Friday, October 25, 2013

Life as a Ranch Hand

Howdy Ya'll!

I'm so sorry I've been so scarce with posts as of late. If you could walk a mile or two in my shoes, you'd understand why I haven't been blogging... when you have two big projects going at once plus a new job, finding time to blog is a little difficult! :D

At the beginning of this month, I was hired on as a ranch hand at the beautiful Rock Ranch in The Rock, GA. Owned by Truett Cathy (founder of Chick-fil-A) the ranch is a popular tourist destination and has tons of family-friendly activities. It's definitely a fun place to work!

Check out this video to see what I mean: (I'm in it! See if you can spot me... oh, ok, I come in at 1:51) ;)

 That was actually my first day of work, running the bounce-house and the extremely popular "corn box"... who knew wallowing 2 feet deep in corn was so much fun? (I'll take the kids' word for it, thanks...) the next week I assisted in the kitchen all morning, making coleslaw, wrapping burgers, and filling drinks for a company picnic that was being hosted in Truett's Barn... then the last half of the day I helped out with the pony rides!

I took these photos while the horses were on their break for 45 minutes... the rest of the day they were walking in circles, attached to a carousel underneath an open barn structure. The kids absolutely loved them and it was so much fun seeing their little faces light up as some of them rode a pony for the first time in their lives.

The pretty mare there is Cherry. I think she may have been my favorite. :D

The only downsides to this otherwise delightful job are that your arms and legs quickly tire from hefting the kids onto the ponies and walking in endless circles, and that every so often you have to stop and shovel muck when the horses need to 'take a dump'. :P

I'll be working the pony rides all day tomorrow for the not-so-spooky halloween festival, which I'm looking forward to! Sadly, I can't think of a cute DIY costume I could wear that would be pony-rides proof. If you have any quick suggestions, leave them in the comments section... there is a $50 prize for the best employee costume, after all! :D

(and I promise it won't be so long before I post next. I have some awesome redecorating to tell you about!)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fall Fashion? I think YES.

No doubt about it. Autumn's nearly here. While we may not have actually crossed the calendar date that says "first day of Fall" ... everybody knows it. Pinterest is exploding with pumpkins, apples, cinnamon, wreaths, boots, and halloween everything. I didn't realize how many halloween boards I was unintentionally following! (Yeah. I've been clicking "unfollow" on all of those. Sorry, ya'll, but ghosts, spiders, and witches are not what I delight in... why would we try to make something 'cute' out of such horrid things? But that's a rant for another day...)

One thing I love about living in the south is that while most of the year is warm, we do get a nice cool, crisp fall season if we're lucky blessed. :D This means we get to dig out the sweaters, scarves, gloves, hats and boots that have been waiting all year. AND we get to update our look a little bit with some layers and warmer wear...

How about this fab new fall line from

Oooh, some of that stuff is CUTE. Almost makes me wish I had darker coloring so I could pull more of those pieces off. ;) I'm definitely in the "Spring" category when it comes to complexion. Light and warm. :)

If only I had more time to gab about how much fun our Fall Cleaning project is becoming... Today we dusted down the log ceiling and walls of the Master Bathroom with brooms, and I completely cleaned and reorganized the under-the-sink cabinet, drawers, and linen armoire. It feels so good to get the house really clean! :)

Hope your days are sunny and bright as we head for chillier weather!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Dear friends,

I am sorry to say my engagement is over. After I returned home from our trip, it became more and more clear that the relationship was not going to work. In the best interests of both hearts involved, we felt that it was necessary to call it off. Thank you for your understanding that this is all I am able to share.

As you can imagine, the last couple weeks haven't been easy for me... but to my great surprise, they have been easier than I would have imagined. My family and friends have been so amazingly loving and supportive. Instead of going under or drowning in the depths of despair - I discovered that I'm still me. I can still smile and laugh, and I am still blessed.

God has given me so much. He loves me tenderly as his child, and I fully trust in his perfect plan for me. He knows my future and I know it's going to be more wonderful than I can even imagine.

