Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Favorites of the Week

My Favorites of the Week page has been updated. 
This week's favorites will run until Wednesday, July 7th.
Lots of bright colors for the bright days of summer...it's been hot, hot, hot here so I've been thinking about tropical, tropical, tropical colors!  Let me know what your favorite of my favorites is.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sing to the Lord a New Song



1 Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
2The LORD has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
3He has remembered his love
and his faithfulness to the house of Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.
4Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
5make music to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,
6with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
shout for joy before the LORD, the King.
7Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
8Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing together for joy;
9let them sing before the LORD,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples with equity.

Psalm 98 NIV

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Couple of Angels

It's been awhile since I've shared any of my art on my blog. Just so you know that there really is a bit of painting going on ...other than to porches and decks and chairs and things...I thought it was time to share two of my latest paintings which are part of a series of folk art paintings that I'm doing.
I think these are finished. I haven't varnished them yet, so there's still time to make a change, if necessary.. They will soon be listed on Etsy in one of my new shops...if I ever find the time to actually set up and list anything in my new shops!  
One painting ended up looking more like a story book princess than a folk art angel. I think she would look great in a little girl's room.  She started out completely different from the way she ended up...I'll explain about that later. Here's a detail of her face....
























a bit more of her....
























and finally the total package...a Pink Praying Angel

























The second painting is a little more what I had in mind when I started painting angels.  I was going for a folk art look and I think she fits pretty well into that category. She is the Angel of Hearts. Do you think that Alice in Wonderland and the Queen of Hearts might have been on my mind? She had been resting happily in the house for a while so that I could decide if she was finished, when I noticed that her eyes weren't quite right. This photo was taken before her eye surgery. She came through fine...with flying colors in fact! I just haven't taken the time to photograph her again. So you are seeing the unfinished painting.



Here's a close up of her face...if you look closely you will see the problem with her eyes. One of her eyes is larger than the other  and well there was a bit more wrong there but it's been corrected.





















Now that you have seen those two paintings, I will tell you a little secret. Before the Pink Praying Angel was the Pink Praying Angel, she was a redheaded angel with wild hair and a face too thin for her hair and her body. She was a pitiful mess.  I really loved her eyes and her nose. Her mouth was not too bad. It is when  
she was viewed as a whole that she was a bit of a disaster. My daughter said, "Mom, her hair is really red, red." I had to laugh!  I really hate to show you the whole painting...it is really bad. But I decided you could probably use a good laugh, I could use the lesson in humility and I wanted to share a good example of why you should plan well before you begin your paintings...




















So, here she is in her pitifulness...but remember, she's all better now...now she's pink and looks like a storybook princess!
























Remember, be kind...I'll remember that you were!

Fingerprint Friday - How Majestic

Fingerprint Friday was started by Beki, at The Rusted Chain. It was inspired by the song by Steven Curtis Chapman that contains the line..."when I look at you, I can see the fingerprints of God." To participate and/or visit all of the blogs that do, go to the Fingerprint Friday Post on Beki's blog and follow the instructions. 


Got a pretty good shot of the moon the other night.
Not quite full but still pretty.
It was hiding behind a tree.
The tree limbs dancing across its face.
The heavenly realms always remind me of Psalm 8...



I love the passion with which Marty Goetz sings this song based on Psalm 8. Marty is a Messianic Jew who travels all over the world proclaiming the good news of the Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus) through his music. I love this simple video with Marty casually at piano, praising God...it is easy to imagine that King David sang in a similar way with such passion and love for the Lord.



I'll be working at the Animal Hospital today. Hope I have a few comments to read tonight when I get home. Tomorrow, I will be sharing some of my latest paintings...hope you'll come back to visit then.
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Busy as a Bee

