Think On These Things

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.
Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in;

hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them.

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.

He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in.

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!

For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in affliction and in irons,

for they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High.

So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor; they fell down, with none to help.

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.

He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart.

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
 for his wondrous works to the children of man!

For he shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron.

Some were fools through their sinful ways, and because of their iniquities suffered affliction;
they loathed any kind of food, and they drew near to the gates of death.

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.

He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!

And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!
Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters;

they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works in the deep.

For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.
They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their evil plight;
they reeled and staggered like drunken men and were at their wits’ end.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.

He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.

Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!

Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

He turns rivers into a desert, springs of water into thirsty ground,
a fruitful land into a salty waste, because of the evil of its inhabitants.
He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water.

And there he lets the hungry dwell, and they establish a city to live in;

they sow fields and plant vineyards and get a fruitful yield.

By his blessing they multiply greatly, and he does not let their livestock diminish.

When they are diminished and brought low through oppression, evil, and sorrow,

he pours contempt on princes and makes them wander in trackless wastes;

but he raises up the needy out of affliction and makes their families like flocks.

The upright see it and are glad, and all wickedness shuts its mouth.Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.

Psalm 107

Learning New Things

Did y’all know my brand new son-in-law is a photographer? He is and a really good one. He’s a young whippersnapper though and has given me grief over the fact that I don’t use Lightroom (the industry standard) for my editing. All in jest of course, and much love, because he wanted to marry my daughter 😉

He is actually going to second shoot a wedding with me in July though and in the interest of making life easier for both us in that endeavour I made sure my computer was up to snuff and could handle the Adobe program and I am now officially doing things like a grownup photographer.

I’m shooting in RAW and editing in Lightroom.

Turns out that young whippersnapper knew what he was talking about when he kept telling me I just needed to do it. I still have a bit of a learning curve and as of yet I haven’t worked on anything involving people but I love love love what I have been able to do so far just with some flower pictures I took in my yard.

Between the extension tubes and Lightroom I am feeling all fancy and the clover in my yard has never looked prettier.

I don’t do a whole bunch of editing but I do think I like what I have the freedom to do since the file is larger and gives me more information to work with if I do want to play with it.

I know, I know. I’m just geeking out over a few pictures and new techniques and skill sets and it’s probably not terribly interesting to you. But seriously, look at the scope of detail that God put into a simple little clover.

The swirl and flare of each petal. The movement of color from stalk to stem. Even the beautiful tea stained shade of the dying flower.

How much more does He care about the details, the smalls ones and the big ones, about your life?

I’m still hung up on the wonder leading to wisdom I guess. Because how can we not be in awe of the God who created this and not trust Him enough to live the life He calls us to? A life of genuine love and real forgiveness? One flush with steadfastness and truth, beauty, and goodness.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

We have been created with even more attention and care than the flowers and He has work for us to do, good works. So get busy. You’re supposed to glorify Him today. Go make someone marvel at what He has done.

Monday Randomness ~ Brussels Sprouts Edition

Every once in a while I come across either a food or food trivia that I feel compelled to pass along. It’s been a while though since I did that (maybe the last time was this post about apples on my old photography blog?)

But I have been meaning to share a particular brussels sprouts recipe over at She Feeds Her Family and figured it could be fun to share some random facts about those little balls of mini cabbage.

First, they actually are not mini cabbages. More like a cousin since they’re part of the same family as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and kale. They are a human engineered strain of a wild cabbage.

They can be traced back to the 13th century and are not native to the US. They can be grown just about anywhere with New York, Washington and California the leading growers in the states producing over 32,000 tons of them.

They were introduced to Louisiana in the 1800s by the French. Merci beaucoup!

Great Britain considers brussel sprouts their national vegetable.

They grow on stalks! I think it was last year when I saw an actual brussels sprout stalk for the first time and this fact totally amazed me. Apparently they last longer on the stalk than loose so if you can buy them still attached do it. Plus they look way cooler 😉 In 2000 a US couple grew the world’s tallest stalk measuring in at over nine feet tall! The biggest individual sprout ever grown weighed in at 18lbs and 3oz.

They are incredibly healthy. Sprouts have more vitamin C than oranges and vitamin K is abundant along with other antioxidants and being high in fiber.

A 2019 survey found brussels sprouts to be the fourth most hated vegetable in our country. Most believe this is due to improper cooking technique though. I mean, an overcooked squishy brussel sprout is rather yucky but roasted with apples and bacon? Or pan seared with gnocchi? They are delicious!

But there might actually be a genetic reason someone doesn’t like the little green veggie powerhouse. The gene TAS2R38, which is responsible for tasting the chemical PTC. PTC is how humans taste bitterness so if your family doesn’t love them you guys may have a developed amount of PTC.

I came across a New York Times recipe and when I finally got around to making it it became a family favorite. Actually, it’s been a favorite every time I have made it no matter who I made it for.

Mosey on over and check it out and you will be able to enjoy it’s deliciousness and wow people with all the fun random facts you now know about brussel sprouts.

