The following article came from my daily online devotional. It touched me in such a way that I pray Kelly doesn't mind that I've reproduced it here.  You can access the site here. You'll be blessed. I pray, as well, that your heart and soul will be touched as mine was as you read this today ~

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,
the new creation has come:
The old has gone, the new is here!”
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)


It was now broken, with an asymmetrical flutter to its wings that moments before lifted the butterfly in a dance around the church lawn.

The butterfly wasn’t what first caught my eye though as I stood in line to pick up my son, Alec, from a day camp for special needs children. It was the boy with autism that first captured my attention. He was tugging on the arm of his caregiver with a brawny strength, roughly pulling her this way and that.

As I watched the two in their strange dance, my heart ached for the boy just as it does whenever I see a child with autism. A familiar feeling rose in the pit of my stomach. It was the same one I felt when I didn’t know how to reach my autistic son in his younger years. I’ll never forget how hard and long the days could be.

Lost in my memories, I was more than happy when the butterfly caught my eye. As I watched it, in one quick swoop-and before his caregiver could stop him-the boy’s hand captured the butterfly in a clenched fist. She pulled it free from his grasp and I watched fragile wings fall to the sidewalk. The butterfly fluttered for a few moments before dying.

Isn’t it strange how something so simple can hit you so hard? Grief rose in the back of my throat, but I wasn’t sure what hurt me most. Was it the brokenness of a boy who longed to touch something beautiful and carefree, only to crush the life from it? Or was it the thought of how quickly something so lovely can die? The vivid scene stuck with me all night, broken wings falling to the ground.

The next morning, I walked with Alec up to the church for another day at camp. I stepped onto the sidewalk behind a little girl with Down Syndrome. Without a care in the world she sang, and when I heard the words, I stopped in my tracks:

“I am a beautiful butterfly! I am a beautiful butterfly”. With each light step, she twirled and sang this little song. I realized then what God was showing me.

Yes, Lord, I get it! These children are like that butterfly. They are full of beauty! Full of grace and wonder, and even so, they are broken. But oh, how lovely and special they are to You, Lord. And how precious to behold one single moment of the beauty that lives within them!

As a parent to one of these broken, beautiful butterflies, it is a privilege to see God carry him through painful days. And I know I’m graced to be touched by the beauty that exists in brokenness. To feel the loss of what might have been, the crush of overwhelming need, and the Divine Light that runs through it all and makes it worth our efforts.

Alec’s teenage camp buddy leaned down to greet my son with a high five and a smile. It was then I noticed the counselor’s shirts with the words “I am a New Creation” on the front and on the back was the week’s Bible verse: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Like the butterfly, we’re all broken. But, praise God, there is great beauty within our brokenness when we allow God to carry us through the pain. Better yet, we are new creatures with a future and a hope of eternity—unbroken—in Christ. One day each broken body will be resurrected to a new beauty unimaginable in this life.

Dear Lord, thank You for choosing me to love a child with a special need. Help me to see the beauty in my child through Your eyes, as a marvelous creation, beautiful and full of potential. You’ve promised a purpose and a plan for my child. Your Word tells me that You use broken individuals to do amazing things for Your glory. Help me then, Lord, to be all that my child needs me to be, as I rely on Your strength to carry us through difficult days. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

It's Coming ~

I think I'll print this out on cardstock
and frame it for one of the guest rooms.
Easter ~ it's on it's way!

Crawfish, Crayfish

If you live in Mississippi in the Pearl area, visit The Crawfish Barn! (Clicking takes you to their Facebook page.) Owned and operated by two of our sons in love, this seafood shop is quickly becoming the place to find yummy seafood and sides! Heath Taylor hatched the plan, got with Brett Green, ironed out the details, and they began making it happen. Opening Day took place just this year! Below is Brett with our Stacey and their babes~
Joining our family this past New Year's Eve, we are blessed to have Heath love our Leslie~ 
 I heard they are adding picnic tables, as customers were wanting to come and stay to eat. (Originally, it was a 'come, buy, and leave with it' type of place). The photo below isn't the best BUT it gives you an idea of what you can expect to get once you get there. When you visit, be sure and tell them you heard about their place from someone they love on Alabama's Gulf Coast.
Now that I've told you where you can get fresh crawfish in the Jackson MS area, let me share a fellow blogger's recipe for a boil. Melissa, at Made In The South, posted her recipe. I'll eat the corn and potatoes but you can have the creek shrimp. Crawfish 101 - Boiling.
"Congratulations, Brett and Heath. We are proud of you and for you. We missed having you here this month, but heard you were cooking and selling food. We plan to visit soon and have a hearty meal. Love and hugs, Nan and Pa"
"Hurry back, sweet girls, We do so love you and your families."

