Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Road Less Traveled

I've been keeping busy with work lately as they've scheduled me for more hours than usual. I'm not complaining, though, as that little "extra" income always comes in handy! Keeping busy, though, means I haven't had a chance to blog for a wee bit!

Last Friday, I attended a Relay for Life fundraiser put on by good friends, The Donahue clan, aka "Poppy's Angels". I've know the family for hmmmm....a long time.....since *I* was a teenager! LONG time ago! LOL! Anyways, one of the daughters, Colleen, has cut my hair in the past (OK, way in the past, but I'm not going back that far!) and had offered to cut my hair since my "regular" person, Christy, retired the beginning of July. I said yes, of course, as finding someone to cut your hair that you trust is not always an easy thing to do! We women can be picky about our hair, ya know! And who cuts it and how!

Here's the before picture:
And now, the after:
It's shorter, cooler, and easier to style! LOL...Colleen had it all styled up great for me and I went home and went to sleep before work. Needless to say, it did NOT look like this when I woke up! I'm still working on making it look like she did, but am happy with the results, even if I don't make it all stylish! Thank you, Colleen! Great job and a very worthy cause to benefit the American Cancer Society and in memory of your poppy,  Mr. Dave!

Sunday, on my way home from work, I thought of a few lines from an old poem by Robert Frost:
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

It was the last few lines that I actually was thinking about as I went on a round about way on my drive home.Rather than take my usual route home, I went, instead, for a drive along some back roads. Something different to do and something for a change of pace! Changing things up sometimes can be a good thing and rewarding! To me, it was like going on a mini-vacation or a mini-road trip! FUN!!!
 I was in search of....OK, I admit! Black-eyed Susans, to be exact! AND I found them and some others, so indulge me as I share with you my latest finds! (OK, I love taking pictures!)

Even the trees and underbrush are least in the eyes of this beholder!

The picture taking didn't stop when I pulled into the driveway. I thought of how my porch sometimes is like a little retreat area for me on those cooler mornings. A great place to sit and read and think while the birds are still singing their morning songs and the dew is still on the grass and life hasn't quite started to make it's noises that distract from the peace and quiet. So the next pictures are from my front porch!
A quiet place to sit a spell
Some of the things I'm reading and my journal
Another view of my Adirondak rocker (a birthday gift to myself about 3 years ago....My friend Marcia and I spent a wonderful day together when I lived in GA searching for an Adirondak chair for my home - we found this one at a Cracker Barrel restaurant!)
I don't have a green thumb, but have managed to keep these two flowering plants alive so far this summer!
See? Still green! Not dead yet!!!!
Ah, my mowing shoes.....they've seen alot of grass and mud....but are still able to do the job! And live outside the front door, where all good mowing shoes should stay!

And last, but not least, my companion on the porch, who always wants to "go out"! Whether it's to go "potty", for a walk, or just to lay out on the porch...she's always ready to "go!"
Cady has that grin already, knowing that just behind that door are new smells to sniff and places to explore that, oddly, she explored the last time she went out! But, hey, she's happy, not to mention great company on a cool morning on the front porch!

Well, that's it for today! Just sharing some of my pics and what I've been up to! The weather is to get very warm the later part of this week, although, to be honest, it's already been too hot for me! But God is still watching over me, caring for me, and I thank Him for the blessings He gives!

Well, I've rambled on enough for one day and will take my leave. The coolness of that front porch is calling me to come out and visit before the heat of the day warms things up. And I know a certain canine companion who would love to joing me! May you have a day that blesses you beyond measure!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pics of Projects in Process

Life keeps you hopping at times, doesn't it? Thought it was time to sit down and write again, so here I am, and with pictures to share as well.

Last week, I decided to wash the tablecloth from the kitchen/dining area table. What to put in it's place? Hmmmm....I had an inspiration! Why not use one of my throws for the top of the table that matches the colors in my kitchen?! So, that's what I did!
The one in the picture was a Christmas gift from my cousin Barb a number of years ago. I love the colors and what's on the throw. And I loved the idea of using something I already had!

