Monday, October 31, 2011

At a glance...’s nothing special

Just an ordinary day

Creeping up against the shadows

In an ordinary way

But if you observe it closely

You can see the Giver’s face 

In this extra-ordinary gift

Another day of grace.

~~~ Janet Martin ~~~

I love this sweet photo of my dad reading to my daughter.  She was about 2 years old... 4 years ago ~ how the time does fly!  

She'd just had a bath, and 'Papaw' Ross was sitting with her on her bed, reading a book about monkeys.  I remember hearing them first, then grabbing my camera to try and 'capture the moment'.

They were so involved with each other, they didn't even notice me standing there.  It was truly a beautiful gift to see the love between a little girl and her grandpa... an example of an extra-ordinary gift given on an ordinary day, that could've easily been forgotten, overlooked, or missed entirely.
But it wasn't ~ and for that I'm thankful.

Isn't it good to know that even our most ordinary of days are filled with beautiful gifts from a God who loves us enough to send them our way?

Thank you God, for opening my eyes to see your blessings 
in the midst of daily tasks.  Thank you for helping me to see You... everywhere I go, and in everything I do.

 At a glance, it's nothing special.   
Just an ordinary day...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October's Beauty

"There is no season when 
such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, 
and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, 
as now in October."
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne ~    

Every day I notice a little less color beyond my window panes.  
In an effort to preserve a bit of October's beauty, this morning, 
I grabbed a jacket and headed outside.  I visited a few golden maple trees, 
a mixed up forsythia, which always blooms in Autumn 
instead of Spring, and my hydrangea bush.  

Once I'd gathered the branches and blooms, and after I'd enjoyed a little walk around the yard, I came back indoors.  Originally I'd wanted to make a kitchen table centerpiece, but soon realized everyone would probably be eating on their laps if I used the large branches... so I moved on to my blanket chest in the corner.  Much better.  There was more room to spread out and be dramatic.

I started with an old wooden tool carrier, and placed 3 large canning jars inside.  Next I dusted off my blue kitchen scale, added a shallow dish with apples on top, and set that to the right of the carrier.  An old tin, with 3 candles inside, went in front and slightly to the right.

I added water to the canning jars, and re-cut the branches at a 45 degree angle, then smashed the ends with a hammer.  I know it seems like a lot of trouble to go through for a few branches, but it makes the arrangement last longer, so...  After the branches were arranged to my liking, I added hydrangea, but grouped them more toward the left/center, to balance the tin and scale on the right.

I gathered up some little green gourds my mom gave me... they harvested quite a crop from their compost pile... and placed those around the tin.  There were leaves all over the floor from the branches.  Too pretty to waste, I used them as filler... tucked in here and there next to the apples and gourds, or placed between the branches.

A few things to remember ~ always keep leaves and flowers 
a safe distance back from burning candles, 
and of course, never leave them burning unattended. 

Hope this inspires you to look outside your window 
and bring a touch of October's beauty in to your home as well...
before it's too late!

Monday, October 24, 2011


"A solitary maple on a woodside flames in single scarlet,
recalls nothing so much as the daughter of a noble house
dressed for a fancy ball, with the whole family gathered
around to admire her before she goes."
~ Henry James ~ 

Click here for the lovely lady's image credit, and here for the maple tree's. 
Hope you have a beautiful day ~ thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sweet Flight

"Listen!  The wind is rising,
and the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings,
now for October eves!"   

~ Humbert Wolfe ~

"The leaves fall, the wind blows
and the farm country slowly 
changes from the summer cottons 
into its winter wools."
~ Henry Beston ~

"Delicious autumn!  
My very soul is wedded to it, 
and if I were a bird 
I would fly about the earth
seeking the successive autumns."

 ~ George Eliot~

Hope everyone is having a Sweet Saturday

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Kids Autumn Printables

Originally, I made these pictures for my kids to color, 
then thought it might be fun to transform them 
in to printables to share with you!

Just click on the picture you want.
Next select 'view image.'
