Slowly…

ever so slowly, life is beginning to return to a more regular routine. As I watch the seasons change, so I can see this “season” in our life changing as well.

Things are beginning to slow down….they are becoming more peaceful. I can tell we are all taking time to enjoy the little things once more.

This grasshopper brightened my day yesterday. I’m not sure how he found his way into our family room, but there he is:

I think he is a rather cute grasshopper, and he has good taste: he was hanging out on bookshelves, meaning that he is a lover of books, of course. =D

I did a photography mini-session for the first time in months. It was so nice to go out and do what I love to do- capturing the little moments. The sacred, special moments… the ones that come and go so quickly you might miss them in the simple blink of an eye. I had the cutest subject ever:

And I’m not the least biased, as you can probably tell. =]

Since I’ve been getting up earlier over the last several weeks, I’m usually outside by 6:25-45 a.m. or so, and have been blessed to watch a good bit of the sunrise nearly every day while picking veggies and tending my little herb garden. It has been absolutely lovely to watch:

God is good, all the time. Count your blessings one by one….

~Miss Courtney

Trust and Obey

Trust and Obey, by John H. Sammis

♫♪ “When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Refrain:
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.

But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.”
♪♫

Early Morning

There is nothing like watching the sun make it’s arrival in the early morning.

This particular morning found me outside and watching the sunrise from our garden area in the back yard. It was absolutely lovely to watch, and I couldn’t help but grab a few snapshots with my phone. I wish I had brought my actual camera along, and plan to do just that tomorrow, provided I remember to grab it on my way out the door. =]

After walking through a few spiderwebs on my way back there (a small price to pay to pick wild blackberries- YUM!), I looked over and saw the most beautiful spiderweb in the absolute perfect place to grab a quick photograph. The sun was shining through it and there was still a bit of dew to be seen on it as well. Isn’t the handiwork of our God amazing?

Praise be to the Lord, for His mercies are new each morning.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.'”
Lamentations 3:22-24

~Miss Courtney

Makin’ Biscuits

Way down here in the heart of the south, we love our biscuits. Probably too much.

Freshly made right in the kitchen and served hot out of the oven, we especially love our biscuits with a side of homemade sausage gravy drizzled poured over the top. =]

This particular round of biscuits was made for dinner. We love to do the occasional breakfast-for-dinner treat, and this past Friday night, biscuits and gravy was what we decided to make. YUMM-O!

If you are up for an enjoyable time in the kitchen and a taste of the south in your own home, I thought you might enjoy trying our favorite biscuit recipe:

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Homemade Baking Powder Biscuits (from the Betty Crocker Cookbook)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk

Heat oven to 450^ F. In medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening, using two knives or a pastry blender until mixture looks like fine crumbs. Stir in milk until dough leaves side of bowl (dough will be soft and sticky). Place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead lightly 10 times. Roll or pat dough into circle about 1/2 thick. Cut with floured 2- to 2-1/4 biscuit cutter (or glass- whatever you have on hand will work). Place biscuits on ungreased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately with plenty of butter, and either jelly or gravy. Enjoy.

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Happy biscuit makin’ to you and yours. =]

~Miss Courtney

First Day of Summer

I can hardly believe today is the first day of summer. It seems like it was just yesterday when I was watching snowflakes fall from the sky. In January. Where has the year went?

So much has happened… it feels like I have lived the equivalent of a lifetime over the past several months. We’ve attended weddings, funerals, and visited with new Mamas and their babies. We’ve planted and are now harvesting from our little garden. We’ve celebrated birthdays, watched the younguns’ lose a few teeth, and as for the youngest little Lambert, well, in these short few months, he’s learned to crawl and pull up on his crib.

It has now been over a month since my grandmother passed away. Today, like so many other days, I found myself thinking of things I would like to tell her. To show her.

Friday is our art class day. Today in class, I finished a drawing I had been working on for the past 3 lessons. When I arrived home from the class, I found myself reaching for my phone to send my grandmother a picture of my drawing. I knew she would be excited to see it, as she always was excited to see what art projects we were working on. With it being a “4th of July” themed picture, I knew she would be excited about the upcoming celebration we would be having, and would be ready to start discussing the menu and fireworks! =]

And then it hit once again. She’s not here any more.

I wonder sometimes how long it will take for me to fully realize that she isn’t here- she’s gone on to her heavenly home. The hurt is so sharp still… I am so thankful for a heavenly Father that knows all and picks us back up when we’re hurting… when we’ve fallen and can’t see the next step. I miss my grandmother so much more than I can even express. I know that I will always miss her, but I also know God was merciful to take her home to Him. She could have suffered so much more than she did, and for that, I am thankful. We serve a gracious and merciful God.

Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.” –Jeremiah 17:14

~Miss Court

Rainy Tuesday…

I love rainy days. There is just something about the rain dripping softly down the windows that brings a sense of peace and tranquility to the day.

