Friday, May 31, 2013

Faithful Friday!

Looking around at all the beauty of the earth is the Lord's gift to us, which I am so thankful for.  One of the most amazing things about life, in my eyes, is that gift... the fact that our faith can be strengthened or restored and we can feel God's strength, love, and faithfulness to us even through all the beautiful things around us...
the glorious skies and clouds, snowy mountain tops, mist on a lake, a rising moon glowing above.

I am thankful and so happy in my heart that something so beautiful and pure as listening to a stream in the mountains and, in turn feeling God, exists.

I hope you are having a wonderful Friday♥

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Old General Store

Today was so much fun, not to mention beautiful out!

It started off with sleeping in (which is never a bad thing), and then time full of family fun together.  I am thankful for the time we get to spend together when we are all off together.
Today we decided to go out.  First we went out for some recreation and bowled.  It had been so long since we did that and we had a great time.  It's a good thing it wasn't too crowded because I definitely needed some practice, haha.
Afterward, we took a trip to that small town I have written about what seems like many times before...
We ate and walked around and hit some of the shops, or at least the ones we usually go to with old-fashioned, neat things like antiques and jewelry.  I love simple days like these and I think when I am older, I will look back on them and be even more thankful than I am now.

Unlike most times we drive there, though, today we went into the old historic general store just across the street.  I had forgotten how neat it was inside.

I love the whole store because it's so nostalgic, but my favorite part is probably the counter.  It makes me really wish I would have lived in the 50's and around that era when soda fountains and soda counters were in stores everywhere. 
I imagine how it would be to live then, when things were more simple... how it would be to walk home from school and drop by and order a milkshake or a malt and watch the world go by out the window.

Another part of the store I find neat is the walls lined with rows and rows of canned things, like sauces and jams and jellies.  This reminds me of the descriptions of old general stores in the Little House books of stores Laura and her family would go into.  I imagine those stores over 100 years ago looked somewhat like this.

Old hard floors and old license plates nailed down looked so rustic.

There was even this stand where you could sample the different foods to buy.  Since we're in the South, there were quite a few salsas to try.  We had just eaten though, so we didn't try any.
& of course, I couldn't leave without getting something from the counter there.   A cone of delicious old-fashioned peach-vanilla ice cream.  Sampling their freshly made fudge was quite heavenly, too!
Fun and quality time with my family and a bright beautiful sky made for a blessed day♥
The weather report called for rain, but none came and the skies were clear.  If we get a little this evening though, I would love it.

I hope you are having a wonderful day!!  How have you spent it?

Thank you for reading!

Blessings to you :)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Faithful Friday, Thunderstorms, and the Sweetest Faces

Today has been so cozy and nice...
rainy and stormy, but no really bad weather yet and hopefully not for the rest of the day. 
I love a day of showers and today has been that and then some.  We've had some lightning and thunder and the water has been getting a little deeper on the road.
Earlier we stood on the porch for awhile, just looking out at the rain and enjoying it- out of the way of the lightning.  I think I could stare out at the rain and watch it fall and trickle forever.  The best thing though, in my opinion, is lying in a hammock on a porch while it rains.  So peaceful and soothing.

As I was telling a friend today, they may say "April showers", but it's seeming like May has been bringing quite a lot of rain.  Which I won't argue with.  If only it would keep on through a lot of the summer so we can avoid 100 degree days that would be amazing.

Along with the rain today, came something else at our house.  We woke up to find these sweet little faces...

Aren't they so precious?!  You look at those little sweet eyes and noses and feel their soft fur and you feel God's love.
At first we only saw the black one.  Then, the mama went and got the other two kittens from wherever she is keeping them nearby to bring them to the only dry place.
They were all wet and freezing and shivering, a little muddy and trying to clean themselves.  She's such a good mama though and kept licking them.
They were so cold though so we put a bed out for them and she slept there with them at her side for awhile.  While out there putting it down, I got to hold the little white one and he was so precious.  The mama didn't seem to mind at all either.  She seemed even thankful when, earlier, that little kitten climbed all the way up our screen door.  Strong little guy!  She couldn't get him down, so I pulled him off and brought him down to her.  They sure are rambunctious.
It's kind of funny because last time she had kittens, the first time we saw them was a day just like today when she brought them up on our porch to get them dry and out of the rain.
It's neat to just watch them out our back window in all their cuteness.  I can't help but smile at those faces and their cute little tails as they walk, or should I say waddle.
I love animals so much.
.          .          .          .          .
Today I thought I would just combine two posts, so here is today's Faithful Friday also :)
I am always thankful for direction when it comes to prayer and find it helpful to have reminders of certain things I could pray for but sometimes forget.  I think these things are important things to keep in our hearts to pray for!
Thank you so much for reading.
I hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Together at the Beach

Last week, we decided to take a trip down to the coast!
Trips to the beach are always so much fun, but a lot of times we make trips during thanksgiving or around fall time, so it was so nice to get that feeling of going when it's warm and then feeling the cold water!  So refreshing and wonderful!

