Friday, January 31, 2014

Faithful Friday: Commit Your Plans to the Lord

There was a time today when my mind drifted (in a good way) from what I was doing and I thought about this.  This verse is so wonderful and the truth in it is such a blessing to us.  Knowing the way it so beautifully effects your life is part of why I love these words. 

In my walk, I feel that my faith would be so lacking if I did not keep this amazing verse in mind and do my best to apply it to what I do.  There is the sweetest, clearest difference in the way your life plays out when you live each day and each "activity" that you do with the goal of pleasing Him!  I also love how this verse doesn't just say to think of God when you go about your day or work towards a goal or work for a dream... it says commit those things to Him. 

I think the main way I excitedly commit my plans and activities to the Lord is to pray about them and seek guidance in such things.  I ask God to show me in some way that doing or going after whatever it is I am thinking about is the way I am meant to go.  I can't help think of how beautiful that is... to commit your plans or dreams to God and see Him carry out those plans in His own way and in His time.

One of the beautiful parts of this is that it can be something big or very small.  Committing your passions, hopes, interests, joys or hobbies, plans, or whatever it may be.  I believe this is by far one of the most precious aspects of a relationship with God my heart is so full with that I would never ever want to live without.

I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend!
And stay warm if you're getting cold, icy weather!

Blessings ♥

.           .           .

Faithful Fridays are hosted by my sweet friend, Joy, on her blog, Doodlebug.  You can read her amazing posts and be inspired by her faith here.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Simple Woman's Daybook

It feels like it has been such a long time since I wrote a Simple Woman's Daybook entry!  So I am excited to be writing one today, not to mention that it is my first this year.

Outside my window...
It is dark right now, a little windy, and warming up a little after a freezing day.
The weather is kind of crazy in the South, as I've probably shared a few times.  Today it was in the 20's and 30's and in a few days it is going to be in the 70's!
I'll miss the chilly weather, but I'm sure it'll be back soon.
I am thinking...
About how wonderful supper was.  We had a homemade pizza
and the smell of it from the oven was making it hard to wait before it came out.
It was so good.
I am thankful...
for all the ways the Lord provides for my needs and answers my prayers.
I am reminded every day of how truly hard so many have it, and that instead of dwelling
on how something isn't going my way in life I should pray for them.
I feel like I could never stop thanking God for all He blesses me with...
 even if it isn't all I want it is always all I need.
I am wearing...
my light blue sweatshirt and comfy pants, settling in for a cozy night. 
I am creating...
new sketches.  I have free times throughout each day which is something I
am really grateful for, and most of the time I enjoy sketching or reading so much.
I am going...
to hopefully try out an interesting new cookie recipe tomorrow!
I am wondering...
what book I might read next.  I'm always finding new ones at the library
or on the shelves in my room that I rediscover, so it's hard to choose sometimes.
I am reading...
Tuck Everlasting and my Bible.
I am hoping...
to get to bed earlier the rest of this week than I have been.
I am praying...
about a lot on my heart lately, including for miracles and better health
for my Aunt and others I know going through trials and illnesses.
I am looking forward to...
going to Hobby Lobby this weekend!  I've been thinking about it since
Monday ;)
I am learning...
how much I realize I miss things that I come back to after awhile.
Hobbies, books, everything that delights my heart that I may have gotten distracted from.
Around the house...
it is quiet and late and one of my favorite times of day when things
are settling down into the coziness of evening- especially a Winter evening.
I am pondering...
the beauty of people. Every day, it seems like I have the privilege of running into
or meeting at least one person that says something kind or friendly
 or does something to make me smile.
I find myself thinking when they walk away what a wonderful person they must
be to get to know just based on what they seemed like.
A favorite quote for today...
I heard this in my class the other morning, and I love it.
This is how I feel, whether teaching children or being a mother to them someday.
"I don't want my children to follow in my footsteps.  I want them to take
the path next to me and go farther than I ever dreamt possible".
One of my favorite things...
waking up in the morning with excitement about what is ahead
and what I can do with the day.
A few plans for the rest of my week...
Study a lot, bake , hopefully finish the book I'm reading,
go grocery shopping together, and spend time with my family.
A peek into my day...
This is actually from this past Friday, but I wanted to share it
because I think I myself am still in disbelief that we actually got some Winter weather.
It snowed!  It wasn't thick snow, but it was still exciting!  And freezing!
Almost everything was canceled since no one can drive in the snow and ice and we just
stayed home snuggly indoors with the fire on.  What a great day.
If you are used to getting feet of snow, this probably is funny to you! 
Haha, but down here this is a big deal.  Several Winters usually pass between even
one snow day. 
This was by the path to our door,
 one of the places the snow was a little thicker on the ground.
Thank you for reading my Daybook thoughts.
 I hope y'all are having a blessed week! 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Faithful Friday!

