Thursday, February 22, 2018

Evangelist to the World - The Reverend Billy Graham

Thy Good and Faithful Servent

This morning I got up, as I usually do, check the news to learn that Billy Graham has gone "home". I can just imagine Jesus standing there at the gates of heaven with arms open wide saying, "Welcome home, thy good and faithful servant, welcome home and come into thy rest."  In time others, who have "gone home", are going to come up to Graham and say, "Thank you for giving to the Lord, for I am a life that was changed..." If ever these words would apply to a servant of God, they would apply to the Reverend Billy Graham. With every breath, he proclaimed the Lord Jesus Christ and the salvation that He  (Christ) provides to sinners, just like you and me.

The Evangelistic Crusader

My first memory of Billy Graham was watching him on TV as his Evangelistic Crusades were being televised. As a family, we always watched Billy Graham when he was on TV. During his ministry he did about 417 crusades on 6 different continents. 
Seems like the crusade I attended was in a tent like the one above. The sides were rolled up.

Typical stadium set up for a Billy Graham Crusade
Almost every people group and tongue has heard the gospel through Graham's ministry.  I even had the privilege of going to one of his crusades when I was a youth. I cannot recall the details, as I was young. Maybe in Jr High or slightly younger. I do remember it being a really big deal. Our church sent volunteers to sing in the choir, to usher, be part of a prayer circle and to be counselors during the altar call. In all of my life, I had never seen so many people in one place at one time. 

(Left) A Program That My Husband has saved from attending a Billy Graham Crusade in 1972.

Billy Graham spoke with passion and conviction. I believe that it was J. Vernon McGee who said that when he first saw Billy Graham he was not that impressed. Dr. McGee wondered what in the world could God do with a tall, lanky, skinny rag tag looking of a young man with such a tuft of hair wearing a suit that was too big and didn't fit well. But when he heard Billy Graham preach, fire came from his eyes and the Holy Spirit from his lips. Dr. McGee knew that God had His hand on this young man. 

As Rev. Graham would bring his sermon to a close and do an altar call the congregation and choir would begin to softly sing "Just As I Am". Then he would always step back from the podium and pray.

Thousands would get up from their seats and head to the altar in response to whatever God had put on their hearts. It could have been to rededicate their lives to the God because they have been out of fellowship from being out of fellowship with Him or to accept Jesus Christ as Savior for the first time.

Many many lives were reached because of what vision, passion and evangelistic gifts that God placed in this man. And he heeded the call. That means Graham did with his life what God wanted. And he did not get rich off of it. 

Graham praying during the altar call

The Life of Billy Graham

Billy Graham was born November 7th, 1918 and passed from this earthly life February 21st, 2018. Just 8 & 1/2 months shy of his 100th birthday. Accepted Christ as Savior at age 16. Was married to his bride, Ruth Bell Graham, for 64 years. She passed in 2007. They had 5 children. She was a partner in his ministry in every way. A wife, mother & home manager. Because of his schedule, they would go months without seeing each other. But she knew this was all a part of God's plan for them. One of the funniest things I have ever heard her say in an interview was in response to the question if she had ever considered divorce. "Divorce? No, never. Not an option. Now murder....." Meaning that their marriage was not without their trials, but God was at the center and head of their marriage. 

Ruth & Billy in their younger years 

Rulers would seek Graham out for probably photo opps, but also seeking his counsel. Queen Elizabeth II considered him a friend. Always invited him to visit when he was in GB and wanted him to preach at their family services which he obliged. He spoke with "clarity & certainty". They had an unlikely friendship as Graham quoted in his autobiography, 
“No one in Britain has been more cordial toward us than Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II...” 

