Friday, June 23, 2017

Here's the page

I created for our faith journaling group this month -
I love those vintage hotel key rings and couldn't get them out of my head. 
There are many verse you could use this with - but I chose Matthew 16:19
[Note that it is wrong-wrong-wrong on the handout.]
Now, I don't trace everything I do, but sometimes....
I just need to!
So, I actually googled vintage 'key ring' and 'keys' and cut them out and traced them on the hand out [and on my Bible page as well.] 
[Handwriting is mine tho.]
FEEL FREE to print this out and use it however you want!
Here's a closer look at mine -
 I used prisma pencils on this one - 
and I think it looks okay, but there's no secret that I prefer water colors...
You can see that I always start with a pencil, and may / may not get all the lines erased...
I've given up perfectionism and try to enjoy the process  
[meditating on God's Word] 
I'm so very thankful that Jesus paid the price so that we could be given the 
keys to the kingdom of heaven!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Here's a quick idea

to decorate your front door!
[You could hang it anywhere, really.]
And it's relativity inexpensive too!
I picked up the following:
A grapevine wreath [$7 at Hobby Lobby , but I used my coupon, so I got it for less than $5], and patriotic mesh ribbon [$2 - on sale!], and a flag at Harbor Freight [$5, I think...]
I wrapped the flag around, tucking in the ends... 
Then added a bow from the mesh ribbon. 
[Always thankful my mama taught me how to make a pretty bow.]
[It's the little things, y'all.]

Monday, June 19, 2017

My sweetheart had

some work along The Gulf Coast recently, 
so I took a little leave and tagged along.
 It's always nice to be in Mobile together since it is the city where our life together truly began. 
Sure. we dated three years before getting married, but it was in Mobile, far away from family and friends [and with pricey long distance and no such thing as computer connections] that we learned to depend on each other and grow a foundation for what our relationship is today. 
So it was kind of fun to drive out and see that our first apartment was still there - 34 years later...
And of course, we had to trek on down to Dauphin Island,our beach of choice while living in the area... maybe because we lived out in the Theodore area for part of the time...
I always LOVE seeing how the island ebbs and flows with the changes of weather, and life, and time...
There's more available lodging than I've seen in YEARS, and yet, the beaches still seem almost deserted...
And while it was 80+* out, there was quite a breeze and the water felt VERY cold to me... 
So I wasn't quick to jump in like my sweetheart...
So enjoyed the sunshine and playing with my little 
super-zoom camera a bit - 
I love it when I can capture water droplets splashing up!
And the zoom! 
Oh. My.
From THIS [can you EVEN see the oil rig?]
And our little crab friend...
It's always so fun to watch them scurry about!
It was a beautiful day...
and the water was kind of perfect 
[just too cold for me - ha.]
[This was a cell phone photo - ]
We even had some local birds 
join us for a while...
All-in-all, a wonderful fun [quick] get-a-way
to The Gulf we love so much!
I'm so glad we live a life where we try to tuck a little [or a lot!] of fun along the way! Because, the next day it was BACK-TO-WORK.
Soooo... we work hard and play hard.
Until next time!

Friday, June 16, 2017

I've just finished

reading this book - and y'all - 
I hope you'll grab a copy QUICK!
Courtney ALWAYS creates the most amazing characters that I can 
relate to like they are friends of mine!
[Ha. - Seriously - You will love them too!]
Many of us deal with anxiety, and perfectionism, and wondering what people think of us [especially in this age of social media judgement EVERYWHERE we turn.] 
I love how Courtney takes fictional characters and not only weaves a great story, but also throws in some great life lessons and biblical truths along the way. 
But not in a pushy kind of way. 
It's a great read. 
Trust me.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Now, let's talk

Fireflies –
I won the Firefly Lottery, y’all!
[photo cred - the world-wide-web]
Those who know me well, know I love those little bugs.
And who knew there was a completely different species that blinks synchronously for a couple of weeks in early summer? 
 [photo cred - the world-wide-web]
Seems these elite little bugs live only in a few areas of the world – and Elkmont, TN is one of them! 
Due to the numbers of people trekking to see them each year the wise folks at The Great Smokey Mountain National Park have closed off the area and only allow a certain number of people 
in to see them each night. 
Parking passes are given out through a random drawing – 

and I won one this year!Unfortunately it was on a  misty night, so we didn’t have quite the show we were expecting. 

It was an adventure! 
And I’m always thankful my sweetheart enjoys adventuring together! 

