Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The One Woman I Hope To Meet One Day...

Rachel Barkey was a young woman with two small children who lost her battle with breast cancer early in July of this year.

She gave a talk to a large group of women back in March of this year that has now been viewed/heard by countless thousands of women via the website Death Is Not

I was introduced to Rachel and her story sometime last Spring via another site I frequent (John Piper's website, Desiring God) and have watched/listened to the video of her talk that day in March so many times I have honestly lost count.

 If I had to guess, I'd say I've heard it and absorbed it no less than 50 times.

Rachel's words go straight to the heart of women --

 what moves us, what we value,

and how we view ourselves.

Those in my life often hear me speak of the need to "hold things in this life very loosely" -

and to

"never lose sight of the bigger picture that our lives are" 

and to steer clear of the kind of thinking that is bound up in what we consider our

  "entitlements" in this life.

We often feel entitled to many things and they're all good things...

we enter this life with our "list" of them and that's all well and good...

the "entitlement" to have children, yet many women find this desire goes unfulfilled in their lives;

the "entitlement" to get married, yet some of the most wonderful people around still find that desire of their hearts unmet;

the "entitlement" to be healthy and free of disease or hardship, and still we know many in our own close circle of family/friend who are ravaged by sickness and tragedy
(my own mother is at this moment living past the time given her by hospice)

and on it goes....

But the question is this (and its a hard one)
What if we are NEVER granted one of or ANY of the things on our "list"?

What then?

Is our life devoid of meaning?

Do we now serve no purpose because we do not have a child or children?

Or a spouse?

Or that career we counted on?

We can easily feel that our lives do not "count" if there is not a far bigger calling and meaning to our lives -- one bigger than our comfort, our desires, our "list".

What a pity if we are defined only by the things we aspire to

 -- the things that all too often define us.

But really, our lives here are not so much about what we feel we are entitled to,
but rather how we can serve and live lives of example and purpose for eternity.

Not until I heard Rachel's words, did I find the best way of finally describing what I always meant by the idea of "holding loosely" and flinging off those ideas of selfish entitlement.

She touched women in life and is still impacting women now even these months after her passing.


I want to be one such woman.

Oh how I do.

Do you?

We can.

But our view of ourselves, our purpose and most of all, God, must be accurate.
Rachel's words help clarify these things more than anything else I've known.

It's as though her cancer was given to her for this one reason -- so that she could walk through it
to become (unwittingly) a pillar of faith and a HUGE inspiration and catalyst to change other
women's lives.

You hear it in her speech -- she sees her cancer as part of a bigger purpose by which she is being used
in a way she NEVER would have been used before.

One of her favorite quotes is

"God allows in His wisdom, what He could easily prevent in His power..."

If you have 55 minutes -- while you're folding laundry, doing dishes, blogging, surfing the web, whatever...
please click on Rachel's video and just drink it in.

You don't even have to have 55 minutes "free" -- you can just turn the video on and go about what you're doing, and just listen.

Of course, I'm thinking that once you click and see her - and begin hearing her - chances are you won't be able to take your eyes off her.

Oh the days I've pulled up her video just to have it playing once more in the background as I work,  only to find myself not buzzing around working as I listen,

but sitting glued to my office chair, staring at her lovely face and listening to her words....

And I don't regret one time of doing that.

Nor will you.


I was prompted to (finally) post this video of Rachel today when I saw it appear on another blog that I follow by Jen of Chronicles of Windy Ridge.
She posted it and I thought -- you know -- I'm going to finally share this, too.

The more women who hear Rachel's words the better because I beleive we as women need a fresh perspective on who we are, why we're here, and how our lives can be more than just living each day keeping up with chores and errands.

I hope Rachel's talk inspires you and maybe even changes your life.

It's really, truly, that powerful.

Thanks, Rachel -- you rock and one day, I hope to sip a cup of heaven's tea with you and chat...


Here's the link, one more time:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas From My House To Yours...

My, my this has been a long time coming... and when you see the picture quality (or should I say severe LACK of quality) you'll wonder why I even bothered!  ;)

I snapped these pics last week and have only just culled through them and edited what I felt were the most "viewable" -- which should tell you a little something about how bad the rest were!!   

