Monday, December 22, 2014

Canvases of the Season (Winter is Here!)

Happy first full day of Winter to you!
Yesterday evening, the season officially turned... so exciting!

Each year, I am captivated by the renewed spirit and happiness
of this season so early on that it often feels like Winter much earlier
than it actually is.  It has felt that way this year and I have often
had to remind myself that it was technically still Fall, haha.
But now the most wonderful time of year is officially here! :)

One of the things I treasure and have a nostalgic
 love for is the beauty of Winter paintings and scenes.  
I thought it would be fun to welcome this glorious season with a "gallery"
of some of the most magnificent, dreamlike Winter paintings I have seen,
some of my favorites that I thought I would share.  
The more I gaze at them, the more  I realize how much serenity and seasonal
peace and joy they reflect back at me.  They are the picture- literally-
of the grace of snowy white Winters and nostalgic days of a simpler time.
They are painted by an artist that I have grown to love since I
 first became fascinated by her paintings a couple of years ago.
Her name is Trisha Romance.

The visions she puts onto her canvases are the dreams in my mind,
the places that are most heavenly to me that I travel to in my coziest thoughts.
In sharing a few of her pieces I love, I hope seeing them may bring you
 even more cheer and give you the calm loveliness of wonder in your
 heart as they have in mine when I "step into them."

Scenes like these are reminiscent of the wonder of this season, of memories of when we visited Colorado and got to see a winter wonderland all around, of Bedford Falls (which the first two paintings remind me of), of Laura Ingalls' charming descriptions of her log-house Winters, of childhood sweetness this time of year, and so much more...

Wintertime road trips through towns I love that I've always known, their familiar historic buildings strung with lights.

Sugar cookies fresh from the oven with colored sprinkles.

Rainy days with frosty windows.

The old-fashioned, peaceful songs of this season.

Crafting and working on something new, the fire going and cups of hot-chocolate on our work table.

The delight of waking up to a surprise snow.

Writing or reading by the window in the soft light coming through a cold pane.

Admiring the tall, strong Oaks in the country, newly bare of leaves and uniquely majestic.

Feeling cozy in a coat enveloping me like a hug.

Reading and feeling so thankful for letters and emails from loved ones and comments from friends like you who share your excitement for the season and fill my heart with your kindness.

That ethereal, dreamy light that streams through the windows on chilly mornings.

Watching old classics on icy nights, snuggly inside.

Staring into the scene inside a snow globe as the snow spins and settles delicately.

And perhaps closest of all to my heart...
drives together through the neighborhood to take in the houses aglow with their lights.

Winter makes me burst with joy and I am so thankful
for all of the restful, joyful time and special days we have to spend.
How special this time of year is, not in just the excitement for what the days
hold, but for the gift that we have in looking back on the year we have
just lived and remembering what those beautiful days held.

I hope you have a most magnificent season making new memories
and enjoying all that this time of year is to you- the happiness and
traditions unique to, and cherished by you.

I wish you the joy of every good and perfect gift from above,
every blessing this glorious season!
Have a wonderful beginning to the new year!

Love and blessings, until I "see" you in 2015!

God bless you♥

(all image sources linked above)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Faithful Friday: In His Arms


When I am saddened, tired out, look around at suffering that pains me to see, or just have unrest or worry in my heart, and every other moment of the day... I am so thankful to be this lamb.

Any picture of Jesus brings content and overwhelming peace to my soul, but this is perhaps the absolute most beautiful to me.  I gaze at it, or even just think of it, and I become that sweet little lamb as I bask in the cherished comfort that I feel to have the Lord by my side.  To feel embraced, loved, and cared for, knowing He cares for you and I.  I become that lamb and never want to leave that embrace, wanting to stay in what is the most warm and perfect place I can imagine.  I look at it and am somewhat reminded of a song played at the service for someone dear to me who passed away, called "In the Arms of the Angels", a song that I remember feeling peaceful when listening to... much like I do this picture.

As it is a time in this season when the minds of so many are set upon God and the great sacrifice of Jesus for us, I wanted to share this painting because of what it means to me.  I am a lover of art and many painters come to mind, as well as favorite pieces, but this beautiful painting, whose creator I don't even know the name of, far surpasses those other paintings when it comes to the way I feel when I look at it.

