Monday, July 29, 2013

Ode to the Sunflower

"Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow.
It's what sunflowers do."
~Helen Keller

I have loved sunflowers since I was a little girl. 
My dad grew them in his garden every summer and I was just amazed by them.
You just can't look at one without smiling, can you?

My oldest son who loved his grandpa dearly, has inherited so many of his qualities...
from his ability to fix anything that's broken to his love of growing his garden...sunflowers and all!
I took these pictures while visiting him this weekend.


I see you there in glory shining bright,
Following the sun and its path of light.
Standing tall above all others in the field,
You grow, conquer, and do not yield. 

The little birds take great delight
In playing round you, from day to night.
With your petals of yellow and leaves of green
How very easily you are seen. 

But there is more to you than first sight,
More than beauty and grander to delight.
Every beautiful aspect that appears,
Gives praise to the Father dear. 

He made you a part of creation,
And you praise him in glorious celebration!
The beauty that within you is expressed,
Gives testimony to his greatness. 

Sunflower, how I long to be like you!
Glorifying God in all I do.
Following the Son and His path of light,
To worship Him in His glory shining bright. 

I can learn from you, my friend,
With every breath, praise to God, I might send.
With all of his creation telling the story,
Might I, with you, proclaim His glory. 

~By Katherine R. Lane ~ 

Have a blessed week!

Sharing at:

Stump Garden

Where I live in North Carolina, we are surrounded by tall trees all around the yard.
Sometimes these trees die and fall on your house :(
This one did just that a few years ago during an ice storm. 
My husband had just gotten out of the shower when a huge branch fell through the roof,
into the bathroom and actually into the bathtub where he had just been!
Oh well, that's another story for another day...this about stumps.

What do you do with such an unsightly thing without digging up a huge chunk of the yard?
You plant flowers in the hole of the dead stump, that's what!

And here's what I did with the rest of it.

And the best part is, the holes for planting were already there because it was rotten in the middle!
Aren't they lovely?

This my friends, is what I call my stump garden :)

Have a great week!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Pink Skies

I took this photo a few weeks ago standing in the driveway of our cabin in the mountains.


The fire in the sky is dying
The mountains are tall and dark
The spirit of the day is flying
Sunset leaves its mark
The colors up on high are lovely
The air is clear and cool
An ending approaches mildly
Day and night begin a duel
But the light must give way sometime
And who will win, I'll bet
Is dark, mysterious nighttime
As day gives way to sunset

~Mary O. Fumento, 1981

Have a fantastic weekend!

Sharing this for Pink Saturday @

The Beauty in Dying

I'm sharing this post from 2013 on Stephanie's blog,

No one really wants to talk about dying, I know this. I have even renamed the title of this post over and over and tried to keep the word out of it. I can't figure out how. I certainly don't want to turn anyone away or add to anyone's grief when reading this post but please bear with me if you will. Sometimes, inspiration can be so...random. While I was outside walking with my dogs a few days ago I noticed these two leaves still attached to what looked like a dead branch on one of my Red Tip bushes. The color was striking—so bright—almost glowing like neon. That part of the bush was dying, yet the leaves were becoming so beautiful.

Most of the time when we think about death or dying, I doubt we compare it with beauty. All death is certainly not beautiful. Not at all. But there are times it can be. Let me explain.

My dad was nearly ninety-one when the cancer that was running rampant through his body took its toll. I got "the call" from my sister while I was at work that day in May of 2002. Within the hour I was on the road—Mebane, North Carolina to Dayton, Ohio—almost 500 miles. Could I possibly get there in time? It was nearly midnight when I reached the hospice home and my mom and two of my sisters were there to greet me. Dad was still hanging on...just barely. His "baby" had made it back to see him one last time.  I was able to speak to him. I kissed his clammy forehead and held his sweaty hand. His eyes were open but I don't really think he was seeing me. Another hour passed and he was still hanging on. I remember I was sitting at the foot of his bed and Mom was standing over him. She bent way down and spoke right into his face. "It's okay now, Dad..." (she always called him Dad) "'s okay to go now." Within just a few seconds, my precious father sat straight up, his ice blue eyes opened as wide as possible and he had this amazed expression on his face that no words can really describe. With that, he laid back on the bed and took his last breath. What on earth did he see? What wonders did he behold as he took that final breath? I will never know for sure until we meet again—all I know is it must have been extemely glorious—surely not of this earth. I consider being able to witness that moment a gift. A thing of beauty.

