Jul 21, 2017

For The Love of Lamp Lights - The Purple Iris


Good morning, friends!  Hope you have had a great week!  The whimsical lamp light shared today is from a local store, The Purple Iris. Hope your weekend has has whimsy!


Look up!


Jul 19, 2017

Anniversaries and heartaches and transitions

And it in a seeming blink, we just celebrated 29 years.  I mean how can it be that I got married the same year I was born?!?  Seriously though, don't the years just fly by? From young love to marriage to children grown and living on their own, to caring for my dad in our home, to just the two of us in a very big house.  You see, we are in a time of transition.

Transitions are not always easy; but transitions are necessary.

Are there any of you out there who have already navigated this season of the empty nest? Anyone who has loved and survived well? Any tips, pointers, words of wisdom?

Not all those words in this post title seem to go fluidly together; but it is an honest title for this post and for the week and for me.  It's been an interesting week... And it's been an interesting 29 years.  We have had good times; but we have also had heartaches and are now in a season of transition.

This last week, I lost my laptop of 5 years to a dousing from a cup of spilled water. All it took was one spilled glass... Did I have my laptop backed up? No... I have purchased a new laptop and have had the old hard drive removed and my non-techie self is going to try and recover the lost computer. I feel lost without my pictures.  I wanted to show you a picture from our wedding, so I will post a link here to another anniversary post With A Cute Little Picture

So today is just a short post because:

Anniversary
Trip
Twenty nine years!

It's our 29th anniversary.
Love and my man, are still a mystery -
It's our 29th anniversary!

As we encounter the empty nest,
I pray we are favored and blessed.






Jul 17, 2017

Trim Healthy Mama Giant Blueberry Baked Pan Cake

Good Monday morning, friends! I hope you had a relaxing weekend!  I'm starting this week off with another fabulous Trim Healthy Mama dish.  I have made this Giant Blueberry Baked Pancake several times over the last two weeks and have eaten it for breakfast, lunch and dinner meals. It is delicious! I usually add fresh blueberries to the top and homemade sugar free syrup...mmmmm!

It is considered an E meal - energizing!  It is easy to make and I had not tried it because it had cottage cheese in it...  As much as I like cottage cheese, I couldn't imagine putting it in a recipe to bake...well, I was wrong.  This giant pancake is delicious! There is enough in the 9x13 pan for six generous servings!




Jul 14, 2017

For the Love of Lamp Lights - Southern Market

Good morning! Happy Friday to you!  I hope you have had a good week.

While waiting for scheduled maintenance to be completed on my car, I did a whirlwind of fun errands which included looking for lighting for the dining room and breakfast room.  Have I mentioned that I really enjoy lamp lights?!?



I hope you find what you are looking for this weekend!

Look up!


Jul 12, 2017

Do The Thing

Good morning! I hope you are doing well. Do you ever feel like you have an army of thoughts in your head and you wonder where to start? It's kinda like looking at the to do list and trying to prioritize where to start...

What needs to be tended to today? 
What should have been done yesterday?
What needs to be taken off the list?
What could be moved to tomorrow?
Then there are all the added tasks that get penciled in throughout the day as they come from other people...

Many times with blogging, it is like that, I sit to write and it seems to go a different direction than the thoughts I'd had or, maybe it is easier to do what I've been thinking of rather than just sitting and moving with the rhythm of what I hear HIM speak.  Am I the only one out there like that? Seriously, it would be easier to share what I heard HIM say Sunday; but I believe HE gives me bread for today.  So, in keeping with not wanting to eat stale bread, I make it to the keyboard and start typing, hesitating because sometimes it's easier to share what you have already been mulling over, than to share fresh bread.

So here is the funny story that is prompting today's thoughts:

Last week, as we made spur-of-the-moment plans to have friends over for dinner because the rain was spoiling our original plans, the friend suggested a cook-off, and I immediately responded: "No way! You already have Betty Crocker in your name and I will go ahead and send you the prize because that is one contest I am not even going to enter!" We laughed, and our friends brought over so much delicious and wonderful food for dinner, it made hosting super easy!  Good friends are blessings.  Good friends that have Betty Crocker in their name, make the evening delicious too!

