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stories 2017 | paying attention to details


The Botanical Gardens of the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia South Carolina are at the top of a rather steep hill. So much so that the zoo offers guests the option of a tram ride up to the gardens and back down running every 15-20 minutes.

Once we crossed the long bridge ("Ian, Wyatt, John & Jarrod raced across and Wyatt would have won if John hadn't gave it one last surge," she said with a snicker), everyone turned to me to make the call whether we would take the tram up to the gardens or we would trek the hill. I gave myself a short talk, "You can do this," "Don't quit," "It will be an accomplishment." Fear lost and I said we would walk it! While I was short on oxygen at the top and breathing was labored, everyone (except the young boys) was struggling when we finally made it to the top. Yes, it was a struggle but, man, it was good, too.

One might think, "Botantical Gardens? Boring!" They would be wrong, of course. These gardens not only shared beauty but fun for the kids with ropes to walk, water falls to splash in, xylophones to play, cubbies to navigate, plus more. 

Ashley and I leisurely walked through the gardens while the guys ambled ahead towards the play area. We talked and drank in the beauty. We looked closer. We saw more. We smiled more with each beautiful display of the unusual, or the simple, and the delightful. Simply the best! 

And, the trip down? We opted for the tram!

52 Weeks of Giving | 42


I cannot tell a lie. 

I love this project. Putting together a year-long album, 52 weeks of documenting a year of nourishing a heart - my heart - of giving.

Even as I post this I have an envelope in the hands of another and a master's degree graduation gift on its way. God continues to reveal to me more and more ways to open my heart to giving. Yes, Lord!

stories 2017 | the story of the best time


It's the distance. It's that we have rarely seen Noah. Noah clings to his momma and sister like a Koala Bear snuggles into a tree. He ain't going nowhere he doesn't know and find comfort it.

This desire to have his grandson want to be around him drove Jeff to some drastic measures.

We were cooped up inside from the afternoon summer rains. The thunderstorms had everyone heading to the front door and our big picture front window to see the pouring down rain. We talked Ian through the storms so he wasn't scared.

Then Jeff turned the next several minutes to his advantage.


He opened the front door.

Noah crept up next to him ever so slowly peeking outside, too.

Jeff pretended he didn't see him at first then he encouraged Noah to continue on to the front door mat wet from the pouring down rain (but still under cover). Noah sticks his little two feet out into the rain and quickly pulls it back. He inches out further and further each time looking up at Jeff to see if his Grandpa is going to pull him back in from the rain or scold him.

But, Jeff just grins and motions to us to come share in the goodness.

We watch and laugh as Noah gets his first drowning from the rains and still isn't pulled inside. He starts to dance and slap his feet in the puddles all the while the rain is coming down (Jeff ever ready to pull him back inside if the thunderstorms get to close)

It was this time, the story of the best time, when Grandpa Jeff opened the door  for Noah as he played in the rain that opened the door for his relationship with Noah. It was so very much a story of the best time.


DIY | Rochko-Inspired Notecards


I collect DIY's in a Pinterest board I call CREATE52. One of those DIYs came from a very talented lady over at DANS LE LAKEHOUSE. She painted some notecards based off of a painting she made when she was inspired by the artist Mark Rothko. It is his No. paintings that she (and, well, I) found the inspiration for the painting and notecards. 


Mark Rothko at GO SEE Moscow

While I was visiting Jeff one weekend he had to work, I brought along paints and paintbrushes and notecards. Simple craft. Simple DIY. I really like the abstract paintings by Rothko, but even more so because, while I could never in any way, shape, or form, re-create a Rothko masterpiece, I did have fun playing at creating notecards that are 'similar' to his masterpieces.


For the set of 4 notecards, I used three bright, complimentary colors, and swiped paint across the 'page' of the notecard in varying sizes using either two- or three-color schemes whereby making a complimentary set notecards of complimentary colors.

