Friday Favorites ~ Words, Wit, and Wisdom

I have been reading books or facebook posts or blogs recently that have been full of good words, wit, and wisdom. Today, I am going to share a few with you and I hope you get a laugh out of the funny ones, spend some time contemplating the ones that make you think. If a source is available I will share it otherwise let’s just appreciate that somebody somewhere had something interesting to say 🙂

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You can’t have a filet mignon lifestyle with a hot dog work ethic.

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The limits of our capacity to imagine are not the limits of God’s capacity to work.
~ P. Andrew Sandlin (Can I get a greatful amen?)

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“Never miss a good chance to shut up.”
―Will Rogers

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“Whenever we realize that we have not done that which we had a magnificent opportunity of doing, then we are apt to sink into despair; and Jesus Christ comes and says— “[…] that opportunity is lost forever, you cannot alter it, but arise and go to the next thing.” Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ, and go out into the irresistible future with Him.”
~Oswald Chambers (This one is especially meaningful to me…if I am not careful I can squander time and do it in such a way as to disguise idleness as busyness.)

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The difference between the right word and a similar word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. –Mark Twain

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To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!
~Proverbs 15:23

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May all your words be wise ones this weekend. Have a good one, y’all!

Bountiful

Last weekend started off low key but with plenty of work to put our hands too. Rob and Sam worked really hard to dismantle the horse ring left by the previous owners. I literally climbed on the counter in my bathroom to get a good view of them because Sam was using power tools for the first time 🙂 Rob and I took the drone up for a few minutes before they got started because we want to document our progress as we work the land.

Dinner Saturday was delicious and right in the middle of it I looked up to see Emily and Hays pulling into our driveway. It was a lovely surprise for Mother’s Day! They also gifted me with some homemade vanilla that I cannot wait to use.

Sarah and Devon sent me the absolute best card along with a beautiful new addition to my Willow Tree figurine collection.

Rob and Abigail, Sam and Claire gave me the one thing I have wanted for literally years and years and we finally have the best place for it here…a swing to hang from one of our beautiful oak trees! I can hardly wait to sit in the mornings with Rob and drink our coffee together.

Speaking of coffee, my sweet friend and I went to a really lovely bakery in Lake Charles called The Bekery as a way to wrap up a book we’d been reading together. The food was scrumptious and I enjoyed a yummy lavender and honey latte. We are already planning our next read and decided this will be our tradition every time we finish a book.

Another favorite this week is this book.

We are looking for ways of using our property instead of selling parcels of it. Currently we are researching raising chickens and/or pigs and cultivating a flower farm. I am more excited about laying hens and their beautiful yard eggs rather than raising meat birds. And I like the idea of pigs more than meat birds for some reason. But I am positively delirious with joy at the idea of a flower farm! I almost always have fresh flowers in my house and if you pay any attention to my photography it’s easy to see how much I enjoy floral photography. I have a lot of reading to do to be able to really make things thrive in the ground here but I’m eager for the challenge.

Currently we have a huge blackberry bush growing and producing like gangbusters so I know the land can be fruitful. Trying to harvest ripe berries earlier in the week earned me and Emily some scratches but no pain no gain, right? Totally worth the yummy hand pies Claire baked yesterday. There are a ton of almost ready berries and I realize I am going to have to check it daily if I don’t want them going to waste. It’s already frustrating because of some of them are out of reach already but the bush is so beautiful.

Since we are talking about sweet treats I am going to wrap up this week’s Friday Favorites post with a link to a recipe I made a few weeks back for church. My mother shared it with me years ago and until recently I had forgotten all about it. For some reason the original recipe was called Italian Bakeless Cake which just doesn’t sit right with me. I have no idea what is Italian about it but the weirder thing to me was calling it “bakeless” which is just an odd sounding word to me. I promptly made it Italian No Bake Cake but no matter what you call it just make sure you get called to the table to enjoy it!

Have a great weekend, y’all!

Friday Favorites

I love our sunrises. Maybe it’s because we have property here and don’t live in a neighborhood but it satisfies something in my soul when I see the early morning sun breaking through the trees.