This painting evokes feelings of comfort and indescribably bursting joy, reflecting the greatest love that exists... the love of God and Jesus for us.  It also is a reminder to me at even a glance of all of the qualities of our Savior that I am so thankful for that I don't know how to express it...

Love, justice, peace, forgiveness, patience, mercy.

We may be going through something so difficult, or are feeling the pain of watching others go through immense trials, but recognizing these and so many more qualities of the immaculate character of our Savior should remind us that we are never alone.   God's love and mercy is always upon us.  Let us remember how blessed we are that through all our days, whether they are pleasant or hard, we have open arms to run into to feel that warm embrace enveloping our being.  We are that little lamb in the arms of a loving Savior.

Happy Friday!!

I hope your weekend is wonderful!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Winter Cheer

I hope your Tuesday has been a wonderful one so far :)

It has been a relaxing, enjoyable day here and I am soaking in the 
beautiful reality of what it is to feel so free and light... elated.
  Isn't that the most wonderful feeling... to know that you have time
 to do whatever your heart pleases!
I feel so blessed as I think about all of the joy inside me at the fact that
 I get to wake up everyday for awhile and dream, think, write,
 create, and enjoy each day like I love to ♥

This week has been my first full week doing just that.
I love wrapping myself in Winter and all that it means... staying
home or going out with my family, simple and meaningful things,
and taking in the sights, sounds, and scents of this amazing season,
just some of the things that bring me cheer in my heart.


Picking out books at the library, taking in the sheer delight
of delving into new stories and tales that I have been eyeing each time 
we go- and now I have time to read!

Jewelry-making, sewing, embroidering, and creating loveliness
with my hands.  The happiness this brings my soul is immeasurable.
It has been so fun to get excited about the projects I am going
to work on as I bring home new patterns, pearls, and more.
I am beaming with anxious excitement to setup a new sewing room/
space together this coming week!!  I am dreaming of sitting in front
of the window, light flooding in as we create and enjoy time

Simply enjoying waking up each day to Winter cheer all around,
even in something like this perfect snowy scene on the
calendar in my room.  I can't help but imagine that I am inside
that painting, as I do with all Winter paintings because
their cozy, blue cast and soft snowy brushstrokes make me feel as if
 I'm drinking hot chocolate or on a sleigh ride just looking at them.

Nostalgic, old-world things I am surrounded by.
The aroma of this candle is heavenly, a snowy fresh, peppermint
scent.  Even more than the scent and the fact that it
is a mason jar candle, I love the vintage stamp on the lid. 
And of course, sipping whip-cream laden hot chocolate is
pretty wonderful, too.

"Sprinklings of Winter" around our home.
Some of the smallest parts of our decorations are my favorite because
we get to use them the most, like these poinsettia potholders we
got this year and place-mats with a snowman and cardinal that
make me smile with their cheer and primitive, country feel.
My other favorites are probably the old-fashioned tins that line our
hearth, adorned with paintings of winter scenes.

Baking love and memories this time of year...
because I think baking in Winter is more about that than anything.
Oh, how I get lost in the overwhelmingly perfect wonder of 
making delicious treats and trying recipes from our old cookbooks.
I'm so thankful I have been raised in a family where being in the 
kitchen together is a priceless part of everyday life and sweeter
than ever during this season.

•     •     •

These are just a few things that bring me the greatest cheer
this time of year that I am so grateful to be captivated with recently.
Even the simplest of things bring such a festive, ecstatic, 
childlike joy.
A mainstream of all these aspects of the happiness inside me
is creativity.  I am SO thankful for the time and the cozy Winter
days to create and let my mind wander into new 
and lovely places... creating... in everything 
from memories to sugar cookies ;)

And speaking of creating, I love designing and using
color and had so much fun re-decorating my blog 
for the season- and adding a blog "footer" at the bottom!
My header is inspired by things that are close to my heart
that exude seasonal beauty to me... cardinals, poinsettias, and
Southern plantations and homes, which the beautiful painting
reminded me of so much.
  I hope the new design brings as much
cheer and delight to you while you're visiting my blog
as it did to me when I was redoing it.

Blessings, friends!

I hope you have a wonderful day!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Faithful Friday: My Soul Thirsts

This speaks to my heart so.  It is one of my favorite verses ever.
I love it like I do because of the beautiful scene that is painted (much like
this painting) of what it truly feels like to thirst for God.
I cannot think of a better way to express this.  

