Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Roads Conditions Can Deteriorate Quickly - A Lesson Learned

The sky was blue and the roads were clear yesterday morning, so Tim (whose inspections had been rescheduled) suggested breakfast.  I readily agreed and got ready.  When we arrived at our favorite breakfast spot we saw they were closed.  That was kind of surprising, the artic air hadn't arrived yet, the wind was mild, and the roads were good.

We just came home and ate, but I was happy knowing the roads were good.  My friend Jen and I had plans in the early afternoon to go to tea, and we were both happy that the roads were good, and having learned my lesson with breakfast, I called the tea shop to make sure they were open.  They were!

The drive to Jen's takes 30 minutes and the further we went the more settled I was that the roads were all clear.  Until I got to her road.  It looked like it had not been plowed by I went slowly and it was fine.  Jen and I set off and my traction control kicked in going uphill but once we were on the other road it was all clear.

We enjoyed a leisurely teatime together and were the only ones who ventured out.  We knew that later in the day the temps were going to drop and the wind was going to be strong.  We watched a brief snow squall, then the sun come out.  No snow on the roads, its all good.

Until we are driving back to her house.  The road conditions had deteriorated.  The wind was blowing, there was drifting on the roads, and in those sections it was almost like a white out from the blowing snow.

We made our way to her side roads and there things really went downhill.  We were behind a plow who was working on those drifted roads, but where they were completely covered a few hours before, they were now completely covered.

I was very concerned about her road, and when we were on the road that meets her road, a passing car spun out and I still don't know how it missed hitting us!  I told Jen to call Mike (her husband) and have him meet us on that road.  He brought Kyle, who'd been playing with their son Daniel, and Jen and Kyle traded places.  Mike said as they got to the top of their road it was a near white out from the blowing snow!  Jen and I knew that from our experience on the main road! 

Kyle and I made it home safely, and I had known that once we got off that drifted main road, the other road would be fine because their aren't really many open field spaces.  The only challenge with the wind would be the bridge over the Susquehanna River.  That was, let just say, crazy!  We weren't in any danger, but it was a bit freaky, to be driving and having those gusts hit the van!

I was happy to get home, and into a warm, cozy house.  Today, we are all home again, the frigid temperatures and negative wind chill have led to co-op being cancelled and we are all just fine with that!

Our weather, while dangerously cold, is nothing like what the mid-west is experiencing!  Crazy cold there. 

I hope you are warm and safe at home.  We need to be mindful of our neighbors and friends, too.  Check on them, and have a house party if necessary!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Beautiful Winter Morning

We haven't had much snow this winter, but we have had cold weather!  Yesterday we got a pretty snow, and today we have sunshine (for now, some snow due later).  We also are going to have plunging temperatures later today, and it will be very cold tomorrow!

Here are a few photos for you!

So many of us are going to be in very cold temperatures, so be careful and stay warm!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Country Home

We live in an area that is semi-country.  We are definitely not a suburb, but we do have houses around us.  Most of the houses are on a half acre to one acre lot.  We have four acres, so we are like a farmette or a homestead.

For years I've decorated in an eclectic cottage style, because I used what we had, furniture wise, and most of it was free.  Also we were raising 6 kids here and didn't want anything too precious to us that we had to worry about it getting ruined.

I've always loved English Country Houses, and have begun to style my 'grown up' home this way, now that we mostly have to kids left at home and they are teenagers.

Here are some photos I've pinned on my Pinterest board For The Home.

I already have wood floors like this, its just lighter.  I do love this color, and hope that we have move toward this tone in our floors.

coastal cottage kitchen with close up of wood floors...use throughout lower level

I love the cozy, warm feeling in these rooms.

Cozy with windows

This room is very full, but it feels like it is full of love

English Living Room Decor (162)

I love this entryway but our home doesn't have the space for this!

Eye For Design: Create Authentic Farmhouse Style Mudrooms

I have a plate wall already.
Idea for decorating with inherited (and often incomplete) sets of china.