Wow, I can't believe that it is already "late" June. Where does the time go? Especially, the warm months. I don't mind if the winter months fly by but I sure wish the spring and summer would slow down, way down. My favorite part of the year and it seems that I am inside too many hours a day. Of course, when it's 97 and the humidity is 50%, I should be happy to be inside...but it sure would be nice to spend one whole day, just floating in the pool.  
One of the things I've been working on is tweaking my blog a bit...no major changes, just updated to one of the newer designs and added a Graceful Moments Badge....Yes, you heard me right.  I now have a Graceful Moments badge that can be added to your very own blog. I would be so thrilled if you did!  I had to work hard to get it on it here. I am not that proficient with HTML, but coming from a long line of stubborn people who believe they should be able to do anything if they try...sometimes without instruction sheets...I stumbled my way through it. Finally, after much trial and error, I got all three components to come out in one block and it actually works...or at least it worked from my test blog.  If you should have any problems with it, please let me know. Fair warning though, if it's not working now, it's probably not ever going to work, 'cause I've run out of solutions!  If it does work and anyone needs help adding a button, I can now tell you how to do it as well as how you should not do it! LOL
I am going to add a weekly feature on Mondays called Sunday Leftovers. Nope, it's not about what we ate for Sunday dinner but rather about what we were fed at church! Think of it as a doggie bag filled with the essence of Sunday's message. I think it will help me digest the lesson more completely. It won't be a rewrite of the sermon...just the major points offered and how I see them applying to me and how I hope to incorporate them into my life. I want to keep it short and simple...so I'm going to come up with a format to keep it a bit  more structured than my usual rambling posts. I'm even thinking of making it a blog party and using Mr.Linkey to let others add their own leftovers to the mix. If we get enough folks joining in, we can have a wonderful feast of messages to help us stay on course!  So, let me know what you think? Do you think you would enjoy reading something like this? Would you like to join in a party with me?  Let me know. 
Well, I am running late, so better get moving...feeding kids at the MH park today. 
Hope your day is filled with abundant blessings from above!
♥♥♥

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fingerprint Friday - The Morning After


Fingerprint Friday was started by Beki, at The Rusted Chain. It was inspired by the song by Steven Curtis Chapman that contains the line..."when I look at you, I can see the fingerprints of God." To participate and/or visit all of the blogs that do, go to the Fingerprint Friday Post on Beki's blog and follow the instructions. 


We had a storm yesterday. When I got home yesterday afternoon, I noticed a really black, wicked looking cloud heading for our house. After letting the dogs out to quickly do their business, I checked the interactive weather map and it looked like a giant U shape of red with our house in the middle and it was moving right for us. Then the weather alert radio starting screeching about 60 mph winds and quarter sized hail and listed our area in the path of it. 
It looked so big and sounded ominous enough that I took my portable drive (all my photos and financial info), a flashlight, my laptop, purse,phones and my dogs and headed to the basement. While standing in the basement with the sound of rain slamming against the windows and the wind howling around the house, and with power going on and off, I began to pray.  I always pray as soon as I know that a storm is coming but I had been in such a rush to get to the basement, I had not yet prayed.  As soon as I prayed, I felt the peace come over me and I knew that I would be fine. The storm didn't last long and when it was over, we had suffered only slight damage...some tin came loose on the big shed, some big limbs that snapped off trees and one of our neighbor's big pines, lying across the road in front of our house. When all was clear I ventured out to check out the damage and I could hear chain saws buzzing all up and down the road.  It turns out that the storm change direction and we ended up only getting the edge of the storm. 
I was very thankful that we had no major damage and felt very blessed.
Early this morning while the dew was still on the grass and shrubs, the sun was shining brightly and everything looked so clean and refreshed from yesterday's storm. I was seeing God's fingerprint everywhere I looked, so I had to grab my camera. Here is where I found God's fingerprints this morning...as usual, I was not able to choose only one:
















































































































Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pardon the Mess

Please pardon the mess while I am redesigning my blog.  It will be done hit or miss today in between errands and chores and will hopefully be finished by tomorrow.  


Update: 6/17/2010: Still working on it... 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Living is Not DIY and Other, Random Thoughts

God gave me an interesting truth this morning:  Living is NOT a Do It Yourself project. Living should be done with God in control and friends and family offering support along the way. God knows me well. I give him the controls and then push him out of the way and try to take them back because I'm just not sure I like the way things are going.  Quietly thriving...wasn't it I who wrote about that, just this past Friday?  How quickly, we grab the controls back! 
Today will be another hot (mid-90's) and humid day in NW Georgia.  I love summer so I try not to whine about the heat and I will always take hot and humid over cold of any kind.  My present displeasure with the exceedingly high and wonderfully hot--see, no whining--temperatures is that I need to paint my porch. It is a  project that I should have started a few weeks ago before it got so delightfully hot. Painting is now a morning project that must be done before 11am at the latest. Otherwise, the paint will,quite possibly, dry on the brush/roller before it makes it to the porch..
I won't be able to do it today or tomorrow because I can't start a painting project in the morning when I have to hand out free lunches to kids at noon, Did I mention that we do that outside, in the heat? No, I am NOT whining! Just saying, that's all. Anyway, I know that most people could knock out a painting project in the morning and then shower, change clothes and go feed kids at noon. I dare say, most people could tie their hands behind their backs and paint with the brush in their mouth and manage to paint the porch and still have time left to shower, change and make it to feed the kids by noon. But if there is anything I have learned about myself in all these years, it is that I am not "most people."  Unless you have experienced the mess that is Vicki painting, you have no idea what can happen. 
Remember me talking about my A.D.D a while back?  Well, I do seem to have it. I have successfully tried to pass it off as used it for hyper-multi-tasking in the past and occasionally it still comes in handy that way, but in my old age maturity, I have noticed that the combination of A.D.D and painting creates havoc.  I have never been a neat painter.  As a matter of fact, I am one of the messiest painters you will ever come to know. This makes me very thankful for Latex paint. Can you imagine what mineral spirits and paint thinner do to your hair? It's not good...trust me...I do know. BTW, for those of you who have heard rumors that I am a painter of the artist kind, please know that painting a canvas and painting a porch, shelf, furniture, etc are two entirely different things. I am actually a fairly neat and well controlled painter of canvas, provided that it is not plein air painting.  I paint canvases in the quiet with as few distractions as possible and I become completely absorbed in making art.  Painting a porch, on the other hand, is of necessity done outside with birds, bees and other little critters vying for my attention. I have been know to paint flies,beetles, ladybugs and even wasps and I don't mean a painting of  them, I mean I have literally painted them--white dots on their backs and wings.  I get distracted and then accidents follow. It's not pretty...well, whatever is supposed to be painted is usually quite pretty, it's all the other things that weren't supposed to be painted that aren't so pretty.
So, it is now time for me to get ready to go spend a few hours feeding kids. Did I mention that we do this at the hottest part of the day?    Yes, it will be hot but God is in control and he won't make me do it by myself. 
I did mention in the title that this would be random.   Have a blessed day.