Even if I can't see what's around the bend... I still believe it's a beautiful road to be traveling on. :) And I can honestly say that even if what's ahead are hard lessons to be learned, I know it will be good. I have already learned so much and grown in grace through this experience. Perhaps that's why the Lord allowed it to happen, hmm? :)

My heart has healed. It's not broken. And really, seeing myself stay so strong through this has been eye-opening. I didn't know I had it in me. I know it's God, because I couldn't do it in my own strength.

^ This song started playing on the radio yesterday and it was the first time I'd heard it... wow. My heart leapt for joy inside me... the words resonated so powerfully with what I've been going through. And right then and there I (raced to my laptop and bought the album on iTunes) claimed it for myself. Yes! I am an overcomer

As I wrote in my journal the other night... now I'm rediscovering my sparkle. There is beauty and happiness waiting for me to reach out and take hold of it. I have some delightful projects in the works... including crocheting a beautiful pink-chocolate-and-cream afghan for my mother and overseeing a complete redecoration of our house... making it look fresh and updated, as thriftily and DIY and Pinterest-inspired as possible. :D 

Keep me in your prayers, if you would. I appreciate it. :)

Love & Blessings,

Sunday, June 30, 2013

I'd Say, My Dear, That You Were in Need of a Project.

Via Pinterest
Hey Readers!

I can see you wrinkling your brows as this post pops up in your blog reading list... "Who is this person again? I can't remember who she might be.... Oh! Oh yes, now I remember. That's the girl who hasn't blogged in forever!" :P

All I can do is shrug and say "I'm sorry!" :)

Since the GHEA convention, life has been just grand and full of happy things, but I haven't been diligent about blogging. That has been shelved in favor of more exciting summer pursuits. We're getting TONS of fresh produce from our garden right now and have already made several batches of mouth-watering, downright-delicious, sizzling summer salsa that is chock-full of ripe tomatoes... as well as blanching beans, pickling cucumbers, frying breaded squash slices, and making blackberry jam.

BUT. I was talking to a really really good friend yesterday and they asked me if there was anything I was working on.
To my complete surprise, I couldn't name anything! I usually have at least ten projects whirling through the air like so many spinning plates (like that one circus act!) but right now I didn't even have one.

Not a good realization, when one someday hopes to be likened unto the industrious lady of Prov. 31! :D

This has made me take stock of what I've been doing with all my time lately. Even with everything that's been going on and the usual household chores, cooking, dishes, laundry, exercising, and sleeping, there are hours of my day that aren't spent in any useful pursuits.

One of those time-suckers is definitely Pinterest. I'll admit it. I often spend a couple hours a day (stretched out in many 15-minute increments here and there) pinning and re-pinning pictures. It's a lot of fun. But is it really that important? Um.... NO. So one thing I'm going to try is to only check my pinterest feed once a day and spend only a few minutes on it. We'll see how that goes!

That being said, I thought about it and realized I do have some projects awaiting my attention! Some of which are:

  • Setting aside goods for a YARD SALE... Not only will that help raise some funds for our upcoming summer vacation - it will also help me clear out some of my possessions. I have too many clothes and need to pare down some of them, and thinking about the future makes me realize I've just plain got too much stuff. :D If we were going to move, I wouldn't want to cart all these things around with me!
  • Sewing my 'butterfly dress' ... I found some really sweet fabric at Jo-Ann's a couple of months ago that was sheer white with peach butterflies sprinkled on it. Mama and I are going to work together to get it sewn into a lovely dress, over-top of some white muslin. We also will be sewing a new peach swimsuit for me, since the one I made last year is now way too big for me. A good problem! :) I like being slimmer and feeling fit. :)
  • Looking for a coat - I need a new winter coat, the one I've got now is very nice but I've had it since I was 13 and it is beginning to show a little wear! I'd love to find a wool coat in a nice shade of warm caramel brown that comes down to knee-length, and now might be a good time to find one on sale.
  • Mark's Senior Photos... My brother Mark is graduating from homeschool High School this year, and I'll be doing his senior portrait shots to send out with his graduation announcements. That should be a lot of fun!
  • Writing! I haven't opened up my Microsoft Word docs in a really long time, and I think I'm ready to get back to working on some of my novels. I glanced through Ashburn the other day and it's really made me want to work on the sequel. :)

And... blogging. :) I've missed it and I want to be a more faithful blogger... writing at least a couple posts every week. :)

What are you working on?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I Love My Daddy

Happy Father's Day!