I am so thankful we got to go... the time we spent there was amazing.
Lying on the beach as a family, walking up and down the coastline, feeling and watching the waves come in (especially later in the day as they seemed to get bigger and more powerful), and then have a picnic in the sand. 
What is your favorite kind of landscape?  I love so many different types of land that God has created for us to enjoy, but there is something so miraculous about the beach- the calming sounds of the waves, the sights, the endless horizon, the sunsets on the water.


This shark has been on the island there for awhile, but whenever we do get to drive to the coast
it's always fun to go take a picture inside the mouth.  It's a huge Great White shark and you
can walk all the way through it.

Leaving was really hard because it was just so restful and beautiful to be there looking at the beauty of the water and nature and being in the sand.  Any place where we get to enjoy nature is so nice.
But it was such a blessing to be with my family and to be so relaxed and having fun.
They say half the fun is in getting there, and it is definitely true that half the fun is spending time with your family not only at the destination, but also on the way.  That is perhaps my favorite part of any roadtrip we take in the summers... talking, laughing, stopping along the way for fun.

Those are a few photos I wanted to share.  I'm so grateful we go to go on this trip, we had such a great time :)

I hope you are having a blessed day♥ 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Faithful Friday (on Sunday)!

I hope you are having a beautiful Sunday!

I'm sorry- I have been out of town and couldn't post a Faithful Friday post this Friday, so I am posting it today :)

{photo: pinterest}
 Very wise words.  I think it is so important to have the mindset that Abraham Lincoln had throughout his life regarding God and faith; in our walk, we are so much more likely to be favorable in the sight of the Lord if we focus on being on Hi's side in all we do.

Have a blessed day♥

Thursday, May 16, 2013

May Daybook

I hope you are having a joyful and blessed Thursday!!
I felt like writing a little bit today and thought I would do a Simple Woman's Daybook entry since it has been quite a while since I wrote one.


Outside my window...
It is a little humid from a morning rain we just had, but getting breezier and nicer as the day goes on.  The kittens outside are sleeping peacefully and I can hear the birds high up in the trees out back.

I am thinking...
about something sad, a little bird.  We went walking this morning and found a little bird under a tree.  We aren't sure if he was injured or what was wrong, but he was so weak and was just lying there barely moving.  The ants were on him and we didn't want him to die there, so we took him home and put him in a basket with a towel.  We were going to try to nurse him back to health, but unfortunately, before we could even leave the room we noticed he wasn't moving anymore.  He passed away.  It's so sad and we have no idea what happened, but if he was hurt at least he is in peace now.

I am thankful...
for every laugh and moment spent with my family.

I am creating...
a scarf that I am working on crocheting.  I love the colors of the yarn and can't wait to finish it and  wear it this fall.  I am also hoping to start sewing again now that I have a little more free time.

I am going...
to hopefully get to go to the grocery store to pick up some things for a fun southwestern style recipe we are going to try tonight!

I am wondering...
what book I would like to start reading next and how many books I will have a chance to read this summer :)

I am reading...
or actually listening, to the KJV on audio right now.  I'm trying to make it through a whole book today to catch up on my reading.

I am hoping...
that we will be able to do something fun as a family this weekend and go somewhere we have been hoping to go!  We'll see, but I'm praying about it.

I am looking forward to...
the next time we go to Hobby Lobby so I can look at fabrics, and maybe get some new yarn too!

I am learning...
about what is involved in getting a book published; who to send it to, how to do that, etc.  I would love to publish a children's book someday!

I am praying...
for more self-discipline in certain things.

I am pondering...
how good examples around you and in your life can change the way you think in such an amazing way when it comes to such important areas in life.  I am so thankful for them!

A favorite quote for today...
"A strong woman stands up for herself.  A stronger woman stands up for others".

