Monday, April 30, 2012

Loss & Southern Hospitality


I wanted to share a thought
 about loss that has been on my mind as of
Saturday of this weekend.

On Saturday night, my family and I were inside
a little bit before dinner and we heard car doors slamming
over and over again, and voices outside.
I looked out the front window and saw flashing red
lights everywhere... then we all went outside by
the front walk and saw that there were
about three or four fire and EMS trucks, as well as some police
cars, parked in front of our neighbors home...
about five minutes or so later they all drove away.
Our neighbor, Esther, and her grown
children got in their car quickly and followed.

I figured that night that something
had happened to her husband, because when their
family left to follow the EMS, I never saw
him come out of the house... my heart sort of sank when
I realized that.  We just found out that, unfortunately,
something did happen to him- he had a heart-attack that
night and wasn't able to be revived.

My family and I have been thinking about that
all weekend since Saturday night and it was just so sad
to hear that he did passed away afterall.

~

We will be baking or cooking something
for our neighbor and bringing it over to her.  Southern hospitality
is one of the wonderful things that was ingrained in me
throughout my life and it will stay with me forever...
I believe it is so important to show someone who has lost someone
they loved that you care, to comfort them somehow.
I have gone through loss in my family several times and I know it
was much appreciated in those times when others did the same.
When your heart is breaking, there is something so comforting and
reassuring about having your neighbor or friend bring over
a plate of something, or a casserole or dessert that
you can drown at least some of your sorrows in.

It's funny how you can barely know
someone and still be saddened by the fact that they
are gone.  Our neighbors have been so kind and friendly since we have
moved to this house, and even though I've only waved to them a few
times from across the road on the way to church or when we
were outside, knowing he is gone leaves sorrow in my heart.
And although I didn't get to talk to or see him often,
 my Dad did and said he was a good man.

 ~

My heart and sympahty go out to our neighbor and I
hope and pray that she is consoled and comforted-
 I cannot even imagine what it would be like
to lose the one person who is your world, who you have spent every
day with, woken up next to everyday for so many years.

This happening has just made me
think so much more about life and loss, and how fragile
and precious our lives are... how much we should
value and appreciate our days, not to mention
eachother.
~
If you know someone who has lost a loved one in death,
I hope you will bring them something lovely to show
you care... a bouquet of flowers,
a cake, a meal.
& If you have lost someone dear to you,
I send comfort and prayers your way.

Have a Blessed Day...
& don't forget to appreciate
every moment of it, because
every single one is
a blessing!



Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Having done a few Simple Woman's Daybooks now, I have found I love doing them on Sundays especially.  They just feel even more laid back and lovely...
So here is my daybook
FOR TODAY...

Outside my window...
there is a light breeze through the trees, butterflies are landing on our porch and fluttering around in circles.

I am thinking...
about how wonderful it is to be outside.

I am thankful...
for the small things, like being alive, being able to see all the color in flowers and everything around me, and being able to smell wonderful things- candles, blossoms, fruit.

In the kitchen...
My sewing machine is waiting at the edge of the dinner table where I have it set up right now.

I am wearing...
my hair in a bun, socks, cozy Sunday clothes that I put on this morning before we went walking.

I am wondering...
what the weather is supposed to be like tomorrow...I can't decide whether I'd enjoy a cloudy, Spring rain shower or a sunny day. Lately I've been liking both.

I am reading...
A Home & Garden magazine I picked up this weekend with lots of great ideas.

I am hoping...
to do something inspiring today :)

I am looking forward to...
seeing the flowers I planted grow, and for next weekend to be here because by then a lot of things I am stressing about will be over and done with!

I am learning...
that faith goes a long way, it really does.

Around the house...
we are doing a little bit of Spring cleaning and tidying up.

I am pondering...
over some places to travel for a family vacation at the start of the summer.

I am praying...
for a restful peacefulness, for my neighbor, my family.