I have the best Daddy in the world and have been firmly convinced of this fact for my whole life. My sweet Mom is the best mom ever too, but this day is all about Dads... I love you, Daddy!

:D He's wonderful. 

My father is a man who loves his family and cherishes us. He is always there when we need him. He's a kind, sweet man, who leads us in the paths of righteousness and is committed to sheltering and providing for us as the head of the home. 

Daddy loves his garden, going fishing, spending time outdoors, and kissing Mama in the kitchen. :D  

I love him so much. 
Happy Father's Day, Daddy!
I'll always be your little girl.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Season of Change - A Book Review

The Story of Two Young Stepsisters Comes to a Bittersweet End in the Final Book in the Sisters in All Seasons Series

“Anybody who’s in a blended family and has a daughter who’s 12, 13, or 14 years old really needs to read these books.”—Lynne Ford, WBCL-AM “Mid-Morning”

season of change.JPGBrought together by their parents’ marriage two years ago, Diana and Stephanie have overcome a near fatal car crash, school suspension,  wild wolves, and even helped solve a crime—all while “trying” to appreciate each other’s distinct differences.

In SEASON OF CHANGE (Zonderkidz; May 2013; $10.99), things have finally settled down for the teens. Their friendship has strengthened, and the usually reclusive Diana has finally begun to open up to Stephanie. So when they discover their parents are going on a mysterious weekend getaway to “work on their marriage,” they worry that their now happy union will be tested.

While staying at Diana’s grandparents’ lake house, the teens decide to take their minds off family turmoil and focus on having a good time together.

Their plans are foiled, unfortunately, when Stephanie’s mom shows up unexpectedly to pick her up for the weekend.  Meanwhile, Diana struggles to make sense of a crush she’s developing for a boy she thought was just a friend.
With the sisters apart and their parents’ marriage possibly on the rocks, the two learn that they care for each other more than they realized. What will become of their friendship if their parents split?
Kline concludes this charming saga with a bittersweet ending that will have devoted readers reaching for tissues and hugging their families a little tighter. SEASON OF CHANGE is proof that the bond between sisters is truly unbreakable.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa Williams Kline has written several books, including the first three books in the popular middle-grade series,Sisters in all SeasonsSummer of the WolvesWild Horse SpringBlue Autumn Cruise and Winter’s Tide. She also authored Write Before Your Eyes, the Princesses of Atlantis, and Eleanor Hill. The latter earned the North Carolina Juvenile Literature Award. Kline is the mother of two grown daughters and lives in Mooresville, North Carolina, with her husband.

What I thought:

This story was the last in a series, so some of the references to past events escaped me, but it wasn't too hard picking up where the other books left off. I didn't love this book but it wasn't awful either. I liked reading the scene about Stephanie learning to knee-board behind her step-grandpa's boat, it reminded me of the time I learned how to knee-board with some friends of ours in Florida. :) This story was mild enough for most teens to read, with nothing overly objectionable, although I didn't really enjoy reading about all the dynamics of these blended families... though I realize this is the unfortunate norm in many households these days. I did not think the author did a super job of wrapping everything up (especially considering this is supposed to be the last book in a series!) but the writing style was smooth and engaging.


Man on a Mission - Book Review

A New Book on the Inspiring Life of Astronaut and Physician David Hilmers Teaches Young Readers to Aim for the Stars
man on a mission.JPG
Tween-aged readers will embark on an incredible journey through space and beyond in renowned astronaut and physician David Hilmers’ autobiography, MAN ON A MISSION: The David Hilmers Story (Zonderkidz; $6.99; May 2013).

