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!

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!

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.

DPP ~ Finishing Up

Technically the December Photo Project only goes through the 25th but most years I finish out the month. I haven’t decided yet if I will do that this year or not but I am happy that even though I posted in clumps some days I did not miss a day this year. After trying to do a 365 last year and failing miserably at it I think I may take this win and go home so to speak.

I didn’t intend to wrap things up by posting the last four days at once but I did, however, mean to wait for the 22nd and 23rd together. I made a sourdough starter for the first time this week and made bread. If you have followed the blog at all then you might remember the original starter getting knocked out of the refrigerator all.over.the.floor. a few years ago I was given a second starter but it did not make the move with us from Florida to Louisiana so I went to Pinterest and found a recipe for a starter that uses instant mashed potato flakes and here I am just like a real bread baker using my own starter!

Day 22nd ~

Day 23rd ~ All joking aside I am so happy to be able to make this bread again! I was curious if I would get a more sour flavor out of a fresh starter but it’s still the same mild but delicious bread.

Day 24th ~

We enjoyed our Christmas Eve service and then joined some friends for dinner. The theme of the meal was soups and sandwiches and boy, the men cooked up some delicious soups! I made a pot of our family favorite, roasted tomato. I did use one loaf of the bread for a bread pudding. It turned out okay even the bread itself was almost too fresh. I will plan and have better timing next batch.

Day 25th ~

This Christmas has been different for us. I told Rob it is the first time in my 50 years that I have not been with my parents and at least one of my sisters for the holiday. And, Sarah works so she and Deveon won’t be coming over until the 28th. Despite that bit of sadness it has been a really lovely day so far. The other four kids are happy with their gifts and with the other eleven days ahead we are anticipating much more celebrating. Hays is going to be coming back here while Sarah and Devon are in town so a couple of days will find us in the new territory of having the girls significant others with us for the holidays and that’s kind of exciting. I’ve texted with Florida friends this morning and while they are missed as well, everyone seems to be having a merry Christmas.

The Porter clan is actually in route to us as I type this and we are looking forward to feasting and celebrating with them this evening and worshipping together tomorrow.

So a different Christmas than what we are used to but we are so blessed by all God has done in bringing us here.

Merry Christmas!

Rejoice, friends, Christ is born!

This Girl

She is something else, this youngest child of mine.

Full of curiosity and questions.

She lives full throttle and sometimes it’s a race to keep up.  In a few months she will be eleven and I am just beside myself at the thought.

She has my heart though.

She’s a writer, an artist, a warrior, and a pest. I’m not sure where life will take her or what His plan is for her and I really hope I can keep up. Because I think it’s going to be something to see.

Wherever You Are Be All There

She turns twenty-two today.

I’ve got a million things I could say about her.  I could share funny stories or brag about how she lives her life with steadfastness and grace. I could talk about her accomplishments and servants heart. But I think one of her favorite quotes by Jim Elliot sums her up pretty well.

Wherever you are be all there.

You don’t live twenty-two years, however few that may be, without experiencing some kind of disappointment and heart ache. But she has chosen to find her place, to dwell wherever He has lead her…to be all there. Not looking back wishing for what might have been or starring off into wispy day dreams. And if she reaches a closed door then she moves a little slower until the path becomes more clear and then she goes forward with all that is in her, holding nothing back out of fear or uncertainty.

We decided sort of last minute to do birthday pictures yesterday afternoon. Of all things she wanted to go to Graffiti Bridge and leave a mark on it, her mark, if only for a short time. That quote seemed the perfect declaration as she heads into a new year full of more responsibilities and challenges as she starts the nursing program.

graffiti_bridge_pensacola_Florida

After we got started we realized choosing white as a back ground color was probably a mistake. (We’ve tucked that away for future reference.) We were still pretty happy with how it turned out and we gave an extra can of spray paint to a family visiting from Wisconsin so her birthday shenanigans became part of someone’s vacation story.

We enjoyed taking some more casual pictures wandering around Aragon Court.

Pensacola_photography_Aragon_Court_downtown

We chased the sun a little.

We might have gotten a little silly too.

But the real fun came when we got out the balloons.

All of a sudden the breeze that everyone in Pensacola had been longing for all this hot humid day decided to show up.

There was nothing to do but roll with it.

The only thing left was to throw a little glitter and dance.

Happy birthday, sweet Sarah. You are a blessing and a joy.

The will of God is always bigger than we bargain for,
but we must believe that whatever it involves,
it is good, acceptable and perfect.
~ Jim Elliot

A Sam Funny

Sam is a planner. He likes to get a plan in place and then not deviate from it at all. (Routine is a big deal to people on the spectrum.) We keep that in mind but we also push him a little on that front because he doesn’t live in a bubble. He lives in a community with other people whose thoughts and preferences have to be considered as well. Last night was one such instance.

I had an engagement shoot and all the kids were home. Sam and I had talked earlier in the day about watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, his latest obsessions favorite past time. I had told him it would be fine but what I didn’t realize was that a movie marathon of some sort was starting at the same time and the girls wanted to watch it.

During a phone conversation I reminded him that we were working on being considerate of other people and no that just because he let his sisters watch something instead of the game shows did not make him a lifetime loser. (Please note that whenever he mention the phrase lifetime loser he does indeed hold his fingers into the shape of an “L” on his forehead.) I tried to talk him through understanding that his shows could be watched another time and they came on every day but the movies didn’t. He was pretty convinced I had been brainwashed by his sisters.

“But, Mooooom! We were agreed on this. You are spoiling them!”

Without missing a beat,

“Wait, is this some kind of feminist march?”

I think he is feeling slightly out numbered with his father out of town.

Poor kid.

The Proverbs 31 Woman

An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.

She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.

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She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.


She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.


She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.


Proverbs_31_Biblical_womanhood_godly_femininity


She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.


She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.

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She puts her hand to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.



She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.

She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.

She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.


Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.

She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to merchant.

Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.



She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household 
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently, 
but you surpass them all.” 

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.

DPP ~ Day 4

Despite the dreary weather it was a lovely day of worship and feasting with friends. After a busy busy week we sat down as a family for dinner and now on to a movie. Napoleon Dynamite. Only three of us have seen it and the others are eagerly looking forward to it. My beloved seems to be of the opinion that it will become a Hadding family classic. I am somewhat skeptical but we’ll see.

A holiday family favorite is the Grinch with Jim Carrey. Sam and Sarah were looking at some kind of memes after dinner that came from the beloved movie. As you can see whatever they were it was amusing to them both.