Graham with Queen Elizabeth II

L-R Queen Elizabeth II, Graham, Ruth Graham, Queen Mother Elizabeth, R-Prince Phillip
Graham & The Regans

Graham & Obama

Living Humbly & Modestly

The Grahams did not have extravagant lifestyles. The monies collected went back into the ministry. One morning I was watching one of the network news programs. This was in the early 80's when there were a lot of scandals, financial & otherwise, being uncovered in the world of televangelists and the Judeo-Christian ministries.  A, at the time, well known televangelist couple and Billy Graham were guests being interviewed by the show hosts concerning the different financial scandals happening in the different ministries. And how televangelists are always making a plea for money & donations. When asked about the finances and monies coming into the Billy Graham Crusades, Billy Graham's response was that they have never had to ask for money. They pass the plates at every crusade and the offerings are used to support the ministries. "God has always provided what we need. The day we have to ask for money will be the day that we will know God is no longer in our ministry and it will be time to quit." Billy Graham was adamant about financial accountability in the ministry. BTW, the televangelist couple who appeared with him were later accused, charged and convicted of fraud with their ministries. 


I daresay that no one has done more to lead others to Christ than the Reverend Billy Graham. I expect over 1,000,000, because this man answered God's call and used the special gifts that God gave him. Amazing what God can do with one person, if that person will surrender to the call. 
"Thy good and faithful servant."

John 3:16, the first Bible verse I memorized, after watching a Billy Graham Crusade on TV.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." 
That, beloved, is my prayer for you. 

To watch/listen to some of Billy Graham's sermons and videos of his crusades, follow this link: Billy Graham Crusades and Sermons

To learn more about the Reverend Billy Graham and his ministries, follow this link:

What are your memories of Billy Graham? Has his ministry affected your life or the life of a loved one in anyway? I heard the gospel of Jesus Christ many times before I accepted Him as my Savior. Several of those times were sitting in front of an old black & white TV with my family watching and listening to Billy Graham deliver the gospel, "with clarity and certainty." 


Monday, February 12, 2018

Are You Gluten Intolerant?

Do You Need To Go On A Gluten Free Diet?

I have to say, I am so thankful that I AM gluten tolerant. In fact, for lunch I had a slice of whole wheat peasant bread with crunchy almond butter (the kind that has to be stirred) topped with sliced ripe banana on top. In my blessing I actually thanked God that I am not gluten intolerant and that I do not have celiac disease. In all seriousness, I am thankful. 
My sister has issues with gluten, dairy, most meats and so many other foods. I have so many friends with dietary issues, having to cut out almost all grains, dairy, certain meats, and now my daughter is being tested for these issues. I will admit, as far as for myself, there are certain things I cannot eat, but not many. And, if I were to sit and eat a lot of bread at one time, my tummy would not be happy. In moderation and always using the rule of thumb: a service sizes is the size of "my" palm/fist and always eat a protein with my carb. Oh, and one more thing, always eat whole grains staying away from refined foods. All of this being said, I have heard of many people, who do not have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, enjoying benefits of going "gluten free".

What are your thoughts?

You can read more by clicking the link below:

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Never Underestimate What a Good Haircut Can Do ~ My Gray Journey

It has been several months since I have posted about My Gray Journey and I thought it was time for an update. Fortunately, my hair does grow fast and, though fine, is very thick. That being said, it is not going to take too terribly long, I just need to be patient.

My hair had gotten pretty long. In fact, my hair dresser pointed out to me that I have not had my hair cut since August! That is a long time. It did look pretty curled.

In the above photos, you can see how long my hair had gotten in just a short amount of time. In the photo on the left my roots had been touched up one each side of my part and in the photo on the right, those same roots had grown out some. But honestly, that is not the best way to grow out your gray. Especially if you DIY. Now I do think you need to do whatever makes you feel better about how your hair looks. In my case, pulling out the old Kindness 20 and rolling my hair. 

My "wash & go" hair simply was not working for me. I have even used some spray on hair color. That worked ok when I only had a tab bit of root growth by my part. As my hair grew out it would take half the can to cover those roots and that got pricey! 

Once again, I was hating how my hair looked. The ends were strawy and suffering from being over processed. The tip ends were blond and the hair got darker as it approached the gray/silver roots. I called my hairdresser and made an appointment. I knew at the time I did not want a really short haircut even though, with my gray roots being about 4 inches long near my part and 6-8 inches long on the rest of my head, we probably could have cut off all the color. However, I look like my dad, grandpa and my dad's 4 brothers. When my hair is short, I just look more like them. I know, vain. 

