Thursday, November 21, 2013

My Version of "The" Wreath

Hey y'all! It's a bit drizzly here, and that is really keeping me from wanting to get in my run today! I don't do cold AND rain together! Blah!  So, I decided to catch you all up to date on the wreath that I started last week. If you want to see sweet Tara's post about her wreath--which is where my inspiration came from, please go HERE!! And, if you want to create one yourself, she has the beginning steps in pictures because I completely forgot to take any while I was making the yarn puffs/puffballs!

Tara mentioned that this retails for $298.00 at Anthropologie. I now know why!!! It's not hard, just time consuming. A lot of time....just sayin'!! But, between photo shoots and edits and laundry and running, it is finally done. Wanted to share a few pics of mine and the process of putting it together.

 Lots of yarn puffs and the empty wreath....please leave the plastic on the wreath! It keeps it from shedding everywhere.

 I was known as the glue gun queen when I taught school--how else do you think we were able to attach the children's artwork to the cement walls?  This is my original glue gun -- circa 1985. It still is fabulous!!

Ok, glue and fluff all the way around the top of the wreath.

Now, glue and fluff around the outer rim of the get the picture!!

Do the same with the inner part of the wreath. And, yes, I was one yarn puff too short!!! Have mercy!! I thought I had made enough of those little things! It took me 4 skeins of yarn plus a little bit more from a 5th one to make all of these puffs. I purchased my yarn at AC Moore. The large wreath came from Hobby Lobby for less than $5.00.

Here you go!! Ta-da!! Even Scarlette likes it. It look lovely amongst the pumpkins and turkeys and all!

Not sure if I will hang it there when I get ready to start decorating after Thanksgiving or not. Will keep you posted.

All in all, it was fun to make and not difficult. Will you see me selling these in craft shows? No way!!! This one is enough. What holiday crafts are you in the middle of or are thinking about doing this season? I would love to know.

Sweet blessings,

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday Fun! {Fall decor....Book give away}

Hey sweet friends! It's Friday!! Whoohoo!! Do y'all have big plans this weekend or are you just hanging out at home and chillin' out? We are headed up to NC in the morning for a half marathon--which I have not trained for! I am not practicing what I preach with being prepared. So, I will be treating this race as just a fun long run with a few hundred new friends. 

Earlier this week, I posted a book give away here.  And today, I want to announce the winner....and it is {drum roll please!!}....Tilara Monroe. Yay! I will be contacting you to get your address and zip that fabulous book that will soooo touch your heart early next week. Congratulations!

A while back, I discovered two bloggers that I am following regularly. And, I found them through a dear friend of mine, Paige. I invite you to read her posts here. She is just an amazing girl. Period. One of the cool things about blogging is the new and creative ideas that others share. Being somewhat of a craft person---yes, I would much rather be creating with fabric and paint and glue guns than creating a marvelous supper for the family. I am more than happy to help clean up the marvelous supper afterwards, but would love a personal chef that loves to cook. I digress....

So, as I was saying, these two bloggers that I am following are really amazing. Tara, writes at Between You and Me. Y'all, she has created this darlin' wreath that you can buy for hundreds elsewhere! And, like her, I can't pay hundreds for a wreath either. My husband would think I had lost my mind!! So....we create and craft! As I told her, it will take me weeks to get started on this project. But....I DO have my supplies ready. See....

So if you hop over to her link, you can see the step-by-step of making this adorable piece for your a fraction of what you would pay if you ordered it.

Another sweet gal and artist is Sasha, at Lemonade Makin' Mama. Sasha has some lovely prints that I thought would go nicely in our home. So, I ordered a couple. I got this one in yesterday, and have just fallen in love with it.

Is that just not precious? So glad that there are so many talented gals out there who share their talents with us.  Make sure to visit these sweet ladies over the weekend. You won't be disappointed.

Finally, I wanted to share with you my fall sideboard. I still have a few more things that I would like to do to it....hoping it will be finished this weekend.

Love this glass jar (Hobby Lobby). I purchased the burlap ribbon and rosette ( half price, thank you very much!) from HL as well. Found a few crepe/crape (not sure how Southern Living spells this!) myrtle branches in the back yard and voila! Easy and natural for the entrance to our home. Would love to hear what your fall favorites are shaping up to be.

Sweet blessings,

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Exodus Road--A Book Giveaway!

Good morning sweet friends! Don't know about you all, but I am loving this gorgeous fall weather. Have been seeing lots of beautiful colors around here. Actually headed to NC this weekend for a race, and the opportunity to spend some time (briefly!) in the mountains--like driving there, running there, and driving back. Wanted to share a small pic of my "fall" in the dough bowl that sits on the kitchen island. My beautiful big white pumpkin that graced the center had to be tossed into the garbage--he was starting to rot! Blah!

Two weeks ago, I attended the Allume Blogger's conference here in Greenville. If you didn't get to read about it, you can go here and check out my perspective.  Ya'll, it truly was amazing! One of the speakers was Laura Parker with Exodus Road.  I had heard bits and pieces of her story, and I wanted to sit in on her session to hear more about it.

Laura, her husband Matt, and their kids were led to Southeast Asia for humanitarian work a few years ago.  It wasn't your typical mission trip as we Americans have come to know such as to rebuild homes, dig wells for fresh water, or have a vacation Bible school. Let me share with you just a little bit of what Laura's book says: "Laura Parker didn't expect to enter the undercover world of sex trafficking.  Through a series of events, the couple quickly became immersed in a world of body worn cameras, changing aliases, and mafia driven red-light districts."  Y'all, this sweet girl is for real! She and Matt are your very ordinary down the street couple! Period. God uses each of us in different ways to accomplish His purpose during various seasons of our lives.