Click again to enlarge the picture.
Select 'save image as' to save to your computer.
The images should print out on a full page.


~ Pumpkins ~

Here are some examples of what 
my kids did with the pumpkin printable...

~ Tree Trunk & Branches ~

This is what my daughter did with the tree trunk printable... created a beautiful apple tree.  That's her picking apples too!

Hope you liked these ~ let me know what you think!


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sweet Love

All 3 of these digital collages I created have 2 things in common.  
Love ~ and a sweet floral patterned paper from The Graphics Fairy.
Every image used, with the exception of my mother's baby photo, 
came from that wonderful free website!

Hope you're having a Sweet Saturday!

Friday, October 14, 2011

An Old Acquaintance

This painting reminds me of a tree from my childhood.  I'm not sure what kind it was... an apple or cherry I think... but it stood all alone in the middle of a field near our home.  It was a very beautiful tree, with a naturally pleasing shape, which made it stand out even more.  We used to take walks there as a family, sit in the shade, and play around its branches.  As a little girl I always felt good after 'visiting' the tree... as if it were another being who benefited from my company.  
When we moved to another home, one of the last things we had to say goodbye to, was the tree.  That was about 16 years ago.  I've taken that dead-end, dirt road by my childhood home a handful of times since then.  Every time I check on our tree, and you know what?  
There are now homes in that once empty field.  
The tree is still there, only it doesn't seem as lonely anymore.

And that makes me happy.  
Hope you enjoyed my tribute to an old friend,
in words and watercolor...

"I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech-tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines."
~ Henry David Thoreau ~ 

Hope you're having a great day!!
Happy PPF!

Monday, October 10, 2011

More than a Colorful Coat...

Joseph is well known for his  
coat of many colors,
but how much do you really know 
about his amazing life story?   

Joseph, the son of Jacob in the book of Genesis, went from being a favorite son set to inherit his father's tribe to being a slave and thrown in jail for a crime he didn't commit.  Through it all, this man never blamed God for his troubles.  His reward ~ the blessings he received... and the justice God granted ~ are powerful examples of what God can do if He is on your side. 

Joseph was an honest, kind son who grew up favored by his father, Jacob.  He showed this by giving only Joseph a long coat of many colors.  He was also chosen as his father's heir, although there were 10 sons born before him. 

He had the gift of interpreting dreams as well... 

You can imagine the great tension between Joseph and his older brothers, and their resentment towards him.  One day Joseph explained the meaning of two of his own dreams... in the first, his brothers were bowing before him.  In the second, the sun (father), moon (mother), and 11 stars (all his brothers) bowed before him.  The brothers despised Joseph for his dreams' implications.

Joseph's elder brothers were out in the fields, shepherding the tribe's sheep.  They'd been gone several days and needed fresh food, so Joseph was sent to them.  The brothers tried to avoid him by moving to an unexpected place, but Joseph found them anyway.  

This is where Joseph's story takes its first turn...  The ten brothers saw this as an opportunity to get rid of Joseph, and so they grabbed him and threw him in to a nearby dry cistern.  The eldest brother intended to save Joseph, while another suggested twice they kill him.  An Egyptian trader happened their way, and so the brothers agreed to sell their brother in to slavery.  What an opportunity!  They'd be rid of him, make a little money, and his blood wouldn't be on their hands.  Can you imagine Joseph calling out, "Brothers?  Help me!  Save me... Brothers?"

He was only 17 years old.

The brothers ripped up Joseph's once treasured coat and covered it in goat's blood.  They brought it back to their father as evidence of Joseph's death at the hands of a wild animal ~ which was their story.  Jacob and the rest of the tribe believed this to be true, and so began a time of mourning.

Joseph was not dead, but perhaps wishing it, as he was dragged along to Egypt.  Once there, he was sold to Potiphar, a very important man to Pharaoh ~ captain of the guard.  Every task that Joseph was assigned to prospered.  Over time, he gained recognition and became Potiphar's personal servant.  

Joseph also gained unwanted recognition from Potiphar's wife.  She wanted to have an affair with him, but he refused.  After being turned down several times, she made false sexual accusations against him.  For this, Joseph was thrown in jail by his master.