And Tim's been wanting to replace my current desk (which he's never liked) for a secretary style desk.  I love them so I'd be happy to change desks!
Great place for writing letters.

Pictures, books and animal sculptures

I love the way this space looks beautiful but lived in.
Cosy corner

This door and the entry space here!  That's a dream, but its okay to dream, right?

space: entryway in the English countryside. Simon Brown for House & Garden

The joy of dreaming and planning is that you can take what you currently have, and begin to style it in the way you love.

I have silverplate items that I've found at thrift stores and antique stores very inexpensively.  People don't want these items so when their parents or grandparents downsize, these treasures are headed to the thrift store.

Whatever style you love, you can do on a scale that fits your home.  We're never going to buy a grand country home, but not every country home has to be grand.  It just has to be a place of warmth and welcome, and the things that are important to us.  

Monday, January 28, 2019

My Weekend

Friday is one of my busiest days of the week, but I always consider it the start of the weekend!  Do you?

This was my house on Friday morning watching the sunrise through my kitchen window.  I don't know what you see, but I see a pink riding horse on wheels, my jacket and purse on the table, a sippy cup, a nerf gun, a rice sock on the coffee table, LIFE!

I was invited to a luncheon at a new friends home on Friday.  It was really nice and a wonderful way to get to know other ladies.  This gentle giant lives at this home.  He's a Bernese Mountain Dog.  He was the sweetest dog, and he liked me. (grin)

Photo I took last night while chatting with both of my out of state girls.  Its a Valentine's SnapChat filter.

I took a few minutes this weekend to freshen up my decor a bit.  One of the things I did was change out the tea cups from the ones I had displayed for Christmas, and brought out my three red transferware and a pretty Johnson Brothers 'Rose Bouquet,' that I got in Vermont last year.

We had a new friend of Sarah's over for lunch yesterday, and Wes, and our friend Daniel.  Tim picked up chicken, Sarah made coleslaw, and Daniel brought some treats.  Delicious easy lunch.  

We went back to church for an evening event called SHAPE.  It has nothing to do with fitness, but stands for Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, Experience.  We had done a personality test and spiritual gifts test before coming.

I am a Sanguine (monkey) with a strong side of Choleric (lion).  My spiritual gifts are Shepherding, Prophet, and Exhortation. I'm also discerning.  How this plays out in my life is that I am a good friend, eager to make everyone welcome and comfortable.  Can be the life of the party.  But I also have strong leadership skills.  I see this in my ministry in our homeschool co-op to the Mom's. 

In ministry to the church, it could be something like planning Women's events/retreats.  I love to encourage women, and walk along side of them.

It was a fun weekend, interesting, full of new people, which makes this extroverted, sanguine happy!

How was your weekend?

ps- Tim's temperment and personality and spiritual gifts are the exact opposite of mine! We laugh about it, though sometimes this extreme leads to conflict.  We mostly let it work together for a complete way to serve the body of Christ, our friends, and family.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

New Friendships

As regular readers now, last spring after 10 years at our church, we made the difficult decision to leave.  I haven't spoken about it much, and I won't, but we needed to make a change for our children's sake.  There are no families left at our former church.  

We started visiting churches and settled in at one for a few months, that we really liked, but it was a bit of a drive and most of the members lived in a neighboring state.  Yes, Maryland.  So we realized we were going to have to look for a church closer to home, where we could be a part of the church community.

We started attending a church that friends of ours have been a part of for years.  In fact, they've moved farther away, but still drive down for church.

We really like it.  It's warm and welcoming.  People have been friendly, the pastor took us to breakfast, a couple reached out and invited us to their small group.  A lady I met two weeks ago, emailed me this week, and invited me to a lunch at her house that she's hosting for friends.

Its been a balm for my heart, I must say.  

I'm used to being the one inviting and hosting, so it feels different to be on the guest end, but I am delighted and pleased.

Last night we went to small group, and it was really nice.  We studied chapter two in Ephesians, focusing on verses 11-22.