Have been on the search for more natural beauties in my neighborhood.....Look what I've found!
Gotta admit.....I was so excited to come across these sweet peas!!!!
Yesterday's treasure on the way home!

Took a trip to DuBois yesterday to visit the newly expanded JoAnn's Fabrics in DuBois. I enjoy going to craft stores like Hobby Lobby (my fave!) and Michael's and thought that a short trip to DuBois to check out JoAnn's would be a great way to spend some time on one of my two days off this week. I found some good buys and some ideas!
50 cents apiece! For placemats!
I have some ideas of what I want to do with these....a future project, for sure!
Maybe using some of these pretty ribbons on the placemats....or in making cards...or wall hangings?
Christmas is coming! It has become a tradition for me to make an ornament for each of my nephieces (nephews and nieces) and their spouses and my great-nephieces at Christmas. I saw these yesterday.....I have some ideas....what kind of ideas crop up in your mind? LOL...I will need to start these soon as I have a LOT of them to make! With tender loving care, I might add!

I was so delighted to hear the rain early this morning, a very gentle rain. I sat out on my enclosed porch for several hours and finally finished embroidering a wall hanging I started earlier last year. Here's the finished embroidery project:
I bought the batting for this yesterday and have an idea of how I want to back it. Once I have all the materials, I plan to machine quilt it and turn it into a wall hanging. Someone in my family will be getting the finished project for Christmas. I'm so much closer to being done, now that the embroidery is done! ☺

Another project in the works for my own home:
This will eventually become a wall's just in the planning stages right now. Buttons and a placemat...not sure where my imagination will take me with this one!!

Last picture of the day is of Cady.....sleeping the morning away on the end of my bed. Never knew I had the camera in my hands or she would have jumped off the bed!
Peaceful, isn't she?

Speaking of sleep.....I will close and post this so that I can go get some rest. I've got a 5 day stretch this week, so getting some shut eye before that late night shift is important!

Hope you enjoyed the pics and seeing some of what I've been up to!

May your day be full of peace and may you always be blessed beyond measure!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wildflower Beauties

Sometimes, it's the simple things in life that bring the greatest joy. The quieter moments when we just stop and breathe and enjoy what's going on around us at the time.

I went for a walk with Cady over the weekend. We didn't go far as the humidity was really high and I started to sweat and she was panting like crazy. Just up the road and down another side road and back to the mailbox and to home. And Cady tends to wander, stop, sniff, and move on, searching for the next new smell. Makes for a very slow walk and definitely not in a straight line!

 But while we were meandering, I took some pictures of what I consider to be simple things that brought me joy....wildflowers! (Which was not necessarily an easy thing as I would go to focus and zoom in and she wanted to pull on the leash and move on!) But I did get some nice pics (OK, in my mind, they are nice pics....they may not do anything for you! Which is OK! ☺)

Dainty little yellow ones

Even dainter white ones....♥love♥ those little ferny things, too!

Some tall "weeds" that appealed to me visually

Daisies.....what can I say? I *♥love♥* daisies!

Tall bush-like but petite flowers

♥Loved♥ the color of these and yet, the camera doesn't do justice to the purpleness! Lovely!♥

These petite daisies were a treat! Can we say, " ♥Love them!♥ " I didn't see them until we headed back home. I liked these so much I made the picture my wallpaper on my computer! ♥♥♥

Beauty is all around us, or as the saying goes, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Which gives me pause to think of how our Great Beholder sees us. He sees us as beautiful from the inside out. After all, if He lives in us, then He is seeing us reflected back through our lives, our words, our actions. I pray I reflect Him in my life! And that what He and others see is truly beautiful!

