Monday, June 30, 2008

Back from Atlanta and Deeper Still...

On this particular Encouraging Monday... I just have to say that God was so AWESOME in the Deeper Still event this weekend. He SHINED!!! He was awesome in the teaching from three godly, surrendered women. He was awesome in our praise and worship times. He was awesome in the details. One thing that really touched me was how awesome He is in raising up generation after generation (74, 51, & 30-ish?) of submitted, Holy Spirit-gifted women to proclaim His word in fresh ways for those of us who are willing to be taught the Word.

Priscilla, with her 6-month pregnant self, and Kay with her beautiful 74-full-yeared wisdom self, and Beth, 51 and, well, who can really describe her? -- were all amazing as they poured themselves out as a drink offering -- almost literally -- as we watched, took notes as fast as we could, (with some jumping up and down thrown in, thanks to Beth), and tried to take it all in.

(We laughed in the car on the way home that Beth taught in that last session, because only she could have kept that crowd as rapt at attention as we were while fighting that afternoon nap-needing slump after being up all night talking!)

In addition to a very close friend, I got to share this precious time with my mother and my mother-in-love. How precious is that? I can't imagine any ladies I would rather have shared it with. Well, o.k., maybe the other 18,997 ladies! God is great and greatly to be praised.

Deeper still, indeed...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Grace for the Journey...

Let's take time this week to pray for our nation and to be thankful for our freedoms here, knowing that the only true freedom is found when we become slaves to Christ...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Stop, Look, and Listen... another interesting fountain

Birmingham Botanical Gardens entrance:

Friday, June 27, 2008

Fruitful Fridays...

Here is my latest picture... it is a historical rendering of King's College Chapel at Cambridge, England. tells of its history:

"The Late Gothic King's College Chapel is one of the architectural highlights of Cambridge. Begun in 1446 and completed in stages over the following century, Wordsworth called it "an immense and glorious work of fine intelligence." King's College Chapel's many treasures include rare early 16th-century windows, exquisite fan vaulting, a Renaissance wooden screen, and a painting by Rubens.

Construction on King's College Chapel began in 1446 under King Henry VI's master mason Robert Ely, but ceased in 1461 when Henry was defeated and taken prisoner at the Battle of Towton. Some further progress was made under the king's Yorkist successors between 1476 and 1483. Building work began again in earnest in 1506, after King Henry VII visited Cambridge with his mother Lady Margaret Beaufort. Overseen by John Wastell, the chapel and its stonework were completed by 1515. King's College Chapel was finally completed with the addition of the woodwork and windows under King Henry VIII (d.1547)."

I found all this fascinating and the architecture quite a challenge to render faithfully. I loved this historical photo I found in the public domain.

Notice the horses and carriages in the front of the beautiful structure. It was a challenge, but quite unusual for me that the drawing has a historical effect.

(SIDE NOTE: Favorite Blogger Feature - the ability to schedule posts for future publication so that while I am away this weekend at the Deeper Still Conference in Atlanta, GA, my blog posts will still happen!)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Merry Humpday... Happy Halfway to Christmas!

Today is Wednesday and is not only "humpday" as far as the workweek is concerned, but is also humpday as far as Christmas is concerned. Now, around our house, Christmas is a very big deal. So in honor of "Christmas Humpday" (halfway to Christmas) I am posting some holly-jollyness today!

These are some of my handmade Christmas stockings. I made each of these before the first Christmas of each of my children. They are patterned after a stocking that my mother made for me when I was born (which I still use, by the way!) I carefully chose and designed each element of their stocking from felt and then embellished it with beads, pearls, sequins, and other decorations. Since I am very protective about my children's identities and leery of sharing too much information about them for the whole world to see, I have not shown their names. But each stocking has a white 4 inch strip across the top with the child's name in block letters hand-cut from red felt to match the stocking.

These stockings hang in my den over my hearth, on which I place a set of votive candles surrounded by nutcrackers and Christmas stuffed animals. The theme colors in my den are bright... mostly red and green. I have not been a fan of colored lights for my trees, but since my kids were very small they have wanted them. So our den tree, which is the one we are all around the most, has colored lights.This is my dining room table set with my Christmas china, crystal Christmas trees on a mirror as a centerpiece, and of course lots of candles.

Below is a wonderful Christmas cake which is pretty impressive, but not so hard to make. It is a peppermint red velvet cake. The cake portion is actually two different batters, one red and one white alternately spooned into the pan for a peppermint effect. The icing is cream cheese with peppermint flavoring. It is beautiful to look at and delicious as well!

