Monday, April 24, 2017

Easter in Pictures ~ Because He Lives

Easter Sunday has come and gone but it was a blessed day spent with friends and family. As we posed for pictures, I remembered my sentiments from last year, and I felt the same way again. We all smile in our photosnot because we are without heartaches, but because we are not without hope! Because Jesus lives, we can face the future with both a smile and with hope. 












Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Colored Pencils and Coloring Books ~ All Grown Up

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that adult coloring has been a trendy thing for a couple of years now. You can find coloring books for adults everywhere, and they contain all sorts of subject matters. My first book was one of birds and animals that my daughter bought me a year or two ago. 




I had a blast getting creative with my colored pencils. 
No rules. Just fun.



My latest craze can be credited to twin sister who bought me this book after I coveted the one she had like it, and drooled over her work.



Here are a few images showcasing my own spin on the "fabulous fashions of the 1950s." As you'll see, I wasn't consistent in coloring skin tones; some I did, some I didn't, and the photography isn't great, but I hope the fun comes through.











It may seem as if I have a lot of spare time on my hands, which I don't, but sometimes, in the night hours, when my thoughts run together and the world feels out of control, I find it soothes my mind if I focus on a quiet, singular activity like coloring. 









These are but a handful of the images you'll find in this delightful book. Should you be so inclined to try your hand, we found this book at Michael's.


Until next time, sweet friends, do what you love and love what you do.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Happy Birthday, Dear Mother

Today is my beautiful mother’s birthday. Since I couldn’t be with her on her special day, The Man and I drove over and spent time with her and Daddy over the weekend. When we walked into the house, she was all smiles and looking adorable, arms opened wide. To still have her with me is one of my greatest gifts. 




Happy Birthday, dear Mother. Thank you for giving me life, for taking care of me during all of those years when I couldn’t take care of myself, and thank you for loving me unconditionally every single day. I love you always and forever!

***



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Day in History


Two years ago yesterday, my parents met their newest great-grandchild for the first time. I remember the day so well. Arabella was a colic baby and the day Mom and Dad came she was not a happy camper. Have mercy, have mercy. But my parents did what they’ve done all of my life: they made the best of the situation, although it was obvious they felt distressed that this little being was apparently distressed herself. I'd never believed in colic until Arabella's birth but I'm a true believer now. 

At one point, I remember my mother cradling her screaming newborn granddaughter in her arms and walking around and around and around the house, whispering sweet nothings, hoping for that magic moment of calm and quiet. We were lucky to get a few pictures between the screams, and I will always cherish them.

Since Arabella's birth, we’ve made an effort to see that she spends time with her great-grandparents, and it takes the working of both sides to make it happen, but they adore their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and I love how they have captured Arabella's heart, as well.


She calls my mother Nanny, instead of the usual Nana, which only makes me smile. We’ve seen my parents recently, but the last time they were at our house was in January and Arabella still remembers where they sat. Even today, she’ll walk over to the couch and pat it and say, “Papa,” then go to the rocker/recliner and say, “Nanny.” And, in her own little way, she still recalls the details of their visit. It goes something like this: “Nanny. Papa. Home. Bye,” interpreted as Nanny and Papa came, they went home, and we waved bye as they drove off. As an afterthought, she usually adds one more word later: “Song.” That means that while they were here, we listened to one of Papa’s CDs and he sang along with it.

Oh, these fleeting days make my heart happy, in a bittersweet kind of way. 

***


Monday, March 27, 2017

The Gifts of March and Cupcake Turns Two

Dear friends, I have missed you. Some months come in like gangbusters and it seems the faster I go the "behinder" I get. For that reason, I have not been around to see you in what seems like a very long time. I hope you are well and finding the gifts in every day. I had hoped to blog several times in the last three weeks, but that didn't happen. So, I will attempt to do it all in one post.

The first week of March found us coming together as a family to support one of our own. Life can go from A to Z in an instant, spinning fiercely until it comes to a wobbly stop. In such moments, when you're facing the unknown, time seems to stand still. You huddle together to pray and wrap arms around each other, and you realize what a blessing to be born into a family where family reigns supreme, where, no matter what the crisis may be, you will see it through together. 


The good news is things are well. As we move through seasons and challenges in life we learn lessons through them all. One of the timeless truths is "this too shall pass," and I never felt more certain about that than when I stepped outside recently and saw the full moon had found its way through the clouds.

***


I look at this photo and can't find a single word to express what's in my heart. Our darling Arabella—my precious cupcake—turned two on a Monday in March. Two years ago, under less than ideal circumstances, she entered the world and changed ours forever. My love for her cannot be written or spoken.


