Monday, October 30, 2017

Flashback Monday and October Snow

Fall style

Hey Friends!  How about a fashion flashback to a look I shared with you a year ago? I really love this off white vest with my red cowl neck sweater, jeans and slouch boots. You can check out the whole post from last year if you click here on Vest Sweater and Boots Fall Styling. I think I need to wear this outfit again soon. 

And, speaking of Fall, we skipped right to Winter yesterday! The Mr. and I could not believe it when we looked out our windows and saw....SNOW coming down! 

snow in autumn
This is what I saw out our front windows. Not a deep snow, but not bad for October! I can't remember the last October snow that actually lay on the ground.
This was the view out the back. Sorry for the screen image, but I shot the pic through the door. It was cold out there!

Since it was so chilly, it was a good day to heat up the oven and create a healthy meal. The Mr. and I are really trying to watch our eating right now so fish and veggies was on the menu for last night.
I thin sliced one potato and one green pepper and spread them out on a baking sheet. I pre-sprayed the foil with cooking spray to prevent sticking and added just a touch of pepper to the potatoes.
I topped three tilapia filets with onion for flavoring. Also pre-sprayed the foil to prevent sticking.
Just baked the fish and veggies for 25 minutes at 425 degrees and enjoyed a complete and healthy meal. Clean up was a breeze due to the foil lined pans. I highly recommend using foil on your baking sheets. And, yes, the meal would have been healthier had I used sweet potato instead of a regular potato, but I didn't have any sweet potatoes and the Mr. doesn't like them anyway. Of course, I forgot to take a photo of the meal on a plate after it was cooked, but the fish was flaky and delicious and the veggies were tender and tasty! I used tilapia from Sam's Club that come individually wrapped. I always hate trying to get the frozen fish out of those wrappers. A friend gave me a great hint: about 30 minutes before baking, take the number of pieces you want out of the freezer and place the wrapped pieces in a pitcher filled with cold water. When you cut the ends of the wrapping the fish will slide right out onto the pan. Love this tip!

How is your week going so far? Have you had any really cold weather or snow yet? Wearing vests, eating fish and veggies? Talk to me, friends! I so enjoy your comments. Feel free to pin my photos for future reference and make sure to recommend to all your friends!

Until Next Time,

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Saturday Scriptures: Praying without Ceasing

Praying With Simplicity
"Here's what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before. God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace." 
Matthew 6:6 (The Message)

Jesus has so much to say about prayer in the sixth chapter of Matthew. This is the chapter where He introduces the disciples to The Lord's Prayer. I love the wording that is used in The Message version of this text. It is clear cut and to the point; don't turn prayer into a theatrical production to impress others. Keep prayer simple. As Jesus says in verse 14, "In prayer there is a connection between what God does-and what you do." 

Last weekend I went on retreat with a wonderful group of women. We do this every year about this time and always stay at the same place. I've done a post about retreats I've been on in past years. This year's retreat theme focused on finding blessings in our brokenness and realizing that even during really tough times, God has a plan for us. Our "spiritual craft" for the weekend was to take broken bits and pieces and other odds and ends and turn them into a beautiful mosaic of some kind. As we worked on this craft, one of the women got her guitar and began to play and sing hymns. One by one, we all joined in with the singing and our voices became a choir of praise as we worked. It was a beautiful, Spirit filled time of prayer and praise through song and creativity. It was simple, and yet, oh so meaningful.

The house we stay in for retreat has a "prayer closet." It is just big enough for a small altar and a chair. There is natural light coming in from high windows and built in shelves that house artifacts that were important to the original creator of the prayer closet. The altar is simple as well; a cross and three glass candles sit on the altar table and a prayer cushion is below on the floor. I found myself drawn to this tiny space during our journaling time. I felt safe in the prayer closet, withdrawn from others with the folding pocket door shut behind me. It was just me and God there and I was able to pour out my heart before the Lord. I remarked to others in the group that I would like to create a prayer closet here at home, but I didn't have a closet for this purpose. I decided to dedicate a corner of our family room for this purpose and even created a little portable "altar" for that space. It's just a shoe box turned sideways with things inside that are meaningful to me; a cross I bought when I began studying to be a Lay Servant, a sign I painted that says "Gratitude", a ceramic dish I made with my women's group that has a leaf imprint on it, a favorite Bible verse in a small frame, a flameless candle and a beautiful lace doily on top of the box.

Now, I know that I don't need a prayer closet or a prayer corner in order to pray. I can pray whenever I want to and wherever I happen to find myself. But, somehow, having this prayer corner has helped me this past week to focus more during my prayer time. I have looked forward to going to this space, shutting myself away from everything else and spending time alone with the Lord. Just God and me, in my secluded and quiet place. 

