Autumn Pumpkin Wreaths 24″ Seeking New Home

Autumn is my favorite time of year. I love the changing colors (yes, we do have trees that change colors here in Southern California), the cooler weather (although that takes longer for us) & the clothes. Sweaters are one of my favorite things.

I begin baking more & I decorate our home with Autumn decor, including my wreaths. This year, I have a large selection of wreaths for Autumn in a variety of colors, ribbons & decorations. In this post, I wanted to share my new Autumn Pumpkin Wreath.


I began with a brown mesh wreath. I had the wooden pumpkin sign & wanted to use colors that would compliment it.


I had ordered the orange gingham ribbon early in the summer & I knew it was perfect for this wreath. I have used the red & navy versions of this ribbon for a summer wreath & I really like the way it handles.


I wanted some green to pick up the green in the sign. So I added some olive deco mesh ribbon.


In the past, I only used animal print ribbons on my animal print wreaths. I had wanted to use it as an accent on a wreath that wasn’t just animal print ribbons. I think it goes well with the Autumn colors in this wreath.

This wreath is currently hanging in my home but I am looking for the perfect home for this wreath. The wreath is 24″ across. Has a brown deco mesh base, olive deco mesh ribbon & 4 different ribbons : orange gingham, animal print, solid brown & soft gold. This wreath is $40 & available for pick-up in SoCal (we live in Anaheim) or can be shipped anywhere in the U.S. (a recent wreath went to live in Hawaii!)

If you are interested in having this wreath come live with you, simple contact me & we can discuss the details.

I also want everyone to know that I do custom wreaths. If you are wanting specific colors for your wreath, contact me with your ideas. I want you to have the perfect wreath for your home this Autumn, Halloween, Christmas or throughout the year!




Ideas Come from the Simplest Places

Bible Study

I teach a Bible study at church every Tuesday evening. Not long ago, we were discussing the need to surrender control of various tasks & ministries in the church verses the problem of getting people to volunteer to take those same tasks over. Like many churches, we have an aging congregation that is ready to pass the mantle of leadership to the younger generation. The problem arises when the younger generation (younger than the much older generation) is unable or u willing to step up.

Now, despite appearances, I am not criticizing anyone for their failure to jump right in before testing the water. In fact, that night, we discuss what we thought was the true problem, well actually 2 problems:

1. A lack of leadership training;

2. A lack of understanding the need for service within the church.

I went home that night & gave this discussion a lot of thought. A LOT OF THOUGHT!

In seminary, I studied leadership development. I had taught classes on leadership development. I had even created a church leadership training program. I decided I needed to teach a class at church.

However, after more thought, it occurred to me that people first needed to understand the call to serve before they would be willing to step into leadership roles at church. So I began outline material for a book/seminar entitled Called to Serve.

My out,one was going great until I noticed how many pages I had spent explaining to what a “call” is. Hmmm. Perhaps I needed a program BEFORE I began teaching about service. And that is when the epiphany occurred.

I believe many Christians believe a CALL is only for specific people doing specific jobs, like ministers. I believe ever Christian has been called by God. Not every call is meant to serve the church but every single call is meant to serve the Lord.

I realized that God was calling me to help people, especially women, understand & utilize their specific call. It’s time for us to wake up, like Samuel in the Old Testament & say “Here I Am, Lord!”

We complain so much about the events in our world, wondering why someone doesn’t do something, why God doesn’t do something. Well, He has done something! He has placed each of us here to set Him & those around us through our call.

I am still working on my outline but I am i spired & on fire! The Spirit is strong with me, working to encourage & inspire me to get busy.

All the pieces are coming together. Until they do, PRAY! Pray hard for me, for my family. The enemy is hard at work trying to discourage me from fulfilling MY call. This time, I refuse to let him stop me!

HERE I AM,LORD! Let’s get busy!

20 Years of Simple Joy


I have been spending much of this month in reflection. I have been restless lately & I know it is due to my unwillingness to follow God’s direction. Stubborn little thing, I know. But I finally heard His call & have been working to surrender to His leading, listening carefully so I am able to fully understand exactly what He wants. This is not easy but I’m working on it!

As part of this process, I have been going over materials, projects, etc from my ministry. I suddenly realized next year marks the 20th anniversary of Simple Joy. It all began with an idea, then a philosophy leading to one of the first (if not THE first) online magazine for women. That magazine was a starting point for so much. Yet somewhere along the line, I let both the magazine & everything it represented get away from me. I’m not sure exactly what happened. Somehow, somewhere I lost my focus, thinking the next thing was bigger & better. Truth be told, I failed to follow my own advice & made thing entirely too complicated.

I admit, I have spent part of this month having a pity party for one: ME! It became easy to feel sorry for myself. I was a pioneer in so many areas, especially online. But I jumped around too much. Anyway, the party is over as the song goes & now it is time to get to work.

I have struggled over the years trying to relate the Simple Joy philosophy with my ministry. I am no longer struggling. God has given me a new assignment that perfectly combines ministry & Simple Joy. In addition, God has reawakened my bold spirit. I have been too timid for too long. I am now 20 years older. Time to stop playing it safe. I have a desire to reach women with our message & I must step out boldly in faith in order to accomplish this.

So, what does all this mean? Well, I want to once again use those tools that were so effective for us in the beginning: the magazine, my blog, chats, the podcasts & our publishing business. All these tools allowed other people to help us share our message. We are getting back to basics, focusing on a few key areas that enable us to reach the most people.

I will be sharing more very soon. I have so much going through my mind & on my heart right now. I understand David wanting to sing & dance with joy unto the Lord. I am so filled with joy right now, I could POP!