Co-written by Rick Houston, Hilmers, 61, recounts his extraordinary life story– how a young boy from Iowa became a rocketeer and man of medicine and was able to travel to places far beyond those he ever imagined.
Chronicling a bumpy, yet steady, road to success, Hilmers shares never-before-seen pictures of his childhood, his family, mission trips around the world, and his memorable space shuttle flight aboard the STS-26 Discovery in 1988. 
The well-known figure also touches on personal aspects of his life about which even his most dedicated fans may not be aware —the grief he feels for his friends lost in the fatal 1986 Challenger flight and his life-threatening fall down Macchu Picchu.
Through good times and bad, Hilmers has fiercely held onto his faith. He reveals how space travel and reaching out to those in need here on earth invigorated him in a way he never thought possible. “I became aware of how big God was and always will be,” he reflects in the book.
Moving, spiritual, and at times thrilling, MAN ON A MISSION will inspire young space enthusiasts and anyone interested in the life of an astronaut.  It will also provide a deeper look at a man revered by many, a man of God. Together with Houston, Hilmers captures the finest details of his exceptional life, bringing the American hero and his fans that much closer.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rick Houston planned to become a minister before he began his career as a journalist. With more than 20 years as a full-time writer under his belt, Houston has authored five books and covered a variety of articles—from NASCAR to NASA. He is also a deacon in his church and regularly contributes to Stand Firm, a men's devotional magazine published by LifeWay. He lives in Yadkinville, North Carolina.

ABOUT DAVID HILMERS: David Hilmers is a retired NASA astronaut who served between the years 1980 and 1992. A former U.S. Marine, he received a B.A. degree in Mathematics from Cornell College and a M.S. degree in electrical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. He later earned a Doctor of Medicine from the Baylor College of Medicine and a M.S. from the University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center. As a Colonel for NASA, Hilmers flew in four missions to space, including the STS-26 Discovery, which was the first flight after the Challenger flight of 1986 resulted in seven lives lost. He currently serves as a faculty member of the Medicine/Pediatrics department of the Baylor College of Medicine. Born in Clinton, Iowa, he now calls Houston, Texas, his home. Hilmers has two grown sons.

What I thought:

This was a good book overall, I found it interesting to read about Mr. Hilmers' life and he seemed like a very dedicated, hardworking man. The details about the space programs and techniques were also interesting. I don't read a lot of non-fiction but this book held my interest until the end. I thought it very admirable that this man turned to medical efforts and helped poor people in missions work. The only thing that I was not impressed with was the fact that Mr. Hilmers and his wife divorced after many years of marriage - and it sounded like he put all his work before his family. For that, he gets a thumbs-down from me. :(

I would recommend this book to anybody interested in astronauts! :)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Garden Goodness

We are very excited about our garden this year. :) It's looking very promising! Daddy jumped on things early and planted some great stuff, including lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, golden zucchini, potatoes, peas, popcorn, and green beans! And the wild blackberries are clustering more thickly on the bushes than I have ever seen before.

How does your garden grow? :)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Lovely Visit

My heart is so full right now! It's been a very happy couple of weeks. God is so good!

I know a young woman who shines a smile bright with the joy of the Lord, but I almost always see it in pictures on facebook and hardly ever in person, so I was beyond delighted when it worked out for my family and me to drive down to visit my sweet friend McKenzie last Saturday! She and her family fed us hotdogs and all the fixin's and we brought our favorite coleslaw, and we all had a marvelous time! We played frisbee and took pictures and talked and talked and talked. :D I even coaxed a smile or two out of their newest little blessing, Macheus... he is an adorable baby!

Here are a couple of pictures of our wonderful day. :) And there are more on McKenzie's blog!

The lovely white picket fences and shady groves of Pecan Pastures!