I have needed this seclusion. A member of our extended family received a cancer diagnosis this past week. There have been tears and worry and concern for the future. It is through prayer that we find strength to cope at times like this. The admonition to "pray without ceasing" becomes especially meaningful as we wait for upcoming surgery and pray for healing. I feel God's presence walking through this difficult time with our family. Your prayers for "L" would be greatly appreciated.


*Have you ever created a prayer space in your home? Where do you like to pray? How has your weekend been? I look forward to hearing from you."

Thursday, October 26, 2017

An Evening with Author Jan Karon

A Dream Come True!

That sound you just know, the screaming? That's me screaming with excitement because I got to meet and spend the evening with my favorite author of The Mitford Series, Jan Karon! My friend, Sharon, and I bought tickets to this evening's event, held at Malaprop's Bookstore,  which included greeting Jan Karon, receiving a signed copy of her latest book, "To Be Where You Are," and hearing Jan talk about her life, books and writing. You will recall we attended another author talk at Malaprop's during the winter, when we met author, Helen Simonson. If you missed that post check it out here

I cannot tell you how gracious Jan was to talk with. She has the ability to make each person feel like they are the most important person she is speaking with at the moment. She put her arm around both Sharon and I without being asked. I also saw her hug many fans. We also got to meet her daughter, Candace, who was always close by at this event. That's her wearing the pretty scarf and blue earrings.

Candace, who is a photographer, readily agreed to take picture after picture of the fans with her mother. She also stayed close by making sure her mother had water to drink and assisting her with whatever she needed. When Jan was asked, during her interview segment, what her greatest accomplishment in life was, she replied having her child. It was obvious that Mother and daughter adored each other. Jan mentioned that her mother had passed away about a year and a half ago. Jan is now 80 years old, so her mother lived a very long life. She told a cute story of wanting to commemorate the anniversary of her mother's passing by doing what her mother used to do....hugging people and telling them that Jesus loves them. Jan went to a camera store to pick up prints and surprised the two clerks there with hugs and a reminder that they were loved. 

The crowd at Malaprop's was huge. When Sharon and I arrived the line was out the door and around the corner of the building stretching down the street with folks waiting to get into the event. The crowd was friendly and folks enjoyed talking while waiting to either greet Jan, get the pre-signed book or munch on the delicious snacks put out for the guests. I spoke to one woman who asked if I was from Asheville. We struck up a conversation and I learned that she and her husband had traveled from Florida for this event. They planned their Fall trip around seeing Jan Karon in Asheville. This same lady went on a bus tour a few years ago with other Jan Karon fans on the "Home to Holly Springs" tour.  Remember that book? Speaking of fans who came from far away, Jan mentioned one woman in the audience who had flown in from Paris for this event! Now, that is a die hard Jan Karon fan!!

Jan shared so many stories and snippets during her interview presentation. Some stories I had heard previously and some were new. She spoke of leaving her career in advertising at age 50 to move to Blowing Rock, NC to begin writing. But, she found herself unable to think of what to write. She describes lying awake at 2:00 a.m. when a vision of a short, overweight priest came to mind with a big black dog. Thus, Father Tim and his dog, Barnabas were born. I was impressed by her excitement in speaking about her characters, as if they were real people, and her writing style of waiting to see what the characters will do. It appears her writing is done without a set outline. 

The audience was allowed to write questions on index cards to be submitted for use during the interview and I was thrilled that one of my questions was chosen! I asked what her advice for aspiring writers would be. Her reply was both inspirational and challenging for me; "You have to put your fanny in the chair and write! Believe in yourself and pray about it. You can do it!"

What a wonderful evening I had!!  What a thrill to meet one of my all time favorite authors! And, how wonderful to find that she is just as gracious, lovely, kind and humorous as I wanted her to be!

Have you read the new Jan Karon book? Do you love Mitford as much as I do? What's happening in your life? Do take a moment to leave a comment. I so love to hear from you.

Until Next Time,

Monday, October 23, 2017

Pattern Mixing Stripes with Plaid

Taking A Cue From Nature on Pattern Mixing

pattern mixing

To be honest, I don't go in for pattern mixing all that much with my clothes. I tend to like to keep my clothing style classic and matching. 

But, after all, nature does pattern mixing all the time! Look at how beautiful this mix of leaves, sticks and moss looks together. So, why not take a cue from nature and pattern mix with our clothes?

For some reason, the pattern mix of the plaid of my Faded Glory shirt with my striped White Stag sweater works together for me. I like this pattern mix and have worn this combination several times recently. 