This verse always reminds me of a quote that I think is very much
connected to it.  It was said by Ann B. Davis, who played Alice in
"The Brady Bunch".
  I read it one day after she passed away this
 Summer and I thought it was so beautifully said and one of
the truest statements I have ever heard or read.

"I am convinced we all have a God-shaped space in us,
and until we fill that space with God, we'll never know
 what it is to be whole."

I am so thankful that this is true.  A trillion times more wonderful
and meaningful is my life to have God fill that space inside me.
My soul truly does thirst for God, sometimes in ways that I feel cannot
be quenched because my longing for everything that IS God, that
is pure and righteous, is so great.

I just love the blessing of being created with the intrinsic need
for God... because without God, all there is is emptiness.
How refreshing to our souls it is to
be "filled up" with Him when our souls are thirsting...
which is always, because we are always in need of God :)
... in need of a "drink" in this dry world.

Blessings to you!

Have a great weekend, everyone ♥

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Lord Byron Said it Well

When I sit down to write a letter or a card, I have a feeling that is unlike writing anything else.... not a book, in my journal, or anyplace else.  I love writing letters and sending cards because it is a way of connecting with those I miss and love that has a nostalgic, days-of-old, sentimental wonder.  The fact that letters are still written is a sign, which brings peace and happiness to my old-soul, that not all the charm of days past are gone in this world.
Just feeling that card or crisp piece of paper in my hands as I fold it up and place it in an envelope, to run my hand over a stiff envelope after it's all sealed, and feeling the texture of a card as I admire the glorious scene emblazoned on it, is one of those simple, unequivocally delightful things that brings a smile to my face.

As far as the serenity and loveliness that is found in writing someone, I think Lord Byron said it well:

"Letter writing is the only device for
combining solitude with good

I look forward to spending quiet moments out of my days to come this Winter doing so more often.
Such a relaxing joy it is to sit down, as I have done in spare moments lately, to write to others.   It has made my soul happy, as these things have, also...

•Drinking tea (a little change from my usual hot chocolate☻) while writing letters
•Gazing dreamily at the snow globe on the shelf with the Kinkade-like scene
•Falling asleep in front of the glowing fire
•Being free from school very soon to delve into things I've missed doing
•Opening a package with a beautiful handmade gift from a friend who is more of a blessing
 than she knows

The last one reminds me of what a treasure it is not only to have friends who bless your heart with thoughtfulness, but of what cheerfulness it brings to open a letter or package.  Is that not just one of the most wonderful feelings in the world, to know someone cares about you so much to send a personal note of love or encouragement in the mail?  I love receiving mail, but even more so I love sending mail- keeping it mind that it is better to give than to receive.  

Thinking about this, I wanted to share with you a way to give through a personal letter to individuals who perhaps need encouragement more than most right now.  Recently, I was inspired to look into sending letters to soldiers, to up-build them and just let them know a complete stranger is thinking of them and wishing them well, especially in a time when it is probably extra difficult to be away from their home with the holidays coming.  Although I am still looking for a way to send a hand-written, paper letter (there are several organizations to write through), I thought I would share one way that I have started out with.  It is through the Forgotten Soldiers Outreach.  You can click the link to write you own letter to the soldiers who are overseas right now and who will be this Winter and will not get to make it home to be with their families.  You can even write several letters and pour out
warm and comforting thoughts.  You never know what something you say will mean for
a soldier who is homesick and reads your loving words.
  The letter you write will be printed out and placed in one of the packages that is sent
 to them and they will get to read your encouraging words!

Wishing y'all a blessed day!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Faithful Friday: Set Your Mind on Things ABOVE


This inspired me, challenged me to think differently and to do so more often... to think on things above.

How beautifully reshaped my thoughts become when I focus on things above instead of Earthly things.  I find it difficult sometimes to keep my mind strayed from the depressing, difficult things of life when they are around me- cancer and other illnesses, hearing of accidents and people losing their lives, of babies, children, and precious little animals who are being abused.  These things are so hard to think about because they make me feel so much sorrow.  I think as humans, it is a part of our nature that cannot be helped to feel sick at things like this that we see, to feel especially upset for the fact that for the most part we cannot do anything about the suffering or other terrible things we hear about.