So, over the week, I've thought about how quickly I responded to her joke about having a cook-off. And the thought has crossed my mind about how easily and quickly I can dismiss some thoughts that I have when faced with challenges.  Now granted, my life is not a dinner party, cook-off, get-together-with-my-friends-everyday-party.  There are tough days. There are decisions to be made. There are situations to address.  There are people and problems and issues.  There is self and sin and the pull of the world.

But, I believe GOD has tucked dreams and thoughts in my heart, and they are GOD sized dreams and hopes and thoughts.  Do you have dreams and hopes that you feel have been tucked in you? Those thoughts that come across your heart and mind that you know that you did not put there.  They are too big, too bold, too grand for you. Or at least that is what I hear when I think about the possibility of moving forward on some of the hopes and dreams of my heart.  I can hear my response spill from my lips as fast as I responded to my Betty Crocker friend: 

No.
Someone else is already that.
Someone else has already won the prize.
I could not compete in that arena.

Anyone else there? I do hope that you are not feeling like a pinball in an overtime game.  But friends, I feel that GOD is calling me, us, to do some of the dreams HE has placed in our hearts:

TO LIVE OUT OUR CREATIVE ART
GOD has placed hopes and dreams in our hearts.

I am challenged as I write, to place some of the thoughts, hopes and dreams that I feel that HE has placed in me, at the top of the priority, to-do list, and with my hand over my mouth that wants to give a list of excuses as to why I can't, and just say:

I am willing to do the thang.  Or thing.

And let HIM show off.  A GOD sized task can not be accomplished on our own.  Hallelujah!  Glory!

We were placed here with purpose, with reason and with intent.
And it is the enemy that tells us that we are broken and already spent.
Sisters, brothers, fathers, mothers, you have purpose, reason and intent.
From the heart of Our Father, you have been lovingly sent,
To live out your hopes and dreams!
It does not mean all will happen without a hitch or seam,
But let's be willing, let's go and do, 
What HE has called us to!

GOD, I pray today, that YOU would light holy fires in me, in us -
If we have just been a passenger on a bus, 
That we would not be looking for the easy way out,
But that we would be vessels that YOUR glory may shout!
May we accept the GOD sized task,
No matter what YOU ask.

Hallelujah!

LORD, could we just be willing to say we can't; but YOU can
Even if we can't see the how, moment-by-moment, we will follow YOUR plan.

Amen.

We desire, we long to be
A holy people that whole-heartedly follow Thee.




Jul 10, 2017

Trim Healthy Mama Chocolate Big Boy Shake


Good morning, friends! I hope you had a wonderful weekend!  My weekend was filled with wonder. Have I mentioned that I like to plan and organize? Probably, several times, right?  Well Friday evening late, Victoria invited me to Bristol to spend the day with her on Saturday until it was time for her to go to work. It was a spur-of-the-moment trip; but it was so much fun!

After arriving at her house, we drove to Abingdon, Virginia to go to a farmers market that she enjoys, and bought fruits, vegetables and fresh ground sausage for a delicious brunch meal that she baked for us while I had fun organizing her laundry room a bit.  We laughed and shopped and napped and planted lavender and had a short visit with a friend.  It was a good day.

Before I headed out the door for my short drive to Bristol, I made a Trim Healthy Mama Chocolate Big Boy Shake - it was delicious! It is considered a fuel pull meal for the plan and I must say, it is my current favorite.  I'm thinking why have I been doing this plan for six months and just now tried this delicious drink?  It does have a secret ingredient in it that is very good for you and I'm afraid if I tell you what it is, you won't want to have some with me.  Each time I've made the shake, it makes more than my glass will hold and I share it with The Salesman or Victoria or a friend who has stopped by.  The Salesman is not a fan of the drink, which means more for me.  It is delicious and nutritious!

And Victoria sent me home with a big, beautiful lavender hydrangea stem and my shake glass (washed and filled with water) became a lovely vase for the ride home!

I recommend the Trim Healthy Mama Chocolate Big Boy Shake! Yum!