I took these pics during the evening and that was my biggest mistake, and since then I've just not found the time to go back and retake them -- and in some cases, I've alway tweaked some of the vignettes and I actually like the "tweaked way" better, but again, no time to do new pics -- but that's okay.   

But all in all, in kind of a little stroll through some of the house... we'll start on the porch then come in and peek into some of the rooms and around some corners...  

The party we had last Friday night (given by my daughter and a friend of hers) was HUGE but also a huge success -- let me tell you.... Those "kids" (well, they're all at least college-age) made us proud.  

They all brought in food, set up the kitchen as their buffet area, had the drink station and all dining tables out on our porches; they moved the furniture from two rooms inside to make a "dance floor" among other things they did around the house to set up for their party.

Well, when the hubs and I walked back into the house after "camping out" in our carriage house/barn building during the party ---- EVERYTHING was cleaned up, put back to normal, all furniture put in its rightful place, all the rented tables on the porches were cleaned off, removed and carted away and my kitchen was spotless.  

Now I ask you, how many parties have you had for "grown-ups" where your home was left like that?  

It was as if there was never even a party -- except for the lovely decor they bought and added just for the night.  Much of that is still out for our enjoyment. 

Don't let people give that age group a bad rap -- I can tell you that the group we had here (upwards of 70 that night) was among the finest representing that demographic!  ;)

Well,  Merriest of Christmas Wishes to you ALL!

We plan to open presents here at home tomorrow morning (FUN!) and then drive about 
an hour over to be with our folks -- looking forward to spending more time with my mom and dad.

And I cannot end this post without thank you all for your unbelievably sweet comments, well-wishes and prayers regarding my mother.  I soooo feel your love and for that I cannot thank you enough.

I'll post more about it all later, as I said in a previous post.  For now, it's still time to just
enjoy .... 



Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Jeanne d'Arc Living 2010 Issue #1 And A New Jeanne d'Arc Living Book!

So here it is...
the very first issue of Jeanne d'Arc Living magazine for 2010.
And what a beauty is promises to be -- as usual.

The photos below are just SOME of the beautiful images awaiting you on the pages of
this glorious first issue of the new year.

We should have the magazines here and ready to ship by at least mid-January.

The magazine is available for pre-order HERE

The next new item we're offering you for the first time is
Franske Fornemmelser the very large, very gorgeous
garden/outdoor spaces book from Jeanne d'Arc Living.

As the publishers so aptly put it:
"for those who have already decorated their home in the charming Nordic-French style and wish to continue outside"

The book is a large, hard-bound book filled with almost 200 pages of sheer
garden/outdoor bliss.

It is IN STOCK NOW and ready to ship -- find it by clicking HERE.

Below are just a few of the stunning photos from the book...

Last, we still have these vinyl "labels/stickers" that we received in our last shipment from
Jeanne d'Arc Living....

These are NOT stencils, but rather a vinyl "sticker" type item that you adhere to any surface -- wall, door, tabletop, cabinet, drawer-front, etc...

They're awesome I and already have plans for a few myself in my home!  

They're approximately 17" x 3.25" and are going to be very affordable.  We just need to sit down
and put them up on the site.   Soon!

But here's a peek at them for now...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Christmas List of A Different Kind

Thought I'd share a great list of "life-lessons" I got in an email from one of my sisters today... they're the kind of "sayings" that you might find inside a Dove candy wrapper... and believe me, I'm well-acquainted with the inside of Dove candy wrappers...  

Enjoy... and I'll be back (hopefully later today) with pics of my 
Christmas decorating for this year.  

And let me tell you -- it is December 17th and do you know I am STILL NOT DONE?
It's going to GET DONE today, though
 'cause the stepping over, around and side-ways past mountains of 
huge plastic storage boxes all over the house is 
NOT my idea of  "the beautiful life" my friends.  