But this verse is bringing me out of that more than I ever could myself... to ponder of things above is to think of heavenly things- heaven itself- and all that is above us.  No matter how hard it is, I don't want to focus on the sadness that may be around us.  The realization comes that I should pray about these thins, but God doesn't want us to be concentrated on sadness.   How comforting and peaceful it is to redirect our thoughts to things above... of angels, of God, of what may be going on in heaven right now.   Even just looking up at the sky and watching the clouds slowly moving above is so pleasant and soul-calming as I stare up and think of how amazing it is that somewhere beyond those clouds is heaven.

I am thankful for this verse because it reminds me to think on these beautiful, heavenly things instead of those that are painful to have in our minds.  To put our focus on God and angels is a blessing and has the power to bring us into a state of mind that proclaims peace and serenity- even in a world such as this.

Have a wonderful first weekend of December!

Blessings to you!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thankful, Cozy, & Full

Happy December!

I hope you had a blessed week and moments of making memories,
relaxing, and enjoying your blessings with the ones you love.
My week off with my family was so nice... a time that was a beautiful
reminder of how much I have to be grateful for.  I thought today I would share
a glimpse of it, mostly involving the meal we were so blessed with.

I was away from blogging this whole week and it feels good
 to have my fingers typing again and writing :)
  I actually decided to take most of the week as a break from
 being on my computer at all and I cannot tell you what
a great feeling that was, to focus on the simple and real things, the
beauty around me- in the ever-changing leaves, the quiet moments,
 time with family, making & enjoying a delicious meal we were blessed
 to have- and to just take a rest from being on the computer since I
constantly have to be when it comes to my studies.

Some of my favorite moments this week were surely
spent in the kitchen, watching the parade from the bar as I helped
prepare the meal.  I love burning candles while we cook or
bake and a new Winter Vanilla scent, along with the very appropriate
"Be Thankful" scent, added to the perfect childlike wonder and 
coziness that is already so plentiful on this day each year.

On the stove... my Mama had potatoes going in the pot to begin
her amazing homemade mashed-potatoes recipe, and the cornbread
was cooling to be crumbled up and added to the mixing bowl for
my dressing.

There aren't a lot of things that wet my appetite more than the sounds
and smells of sauteing vegetables in butter.  It was no different that
morning as I started the dressing recipe and sauteed celery and onions
to be added in.

Out of the oven!
This is hands down the best dressing I have ever tasted.  Our family cannot
get enough of it and I think we would all agree that we don't even want
to try any other recipe because of how delectable, moist, and flavorful
this one is.  It is Southern-style dressing and is nothing short of heavenly.
The recipe is from Paula Deen and it's called Southern Cornbread Dressing.
It's hard to write about and look at in this photo now that it's gone!
This is what I fill up on every year with seconds... thirds...
If you are looking to have a Southern-style family meal, you can't go
wrong with this... and deviled eggs, of course.

Starting the pumpkin roll.
My excitement was sky high as I began the recipe for
the pumpkin roll/log.  I have been wanting to make this for a couple of years
now and always ended up making something else for some reason, but this
year I finally got to make it!

The finished pumpkin roll was more pleasing in a gustatory
sense than in an aesthetic one, haha.  The recipe says to use a towel when
you get to the step where you roll up the cake- I don't recommend that!
It ripped pieces of the cake/roll off and they were stuck to the towel.
It didn't rip all the way through,
which I was so thankful for, but it did give the roll a little bit of a 
"unique" look.  I am excited to make another one before too long so that
 I can do my best to make it look a little more like I envisioned, haha.

Looking past that, this turned out to be one of the most
delicious desserts.  
If you enjoy pumpkin bread or carrot cake (because the flavor 
reminded me a lot of that), then I'm sure you will enjoy this moist,
 rich, amazing dessert.  I can't wait to make it again!

This was gone way faster than it should have been, hehe.
But it was seriously too delicious.  Sprinkling powdered sugar
on the slices, drizzling leftover cream cheese filling on top, and 
warming it up didn't help with the temptation at all.

I highly recommend this recipe for a fun and delicious dessert.
I can attest to the fact that it is not only delicious- it also really put me
in the baking mood of the season!  It takes a little time to prepare,
but the result is more than worth it!
Here is the recipe I used:

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup Libby's Pure Pumpkin
1 cup chopped walnuts (if desired)

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 cup sifted powdered sugar (plus more for dusting)
6 tbsp. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla

*I also added 1/4 cup extra powdered sugar
and 1/4 cup granulated sugar, but you 
can tailor it to your tastes :)

Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Grease a 15x10x1-inch jelly-roll pan.  Line with parchment paper.
Grease and flour the paper, set aside.  Arrange thin, cotton kitchen
towel on counter and sprinkle with powdered sugar (but mine stuck to the
towel, so I would suggest using parchment paper instead of the towel!)