Here again, even as a slave in jail, Joseph found favor.  He was placed in a position overseeing the other prisoners, and the jail ran efficiently.

One day, two men of high status were thrown in jail ~ the Pharaoh's cup bearer and baker.  They had dreams that they could not interpret.  Joseph listened and correctly read their dreams.  The baker was hanged and the cup bearer was restored to his position.  Joseph suggested to the cup bearer ~ please remember me, and my service to you.  However, once the man was back in his position, he forgot about Joseph's request.

Time passed.  Pharaoh's sleep was disturbed by two dreams that he nor anyone in his service could interpret.  The cup bearer now remembered Joseph, and told Pharaoh of his gift.  Joseph was presented to Pharaoh, where he interpreted the meaning of his dreams as seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine.  Pharaoh asked what should then be done, and Joseph offered a wise plan to store part of the harvest in the years of plenty and save for the years of want.  

At only 30 years of age, Joseph was named Vizier ~ second in command to the Pharaoh.  He was now ruler over even the man he used to call master.  He was given a new Egyptian name, and a beautiful wife.  He followed through and stored up grain from the harvest for seven years, and in the last year of plenty, his wife had two sons ~ Manasseh, which means to forget, and Ephraim.

The severe drought and famine that came next, as Joseph predicted, forced many to come to Egypt and pay or trade for grain... which eventually included his brothers.  Joseph recognized them ~ but they did not recognize him... he was now 39 years old.  He ordered they be thrown in prison, accusing them of being spies.  Three days later he sent all back home except one, and told them to return with ALL their brothers.  Benjamin was Joseph's only younger brother, and now set to inherit Jacob's tribe.

Upon returning home, the brothers bargained with Jacob.  When the stores of grain were nearly used up, Benjamin was sent back with the remaining brothers.  When Joseph saw all were there, he released the last brother from jail to join the others.  The brothers explained there was silver in their grain sacks from the first trip, but were told not to worry about that.  They were welcomed directly in to Joseph's home and offered a feast with the Vizier himself.  This was unusual because Egyptians did not eat with Hebrews.  They must've wondered what was going on... 

That night, Joseph ordered his brother's sacks be filled with grain, double the money they had from the first trip ~ and a silver cup placed in with Benjamin's share.  In the morning, as they left for home, they were stopped and the silver cup was 'discovered.'  Joseph ordered the one in possession of the cup to be his slave.  

The brothers came together to defend Benjamin.  The one who'd once wanted to kill Joseph, now begged and offered himself in Benjamin's place.  At this, Joseph was brought to tears, and sent all from the room, except his brothers.  He revealed his true identity as not only the Vizier, but Joseph, their long lost brother.

The men stood frozen and speechless.  Joseph brought them close and said,

But don't be upset, 
and don't be angry with yourselves 
for selling me to this place. 
It was God who sent me here 
ahead of you to preserve your lives.

~Genesis 45:5~

Could you say that if you were in Joseph's place?

The brothers were sent back to their home and told to gather the tribe, and come back to Egypt to live in a land prepared for them and their families... because there were five years of famine left.  As they approached, Joseph waited in his chariot... he was reuniting with his beloved father who he hadn't seen in 22 years.  They held each other and wept, then Jacob said, “Now let me die, since I have seen your face, because you are still alive.”

Jacob (also known as Israel) and his tribe lived peacefully for seventeen years in that land.  After his death, Joseph's brothers feared he would seek retribution for his days of slavery, but again Joseph said:

As for you, you meant evil against me, 
but God meant it for good, to bring it about 
that many people should be kept alive, 
as they are today.
~Genesis 50:20~

Joseph lived to be 110, and asked to be taken out of Egypt someday with the tribe of Jacob (Israel).  This promise was honored when Moses led the Israelites out of bondage in the Exodus from Egypt. (Exodus 13:19)

There are so many lessons to be learned here.  
Looking back, Joseph didn't blame his brothers
for their act of selling him in to slavery.
He said, "It was God who sent me here."
He forgave his brothers for their unthinkable act.
He made the most out of terrible situations