Jul 7, 2017

For The Love of Lamp Lights - Willow Creek Gallery




Willow Creek Gallery

My birthday celebration season officially ended yesterday... I have the BEST friends ever! For the week before my birthday and for exactly two weeks after, I have been celebrated by friends and family.  It has been such a fun time to spend with those whom I love.  My mother loved to celebrate people and holidays and I have carried on that tradition with my friends and family and I just want to say it was fun! All to often I get caught up in the everyday routine and my to-do list and I love to take time to enjoy life. Thank you friends and family for the enjoyment this last month!   On one of my fun outings, I got to choose where to go and I introduced my friends to Willow Creek Gallery.  The owner goes to France and selects items to fill a container and sends it back to his store to sell the goods.  It is not a fancy store, it is more like a warehouse; but I so enjoy the beauty there. I'm looking up and forward to the year ahead.  I hope you are too.

Happy weekend!

Jul 5, 2017

Fireworks

Good day after the 4th of July to you! I hope that you had a wonderful holiday celebrating the independence of our nation.  Our day included family, friends and fireworks.  It was a good day and I find myself filled with Thanksgiving, reflecting on the glorious beauty displayed in the sky last night. My friend picked (what happened to be front row seats for the fireworks display), even though we arrived after hundreds of others! The display was filled with beauty. And the pictures do not even give an accurate description of the fireworks.  My favorite were these golden fireworks that first exploded big, and then secondly, smaller golden circular bursts would appear and then, over and over in a quick and succinct fashion:









The sky was peppered with circles of gold...
It was a lovely sight to behold

And then I feel my heart,
Tending to it's poetic art:

Bang!
The blasts are insane.
Such beauty in the sky -
Only for a moment then they fly,
Away...
For another 365 days.
Away...

There is such glory
In our nation's story.
Such glory.
To a GOD who gives freedom
And invites us openly to HIS kingdom.

Freedom

Is in and through, HIS Kingdom.

The spectacular explosion,
That comes to HIS chosen.
To break bonds,
And help us move on.
HIS kingdom lasts more than one glorious night,
And promises eternal life.

Why would we choose what is earthly, the fleeting?
When eternity with HIM we will be living and meeting?
We have choices.
We hear dual voices.
We have choices.
To celebrate
Or delay, and find HIS better way.

I don't know where you are today or even what you are facing; but I do know that the enemy fights hard to speak his lies to us and if we allow the lies to settle in our belief system, we will be prone to abandon HIM.  I know this is true daily in a battle I fight with food. I hear others talk of it - the food calls their name. It bids them to come and be filled; but there is no satisfaction in eating the bread.  I know food has called my name and I can say no to it.  You can too.  Press on dear sister.  Press in to HIM. Surround your self with Truth.  Be vigilant and pick up your Sword.

The sway of the world is beautiful and strong;
But it is wrong.

Beauty in HIS kingdom can be found
Daily, HIS creation, HIS SPIRIT, HIS WORD, speaks and abounds.
Though I enjoy a magnificent display,
I want HIS glory in the every single day.

Work YOUR holy fire in me.
Let my life be a display for others to see.
Not just once a year;
But daily, Abba Dear.

Put YOUR fire and YOUR holy desire in me
Yes, and amen LORD, let it be.



Jul 3, 2017

Trim Healthy Mama Creamy Grains

Good morning!

I've just discovered the joy of soaking my oatmeal... I love doing prep work ahead for any meal anyway and love the creamy texture that it brings! I've read of the nutrition and digestion helps too. And even The Salesman, who I would consider an oatmeal skeptic because he believes he ate oatmeal to often in his formative years, likes this.  Yes, indeed!

But, just to keep it real this morning, he is having leftover pizza while I enjoy my creamy grains.

I pre-soak with an equal amount of old fashioned oats and water and then add a couple teaspoons of apple cider vinegar.  You must try it. In my opinion.

Happy Monday.




Jun 30, 2017

For The Love of Lamp Lights

Happy Friday to you!  I hope you have had a wonder filled week!

The picture I'm sharing today I had to take with the Salesman's phone because I dropped mine in a bowl of Golden Chana Soup.... And now it is recovering in a bowl of rice! Yes, I am being optimistic!  I hope it recovers!