A favorite quote for today...
"People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be" -Abraham Lincoln

A few plans for the rest of the week...
sew a new summer blouse, do some studying, get through my doctor's appointment.

A peek into my day...

These are growing along the side of our house, and on the way home from walking this morning I picked one :)  Oh, Sunflowers are so beautiful and cheery!


Thankyou for reading.
Have a beautiful, blessed day!!





Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saturday Gardening

Today has been
a lovely Saturday in a lot of ways...
I started the day with a morning walk through
the trees in a heavenly breeze and
spent a relaxing day with my family and my dog...
but one of the most enjoyable, fun things I did was gardening
-a favorite pastime of Southern ladies!

I am not an experienced gardener by any means,
and I really haven't done it as much as I would have liked,
so getting to do it today (with the things I planted) was sort of a
new experience- and I loved how  relaxing it was.

The weather was lovely and it was a perfect
day for gardening- beautiful, blue, bright skies.

The main thing I planted was a packet of seeds I bought a couple
of weeks ago that I have been meaning to plant for
awhile.  I actually bought two- some Sunflowers and a flower I had
never heard of before called a Bachelor Button, which, from the front of the
packet, looks really nice. I planted the Bachelor Button
 in a small pot and I plan to transplant it into a
 larger pot later on, but I'm waiting on the Sunflowers... they grow so
tall so I'm going to have to plant them out by our fence.  I love how huge
and beautiful Sunflowers get!

  These seed packets also came with especially detailed
info and instructions on planting, growing, zones
and bloom seasons which is really helpful :)
~
Something fun and different I got to work on was
setting up our Topsy Turvy.  You may have heard of it.
We bought it this past fall or so, but just got around to putting
 it together. We just bought a tomato plant so it was a great
time to set it up :)
It is a simple and fun way to grow tomatoes, and I'm sure- since you get
to buy your own plant to put in it- you could grow many
different things with it... you just place the plant upside down in the hole
at the bottom of the tube, place a stopper to keep it in place, place dirt around
the roots sticking up and hang it up.

This is what it ends up looking like... although I believe
it's meant to hang on your porch, we hung it up
on our fence just the same.
I'm really excited for our juicy, wonderful tomatoes
soon to come!  They're Cherry Tomatoes too, so delicious.

~

I had fun today &
 I hope I have more time to experience gardening this summer...
or actually before summer so I can at least have the
breeze, as it definitely makes it nicer.
I love the gift of gardening and how it feels to be growing
something beautiful, knowing that you're also adding a little beauty
to God's Earth, even in a small way.

Hoping you're weekend is Blessed
(and your gardens too!)

:)



Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Beautiful Outdoors!

With the stresses of life,
sometimes I just want nothing more than to
look around me or at photographs I can
find of the beauty of the outdoors...
because to me there is nothing more calming than
gardens, beautiful views, trees, and the
outdoors.

I recently found a
 Southern blog: A "Southern Daydreamer" that posts
a series of photos of nature and the outdoors once a
week, and I have been enjoying looking
at the beauty in them and thought I would share...
they make me wish I could jump
into photographs and enjoy the beauty in real life.







all photos courtesy Susan @ 'A Southern Daydreamer'

I think these photos
are so calming and wonderful and probably some
of the most beautiful, colorful
floral and nature photos I have come across
in a long time.
They are just a simple way I relieve
some stress when I can't
make it to the park or go for a walk :)

Have a Blessed, stress-free
day as lovely as these
photos!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Something That Spoke to My Heart!

There are things that I have been
blessed to come across in life so far that have truly
inspired me or just spoken to my heart like
nothing else...
Some of these things are books I have read, things I
have seen in everyday life,
 or movies and films I have watched.
I thought I would share one that that has been on my
mind a lot lately- a film that truly spoke to my
heart!