1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good. 
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step. 
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. 
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch. 
5. Pay off your credit cards every month. 
6. You don't have to win every argument. "Agree to disagree". 
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone. 
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it. 
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck. 
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile. 
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present. 
12.. It's OK to let your children see you cry. 
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about. 
14. If a relationship has to be a "secret", you shouldn't be in it. 
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks. 
16 Take a deep breath. It calms the mind. 
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful. 
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger. 
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else. 
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take "no" for an answer. 
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special. 
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow. 
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple. 
24. No one is in charge of your happiness but you. 
25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ''In five years, will this matter?". 
26. Always choose life. 
27. Forgive everyone everything. 
28. What other people think of you is none of your business. 
29. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time. 
30. However good or bad a situation is, it will change. 
31. Don't take yourself so seriously.. No one else does. 
32. Believe in miracles. 
33. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do. 
34 Don't audit life.. Show up and make the most of it now. 
35. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young. 
36. Your children get only one childhood. 
37. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved. 
38. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere. 
39. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back. 
40. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need. 
41. The best is yet to come. 
42. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.. 
43. Yield. 
44. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift. 

Monday, December 14, 2009

"Music Monday" Is Back This Week...And Winter Begins Next Week!

As Fall gives in to Winter next week,
I thought I'd finally share this song that I have
wanted to share for months -- first back in Summer (missed my chance)
then for Fall (missed it again), so now here it is for you
as we enjoy our last week of Fall (which for some of you already
feels like Winter and for some of us still feels like Summer...). :)

As the earth has seasons, so our lives have "seasons", as well -- each one possessing it's own unique opportunities,
blessings, and challenges.

The longer I live, the more I know that more than anything, I want to enter (and exit)
each of life's "seasons" with much grace --
embracing and extracting each and every drop of life out of each and every minute of each and every season.

I loved Fall and I am very much looking forward to the turning of Winter next week --
and who knows what this season will bring --
but may each of us rise to every occasion and step up to each challenge with poise and grace, resting in the knowledge that each season --
whether on earth or in our lives --
builds on the next and we cannot enjoy of the blessing of the harvest without first the pruning and the tilling of the soil.

Pruning, tilling -- those are not the things in our life's season that typically bring us joy and smiles. They are the harder lessons, the tougher days that build the muscles of our character, and strength of our faith.

But without them (those harder times that till the soil of our heart and prune the deadwood in our lives) we would be bounty-less and fruitless. We wouldn't want that.

Even knowing this, still by nature we do often wish for only ease -- only the "good old days" that are all sunshine and roses.

It's a life-long struggle -- we want the character but not the trials that bring it.

I love a verse in Psalm 106, verse 15 that refers to God finally granting the wishes of those wandering in the wilderness, who were being fed manna from heaven but grumbled incessantly about it and were growing sick and tired of eating the same old thing day in and day out.

Sound familiar? Sure sounds like me at times!

He granted their wish for meat, but to their surprise the meat did not satisfy and it did nothing to nourish them. And funny thing, their grumbling did not stop once they got the very thing they were lusting after.
In fact, there seems to have been an emptiness and futility about their days.

Ouch... me again.

God granted their selfish desires, but He sent leanness to their souls.
What He wanted more than anything, was for them to simply trust Him, to be content with what He was feeding them (from heaven, no less!). But like whiney, gripey children, they wanted more -- something new and different.

Our seasons my change -- on earth, and in life -- and the things we become discontented with will change as we change.

And through it all there is that challenge to be still and be thankful for what He has provided to us.

That verse about leanness being a bad thing, has always struck a chord with me.

As women (myself leading the pack) we worry so much about fat and our weight and wanting to be thin (lean).

But in this one area -- we must desire fatness... this is one area of our lives we DO NOT want to be lean.

So, in each season of my life, may I enter
and exit it
with grace,
and more than anything,
may I remember to make choices
that will never bring leanness to my soul.

To live deliberately -- and eek out of every season all that God has packed into it just for me.

Just a little bit of what I get out of this beautiful song --
enjoy Fall's last week.

Winter -- here we come!!! :)


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Just Sprinkled The Shop With A Few New Things...

Just a quickie post to let you know, if you are interested, that we just added a few
new things to the New Items page online...

