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!

Monday Musings

Monday: Second day of the week
Musings: meditation; thoughtfully abstracted

Forgiveness is more than just dismissing someone from your life in much the same way as submission is more than just letting the other person have their way.

Mature community is considering and pursuing the good of the whole body.

“Nothing wrong with it” is not the same as declaring something good.

Love is our motivation and the means by which we are to do things.

Having grown children come home for a visit is the absolute best.

Doing a hard thing is well, hard. It is not an excuse to not do what needs doing though.

Learning something new, especially when it is replacing an old way of doing something, takes time and I can get impatient. Lightroom, I am looking at you 👀

Industrious: constantly, regularly, or habitually active or occupied
Seems like a good thing to aspire to be, yes? But someone can be constantly, regularly, and habitually active or occupied with things that are not necessarily profitable or godly. I like including an obsolete definition that also defines it as being skillful and ingenious but of course the same problem rears its head. I can be a skillful and ingenious cat burglar but that is not a good thing at all, is it?
The what of our industry is just as important as the actual being of it.

I think I am going to dwell on that last musing a lot this week.

In other news…

Hays helped walk me through using the drone I got for Christmas again while he was here this weekend and yesterday Rob and I got it out and played with it.
I may or may not have shared this publicly but the first time I tried to use it by myself back in January I crashed into the house and we had to send it back to the company to get fixed 😬 Thank goodness for good insurance and understanding husbands!
I’m going to keep taking my time and learning to use it when I have Rob with me as backup. I have a terrible sense of direction and get nervous with the controller (You are only supposed to use your thumbs, for heaven’s sake!) so he keeps me calm and able to focus.

My first two real drone shots ~

An aerial shot of our home.

I really love this shot. It does make me laugh though because I thought I had flown the drone straight across the street from our house but it seems I actually took a hard right and went down the street a ways 😂 I told you I have a terrible sense of direction! Someone has a lovely pond in their backyard, don’t they?

Happy Monday, 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!

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 😊

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!

Ponderings

I’ve been reading some really good thought provoking books, having some really good discussions, and Rob has been preaching a really good sermon series on our churches liturgy. All of which combine with other random thoughts in my head.

In no particular order…

A dear friend of mine is working on a talk she will give this summer at the ACCS (Association of Classical Christian Schools) conference. Her topic is titled From Wonder to Wisdom and I am utterly smitten with the concept. For as long as I can remember I have loved Proverbs 8, in particular verses 22-31 “then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man
Lady Wisdom herself wonders and delights in created world so who are we to not do the same? It doesn’t seem much of a stretch to view wisdom and wonder as two golden strands that are intertwined swirling one into the other over and over again. Much of today’s science (worldly wonder) seems to be severed from wisdom leaving it futile and surely lacking in wisdom. Thinking about this makes me wonder how it might connect to the teachings of Jesus telling us that we must come to Him as a little child? I think there might be a connection, don’t you?

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Speaking of wonder, I was walking the pups last night and sneezed. Oh my goodness, it was hilarious! They both froze for a second and then came up to me as if to make sure I was okay. They have been so fun to have around. They react adorably to singing too.
They keep a close eye on the horses behind us. Lucy is pregnant and due anytime now and we all are eagerly awaiting the arrival of her foal. I’m more than half way hoping she has it during the day and I can photograph it.
I feel like the foggy mornings make for a rather fairytale look, don’t you?

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We’ve been slowly introducing the pups into the house for short periods of time. We try to make sure the cats are tucked away but every now and then there is a stare down and as long as one of us is there to keep a hand on the dogs so they stay calm it goes okay.
Do you ever watch a cat and wish you could stretch they way they do? Or sleep? They can sleep anywhere it seems!

Other stray thoughts.

Angry people don’t always look angry.

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I want to be known as a hospitable person. Not just when feeding people, although I do delight in that. But the word hospitable means more than being generous with food. It also means “promising or suggesting generous and cordial welcome; offering a pleasant or sustaining environment.” I want to be a hospitable wife and mother and friend. Meaning I want my people to find in me a welcoming place for their hopes and dreams and stories of their day. I want them to know I am delighting with them in those thoughts and dreams and stories of how their day went.

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Nothing feels as nice as freshly laundered sheets when you get into bed at night.

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Last random thought of today. The first picture in this post I took the other morning because I was up early enough to see the sun shooting through the trees in all its glory. This last image I took of the sunset the other night while at a Super Bowl party at some friend’s house.

I highly encourage you to make the time to watch the occasional sunrise and sunset. Wake up early just to see the start of a new day. Stop what you are doing just to see the end of a day. I promise it’s good for your soul.

More Macro on a Monday

How was your weekend? Mine actually had a head start with a visit from our Sarah with the added surprise of her bringing my mother to see me! It was a super quick visit with them coming in late Wednesday evening and leaving early Friday morning but it was still good for my soul to have both my girl and my mama here. After they left I had some time to drive around some of our backroads taking pictures. There is so much beauty in the landscape of Louisiana and I hope to share them later in the week so that family and friends in Florida can see more of where we live now.