It's so great to be reminded that Jesus through His death, tore down the wall of separation - that kept us from being in God's family.  I'm so grateful for this truth!

It takes time to build relationships, but we've made a start, and I am grateful for that, too!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Wednesday Words

"It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life."  J.R.R. Tolkien

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Book Talk - Girls' Club

Image may contain: 3 people, including Sally Clarkson, people smiling, text

I'm helping with the book launch of Sally, Sarah, and Joy Clarkson's book, "Girls' Club; Cultivating Lasting Friendship in a Lonely World."  I was given three chapters to read, and I have pre-ordered the book!  

I'm really excited about this book because friendship (which is one of the purposes of my blog) is really important to me.  I don't have sisters, so friendships with women has been a need all through my life.

God has graciously given me a friend at every point of my life, but there have been times where I didn't live near my friends, and I've been lonely for my kindreds.  I'm one who gives all of myself to my friendships, and so I find myself lonely at times.

God also graciously gave me four daughters.  I intentionally built relationships with each of the individually and I am so thankful for each one!  We've shared tears, laughter, tea, food, babies.

I'm grateful for the relationships I have even with my far away kindreds.  I'm grateful to have them speak into my life, sometimes through their blogs, emails, text messages, shared books.

These women and I care about each others' families, too, and I'm grateful that we all care about each others' children, too.  Now my girls have their own friendships with some of my friends.  It's a beautiful thing.

I listened to a podcast by Sally, Sarah, and Joy and they mentioned how it is important to be intentional in friendship, and that even if we are longing for friendship, we can be building up our souls and enriching our lives in order to have things to 'give' to others in friendship.  I love this.

I hope that you have a kindred friend, in whatever season of life you are in.  If you don't pray and ask God to bring someone into your life.  I think that if we learn to use our eyes to see opportunities to walk alongside someone, we'll begin to see the possibilities of friendships.

Let's talk in the comments.

Podcast Link - How To Be A Friend Worth Having  Sally, Sarah, and Joy Clarkson

Monday, January 21, 2019

Beauty After The Storm

We, being on the southerly edge of the storm, ended up with less snow AFTER the storm than we had on the ground before the storm!

We had a little freezing rain, but it ended up mostly a rain event for us.  We're not complaining, and we're not blaming the weatherman either.  Storms are active and they can move and change.

A bitter cold front moved in on the heels of the storm though, and it is really cold here.  Seven degrees currently with a real feel of -14.  

However, the sun is shining today, and that always cheers the heart and mind.

I'm fighting a cold, so I slept in today and stayed home from church yesterday.  It was a good weekend.  Did you see the eclipse last night?

It was so cold here that we could only go out for brief views, but we had a gloriously clear night!

I watched some of it from a local view on You*ube.

I took a screen shot of it on my ipad.  An amazing event.

I hope you have a great day.

ps - my daughter's weather in the Adirondacks is -9 with a real feel of -31.  Vee, are you this cold in Maine?

Friday, January 18, 2019

Friday Five - Winter Storm Preparation

I don't have five photos today but I do have this one

This is not the worst winter storm we've ever had, but I thought I would share five ways we are preparing for this storm.

1. Heat - Our power lines are buried where we live but we have lost power before due to something happening 'downline' some where.  We'll be able to stay warm by using our wood stove in the basement.  It heats the house well and we also are able to heat water and do some basic cooking on its top.  

2.  Water - We have a well, so we'll be filling some gallon water jugs to insure we have enough drinking water.  For flushing toilets, we can fill a huge bathtub and use buckets to flush, or we can melt snow and use that.

3.  Food - Like I mentioned above, we can cook on the flat surface of our woodstove if necessary, but I will also insure I have foods that do not need to be cooked, and also by preparing food ahead that could be reheated on the woodstove.

4. Light - We have camping lanterns that work on small propane bottles, and give off a lot of light.  We also have candles, and flashlights.