I think the pink tones blend together well and the added salmon stripes of the sweater match well with the salmon and plum tones of the plaid shirt. I think that if you want to pattern mix, the colors need to blend well and work together rather than against each other. What do you think? Are you a fan of pattern mixing or do you prefer to keep your style matching? Hope you'll leave me a comment and let me know. 

In case you haven't noticed my sidebar, I'll be offering my  "Finding Serenity" course through again in January of 2018. This two week course focuses on the complete text of the Serenity Prayer and I use a text by Trevor Hudson. You can check out the course description by clicking on my picture on the sidebar or by clicking here.  I'm also writing a new one week course entitled, "A Daily Dose of Faith, Hope and Love," using I Corinthians 13 as the text. That course will be offered in February of 2018 and I'll post the link to that course as soon as it becomes available. Cost of each course is $45 and enrollment is done through the site by clicking on "enroll." 

Want to see more of my pattern mixing? Check out my previous post about Sweater Weather. And, you know you don't want to miss a single post, so how about subscribing to Just look for the subscription sign up on the sidebar. And, don't forget to pin these photos for future reference on pattern mixing!

Until Next Time,

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Saturday Scriptures In Song

Praying Through Beautiful Music

Today, for Saturday Scriptures, I'm sharing a beautiful song via YouTube. The amazing lyrics and music, performed here by Kim Walker-Smith (Jesus Culture),  provide a worship experience that leaves me feeling the power of the Holy Spirit.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Easy Christmas Tree Craft

Quick and Easy Christmas Crafts

felt Christmas trees

I know, I know.  It's only October and I'm talking Christmas, right?!  Truth be told, though, I created this craft awhile ago and I figured that folks might need to find a quick, easy craft that they can work on now so it's ready by Christmas decorating time, which isn't that far away! Folks, this is a truly easy Christmas tree craft that is right up this girl's alley! I love quick gratification and these Christmas trees are ready in an instant. I started by using stiff, sparkly felt squares in dark green and hand drew the tree outlines using a black permanent marker. After cutting out the trees I glued on colorful buttons using various sizes. A hole punch at the top for ribbon or a hanger and these ornaments are ready to hang on the tree!

I made five of these ornaments and plan to hang them on my "homespun" tree which I decorate each year with ornaments that are either homemade or look homemade. Each felt ornament is a little different, either in size or shape because I hand drew them. I think they will make a nice addition to my homespun tree. 

Here's a look at my homespun tree from a couple of years ago. Check out that post to see more Christmas decor!

Would you like to make these easy Christmas tree ornaments? Here's a recap of the supplies I used:

  • dark green sparkly stiff felt (I found pieces at Goodwill)
  • multi-color buttons (Come in packs at Walmart)
  • Clear Gel Tacky Glue (Walmart)
  • Black Sharpie marker
  • scissors and hole punch

Let me know if you try this craft. Are you doing any crafts (Christmas or otherwise) right now? Are you starting to think about Christmas? Hope you'll leave me a comment! Feel free to pin these images and please remember to recommend to all your friends! You won't ever miss a post if you subscribe to my blog. Just look for the subscription sign up on the right hand side of this post. Have a great day, everyone!

Until Next Time,

Monday, October 16, 2017

Things To Do On A Weekend

Weekend Fun

Ex Officio women's shirts

Happy Monday Y'All!  How about a recap of how I spent my weekend? Specifically, how I spent Saturday. It was a pretty fun day with several different activities to keep the Mr. and I busy. The pic of me above is from the Tour of Homes we went to in the later afternoon. But, let's start from the beginning, shall we?

The day began early at the Pumpkin Patch of my church. My church hosts an annual Fall Festival for the community each year. Aren't these pumpkins unique?!

Lots of "regular" pumpkins, too!

The Fall Festival boasted free food, a bake sale, crafts and a bouncy house for the kids.

And lots of good music, including my husband's brass quintet. 

That's the Mr. holding onto his music. It got a little windy while the group was playing! His group plays for this event each year.

After they were done performing, we headed out to lunch at a favorite local Mexican restaurant called, El Que Pasa. If you live in the Asheville area, give this place a try. It's muy delicious!!

After lunch, Mr.thisandthat and I headed out to tour a house featured in the Parade of Homes, which is held yearly around this time in Asheville. We aren't looking to buy a new house. We just enjoy getting inspiration and ideas from the homes we tour. Having renovated three homes over the years, keeping up with the latest building trends is always helpful.

I really appreciated the stonework, shutters and colors used on the facade of this recently built home.

Let's walk through this pretty blue front door and have a look around.