and earned a good reputation.
He never gave up. 

He is proof...

What others mean for evil, 
God can use for good.

Wouldn't you agree...
there's more to Joseph than a colorful coat?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Sweet Surprises

"All that we behold is full of blessings."
 ~ William Wordsworth ~
Yesterday, mom surprised me by offering to whisk my kids off
for a night at grandma & grandpa's house! 
I always have mixed emotions about seeing them go,
but admit it's nice to get a break ~ at least once in awhile...

So, after hugging and waving goodbye and blowing kisses until everyone was out of sight (and then some), I returned inside.  The weather was gorgeous, but I just had a desire to paint.  After adjusting my light and pulling up a chair, I impulsively grabbed a brush.  With just a few long strokes ~ a blue sky was created.  At that moment I didn't know what would come next.  

Sometimes it's nice to start a painting 
without expectations and flow in the moment.

Almost without thinking, I dipped my brush in to a dark green, and haphazardly painted some trees... then thought, it's Autumn, so why not add some orange.  Next came yellow and brown, a little more orange for the sky and green for the grassy field, purple for a little creek... before I knew it, all the colors merged and... a landscape appeared.

A sweet, unexpected surprise...

Sometimes the best things in life are unexpected.
  Unplanned... at least by us.
It's hard to let go of my plan, and leave it in God's hands,  
but that's exactly what I'm supposed to do. 
He's got a plan for everything ~ and who doesn't
love a sweet surprise here and there? 
Our days are full of them...
if we're just present to accept the gifts.

For I know the plans
I have for you, declares the Lord
plans for welfare and not for evil, 
to give you a future and a hope. 

~ Jeremiah 29:11 ~

Thursday, October 6, 2011

October Sketches

 Fall is officially here in Ohio!

The weather is cooler and leaves are changing... and the sun is shining! 
Before long farmers will be in the fields reaping the harvest 
and families will be picking out pumpkins to carve...

Here's a sketch I did Wednesday evening in the spirit of the season...

...and here it is after I added watercolors this morning.

Much better!

Here's my work-in-progress...

I envisioned this as a home added on to over time.  
The Saltbox could've been built in the 1800's, 
but the front porch added some time in the Victorian era.
I'm happy with the house itself, but now I think it needs something going on it the background... or does it?  What are your thoughts?

I had to share this pencil drawing by my daughter 
for her Kindergarten teacher.
She brought the drawing up to me and asked,
"Can you just help me write the words?" 
So we sat down together, and she carefully wrote every letter, 
and then gave them extra beauty with curls or feathers.
It took awhile to finish it ~ but she was so proud 
to give this drawing to her teacher!

I know that was a lot, but it's been a busy week!
Happy PPF!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There's still time to change the road you're on...

~ Led Zeppelin ~ Stairway to Heaven ~


Monday, October 3, 2011

Autumn Blessings

Autumn winds distinctly change from summertime haze.
Bountiful meals are shared with loved ones in a spirit of thanksgiving.
Captivating drives through the countryside ~ leading nowhere but back home.
Delight in young and old visiting the local county Fair.
Embers glowing in the fireplace.
Five little pumpkins sittin' on the gate ~ first one says, "Oh my, it's getting late!"
Gently lifting fog on a frosty November morning.
Harvest moon rising over a field of gold.
Inspiration to bake homemade apple pies, cookies, and cakes.
Juicy, tart & sweet apples gathered from the local orchard.
Kindness of a neighbor, lending a hand.
Light fading as the sun sets in a red October sky.
Music of an autumn evening.
Nimble red foxes and whitetail deer frolicking through field and wood.
Orange glow from a crooked, nearly toothless jack-o-lantern's smile.
Princesses, farmers, and others knocking on doors ~ announcing, 'Trick or Treat!'
Quiet leaves falling as you stand there with arms outstretched, looking up.
Remembrances of loved ones and traditions happily savored together.
Spiced pumpkin and apple pies, apple cider, and steaming hot coffee.
Toasted pumpkin seeds from hallowed out pumpkins.
Umbrellas, mittens and scarves by the door ~ just in case.
Vibrant scarlet, burnt orange and sienna, yellow ochres, and fading greens.
Woodsy, spicy scents permeating the air.
X-tra layers on bundled up children (of all ages) playing in piles of leaves.
Yeild from heavy-laden fields of corn and soybeans.
Zippers zipped to ward off blustery winds as autumn fades... winter approaches.