A peek into my day...
This is a place we went to recently and loved not far from our house.  It has a little trail and this quiet little pond.  I loved it under the open skies and feeling the breeze off the water, not to mention seeing little ducks.  I'm hoping we can go have a picnic here soon.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Healthy Chocolate Banana Shake

Yesterday, I decided to make a shake on a whim out of what we had in our kitchen.
I am trying to be healthier and I figured making a shake out of (mostly) healthy ingredients
was a good way to do that while enjoying something cold and refreshing.
I didn't follow a recipe and sort of just added things into the blender that looked like
they would go well together.  In the end, I used:
2 scoops vanilla ice-cream
(you could do 1 if you want it less "shake-y")
1 banana sliced up
1 cup chocolate milk
2/3 cups regular milk
1 teaspoon coconut flakes
~If you want this to be like a regular drink, leave it as is.
For a shake, put it in the freezer until firmer.
For a smoothie, add crushed ice into the blender.
I preferred mine either in shake form or as a drink.
I liked making this because it was so simple and so good, using all healthy
ingredients- okay, except for the ice-cream.
*You can also buy extra-protein chocolate milk with much less sugar to use, which is what I used,
so that you get a good amount of protein and potassium altogether with both milks
and the banana but you don't have too many sugars.
I will say that if you don't like the taste of bananas, you probably won't like this,
but I was really happy with how it turned out.
The flavor was so good and it was really frothy and delicious.
And it felt healthy to drink!
Thankyou for reading!
Happy Shake-making :)


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Our Mothers, Our Angels

As children, I think most of us see our Mama (and Daddy) as our world.
As we start growing up, I think our love for our mothers only grows deeper.

From my childhood to my early teens to now that I am a little older, I have always loved being around my Mama, usually preferring to do things with her over doing anything else on my weekends, and that's never changed... but I believe that whether you are that type of son or daughter or not and despite any distractions that come with growing up, you sort of reach this point where you look at your mom differently and more beautifully than ever before...
You understand more about her.
You begin to have a better concept of just how deep her love for you is.
You seek her advice more.
You are more grateful than ever that she willingly went through pain to meet you and love you.
You look back on how she has unconditionally loved and put up with you, hehe.
You have a deeper appreciation to think of all the nights she stayed up with you when you were sick
You realize you don't fully understand how her heart aches to see you growing up every time she brings up "when you were a baby".
You are indebted to her because she has not only loved, but supported and encouraged you always.
And you just cherish her.

When it comes down to it, nothing matters but the fact that she has loved you with all her heart and that God entrusted her to raise you and love you because he knew she was the perfect person for it♥

I'm so thankful for my Momma!  I thank God everyday for the blessing of a caring mother.
I'm so thankful for all the love and nurturing she has put into me and into my life, that she brought me up to love God, that she stays up late and watches movies with me, all those little things that make a mother so special.


Growing up, I am also thankful to be able to look back on everyone in my family, as well as friends- even those who have passed- and think of all the wonderful women who have also been like second mothers to me.  I have been blessed to have wonderful examples of mothers all around me.

If it is in God's plan for me, maybe one day I will get to feel what it's like to be a mother- if I do, I only hope I can succeed anywhere close to them.  Until then, I don't think I can fully understand a mother's love, but it seems like the strongest love there is.


In the South, we say that all daughters are their Daddy's little girl, and their Momma's best friend.
I think that is one of the most true statements, and I couldn't be anymore thankful for that truth- and for the blessing of having mine be a mother and friend and so much more in my life.

We should be thankful for our mothers everyday, but on this day as the world celebrates mothers, I hope you have the most blessed day- whether you are a mother or you are celebrating your mother, your angel♥

.           .          .

Here are a few words on mothers that I love.

{all images shared from Pinterest}

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Smell of Fresh Peaches

This week has been so nice in that it marks the beginning of a much needed break which I am so thankful for!  It has been such a blessing the past couple of days to sleep in, get excited about places we are hoping to go as a family, books I am excited to read (and finally have the time to read!) , and the possibilities of things to do this summer :)

It has been fun to celebrate the start of this break too!  In our family we always seem to celebrate with food, haha, so my first day of "freedom" my Daddy barbequed burgers because he knows they are my favorite. 

We also got to do a little shopping later.  My favorite thing was going to the bookstore a couple of days ago and picking up some books on travel, as well as a biography about Laura Ingalls Wilder, which I am really looking forward to reading.
Sometimes it's funny though, how you find something you love in an unexpected place.  On the way home, we actually had to get a few groceries for cooking that night, and the closest place to the area we were was Wal-Mart.  We happened to walk by the candle aisle, and I'm so glad we did.
We found a display of at least a hundred candles from a company I had never seen before.  It's called "Candle Cottage".   They had so many amazing scents to choose from and after we smelled one, I was amazed that they were stronger and better than any candles I have ever smelled, even Yankee Candles!
The variety was amazing too... everything from scents of the seashore, magnolia blossoms, and gardenias to mango, pomegranate, southern pecan pie, and one of the best we smelled- iced oatmeal cookies.  The one we decided on because it was so summery and fresh was fresh peaches!