Yesterday, Claire and I made a trip into Houston for a 4-H field trip. Yep, that’s right. I drove into the city, a major city, I might add. The interstate is an fascinating mess but people actually know how to drive it which means everything keeps moving even though there is a ton of traffic. And the skyline is so amazing.

We went to the museum of natural science for the Ramses exhibit. After all our years at Trinitas studying ancient Egypt is was really interesting to see all of the artifacts and mummies.

The museum is huge and after we finished up the planned portion of the visit a group of us did the butterfly center which was super fun. I love butterflies and the museum has created a really beautiful habitat to enjoy them in. I did hesitate going in because their sign said something about free roaming reptiles and I was not sure I was okay with that. Turns out they have an iguana that has free reign of the place so it was all good.

It had been a long day but we still wanted to take a turn through the dinosaur exhibit. Those creatures really were huge.

We thought we were done at this point but then a few of the kids came running up and said we just HAD to go see the hall of gems and minerals as well as the Everyday Faberge exhibit. They were so right and I was so happy we didn’t miss them. All the sparkle 🥰

I am always amazed more and more by God’s creation activity looking at what are basically rocks that He made. The myriad of colors and textures…it is mind boggling!

I do wish they had a before picture to accompany each one. I know they don’t come out of the ground looking like this and I bet it is fascinating to see the process.

Look at this chunk of opal! Isn’t it gorgeous?

And then you can see all the incredible ways man uses these stones to make beautiful and elaborate jewelry.

These are all rings. Aren’t they pretty?

Tiaras and necklaces too, oh my!

There were also some more delicate “everyday” pieces like some very lovely cigarette cases or calling card cases.

I loved this little broach watch made with rubies. The exhibit has a tiny mirror set up under it to reflect the watch on the back.

All in all it was a good trip but our timing was off a little bit. One, I think it is smarter to spend more than one day there and two, do not go at the end of the school year. There were gobs of schools there and it was crowded.

I definitely want to go back and visit the museum district as a whole and Houston in general. There just seems like there is so much to do!

Have a good weekend y’all!

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!

Friday Favorites – Puppy Edition (From my Phone)

Rex and Louis.

They are such a pair! Full of energy, mischief, and mayhem. But my goodness, we love these little guys! Rob probably not as much because the amusement of puppy antics wears thin for him rather quickly but he does say he will love the dogs they are going to be 🙃

They used to be so little!

Now Rex is about 30lbs and Louis is 26lbs. When I walk them by myself that is a whole lot of puppy to handle!

They are so funny though. One of them will find a stick or something (anything really and I do mean anything 🤢) and they will let just enough hang out of the side of their mouth so the other one can see it. Then the fun begins! The one with something will deliberately pass into the line of sight of the one who does not have something and the shenanigans start.

Looks like an episode for dogs gone wild or something but it’s not a cigar I promise, just a stick.

Tug of war is a favorite pastime of theirs. And so are bubbles which just makes me laugh watching them.

We do spend a lot of time with them outdoors and Rob built them a dog run of sorts that I affectionately refer to as the play pen. Our yard is plenty big so we take lots of walks, rain or shine.

A stunning selfie of me in my raincoat and what you can’t see are my wellies. Whoever invented rubber boots has my deep heartfelt gratitude.

We are working to having them in the main part of the house which they love. They are such social creatures and really want to be with their people. They are finally past the initial excitement of being inside and needing to explore and sniff every inch of everything and will actually settle down and rest inside in whatever room most of us happen to be in. That does tend to be the kicthen most often and they get quite curious when I’m cooking.

They still like watching the horses. As they have gotten bigger they have gotten braver and will bark at them. They horses pay little attention to them.

Poor Lucy…she is great with child and due to foal next week. I figure that even though I have been watching and waiting and waiting she is probably going to give birth while we are in Monroe for the wedding :-/

So that’s the puppy update. It’s funny to me that we now have two cats and two dogs and Rob is also planning on getting chickens. (We will put them in a veritable fortress to protect them from the pups.) The girls are still trying to convince Rob we need cows but Claire is hoping only a milk cow. No way does she want to raise her future dinner 😉

Have a good weekend, y’all!