Anyway, I went to my first official insurance meeting with the Salesman on the very day that my licenses were approved!!!

The meeting room we went to was lovely. And of course, I had to snap of picture of the chandelier, which you can't really see the beauty of it in this picture.  But, I do find some encouragement in the picture: the chandelier in the background can be seen with clarity. Don't know about you; but if you feel like you are in the background and not being seen because of the "big light" in the center, you life and light have a clarity to them, and you are seen! You do matter! Shine, dear one, shine!

Look up!


Jun 28, 2017

He is in the Waiting









It seems that the LORD is speaking in the theme of seasons with me. Aren't you glad that seasons change? That the heat of summer will be eventually cooled by fall and then painted by winter frosts and thawed out to spring systematically. 

Fall is my favorite season. Do you have a favorite season? Are you ever in one season and truly want it to be over and the next one to arrive? Have you ever had enough of the heat, or enough of the snow, or enough of the rain and you just want it to be the next season?  I have.

Sometimes waiting for the current season to pass and the next one to come is difficult.  Sometimes when we know the next season will come, we so anticipate the new season, that we miss out on the everyday.

For me, it's like my calendar.  Planning and scheduling on my calendar is truly enjoyable to me. Like the seasons coming systematically, there is a part of me that enjoys knowing what is coming next.  Most of the time.  Now there may be items or appointments or events on the calendar that I don't anticipate myself; but it is at least comforting to know that they are coming.

But what about the unknowns? What about the accidents, trials and surprises that come in a particular season and seem to come with the force and repetitiveness of ocean waves? What about the loneliness? What about the hurtful words spoken? Or the words that you wish would fall upon your ears?  What about the phone calls in the middle of the night?  The estranged relationships? The situations you don't understand?  The phone call from the doctors office?  The waiting while surgery is done?

HE is in the waiting.

We are never, ever alone.

HE has a heavenly calendar that holds all events - the ones we have scheduled and anticipated and the ones that seem to come from nowhere.

But, HE, who is The Who, knows where and why and how and what.

Hallelujah!

LORD,

Lately, I seem to be doing much waiting,
Hoping, dreaming, and anticipating.
Help me to see you in today.
Help me with the unforeseen along the way.
I so enjoy the beauty of this current seasons blooms;
But do not enjoy when a dormant season looms.
YOU are in the every single day.
Help me to anticipate waiting with YOU along the way.
My bent is to schedule and plan,
And YOU know, I long to understand.
But, until, or if I ever do,
I want to wait, in peace, with YOU.

Amen.


Jun 26, 2017

Trim Healthy Mama Crumb Cake

In January I started a new healthy lifestyle called the Trim Healthy Mama plan. Have you heard of it? Have you tried it?  My oldest daughter, Audra Elizabeth, introduced me to the plan during the time she and her husband lived with us. Most evenings after our dinner, and just when I got the kitchen cleaned up, she and her husband would start making their dinner. Oh, the glorious smells that would waft through the house as I got ready for bed. And when I'd try what they made, it was good, and was told that it was good for me, too.

Having lost weight years ago, and feeling like I am always mindful of where I've been, and knowing that I didn't want to go back there, I knew some choices in the area of eating needed to change.  I was feeling tired after eating carbs at lunch was one reason I decided to try this new plan.  Another reason was that I felt I had a sugar addiction.  So, I started on a journey, changing some of my habits into a healthier lifestyle.

It has been six months of eating this new way and I must say, I feel better. I am by no means a pro in this arena; but I am learning much!

I am trying new recipes almost weekly.  I have enjoyed most of them. The Salesman does not always like what I make and he is certain to tell me so.

This last week I made a crumb cake from their recipe book and I must say, it was delicious when we tried it warm from the oven. And the Salesman liked it too! I will be making this one again! It tasted like a coffee cake to me and although it was sugar free and gluten free, it was not taste free!



Jun 23, 2017

For the Love of Lamp Light



 Good Friday morning to you! I hope you have had a wonder filled week. Just stopping in to share some lamp light love. On one of my birthday outings, we went to the Knoxville Art Museum and discovered a little room downstairs and the Thorne Rooms, which are among America's best known miniature diorama groups. This little room pictured was my favorite because of the lamp lights! I also thought the ironwork, architecture, stone work, and garden area were beautiful too!