Happy Monday, y’all!

Look how pretty they are!

Friday Favorites ~ My Week

It started on Sunday, really. I felt a bit spoiled. A dear friend at church blessed me with my second Willow Tree figurine.

Isn’t she lovely? I now have two pieces so I can officially say I have a collection.

Right after that lovely gift another sweet woman in our church gifted me with one of her beautiful hand made necklaces. She gets her glass mostly from Italy I believe and uses a blowtorch to shape and create her beads. I now have my very own bluebird of happiness. If you want to see more of Ms Helen’s delicate work you can visit her etsy shop. Such beautiful craftsmanship!

And then one of the sweet kids gave me a lovely coloring page. I told you I felt spoiled with all that love being shown to me!

This week I finally got my fat quarters unwrapped and washed. (Remember them? I shared them in a post at the end of February.) I’m not going to lie, looking at that pile of fabric makes me a little nervous but I figure since this is a just because quilt I can take my time and do it little steps at a time. The plan at the moment is to get them ironed and then cut into smaller squares. I will keep you posted on my progress with this particular favorite thing.

One favorite thing I did this week was spend some time with my camera and these really really cool flowers I got at the grocery store. I don’t know what kind they are but how cool are they?

Emily and Hays got back from their honeymoon on Monday. I already got a text asking for a recipe and that made this mama’s heart glad. It also makes me glad that they will come visit us next weekend. And my heart gets downright joyous thinking about Easter when they will come again and so will Sarah and Devon. All my people will be home!

Hays shared some of the pictures he took on their honeymoon and I am going to wrap us this week’s Friday favorites post with a couple that I really loved. Glacier National Park sure is a beautiful place, isn’t it?

How cute is Em in this picture?

Have a great weekend, y’all!

Think On These Things ~ Psalm 116

I love the Lord, because he has heard
    my voice and my pleas for mercy.
Because he inclined his ear to me,
    therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
The snares of death encompassed me;
    the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
    I suffered distress and anguish.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
    “O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!”

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
    our God is merciful.
The Lord preserves the simple;
    when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return, O my soul, to your rest;
    for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

For you have delivered my soul from death,
    my eyes from tears,
    my feet from stumbling;

I will walk before the Lord
    in the land of the living.

I believed, even when I spoke:
    “I am greatly afflicted”;
I said in my alarm,
    “All mankind are liars.”

What shall I render to the Lord
    for all his benefits to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
    and call on the name of the Lord,
I will pay my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people.

Precious in the sight of the Lord
    is the death of his saints.
O Lord, I am your servant;
    I am your servant, the son of your maidservant.
    You have loosed my bonds.
I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving
    and call on the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people,
in the courts of the house of the Lord,
    in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord!

Come On Over

Sometimes I visit this space with a plethora of words and ideas that tumble over themselves as they escape my brain. Sometimes I sit down here to work through a knotty problem out loud. I talk to myself in real life too but there is something about being able to see my words and rearrange them, moving them to their proper place and finding the right order for my thoughts that satisfies.

Sometimes people read what I’ve written and agree or enjoy them and a conversation blooms. Other times a post I am particularly happy with does not get much traction. But the same thing happens with pictures so I don’t sweat it much. I realize I am not writing anything new or taking pictures of things that no one else has ever seen or taken a picture of before. There is a lack of pressure in that knowledge which allows me to slip in here as if we’re grabbing a cup of coffee and just visiting. Or maybe a better description in sitting down with a cup of coffee to read a letter from a friend.

The weather here this morning is pretty blah with a significant storm system moving through later. We took down my hanging plants and moved all my recently potted flowers onto the porch last night in preparation.

Did I tell you about my first experience with planting flowers here in my new lovely home state of Louisiana? About a month ago Rob and I took advantage of a local hardware store’s no tax weekend and bought lots of plants for me to put in the ground. Since my success with flowers and such last year I have been chomping at the bit for spring to arrive. Well, let me tell you…the ground here is nothing like the ground in Florida!

I dug and dug for about twenty minutes and barely scratched out three inches of earth. The ground is so hard here, especially it seems in the area of Carlyss where we live. I decided it would be messy to use the hose but I have rain boots so I could soften the ground with water and dig my holes.

😳

The ground is a dark hard clay that doesn’t absorb water the way the sandy soil in my old yard did. I ended up with a nice ol’ mud puddle for my trouble. Hence I now have about sixteen potted plants and Rob is going to have to get cracking on building me some raised beds.

The people we bought our home from are finally moving to Nashville and slowly but surely getting their stuff out of our pasture. Which means I am spending a lot of time day dreaming about the garden space Rob is letting me design and we are trying to figure out where to put the vegetable garden and a chicken house.

So many projects and plans! My beloved has to keep me reigned in because I can go shooting off in a dozen different directions at a time. My mind hops from flowers to looking at chicken coop plans to knocking down walls to reconfigure the apartment space for Sam now that Emily lives in Monroe. (That was a weird minute for me. Realizing that when she got back from her honeymoon she would not be coming here again. She doesn’t live with us anymore. I mean I was at the wedding. I knew this already. But it just sort of hit me.)