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves
and salt in a small bowl.  Combine eggs and sugar in larger bowl and 
beat until thickened.  Add in pumpkin and beat until well mixed.  Stir in
flour mixture.  Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.  Sprinkle with walnuts
if desired.

Bake for 13-15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.
Remove from oven and loosen cake from edges of pan immediately.
Invert onto prepared towel (or parchment paper).  Remove pan, carefully peel
off paper from back.  Roll up cake in towel (or parchment paper) while hot,
starting with 10-inch side.  Cool completely on wire rack while rolled.

Beat cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, softened butter and vanilla
in small bowl until smooth.  Carefully unroll cake and remove towel/paper.
Spreak cream cheese mixture over cake.  Reroll cake.  Wrap in plastic wrap
and refrigerate at least one hour.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar
before serving if desired.

How many simply sweet, treasured moments are locked in my heart 
as new memories, making up what thankfulness IS to me this year...

Seeing my Grandma on her visit to see us

Cozy afternoons by the fire during our colder days early in the week

Quiet, relaxing time staying home and crafting

Listening to the heavy rain and thunder during the storm 

Walking through the piling leaves of the Post Oak in front of our house

Relaxing in the familiar pages of Laura Ingalls Wilder's writing

Cooking and baking together

The fun of having the dog show on in the background

Having the cornbread dressing be my job and seeing my family smile
 as they tasted it

The bursting joy I feel at having a huge family- even though we are apart
and do not live nearby, just knowing that love is there between us

...Some of these in particular are sweet reminders
to me of how grateful my heart is for where I am in life right now. 
I have so much to be joyful over and I am enjoying the simple and 
wonderful things of what is home, soaking up the moments as I learn, laugh,
and work at things I love, and spend time with those I am blessed to love.

 I am most thankful for family
and for my faith and relationship with God, who makes family
and love possible in the first place, and I feel more aware each year of how
precious those whose hands He placed my life in- my whole family- 
are and how priceless every conversation, every meal shared
 together, every hug, every everything is.
What a blessed week I had to ponder over that, the most real
and true thing in my life.

Hoping you had a most wonderful week

Sunday, November 23, 2014

"Thanksgiving Is a State of Mind"

How wonderful it feels to be at this time of year right now...
the rainy Autumn days, the excitement of getting to go get everything
for cooking and baking, the prospects of the joyful days to come this season. 
The last week of November is one of my favorite weeks of the year,
 if not my favorite... it feels like it is the true beginning of the coziest time of year
 because it brings on the cheer and loveliness of the late Fall-
early Winter season.  Most of all, I am taken to a place of such joy from the
way it brings an ultimately warm-hearted and nostalgic time, in a way it seems
 to blanket everyone with an added personable kindness and warmth.

I thought this old-fashioned ad, with it's homey, perfectly nostalgic
artwork, exuded the heart of this feeling.  The words on it inspired
in me some thoughts I wanted to share, as I ponder that it
would also be fitting to perhaps even change it to "thankfulNESS"
is a state of mind"...

.            .           .

I think that thankfulness in our hearts does not
come from simply being happy with how our lives are going, but from
looking at our situation- whether we feel our lives are going well or not-
and having the strength and heart-condition to be able to focus on what
we DO have and be thankful.

Thankfulness is a state of mind in being thankful when we
look at our lives and recognize that our hardships do not hinder
us when we recognize how blessed we are.  To me, the most important
thing that has helped me to stay in a thankful state of mind no matter
what comes my way is knowing through my faith
that God goes out of his way to provide me with blessings that
I do not even deserve.
 He humbles my heart and fills me with immense
gratefulness when I reflect on something that may seem simple,
like that I am loved by an amazing family, I have food and go to bed each
 night fed as many others do not, and I have a home to go back to every day.

Thankfulness, to me, is also a state of mind that is so beautifully
brought to us through our trials and how they cause us to
find a renewed sense of what it is to be grateful for the smallest
things we may take for-granted.

.            .            .

