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!

A Child No More

So our last child has officially  entered her teen years. It was so odd to realize that the chapter of “childhood” has come to a close for us. We are a houseful of adults and teenagers now with all that accompanies such a season.

On Claire’s actual birthday I shared a post about growing up and I stand by each word but man, looking through the lens and seeing the last visage of girlhood round on her cheeks knowing that over the next few months and years it will completely fade as she becomes a young woman squeezed my heart a bit.

Certain angles and expressions reveal the face of the woman she is on her way to becoming.

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Like most girls her age she gets a bit self conscious in front of the camera but I still managed to catch a couple of smiles.

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I told Rob how funny it was to see glimpses of her sisters in her but also a certain expression of mine that is so familiar on her face. It’s something to do with the lift of her eyebrow.

IMG_0207 (1) There is something so beautiful about this moment in the life of a girl I think. All of the innocence of childhood still present at the same time womanhood is beginning to bloom and hints of it peek through.

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It’s an interesting intersection of past and present and future.  The next image is one of my favorites from our day out and let me tell you it was quite a little adventure to get to this spot. We had gotten off the boardwalk because I could see another photographer doing a family session and wanted to stay out of their way but the spot I wanted to get too was a little further down.

To get to my spot we had to hoist ourselves back onto the boardwalk without the aid of stairs…me with my camera and $900 rented lens and Claire in her gown holding onto all four rocks she had picked up on our walk by the railroad tracks and beach. We managed it but I am really glad no one was around to see our little circus sideshow.

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Claire has been a collector of rocks since she was a little bitty girl. Her tastes are finally becoming more discriminant thankfully but she still wants all the rocks so limits have to be in place. I had to laugh as we headed to the parking lot to see her juggling her treasures.

It was a relief to this mama’s heart to still see the little girl fascinated with bits and pieces of earth even as I had been seeing so clearly all the changes that show she is growing up.

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This woman child living in my home is so full of energy and life! It’s work to restrain it and direct it to an appropriate direction sometimes but I wait full of expectation and anticipation to see where God takes this bright soul to reveal Himself through her.

“I have one desire now ~ to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy and strength into it.” ~Elisabeth Elliot

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Think On These Things

My son, be attentive to my words;
incline your ear to my sayings.

Let them not escape from your sight;
keep them within your heart.

For they are life to those who find them,
and healing to all their flesh.

Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.

Put away from you crooked speech,
and put devious talk far from you.

Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.

Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.

Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil. 

~Proverbs 4:20–27

 

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Throwback Thursday

I got my first real camera almost twenty years ago in 2001 and as best I can tell around 2007 friends started letting me take their pictures. It’s almost embarrassing to look back and see what I am sure, in that moment, I was so proud of. Almost but not really, because it’s really fun to see how I have grown in my skill but what I really love is looking back and seeing the people, my people, that we have walked a lot of life’s road with together. We’ve rejoiced, we’ve grieved, and done all of the mundane in between living alongside one another. Now, that is a blessing.

Not sure yet how my friends will enjoy seeing themselves immortalized through the years but…

This is not only one of my earliest efforts but it is also one of my first secretive sessions. I think I suggested we do it as a Mother’s Day surprise for my friend. The three girls are all grown with multiple children of their own and Jerry graduated from college this year. We should definitely recreate this is everyone if everybody is all home in Florida again!

 

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More sweet friends from that same general time frame. This was right before they moved to Texas. They’re the kind of friends that stay with you when they come to town and it’s like you’ve never been a part.

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Gaaaahhhh, this just makes me smile to consider how much their family has grown since we took family pictures for the first time. They’ve added two daughters-in-law, one son-in-law, and eight grandchildren!

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I didn’t take this picture, obviously, but my dear friend Lori did. We look a bit of a mess but man, I love seeing my babies back when they were little people. Life was simpler then it seems, at least  in retrospect, but I am sure that, Lord willing, if I look back at pictures from today in twenty years I will probably feel the same.

Geez, there’s a crazy thought for you! It will be the year 2039. I cannot imagine that far ahead.

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Seriously

Do you ever feel like no one is really listening to you?

Maybe it’s your kids.

Or just people in general, like you’re talking but nobody is hearing what you’re saying?

I think it is a normal thing to feel this way sometimes in our lives but the other day it went next level on me.

I said, “Hey Siri, call Emmy Grace.”

I kid you not, she literally said, “Hang on a sec.”

Seriously.

My phone was not even listening to me.

Completely unrelated to that story but keeping up with the Throwback Thursday posts…this definitely goes way back. I cannot even remember when I took this of my son and the son of a friend, both named Sam. I just know that I thought I was hilarious for tagging the photo I and II Samuel. Still kind of makes me giggle.

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Monday Musings

When were kids my oldest sister was the crafty creative one then as we all became adults I became the one who takes pictures and blogs, plans parties and decorates, etc. (She still gets really great ideas and can find all the parts and pieces to make things happen. It’s her gift, really.)

But recently our little sister has had the opportunity to do some writing for a women’s ministry that she is involved in and one post she shared stayed in my head and kept me thinking so I am going to piggyback on what she was talking about for a few minutes.

In her devotion she was addressing this idea in our culture of female empowerment, the constant bombardment of equality for women that disregards the true power we have in favor of the pseudo power the world would have us believe is more and better. She reminded her readers that we were designed with a purpose, formed by a rib being taken from man’s side to be his helper. She went on to explain the duties and functions of our actual ribs:

Anatomically speaking, ribs are connected to the spine. This gives strength and power to them. They are an essential connection to the very core that holds a person up. They are there to uplift. They come around and protect the heart and lungs, blood and oxygen.

We can’t survive without them. The ribs guard those inmost, core parts and protect them from harm. In this way, we are to guard our loved ones, protect them, and ensure that they have what they need to live. Ribs are small but strong bones, they may bruise but they are not easy to break. 

Toni Marie made a beautiful connection from the physical description to the spiritual. We uplift. We protect.

But did you know that ribs can pop out of place? Two weeks ago I started noticing a discomfort in my back when I moved a certain way or tried to breath too deeply. It was hard to put my finder on and explain what the exact problem was but it just felt off, not right. Turns out one of my ribs had moved out of place. Thankfully I already had an appointment scheduled with the chiropractor who found the problem, popped it back into place, and straightened me out.

Reading my sister’s words on the heels of that experience showed me how easy it is for us as women to become disjointed. We let ungratefulness, a bad attitude, bitterness, selfishness, or unforgiveness push us out of place and instead of uplifting or protecting those around us we become that dull discomfort that they try to live with and around or that sharp pain that becomes a hindrance that keeps them from doing and being what they were made to do and be.

Thankfully, the fix is just as quick as the chiropractor popping my actual rib back into place. When we confess the sinfulness that has us out of place with the body, be it in our marriage or relationships with our children, or at church, wherever it is,  the Great Physician promises to forgive us, to heal and restore us. He puts us back into our place and we are able to do that which we were made for.

That, in and of itself, is reason to rejoice.

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