purchasing more. I did. And I still am. 

As I pulled out my candles, I put them in seasons. It looks as though my budget will be happy until next fall. 

By the way, all of these candles are gifts. (I have very nice friends who don’t know about my candle burning pact.) I’m keeping my part of “to thy own self be true.”

I’m not so much into Shakespeare, Hamlet to be exact, where I think that phrase originated.

“I just need to be true to myself.” Good intention. But I wonder, do you think there is a cautionary care of that phrase?

The word true. Our world today would have us define truth to whatever floats our own boats. Whatever is trending, making up our own truth according to our own desires. Truth is defined by what is preferred and what is popular.

A pause…  does my truth line up with God’s truth? Always? 100% of the time?

I believe God is Truth and He has given us absolutes, found in the Bible. And therein is the beauty.

God is our Creator and Designer. His truth is not meant to cage us in or limit us. Actually, it is in God’s truth we find the freedom to operate in the most beautiful way possible.

God’s truth, not our desire, points the way to freedom: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

Back where we started. With my fresh cuppa, I’m about to light my lovely gifted fall candle, adding beauty to my home.

Here are a couple more pics at the Inn dressed in November.

Soup’s on. I’m taking the next few minutes reading God’s “right instructions.”

Come just as you are, margi

PostScript: I have fallen behind on One-a-Days due to a 5-day migraine cluster. Good thing I was ahead of schedule. Am still on track to put up the Christmas Tree day after Thanksgiving. Hoping next week to grab hold of that trophy:)

On Purpose

oaks, elephants and single digits

Why hello, November! I love Thanksgiving month. And hello Benjamin Franklin.
“Little strokes fell great oaks.”

I started my One-a-Days because 1) my house was getting messy behind closed cabinets, closets and doors… and 2) hiring a maid was not in the budget.

A purge was needed as well as an an old-fashioned cleaning.

I don’t consider myself old-fashioned, although approaching old is coming fast. I can list a very long number of activities I like better than cleaning. Organizing is my sweet spot.

So I write this post to remember. Assuming I get to my last box to check off, would I do it again?

I bring some ramblings on 77 specific house projects:

1. Goal. We’ve all heard how you eat the elephant, one bite at a time. You do not need to finish off the elephant in any certain order. Part of the rebel in me, I chose random tasks in rooms to work in. Kept me from bored and overwhelmed.

2. Tools. I purchased this for cleaning my fans. Still a neck-ache but beats me falling off a step stool.

3. Timing. Rarely did I leave a box to check late in the day. No night owls at the Inn.

4. Satisfaction meter.  Anytime I can achieve a goal, it is a big win. I’m not saying this would categorize as hard by world standards, but I’m about to cross the victory line, and I can picture it now. Scores of loud cheering and an x-large trophy.

Oaks felled and elephant eaten.

A faithful job.

Remaining steadfast. Kind of hearkens back to an old-fashioned idea. I’m grateful for a faithful husband. But even more, the faithfulness of my best friend, Jesus.  I’m aiming one day to hear His words of “Well Done.”

Closing in on the finish line, leaving me 12 months to work on my budget to hire housekeeping.

Come just as you are,

PostScript: 8 boxes remain. Of course you know I’m kidding on the maid.

On Purpose

don’t get stuck on a stump

I read about two bald eagles at the Tampa Zoo who were permanently injured. There was no covering needed over their habitat. They no longer were able to soar the 10,000 feet. This pair of beautiful Kings of the sky were grounded. They were often photographed settled on a stump.

On this very ordinary day I ask myself, “Am I soaring? Or am I settling for life on a stump.”

The past 18 months have given all of us good reasons to settle for stump-living. I need not list them. And I know, like me, you can add plenty reasons of your own.

So what’s a grounded eagle to do when he or she can’t fly away on vacation? When one can’t escape unchanging realities?

He can create. Or she.

Enter Flannel Project
One trip to Walmart.
Purchase large mailer box and flannel.
Work with hubs, bonus!
Cut, staple.

And there you have a lightweight flannelgraph board for story telling.

And what stories might Gigi tell her 9 little grands?
* Let’s not panic with Henny Penny, the Sky is a-Falling.
* 3 Little Pigs prove hard work does pay off.
* The woman at a well finds the person who can un-stick her off her slump, or stump. One of my personal favorites.