It’s The Weekend, Y’all

We have friends coming to visit us from Florida tomorrow and we are so excited to see them! We have settled in and found a home here so much faster than we expected and it gives me much joy to introduce my Florida people to my Louisiana people. They will even get to be here for church on Sunday.

In somewhat related news, Emily has just about all of her stuff out of the apartment so I will take today to wash linens and get the space ready for Al and Mary to stay in. Bless her heart, Em has been driving back and forth a lot between here, Monroe, and Pensacola and I know she is ready for the wedding and to finally get settled. I am excited for her but at times it also makes me sad…somehow I wasn’t quite prepared for how quickly we arrived here and I naively thought because I had already gone through having a daughter move out that I knew what to expect. I didn’t, mainly because when Sarah moved into her apartment she was still only 20 minutes away. I’m adjusting though. Being mindful that this is the normal and right way of things. It helps that Hays is such a godly young man and I know he will love Emily well.

And this brings me to the first of this week’s Friday favorites. When we were in Monroe for Em’s birthday we were talking about how difficult it has been for my very homebody child to basically be living in limbo since our move in November. She knew she wouldn’t be here with us in Sulphur for long so it really hasn’t become her home in a settled sense. She also knows that despite Hays moving into the apartment they will share and being able to decorate and set it up that that is not yet her home either. Throw in trips back to Pensacola for wedding dress fittings and meetings and you can see why she is just sort of over it. I joked something about her being a woman without a country and Hays quipped back without any hesitation that she does indeed have a country, she is just waiting on her visa. Y’all may not find that as funny as I did but it really made me laugh. I think he might be ready for the actual wedding to get here too.

Here are a few favorite images of some yellow tulips I had recently. I love tulips, don’t you? I love flowers in general and cannot wait for spring to get here so I can start playing in the dirt!

Another favorite thing I came across this week is this cartoon. I get confused by all the texting abbreviations and this were quite funny to me. I think my favorites are ROFL and MOG.

The article I was reading about the cartoonist also used the word pithy and that fell into the favorite things category too. Sarah just returned from a trip to England and one of the biggest things she noticed was the differences between the way Americans speak and the way the English speak. It was more than the obvious accents; she said they just use nicer words in general and sound so much more pleasant. They probably use the word pithy more than we do.

Last favorite thing for this week. You can go here and get the recipe for a delicious sweet treat that I took to the superbowl party we went to last Sunday. This cookie dough dip is made with cream cheese and melted brown sugar and butter and is just so tasty and a little unusual from normal sweet treats. You should make some.

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Friday Favorites ~ Backroads Edition

Earlier in the week I mentioned riding down some back roads and taking pictures and since I think I have my days straight (it is Friday, yes?) it’s the perfect time to share a few. As a bonus I also have a link to a new recipe to share!

I really do find Louisiana to be a beautiful state. Even when we were just visiting in Monroe as Emily and Hays were getting to know each other last year I found myself enthralled with the bayous. But a new rival for my affections on that front are the marshes.

There is this beautiful color palette of blue and gold that I just love. As a drove further along I noticed a lot of black too and realised they must do controlled burns the way you do forests. Either that or there was one heck of a wildfire recently! The funny thing is that even the blackened landscape was beautiful.

I wanted to get a closer, better composed shot of this bench but when I got out of the car there was a great big sign that said, “Please do not feed or approach the alligators” and I thought to myself, “Not a problem! But has anyone told the alligators not to approach?”

I still have a particular shot in mind for this spot but I will wait until Rob is with me so I don’t have to be concerned about the wildlife!

Speaking of the wildlife…this is another shot still on my bucket list. I want to get a picture of a crane and this one is close to what I see in my head but my timing was off and the light was too harsh. I was still happy to have gotten this one though.

They can be pretty skittish so I captured quite a few fly away shots.

I drove on over to Holly Beach too. From the beginning of our move we have been told repeatedly not to expect Florida beaches here, actually not anything remotely close. So I wasn’t and I can see where you might would be disappointed if you were expecting pristine white sand and those crystal emerald green waters. Because the sand is brown and for about the first mile out from shore the water is brown because well, the sand at the bottom is brown. But you know what I learned? The magic of the beach is something you carry inside and it might have to do with the sound of the water and the scent.