Fast forward to the last day of April, 2010. Mom's ninety-seven plus year old body just couldn't take any more. She had been a cancer survivor—both breast and colon cancer—for 17 plus years but during the last few years of her life, she had been failing, having endured several times in and out of hospitals and rehab facilities, getting weaker with each stay. I had just seen her on Easter Sunday, a few weeks before and we had such a great visit. She was in the hospital, and I think I knew that it would be the last time we would visit...on this earth.  Around four o'clock AM that day I was awakened by my phone. There was no time for travel of any kind as her time was at hand. There was a conference call going on. Six of her eight children were at her bedside, cell phones on speaker. My sister called me and one of the others called our oldest brother in South Carolina. They took turns putting the phones to her ears so she could hear all of her children's voices and we all could hear each other's as well. I could hear Mom's labored breaths so clearly as they held the phone to her so I could speak to her. She held on a few more moments. We all told her we loved her and said our goodbyes pretty much in unison. Then she was gone. That was a beautiful thing...yes, sad, but beautiful at the same time. A few days later, her eight children sang "Amazing Grace" to her one last time as she was lowered into the ground...just as she had requested. That, my friends, was the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced.

If we choose to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ—that He is our only Savior—we know that only in death will we be able to actually see and experience the beauty that He has in store for us after we leave this life.

But as it is written: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”           1 Corinthians 2:9

Repurpsosed $1 Store Linens

Today I'm sharing this post from way back at Stephanie's Roses of Inspiration.
My blog doesn't have a Pinterest button but these little aprons have been pinned many times!
I made these little aprons as door prizes for a Mother-Daughter Banquet almost two years ago...
...just love these bright, cheery colors!


Looking for a cute idea for a gift for the little girls in your life? 
These cute little aprons couldn't be any simpler to make.
I made them from $1 Store pot holders and coordinating hand towels!
They guessed it...a dollar a piece!

Each apron consists of one pot holder, half of one towel and wide grosgrain ribbon!
That's it!

Very little sewing is required. Sorry, there is not good quality tutorial...I wasn't blogging when I made these a couple of months ago, therefore I didn't take pics of the steps but I will try to explain the directions the best way I can! You can also double-click on the photos to enlarge them for a better view.

  1. wash, dry and press each piece before hand
  2. cut each hand towel in half (use the other half for another)
  3. zig-zag stitch raw edge of cut towel and make a few soft pleats or gathers
  4. you can finish off edges with fold-over binding if you want (optional)
  5. cut length of ribbon long enough for waistband and ties (one piece)
  6. center apron skirt to ribbon and sew two lines of stitches about 1/4" apart (see arrows)
  7. center bottom edge of potholder waistband and make two rows of stitching (see arrows) 

8.  Next you will need to measure and cut a piece of ribbon for the neck loop. You can eyeball this or measure the little girl's size...of course it will need to be large enough to go over her head :) Turn under raw edges and sew two lines of stitching as you did before. I actually sewed a little rectangle (see arrow below).  Of course, don't forget to back stitch at the ends so it doesn't pull out.

Again, I apologize for not having a good tutorial with closer pics of the stitching, etc. but
I just know that you great crafters can figure it out! They really were so easy!

Have fun!
And let me know how they turned out!

Sharing this at:

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Looking out my office window...

...there's a party going on!

But we're not must have big bright wings to attend.
The desire and craving for nectar is also a pre-requisite!

The butterfly bush out in front of my office is the RSVP is required :)

Seriously, I have never seen so many butterflies all at one time!

I brought my camera to work to get a few shots.

I literally walked right up to them and they were swarming all around my head...
...I think they must have liked my hairspray :)

I even got one of them to sit on my hand! 
His or her tail was already broken (just so you know).

If I could have counted them, 
I would guess that there may have been at least a dozen at one time!