Jun 21, 2017

It's a New Season



Summer has arrived! It is a new season! A season of warmer weather, days at the pool, and school is out!  Both of our daughters graduated from college on April 29th and we are beginning to embark on the empty nest season.  It seems the last few years have held more transitions than stability for me.  Can you relate to any of these events of the last four years:

Victoria went to college
My dad moved in with us and needed daily caregiving
Audra got married
I was hospitalized for the first time in 20+ years
My father was hospitalized and spent months recovering in a nursing home
Moved to a new town
Went to Africa and left part of my heart there
Turmoil at home
Pet of 13 years had to be put down
My father passed from this life into eternity

As I looked at our abelia hedge (pictured above) and enjoyed the fragrant blooms, I declare that I am ready for, and gladly welcome the new season! I noticed the fallen blooms on the sidewalk and they reminded me of fallen snowflakes (a season past), and I thought of how sometimes in a new season, a season of blooming and growing, how the eye and heart can be drawn to the old. In the picture, the blooming abelia takes up the majority of the picture; however, the focus can become the blooms that have fallen.  And it is so like the enemy to try distract us from the new and try to destroy us by convincing us that old ways are more comfortable, enjoyable, familiar, etc. than new paths.  It takes so much faith to walk out the new without fear.

How like life that is for me! The new is looming and blooming! The new is edging onto the sidewalk that I am walking and it is so evident that the new is expanding. It is as if the LORD is acting out Isaiah 43:19 for me:

"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up..."

I want to see, perceive and be aware of what HE is doing!

Don't you just love when the Ancient Words come to life in your life?
When HE, who is Faithful and True,
Becomes real and tangible to you?

When the eternal promise of reality
Is revealed to me, through what I hear and see,
I can repeat and march on:

Faith, not fear, is welcome here.
Faith, not fear, is welcome here.

A new season is upon us -
Springing up; but don't worry, lose focus or fuss,
Because HE brings the new seasons to us!

Faith, not fear, is welcome here.
Faith, not fear, is welcome here.

When the unknown and the "not yet"
Seems like what we'd like to soon forget.

Guaranteed, if HE leads us to the new
Faithfully, HE will see us through.

Hallelujah!

It's a new season!



Jun 20, 2017

The French Market

Not quite what I'd planned for A Meal on Monday; but I was treated to a meal at The French Market in Knoxville last week. Have you ever been there? It was the perfect place to eat after visiting Willow Creek Gallery and seeing what had just arrived from France.

I had the spinach, mushroom, and bacon crepe:



And we shared a cinnamon and banana with caramel dessert crepe...it was delicious!  Do you like crepes? Have you ever made them? What is your favorite?


Jun 16, 2017

Baby Girl

Wishing a very happy and blessed birthday to our oldest, Audra Elizabeth!  Celebrating her twenty-fourth birthday today! My how the years have flown by!


I marveled when you were born at the wonder of you, Audra Elizabeth.  What a wonder you still are today, lovely daughter.  Beautiful. Strong. Delightful. Caring. Compassionate. Filled with purpose.  Writer.  Deep Thinker. Editor. Musician. Leader. Doer. Boss. Patient. Humble.  Good. Kind.  Smart.

Daughters are gifts!


Jun 14, 2017

Blooms and Beauty in the Broken

Anyone who knows me, knows that I enjoy flowers. This last weekend, I went to a wedding that Audra Elizabeth directed. The lovely bride was one of the first friends my darlin' oldest made when we moved to Tennessee. It was a beautiful wedding. The bride, groom, wedding party, parents all arrayed in their finery, the ceremony, the ring bearer, the program, the grandfather participating in the ceremony... And the flowers the bride and bridesmaids bouquets were made of were long stemmed, white hydrangeas. They were absolutely gorgeous. And I shared my compliments of the flowers with my friend Kim, the bride's mother. And she asked me if I wanted some... I ended up with three Lowe's 5 gallon buckets of gorgeous white hydrangeas at my house! I felt as if I were in a flower shop. I quickly arranged three large vases and placed them in the kitchen, living room and bedroom for enjoyment.