I wasn’t disappointed at all. As a matter of fact I was delighted because the seashells here were ubiquitous and whole. And I promise you as the waves retreated the sound they made cascading over the shells was a music all its own. I picked up and brought home so many shells! I am not sure what I will do with them exactly, although I have a few ideas, but of course I did some macro pictures.

The colors and swirls are just so fascinating.

So no, not the Pensacola beaches I grew up on but I think I am going to do just fine here.

So two more things. First, my friend Tiffany shared this delicious goodness with me last week while we walked around with the kids doing the Cluedupp mystery. It is yummy! So yummy that I am really thankful it is a seasonal item 😊

Now about that recipe I mentioned. Are you familiar with a nearsighted cartoon character named Mr Magoo? He just sort of bumbles through situations none the wiser of the chaos that surrounds him. Do you see where this might be going? My beloved tells me I magoo my way through things sometimes. I, of course, have no idea of what he speaks 😉

Except for this recipe. I read it and thought I was following directions but…

It all worked out though because my version of sausage and gnocchi soup (forever after known in our house as Magoo Stew) turned out delicious and you should click the link and make it this weekend!

Have a great weekend you guys! Our church is hosting a wedding shower for Emily so our Porter people will be in town!

Friday Favorites ~ The Etsy Shop

Today’s Friday favorites comes to you via a wee bit of unapologetic self promotion.

For the longest time I would have people look at my photography and encourage me to make cards and other things with it. Then with the advent of etsy people would suggest starting my own shop so in September or October of last year I did just that.

And of course we promptly moved to a completely different state in November and I put the shop on hold because that is just the way we do things around here. But as I started the new year part of my prayer was asking God if that was an avenue I needed to keep investing my time in because honestly that is the biggest part of it. Posting the items is a minimal cost, it’s the time and work put into creating images and making something out of them that is the bigger commitment.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the process and obviously I would still be creating the images at least whether I have an etsy shop or not. I cannot seem to help taking pictures and my post a few days ago gives some insight into what motivates me that way.

And to be perfectly honest, I do love seeing people buying and using my cards and images to encourage their family and friends. It’s a bit of a thrill.

All of that is to say why today’s post is a glimpse into a few of my favorite things in my shop and I hope it will entice some of you to pop over and check out what all is available. Sure, go ahead and make a purchase too (obviously 😉 ) but also, I would love to hear ideas and suggestions of things you would like to see in the shop…maybe a particular Scripture reference in a card or thingamabob. But don’t worry, just because you suggest something doesn’t mean you are obligated to purchase it.

I hate buying commercial greeting cards because typically I might like the picture on the front but hate the words or just cannot find one that says what I want to say. Making blank cards to personalize for the person I wanted to send the card to became my answer to that problem. I offer an assortment of cards that may just have a picture on front and others include a Bible verse but the inside is always blank so you can say exactly what you want. There are a variety of sizes and styles and, I believe, something that will suit you.

A few of my favorite sets are the wisdom trio and this duet I call floral reading.

And the sunflower tea is a popular set.

In the last year I have fallen in love with the landscape of Louisiana and two of my favorite tiles in the shop are watercolor versions of pictures I took of a bayou in Monroe. I’m really looking forward to exploring our area with my camera and I am sure you will be seeing more offerings that capture the beauty of our new home state. For now Solomon’s Porch and Down By the Bayou are available and make lovely accent decor.

And I only have two sets left of the new premium flatlay Valentine’s Day cards and there is still time to ship your order before February 14th!

Go ahead and nose around and see what you like. All of the images can be made into prints of various sizes so if you see something you would like hanging on your wall let me know. As always shipping is free and I work to get your orders shipped or hand delivered as quickly as possible.

And for those of you who have bought something from me already, thank you. Your patronage is appreciated! Leave a review and spread the word 🙂

Happy Friday, y’all! Have a great weekend!