Look at all that room to play! :) 

The whole gang! We make a great group all together! :D
Behind the house is the wash house and the horse pastures... farther back is the barn. :)

This is the back of the house... the boys ate at that picnic table back there. :D Us girls ate at the wrought-iron table in front of the house.

My sweet friend and I standing on very uneven ground... McKenzie is several inches taller than me!! :D

Love you, McKenzie!! :) 

(Bahahaha!) We both took selfies at the same time with our separate phones. 

McKenzie in front of the house... such a lovely smile! :)

Before you get any ideas, folks, that there is sparkling peach-pear juice! :D It was very tasty and the perfect thing to sip underneath the golden-dappled shade of the pecan trees and have a wonderful chat. :)
What have you been up to lately?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Captives by Jill Williamson - A Review

Imagine the year is 2088. Your world and everyone you know and love has been stolen from you in one catastrophic moment.
Such is the case in Jill Williamson’s heart-pounding new novel, CAPTIVES (Zondervan; $9.99; April 2013). The Replication author delivers an enthralling account of what happens to seventeen-year-old Mason, his younger brother, Omar, and their older brother, Levi, who live in the humble village of Glenrock.
With the intriguing plot of CAPTIVES, Williamson continues to display her ability to take on a multi-layered futuristic narrative filled with suspense, philosophical messages and teenage candor similar to that in the popular Hunger Games trilogy. She deftly pens a tale that it will stay with readers long after the last page.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alaska-born Jill Williamson is an award-winning novelist. Her debut novel, By Darkness Hid, won the 2010 Christy Award and was named one of VOYA’s Best Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Books of 2009. In 2012, she released the popular futuristic novel, Replication. Williamson also hosts blog tours for other YA authors, and conducts writing workshops at libraries, schools, camps, and churches. She lives in John Jay, Oregon, with her husband and two children. 

What I thought:

I was looking forward to trying out a Jill Williamson book after hearing so much about her writing. While I found Captives to be quite well-written and edited, the plot didn't grab me like I thought it might. I suppose it's because apocalyptic-type stories just aren't my favorite genre. I did find that this book was 'clean' enough to read and if one was looking for an alternative to The Hunger Games, this might be a much better option. (I have not read the Hunger Games trilogy and do not plan to.)

This was not a very satisfying story in regards to inspiring faith. The characters pray and wonder aloud what they should do, but one does not really see them following the Lord's leading or seeing his work in the storyline. I found the characters mildly interesting but they didn't strike me as absorbing or gripping. A lot of the book was lengthy descriptions about the surroundings - which was neat to read, but I prefer a book to be story-centered and character-driven, not focused on the atmosphere.

I would not recommend this book to readers younger than 16 due to references to futuristic counterparts of drugs and alcohol and the immoral lifestyle portrayed in the Safe Lands city. I was a little surprised to find that in there, actually, as there wasn't any hint of it in the book description. But it seems like a lot of books aimed at young people these days include these elements, which I think is sad. This book did portray them in a negative light, but still... :(

The ending kind of leaves you hanging, too! If you are going to read this book, be aware that there isn't really an ending that wraps up the loose ends. I realize this is part of a series and that the story continues in the next book, but it would have been nice to have some resolution near the end of this one.

I would probably read the rest of the series if given the chance to do so for free like at the library, but otherwise I would probably decline.

I was provided with a free copy of this book for review by Zondervan. These are my own thoughts on the book. :)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

We have two winners!

The rafflecopter giveaway form has spoken! The winners are.....

Stella, with entry number 182, and

Hannah M with entry number 36!

I have emailed both of you to ask for your mailing addresses. Whoever replies back first gets their choice of either the light pink flower or the bright pink flower. :) Congratulations!!!

Thanks to everyone who entered and don't forget to check out Julia Lauren H-in-California's beautiful shop to get some of these lovely hair accessories for yourself!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Back in the shop!

Today I got the rest of my jewelry back into Rescue Me! So glad to have that all done!
(isn't the mannequin-leg lamp weird? It's not mine!!) 

A close-up for you...