To say that thankfulness is a state of mind also means to me
that a person who is thankful shows compassion for others who do not
have what he has been blessed with.  I have been thinking of what I could
 do to serve others in this small way of simply having compassion
 and this is what came to me, random thoughts on
how a simple expression of gratitude for my own life can be reflected
in my heart and hopes for others...

Bringing a homeless person a blanket  in the Winter

Write a letter to a soldier overseas to lift their spirits

Make a meal for or serve at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter

Praying for the person in an ambulance that is going by

Use your talents to serve others, like knitting scarves for those who are
homeless or for animals in the shelter so they can stay warm

Including those who do not have anything to eat constantly in your prayers

Including those who do not have a home in your prayers

Including those who are ill and losing their battles with illness in your
 prayers- praying that God would work miracles for them.

Visiting hospitals' sick children or anyone who is sick and to pray with
them or just comfort them.

These small things that I have on my heart to do
are a reminder to me as I ponder on them that they are opportunities
to be a blessing in the life of someone who is not as fortunate to have
their health, home, food, or even hope.
And isn't that what thankfulness is all about?

My heart is so moved by the things God has laid on it ,
impressing upon me that Thanksgiving may be the time that thankfulness
 is focused on, but everyday should be a day of thankfulness.

Thess. 5:6  

-Native American saying


May you have a week ahead full of gratefulness and blessings as you
enjoy memory-making and time with those you are most thankful for.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Fall Touches (and Lights!)

It has been Fall for awhile,
but we got a little bit of a late start in finishing all of our seasonal
decorating around the house.  We added some new "pieces of Autumn"
to our decorations collection for this season and kept adding to
it, but now we have everything up and the warm colors of Fall are
finally all around us in our home.

It is such a wonderful feeling to now have the feeling
of the season being here be both inside and outside!
Out front, our door is decorated with my Fall colors sunflower
wreath, which is also a summer wreath and can be used for both seasons,
 which you can see how I made here, and the Fall welcome sign
I made that you can see here, and two large pumpkins on either side
of our door along with adjacent mums (which are unfortunately starting to
 die now that we are getting freezing temperatures so early in the season).
At the front of the path to our door is something we picked up at a yard
sale over the summer for next to nothing- a big scarecrow that adds so
 much color and cheer to our outdoor decorations- along with another
large pumpkin next to him.

As for inside...
If you have been following my blog for awhile, you probably know
that our main decorating inside for the seasons is devoted
to our fireplace mantel.  We love decorating the mantel and I
know I enjoy beautifying this area of our home most because it is
the heart, the warmest and coziest place with the fire going in
Winter and the window next to it letting the rain be seen or the
dreamy light shine in during the overcast days.
I think I feel like this every year, but this year's Autumn decorations
for the mantel are my favorite that we have ever had.
And the reason?


Oh the loveliness of decorating with lights.  I think they make
 everything feel so much prettier and more magical, cozier, 
and more festive :)
My parents had the idea to add red lights and intertwine them in our
garland on the mantel and then bring them down into the decorations
on the hearth.  I love how they shine through the old Oil lamp
especially and glow under the burlap that is snaking in between the
hearth decor.

Aside from the lights, my other two favorite things are the pumpkins-
I love decorating with pieces of nature!  Especially pumpkins because harvest
is what this season is all about :)
-and these glittery leaves!  It is probably silly how excited I was about
these glittery leaves.  The brown, green, and orange leaves are some we
already had from last year, but the gold and burgundy are new.  I think I 
stared at them and picked them up admiring their glittery, shiny
beauty a few too many times before putting them up.
If anyone needs these as much as I did, they're from Hobby
Lobby, haha.

These leaves were also exciting to get because having five altogether
gave me the idea to hang them from our garland, which I love.

Our fireplace brings so much joy at the sheer loveliness of what
it feels like to sit and relax and have a cup of hot chocolate while
the fire is on and the lights in the garland gleam from beneath
the leaves, and especially when it is late at night and the lights are
especially vivid and beautiful.
I love most when it is after dark and all the lights are off and all
you can see when you look at the fireplace are the string lights
and their red glimmer outlining the fireplace.

That is the way Fall looks in our home right now.
Each year our garland is the same and makes the mantel
feel similar to the way it did last Fall, but it's so much fun
to pick out or bring out new and different decorations to adorn
the rest of the fireplace and the hearth ♥

I'm so thankful for the simple joy of 
having gotten to decorate it together and to have such a homey
 place to be on these chilly nights, enjoying the rich Fall colors
that we have brought inside, especially since it has
been so wonderfully cold lately :)

How did you decorate your home for Fall?