Prayer is my lifeline.  Of all aspects of my faith, I think that it is the most deeply rooted part of my aim to follow the Lord and grow closer to Him everyday.  When I pray, I feel like I am in the arms of my Father with His arms around me protecting me and like I am in the best place I could be- whether I have something bothering me or I want to give thanks.  But sometimes I know that I am so tired or anxious about something that I feel like I have no words to pray.  This quote reminds me of how beautiful it is that we can actually just let our prayer flow straight from our heart if we can't think of exactly what we want to say: heart without words.  It is better to do that than pray in a way that our heart is not truly in it.  He reads whatever feelings or burdens or thoughts that may be in our heart.  I am so overwhelmed and comforted to think about how God so lovingly sees that sometimes we are too physically or mentally hurting or tired out that we can't come up with words... and that makes me think of the truth in this quote.

Growing up, I was always told how much it means to always pray from the heart.  I am thankful for knowing the importance of that, but perhaps even more I am grateful to know that God loves us so much that He listens to the prayers we don't even speak but that come from our thoughts and hearts alone.  How amazing it is to know that we never have to feel that God is not near to us just because we can't muster up the right words to tell Him how we feel in prayer.

"The Lord is near to all them that call on Him, to all that call on Him in truth."
Psalms 145:18

Blessings to you!

Have a wonderful day!

.          .          .

I am participating in Faithful Fridays with Joy on her blog, Doodlebug.  Click here to join her link up and read her inspiring posts on faith.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Day Of Exploring

Earlier this month, I got to do some daytrippin'
to a town I go to every so often.  You may have seen that I have shared
a few posts about it before.  I guess it is just a place that has a charm that I get lost in
and it inspires me to takes lots of photographs when I go for the day.
The time I spent there this last time, however, was a little bit different.
I went with one of my closest, oldest friends.  It was so much fun!
I missed her so much... 
It had been over two years since
we had seen each other!  The last time I saw her was actually
when I had to leave and we walked separate ways the day we graduated.

The reason this trip was different for me is because we
walked around and explored almost everything we saw. 
When I go with my family, we usually just go to the restaurant there and
to the antiques shop to look around, which I love.  But this time I got to see
a lot more of the behind the scenes things, go inside more buildings, see
more of the history and walk the land, find new places to take in off the beaten path,
find interesting things to photograph, and just explore and take our time.

I will never pass up a day spent this way.

Here are the photos I took that day.

Early in our day, we had wandered a ways from the
center of the town and were walking around near a lodge and some cabins
right on the river.  It was beautiful, with the porches and Oaks and this lovely windmill.
Being Southern girls, we couldn't help but enjoy the views.

Walking along a very historical part, we saw this neat old "Little House on the Prairie"-like
covered wagon.

We spent a long time in front of this building.  It was just so Southern and dripping
with classic charm.  It is a Bed & Breakfast.  I have seen it when we go, but
this time got to stare at the amazing wrap around porches and even go inside!
On the main floor, we entered a room with a mini sitting room and art gallery of the most
beautiful paintings of all kinds of scenery, including gorgeous bluebonnet fields.

The spire and railings just amazed me with the beauty of their architecture.
The railings and the trim and porch brackets reminded me of lace.
The whole house just looks to me like something from a storybook.
Staring up at it, I could imagine sitting on the upstairs porch sipping tea and reading a book
on a breezy Spring day.  Heaven.

I'm sure this wonderful wrought-iron fence has a lot of history to it.
I wonder if it is the same fence that has bordered the house since it was built
back in 1872.