PS - I like to call them crayfish. Makes them sound less muddy.

Another Awesome Week

 Our daughters & grandbabies came in during the MS Spring break for a few days. The water in the Gulf was cold but not enough to stop the young. It was joy to our hearts to see the five interact.
This is Alaina ~ pure happiness, filled with life.
Then it was St. Patrick's Day!
(You can always go to Jenny's Etsy store to purchase some of the items you'll see on here!) You can also find a button for Elle Belle Designs on the right side there.
John and I explored Bon Secour Friday and found it to be a delightful, slow paced town. We stopped at The Tin Top restaurant for a late lunch and thoroughly enjoyed it. Especially the strawberry bread pudding and coffee to wrap up the meal. 
Saturday, we rode over to Fairhope to take part in their annual Arts & Crafts Festival. It is growing each year, so I'm told. This year amazed me! It was our first time but it won't be our last. So many vendors, so many beautiful items handmade from driftwood, paper, marbles,
and other items we take for granted that someone has turned into art. Of course we ate at McSharry's Irish Pub! For $12.95, a huge plate of corn beef, cabbage and new potatoes, with slaw and red onions on the side. And yes, it was good. The music was lilting, the breeze cooling, and the atmosphere straight from wanna be Ireland {wink}. We had a grand time. Thank you, Deborah, for the invite!
 Now, it's time to look ahead to Easter. This week, I'll be featuring Easter ideas across the blogging world starting with this cute garden idea. Or, as they have shown it, a cute centerpiece for a large area.
Good Housekeeping
To make this tower of treats, tape cut-to-fit craft paper around two empty 32-oz. yogurt cartons. Hot-glue an upside-down carton inside a large orchard basket, then glue a medium basket on top. Repeat with other carton and small basket. Fill with faux grass and goodies!
I love love love tablescapes, and this is no exception! Look at the way the light flows thru the glass, and the subtle hints of everything Spring ~

Have a blessed week! and I'll be on the lookout for fresh and new Easter ideas! I'm working on mine!

Repeat Daily

to yourself,
and especially,
to any little ones
that live in your home.
Have a blessed day ~

It's Almost Spring!

Strawberry Mousse Ladyfingers

Makes 8 servings

3 (3-ounce) packages soft split ladyfingers

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

1/2 cup minced fresh strawberries

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup sour cream

1 (10.75-ounce) all-butter pound cake*

1/3 cup orange juice

Garnish: 8 whole strawberries

~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place ladyfingers on parchment paper–lined baking sheets. Bake for 2 to 3 minutes, or until very lightly toasted. Set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together cream cheese, whipped topping, minced strawberries, confectioners’ sugar, and sour cream. Refrigerate until ready to use. Slice pound cake lengthwise into long (1/4-inch-thick) slices. Using a 2 1/2-inch round cutter, cut 8 circles of cake. Set aside. Cut one rounded end off ladyfingers so that they measure 2 1/4 inches long.

2. To assemble desserts, place a cake round in the center of a 3 1/2-inch ring mold. Brush inside surfaces of ladyfingers lightly with orange juice. Stand rounded end up inside ring mold around cake circle. Spoon about 1/3 cup mousse into mold. Repeat with remaining cake rounds, ladyfingers, orange juice, and mousse. Refrigerate until ready to serve. To serve, remove ring mold, and tie with a pretty ribbon. Garnish each with a whole strawberry.


A Wedding, A New Son

Our precious middle daughter was married last year.
Almost this year, as the wedding was on New Year's Eve.
I haven't blogged as much as I used to,
and here's hoping I can get back into it.
I thought I'd begin with sweet Leslie
and introducing you, by photo,
to our new son, Heath Taylor.
God is good. Always.
And He answers prayers.
Congratulations, Heath & Leslie.
We love you both dearly.

~ from The Letter Writer ~

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