The evening of our pass we parked in the designated area – 
of course we were some of the first to arrive... 
 They packed our cars in like sardines, but no one seemed to mind.
Then we lined up with the rest of the group to take the trolley out to the Elkmont area –complete with a couple of other attendees who served as narrators during the
After our trolley ride to the Elkmont area we hiked a bit to find a place to settle in and wait for nightfall. We were told they don't really start 'doing their thing' until 9:30 or so...
[photo cred - the world-wide-web]
And while we didn't see the sweeping bands of light that we were hoping for [due to the rain] we did see some of the BRIGHTEST BIGGEST light I’ve ever seen from a firefly . 
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to capture much of it on video…
So wonderful! 
So, bucket list = check! 
While it was fun to see the fireflies – 
 while we were sitting there visiting and enjoying the night I really was thinking how thankful I was that, 
for us – it really is more about the journey – 
and not the destination [event.] 
I’m so thankful that we live a life 
where we seek out the extraordinary, weird, crazy things to do 
– and make the effort to take the journey to do them.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

I hope I'll always have

more scrapbook pages to share!
I may not spend as much time as I used to, but I still love the process!
So here goes --
 These photos are from the fall of 2016!
It was so fun to see / hear Melanie Shankle [author / blogger] 
when she was in our neck of the woods
speaking at a Women of Marshall Medical Center gathering.
I'll probably add some journaling to the bottom right...
And seeing Harry Connick, Jr. was a treat!
I'm going to try and put a video in here:
Did it work? 
[Much thanks to the youngsters for helping me navigate this - lol]
More photos grabbed off the interwebs... and look! I lost the M from my title before I took the photo - I'll have to check that before I put it in the album, "People We Love -"
Note that I printed photos of MK's sweet handwriting to include on the page.
These photos are from LAST year's Scrapping for a Cure - CF Crop. We always have such a great time. These are 8.5x11 and 
will go in an album designated just for scrapbook events / crops.
And lastly some photos of our little trip down the lazy river at the end of the summer 2016.
It was half-price day and the kids had already gone back to school so we had it practically to ourselves. So fun! We may have to do it again this year!
I guess you can see from these that my 'process' still tends to be: gather all the photos tightly together and add embellishments / journaling on the edges. 
I think it's fun to look back on our 'styles' as crafters - I've definitely gone through a HUGE circle phase... and a banner phase... but I hope I tend to stay pretty classic without a lot of hoop-la so the focus always stays on the memories...

Monday, June 5, 2017

So, I think I will

break this into to two different blog posts –
One – Gatlinburg is surviving
And Two – The Firefly Lottery –

Let’s go!
We had a quick weekend get-a-way to Gatlinburg this month – 
We’d not been in a couple of years, and certainly not since those terrifying wild fires that tore through the area last year. So – I’ll start by saying the businesses downtown are much the same – almost unscathed, really, 
except for the HUGE loss of a rambling riverside hotel… 
It is uncanny how VERY CLOSE these fires got to so many, many businesses. 
And the loss of homes and cabins is almost unbelievable.  
We drove into to town ‘the back way’ though Townsend and the Great Smokey Mountain National Park as we usually do – and saw little fire damage – the green of a very rainy spring and summer has almost overtaken the scars of the fires…  
 We love The Park and love that we can be so completely immersed in God’s creation just minutes from a bustling tourist area. We settled into our 
[first – ha] 
hotel and enjoyed a little quiet time out on the deck near the creek [or river…] 
Again, I love that most hotels have an area near the water that bubbles so loudly you can hardly hear the world out on the strip… After dinner at a favorite place [The Peddler, where we’ve learned to share a meal so we can walk away feeling full, but not over-stuffed; the prime rib is so, so good!!] we walked around a bit, bought some fudge [of course!] and returned to our room where I sat at the table and read 
while Craig watched THE HOCKEY GAME until bed time.
Let me stop here and say – this is not a hotel we usually stay at – in fact, I’m not sure we have ever stayed at one – it’s on the lower end of our ‘points’ chain, 
and y’all know we love our points. 
[Truly! We’ve stayed in some wonderful places with those points!
So we decided to go for it. It was only going to be a couple of nights – the room was VERY dated, with a door [and window] that opens to the walkway – 
[And you guys know I don’t stay in ‘open-air’ hotels/motels like this when I travel alone… 
but my sweetheart was with me… so I could live with ‘dated’ 
and it was only for a couple of nights…] 
Cue bedtime: I pulled back the sheets and, OOPS. 
There it was –
 The first bedbug I have ever seen in my life. 
[And I do A LOT of traveling ‘round these parts…over40 nights this year so far - ] 
I’m not sure I really freaked out as much as I was kind of deadly calm and said something, like, “ call the Greystone and see if they have a room.” 
At that point I wasn’t worried about cost, or points, or packing up things at midnight, because, hey, I was already packing. 
I knew I was going somewhere. 
 Still, we washed every single thing when we got home 
– and bought this – 
my new traveling companion. 
Funny thing is, the motel clerk did not even protest when we asked for our money back…
I was so happy that Greystone did, in fact, have a room available for us! 
We were up on the top level and honestly could see how very close 
the fires got to our favorite hotel. 
 From our balcony we had a view of the creek [below] and mountains [above] and the new Jimmy Buffett resort being built right next door…
Sadly Gatlinburg is becoming more and more commercialized. 
It was wonderful to sit out on the balcony and read and hear that little creek run through the area – even in the rain.  
Because it rained y’all… 
Off and on much of the time we were in town.  
Still, we were able to enjoy walking the strip, watching the candy-makers put taffy on the machines, and eating fudge [of course.] 
Isn’t that what Gatlinburg’s all about? 
[Oh and pancakes, but I’ll share about those in a moment -] 
But again, sadly, we also saw far too many people who had 
over-enjoyed the latest craze of town – Tennessee Moonshine.
We did a little drive around the by-pass and nature drive the next day and it was incredible to see the fire damage up close and personal. And so random – it reminded me of the tornadoes we have here in the south – there could be six or eight structures burned to the ground and one still standing right in the middle of it all. 
Everything burned to the ground, but a wreath still hanging on a lamp post…
It was also good to see that the people are re-building 
and the plants and animals are surviving –
That evening, after dinner at the nearby Mexican restaurant [that I can never eat at without remembering how very sick young Matt was with food poisoning after eating there back in 2000 or so…]  we went to see The Fireflies. 
– More on that soon! 
[Oh, and No Way Jose’s is a VERY GOOD place to eat – 
we’ve been there many times for delicious food with no problems at all!]
The next morning we decided to venture out to Pigeon Forge, and it was good to see some familiar sites like the old mill…. and outlet stores, and pancake houses, GALORE.
We decided to eat at Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant  and had a delicious breakfast of apple fritters, apple cinnamon muffins, eggs, sausage, bacon , and yes, PANCAKES. 
So delicious – and in such a pretty setting too. 
Although, I still think our waitress was ‘putting on ‘ her southern accent a bit… lol.
It was a treat!
We did a little thrift / discount store shopping before heading home. 
Gatlinburg is always a wonderful weekend get-a-way for us!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A few weeks back