Here I am with my new "do"
Here I am with my new "do". A shout out to my hairdresser, Brooke at T. Fox Salon in Hoover. She always does a good job at making me look good. In 6 months there is going to be very little brown left. Then I am going to let it grow getting only the ends trimmed every 6-8 weeks.

I also have a video with this post. I hope that you will stop by and take a look at it. I go into a couple of things I have done to my hair that I would not recommend doing. 

Being patient and waiting is one of those little things in life...


Thursday, December 28, 2017

Christmas/Winter Dining Room Decor Tour

Welcome to my Dining Room Tour all decorated for the Christmas and Winter Holidays. I love decorating my dining room for the different holidays & seasons and look forward to every change (ie: opportunity to do something different with the room.... 😉)

Decorating the Chandelier Adds Interest & Dimension

I am particularly proud of how my chandelier turned out this season. It is just as I imagined, or rather, envisioned.  This is just a simple, contractor grade 8 arm brass chandelier that was installed when the house was built. I have never liked it as it has no memorable details, and probably not anything I would have picked. However, I can decorate it and just fall in love, never wanting to change it out. 😊 After the Day of Epiphany I will pull out the poinsettias and replace them with roses. Everything else will remain the same until after Valentines. Then I will decorate for the spring season & holidays. I will be sure to make a full video of the process. 

Adding a garland, silk flowers, sprigs and ribbons are one way to
add interest and dimension to an otherwise plain chandelier.

The Table Setting & Dishes

Dishes are Victorian Holiday by Baum Brothers

I chose white battenberg placemats and napkins. They really make everything stand out and look so elegant. I have had them for 23-25 years and they are beginning to show a lot of use, I still enjoy using them & so much easier to iron than a tablecloth. The chargers I purchased from Old Time Pottery Barn in Pelham. (No affiliation, but it is a great place to purchase large or small quantities of home decor/party items. They have less than a dozen locations in the US. I am fortunate to have one nearby.) The china we purchased right after we got married. I have had to replace a couple of pieces. always seems to have pieces in stock. I keep my Christmas dishes out until after Valentines and will often use them for our Valentine's Day dinner. 

I have been told that the scalloped edged bowls with electroplated gold edging belonged to one of my great grandmothers, though I do not know of any history behind them. The set includes a serving bowl and 6 fruit/salad bowls. The edging has a little wear, but it doesn't matter. I still love them and use them.                                                The ornament place card holder I have had for a very long time. I even have the original boxes that they came in. (Kept them for storage of course.) The price tag is still on them. $2.99 for four! I am sure I got them at a post season sale. 

The napkin rings are lovely poinsettias & leaves. They are a gift from my mother-in-law and I honestly do not remember if she gave them to my husband before we married or if she gave them to me the first Christmas after we married. Either way, she had wonderful taste and I have always loved these napkin rings using them every Christmas. 

 Beverage & Wine Glasses

The wine and beverage glasses have interesting stories. I bought the wine glasses (a set of 6) and matching after dinner cordial glasses (also a set of 6) when I first started working and out on my own. (Notice that they are a proper sized wine glasses..... We use them for our sparkling Welch's Grape Juice.) When I was young, I loved going into antique and old furniture shops. I saw these and loved them. Always wanted them. Years later, they were still in the shop and I bought them. 
The beverage glass is an Arby's glass. The year we married Arby's was selling them for .99 with purchase.  They matched my new Christmas China perfectly! After going through the drive thru every morning on my way to work, the lady at the window asked me if I was collecting them. Of course I replied "Yes!" with a big smile. She asked me how many did I need and sold them to me, completing a set of 8. 

The Placecards 

An elegant table setting is not complete without a placecard. These only took a few minutes to make. I cut up cardstock into 2x4 inch rectangles and using a 3mm calligraphy pen wrote the names and did a tad bit of Christmas doodle with fine tip marker pins. 

 The Tablescape 

The tablescape has various elements, textures and heights all the while, not blocking sight lines across the table so that there will be ease in conversations. Using old, new, nature and a bit of sparkle, the tablescape is stacked with layers of the different elements used to decorate the table. 

