Welcome, 2016

It's almost a brand new year.
And as always, will most likely hold surprises.
I am praying they are God-led surprises,
as those are the best kind. 
Isn't this the cutest idea for January?!
I found it on Pinterest and it's pretty and easy.
(My favorite two words with crafting!)

Be safe if you go out New Year's Eve.
Us? We'll be home watching the Tide!

Christmas 2015

 Praying yours was filled with His blessings and the
remembrance of a King that came to earth
in the form of a baby that lay in a lowly manger.
He grew, was tortured and killed by his own.
When he arose and ascended into Heaven,
he carried our sins with him
to lay at the feet of God, his Father.

Our Christmas was a nice one, a quiet one,
a day that began with heavy water fall,
startling lightening flashes, and flooding. And
ended with dinner at a daughter's home, a warm bowl of soup,
fresh from the oven cookies, and the giggles of grandbabies.
Now one begins to think of Winter and its barrenness.
Happens to be my favorite season. My very favorite!
I pray you and yours are safe, warm and grateful ~
for with all the ugly in Life, He sends gifts.
Blessings as we head toward a brand new year ~

2 Chronicles 7:14

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV

"In the midst of our nation's struggles, crippling hurts and confusion, I lift our leaders (good and bad) to You in prayer for guidance and help. Grant us a Godly pulse beat, aligned with Your will and direction. Give us Christian leadership. Revive us spiritually. May we regain the standards we have so carelessly thrown away and once again become one nation under God. 

Cleanse our sins and heal our land, I pray. Deliver us from drugs and violence. Help our people who love You to step forth and speak out for what is right. Help our schools, our teachers, our children to keep setting new goals, dreaming new dreams, and aiming high.

Wrap Your arms around our dear country's young people and dry their tears. Lead them toward a future that is good and true. Help us to go forth as a nation, to be an example to the world, by Your love and grace.

Most of all, Lord, may I do my best to help. May the love,  kindness, and dedication begin within me.

In Jesus name, amen."

~ taken from 'When I'm On My Knees, Daily Devotional Journal by Anita Corrine Donihue, Nov 29'

I had to share this, dear readers, for it's what's been on my heart and I couldn't have said this better. Surely God inspired this Christian. I have used this devotional journal since last year and each day it becomes what I need to be reminded of. His way of letting me know how to pray, what to pray for, that He is near, in control, cares and will always fulfill His promises. I know today is not November 29 but I was going back thru pages I'd starred and His Spirit stopped me here. I pray it reaches your heart and soul as it has mine. Join me in continuing to pray for our country, our leaders and as Ms. Donihue said, let it begin with me. With us. God bless America.

Autumn Is Still UP?!?!

Yes, Autumn is still up in our household. Horrors!! That's only happened one other time, and we like to forget that December. However, we have been busy with various things you care nothing about, that with my memory I'd have to go get my calendar to fill you in. Yeah, that kind of crazy busy.

And I had to, HAD TO, finish painting the hall. The back hall that I've been working on since, well, since last Autumn. I think. Pretty sure. So I was determined not to put up Autumn and pull out her Christmas dress until that hall was painted! And trimmed! Trimmed twice, as a matter of fact. I had no idea how marked up doors, facings, and baseboards get marked up! Man!

I would post pictures to prove to you, but they're the same ones you have already seen {Rolling Eyes font} like in, September, maybe?!?! But I CAN show you some ideas I plan to implement next week! Because I plan to finish painting the hall this weekend! Drag out the HuGe container that holds Autumn and clean the house. Then, I can begin unpacking closets and boxes and containers and make the Hood go up in the attic for the greenery and wreaths. Aaaaaah, makes me happy just thinking about it.