This is looking from the dining area into the living room area. The kitchen is to the right. Everything is very open in this house. So fresh and updated looking, isn't it? Love those shiny wood floors!

This is the formal dining room, although it was staged as an office. Guess this room could be used for either. I love, love, love those French doors!  We had French doors on our dining room entrance when we moved into our present home and the Mr. removed them because he said they blocked the entrance too much. Booo!!! (I want my French doors back!)

The master bedroom was quite large. Each bedroom was staged with beautiful bedding.

Take a look at the great soaking tub in the corner of the master bath.

I liked the green and white color scheme used in this smaller bedroom. The silver lamps add just the right touch. There is also lots of light coming in. 

I really like the pretty headboard in this third bedroom. And how unique are those bedside stands? 

There was even a fourth bedroom/bath on the upper level which we assumed would be used as guest quarters. What a nice addition guest quarters would be to a house, yes?

My favorite part of this new house, though, was this extra big walk in closet!  Love the space in here. We don't have a walk in closet in any of our bedrooms. Guess that's a good thing. Makes me keep the clothes to a reasonable minimum! You know what the best part of Saturday was, though?

Heading back to our own home! Nice as the home tour was, there truly is no place like your own home! As the sign in our family room says....

It was a pretty good weekend, all in all.  How about you?  Did you do anything fun this weekend?

Until Next Time,

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Saturday Scriptures: House Hunting

What Will Your Room Look Like?

"My Father's house are many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?"
John 14:2 NIV

We spent part of today looking at homes that were part of a local Tour of Homes. One thing I noticed was how many different rooms there were in these houses. Each room had a purpose and was decorated accordingly. The kitchen had kitchen items needed for cooking while the bedrooms had furniture used for sleeping. It would have looked odd to see a bed in the kitchen or a stove in the bathroom, wouldn't it? Those items would not fit in those particular rooms of a house. Their purpose could not be served well in those rooms. I came home from looking at these houses and thought about today's scripture from John 14. 

In this scripture, Jesus was reassuring the disciples that His Father's house has many rooms and that He was going to prepare a place in the house for each of them. Some translations use the word "mansions" rather than rooms. When I read this scripture, my imagination thinks about what my heavenly room might be like. I know that Jesus knows me inside out, much better even than I know myself, so I can rest assured that my heavenly room will be designed with me in mind and what is best for me inside. It really involves trusting in God to care for me, not just here on Earth, but in Heaven, as well.  The first verse of John 14 speaks to this idea of trust.

"Don't let this idea throw you. You trust God, don't you? Trust me."  (John 14:1 The Message)

Just as each room in the houses we saw today were there for a specific purpose, I can trust, along with the disciples, that Jesus will take care of my heavenly home, as well. 


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

How To Wear Print Pants

Blue on Blue with Print Pants

Today's post is all about how to wear print pants without them wearing you. I've mentioned before that I have to be careful with prints and patterns because they can overwhelm me. I enjoy wearing print, however. I just need to wear it strategically.

You can see that the print on these blue and white Basic Editions pants is fairly small. Basically the pattern is little white dots, flowers and curly cues. I love these pants as they are quite comfortable and I do like the pattern. So, I kept the pattern from overwhelming me by keeping a solid color next to my face. As you can see, I'm wearing my blue swing dress as a tunic. I really like this look together and I can tell you it is a really comfortable combination.  

I decided to keep jewelry low-key as well, wearing simple gold hoop earrings and a favorite necklace. 

This is one of those necklaces that have several baubles hanging off at the end. I wanted you to see how pretty each bauble is and how unique the items are. There is a gold bird, pink rose, gold butterfly, blue and brown beads and a crystal. I absolutely LOVE this necklace and could not believe that I found it at Walmart for $5! IMO you would never guess it is a "cheap" necklace! It is not cheap looking. 

Today was one of those days when nothing wanted to go right about the photo shoot. The lighting wasn't right and I couldn't get the tripod set at the correct angle. Pure frustration. I actually tried to take photos last evening, but it was too dark. Sigh...the life of a blogger! I did catch some of our beautiful Fall foliage in these shots, so, if you don't like the outfit, just enjoy looking at the pretty leaves!

How do you like to wear print? Are the leaves pretty where you are? Hope you'll take a moment to leave me a comment. I love to hear from you!