It is...
Fried Green Tomatoes!
photos courtesy Google Images
Now, I remember seeing some of this movie when
I was much younger, but I didn't remember
nearly anything, so when I watched it a week or so ago
I was absorbing it for the first time...
I have so much to say about this film, but I will try to condense
my thoughts and admiration for it...

The plot: An older lady in a rest home
tells a woman who frequently comes to visit her
(Kathy Bates) stories about her hometown and
the people she knew there long ago... the tales
of the adventures and things that lifelong friends Ruth
 & Idgie go through together.  The flashbacks and story
follow them from being young girls to women,
their life experiences, tragedies, opening their cafe together,
and making it through trials together.

First of all, the main reason- which may go without saying- that I
fell in love with this movie after seeing it
is because it is set and deeply rooted in the South.
That alone made me feel connected to the story and
spoke to me.
I loved the Southern setting and the small
town it takes place in- so classically Southern, tight-knit
and lovely.  It also takes place
during a classic time in the South- the 30's.
The cafe by the tracks that the
women in the story open, The Whistle Stop Cafe, is lovely
and brings the town together and that, to me,
makes the setting more full of heart.

Secondly, I loved the characters.  Idgie, who's life is
followed throughout the story, is a tough young gal who
has strong beliefs in the things she values and
will do anything- as she shows in the movie- to
save or help her friends and family.
Ruth is more
meek, ladylike, and conservative.  She is strong, though,
and despite all of the struggles she faces
she remains so with her heart and soul dedicated to
her son.  The story
would not be as lovely and heartwarming
without her.
The aspect of the movie that most truly
got to my heart was the friendship between Idgie
and Ruth. They become so close
over their lives that they would kill and die for eachother.
Idgie has a kind of protectiveness over Ruth,
and that is sweet, so loyal, and in itself makes their friendship
and relationship endearing.
A friendship like Idgie & Ruth's, between girls who love eachother
so dearly, is a gift... a once-in-a-lifetime cherishable gift that
anyone would be so incredibly blessed to have
had in life.

This film is so beautiful and just got across the message
of what is truly important in life, the precious things.
It is special that so many themes and beautiful
things were included that make it
the incredible story it is: love, laughter, pain, joys, friendship,
 sacrifice, values, death, memories, strength.
I cannot describe how much I loved the story as well...
I don't want to give anything away, but if you have
seen it you know it definitely
has a twist in there ;)

Overall, though, what spoke to my heart
and made me love "Fried Green Tomatoes" is how it
represents the seemingly 'Steel Magnolias' of
the South, who deal with trials and sickness and hardships
in life, yet they keep on going... because they
know that life is beautiful and worth everything and that
in time they will get through it. They have to.

As a side note, something simple that I noticed
and loved after seeing this movie
was that there was no sexual content.
I appreciate being able to watch a movie without
having to see that, unlike most films where the writers felt
that the movie would not be good enough without
immoral things...
So, it is truly a classic in that way too.

This is definitely one of my favorite films,
and I believe it may actually be my favorite film
...it made me feel so much.
"Fried Green Tomatoes" is a favorite of
my Grandmother's, a Southern lady herself, and she has
told me many times how moving it was... I only
wish I hadn't waited so long to watch
it because she was more than right.
I also hope
to read the book someday
if it's anywhere as wonderful as the
film.

The day after I first watched it, I actually
loved it so much that I watched it again... and a few days
after that I found out that the
setting for the movie and the actual 'Whistle Stop Cafe'
are real places. I thought that was so neat!
So, it is on my bucket list now to
go eat at the real 'Whistle Stop Cafe' by the tracks
 one day where it is in Juliette, GA.

. . .

Those are my thoughts on an absolutely
beautiful Southern movie that spoke
to my heart in more ways than I could tell you...
it is a must see if you love endearing films,
and especially if you have Southern roots!

~What is a movie that speaks to
your heart??


Wishing you the most
Blessed day!

:)


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Daybook


FOR TODAY. . .