Have a blessed day!

.          .          .

I am also linking up with "The Art of Homemaking

Friday, November 14, 2014

Faithful Friday: Heavenly Promises

A heavenly thought, a simple thought today that I wanted to share that I have been thinking on... but one with a huge impact.

Because these thoughts keep me going and can keep us all going if we place our hope in them.
Because they are true.
Because they are the very core of our hope as believers in God.

Keep the faith that these will and do prove true as you pray through even your toughest trials.

Wishing you a blessed weekend!
Sending you warm thoughts if it is as cold where you are as it is here (yay for cozy, cold weekends)!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Feelin' Wintery: Thrifty Finds and Sweet Treats

It is already almost Wednesday!?
Well, technically it is Tuesday, but it's Tuesday night so it is almost
Wednesday ;)  It feels like the week just began.

I hope your weekend, even if it was a couple of days ago,
 was a blessed one.  Ours was full, both of work and fun, and 
was lovely.  This weekend had a wonderful feel in that it
 felt like a Winter weekend... or at least a Winter-inspired weekend. 
 A few things made me feel that way...

I love a good find and the feeling of finding something that
you love, being so excited that you are the one who gets to take it home.
The resale shop in our town has so many neat finds and
we brought home a few things on Saturday that I was especially
excited about.

The few things I picked up were this mug, this penguin (which is so
fun as you'll see below!), and some beautiful Winter
greeting cards that I didn't photograph... but are they beautiful!
They are a lovely, icy blue with a design of a lake at Wintertime
and the snowy banks surrounding it with a deer and tall
trees brushed with glitter, all of which look like a scene from what
 reminds me of a hidden away place you might find in Alaska.

I knew this mug was going to come home with me the moment
I saw it.  I can't wait to drink from it, what I think may be
 the coziest mug I can imagine drinking hot chocolate
 from as I'm snuggled under a blanket by the fire come Winter.
Just looking at that little snowman, it's hard not to feel happy.
It's a really large mug, also, so it will fit looooots of hot chocolate!

And now for the find I was most excited about!
As someone who loves baking and is head over heels for
Winter baking especially and all of the sweet and homey
nostalgia that comes with it, I was pleasantly surprised to open this
 little penguin and find that he was full of none other than cute
and festively decorated measuring cups!!
I had been looking for pretty measuring cups for awhile and
was so delighted to find this. I love him and am already
imagining myself using the cups to make a pie or other desserts
during the week of Thanksgiving!
And best of all... he was only a dollar fifty.  I love 
bargain hunting.

He is now happily chillin' (no pun intended, since he IS a penguin)
next to one of my favorite gifts from last year, the
gingerbread house cookie jar ♥

...So I already felt the Winter spirit this weekend in being in the
resale shop, getting to take these fun finds home, and thinking
about all the cozy, exciting moments ahead in the coming season...
and one other thing about our weekend complemented that
very well: making and eating chocolate-peppermint pretzels.

Mmmm.  The delicious delight and refreshing flavor
of peppermint and chocolate together, and all over a pretzel.
Peppermint flavored anything always puts me in a Winter mood.
We had so much fun in the kitchen making them, also.
But probably more fun eating them... although I tried to use willpower
to not eat every one in sight since I do still try to watch my sugar.
That's a hard battle to win when these are in front of you, though.

And now that it is really starting to get cold (Yay!)
it feels so nice to light candles and take in all of their wonderful
aromas like we did this weekend... like "Warm Apple Pie" and
 "Thanksgiving".  That makes me feel like it is Winter, too, but then my
 nose reminds me that I'm smelling Fall scents and not yet
 "Christmas Cookie" or the candles we look forward to burning for 

Until then, it has been wonderful to get to soak up the perfection of this
glorious Fall season in ever-changing nature around us and in the
house through decorating and other simple joys.

.            .           .

As it is November 11th, I would like to take a moment to write
 something different that is very important.  I would just like to 
express heartfelt thankfulness to all those who, in serving, have given the
 ultimate sacrifice and those who are here still today who sacrificed
 so much and who wore bravery and courage to fight for the freedom
 of all of us, those who gave up their own freedoms for years at a time
to protect the safety and rights of you and I- Veterans.
God bless them.

.          .           .

Have a beautiful day!

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