It’s been great having a space for friends to use when they’ve come to visit. I enjoy getting it ready and stocking the little mini fridge and having a tray of snacks ready.

We haven’t started renovating the space yet though so you can come for a visit if you like. We can sit down and have a cup of coffee and conversation in real life.

Of course my Louisiana people are welcome to stop by for a visit anytime. The door is open and the coffee is ready! Y’all can teach me how to grow things around here 😊

Think On These Things ~ Psalm 116

I love the Lord, because he has heard
    my voice and my pleas for mercy.
Because he inclined his ear to me,
    therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
The snares of death encompassed me;
    the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
    I suffered distress and anguish.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
    “O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!”

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
    our God is merciful.
The Lord preserves the simple;
    when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return, O my soul, to your rest;
    for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

For you have delivered my soul from death,
    my eyes from tears,
    my feet from stumbling;
I will walk before the Lord
    in the land of the living.

I believed, even when I spoke:
    “I am greatly afflicted”;
I said in my alarm,
    “All mankind are liars.”

What shall I render to the Lord
    for all his benefits to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
    and call on the name of the Lord,
I will pay my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people.

Precious in the sight of the Lord
    is the death of his saints
O Lord, I am your servant;
    I am your servant, the son of your maidservant.
    You have loosed my bonds.
I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving
    and call on the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people,
in the courts of the house of the Lord,
    in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord!

About the Wedding

What a wonderful, beautiful and crazy ride it has been!

So many people told us how beautiful everything was, how beautiful Emmy was, and what a great time they had and I know it was partly because it’s the polite things you say at such an event and I know the proper response from me would have been to nod graciously as I said thank you but AJ outdid herself on the flowers and decor, Emmy did make a beautiful bride, and the reception was just so fun that I had to agree. But I did follow up with a gracious thank you 😉

I took very few pictures myself because I wanted to focus on each moment and savor them as they happened but family and friends snapped and shared some with me. I can’t wait to see what the photography team captured!

Some things we learned along the way of wedding planning.

Hire a wedding planner.

A good planner is worth every dollar & cent and then some to help develop and guide the process, keep track of the details (so many details!) and check things off the list. I cannot adequately express what an amazing job Soiree by AJ did from start to finish. Having a planner also gives people a go to person to ask questions of leaving the bride and mother of the bride free from having to handle too many things in the days immediately leading up to the event. I feel like poor Elizabeth had much more to manage and more logistics to handle as the mother of the groom and we decided with her other two sons that she should hire a planner too. (I will say that she did a fabulous job working out her details and making sure so many of us were housed in the week prior to the wedding. Maybe she can start a side gig as a mother of the groom assistant? I would recommend her!)

RSVP’s

Ya’ll this is a crucial yet somehow underappreciated piece of planning. I do henceforth, now and ever always, do solemnly swear to give either my yea or nay in a timely fashion for any and all events which require said response. And I offer my deep heartfelt apology to anyone that I ever neglected to do the same for in my poor uninformed ignorant youth. I am older and wiser now and get how hard it is to gauge numbers without that information. I do realize that part of the issue might be that things are done online more now which is nice because of the lack of expense in including a printed card with a self addressed and stamped envelope but does require finding time to sit at a computer and going to the website and clicking all the appropriate clicky spots. I guess there really is no good easy way to handle it but I will be much more on top of that in the future no matter the format.

Length of engagement.

When Emily and Hays got engaged we had six months to plan the wedding. It was about two months too long in our opinion. At some point you reach saturation and are just.so.over.it. No more questions please. No more decisions to make. Enough already. Can the day just get here? Someone else may do a better job in stretching it out but it’s a lot. And it tends to dominate life. The number of times we uttered the words, “After the wedding…” is ridiculous.

But here we are. It’s after the wedding and what a gloriously happy and lovely day it was. The fruit of so many hands graciously working on our behalf was humbling. There was generosity and hospitality shown in spades. Pastor Steve Wilkins gave an outstanding homily that articulated so much truth on a subject sorely disregarded in our world today.

Marriage matters. When Emily and Hays said I do it was a battle cry that echoed into the heavens. It was a declaration of war to the enemy who seeks to distort and destroy everything that glorifies and reveals the true Groom.

A Christian marriage should be radically different than even the most loving and committed of marriages that exists between two non believers because a Christian marriage should accurately and truthfully reflect the Gospel of the true Bridegroom laying His life down for His Bride.

God’s love changes us…makes us better and something other than what we are on our own that is glorious and impossible apart from Him. That is the love the world should see because as believers there is a man and a woman that are first His and then together, one flesh.

CS Lewis put it this way, “It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit, reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God…’Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity; this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run. Being in love is the explosion that started it.”

May God now grant Emily and Hays to grow and abound in that deep steadfast quite love.