Outside my window... birds are singing their morning song, the sky is bright and cloudless, and there is a light breeze making the wind chimes chime.

I am thinking... about how busy this weekend has been from having company over.

In the kitchen... there is a big pitcher of raspberry tea waiting for me.

I am wearing... a shirt that says Colorado on it from my trip a couple of years ago and light lounge pants.

I am creating... dreams and ideas for a garden & the home I hope we are able to move into later this year :)

I am going... to do some cleaning and freshening up around the house today.

I am wondering... when I will have time to plant the new seeds I just bought.

I am reading... some new Southern lifestyle magazines I bought this weekend.

I am hoping... for a long, slow, easygoing Sunday today.

I am looking forward to... having a nice lunch in a little while.

I am learning... that I have fallen in love with sewing more and more since I started.

I am pondering... what dessert I'd like to make for my family soon.

One of my favorite things... Sundays: opening the windows to let the sun shine in, reading the paper, watching baseball in the afternoon.

I am thankful... for this day of life.

I am praying... for the health and well-being of family and friends, for a nice week, to be less stressed.

A favorite quote for the day... "Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil- it has no point."

A peek into my day... 
The edge of our backyard and porch area,
where I hope to sit out and enjoy
the day later on.

That is my Simple Woman's Daybook on this lovely Sunday!

~Have a beautiful, blessed day~


Friday, April 20, 2012

Photos from my Day: Spring rain, Baby Shower gifts

I took this photo today and fell in love
with the beautiful, vibrant color of this flower
growing in our backyard.
It seemed especially bright because of the sun shining
on it, which is what the skies were like
 around 4 in the afternoon today...sunny and bright.

Just a few hours earlier, before I got home, this
is what the weather was like... that's Southern weather for
you.  It could be blaring sun and five minutes later
it could rain, hahaha.

It was a nice day, though, because we were blessed
with a Spring shower for all the wildlife and
flowers... but it was also sunny and breezy and beautiful
later on. The best of both worlds :)

 . . .Today was a fun and busy
Friday overall and I really enjoyed it. 
Some more photos from
the day. . .

A lot of today was spent
shopping for something sweet for a baby
shower tomorrow.  I love shopping
for baby clothes.

We also made a trip to the craft store
after being inspired to make our own baby clothes
for gifts!  I picked out a pale 
lavender fabric I thought was sweet, and a white
lace trim.

While we were there, I came across
this on the way to the sewing
section and stopped dead in my tracks...
it's Lambchop! I am so amazed
they had these.
Does anyone remember Lambchop?? I used to watch the
show all the time when I was little and it
made my day... it was so sweet and
Lambchop is so sweet.
It probably sounds funny, but I had to have her & she
came home with me :)

...and this is the dress I made as a baby shower
 gift from the materials I bought earlier.
I was so excited about it,
when we got home earlier today I got right to
cutting out my fabric
and got started and I just finished
about an hour ago.
I think it will look very sweet on the little
baby girl :)

Those were a few photos of my wonderful day. 
I am so thankful for fun, simple, lovely days
like today!

Now that
it's getting time to go to bed, I don't want it to be over...

Thankyou for reading & hope you
 have a Blessed evening!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Front Porch: A Southern Pastime

One of my favorite things
that is closest to my heart about the South
is. . . the Front Porch!
It is an inherent part of our lives
 here and something that is cherished,
where families spend hours talking and
being together, where things are
peaceful, where memories are made.
They come to represent a nostalgic part
of your life and childhood growing
up here.

I've mentioned front porches and
what I love about them in
other posts I have written, but I thought I would
just do a full post about them...

~There are so many styles of front porches, but my
absolute favorite is the classic, traditional
Southern front porch.

These porches are so simple and classic, the kind
where you sit in your rocking-chair and stare
out at the land in front of you if you live in the country,
and relax and dream.
Also a traditional style front porch, this is more
something like you would find on a lovely home in a quiant
town... it almost looks like it could belong to the front
of a plantation home also.  So Lovely.
A few other styles of Southern front porches are...