Well, okay -- now that I think about it, they are actually "blasts from the past" as they
have been stocked before, just not for a while.

A fabulous rust-finish and mercury glass "Bird Ball" hanging piece.
The HUGE 2-foot square burlap French sack pillow covers.

And a rustic Recycled Wood Display Box with Glass Lid.
There is more to put up on the site, but, well -- it just isn't done yet. :)

Still trying to get my own home decorated and maybe even consider shutting off
shipping of orders soon -- so I can tend to some very important family matters...

I'll post more later -- truly I will -- but for now, if you don't hear from me as much,
or you call and can't get me as readily at the shop, or your emails don't get replied to
quite as swiftly, it's not that I don't care -- it's that I have something I very much care
about that I must attend to.

My family.

I won't write it all out on this post (this "quickie post") but I want to share with you
that my mother is quite ill and it's time for me to make time to see her while I can...

I know you understand.

I will let you know when I will be shutting down shipping -- but until then, you may want
to think about whatever you'd like shipped sooner than later (boy, that sounds bossy), just so
we have time to get it out to you.

Thanks so much for understanding -- and for your sweet, sweet friendship.
What would a gal do without her friends?

If I can get this house decorated, I'll post some pics real quick! :)

Signing off for now -- hope you enjoy the few new goodies in the store.!


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Let's Try This Again...Encouraging Words For My Jeanne d'Arc Living Devotees

This is going to be a SUPER short post,
but I felt it was important to send out the word that
we are NOT giving up on carrying our beloved
Jeanne d'Arc Living line forever!!!

We are only in a short hiatus of sorts and when they company
in Denmark gets things all squared away with the U.S. rep that they
are in negotiations with even now, we'll be among first knocking at their
door with a big old order for their products!!

So, consider this just a short blip in the timeline of our history and future
with the Jeanne d'Arc Living company.

While we wait for the finalization of the U.S. rep/Jeanne d'Arc Living details and merger,
The Beautiful Life definitely WILL continue to offer you each new
issue that they continue to print for their European markets.

Yes, the magazine will be a bit higher in cost per issue, but again,
I'm hoping that once we are able to deal directly with JDL's new U.S. team,
even that cost will go back down where it belongs.


How do you feel now? Better, I hope.

I know I sure do feel better.

Also, while we take just a short break from buying from Jeanne d'Arc Living,
rest assured that I have many other deliciously wonderful lines up my
pretty little sleeve that I have been kind of setting aside for a while.

There is one range of products that I used to be a major dealer in that I
took a break from for a couple of years now and am now ready to get
re-estatblished with. If you've been a customer of mine for any length of time,
I wonder if you can guess what range of products I'm talking about... ;)

You'll be happy -- this I know.

So, have a great weekend and let's all just feel better and even
excited about what fabulous new things will come from Jeanne d'Arc Living once
they fling open the doors of trade once again -- this time from our own soil.

Just wanted to share my renewed optimism with you --
since my last post about this was more of-the-moment and I fear may have
given you all the wrong idea (that we would NEVER, EVER have their
products again).

Not so.

Just hang in there and enjoy the new lines that are coming your way.

On a personal note, we're working fast and furious at my home this weekend to get our
Christmas decor up. How about you?

Why, oh why, is it that EVERY year as I'm taking DOWN the decorations I SWEAR to myself that I am going to start in early NOVEMBER next year....
and yet EVERY year I don't seem to get started on my own home until right about this time in DECEMBER?

Maybe next year? ;)


Friday, December 4, 2009

We've Wrapped Up The Giftwrap Giveaways!

{Beautiful rosette candle holders sold
here. I chose this picture mainly because
I just think it's beautiful. That's all. :) }

Congratulations to Jackie of Wren's Nest and Nancy of The Feathered Nest!

Jackie will get the Eiffel Tower ensemble and Nancy will get the grey Jeanne d'Arc Living ensemble.

And that about wraps it up! {Pun INTENDED}

Thank you to all who played along -- and as always, don't worry if you didn't win this one.

There is always another giveaway just around the corner!! :)

You can never tell who's number will come up and be chosen -- next time it might just be YOU!
Wishing you a wonderful 1st December weekend!

