Meet My Family and You’ll Know Why I’m Grateful

There’s no way I could have a series on gratefulness without highlighting my sweet family.

This month, we gathered to celebrate all the grandchildren! One has a birthday towards the end of October, two have birthdays in November, and one just recently arrived from Uganda. So, as you can see, there was much to celebrate!

When I look at the picture below, my heart is filled with gratefulness and my eyes fill with the tears to prove it. 🙂

I see a hubster who is the most faithful man I know. He makes dreams come true that I didn’t even know existed.

I see two sons who not only love God, but pursue Him, as well as community with other believers. I learn from them…often. I take no credit for the amazing men they’ve become but truly give God all the glory.

I see two a-mazing daughter-in-laws whom I began praying for when our boys were in elementary school. Of course, I didn’t know exactly who I was praying for…but God did! They are godly women who love their families well. Brian and I often talk about what amazing wives and mothers they are (which is no surprise if you knew their mothers!)

And the grandchildren. Oh my. Well, when I see them, my heart bubbles up with pure joy. Each, already with their own personalities and strengths (note: Grammy’s don’t see weaknesses.)

Many of you prayed for Judah, Liv, Brandon, and Megan while they were in Uganda for 60 days. Thank you! Judah is a happy little boy with a quick bright smile that lights up any room. I have no doubt that he, and the story God is writing for him, will one day be used to bring true Light to dark corners around the world.

I pray this Thanksgiving — and every day — we will be reminded of the treasure found in our families. One day, when all is said and done, it will not be the temporary things of this world we’ll remember, or be grateful for. It will be our families and how we loved  one another well. Yes, that will matter most.

(Left to right – Brian, Zach, Piper, Gabe, Sarah, Judah, Me, Brandon, Liv, and Megan)
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! Psalm 100:4

When Fall Beauty Prompts Perpetual Poetry

 

It’s no coincidence that my hubster and I refer to the month of October as the month o’ love. We love everything about it! We were even married on the side of a mountain during the month of October (Pretty Place, Greenville SC).

Every open weekend during the month we plan a getaway. Sometimes it’s an overnight stay but often it’s day trips. One of my favorite day-trip destinations is Carl Sandburg’s home, perched atop a hill in Flat Rock, NC.

This past weekend we took a hike around the front lake, the one that sits at the bottom of the hill, below his home. The crimson-threaded leaves embraced the lake as if they were saying a final farewell, at least for now.

Could Carl Sandburg have been sitting on his front stoop, observing the same breathtaking views, as he penned Autumn Movement?

(It was a foggy morning but if you look carefully you can see Connemara at the top of the hill.)

Autumn Movement,
by Carl Sandburg

I cried over beautiful things knowing no beautiful thing lasts.

The field of cornflower yellow is a scarf at the neck of the copper sunburned woman, the mother of the year, the taker of seeds.

The northwest wind comes and the yellow is torn full of holes, new beautiful things come in the first spit of snow on the northwest wind, and the old things go, not one lasts.

 

 

 

What will you miss the most with the passing of Fall? 

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…
Ecclesiastes 3:1

 

The Beauty of Venturing Out to Unfamiliar Places This Fall

by Cathy Baker

Last week, we made our way up to the highlands of NC to Blowing Rock. Its downtown area is much like a village with charming boutiques and dangerously delicious ice cream shoppes lining the streets.

One of the loveliest perks in venturing out to new towns is meeting people you would never meet otherwise, like Sheri Furman, owner of Take Heart.

Sheri, along with her staff, go out of their way to make you feel right at home in their cozy cottage-like setting. Purple-planked walls, Scripture quotes on pillows, wooden canvases, etc. As the young ladies lovingly wrapped my purchases in lilac colored tissue paper, one of them smiled and shared how they’d also tucked in a bag of fresh lilac for my birthday. Yes, this is my kind of place.