Looking at old photos and postcards is one of the most amazing things.
It feels like you're stepping back in time when you read them and it's a special
thing to read what someone wrote to their friend or family member while they
were on vacation or whatever it may be.
This one was post-marked 1901.

You can't go to this antique store without seeing shelves and shelves and more
shelves of boots.  I like to think about who might have worn them, or
if they were worn to a rodeo or by a real cowboy sometime in the past.

This photo turned out "antique" looking itself.
We found this neat sign and posed with it, because there is nothing more fitting
than standing by antiques, holding an antique sign, in an antique store, haha.

An amazing fabric interior trunk.
It looked so worn and aged, yet still kept it's beauty.
I looked at it as I stood by it, admiring it, and thought about the lady who owned it.
She may have kept all her keepsakes in here, or maybe blankets she made?

The most interesting spoons.  I have no idea how old these
are, but I think they must be very old because of the the pictures in them.

So incredibly ornate and lovely.  I love this antique cash register.

Another neat item.  This vintage hat box and gloves must have been owned
by a very lady-like woman.  That hat was so delicate and pretty.

Just like a real, old store window.

A part of the day that was welcome after our exploring and photographing...
Lunch on the river.
It was a little chilly and drizzly, the perfect day to sit at the table right in front of the fire.

After a yummy lunch, we went into the historic dance hall to look around,
which was empty but still neat to see, and then did a little more walking and looking.
Here, we were about to go inside the General Store and ice-cream counter.
Everywhere you turn, there seems to be something vintage, like this sign.

The old worn floor inside.

 The river.
We stopped to take photos and admire the gorgeous river.
Even in Winter time, it was still beautiful, with an emerald gleam and even some tiny rapids.
And just up the hill is where we had eaten earlier.

It was fun to get in a lot of photos, all the while listening to the water running
between and over the rocks, moving along downstream.

If you have ever read "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", this is exactly
what I pictured the river looking like in my mind.  A little misty, and never-ending,
with tall trees on the banks.

This was a wonderful day I am thankful we got to spend!

A friend you can laugh about the silliest things with and talk with about the "good old days"
is definitely a special treasure.
It was a blessing to see my sweet friend again and I was overjoyed to do that
and spend time here on the same day.

It's exciting to spend times like this getting to explore.  When I look back on these
photos as I write, I realize how much I fall in love with this place- and the many of the
areas I am blessed to live near- with every trip.
Because I love to explore quaint places like this, it is exciting to me to think of how
much I still have yet to see, here, and in the South as a whole.

.          .          .

 Hope y'all had a wonderful weekend & MLK day!
Everyone in our family was off yesterday, and it was so
nice to be able to have a longer weekend together :)

Have a blessed day!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Faithful Friday!

I always appreciate the elderly and the things they say because
I believe they really are so wise and so much can be learned from them.
They have a beauty to their souls that is unique and it is a joy to talk with them because
of all the wonderful treasures they have within them to share.
Every time I read a quote that talks about what matters in life, I am inspired to write
it down to look back on later.  This one in particular made me especially stop and think about how true these words are... it is a beautiful quote and one I take to heart.  Such sweet words.
In relation to faith, I thought along the lines of faith when reading this quote because
it reminded me of how this reflects God's views on our lives.  Sometimes it is hard not to get
pulled into wanting luxurious things for ourselves or doing other things that are not selfless
or maybe just getting wrapped up in our appearance.  It's so easy to care or think too much about them... being wealthy or dressing the best or being of the highest class.
None of this matters to God, so it shouldn't be of importance to us either.  Thinking of this reminds
me that God only focuses on our heart condition and our faith in Him and the goodness that comes from that within our lifetime.  At the end or our lives, those areas of our lives and the beauty of our precious memories will be the only things that will matter at all. 
Why not start now- no matter what stage of life you are in- to have this attitude about life!
And it goes farther than that- reading this also reminds me of how pure
and meaningful it is to relish in the simple things that make up importance in our lives.
We don't have to do big things to truly live, only things that give meaning to our days.
Blessings to you!
Have a great Friday and a blessed weekend!
.          .          .
Faithful Fridays are hosted by my friend, Joy, on her sweet and inspiring blog, Doodlebug.
Click here to visit and read her posts and even participate in Faithful Fridays yourself!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Baking, Hot Chocolate, and Sunsets: My Winter So Far

I can only imagine how dreamlike Winter is when snow is falling outside your window,
but even here in the South without snow there is something about the gray skies, drizzly days, the way the sun looks when it does comes out, and the chill in the air that makes Winter so nostalgic and lovely... like it has a special glow and coziness unlike any other season.