Until Next Time,

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Saturday Scriptures: House Cleaning is Hard

Clean Up On Aisle Three
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 
Psalm 51:10 (KJV)

This week I have spent more time continuing to clean out "stuff" that has accumulated over the years. During my years of teaching, I had only enough time and energy for keeping up with the cleaning that had to be done like the usual laundry, vacuuming and mopping, cleaning toilets, etc. I thought I had done deeper clean outs during summers, but there are still so many things that have accumulated over the years and have become such a part of our house's "landscape" that I scarcely have noticed until I take the time now, in retirement, to do a really deep cleaning. To be honest, this is really hard work and I get discouraged easily. Trying to decide what things to keep and what to throw out or give away is not easy for me. Some items I use over and over and it is easy to find storage containers for those items. Other items, I like, but do not love, and yet it is hard to part with them. I especially struggle with letters, notes, cards and remembrances written or kept years and years ago from people I once knew who have either died or are long gone from my life. I sat on the floor yesterday re-reading Christmas letters that I had stuffed in an old address book written by a lovely woman I knew at a church years ago. This woman was a retired missionary, who supported me as a young woman working in the church on various projects and gave me her time, energy, wisdom and mentoring. The letters I had saved were not written to me personally, but were those newsy type of Christmas letters meant to be sent out to everyone you know, catching them up on what has happened in the previous year. She did write a personal line or two at the end of the letter to me and signed her name. These letters brought her to memory and I think that was my purpose in keeping them. What if I forget her? What if, in throwing these letters out, I also am throwing something away which will serve on some future day of bringing up her memory again? Clean up on aisle three is not so easy. It involves looking at things stored away on shelves and closets that bring up memories, digging through old boxes, and making decisions about what to keep and what needs to be let go. 

In a similar way, I sometimes need to do a clean up of my heart. What old hurts, irritations, thought patterns and grudges are lurking in the dusty boxes and shelves of my mind? I find myself wondering if there is a part of me that actually likes holding onto these old boxes of my mind that I don't really want to part with? After all, as long as these boxes are there, I can open them and take out the memories, hurtful and/or irritating as they may be, and ruminate over the hurts all over again. It would seem that clean up on aisle three of the heart is equally as hard to do as house cleaning. Can you relate?

My prayer today is that, like the psalmist, I can ask God to clean my heart and to renew a right spirit within me. With God's help, the clean up on aisle three of my heart does not have to be a frustrating experience, but rather an experience that brings renewal, calm and tranquility to my soul. 


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Fall Decor Throughout The House

A Little Here, A Little There, Fall Decor is Everywhere!

Since we are now into October, I'm ready to add a little orange to my Fall decor. Usually, I focus on the foyer, but this year I decided to spread a little Fall all throughout the house. A little bit here, a little bit there...we'll start on the side table in our living room. I put together this flower arrangement using two Fall faux bushes from A.C. Moore. I saved this yellow container from a summer arrangement and added some pretty ribbon as an accent. 

I'm still enjoying the creme color pumpkins. This one has green sparkles on it that blend well with the green Blenko glass vases. Just a touch of Fall on the table makes all the difference!

Can you see the sparkles?

Now, let's head down to the fireplace wall in the family room. I love this Fall berry wreath so much that I leave it up year round. 

The colors are so rich and vibrant. The wreath looks good against the brick. 

Isn't this a sweet sign?  The art teacher made this for me when I retired from teaching. I wanted you to see it, even though technically it isn't a Fall decoration. 

Love the colors on this unique Fall hanger. This was a Secret Pal gift to me a couple years ago. 

I decided that, this year, my scarecrows would look good on this white shelf in the family room. They are typically displayed in the foyer, but it's good to change things up sometimes. 

Here we are in the foyer, now, with a beautiful Fall wreath on the door. Sorry these pics are a little dark. I was shooting these photos with flash after it was dark out.

The top of the foyer table is pretty much the same as you last saw it, with the addition of my favorite orange pumpkin with the weeping willow on the front. 

Another favorite of mine is this fabric pumpkin which I added to the bottom shelf of the foyer table. And notice another weeping willow on the wooden "Welcome Friends" pumpkin hanger. I have a thing for weeping willows. I think they are so pretty!

Fabric pumpkins are so popular right now, but I've actually owned this one for several years. 

So, that's my Fall decor...scattered throughout our home. I like being able to enjoy Fall as I move from room to room. This decor will be on display through Thanksgiving. I may add a couple of items that speak specifically to Thanksgiving, though. I want to have several weeks to enjoy these decorations before the big Christmas decorating starts! Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?! (Bite your tongue, right?!)

How are you decorating for Fall? Hope you will take a moment to leave a comment or thought. I love it when you do! Feel free to "pin" any of these photos. And, please remember to recommend to your friends!

Until Next Time,

Linking With:
Katherine's Corner-Thursday Favorite Things
Marilyn's Treats-Over The Moon Link Party