Jesus, Living Water. The One who promises, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” ~Isaiah 40:31

Giving proof that circumstances don’t dictate us to a stump-life.

Who knew there was an eagle soaring in my neighborhood!  Been spotted at the Inn.

A spotting at your neighborhood too?

Come just as you are,

PostScript: This eagle is busy checking more One-a-Days, keeping her off the stump.
16 (of 77) left to go.

On Purpose

first fire

“You don’t need an invitation,
Step inside.
We’ll have tea and crumpets,
Toasted by the fireside.”
(“Step Inside” by The Hollies)

Tea, yes. I had to look up crumpets.

Hailing from England, they’re like a cross between an English muffin and a pancake. 

And here I was thinking they were a sweet little tea cookie. I must say, though I’m not much of a tea drinker, the cookie sounds much better.

Is there a point to be made on my Tea & Crumpets invite?

Yes and I’ll number them.

1.  I don’t own a proper tea service or a tea kettle. 

2. The water for your tea will heat nicely via microwave.

3.  I have two teas to choose from. Peppermint or Gently Chai.

4.  Since I’m trying to do better on carbs, can I offer you tea with a hard-boiled egg?

5.  If you’re still willing to accept my invite, might I make an additional offer? Coffee & conversation, cozied up Fireside.

Ah, and what might we talk about?
~ World problems
~ Soup recipes
~ TV screen cleaning
~ Carbs in hard-boiled eggs
~ Jesus

I hope Jesus always gets our attention. Tea or coffee, His invite is always open.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

And so He does.
And so I come.

Come just as you are,


PostScript: 24 project boxes left (of 77) on One-a-Days. Optimism is rising as the temps begin to feel more Thanksgiving-ish (and when my tree goes up). Pressing on.

On Purpose

a habit of order

“If a task can be completed in less than one minute, do it right away.”
~Gretchen Rubin, “Better Than Before”

Okay, so the spice and measuring drawer took longer than one minute, but, no more than 30. The finished project is a beauty to behold. Each time I open this drawer, it gives me great delight!

Why do I care so much about order?

Perhaps because so much of life is beyond my control, this little spice space I can.

And I have high hopes that if my spices are well ordered, so is my life.

A tall order? Yup. This is one of my life verses I chose many moons ago in college.

“He has shown you (Margi) what is good. What does the Lord require of you?
To act justly.
To love mercy.
To walk humbly with your God.”
(Micah 6:8)

Nary a mention of well-organized spices.

But the opposite of organization is a lot of clutter. Clutter happens beyond counters and  closets and cabinets. It also happens in our lives. Do you feel it too?

I’ve been working a long time on that well-ordered list from Micah, a prophet of God. I’ve a long ways to go.

At the end of his book Micah pointed God’s people toward an everlasting hope in an everlasting God. Reminder: we do not walk alone.

I do see Jesus smile as He looks over my spice space.

Creating habits of order at the Inn.

Come just as you are,


PostScript: 36 boxes left to check off in my One-a-Days. I am ahead of schedule. The Inn is halfway ship-shape. Christmas Tree goes up in 43 days.

On Purpose

on muffins & cakes & whistle-blowers

On my One-a-Day cleaning & clearing trek I found an unopened bag of frozen cherries which never found their way into my Green Smoothies. I remembered a new recipe. And I love cherries.

After a sink full of dishes, three mistakes from not reading through the recipe first, and lacking a jumbo muffin pan I decided to make these Cherry Struesal Muffins into Cherry Struesal Mini-Cakes.

Halfway through testing out my Cherry Muffin Mini-Cake, the Food Police show up at my door knocking.

“You do know if you eat that whole mini-cake, it’s as if you ate two large muffins.”

“Er, yes, thank you for your polite intrusion.” 

I polished off the Cherry Struesal Mini-Cake in one sitting.

And somewhere there is a quiet voice at the end of the day saying,  “I will try again tomorrow.”

And so I shall.

I also hear Jesus whisper, “I am the Bread of Life.” (John 6:35) The only place you will find true soul-satisfaction.

And so He is.

Come just as you are,

PostScript: 46 boxes yet to check off before my Christmas tree goes up. I started with 77. My One-a-Days are on track. Now to keep my health goals on such a trek.
Are you checking any boxes?