There are certain things that make this season what it is to me.
Spending my time around the ones I love, having more time to do things that I enjoy, and feeling at home and cozy.  This is mostly how I have spent this season so far.


This year, I had a lot of fun decorating.  I loved the feel of everything we collected to put
on our mantel and hearth this year, adding extra coziness to the feel of our home.
My favorite things we decorated with this year were vintage tins and this little
porcelain lantern house.  It glows so beautifully when a candle is lit inside,
coming out of the windows and the little chimney.
The cute snowman and the tree on the side are neat touches that made me want
 to pick this up the first time I saw it.

The handmade decorations I had fun making were these snowflakes that I crocheted.  I had gotten a ball of white and silver flecked yarn and crocheted one snowflake, and I was so excited about it that I just kept making more.  I decided to put them on the fireplace in a pattern to add some Winter cheer, and we had just enough.

Baking is the thing I could do everyday during Winter.  I am so thankful that some of the gifts my
parents got me this year were for baking.  They know me well!  I love my vintage looking red mixer and beautiful cookbooks, as well as the neat cookie press I used to make these cookies! 
This was the first time I tried it out, and it was so fun to make cookies in different shapes, from
flowers to wreaths to trees.

The wonderful free time I had over the past month was nice because I got to crochet
more.  Not quite as much as I wanted to, but I had a few new yarns that I had picked up at Hobby Lobby and got to do a scarf aside from smaller things I tried out.  It has been nice to have the chance to try to learn some new stitches and try to get better at crocheting and just enjoy it.

Other than being next to the big window in the front of our house in the beautiful
daylight, my favorite place inside to be this time of year is in front of the fireplace.
It doesn't matter what we're doing- just being there is cozy no matter what.
Something we do as a family often in Winter is play games, from cards to board games.
A night with your Mom spent watching classic movies and playing Clue is about is good
as it gets.  I love those moments, and they only got better with toasty mugs of hot chocolate
added to the picture :)

The front window.
I love sitting here because I can hear and see the birds and the light shining in is perfect.  I also love seeing the leafless trees outside, reminding me what season it is.  It is best of all sitting here in Winter because the sun is toned down... not too bright.  It's peaceful to read here, do devotions, or sketch, or pretty much anything, just taking in the wonderful quiet.

 Country sunsets!  Some of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen are during Winter.
I don't know what it is.  Maybe it's the change in the air that makes the skies different
somehow, but the colors are softer, more feathered, and brighter all at the same time.

 And most recently, I've enjoyed spending some time exploring in nearby places with my family, as well as with one of my closest friends, and visiting the beautiful river!  The river is different this time of year, with a misty, greener look to it.  No matter what time of year it is, I could stay by the river for hours, listening to it's lapping and trickling.

I feel like I get lost in the chilly loveliness of these Winter days.   Whether I'm inside or outside, there is always a joy inside me during this season.

Hoping you are having a blessed week!!

And a wonderful winter!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Faithful Friday!

This verse speaks to my heart because it answers the questions that so many wonder as they look for satisfaction and meaning in life... how to live.
It seems that many people try to set their life to be lived according to some philosophy that works for them or that they believe will give them the best way of living.  Very simply, though, the most straightforward thing we can do that can be our philosophy is to stay on the path that leads to God and do everything we can to never get off.
I thought about this as I read this verse and looked at the photograph at the same time.  I thought about how if a train veers off a track or comes off the track, it will wreck, but if it stays on the train tracks it will go on ahead smoothly.  Likewise, if we stay steering straight and stay on the tracks of faith, we "will not stumble". 
I love reading parables and metaphors that link something in real life to a message or thought about God.  This one makes me smile because it was neat finding this photograph and thinking of this verse in a way that related to it.  If we let our faith steer us, instead of other things in our lives, we can be confident that God will be deeply rooted in our hearts and will keep our steps on the right track.
Happy Friday to you!
I hope y'all have a blessed weekend!
.           .           .
Faithful Fridays are a link-up hosted by Joy on her inspiring blog, Doodlebug.  Click here to link up and read her posts!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch #9

I hope you are having a wonderful week so far!   Since it is Tuesday, I'm joining in on Ms. Patrice's porch for a Chat!  Here are my questions and answers. . .