The tree below is in my living room and is really MY tree. I decorate it and it has some of my very favorite decorations on it. It is decorated with gold, silver, crystal, and white (including white lights, of course!) The Gorham angel that sits atop the tree was given to me as a wedding gift by a wonderful college friend.

These carolers were given to me by my grandmother, who was a real source of inspiration for me as far as decorating. She was a graceful southern lady who loved and appreciated beautiful things and was able to really put together decor with a charm and a classic style that was completely elegant.

This last picture is the representation of our faith -- the nativity -- the fact that Jesus came to this earth to live and teach us how to live... and also to die so that we can live with Him in eternity. In these times when our world is in turmoil and uncertainty, we need an anchor for the soul. How blessed we are that He offers Himself so freely to be that Anchor for our soul!

And that is reason enough to celebrate... even in June!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Encouraging Mondays...

Hide it in your heart...

When my daughter was about 3 years old, she was at her grandmother's house spending the night. She was very active and into everything, as most children that age are, so her grandmother had brought her into her bedroom and closed the door. "Mammaw" instructed her to stay in the room with her and keep busy with her toys there, so that she could keep an eye on her. She knew there were things around the house that my daughter would get into in no time if she were to escape from her view. Well, my daughter inched over toward the door of the bedroom (you know what I mean... we've all seen our children do this!) When she got to the door, she reached up and grabbed the knob. About that time Mammaw saw what she was about to do, and she said, "No, sweetie, you can't go out that door." My daughter looked up and told her (with all the confidence in the world), "Mammaw, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

(Yes, that is an actual picture of my daughter from around that age. Can you tell she was a determined little thing? We had been listening to Steve Green's wonderful children's CDs called "Hide 'Em In Your Heart," so she was quite confident in quoting those verses. She will be going into the sixth grade this year, and I can hardly believe it! She is still as confident and determined as ever, but I am thankful that she has turned into a young lady with a beautiful heart who loves God and His word.)

Have an encouraged Monday knowing that you can do all things through His strength!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Grace for the Journey...

"The Mighty One, God, the LORD,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun
to the place where it sets.
From Zion, perfect in beauty,
God shines forth."

- Psalm 50:1-2

Stop, look, and listen... Pinecone Fountain

Friday, June 20, 2008

An award that made my day...

I have been given the 5 Blogs That Make My Day award by sweet Barb at The French Elements. Just so you know Barb... your blog makes my day, too!

Here are the rules:

(DISCLAIMER: For those to whom I am giving this award, I know that some may have already received the award. I do not want any of you to feel pressure to have to pass it on. I know how busy life can be. Just know how much I enjoy your blogs.)

1. Write a post with links to 5 blogs that make me think or make my day.

2. Acknowledge the post of the award giver.

3. Tell the award winners that they have won by commenting on their blogs with the news.

Please visit:

Barb at The French Elements (I just had to give it back to you, Barb, because it's true!)

Ruth at Whispering Oaks Cottage

Lauren at Button Willow Cottage (Lauren doesn't have comments enabled on her blog, but if you haven't visited her little oasis on the web... well you really must go check out what you've been missing!)

Lana at Honeysuckle Lane's Simple Joys

Rebekka at The Sugar Bar (brand new blog from an old blogging girlfriend... previously MapleSugar and The Cake Parlour)

Fruitful Fridays: A tribute to a very fruitful artist...

On Fridays I will normally have a post and a challenge to encourage us toward fruitfulness. But today I am paying tribute to one of my favorite artists and authors, Tasha Tudor, who passed away Wednesday. According to the website of WCAX in Vermont, "Tudor lived in Marlboro, surrounded by gardens, in what her family describes as an old-fashioned lifestyle of peace and self-sufficiency. Her detailed, sometimes whimsical, drawings have been featured on greeting cards and dozens of books. Tudor's last book was published in 2002, and it highlighted one of her favorite subjects: corgis. Tasha Tudor was 92 years old."

Some of my earliest and fondest memories are of my mother reading me "The Secret Garden" which was illustrated by Tasha. I also remember her illustrations for Robert Louis Stevenson's "A Child's Garden of Verses." She was probably part of the earliest inspiration for my artistic inclinations. I also have the book "Drawn From New England" by her daughter, Bethany Tudor, which tells the story of her life and her artwork. She was a true pioneer in many senses of the word and an inspiration in both how she lived her life and the excellence with which she did her writing and artwork. She was truly an American treasure and will be missed.

More extensive USA Today article here.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Magnolia Day!

Aren't these just amazing! They were over twice the size of my hand.