a Facebook friend posted that she used her instant Pot to make chicken and rice... 
So I thought I'd give it a go...
It was SO GOOD.
Here's what I did - no recipe needed...
I put 2 cups of Trader Joe's Basmati Rice Medley  and 1 1/2 cups of water 
in the bottom of the Instant Pot. 
I layered the chicken on top but then I was concerned that it would squish the rice and keep it from being fluffy, so I put a little salsa cup in the middle and set the rack on top with the chicken. If you peep to the side, you can see that the chicken is lifted up...
I sprinkled the chicken with a little seasoned salt...
Next I tossed in some frozen brussel srpouts...
was hoping for broccoli, but this is what I had in the freezer...
I set it for fifteen minutes -
the default setting for chicken on my pot...
And I let it natural release [NR.]
It smelled so good while it was cooking!
To be clear - this was not ready in fifteen minutes - it takes a few minutes for the pot to start cooking and natural release was 15 minutes or so....
Hey! Here's a photo of the rack and the little custard / salsa cup I put in - 
And, oops, in retrospect, I should have flipped it over 
so it wouldn't have kept all the steamed juices in it...
The rice medley was delicious! 
It was a little dry on the bottom becasue of the cup above, but I think it gave it a bit of crunch in places... and I'd MUCH rather have rice dry than mushy... ha.
All in all, a pretty easy and yummy meal. 
I love the Instant Pot becasue I can put a meal in it and leave it...
No tending to pots, etc. 
Let me know what's cooking in yours!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Here's a few more Bible Art pages

 I've worked on this month - mostly in hotel rooms - Ha.
-Tis truth.
These are actually notes from a Rick Warren devotional I read this month.
 You can see that the art behind it had bled through A LOT.
And I'd already wrapped a bit of washi tape around the side of the page...
I think it all blended in nicely and
I kinda love that pineapple - inspired by google images.
This one is inspired by some wall paper I saw at Hobby Lobby - 
and this has been a favorite song of mine since middle school... 
This one - inspired by a meme on facebook..
Again, I used a favorite song.
[Note that this is in my interleaved Bible...]
And lastly, more sermon notes... 
I'm just trying to highlight those things 
that speak to me in the sermons each Sunday.
There's no right or wrong way to do Bible Journaling - 
Just do what suits your fancy at the time...
Y'all can see that I'm ALL OVER THE PLACE in terms of 'style.'
Just enjoy the process, meditating on God's Word and 
spending time with Him in prayer as you create. 
Go for it!