1.  How much baking did you do before and after Christmas?  Do you get more inspired to bake when the temps are cooler?
The amount of baking I have done since about the time of Thanksgiving is probably slightly embarrassing, haha.  But, I just love to bake and try new recipes and being in the kitchen helping or doing my own recipe gives me a feeling of fun and accomplishment at the same time, and like I am doing something loving for my family and anyone visiting.  I baked around 10 batches of cookies in December and a few cakes in between.  I have been experimenting with different cookie recipes and have had so much fun with it.  One of my favorites was chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips!
In answer to the second part, I definitely am more inspired to bake in Winter.  The main reason I think of is that in the South, when it is Summer time everything is so hot that you don't have a lot of energy.  In Winter, though, with the chillier weather, I feel more alive and have energy to bake warm pies and cookies and cakes.  Baking in the cooler weather is also my favorite because whatever you make is not only delicious, but makes you feel warmer and cozier.

2.  Do you have any food intolerances or allergies?
Not that I know of.  I am very thankful for that, because it would be hard to have an allergy to something delicious.  A few people I know are allergic to peanut butter.  That would be hard.

3.  When was the last time you were in a restaurant?
The last restaurant we were in was Chili's in the next town.  We went because we had just gotten a gift card for a meal there from my sweet Aunt.  It had been awhile since we had eaten there.

4.  What's your favorite accent(speech)?
I love how Italian sounds when spoken, and European accents overall are beautiful. I think my favorite accent, though, would be Irish.  I love how unique it is.  It's fun to try to speak that way, too.

5.  My favorite                        is                        .
My favorite feeling is being at home with my family this time of year and enjoying good meals, moments, and laughing together.

Those were my answers for today.  Click here to take a seat on the porch swing and join in, as well as visit the ladies participating in the Farmhouse Chat today.

Blessings to you!

I hope you have a beautiful day♥

Friday, January 3, 2014

Faithful Friday!

I LOVE this beautiful outlook on life and trials.  Seeing trial and hardships in life as the climb, and rising above them and getting through them to the good things as getting to the top to see the view waiting for you!

The only terms to truly think of this in is in faith and trusting God to see you through.  Sometimes it's hard to trust God in all things just because of our nature.  I know it is often my greatest prayer that God will help me to trust Him in everything completely.  The Lord is always there with us through the climb of life and the climb of every specific hardship, but it also helps us mentally and spiritually to keep our faith and never break if we keep in mind that the trial never lasts forever!  There is always a beautiful view somewhere ahead.  And we can trust He'll see us through to make it to that view.

We can, then, see the tough patches in life like they are mountains... whether it be a health problem, finances, or anything that causes us stress or heartache.  Sometimes they may be tough, rugged, huge mountains and sometimes they may be smoother hills, but with each difficulty there is always a climb.  Likewise, we also always reach the top if we trust God to get us there. 
Remember that no one who climbs a mountain climbs forever; there is always a peak.  And when we get there, a breathtaking view is awaiting us. In writing this, I am reminded of times we have hiked the mountains of Colorado.   A mountain climber may be exhausted when they reach the top, but it was all worth it to reach that point where they get to rest and take in the view. 

We can't give up.  If you feel like giving up, trust that God will give you the extra strength to climb out of your trials and to the top of it.  Faith is believing that saying that God doesn't give us more than we can handle, despite what we think we can handle.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1: 2-4
Have a wonderful weekend!
.          .           .
Faithful Fridays are hosted by sweet Joy on her blog, Doodlebug.  You can read her beautiful and inspiring posts and her Faithful Friday post for this week, here, or link up yourself.
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