Stay warm!


Thursday, December 3, 2009

"It Is With Heavy Heart...." breaking news to you...

Oh ladies... how do I even say this...

This morning, I sat down with coffee in hand just,
like every other morning,
and began the task of perusing my emails...

What's this? An email from my favorite people at
Jeanne d'Arc Living!

I always open their emails first! :)



Heart sinks....

Cannot believe what I'm reading...

Oh how can it be?

I think the universe could hear the
sigh that came from my gut...

December 3rd 2009

Dear customer

We regret to inform you that we unfortunately no longer will be able to sell our products to customers in United States of America.

Thank you for understanding and showing interest in Jeanne d´Arc Living.

Did you just have the same reaction that I had?

{I shortened the email, deleting non-pertinent details and left just the "bottom line"}

I'm at a loss for what to tell you.

I will say this --

I had a very, very nice long talk with a very, very nice chap at

Jeanne d'Arc Living very, very early this morning...

I actually do feel somewhat better after that.

Here's what I can tell you...

It turns out that the main bugaboo has been in dealings with customs and

with cost-prohibitive freight/shipping costs for the orders coming here to the U.S.

So, until they can figure something else out that makes it possible to trade with the U.S. shops, they have had to make the hard decision to cease trade - for now.

And this takes effect NOW... immediately.

{Oh how I am now savoring that shipment we just got in!!

Had I know then what I know now, I would DOUBLED our order!}

In my chat with the representative at Jeanne d'Arc Living, he did offer us the option of continuing to be able to stock the magazine ONLY.

But no products --

for now...


their offer to continue to allow purchase of the magazine issues does not come

without it's own set of new stipulations and changes...


the price is going to


My cost to bring it to you is going to be ratcheted up quite a bit

and in keeping with that,


the price of the magazine in the shop will also have to go


I have mulled this over and over and as I told my friend at

Jeanne d'Arc Living this morning on the phone,

I think the best thing I can do in helping me determine whether to

go forward and continue stocking the magazines is....

to ask YOU.

So, I am...

I'll just lay it out for you:

if we continue to bring the magazine to the states, the price is going to go

from $24 per issue up to approx. $35 per issue.

There will be 8 issues published in 2010 (there were 6 in 2009)

and all issues will be in English.

There is no way of knowing if or when we will be getting a chance at anymore

of the Jeanne d'Arc Living products, but for now, let's just say it won't be

any time soon...


for now, all we have is the magazine.

What do YOU think?

Remember back several months ago, when they were considering printing the

magazine in English and they wanted me to come to YOU to gauge

how much interest there would be in an English version?

Well, I'm coming to you again -- this time to gauge how

likely you will be to continue to order the magazines in light

of the new price.

I can't tell you enough how much I will


your responses.

Let 'er rip -- let me know what you think.

I will likely make my decision to either continue carrying or

not carry

the magazine going forward, based on what you all

have to say.

So please, be honest -- let me know where you fall on this new news of today...

I respect your ideas and thoughts -

I stock this store for YOU, so what YOU think matters.

GOOD NEWS for you

(because if you've read this far, you can use some!):

I still have a few things that I have not yet put up on the site from my latest shipment

from Jeanne d'Arc Living

so there ARE still things here,

on this side of the pond,

from Jeanne d'Arc Living to be had...

but when they're gone, there is no guarantee they will be

able to be restocked... at least not for some time.

So that about covers it.

I cannot wait to hear from you!

Oh, and one more thing -- the current issue for the first time ever, reflects a

U.S. price of I think $17.00. That is an error!

Shopkeepers across the country who stock the magazine were all

fairly shocked to see that price, since we can assure you --

it doesn't cost much less than that for US to get it here,

so PLEASE know that the $17.00 price is not an accurate rate of conversion for the magazine

and is not an accurate "MSRP" for it.

Future issues should have that corrected...

P.S. -- on a lighter note,

don't forget my giveaway in the blog post just below this one!!

I'll draw TWO names Friday night and hopefully ship

the winnings out on Saturday!!