The things I LOVE about these candles...
They are the same price as a candle less than half their size at the place I usually buy candles.
The smell is so strong and fresh and amazing.
They are supposed to burn longer than ordinary candles.
They have a fun, cozy, country look to them.
They are made in a mason jar :)

And here is what my dog did while I was taking photos of the candle outside.  She was more interested in soaking up some sun and lying in the grass. 

If you are a candle lover too, then you can understand how I could make a whole post about a candle, haha.  I just wanted to share because I have never seen these before and they are amazing.
Your nose will be in heaven.
I can't wait to go back and try out some more wonderful scents and stock up for summer.  Fresh Peaches is wonderful, but I'd love to get the mango and maybe the strawberry or watermelon (let's face it, I'd like to buy the whole display, haha). 
These would make wonderful gifts as well.  I think any mom would love one of these, and it's exciting to think of what scent matches different people you could get them for.

Have a beautiful day!

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Story of Teddy Stoddard

As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, Mrs. Thompson told her students a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant.
It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then putting a big "F" at the top of his papers.

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's past records and she put Teddy's off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.
Teddy's first grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners... he is a joy to be around.."
His second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle."
His third grade teacher wrote, "His mother's death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn't show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken."
Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class."

By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy's. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper That he got from a grocery bag Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume.. But she stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to." After the children left, she cried for at least an hour.
On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her "teacher's pets."

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling* her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in life.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he had ever had in his whole life.
Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer.... The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.

The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom.
Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.
They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson's ear, "Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference."
Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, "Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn't know how to teach until I met you."

I don't know if it is a true story, but if it isn't, I'm sure there are children like Teddy who have had a similar experience in their lives.  I really appreciated this story, which was actually read to us in my final art class this week.  I have hopes of teaching and working with children in the future... that's where I feel God is leading me and I hope that I can only hope that I am able to make an impact on someone the way Mrs. Thompson did... this really touched my heart and I will never forget it.

I hope maybe this made you smile, too.

Have a blessed day!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Faithful Friday!

To believe that this is true really changes the way you look at life, how experiences reach your heart, and your faith... how you see God working for good in your life. 
It is sometimes a learning process, but looking back on people or things that were maybe not easy to deal with and instead seeing them as important and purposeful in shaping you and your life changes everything.
It causes you to thank God for what may be seen as the "bad" and the good.
Wishing you a beautiful weekend!!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Truvy's Cake from "Steel Magnolias"!

Good Morning!
Well, I guess it isn't actually morning anymore but it really feels like it. 
It is such a beautiful day.  I have to do some writing today and I'm tempted to drag our chair over in front of the sliding glass door so I can see the sunshine and the birds outside :)

Today I want to share something I made over the weekend and am just now getting a chance to write about, a new recipe I tried.  It is the "Cuppa Cuppa Cuppa Cake" made by Truvy in Steel Magnolias!

If you have seen it, you may have heard about this cake and you probably also know that it is a very Southern film.  Since the first time I saw it, it has held a special place in my heart.  So I was really excited to make this cake!

This cake amazed me because it is only three ingredients!  I never imagined that throwing a few things together in a bowl could produce something so delicious.
My Daddy doesn't really go for things with fruit in them, but us girls thought it was delicious.  Maybe a little too delicious considering how much of it was gone by the end of the night ;)
If you like fruit cocktail, I think you will enjoy it too if you try it.
The recipe I used is one I found from the Pioneer Woman, who I love.  Here it is:
1 cup Self-rising flour
1 cup Sugar
1 full can Fruit Cocktail (with the juice)
Stir all ingredients together well in a bowl.  Pour into an 8 in. square pan,
or a large round pan, that has been sprayed or greased with butter.
Bake at 350 degrees until firm and bubbly.
I will also say that cake is pretty sticky because of all of the juice from the fruit cocktail, but I think that made it all the more delicious.  Especially right when it came out of the oven and was warm and sort of bubbling with the juices when we cut it.
You can also put on a dollop of whipped cream.

If you try this recipe, I hope you enjoy it.
It took literally two minutes to put together and was so good- I would definitely recommend it!
Blessings ♥

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