They were just glorious!

Monday, July 22, 2013

"Punched Tin" Backsplash

Hello, my friends!
Today I am digging deep down into the archives to share this again.
This is a post from 2013 and I'm linking to Stephanie's Roses of Inspiration.
There have been a few changes in decor since I posted this,
but in a few few weeks, I will be .....(drumroll please)....
Please pray for me!
Hopefully the next photos of my kitchen will reveal lovely white cabinets!
Stay tuned...

I have always loved the look of old fashioned punched tin. I didn't know where I would get my hands on anything that would even come close except for those panels you can buy at Lowe's. I actually bought a piece to try it but it was going to be pain to cut and I would need quite a few pieces to go all the way around my counters. Anyone who knows me, knows I'm all about getting it cheap as possible...and these pieces were about $20 a sheet. Well, while I was looking around at Lowe's the same day I returned that sheet I had purchased, I found this textured wallpaper. The whole roll was less than one sheet of that! Sorry, I don't have a picture of the unpainted's just...white.

It is a thick, embossed white wallpaper which comes in several patterns...and then I got a brilliant idea...spray paint, one my favorite things. First of all, I cut all the pieces that I needed, took them outside and gave them each a few coats...the more you spray, the shinier it will become. It actually dried pretty fast and then I glued it to the backsplash with wallpaper paste.

I was really very pleased with the results!

My next challenge is to give it and "older" look somehow...maybe I will try a little antiquing finish of some sort. Hmm...some Old English maybe? I'll let you know!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Beautiful Weeds Mosaic

Here is a little mosaic that I put together with only a part of my collection of beautiful weeds.
I just love it how God has put his expert handiwork into each one.
I hope you enjoy and appreciate the beauty in weeds like I do!

There were so many more but I didn't want to make the pictures so small that you couldn't see them well.
Maybe I'll have to force myself to make another and share at another time :)

I hope your week ahead is blessed!

I am sharing this at:

Repurposed Linens = Cute Aprons!

A few months ago at my church we had a Mother/Daughter Brunch with an apron theme. I wanted to have aprons to give away as door prizes but they were so expensive to buy already made so I got a bright idea one day as I was rummaging through our local Goodwill store. There were so many adorable things over in the linens aisle....bed dust ruffles, pillow cases and shams, napkins, tables cloths, etc. I realized that I could make the aprons I wanted out of some of these linens that I found...very inexpensively too! Each of the items I found ranged from about $1.00 to $3.00! All I needed was my imagination and a little bit of time.

This apron started out as a pillow sham. The front was the printed side and the back was solid black. I basically just cut the bib part out and had plenty left for the gathered skirt and used the contrasting black for the ruffled trim, added the wide pink polka dot grosgrain ribbon and there you have it! This one was the first one that I made and actually gave this to our pastor's daughter for a wedding shower gift. She loved it.

This one was actually almost made for me. It started out as a little girl's bed ruffle...brand new, I might add. The contrasting prints were already a part of the ruffle so I did not have sew it! I sewed two lengths of the ruffle together for the skirt and constructed the bib from another piece, just turning it so the contrasting part was at the top, adding the extra pink fabric for the neck loop, pockets and waistband.

The sweet lady who won this apron as a door prize that day just loved it, in fact she had it on this past weekend as she worked in the kitchen at church during a fellowship meal. I made several more that I may share in another post but I thought these might be a good way to get in on Pink Saturday too! I am now linking this post to Cindy's Amaze Me Monday!

Have a blessed week!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Morning Has Broken

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
Psalm 5:3

Morning Has Broken
words by Eleanor Farjeon

Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the Word

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one Light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day 

Morning. Even before the sun makes it's way above the horizon and shows it's face...

...that is my favorite time of the day. 
It's the only time of the day when everything is new.
A fresh start. A new beginning.

How many times have you gone to bed the night before with a heavy burden on your heart?
Maybe even cried yourself to sleep? There's just something about the morning...