Southern Vintage/Victorian

Country style

...and beautiful Cottage style...
I love this type of porch, and this photo also shows
a popular feature of many Southern porches: porch swings!

Those are just
 a few styles of Southern porches.
I was inspired to write this by this gallery  from
Southern Living, where you can see probably more styles
and kinds of porches than you'd like, haha.
  If you are interested or as much in
love with porches as I am, you'll appreciate all
the beautiful styles and features of the porches they share.
They are all so amazing and I know they
definitely make me want to grab a book and glass
of some sweet beverage and enjoy each
and every one.
.  .  .
The front porch in the South means a lot- it isn't
just a porch, it's a pastime, a way of life...
 and it carries with it
 a type of love and closeness, memories
and good times, and appreciation for the simple easygoing joy of
sitting out and enjoying a breeze.
I know folks and family friends who are busy
or work many hours
during the week and their front porch means just
that to them; they look forward all week to being able
to sit out on their porch on the weekends with
their families.
And that is really what enjoying a front porch
is all about in the South :)
Thankyou for reading
& have the most lovely, Blessed day!!
:)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Under the Trees

Lately, I haven't had a chance
 to do this much during a break in my day or after
- like I used to more often-
but today
I had some time at the end of my
day to relax outside and find a breezy, nice
place  to read.

I see people in this park-like area
all the time, eating lunch or reading or just
relaxing under the trees.
I wanted to do the same
because it has always looked so peaceful
and green and beautiful.

So I found the biggest tree
and found a nice place to sit right under it...
it was so tall and glorious. 
 

...And I sat there, relaxed, read, listened to the
leaves rustling in the breeze, feeling it
in my hair, and glancing up every once in awhile
to admire this beautiful sky...

When I get the chance to, it always makes
my day just that much better and more
lovely to sit outside.

It's something so simple, but I love it.
Today was a day that I really got to reflect on
how appreciative I am of all the beauty
in the world... I thank God for the trees, the flowers,
the lush grass, that beautiful sky, the feeling
of fresh air on your skin, and all
of those simple wonderful things in life that somehow
make the bad more bearable :)

Thankyou for reading
&
I  hope you
 had a lovely day of
fresh air
and appreciating
the beauty
around
you!

Blessings :)


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Have a Relaxing, Country-Style Sunday

I think Sundays
are probably one of the most relaxing days of the week.
No matter what you're Sunday is usually like- shopping, going to church,
or spending the day with family- there is always a calm feeling to the day.
Sometimes, though, it's easy to feel some stress about the week ahead, knowing
Monday is going to be here soon. I know I often feel that way...
Here are some simple ways to have a relaxing Sunday (country-style)...
doing relaxed things that will clear your mind,
and let you enjoy the beautiful, easygoing,
simplicity of what life should be!



1. Sit on your front porch and enjoy the breeze, drinkin' a Sweet Tea or Lemonade :)
   (so relaxing!)

2.  Go fruit picking

3. Garden: plant a new flower bed

4. Have a family picnic

5. Read a book under a shadetree

6. Have a family cookout

7. Take a walk, enjoy the view and the wildflowers

8. Take a nap on the back porch, let the breeze lull you to sleep

9.Take a drive through the country


I couldn't think of a tenth one, haha...
but those are a few ways I would love to spend a relaxing Sunday!
. . .

Wishing you a Blessed,
relaxed Sunday today :)






Saturday, April 14, 2012

So Many Southern Wildflowers!

As you may
have noticed by how many times
I've mentioned Spring wildflowers
recently, I love them so much and if I ever
moved away from the South I think
that seeing
their beauty every Spring and Summer would be
one of the things I would most miss!

Today I wanted to share some info
on wildflowers- the types of wildflowers,
which ones are most abundant in different parts of the South,
and just they're beauty! ...