Post Script: It was hot but there was a breeze and God provided lots of people to help!  He even gave us a light shower when we were finished to cool us off...how's that for a helper! 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Fingerprint Friday - Quietly Thriving

Humans, too often, seem to require much to be happy and thrive: living in the best house, in the best neighborhood, with the best car, wearing the best clothes, using the best and newest gadgets.  The wisest of us, learn early and the rest of us learn ultimately, that things, expensive or not, will never make us happy for long.  There are far more important things in life than acquiring the latest gadgets, clothes or whatever other material thing, Madison Avenue convinces us we should want. My favorite saying about this is: "We spend our time buying things we don't need, to impress people we don't even like, with money we don't have."
Nature does things a different way: often thriving through drought or flood, sunshine or shade and in spite of the poorest of environments. It is as if nature inherently knows that this is all temporary and understands we are to make the best of and even thrive through, whatever comes our way. 
There are some things, of course, that nature can't survive and they are usually the result of human interference. But if left alone, just God and nature, there is a beautiful  and perfect balance that can teach us a thing or two about thriving. Sometimes...

...even when we do interfere and for example, plant a Stella d'Oro and some other lovely plants, in a beat up, rusty, old wheel barrow with a few holes drilled in the bottom, and then sit it in the hottest part of the yard, often forgetting to water it, nature just goes ahead and thrives anyway.  It's like it's saying,"Nana nana boo boo! You can't keep me down!"  
I want to be more like that!
So, today, I am quietly thriving where I am. I'm not worrying about tomorrow. Just here, being happy with all that God has given me, and thankful that He hasn't given me so much that I would not value it. I am quietly resting in the assurance that God has other, more important, things for me to do than store up temporary treasures. Just here, resting in the peace that comes with knowing that He has a perfect place prepared for me, where I will live forever with Him.  
Yes, today I want to be more like nature. Not worrying about how I will be fed, watered, sheltered or nourished. Just thriving in Him and hoping that I’ll do the same tomorrow and the day after, and the day after that and so on, until I go to the place He has prepared for me and thrive with Him forever. 
 
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4: 17-18 NIV

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31 NIV 

In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:2


Fingerprint Friday was started by Beki, at The Rusted Chain. It was inspired by the song by Steven Curtis Chapman that contains the line..."when I look at you, I can see the fingerprints of God." To participate and/or visit all of the blogs that do, go to the Fingerprint Friday Post on Beki's blog and follow the instructions. 


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Super Givaway at BNOTP

One of my favorite blogs is Between Naps on the Porch. I love Susan's house, her photographs, her tablescapes, her wonderful porch and all those fabulous TASSELS she has hanging everywhere. I think they are absolutely the most adorable tassels that I have ever seen. The very best thing about these tassels is they are HANDMADE by a fellow Etsian! Yep, Angela at The Tassel House makes these fabulous tassels with her own dear hands and now one of her fabulous creations just might be yours. Angela is sponsoring a GIVEAWAY at BNOP and if you are the winner, you will receive a $25.00 gift certificate to The Tassel House.  Just go HERE and follow the instructions.  Be sure to drop by BNOP's Metamorphisis Monday Post too and see her latest addition to her family room. You'll see what I mean about adorable, if you do! 

