Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Finally Fall

Lately, I have been reading every one's posts about fall decorating with envy. It seemed that I just couldn't get in the mood to pull out all of my fall things with temperatures in the nineties. However, all of that changed this week. Sunday brought us some much needed rain and much cooler temperatures. Imagine how excited I was to finally feel like fall had arrived. To celebrate the rain and the arrival of this wonderful season, I made a delicious veggie soup and started pulling out all of my fall things. I even started looking back at some of my old fall pictures for inspiration, and thought I would share a couple of them.

This is an arrangement that I made with persimmons a couple of years ago. (I was just beginning to experiment with photography back then...sorry about the quality of the picture.)

I used twine and a little ball from a sycamore tree to tie up each napkin.

Of course I had to show you pictures of my soup that I made on Monday night.

It is one of those soups that I make without a recipe using whatever I have on hand. This one has onions, garlic, carrots, green and yellow squash, thyme and kale. I usually use cabbage, but decided to try kale instead...yummy! It will be my go to ingredient from now on!

Is there any thing better than eating a warm bowl of soup on a cool, rainy day? This weekend promises to be sunny and even cooler. Hopefully I will finish my decorating and be able to post some more pictures soon. Happy Fall!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rain Is a Good Thing

Yesterday brought us some refreshing rain! We had been hot and dry for so long that I thought this day would never come. We were sitting in church when it happened. The pastor was saying a prayer when we heard it...the rain pouring onto the tin roof of the sanctuary. Now, that is a sound that can only come from God! I think that I even heard some 'Praise the Lords' mixed in with the prayer and the rain. Today promises even more.

I thought that I would venture out this morning with my camera before the heavy rains come later on. I wanted to see if my thirsty plants enjoyed the showers of blessings. I believe that they did.

The knockout roses that had been languishing in the dry heat seemed to be singing a chorus.

The little pot of asparagus fern hummed along.

The writing spider listened intently to the concert.

It is amazing that the downpours didn't wash her away.

The loropetalum seemed to hold on to every drop that fell.

And every fall spider web appeared to be clothed in splendor.

The little mum seemed to jump for joy to finally have some cool, autumn temperatures!

Fall is finally here! "Praise God from whom all blessings flow."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Surprise From John

I looked at the date on my last post and could not believe how long it has been. I have gotten a little behind on blogging lately. John has been out of town a good bit for his job and I have been trying to keep everything together here at home. With school to teach, animals to feed, and kids to taxi there is not much time for anything else. I always miss him so much when he is gone.

He has been building a Family Dollar store in Hurlock, Maryland, near the Chesapeake Bay. I had the opportunity to travel with him there a couple of weeks ago and loved the area. It has some of the most beautiful farmland that I have ever seen. Another thing about the area that I noticed was the many places that sold Adirondack chairs. These stood out to me because I have been looking for some new chairs for our pier. We have had the old ones since we got married and they have seen better days. Unfortunately, we had to hurry home and did not get to stop to check the prices.

Imagine my surprise when John came home last Thursday with a something special for me. (Now, he is not the most romantic man in the world, but every once in a while he does something that totally catches me off guard.) It was about 9:30 Thursday evening when he pulled into the drive from the long trip. He called me outside to show me something....two beautiful chairs and a table! He said that it was a gift to celebrate the anniversary of our first kiss. Can you believe that? He always remembers that date. Isn't that sweet?

He set them off of the truck in the side yard.

They are still there today. It is the perfect place to see the pond and to view the moon and the stars.

I don't think that I want to move them to the pier. What do you think?

Maybe we need to purchase two more.

Even the kitty likes them exactly where they are.

Can't you just imagine cool fall nights with a blanket and a glass of wine under the light of a full moon?

Now, if we can just get rid of the ninety degree days here in North Carolina, maybe I won't have to imagine.