How I wish our babies could stay babies longer.


There were several celebrations in Arabella's honor but my favorite was small and simple, right in our own dining room. 



She had just waken up from a nap and couldn't believe all of the festivities were for her.


More pictures of the adorable birthday girl. Not only is indoor lighting a challenge, she’s at that age where she doesn’t sit or stand still very long. Trying to capture a moving target calls for skills beyond my abilities, but Memaw gave it her best shot.

***

March has found me surprising myself in several ways. One was deciding to try my hand at sewing again. Understand, I’ve only made four wearable things in my life, and nothing in 25 years, but that didn’t stop me from taking on a challenge for my granddaughter, and I actually had fun.


After a lot of sewing and ripping out, and sewing back again, I added these two little play dresses, including one crocheted flower, to my sparse collection. They're imperfect but I knew cupcake would make them shine.


And shine, she did. Due to unseasonably warm weather in my corner of the world, it's been plenty warm enough to wear sandals and a little gingham dress. I can't wait to see her in the other dress, as well.



I look at her and feel nothing but joy.

I never take her presence for granted.

***

Every grandmother thinks her grands are the grandest, and it’s ok to do a little grandbaby bragging, isn’t it? Before she ever turned two, Arabella could put this 12-piece puzzle together completely by herself, with no prompting at all.


It’s for ages 3-and-up and I love watching her figure it out on her own, every single time.


We always clap and give high-fives at the end.

***


One of March's sweetest gifts came on an ordinary Friday. The memory of it leaves me all warm inside. The details went something like this: 

On impulse, I decided to have a picnic for lunch, just me and Arabella. I also decided there would be no cameras intruding on this outing. And so, for the better part of a sweet hour, the two of us sat on an old tablecloth on the ground, eating simple foods and making small talk, not a cell phone or camera in sight. 

I chose a place we’d been to before, a grassy area surrounded by trees, close to train tracks not far from home. Arabella loves trains and as we ate and talked, we heard the whistle getting closer and louder. When the locomotive appeared around the bend, she hopped over onto my lap, a little startled. “Loud,” she said, leaning closer into me.

As the train picked up speed, its wheels screeched and squawked wildly against the rails. I held her tight and together we waved at the long line of tank cars. In a few minutes, the train passed, we finished our lunch, then walked through small patches of clover, bending down at one point to observe a little bee at work. 

Before heading home, she reached over and plucked a few flowers from the clover and handed them to me. 



I will keep them as a reminder of our time together, and how, for a few precious minutes, I was her safe place against the noise and clamor of the day. Such a feeling, such a moment, is something no camera can capture.


***

As I write, it is unseasonably warm. The sun is shining and the earth is full and green. Spring is here. Until next time, wherever you are, whatever you're doing, may your days be happy and your nights filled with peaceful sleep.




Thursday, March 9, 2017

Small Bath Inspiration

A few months ago, after looking at the same wallpaper on the bathroom walls for 27 years, a fact I still find shocking, I went looking for inspiration.

I searched online for small bathroom ideas, particularly for ideas surrounding the toilet area, and I found plenty to inspire me.



 

As I pored over hundreds of dreamy photos, my bathroom, in the meantime, was starting to look like the nightmare below, a sad reminder that removing three layers of wallpaper is not easy and sometimes you have to call in a professional to fix the resulting mess.


I'm sorry to say that this depressing sight greeted me day and night for several months, as I was unable to get my contractor off of dead-center. It seemed another project was always more urgent than my tiny little bathroom, and on top of that, his daughter was getting married the same month I contracted with him to do the job. Woe is me.

But I knew him to be a good man and I believed he would stay true to his word. Ultimately, I decided we should both get though the holidays and start the job first thing in the New Year, so that is what we did. 

In the meantime, I kept looking at inspirational photos, trying to keep my spirits up.





Are you sensing a theme here? The shelving over the toilet was definitely going to be in my plan, as shelves would fit the space perfectly, while serving a purpose, as well. In small spaces, such things are important.

Finally, the day arrived. My contractor got to work, re-floating and painting my walls the rest would be up to me, as to how it all came together.

After a trip to Hobby Lobby, I found the perfect shelves. 



I decided to go with a basic white wall. I'm not certain I will stay all-white, but for now it makes me happy.


While my space may not be as inspiring as the photos I used for inspiration, I have to say it's a far cry better than what used to be here. For me, that's good enough.

Until next time, sweet friends, may you feel energized to tackle the project that seems impossible. 

***

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