Social Media & Small Groups Part 2: Twitter

Social Media & Small Groups Part 2: Twitter

I remember when I first tried using Twitter many years ago. Try as I might, I couldn’t limit myself to 140 characters. I couldn’t even THINK what I could possible share with such a tiny post. What in the world can you say using only 140 characters, including punctuation & spaces? I turned to social media, asking for help & a friend, Susan M. Heim helped me. She offered me ideas for effectively using Twitter. I took her advice & still use her advice today.

The thing to remember about social media is it constantly changes. How people use it today may not be the same as it was 6 months ago. You must keep an eye on social media & evolve along with it. However, you don’t need to make yourself crazy. You just want to find the most effective ways to use social media for your group.

That being said, let’s look at Twitter. You do only have 140 characters for each post. If you need to say more, you must use multiple posts to express your message. I would seriously think twice before doing this. Twitter’s greatest feature is its brevity. Short & sweet bursts of information to create excitement & a sense of urgency.

Your group should have a Twitter account specifically for your group with a name that represents your group. Your social media person should be the one responsible for this account. She is the one adding Tweets to the page. You also want to create a hashtag # that is specific to your group. This can be a very short abbreviation of the group name. Short because you want to add it to every Tweet. Before choosing a hashtag, do a search on Twitter to be sure this isn’t a tag already being used. When someone clicks on your hashtag, only Tweets made by your group should come up. Keep trying hashtags until you have a unique one just for your group.

How & why should you use Twitter in your small group?

  1. Create excitement when your gathering is about to begin. Post early that your group is meeting that day. Add new posts as the meeting time draws near. Have group members add their own post on their own Twitter pages using your group’s hashtag in their post. You want your hashtag to come up frequently as your meeting time approaches.
  2. Share information about the lesson.
  3. Share photos from your gathering as the meeting is taking place. This allows other women in your area to see what they are missing. Encourage women to join you.
  4. Share links to your other social media sites, the Gathering Hearts site & other information.
  5. Have members, especially your social media coordinator, add Meerkat to their phone. Meerkat creates a streaming video that streams live & directly to Twitter. So, for example, your group is creating a craft or having a special celebration, you do a short live feed showing your Twitter followers what you do at your meetings, how much fun you have. This allows them to feel as if they are right there. Then, encourage local women to join you; encourage women in other locations to form their own groups.

You want to have Tweets added to the page throughout your meeting without it becoming a distraction. Give women a sense of your activities, a sense that they are there. Twitter has an immediacy to it that I feel other social media sites lack. Facebook is great for upcoming events & to share events that have occurred (among other things.) Twitter is great for showing what is happening RIGHT NOW!

Group member should be encouraged to create their own Twitter accounts & share info about your group. You might need to hold training to help members learn how to use Twitter, follow people, add Tweets & understand terms, like hashtag. You can have a short presentation every meeting to help them gain a better understanding.

Twitter is a great tool with many uses. Take time to discover ways it can be used to help your group grow & used to reach women with the Gospel.

Autumn Girlfriend Party

Treat your friends to a simple yet fabulous party this fall with a Girlfriends Party. In this video, you learn how to create a fun table for your guests. Entertaining doesn’t need to be stressful when you make it a Simple Joy!

30 Cozy Ways to Decorate Your Porch for Fall


Our new home doesn’t have a porch as such. However, our former home had a great porch. I loved sitting outside & watch people walk down our street on their way to the park. Porch sitting is not as outdated as some might think. It is a wonderful way to relax, enjoy nature & visit with neighbors.

Country Living offers you ideas to help create a beautiful porch this autumn. While I don’t have a porch, I still may steal an idea or tow to create my own cozy retreat outside our new home! Enjoy!

Cozy Porch

Beginning A Life of Simple Joy Part 5

A Life of Simple Joy

Jean Ann wraps up this series designed to help you begin a life of Simple Joy. Listen Now!

Beginning A Life of Simple Joy Part 5

Beginning A Life of Simple Joy Part 4

A Life of Simple Joy

In this episode, Jean Ann explains why it is important for you to Take Care of Yourself. Listen Now!

Beginning A Life of Simple Joy Part 4

Social Media & Small Groups Part 1

Sharing Your Small Group with Social Media

Congratulations! You’ve decided to to create a small group. You invite a few friends to join you but you want more. Or perhaps over time, you feel it’s time to shake things up with some new people. Or perhaps your group simply wants to share your group activities with other small groups in your area or other groups in the Gathering Hearts network. How do you accomplish your goals? Social Media of course!

Unfortunately, social media can be very broad & very confusing. Which site do you use for all the different activities you want to share? Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest? Instagram? Do you really need all of them? Won’t one or two work for all your needs? Yes! I believe it’s better to begin simply on one or two sites, posting regularly on both of them than to jump into four of them & only post sporadically because you feel overwhelmed. Starting small also helps you build you audience & learn how to effectively use them before adding one or two more sites.

In this series, I’m going to discuss the four sites I mentioned above: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook & Pinterest. I’m not a social media expert. I’m just like you. Over the years, I have used each of these sites to share information about my ministry. I’ve made plenty of mistakes & I am still learning ways to effectively use each site. I plan to share my thoughts, ideas & tips on social media. It would be great to have you share your tips with one another too!

In my next post, I am sharing tips & ideas on Twitter. If you only use one social media site to share your group, Twitter is the one!

Beginning A Life of Simple Joy Part 3


Jean Ann continues this series by teaching step 2, Ask for Help. Listen now!

Beginning A Life of Simple Joy Part 3