Our little garden is certainly enjoying the extra rain. All of the produce and leaves have been freshly washed with the rainwater and are looking their absolute best. I’m so thankful that God sends weather in seasons. The last several days have been extra warm and southern-style….. with high humidity. =D It has been such a blessing to have a break from the heat and enjoy the soothing sound and lower temperatures the rain brought along. I love rain. =]

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…” (Ecclesiastes 3)

A project finished…

Since late 2011, I have been working on a Regency costume. Between other time commitments and life experiences, I haven’t had quite as much time to devote to it as I originally thought I would. I decided last week that it was time to finish up the many unfinished sewing and crafting projects I had begun, and decided to begin with finishing my Regency dress. =] (Many thanks to Mama for taking the pictures for me! =])

I’m so excited to have this finished! It has been a long-term goal of mine to make one of these. I can hardly believe it’s FINALLY finished. After I’ve finished up a few handwork projects that are still in a rather uncompleted state, I would like to begin to put together a Civil War outfit to wear to the reenactments held at a local park. Before that, however, I will be helping Jessica finish up a Regency costume of her own. She’s pretty excited, to say the very least.

A blessed Saturday to all of you!
~Courtney

Summer is a comin’…

Summer is making it’s annual arrival here in the Sunny South. =]

Everywhere you look, something is growing and blooming and changing….everything is so green and fresh!

The sunflowers are blooming:

Tomatoes nearly ready:

Cucumbers freshly picked:

The impatiens are in full bloom on the porch:

Wild blackberries growing on their bushes:

Watermelon blooms beginning to open:

The chickens have resumed their laying again as well:

God is good. The sun is shining. The birds are singing. The wind is whistling softly amongst the trees. Yes, summer is making an arrival indeed. =]

Little Ways

It has been interesting to look back at many of the ways the LORD has sent encouragement to us over the past several weeks.

When I look back over the past few months, I can see where the LORD really spoke to my heart through very specific Bible verses. During the weeks following after we learned about my grandmother’s cancer, and then continuing on as we cared for her until her homecoming, the LORD revealed Bible truths to me as I sought comfort in His word. As they were laid on my heart, I felt led to write down those verses and hang them beside the sink, so that I could work on memorizing them while doing dishes or cooking during the day.

The day we found out she had cancer, February 14th, the verse that came to mind after much prayer was James 1:2-4 :

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

While it was hard to see at the time of my grandmother’s cancer diagnosis, and admittedly, is still very hard to see at times now, we are to completely and totally rely on God and trust in Him. Even when situations seem to be at their absolute worst, we are to TRUST Him. Really, really trust Him- with our whole heart. God never sends us trials or situations greater than what His grace will allow us to bear. Never will He leave us or desert us in our time of need. We are to REJOICE when He sends trials to us. We should always seek to rejoice in the sanctification that comes from bearing burdens here on earth and know that working through those difficult situations in a godly manner is ultimately a manner or refining for us. A way of making us more like our beloved Saviour. It is so hard to rejoice in the midst of troubles….of worries…. of burdens that feel too large to bear, but through God’s grace, I pray that we all weary not of doing right and seeking to consider even the largest of burdens a JOY.

The second verse that God placed on my heart was Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”

I believe God was continuing to reveal to me that this season of my grandmother struggling with cancer wouldn’t last forever. Like many other things in life, this was a season and it too would pass. There were days when it was all I could do not to weep as the enormity of situation began to sink in. There were many nights when I cried myself to sleep thinking over all of the what-ifs and possible scenarios…

And that is when God laid Psalm 27:13-14 on my heart:

“I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.”

At this time, as we were approaching the second chemo treatment, we were watching my grandmother begin to slip away as the cancer began to take its toll. I can’t even begin to explain what it is like to watch someone suffer the way she was beginning to suffer. The pain that began to show itself on her face… watching the difficulty she was beginning to have just walking around our home. I found myself constantly praying the second part of that verse: “Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.. Lord, please help me to wait for you- please help me to be strong and take heart and wait for you.

The next verse that was laid on my heart was 1st Thessalonians 5:18:

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

The day I felt led to write out this verse and add it to the others beside the sink was the day before my grandmother passed away.

God’s timing in things is always perfect. Oftentimes, we can’t see why He directs things a certain way or puts specific situations in our paths, but we can rest in the fact that HE does know and that His ways are always perfect! What an amazing peace it is to know God directs all and that He has already numbered our every step here on this earth! I believe His timing in revealing that verse to me was perfect. I certainly didn’t know that God would take my grandmother home the next day, but God was telling me to rejoice in my circumstances whatever they might be. While my family and I are still suffering the loss of my precious grandmother, we can rejoice in the fact that she is no longer suffering- no longer in pain. She is in the joyous presence of our heavenly Father, and what a blessed thought that is!

Which leads me to the last verse I wrote out and hung beside the sink- Jeremiah 17:14:

“Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed;
save me and I will be saved,
for you are the one I praise.”

God revealed this verse to me through a Bible study I was doing a few weeks ago. I felt very strongly God was showing me that verse specifically as a balm for our wounds. An encouragement that healing would indeed come. We serve such a faithful and merciful God- it is so true that His mercies are anew each morning! As we continue through both of these seasons of mourning and healing, I know that through His mercies, our hearts will be restored. I am so thankful He continues to whisper His truths to us each day, in the most amazing of ways. What a mighty God we serve!

Many blessings,

~Miss Court