 Then I texted friends that I had a small flower shop at my home and wanted to share with them and then the fun began as friends stopped by to visit and take the flowers home. It was so enjoyable!  I have enjoyed the arrangements and the flowers going on five days now...

I'm so thankful for Kim's willingness to share the hydrangeas with me.  The bouquets are beautiful. The blooms just glorious to me; but it was when I went outside and saw this gardenia plant in my own little garden, that I heard The LORD speak to my spirit and say:

"You can still bloom when you feel broken..."


As I looked at the scraggly plant, that obviously was stepped on at some point in its early years, and wondered why I had not removed it from the garden.  I have two other gardenia plants that are flourishing and make this one look sparse.  But the contrast was there: this plant was blooming, though broken.

Not every day do I attend a wedding. Not every day is there a big, beautiful, and showy bloom in a glorious arrangement. Truth is, many days, I feel like this broken gardenia plant. But what a beautiful truth:

"You can still bloom when you feel broken..."

Do you feel broken today? Do you feel like the realities of life have stepped on you? So many days, it is easier to focus on the brokenness, to get caught up in a harsh reality; but GOD calls us to hard situations sometimes. He calls us to suffering. He calls us to exactly where HE has planted us.  He is with us. Hallelujah.  HIS son-light shines on us, on our brokenness, on our hurts, on our disappointments.  Dear friend, I encourage you that:

"You can still bloom when you feel broken..."

May in each hardship and trial,
You search for the good and smile.
May you bloom,
Not retreat to a tomb;
But bloom.
May your roots go deep
And in your sorrow, not sleep.
Bloom, dear broken plant,
Let The LORD, tend and enchant.
Bloom when you feel broken.
Amen.









Jun 12, 2017

Hello

Hello. It's me. 

I've been so sporadic in posting it feels as if the writing desk has been covered with a sheet and the drapes drawn and the dust settled.  As an owner, I've been gone and the once active room, now dormant and vacant.  However, there is a still small voice that calls me back here.... Why? 

I do wonder why? I've gone in spurts and starts, much like a New Year's resolution that is worn out its welcome after January.  Why do I feel this draw back? Well, I believe that it's not me drawing me back; but, The One who created me. Why else would I want to come back to something that I feel like has closed down?  But, you know what? HE is all about reviving, renewal and re-do's.  

Hallelujah.  

So to the two of you who may still read here, I am back because I feel drawn back to sitting and writing what HE lays on my heart.  Life is sometimes not what we envision it to be; never-the-less, it is reality.  Do I relish sharing reality? No. But, I do want to be real. And more than that, I do hear The LORD speak to me in everyday life. I see HIM in the real, the mundane, the beauty and the profane. And then there is that rhyming thing... Yes, I hear HIM speak in rhyme.  Much of the time. I hear HIM speak in rhyme.  

I want to be a part of what HE is doing.

And there you have it. I believe HE is up to something and so, I'm walking back into the room, drawing open the drapes, pulling the sheet dramatically off the desk and getting my feather duster out to take back what has been dormant.  In my organized mind, I thought it would look like this:

Monday - A meal on Monday. I am thinking of a recipe shared here - but not today, of course! I've got to clean and the recipe I made this last week, did not taste good to me. And maybe I need to consider that this is not part of the blog plan; however, I do feel strongly about the next two points!

Wednesday - A word on Wednesday.  I think HE is leading me to share a word here on Wednesday.  I will share if HE shows up and gives me something to share. Sounds simple doesn't it? So I can put it all on HIM - LORD, if you are really calling me back to blogging, show up and share what YOU want me to share.

Friday - For the Love of Lamp Lights. I delight in the beauty I see in lamp lights and would love to just share some beauty here.

So there you have it. 

Hello.  And a plan.

LORD, 
Please help me to listen and understand,
That it appears, that coming back to this keyboard is YOUR plan.
And since YOUR will and kingdom reign,
Help me to give eternity priority, all all else disdain.
For YOUR glory,
For YOUR fame,
For YOUR beautiful, lovely, joy filled name.
Amen.