The headbands! These were really popular at the convention. :)

My new earring card design is pretty cute. 

I also have these racks displayed separately in the shop. :)
I'll be back soon with a longer blog post!
Till then,

Monday, May 20, 2013

Back From GHEA 2013!

Hey readers!

I am flat on my back, typing this from my iPhone... Not because I am still exhausted (my energy is back, hurray!) but because my shoulder/neck/back is having a 'tude after my adventures of sleeping on a hotel rollaway bed for a couple of nights, and then being wrenched this morning when I sneezed after taking a bite of peppery scrambled eggs. LOL! Good thing I got the laundry started before I cooked breakfast!

I am so grateful and thankful that the trip went smoothly and for the blessing of a good profit made by both booths!

Mama in the car on the way there, perky and wearing blingy sunglasses!! ;)

Steven was crammed in next to the cooler... we managed to get everything inside our dodge caravan,  which was a small miracle in itself!! 

My booth! :D My usual bright pink tablecloths were missing, nowhere to be found, so we improvised... the tablecloth at the back is actually my bedspread, and the one on the right is the leftover fabric from sewing my curtains! And look how well it goes with my rug! :D

Steven, setting up his booth... he had a partial wall next to him this year that allowed him to hang a few more of his epic book covers and weaponry, which looked really great. :D

Some of my pretties... that 3-strand gold necklace sold, as did most of those little rosebud earrings on cards. The blue necklace on the hook next to that white bust was traded as part of a bartering transaction with a bookseller, allowing me to pick up five old books in exchange for jewelry to bring home to the bookseller's wife! A win-win! I also traded a headband and a few pairs of earrings for half the price of some sweet wireless headphones to the nice guy running the t-shirt and toys booth across the aisle. :D

Looking good... :D I brought a nicely-sized mirror, which was a huge benefit, as many people tried on the headbands or held up earrings next to their faces - and then bought them! :) See all those floral headbands? I think I've got six left now.   YAY!

I sold most of the jewelry in the flat display boxes, including a long rainbowy-colored necklace to one of the really nice  "H" sisters who visit me every year! :) It was so fun to see them again! :) I also sent off some pre-ordered jewelry via her parents to Katelyn, who reads my blog and comments faithfully! :D I loved meeting the friendly homeschoolers at the convention this year, and we made some great new friends. :D

On the way out of the convention hall on Thursday evening, we stopped to get this photo of Steven with the dino head at the Creation Ministries booth! We emailed it home so Mark and Daddy could see it that night. 

And since the mall was so close by, we had to pop over for a visit at the LEGO store! 

It was an amazing sight to see more legos than Mark and Steven own, because that's saying something!! They have a HUGE collection already, but we took advantage of the pick-a-brick wall to get some of the pieces necessary for building castles and landscapes. Mama and I face-timed with Mark on Mama's iPhone so that he could tell us which pieces to get for him, while Steven shopped away. :)
We grabbed a quick bite to eat at Chick-Fil-A and settled into our hotel room. The next day, it was SELL-SELL-SELL! :D

So. Proud. Of. Him. :D Steven sold most of his weapons on Friday and hardly had any left on Saturday! He also ran out of Knight Book CD's! :D

I wore my Popsicle Kisses silk hair flower for the first day of selling... I love it! It went perfectly with my 'peacock' skirt. ;)

(there's the skirt!) The nice lady helping with the t-shirt booth noticed Mama and I taking photos of our booth and asked if we'd like a picture together. :D 
 Friday was the busiest day of sales, Saturday turning out to be slower, which isn't the norm. I heard talk of Six Flags having "homeschool day", which might have interfered with the traffic of people a little bit. But it was a great weekend nonetheless!

I have found a new favorite item on the Chick-Fil-A menu. The Cobb Salad. YUM. 

I didn't take ANY pictures at the convention hall on Saturday, but we had such fun and got the booths packed up in record time at the end of the day (especially considering it was just me and Steven - with mom directing - instead of our whole family)

And, Saturday evening, home at last... zzzzZZZZZ