I most definitely will paint more notecards because these were super easy and fast. I may even try a more carefully crafted toward Rothko's paintings try for the next set.


I was concerned the wet paint would make the card flimsy once it was dried but I didn't find that. I used regular acrylic craft paint and while the side I painted has a slightly 'flimsy' feel it is still sturdy enough to write on the other side. So, I'm pleased with the finished set of note cards.

Stories 2017 | I love


I saw a page like this on Pinterest and I couldn't get it out of my mind. It was so inspiring. It is clean and simple and on any given day I'm all for that. 

For this page I used an Ali Edwards Design stamp 'I Love' and a messy rectangle brush. I even modified one of her templates for the clean design.

I turned all the photos to black and white for cohesion and used bright colors for backgrounds. I could see color photos with white backgrounds and black words looking really good too. But - I love how these pages turned out.

Just some things I love or I'm loving right now. 


Swimming, always and forever. Family game night, the best (although we haven't had this in quite some time). Snowmen, with Christmas around the corner they're on my mind. Blue and White Quilts, ALL my quilts. Reading - YEP! Bible study, and so much fun with Ashley.


Teaching Meteorology; I'm doing this again and I already love it! Collecting mugs; well, mugs and coffee should be more like it! Saturday morning breakfast out; while we don't make it every Saturday when we do I love it. Whether it's Metro Diner, The Breakfast Club, or even Waffle House. Pistol Shooting - on target! Tigers - since high school. The Front Porch - that is our front porch.

52 Weeks of Giving | 41


The Lord continues to place ways to give in my face. And, I respond. A local non-profit who I've supported in the past with gifts knows another non-profit on the other side of the country experiencing the impact of raging fires burning land, yes, but homes, too. People are fleeing with just the clothes on their back. And, every small gift means something for the Kingdom of God.

stories 2017 | around the room


I LOVE OUR BEDROOM! To me, it's perfect. It is only a 14 x 14 space but with the hardwood flooring and the gray painted walls, all the blues and white quilts, Bible verse, prints that mean something, the red chair, bookshelves filled to the brim...lovely. 


The quilt is my latest acquisition in the quilt department. With winter coming around the corner I probably will have to pull out one of our heavier blue and white quilts, but this white with blue will serve it's purpose for now, beauty and comfort.

The ocean print I ordered from Etsy, had it enlarged at Persnickety Prints and framed it in black. The ocean waves crashing against the shore - gorgeous! Both Jeff and I love the water so it is a fitting addition.

I still love our pencil post bed. It is over 25 years old and still looks beautiful. I love our bedside table lamps. They are indigo blue and white thin-stripped with a white shade. They are sitting on Indigo blue shibori napkins which I'm using as doilies. Above my lamp is the wood art, 'In the morning when I rise give me Jesus'. I cannot say enough how just that simple phrase sets my mind on things above. It's one of my favorite worship songs.

On my bedside table is a gift from Jeff. A photograph of him in his Roman Calvary uniform on a big white Percheron. Love it so much.

If I could change anything in the room it would definitely be our bedside tables. Don't like them at all. I do, however, like the size, so maybe they need re-done somehow.


The far walls are filled with prints and paintings. Each one is purposeful; a reason for each one. Like the red and gray subway art of every place in the world Jeff and/or I have been in our travels over the years. Our wedding date. The tiger print because we both adore tigers. I have a big stuffed animal tiger, still, from Korea. Elizabeth made the paintings. 'Your hand in mine...' is a personal phrase I've felt deep down about Jeff taking my hand to hold.

More quilts, the red chair and ottoman, a couple pillows, shear white curtains and navy blue shade... 


The rows of books, ever-growing, on bookshelves made by Jeff. Those Lord of the Rings poster prints (arranged near the bookshelves) are super special and represent the Lord of the Rings trilogy I read out loud to the boys in their 11th grade year of homeschool. Hats, tigers, bible verses on the shelves.

It's a beautiful room and one I love simply walking into. It seriously makes me smile.