Oh, and this year I get to add the pieces I bought from Southern Born hand crafting!! You can find them by clicking on the name or going to septemberbornshop.etsy.com. We love the pieces we've purchased and he is making us a customized dining room table, so yes, I highly recommend them. I'll be sure to point what I purchased once this house is dressed in her finery. (Oh, I miss the icons. I could use a Christmas tree one right now!)
 I plan to try this for the buffet table in our breakfast room.
Already collecting the older bibles that have been passed
down and other small hymnals.
And I'm thinking this for the mantel.
Not the usual silk greenery I use or the ribbon,
but I love the natural look of it and it'll go
through Winter well.
And this photo down here?!
I'm a child of the King and I love that He gave
me a love for snow and cardinals. This photo, found
on Pinterest, says it all. sigh ~ 
blessings to you and yours.

Bits & Pieces

Life can be complicated. Easy. Hard. Complex and, yet, there's always someone or something that causes me to smile. It's usually then that I remember the One that formed me also set the stars in the sky and knows me better than I know myself. We all have our hurts, pain, and memories we'd love to forget. But along with those are the tender, precious, beloved memories we pray not to ever let slip from our minds. This past year has brought many emotions, along with finding more about life, God, and the sifting of friends I've known for decades and some I've only met the last few years. Each special in a season of my life. Some have gone on. Some have stayed. Some have backed off for one reason or another. It's Life. And it's expected.

He never backs off. We do, but He doesn't. He's always there, waiting for us to call upon Him to praise Him, need Him, or just want to rest within His love. I am a very thankful child of a very loving King. His Spirit teaches me and helps me understand so that forgiveness comes easy. Life is good, as long as I'm closely aligned with Him. Aaaaannnddd, He knows just how much I love

SNOW! It snows very little where we live. (Did I say 'very'?) We see more ice. Maybe it will snow this year?! Probably NOT. So, with that, here some photos of past snows, sweet babies and memories from the heart ~

snow covered rooftop
Our home, January 2008
Snow! On Christmas Day!
Oh, sweet 'laina. Barely three years old.
My princess.
A trip to Gatlinburg in February 2009. Snow, snow, snow!
The smile is genuine.
And at The Park in March '09!
I was in heaven. Beautiful.
giggling over Nelson and John
Back in the 'burg, Fall 2010, looking for snow and finding it.
And blessed with another baby girl ~
sweet babygirl & her daddy
ElleBelle was headed toward her second birthday here with her Daddy.
Our Mississippi babies
We moved to the Coast in 2011, so there was sand.
Not snow. But we got some Winter loving.
They got snow and so did Gulf Shores! What excitement!
The beaches were covered with snow and ice.
It was also the first time I learned that hearing pinetree limbs cracking
and falling off the trees was NOT fun! It meant clean up.
 We were blessed with a new grandson.
Sweet Owen celebrated his first birthday that Spring.
Snow and a first birthday within months of each other.
Another decade for me this year
and the hopes that it WILL snow before 2016.
It does NOT look like it'll happen, but one can hope!
~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~
Have an awesome week, snow or no snow!!

I'm in Love ~

on december first, i consider winter to be here!!
i love winter, with autumn a very close second.
praying you've had a great two day start for the month
and check back for tablescapes, recipes, decorating tips
and beautiful free printables. along with christmas hymns
and poetry. i love it. i just love this season. hello, dear december!

A Week of Thanksgiving ~

we are truly thankful for God's gifts, mercy & grace
not our mantel but isn't this easy to copy & says it all
again, pinterest with oodles of beautiful tablescapes
this came from my board titled 'thanksgiving'
this sweet pup caught my eye on my way to my board
the photo didn't lead to a breeder of aussies but i'd love one
may you have a blessed week
filled with love, laughter, and reasons to feel blessed
in my darkest days, i've always found at least a handful
to say, 'thank you, father'
we all have that many and more ~

oh, in love with autumn

oh. i am so in love with autumn
and i love to waltz thru pinterest and dream
like today, like now
with this adorable house
it would be mine
#13 would be the home of a sweet older lady
who would keep delicious smells wafting in and through
our shared porches and patios
yummy simple meals