I thank God everyday for my wonderful husband! He is always full of surprises.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Blue Ridge Parkway

This weekend our family traveled to the mountains with the youth group from our church to go rafting. Spending the weekend with over forty teenagers just about did me in. Just kidding...they are some of the best young people around. After a rainy day of rafting, an evening of bowling, and night with little sleep we left the group to travel from Asheville to Boone to explore the campus of Appalachian State University. Catie has decided to leave the five year early college program that she is in to graduate this year and attend a four year university. One of the schools that she is interested in is ASU, so we decided to take a look at it. Instead of traveling the highways, we decided to ride along the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway. I took a few pictures on the way.

I love the shadows of the clouds on the mountains.

This picture makes me wonder what lies around the bend.

I love this one with the light and trees at the end of the tunnel.

Can you see a little glimpse of fall color in this one?

Of course, what would a September visit to the mountains be without a trip to an apple orchard?

Hopefully, in a few weeks when the leaves have changed colors I will get to take another trip to the mountains to enjoy the beauty of fall.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sunrises and New Beginnings

Over Labor Day weekend our family decided to bid farewell to summer by taking a trip to Oak Island, NC. Those of you that are familiar with my blog know that this is one of my favorite places in the world. I can't think of any better way to spend one of the last weekends of summer.

On our last morning there, my mom and I decided to take an early morning walk on the beach to watch the sun rise over the ocean.

There is only one problem with that... the sun on Oak Island does not come up over the water.

That may be hard to believe since the island is located on the east coast.

Due to the curve of the land on Oak Island, the beach faces south. That explains why the sun appears to rise over the land and set over the ocean. Isn't that neat?

I just love the early morning hours when everything is quietly coming alive. The sky appears to be an ever changing canvas as the sun begins to peek through the morning clouds.

Watching the sunrise, I can't help but think about new beginnings. You see, in order for a new day to begin, the sun must set on an old one. There has to be a period of darkness while we wait for the sun to reappear.

As I write this post I think about my youngest daughter's first heartbreak. Unfortunately, it happened on Monday while I was traveling out of state on a business trip with my husband. I was not there with her. However, her older sister was right there helping her through the night.

I know that there are worse things than a breakup; however, when it is your first broken heart, it seems like the end of the world. I remember my first one, don't you? Whenever someone is experiencing an ending of any sort there is a period of darkness that follows... a time when the world as you know it seems to stand still.

Her world, for a little while, may seem to be a little dark, but the sun will come up on another day... another beginning... another opportunity... and yes, another love. (If her dad has his way, it will be a long time coming!)

I think that when we are experiencing darkness of any kind in our lives, it is important to remember that we are not alone. It is also comforting to know that with each ending comes a new beginning. After the darkness, praise God, the sun does come up again. And oh what beautiful sight that is!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Two Friends and a Boat

As I sat on the pier watching Carson and her best friend Abbey laughing and having fun in the canoe, I had no idea that I was learning a valuable lesson in friendship. In fact, it wasn't until days later, while viewing the pictures that I took of the two friends, that I realized I had witnessed some of the best traits of a true friendship.

One of the first being that real friends truly enjoy each other's company.

Another trait of a true friendship is that when one friend gets tired, the other one will take over and row for a while.

Still, another is that a true friend doesn't mind trading places once in a while just to see things from the other's point-of-view.

Lastly, and probably the most important trait of a true friendship is that once in a while, when one friend is going through a tough time, the only thing the other can do is sit quietly in the boat and just be.

When I began blogging in January it was mainly so that my girls could one day look back and see through my words and lens straight into my heart. Little did I know that I was opening the door to some wonderful friendships. At that time, I promised myself that, for the sake of my girls, I would be totally transparent with my feelings and not only blog about the good days, but some of the bad as well, so that they would never see perfection in me... and see instead someone who trusts in the one who is perfect. I hope that this is what all of you, my friends, see as well. This week, after having had a particularly tough week, I posted about not feeling well. I was truly touched by all of your kind comments and the prayers that were sent up on my behalf. I felt the presence of your friendship with each and every comment that I read. Thanks for lifting me up.

"A friend loves at all times, and brother is born for adversity." Proverbs 17:17