Prepare yourself for some God-given,
beautiful floral eye-candy ;)

Indian Paintbrush
This wildflower is so beautiful and bright!  It can
be a hot orange color like this one, or a darker
orange or just red.  I've also seen these
in a more pink toned shade.
These grow in different parts of the South, but
without a doubt they are in Texas.

Corn Poppy
Another bright, amazing wildflower with
a lovely blossom.
These are found from Texas to Georgia, but I thought
it was interesting that they originated out
of Europe.

Buttercups
These little blossoms are so abundant this time of year, pretty
much everywhere you go they are there. I see
them growing in patches everywhere from fields, to
parks, to the sides of the roads.
The come in a few different colors, but here at least,
pink is definitely most popular.

Mexican Hats
A significant amount of these grow in the plains areas
of the South.
I think they have a really
unique look to them, as well as a fun name.
The petals are so bright and pretty.

Purple Coneflower
These flowers are so pretty with the contrast of
their pale lavender petals and the orange or yellow centers.
I've seen these growing in many places, but
 they are native to South Carolina.

Queen Anne's Lace
I always loved seeing fields of these growing up, because
they almost looked like snow when they are in large bunches.
From above they almost even look
like huge snowflakes!
Like their name, these wildflowers have
a delicate and sweet look and feel to them.
They are found from Texas to Alabama and Southern
Carolina.

Blue Bells
Blue Bells are so beautiful!  I love their color
and the pretty shape and way their petals curve.  They are so
lovely.  I love their name too, it sounds so elegant and...
Southern! They are especially beautiful in large
groups or if you find a field of them- it's breathtaking.

Blue Bonnets

 Blue Bonnets are found in Texas and some parts
of Louisiana.
In my opinion they are one of the most
beautiful wildflowers ever created! I love their vibrance.
This is another one that looks absolutely amazing
when you get to see fields full of them,
a sea of blue bonnets before your eyes.
Blue Bonnets in Texas are lovely and in my hometown
they were the prettiest that I have ever
seen them... in fact, they are so abundant and beautiful there
that it is a tradition to take family photos in them when
they bloom.  Families come from all over Texas to do just that.

There are so many wildflowers in the South, but these
are just a few of my favorites and the ones
 I know best  that I wanted to share :)

I hope you'll take time to look at the wildflowers here
in the South and enjoy their beauty!

Have a Blessed weekend!



(photos courtesy Google Images)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday

We got a lot done today, running some
errands for fun and to buy some things we needed.
My day's "adventures" were the
following (and
mostly consisted of shopping)...

We went to a few retail stores in the town
nearby, one of which I bought
a lovely new pair of Spring/Summery sandals at!

...then I had a really enjoyable time at the oh so
 frequent stopping point we seem to end up in
quite often: the craft store!

Today I ventured into a few areas of the store
I hardly ever look in...  the aisles
that have the 'small things' for home decorating
that make your home feel complete.


 I loved these wrought iron decorations you can hang in your house
or right outside your front door.  They are popular
in the South- I have seen so many
of them at the homes of my friends and neighbors-
 as personal touches to make your
home more "home sweet home" and I love them!

There was also a whole aisle/section of decorations
and iron and even porcelain like
 plates and figures with messages and reminders of
 faith or inspiration on them.
These were really nice
also, and I enjoyed looking at all of the ones
they had.

After looking there for awhile, I headed
to the sewing and fabrics
section of course... and looking through the pattern
books I found a pattern for this dress I thought
I'd share...
I love how beautiful it is with all
it's pleats and puffy sleeves and skirt, and it
is so much like what the true antebellum Southern
women wore!
Which is probably why I was
attracted to it :)
For now, though, I could only sew this
one in my dreams, hahaha. Maybe
in time.
. . .

To end the day we went on a walk
just as the sun was going
down, which was lovely and such a nice
way to end a fun day.

Those were the adventures of my day.
Hope you had a wonderfully Blessed Friday!

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