Not just because of the boutique itself, which is lovely…

 

 

 or the white-planked floors and funky chandeliers…
but because of Sheri and the two young assistants who turned a simple walk-through of a store into a delightful experience. As we were leaving, one of the girls asked if we wanted her to take our picture on the bench outside their door. Although the exposure to sun worked against us, it’s still a picture we’ll treasure as it caught a moment in time that will always remind me the beauty of venturing to unfamiliar places.
Thank you, Sheri and staff! {Instagram: takeheart_nc}
Take a moment to consider an unfamiliar place, town, store, setting that you could visit this Fall. Stay alert to the blessings you discover along the way. I’d love to hear about your adventure!
 

Take Heart
1009 Main Street
Blowing Rock, NC 28605

 

Dream A Little Dream With Me

Okay, I realize the song title is a bit different but since I’m pretty certain you don’t want to dream a little dream of me, I’m inviting you to dream a little dream with me.

The Daily Health Post reports that there are actual health benefits to dreaming/daydreaming!

So, let’s step outside, walk on a leaf-strewn path, find a comfy bench at the park, lay in a hammock…and dream a little!

With all the serious facets of life as our foundation (faith, family, health, etc.), it’s fun to dream of the “what if’s” and the “I wonder’s” as long as our contentment meter doesn’t get out of whack.

Since I only know the dreams rumbling around in my head (and it’s my birthday!) I’ll get the ball rolling. See if anything resonates in your own heart.

 

A house — tiny, small, or on stilts, I don’t care…
as long as it’s in the NC mountains…
with a view, or at least the feel, of the mountains surrounding me.
(The perfect writing nook, wouldn’t you agree?)
Did I mention the winding tree-shrouded private driveway leading up to it?
(Look, Brian! No grass to mow.)
Williams Sonoma
And don’t forget the chicken coop! I’ve already named three of my chickens:
Original Recipe, Extra Crispy, Grilled…I’m serious.
Bye Bye big bucks for organic eggs!

Umm, did I cross a line in naming my future chickens? Just keeping it real here! So how about you? What’s one thing you dream about doing or becoming?

 

Five Fun Fall Outdoor Activities for the Whole Family!

Big outdoor plans were in the making for our October weekends.

But then the historic SC rain fell the first weekend…and the following Saturday. Call it stir crazy but I had to get out of the house!

Out of this craziness came five ideas for outside fun when the sun returns:

 

Head to the Farm! Many farms during this season open their doors to visitors for hayrides, the selling of their goods, and instructional opportunities — perfect for kids and adults alike. Just watch where you step. 🙂

Flee to the local Flea Market. You need only ask me once and I’m there. I’m not sure why, as I’m pretty much maxed out on antiques, but I love the idea of finding Mason jars at a bargain or something unusual that prompts a story. One really doesn’t need an excuse to flee, right?


Go to your County Fair. I think I’ve missed this one in our area. Honestly, it’s been years since I’ve gone but nothing said Fall when I was a teenager like a boyfriend wowing the crowd and winning a big stuffed bear! But I digress. County fairs have it all – animals, flowers, rides, cotton candy and funnel cakes (I’ve never had one of these!)

Attend a Football Game. Enough said. 🙂


Enjoy an Outdoor Concert. Wonder what’s going on in your city? Google it! Most city Web sites now have a section just for concerts. Don’t forget to bundle up for Fall’s chilly nights and chairs, if necessary. Or even a better, a mega wool blanket.

Your turn! What have I missed? What’s your favorite Fall outdoor activity? There are so many. Let me hear at least one. 

Flourless Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Cake

by Cathy Baker

Need I say more?

I stumbled across Chelsea’s Messy Apron while searching for the perfect pumpkin chocolate-chip cookies. But once I spotted this picture? Game over.

Image from Chelsea’s Messy Apron

Once you visit Chelsea’s site you’re sure to be wowed by the healthy recipes just waiting to be made, enjoyed, and shared with others. What a wonderful way to celebrate the season.

But for today, go here {Chelsea’s Messy Apron} to read this gluten-free yummylicious recipe! 

Do you think you’ll give this a try? Let me know.