5. Power - We have my dad's old generator, but if that won't start, it doesn't matter.  We've never had a generator before anyway!  We just make sure that our battery operated items are charged well, and we have chargers for the vehicles so we can take phones out to the van or Tahoe to charge them.  We also have extra batteries for other household items.

We should be all ready to hunker down by the time the storm arrives tomorrow.  Sarah works until early afternoon tomorrow and hopefully she'll be home before the roads get too bad!

Rachel is going to be affected by this storm too, but with much worse conditions than here.  Thankful that her campus is supplied with everything they need.  

As I said to someone yesterday, winter has finally arrived!

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Book Talk - Currently In My Stack

This is the stack of books that I am currently working through.  'Mother Culture,' by Karen Andreola just came this week, and while I've looked through it, I haven't started it yet.

I've been mostly reading 'On The Shoulders of Hobbits,' but Brenda at It's A Beautiful Life mentioned 'Book Girl,' by Sarah Clarkson this week and I realized that I never finished the book!   I haven't started Miss Read either.  

However, this weekend the weather is going to be nasty here, with snow and freezing rain, and Monday the high temperature is supposed to be 10 degrees (F).  So, the plan is for lots of reading, and tea, and yummy food.  Might as well make an event out of it, right?

What books are you enjoying right now?

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Photo Editing - Lightroom

I've been trying to get better at editing photos.  For years I used PicMonkey until they were no longer free.  I've used as well, but since I take all my photos on my phone, I wanted an app that I can use right on my phone, so I can edit photos anywhere.

I took a photo yesterday, of a sweet bird that kept flying up at my window.  

I was inside the house and with the sunshine and being morning, the garden was in shadows.  

My first edit was to just lighten it all up, and give it some warmth.

My last edit was to get rid of the neighbors vehicle and yard.  I know its not a great photo to start with, but I thought it was fun to try out the Lightroom App.

Here are a few more - 

 A photo of my stack of blue and white dishes

Then the photo cropped and edited

Doesn't it look better cropped?

Now these photos of my little red cabinet with my pathos plant

Here I cropped and straightened it, and used a filter to bring out the red, and the blue in the green.
I'm learning as I go, and a lot of it is preference.  I know presets are a big thing right now, but some of them wash the colors out so much!

Do you use a photo editing program?  Which one?  I'd love to hear what you like and don't like about editing apps/your editing  app.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Tea On Tuesday

January is National Hot Tea month.  It seems like a good month to promote the drinking of hot tea.  I know I've been drinking a lot more hot tea this month.

I drink mostly Irish tea, Barry's or Lyon's, as I like a good robust black tea for day to day.  
Image result for barry's tea gold blend

Image result for lyon tea

I have branched out in trying new teas, especially flavored teas, in the last few years.  I like chai, I like Earl Grey and Lady Grey.  I like Paris tea 

Image result for paris tea

But I also like

Image result for stash christmas in paris tea

When we go to tea, I will often try a house blend, or a specialty tea.  

My sister in law bought me 

Image result for fortnum and mason christmas spiced tea

when they were in England last year.  It is delicious, and the tin is beautiful!

Good thing I have a lot of tea cups to choose from...

Happy Hot Tea Month!  What's in your cup?

Monday, January 14, 2019

Scenes From The Cottage

We got 2 1/2 inches of snow Saturday late afternoon into Sunday morning.  The snow is a light powdery snow, and the roads were fine for going to church.

It looks like this outside right now - 

Winter's early darkened sky means that the lights inside glow for more hours and make everything so cozy. 

2018 was a rainy, cloudy year, and so I am enjoying everyday that the sunshines!  It makes every room cheery!

The plants like it, too!

I'm so thankful for the home we have and I take delight in making it cozy and welcoming for our family and friends.  I'm also mindful that this is not where my true treasure lies, but I'm storing up treasure in heaven.  Luke 12:34 says, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."


  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. We spent Saturday, doing things around the house, and then we swam. Kyle and Sarah left after that...