Your world seems to be crashing in around you and the answers you need just don't come.
You pray for peace.
You awaken when it's still dark...just the way it was when you finally were able to fall asleep,
tears on your pillow and all.
But something is different.
Somehow, even though you know that the burden is still there... doesn't seem quite as heavy.
Something has changed.
Your spirit seems brighter and your countenance is much more peaceful.
There seems to be hope now.
What happened while you were sleeping?
How did things change during the night?

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

I hope you have a blessed week.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Fancy Gap...a little closer to heaven

Fancy Gap...ever heard of it? I had noticed the road signs for several years before I actually came to know this heavenly little place.

Having lived in North Carolina for the past twenty plus years, we traveled through this area of southwest Virginia numerous times as we went back and forth to visit family and friends in Ohio, where my husband and I are from. Just the sound of it intrigued me—Fancy Gap—and never did I imagine that we would ever come to own a piece of it in the form of a few acres on top of a mountain where we built our little log cabin. There are many "gaps" in this area of the Blue Ridge Mountains but I just love how putting the word "fancy" in front of it gives it a certain sense of wonder. So...what is so fancy about Fancy Gap anyway? Probably nothing anymore than some of the places that you have visited...or maybe even right where you actually make your home. I am just a little prejudice I guess. Here are a few reasons why.

The road to the cabin is lined on either side with an array of wildflowers in the spring, summer and early fall.

The sweetpeas are my favorites...I think...

...they look like little pink ruffly delicate...

 ...or maybe it's these tall purple ones... I don't know what they're called, do you?

Then again, I think it must be the orange tiger lilies, or "ditch lilies" as I call them because they always seem to grow along the side of the road in ditches :)

I don't's so hard to decide...

...I can't seem to make up my mind...

From the moment you turn on to the nearly two mile long gravel road that leads to the cabin, it's like taking a trip back in time—to a simpler life, free from the worries and stresses of the day.  

These are such sweet cows. Sometimes I can almost get them to come over to the fence so we can have a chat. They just stand there and look at me like I'm crazy :)

On both sides of the road, all way up to our driveway at the very end, wild blackberries and black raspberries are abounding during the summer months. 

This little cabin on top of the mountain—where the road dead-ends in our driveway—has been our home away from home and our go-to retreat for peace and quiet for the past eleven years. It has been a place for countless get-togethers with family and friends...where echoes of laughter from our children and grandchildren can still be heard if you listen carefully.

There is nothing quite as relaxing as just sitting on the porch swing or maybe in one of the rockers, looking out over the mountain on a breezy summer day—just listening to the wind in the trees and the rushing of the creek down below. I tell you, it's like you can almost hear the voice of God, Himself. Whispering. Calling your name. Telling you how much He loves you—truly a worshipful experience.

Looking out over deck, the steep driveway curves down and then down again and crosses the creek bridge.

This is my grandson, Dacey, as he makes his way across the creek.

Every where you look, pieces of the past are still lingering. 

When I see these old buildings, I'm always so curious about the people who came in and out of them throughout the years...and the lives they lived.

Just a few miles away, off the main road, you can get onto the Blue Ridge Parkway which is altogether lovely on it's own. The speed limit is only 45 miles per hour so if you're in a hurry this may not be for you. Just a short trip down the parkway you will come to Mabry Mill...maybe you have heard of it. It's actually a very popular tourist spot and also one of the most photographed gristmills in the United States—in fact, a few other states have "stolen" photos of the mill and put their own name on it, taking credit for it being theirs. Shame on them, I say!

Every Sunday afternoon down at the mill, the sounds of banjos and fiddles echo throughout the park. The old time mountain music that this area is known for is played by some of the area musicians. Old and young alike enjoy a little flat-footin', the old time mountain dance.

The silhouette of Buffalo Mountain in the distance can be seen for miles and miles.

In the summer, folks come from miles around to visit the peach orchards.
Mmm... they are always so sweet and juicy!

I just couldn't resist getting a picture of this sign :)

Well, I could just go on and on but I won't...
...just let me show you a few more reasons why I love this place.

For me anyway, it's just like this cute little pillow says... heaven is a little closer in Fancy Gap!
I hope you have enjoyed our little visit... please, come back, kick off your shoes and let's sit on the porch for a while!
Thanks for stopping by!

sharing at:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...