I started out with a white hemstitched runner. Actually, you can use anything. I have even see people use a full length mirror that they picked up at the $$ Tree. The idea is to start with your base layer and build from there. It also helps to protect the finish of the table from anything that might scratch or mark it up in any way. 

See the little red sprigs of berries in the above photos? They are from an inexpensive garland that I purchased from Michael's Craft store. I did not think to take a photo as I was placing it (sorry!). It is in an "S" curve (I love my "S" curves) going from one end of the runner to the other end. It doesn't look like much, but adds a lot to the overall scape. 
Next I added the vertical pieces such as the mercury glass candle holders, votives, silver pitchers, 3 tiered display bowl, and my salt & pepper shakers. 😊 

The Mercury Glass lamps came from Ross. They were $7.99 each! Originally planned to use them as Dirty Santa gifts, but they ended up on my table instead. 😉

The gold trimmed votives have been around for a long time and look great with any decor.

The 2 silver pitchers belonged to my husband's aunt. Her daughter gave them to me after her mother passed. 

I do want to give a shout out to Denise with She uses a lot of silver & silver plate in her decor and it looks so pretty! Shamed me and inspired me to get busy with the polish and elbow grease. 😊 I am so glad that I did. All of the "bling" reflected the candlelight nicely. 

You may remember this 3 tier display bowl from my fall video & post. This piece is so versatile! Red is one of my favorite colors. The red ornaments look so good displayed in this piece. I use red ornaments in empty vases, bowls, compotes, anything that is empty, I will fill with red ornaments. Post season is the best time to purchase them. You might prefer silver or gold, maybe another color altogether. A very nice and inexpensive way to add another element to your decor.  

I think I am going to have fun with this 3 tiered (I also have a 2 tiered)  for as long as those shark teeth (they tend to chip) on the edging last. I think that we will have eggs displayed in the bowls come this Easter. 

And of course, I have salt and pepper shakers. A few more out of my collection. And this season, I did not purchase any additional sets! Yay me! Good impulse control.

I love collecting and using salt & pepper shakers in my decor. The swans in the above photo are actually salt & pepper cellars! They belonged to my Mother-in-Law who used them regularly on her dining table for holidays and feasts. They each have tiny spoons that you can use to sprinkle salt or pepper onto your food. 

All that is left for the tablescape are greenery, sprigs, ornaments & silk flowers. All of the greenery I pruned from the evergreen shrubs in my yard. We also had a large branch from a pine tree to fall down from the weight of the snow we had a few weeks ago. (That was very handy and perfect timing!)  The greenery lasted weeks except for the variegated ivy. It did dry out and had to be replaced. All you have to do is place the greenery and plug in silk (or real if you have them) flowers and ornaments. 


My sideboard is set up for dessert & coffee. I also have a small collection of nutcrackers. A nutcracker runner, the Victorian Holiday china. 

The carafe over to the far right will have warm cider or hot chocolate for guest to enjoy with the nutcrackers standing guard over it all.

Corner Cabinet Cubbies

My dining room decor would not be complete without my cabinet cubbies being decorated. 

 More silverplate polished and ready to use for serving something delicious. A compote filled with red ornaments and another nutcracker standing guard.
I did say that I like to use red ornaments as fillers. They really do add a "pop" of color to the vinyette. 

And these sweet angel salt & pepper shakers are my very favorite. They do not go into storage when the season is over, but stay on display in one of my corner cabinets all year long.

That concludes the "photo" tour of my dining room decorated for the Christmas & Winter Holidays. I will post some more photos when it is decorated for Valentine's. I hope that you enjoyed "seeing" & reading about it as much as I enjoyed sharing.

You can see more in the video on my YouTube channel. Just click on the link below.

As this season comes to a close, I love to reflect upon the blessings that God has so graciously bestowed upon my family and me. And yes, we do celebrate the birth of Christ, but we also remember Christ's divinity and sacrifice so that we may have eternal life. It is my hope and prayer that you and yours will enjoy a blessed season that last throughout the new year.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from Missy's Little Things in Life!