A blessing for you from the Word (and my prayer for you today!):

May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our GOD. May the LORD grant all your requests.
~ Psalm 20:4-5

And before I close for today, I want to leave you with another gem from the book I'm reading, God Always Has a Plan B, this one written by Barbara Johnson (pg 11):

When life becomes especially hard and troubles seem to gang up on us, I have a few suggestions.

Don't struggle and fret and try to cope all by yourself. Put the situation in God's hands, trusting that He will bring it to the conclusion that is best for everyone involved.

Pray for guidance and believe that direction is being given to you now.

Pray for and practice a calm attitude.

Let faith saturate your thoughts.

Remind yourself of one great truth: Hard experiences do pass. They will yield. So just hold on, with GOD's help.

Remember that there is always a light in the darkness. Believe that and look for it; it is the light of GOD's love.

Ask the LORD to release your ingenuity, so that you can face the problem creatively with strength and wisdom.

Remember that others experience troubles similar to yours.

Our heavenly Father is committed to shaping us into His image, and so HE knows the ultimate value of each painful experience. No, traumas are not unique -- to you or to this time in history. The road sign has marked everyone's path. GOD asks us to face these dead ends with an air of expectancy that His peace and power will prevail. And they will.

May your day today be filled with joy and may you be blessed beyond measure!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Hello, Saturday and Sunshine!

It's Saturday! Have a few pics to share and a recipe and some quotes. Stuff to encourage myself and others with!

I made another new crockpot recipe yesterday from the Fix-It and Forget-It Diabetic Cookbook. It turned out really good! And even had an ingredient that I went, "HUH?", but I think it added to the flavor. So the recipe I am sharing today is: (drum roll, please!)
"Absent Cook" Stew
(Credit goes to Kathy Hertzler from Lancaster, PA)
Makes 5-6 servings and the ideal slow cooker size is a 4 quart

1. Combine in slow cooker:

2 lbs. stewing beef, cubed
2-3 carrots, sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 large potatoes, cubed
3 ribs celery, sliced
1-10 3/4-oz can tomato soup
1 soup can water
1/8 tsp salt
Dash of pepper
2 Tbsp vinegar

2. Cover. Cook on low 10-12 hours.

Now you know I did some variations, right? Yeah, I did! I didn't have any beef stew meat thawed out, so used a 1 lb package of pork stew meat instead. Everything else that the recipe called for was the same, except that I did add a little bit of Worchestershire Sauce to mine for a little added kick. I'll be honest, it calling for vinegar kind of surprised me! But it really did not distract from the taste at all. LOL - and I didn't realize until yesterday that Worchestershire actually has white vinegar listed as one of it's top ingredients! I will make this one again, for sure!

I've had people ask what kind of dog Cady is. To answer that, she's a rescue dog that I got from the Gainesville (GA) Humane Society almost 12 years ago. What I was told there was that she is part Australian Shepherd (you should see her run....and act like she's herding!) and part Terrier of some sort. She was being cooperative this morning so she actually looks like she's smiling instead of avoiding me and the camera!

Alot of pictures I take, or go to take, she looks at me like, "Ah, Mom, not again!!!"
I think the flash bothers her and reminds her of lightening. Very much a scaredy cat when it comes to thunderstorms. The neighbors were putting off fireworks last night nearby and she was shaking like a leaf! And followed me everywhere I went in the house!
I'm adding this one as right after I took it, she figured out how to push the outside door open with her nose! Little stinker! Fortunately, she was hooked up to a tie-out so she didn't get too far. When she does get loose, it's like, "Oh, boy! Now I can RUN like the Wind!" and she does! I sometimes have to trick her into thinking we are going to go for a ride in the car to get her to come to me! She loves car rides! And walks! And people!

Most of the time, though? You can find her sleeping on the end of my bed!

