Tuesday, August 21, 2012

THE Most Amazing Gift

A particular aspect of my life has been on my mind lately more often than usual; something I am so very thankful for:  Prayer.

I'm not sure why I have been thinking about prayer so often lately.  It's definitely not a bad thing to think about, and something I have always been thankful for.  Recently, however, I have come to think of it in a deeper sense that has only made me more appreciative of the gift that prayer is!

The first thing I have been amazed to see is how the act of praying is something that is universal.  There are countless cultures all over the world, with extremely different beliefs and values, who for the majority cannot communicate with eachother in language... but they do have one thing in common.  They pray.  If they believe in any God at all, they pray.  And they may do so in different ways, but they still do it.  There is so much strife and differentiation between all of the world's religions, yet this is the common thread among every one of them... and between all the people belonging to them, whether from Texas or New York, Russia, or the Middle East.  I think that alone says much about the power of praying; in that such diverse groups and peoples value it.

...And sometimes, even if they don't believe in God they still pray.  I find that so interesting and quite powerful to think about... I was watching a documentary recently about a group of men in WWII, I believe, who's plane crashed in the middle of the ocean.  From the accounts of their struggles and trying to keep up their will to live while they were drifting (for over 40 days!), one stated that he was not religious at all and did not 'know' God, but he felt helpless and disheartened and he found himself looking to the sky above him and talking to God.
Some people have even had a life experience that has scarred them emotionally, or have lost someone precious in their life and blame Him for it.  I have come across people who have said they were atheists and were such because they held something against God, but even they found themselves in a moment before in their lives when they couldn't handle things and resorted to prayer for an answer.

Prayer is the ultimate gift and such a privelege.  A few days ago, I thought of something that I had not truly thought about before:   What if you tried to arrange a meeting with the President?  You wanted to talk to him about a problem in your community you hoped he would address, or meet him and talk for a few minutes, or even just have a phone conversation with him.  That would most likely never happen, and if it were to happen it would without a doubt be a complicated, lengthy process to be arranged.
But God, who is certainly higher than any man, warmly welcomes us to tell him our problems and "throw our burden" on him, or talk to him about anything at all, at any time of day- or night- we need to!  Thinking about it that way is amazing to me, not to mention the fact that he listens to millions, if not billions, of people at the same time. 

I am SO,SO thankful for prayer.   It has gotten me through struggles from scary things I face to small things in everyday life.  We all have moments in our lives where we feel alone, or like our lives could not possibly get any worse- until they do, and that is when I am especially thankful because having the Lord there to talk to, cry to, ask for, ask forgiveness from, anything at all- is such a precious gift and one of the most comforting things in life! 

Those are just a few of my thoughts.
What are your thoughts on prayer?
.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .    .     .

Have a blessed day!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Snow of Summer

Well, it is fluffy, white, and beautiful in it's own way just like snow... but it's cotton!

This field with hundreds of rows of cotton is just feet away from our road.  If I go stand in my driveway I can see it clearly.

Just like every other year since we've moved here, the beginning of this summer marked the waiting for the cotton seeds to be planted.  When they were planted, I awaited their growth and progression when they were just little green sprouts.  And when they were full grown, I became even more anxious and excited waiting for the day we would see the white tufts of cotton blooming and bursting out!
I think cotton is beautiful... and apparently I'm not the only one, because ever since it "bloomed" there have been countless cars of families stopped in front of this field admiring and taking pictures of it ;)

I love the way cotton fields look.  They are so light and lovely and fluffy looking, such a bright white, and to me they really do look somewhat like snow from a vantage point like this...

Is it not AMAZING that something so soft and lovely, completely different from any other flower or plant, grows from a tiny little seed in nature?   

I think it would be an incredible experience growing cotton.  A field of fresh cotton is such a neat sight to me- just something you don't see everyday- & I wanted to share these photos for anyone else who shares that feeling :)

Have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Whole Other Country... {Trip Photographs}

That's how different it felt to be in Colorado.
Another way I can describe it, as I recently did when sharing my vacation with one of my closest friends, is that it was like being inside an incredible painting.
Everywhere I looked there was beauty that took my breath away.

The journey of this vacation was AMAZING!!  God is wonderful and I cannot thank him enough for this experience, allowing me to see His glorious creations, and for the blessing of arriving there and home safely.
I am sooo excited to share the photos from my trip today!  I have organized and sorted through them, and it was a little difficult to choose which ones to include- I was quite camera happy during this trip- but I hope I picked the best to share.

Fair warning: You will see a lot of nature, and will probably be able to tell I am fascinated by the beauty of sunsets and clouds ;)

Our first day near the mountains.  The moment we drove around the pass on the way to my
Grandma(who we stayed with for part of our trip)'s ranch, I was so excited.  This is the view from the
gate to her driveway as we drove through it.  I could have stared forever.