i live next door, behind the green door
and i bake desserts to go with our meals together
but today is a great day to wander
i wonder how long it has been since a train traveled these tracks
what did the passenger cars look like
were there more people going home or visiting family
oh, what beauty they had from their windows
when i was younger, my family traveled on the hummingbird
from central florida to montgomery alabama
it's a heart memory i hold close
walking home, d i notice i need to clean up the table
site of our impromptu meal last night at dusk
much loved linens on the table and mismatched pieces
we toasted to cooler weather
the beauty of our God's painting
and to each other's continued good health
my sassy greeted me at the door with kisses
lots of kisses and snuggles
sweet pup, we have a mutual admiration and love
 they imprint forever on our hearts
just ask anyone that's loved and lost
it hurts forever
we'll cuddle up in my cloud, get cozy, maybe
revisit the beauty of today and its' blessings
drift off in mounds of softness
and mushy pillows
until tomorrow's light peeps in

do you dream
i always have
i believe that dreams of tomorrow
become the realities of today
so hold on to dreams
they do come true
have a blessed week, a thanksgiving time of
remembering your blessings
heart memories
and feel free to use these two free printables.

How Do They Thank Them?

And a post from 2013 ~
How do we thank them? Are there words enough to express our heartfelt gratitude? There are ways to show them. Never walk by one without acknowledging them. Never. They exist. And because they do, we still do. Buy them a meal without letting them know. Just leave a 'thank you' at the register. Teach your babies they are to be appreciated and respected. Join with your congregation with the shoebox and Christmas boxes being sent to the deployed. Sign up with The Wounded Warriors or another group that actually helps those returning and needing help with physical, emotional and/or mental issues. PTSD is real. And that's not the most serious they suffer from or with. They have this household's prayers each day, several times a day. I'm proud of those that fought for our freedom from the British, the War of 1812, the Spanish War, the Civil War Between the States, in WWI and WWII with Germany and Nazi Germany. My father in the Korean Conflict against North Korea. Three nephews that proudly served in the Air Force, the Marines and one currently serving in the Navy. I'm very proud of them and pray for them so often and for their family as they await to hear a voice on the phone.

It's November! And I'm In Love ~

oh, how i love autumn
and oh, how i await november
i'm in love!
with the colors of nature
the cooler temps
crisp mornings
hot chocolate & biscuits with jam
i love november {swoon font}
you can find all of these on my pinterest board
titled appropriately, thanksgiving, of course
and the link to my pinterest page is on the right bar
follow me! i have lots of boards with oodles of things
that grab my heart, make me hungry, prick my wanderlust
send me in search of a good book or movie
and lots and lots of ideas for the seasons,
and the holidays, and birthdays, and parties.
well, go check it out. follow the boards you like!
i have several weaknesses but one of them
is collecting dinnerware.
especially dessert and salad plates to compliment
the solid plates i've had over the years
i just never seem to have enough
enough room, that is, to store them!
and in downsizing i lost wonderful storage
so one has to get creative {wink font}
you never know where you'll find treasures
for the seasons and holidays around this house!
but i do {smiling font}
i'll be back with tablescapes and yummy recipes
vignettes that are easy but gorgeous
wreaths that, well, i find buying them and embellishing
them is easier than beginning from scratch!
so y'all come back. in fact, go over to the right side
and follow me! it so easy and you won't miss a post!
blessings for an awesome week ~

It's Halloween!

Dress up those caramel apples!
Too cute! 
Easy banner guaranteed to delight ~ 
Have a safe and candy-filled Halloween!

Here's a popular post if you're thinking of changing your background for the season! Have a great weekend and please pray for those in Texas that have had too much water and wind. It's to be 100% rain and wind here tomorrow but not in the excess Texas received. Nature can be beautiful but brutal. Be safe. Laugh. A lot! And remember His many gifts and blessings in your life.