Friday Favorites ~ Birthday Edition

My birthday was Wednesday and turning 51 was a lowkey event and lovely. The kids gave me a beautiful Willow Tree figurine and it seems I am finally going to actually start collecting them and that makes me happy.

Rob got me a thingie called an expo card that helps set accurate white balance when taking pictures and I am looking forward to working with that but what I am most excited about is the set of extension tubes he gave me. They are a poor man’s answer to a macro lens and they worked so much better than I expected! A good dedicated macro lens is going to range in price anywhere from $400 to $1200 and while it would be nice to have one I just can’t see spending that kind of money on “nice”.

Enter the extension tubes. They work great for a macro hobbyist who is just doing occasional up close work. Metal rings that attach to the camera, literally extend your lens so it can function as a macro. The set came with three different sizes and what is pretty cool is that they can be stacked to achieve different focal lengths.

I took around 275 pictures yesterday morning just getting a feel for them. Any macro lens gives you an incredibly narrow depth of field which means focus can be hard to nail. Pardon me while I geek out, but it was just so much fun to play around with!

This was one of my first successful shots.

I received some beautiful birthday flowers from friends and they came in quite handy as a practice subject.

And of course I needed to see how cheerios looked through the tubes.

I braved the cold (winter has arrived in Louisiana!) long enough to do a couple of random outside shots.

I’m hoping that as I practice I will get really good at macro work. There is something special about focusing in on the very small details that we usually just glance over. Almost like God is sharing a secret with us. Not sure what the secret in cheerios is but… 🙂

Always happy to get suggestions for photo ideas so feel free to share any you have.

You can use this link to check out some really amazing macro photographers who are most likely not using extension tubes 😉

A Friday Favorite

Wasn’t yesterday simply glorious? The weather was so perfect! The only issue I had with it is that the perfect spring day really shouldn’t show itself in early January but what is there to do other than enjoy it?

The puppies had a great day and Rob worked on building them a sort of dog run/pen that will be great for them. It is amazing how quickly they are growing and running out of good space in the laundry room. (While I am somewhat sure they could safely be inside the main part of the house without accidents now they have no self control around the cats. We tried. We will not be doing that again anytime soon.) They love being outside though so the space Rob is making for them will be perfect. Plenty of sunshine but around a tree and safe from scooting under the big fence into the horse field behind us and eating things that ought not to be eaten by anyone.

I took advantage of the beautiful weather to repot some house plants I recently bought. Over the last five years or so I learned that I could actually keep plants alive but unfortunately when we made the move from Florida I didn’t have room to bring all of them with me. I brought a few of the ones I had had the longest and now I am working to add more to our home. I love having fresh flowers in the house but I also really enjoy nice green plants. They add such a touch of life to a home, don’t you think?

I rescued this little guy from the clearance section at Walmart a couple of weeks ago. I’m not sure where I am going to put him yet but I am sure I will find the right spot.

Even though I have been working with houseplants for a few years I still consider myself a novice. Because of this if I am not careful I end up honing in on one or two types of plants and only using them but I really want to broaden my green thumb. I didn’t have one of these (Please don’t ask its name…I forgot to keep the little plastic thing that came with it with that information.) I choose it because of the variegated greens on the leaves. It’s so bright and lively.

It found a nice home in our entryway which is still a work in progress. Rob is going to paint it using the same color he put in our bedroom; and we are looking for just the right table or hall tree to be a focal point. Then a rug and stuff on the walls but we really don’t want to rush just to have something there so patience is called for. But until then I wanted something to make it look less empty and undone.

The last plant to be potted is one that I already have that does well. He adds just the right color and look to our fireplace ledge. Most of the time I stick with white pots but this little guy came with the additional turquoise~esque one and it ties in nicely with the couch pillows so I decided to use it.

I’m thinking there might still be a few things to tweak yet here but I like how things are right now so I am content to make changes only when the right thing shows itself. I’m learning the value in waiting even as I balance my nesting and the desire to have everything settled and done.

I think one of the reasons I love house plants so much is the simplicity but gentle vitality they add to a room. Someone once said that having a beautiful plant is like having a friend around the house. I like that thought, don’t you?