Encouraging Words from THE WORD:

When I said, "My foot is slipping," Your love, O LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought joy to my soul. The LORD has become my fortress, and my GOD the rock in Whom I take refuge.
~Psalm 94:18-19, 22

He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. Your enemies will be clothed in shame, and the tents of the wicked will be no more.
~Job 8:21-22

The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
~Romans 8:26 

God Always Has a Plan B quotes:
When children are secure, they feel free to be who they really are. That's how you and I can live, too. God is the only one who knows everything about us. He knows our good thoughts and the thoughts that we struggle to admit even to ourselves. So no matter what you could tell someone else about your life that would change that person's opinion of you, nothing you could say would dampen God's heart toward you. He knows it all, and He loves you. Surely, this kind of security should set us free to be who we really are.  - Sheila Walsh, pg 5
Laughter is a riotous vote of acceptance that God is the God-who-sees. Whatever it is probably won't go away, so we might as well live and laugh through it. When we double over laughing, we're bending so we won't break. If you think your particular troubles are too heavy and too traumatic to laugh about, remember that laughing is like changing a baby's diaper. It doesn't solve any problems permanently, but it makes things more acceptable for awhile.  - Barbara Johnson, pg 7
So often we kick and scream at the thought of yielding. We don't want to give up control. If we could just understand that yielding to a benevolent and trustworthy"other" can bring us quietness, rest and even happiness.

It isn't just babies who resist yielding. And it isn't just those whose minds are tormented and distrustful. It's all of us who for various reasons can't or won't trust in the promise of rest that yielding offers.

When I find I am unable to yield a point or to yield to the spirit of Jesus, I ask myself: What am I holding on to? Why is it so difficult to simply yield, knowing full well that I will benefit from doing so? God promises to work in me and in my will. Since in my humanness I have trouble letting go and yielding, I'm enormously comforted by this promise of His active work in my life. - Marilyn Meberg, pg 8

There ya go.... a little extra something for your Saturday. May you be blessed beyond measure today and always! Thanks for stopping by!

Be blessed,

Friday, July 1, 2011

It's July...Already?!?!

Last week, I had an opportunity to go to the used book sale our local public library was holding. Would you believe that they had over 26,000 books donated for the event?! That's boatload of books! I went on two different days and brought home what I consider treasures!

OK, so I have to admit...I *LOVE* to read! It's one of my favorite pasttimes! These books were really very inexpensive and I brought home three bagfuls by the time things were all said and done....or was it four? Anyways, you get the picture...oh, wait....why not just show you?!

And let's not forget these, too!
I just discovered I already own the Healthy Exchanges Cookbook, so I'm thinking that one is gonna get passed on to someone else! I love to cook so finding these gems was a treat! And I'm always on the lookout for new ideas for the Christmas ornaments I make each year for the nephieces! (My term for my nieces and nephews - nephieces!)

Currently, I've got a new recipe in the crockpot cooking - Absent Cook Stew. It's smelling good and I hope it tastes as good as it smells! I will have to let you know! This one is from the cookbook I shared my last recipe with you - The Fix-It and Forget-It Diabetic Cookbook.

One of the books in my little collection is called God Always Has a Plan B. I love the description on the back:
When things dont go your way....when you hit some bumps or potholes in the road of life, when your plans don't come together the way you hoped, God always has a plan B for you: a new perspective, a new attitude, a new point of view or a completely new direction for you to take.

The contributors to this little book are Barbara Johnson, Patsy Clairmont, Luci Swindoll, Marilyn Meberg, Thelma Wells and Sheila Walsh. I've read their stuff before....I am looking forward to this one. And I look forward to sharing some of it with you as well....if you don't mind!

I'm gonna leave you with a new picture I've taken of the Cady-meister....I've discovered she hates the flash on the camera and will not stand still and pose for me.....sigh.....will have to catch unawares, I guess, to get a proper doggie smile picture! Isn't that just like a kid?!

Hope your day is blessed beyond measure. Thanks for stopping by! And happy July 1st to you!!!