One day we went to this sweet little restaurant.  I loved the name, and they had such good
country-style home-cooking that reminded me of home.

The day we spent in the little town nearby...

I tasted a little bit of heaven in this ice cream.  I bought it from an old-fashioned soda shoppe there
and it is the most amazing, cocoa-y, smooth chocolate ice cream I have ever had!  Ever since, I
have been having withdrawals.  This is a reason in itself to go back next summer!

There is an Amish community just outside of town.  They were there to sell goods for the day and were
so kind.  I thought their horse and buggie was so neat :)

Almost every afternoon, there were multiple rainshowers.  It was neat to see the skies go a little bit
darker and then pour from different areas- you could see the sheets of rain from afar falling on the
prairies and hills, and way up in the mountains.

Seeing the sun setting behind a mountain range is like nothing else.
.     .     .

Trip into the mountains...
It was so incredible being up in the mountains.  I loved it.  And I was especially thankful we didn't
run into any bears!

I loved the experience of just seeing different trees than in the South.  Beautiful Pines & Aspens.

We came across countless beautiful streams and small waterfalls. 
All of the water we saw, including lakes like this one, were the most peaceful and tranquil part
of being up there...
You  may notice what a lovely scene I thought this lake was by how many photos and different
angles I took of it ;)

I loved this spot.  It was so tranquil and very quiet, except for the lovely trickling sounds of the water.

While I have come to enjoy hiking, I enjoyed riding the trails on Atv's.  We rode all the way up to
the top of the mountain.  It was so much fun, but bumpy and tough to hold on at times- they don't call
it the 'rocky' mountains for nothing, haha.

This was such a pretty area with the water running below the trees.  I walked across the rocks the water
was running over, but only after this picture was taken did it hit me how cold the water was! 

This is a second lake we came upon on our adventure at the highest point we could get to on the mountain.  Again, I took quite a few pictures, and enjoyed every minute of the serene beauty of this meadow and lake.

Something I noticed only the last time I visited Colorado is that, because of the high elevations, you can see the shadows of the clouds on the land below them.  Awesome.

One of our last evenings, we went on a ride around my Grandmother's land.  She gave us sort of a tour just before the sun began to go down.  Being in the wide, open spaces mixed with rolling hills was like a dream.

We came to the top of one hill that evening and she showed us this grave.  It is the burial place of a Pioneer child that must have passed away along the hard journey west.  It was such a solemn, yet interesting moment to be standing there.

This trip was such a blessing and every day was so fun and memorable.  & I may have been afraid of running into any wild animals in the mountains, but really the only slightly traumatic thing about my time there was having to take an absolutely freezing cold shower at my Grandmother's, who has no hot water, haha.  It definitely woke me up.  Many aspects of staying with her and living so simply were neat, though... like helping her harvest the eggs from her chickens and fresh vegetables from her garden.

Those are my trip photos!
Thank you so much for reading!

Hope you have a blessed day!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

First Dress

It has been storming off and on here for the last hour and I am loving the snuggly feeling of the weather.  It is the perfect day to read, which I am going to do after I type this post (smile), and also for doing something creative.  As I have probably mentioned approximately two million times, I love crafts and projects on rainy days.  I feel like starting a new sewing project particularly!

I am now free to begin anew because, just before I left on my trip, I finished a piece of clothing I am so excited to share as it feels like a milestone... my first dress :)  Recently I was finally able to take some decent photographs of it.

I love the fabric.  It is a soft cotton material with the slightest stretch.  The blue gingham makes me feel like I am wearing a country-style, old-fashioned dress and I fell in love with that aspect especially.
The inner neckline of the front of the dress. I used a different method of sewing
the neckline,  by using a folded over ribbon for a smoother look.

Here is the completed dress...
It was such a fun and relatively simple pattern to sew!  I am thankful for and pleased with how it turned out.  I plan on wearing it to church, but I think it will be a pretty dress for a get-together or going out to eat for an occasion or on the weekend.  It feels very ladylike :)  Best of all, I am happy I was able to get this fabric, because combined with the cut and design, it will make for a very light and cool summer dress in this Southern weather!

As far as details, it is a simple design: high neckline and back with little cap sleeves, a swinging skirt (I love that), hemline falls to about my mid or upper shins, and has an amazingly comfortable elastic-cinch waist.

For what I believe is a first in sharing my sewing, I was able to get a photo- or a few photos- of the dress on, which I am very excited about... I didn't want to just show it only on the hanger, but with form to show how it lays and hangs.


I am looking forward to starting something new soon.  I am so thankful to have the opportunity to sew and am enjoying it so much; not only for the skill, but for the blessing of being able to make a modest dress or blouse when I cannot always find one in a store.

Thankyou for reading!  Are you sewing anything or working on a 'rainy day' project?
~Have a beautiful evening~

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