A lovely dinner with a sweet young family from our church that evening, and a beautiful Saturday morning walking around some of downtown Lake Charles while Claire and her friends solved the CluedUpp murder mystery. This is the second time they’ve done the geo mystery game and it is always a lot of fun. The company does them all over the country and we actually gave two of them to people for Christmas, one that takes place in Pensacola and one in Monroe.

We are so grateful for the sweet friends Claire has found here!

This was followed by Claire’s first formal dance with the homeschool coop we belong to. She takes weekly dance lessons in Lake Charles so it’s fun to actually get to go somewhere and do the foxtrot and Virginia Reel.

Then Rob and I actually went on a date, something we realise we haven’t done since sometime like September? We went to a restaurant called Calla and oh boy! was the food delicious. We started the meal with blue crab beignets and the meal just went up from there…the brussel sprouts were divine!

Everything wrapped up with a wonderful Sabbath full of spiritual food (I found Rob’s sermon to be particularly beautiful) and good rest.

There was a beautiful mix of fog and pink skies this morning when I took the puppies out. A quick phone picture is all I captured but I think I may need to keep my camera handy tomorrow for a real picture.

There is so much to be thankful for and I’m looking forward to whatever this week holds. Everything is not always rainbows and butterflies I know. Last week was mixed with deep sorrow over the loss of a faithful minister and friend of Rob’s who passed away suddenly. There were text conversations with friends that I miss seeing regularly. But God shows Himself so faithful even in the midst of those things and then the extra portion of grace given in such sweet good things can only cause me to either weep with joy or sing His praise.

It seems like a good place to begin a Monday, don’t you think?

I almost forgot the macro picture! I’m not calling it macro Monday every week but right now it is a fun departure from regular photography and I hope you enjoy seeing things up close and personal. I actually find taking macro pictures to be very relaxing and if I feel stressed or a bit chaotic it helps to take a moment to lean in and narrow my focus for a bit.

I think this last one was my favorite from the roses.

What’s Happening Now

Ah, the first Monday of the new year. Always ripe with possibility and promise.

I love the wide open potential that buzzes in the air this time of year but I also like what happens when I look back at the past year. I am particularly amazed and humbled by all that God has done in the last twelve months. If you had told me this time last year that our family would be moving to Louisiana I probably would have snorted with disbelief.

But God has a way of surprising us, doesn’t He? I had no idea the challenges and struggles we would face, nor the beautiful ways He would show Himself faithful and kind beyond measure.

So much change. So much shifting and shaping, conforming us to the image of His Son. I look back at what He has done and look forward at what He will do and I just marvel.

One thing I came to realize over the weekend is that while we are happy and settling in here in our new home I have been waiting for things to click into place and feel normal. But a major move around the holidays, and getting not one but two puppies, doesn’t really lend itself to feeling normal so there has still been this sense of fluctuating to our days. Our place here feels comfortable so I wouldn’t say I’ve been floundering through my days. More like a joyous doggie paddle though and I am ready to feel the routine of structure.

As I was contemplating this the other day I thought of something important. In the past, any changes that came our way, even significant ones, upset the routine to varying degrees but there were key components that the upset happened within. The framework of our established life if you will, our church and community and school, all acted as a sort of buffer that the change bounced around in until it settled in its place.

I have been assuming things would just settle but the framework is completely different and to a certain extent needs to be rebuilt as we develop and grow relationships here. Although Abby and Claire are both finding their place in some ways I feel like we are in a temporary mode…with the wedding in a few months there is an unsettled feeling with regards to Emily. She has felt almost homeless I think driving back and forth from here and Monroe. And Sam is doing great but we are looking forward to finding him work and purpose outside of the house now that the holidays are over.

Even though we are putting roots down I know there are still changes to come and honesty I am excited about them even if they are as yet unknown. How could I not be with such a testimony of God’s goodness and mercy in the last year standing at my back?

Like tons of other people across the globe I am taking advantage of the new year to make some conscientious changes to my health and well being. Knowing I will need to be on the wrong side of the camera that I am less comfortable with in three short months for wedding pictures has a way of motivating me 🙂 Changes to my diet and a family membership to our local parks and rec center are definitely helping with that.

I was recently asked about what my plans are for my photography here and honestly I have no idea. I’m basically just going with the flow and seeing what develops. (See what I did there? That is high photographer humor right there is what that is.) My love did get me a mini drone for Christmas and I am super excited about using it! There is a bit of a learning curve since I am not naturally inclined toward technology and I am well, to put it kindly, directionally challenged.

You might also have noticed some changes here on the blog and hopefully there will be more to come. One plan that I do have is to spend more time here and so I think an overhaul will happen. I think my photography site will probably just migrate over here too but I haven’t decided about the recipe blog even though I don’t post there often. It would make sense to have them all back in one place and truthfully the reason I have a hard time giving up the food blog as a separate thing is simply because of the name I came up with. Which really is a silly reason if I am not actually going to be blogging recipes regularly. If I can get this one set up the way I like then more than likely it will all come under this site though.

In summary, I am looking forward to all that God has in store in the year ahead. I know there will be hard things as well as good things, severe mercies mixed with gentle ones, but if I learned nothing else in the last few years I have learned to lean into what He is doing with all my might.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.

Proverbs 3: 5-8