Also, for this week only, The Tassel House will give you a 25% discount on your purchase, if you mention at check out, that you are a BNOP fan. That is a special offer too good to pass up. 

Friday, June 4, 2010

Fingerprint Friday - Hydrangeas

Fingerprint Friday was started by Beki, at The Rusted Chain. It was inspired by the song by Steven Curtis Chapman that contains the line..."when I look at you, I can see the fingerprints of God." To participate and/or visit all of the blogs that participate, go to the Fingerprint Friday Post on Beki's blog and follow the instructions. 


Today's fingerprints are beautiful, fluffy, moppy topped hydrangeas. I love them. 
These lovely fingerprints of God always remind me of my grandmother, Effie Ellington Lee Dobbs. 
She's the one after whom I named my Etsy shop.
She had a marvelous green thumb. She could grow anything from practically nothing.
She would buy plants at Woolworth's (the five and dime.)
You know the kind:  the pitiful, scraggly ones with two leaves and a faded bloom on a tall, skinny stalk.
She would then transform them into the most beautiful and lush masterpieces of God's creation.
I asked her once why she chose the ugly ones. She admonished me, in that clipped tone she would sometimes use with me, "None of them is ugly."
I didn't agree at the time...they looked ugly to me.
Apparently, my look conveyed my disagreement. "Some," she continued, "have been neglected and need a loving touch so that they can show their beauty. That is all that is wrong with them. These wonderful creations of God, are much like children: they need to be watered, fed, nurtured and pruned, so that they may grow to their fullest potential."  
In the 1970's researchers at some university somewhere, determined that one should talk to one's plants.
I asked Ellie if she talked to her plants.
 "Yes, I suppose I do in a way. I don't talk out loud, but I do speak to them in my head." 
"What kinds of things do you say?"  I wondered.
"Oh, I don't know. Things like, 'here let me just prune back this little bit of your stem and then you will branch out and grow fuller.' or 'how about a drink of water, girls.' Things like that. But mostly, I just hum a tune. I think they like that best."
Much later, I would find that researchers had determined that plants enjoy classical music.
"Probably not as much as my grandmother's humming," I thought to myself.
Ellie's lessons in horticulture have stayed with me through the years. 
Some of them, perhaps, have been carried out in an inappropriate way. For example, when my dad and I went to pick out the Christmas tree each year, I always wanted the scraggly one. The one that no one in their right mind else would choose. He had to explain that the difference between the cut Christmas trees and Ellie's pitiful plants was one of living:  The trees were cut and no longer living, the plants were living. There was nothing I could do to make the pitiful tree look better. "It will look beautiful when we decorate it,"  I begged.  I won the battle--one year only. The family never let me live it down or win the battle again. Actually, I didn't really try all that hard after my big win, for fear that I might actually win again. My "pitiful" tree made Charlie Brown's look good. Even, I saw that.
However, I do use Ellie's lessons appropriately in other ways. My husband always shakes his head  at me when I head to the clearance table in the garden center. "Hmmm." I utter under my breath, "Who would like an extreme makeover at my house?  Let's see now, you just need a pinch taken off here...a bit of fertilizer would fatten you right up...well, well, aren't you a beauty, hiding there...."  
Yes, I always think of my grandmother when I see hydrangeas...
I always think of my grandmother when I see flowers...
I always think of my grandmother...
Thank you, Ellie dear. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fighting is Sometimes the Only Option




I am ashamed to say that I got into a dreadful fight this weekend.  It is certainly not something that I intended to do and it's certainly not something I enjoyed, or that I want to brag about but it had to happen sooner or later. I am not a violent person and don't really relish confrontation of this sort, but there comes a time when you must take drastic measures for your sake and for the sake of those you love. I realize now that I never should have let her aggressive nature go unchecked, but I did and I finally had no choice at all except to take care of it, like it or not. It certainly didn't help anything that she looked so beautiful when I confronted her about her needless aggression and unruly behavior. And yes,  it was premeditated and unfortunately it's hard to say who came out the winner and who the loser...I guess you could say it was a draw. My arms have horrible scratches all over them and my neck is very painful. All the fighting and twisting did nothing to help my poor knee. My husband came to my rescue but it was a bit too late and he was wounded as well.  Even with all of our wounds, I am happy to report that  I was able to severely cut my opponent down to size and won't be having any trouble with her for awhile. I hope you won't think ill of me for resorting to such drastic measures...it is simply what must be done when you allow your cottage rose to grow to six plus feet in all directions. 

My only regret is I have no before and after photos, but trust me she is a mere shell of her former self and has been properly tamed. Perhaps after this bloodbath, I will force myself to keep her properly pruned, so that we don't have to have a repeat performance. Happy gardening!