A Few Tablescapes For the Season

Oh, how this makes me feel like we will be with a grandmother. Peaceful and neutrals. One of my favorite color themes. And I love love love the table! You can find this photo and more about her style and home here! I couldn't find this particular photo but I didn't have much time this morning looking. However, I DO intend to add her to my blog list and keep up with this blogger!
Another one of my favs is Stone Gable. Click and go see her eye candy design sense. I have these leaf dishes and love them. Now, if I could find the white set. Oh my downfall. Dinnerware!!
Like me, she loves to decorate for all the seasons and holidays. Although, I have to admit I don't decorate as I did when the babies were at home and the grands were young. I still decorate enough that the mister grins and patiently helps me bring it all out, but I'm finding as we downsize that less is more.
On Stone Gable's far right bar, scroll down and you'll see where you can be redirected to her Fall Tours. Have fun! Take notes!! Leave her a comment. Bloggers 'heart' comments!
Need an elegant Fall tablescape? Inessa Stewart's Antiques can help you set it up and be ready to impress! Good food, great friends, conversation that ebbs and flows with laughter, memories of times past ~ sigh. Perfect time together.

I remember well our Thanksgiving meals in the past, meals on Autumn Sunday afternoons after worship, and how the heart still remembers with clarity the ones present, the ones that have gone on, the little ones that began gracing us with their births. Life is a precious circle of those that have been, that are, and that will be. Make the most of these times, my friend. Time is fleeting and moments pass. The heart remembers and for this, sweet Father, I am most grateful ~

August Yummies ~ Sweet Side

House of Hawthornes has a yummy Autumn sweet side to compliment your menu! Finding it on Pinterest, I knew it would be easy, a MUST, and yummy, a REAL MUST. Mr. H & I grew up with our mothers baking apples, sometimes topping it with a scoop of ice cream! A neat feature of this recipe is you can use your crockpot! Enjoy!

Ingredients ~
6 large apples (Gala's were used here)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup apple juice
1/4 cup slightly chopped walnuts AND/OR 1/4 old fashioned oats

Directions ~
Wash and core apples. Pair off a 1 inch strip of the skin around the top of the apple to prevent the apples from splitting.

Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, butter and walnuts (and/or oats) together in a large bowl and fill each apple with this mixture.

Place apples in the slow cooker and add the apple juice around the bottom of the apples.

Turn crockpot on high heat & cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until apples are soft when checked with a fork.

Serve as is or add a scoop of ice cream and caramel sauce when platting it!
I'll be back
with more Autumn recipes
guaranteed to delight

Getting Lost In a Photo

growing up and spending time at my grandparents
there was a creek, much like this, that ran down
behind the two front pastures. there used to be an old
homestead there, for flowers grow that wouldn't
normally be there ~ and before that, an indian village.
we used to find arrow heads and old pieces of pottery

it was a creek my grandmother and i would hike up
our pants legs, she her dress and apron, and walk until
we met the dirt road on one end of the pastures.
we'd sit on the sand and watch what floated down.
leaves, sticks, sometimes turtles would venture out
and always crayfish and little bitty fish

as i grew older and commissioners worked and reworked
the dirt road, the creek became muddier and filled
with waste and trash from man. beavers built a dam.
the land, no longer kept back by my grandfather,
began to encroach upon the creek banks and the creek
became smaller.  i grew older, and no longer small

there are times we wish childhood could last longer
that memories could whisk us back just one more day
one more walk, one more hat made with daisies
but then, to do that, we'd lose part of today
and that would be a tragedy

for today are tomorrow's memories and i 
wouldn't miss this season we are now in
with it's vibrant colors and cooling temps
letting us know that a season is on it's way
that will slow us down and create a quiet
sense of hibernation, the time of rest

the creek will ice over, weeds will die, and quiet
will be broken only be a cracking icy branch
and the memories of my youth will remain
as vividly as the colors of autumn, all i have to do
is close my eyes, lift my face to the breeze
and let my mind roam back. and back. and back.

In Love With a Headboard

i'm in love with a headboard
i am still in love with the one the mister built
shown here, from pinterest
we chose not to put post tops
but i love the way it turned out.
until i saw the one with the old doors.
i think i need to talk to the mister
about using that idea in one of the guest rooms!
now that's an idea {smile font!}

SEC and The Tide

I love SEC Saturdays.
In front of the TV, sometimes
flipping back and forth to catch games.
But when the Tide runs onto the field,
noone, NO ONE, touches the remote.
Except to run the volume up.
I love the SEC and I love
the University Alabama
Crimson Tide.

~ from The Letter Writer ~

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