Think about it this way. Imagine that you are standing in Laura's shoes. And, that your sweet hubby is wearing Matt's shoes as well. Now, imagine that you both know God has called you to help rescue precious little girls--think middle school age-- who have been taken against their will to work in a place that you cannot even imagine. I know that I can't. Your hubby goes out several nights a week and is up until dawn while you are at home trying to act like all is normal with your children. Can you sleep while he is away? Can you handle the "wait" to see how many girls were rescued or worse case scenario, your husband winds up getting caught? This is the life that the Parkers lived for months on end. Their courage and trust in God is amazing!

Here is an excerpt from the book:

It was 9 p.m., and though I should have been tired, adrenaline had kicked in.
Tonight Matt was going out again.
This time, alone.
The idea was to ask a tuk-tuk (motorcycle taxi) driver for young girls and see where he led. The plan made both of us nervous and would have been far better if it involved backup—a partner to go with Matt or to at least track him remotely.
But we’d already asked everyone we knew and had found no takers.
“You shouldn’t be doing this by yourself,” we’d heard from friends, missionaries, humanitarian workers.
“Then come with me,” Matt had said to each.
“No, no I couldn’t do that,” was the usual reply.
And we got it, we did. There are a million reasons why upstanding moral men don’t belong in strip clubs. A million. There are marriages, triggers and dangers. There are reputations to protect and pitfalls to avoid. There are entire organizations whose work might crumble if they sanctioned undercover work in brothels.
Yet, yet.
We still couldn’t get away from this idea that if it were our daughter, we’d want someone to go looking for her, want someone, somewhere, to fight for her rescue—regardless of the red tape or danger.
We couldn’t get past the idea that maybe there was a noble reason for a good man to frequent a brothel, after all.

 “The Exodus Road: One Wife’s Journey into Sex Trafficking and Rescue” by Laura Parker. All Rights Reserved.

“No one ever overcomes difficulties by going at them in a hesitant, doubtful way.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laura Ingalls Wilder, my Little House on the Prairie gal, spoke such wisdom so long ago.

“God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them.” – Bono, U2

This book, The Exodus Road, is their true story of the time spent in danger and trying to make a difference with the injustice that occurs daily. If you would like to have your own copy of this book, just leave a comment on the blog and tell me why you think you would like the book. I will be drawing names this weekend and would love for you to have this. Both my husband and I have read this book. It truly encourages you  to step out of your comfort zone and serve. For more information about this nonprofit organization, go here.

The Exodus Road is available for purchase on and is currently DISCOUNTED through the month of November.

Y'all, if you are on Facebook, please follow The Exodus Road. The more "likes" they have, the more people just like you and me can find out about this amazing coalition. You can go here to find them on Facebook.

Again, thanks for leaving a comment on the blog. I am looking forward to giving away this book--it's my first book giveaway EVER!

Sweet blessings,

Monday, November 4, 2013

Allume 2013

Ya'll...I have been pondering and praying over that amazing conference since we finished up last Saturday night with praise and worship! Trying to get a grasp to share with you all has been harder than I thought it would be. So, I am going to share just bits and pieces and tie it all up with a lovely ribbon---it truly was a gift that I was not expecting. I believe that's also called grace.

When I first heard about Allume in the spring and saw that it was going to be in my hometown, I thought, "This might actually work!" Child #2 would be running cross country, but he told me that he was fine with my missing a meet. With it being his senior year in high school, I really want to be available for everything that he does. Just me! I got in touch with the co-host of Allume, Logan @lifefordessert, and chatted. Since I really don't blog on a regular basis, would Allume be something that I might want to attend? ( I am rolling with laughter at that comment now! Mercy!). Sweet Logan invited me over to her house--totally GORGEOUS by the way---and shared with me about Allume while we sat on the back deck watching her little one play.

I prayed and had such a peace about it, that I did register for this conference not really knowing what God's plans were for me by attending.

Fast forward 6 months to last weekend:

Since I lived in town, I volunteered to help with set up the day before Allume began. "Hello" to 50 new friends! Two of my Noonday collection "sisters" stayed with me here at the Hood Hilton (yes, I named my home that to get me motivated to discard the dust bunnies, clean the bedrooms, and paint the bathroom.) It's amazing at what a little motivation can do! My husband was thrilled!

The conference began on Thursday and lasted until Saturday night. Y'all, it was amazing! I met so many girls who love the Lord and write about their daily ups and downs and recipes and shopping and decorating all under one roof. The common thread was Jesus. Here I was thinking it would be just about blogging and technology and this and that and the other....nope. Blogging was mentioned, but Jesus was given the glory.

Friendships that had only been online became real. Meals were shared with new besties. Prayers were lifted throughout the days. Mission groups told their stories and shared videos of pain that had been overcome with hope. Songs of worship resonated in our hearts. On Friday night, Anthony Evans Jr. (son of pastor Tony Evans, brother to Priscilla Shirer, and former member of "The Voice")shared  worship for 453 women. Y'all, "It is Well With My Soul" has never sounded more beautiful! I saw and heard a little glimpse of Heaven.

 Authors shared their stories and their hearts. We received a gazillion books to take home with us! (Being the bookworm that I am....I was in a happy place!) Questions were posed and answers shared. Keynote speakers discussed what God has placed on their hearts in this season of their lives. One of my many take aways was from my online Bible Study teacher, September McCarthy. I have been doing a study on Luke for the past few weeks through Good Morning Girls--it was excellent! It was so neat to actually sit in a  room with my "teacher" and hear her heart. September told us that we live on a mission. Whether it's your family, your friends, children you sponsor in another country, the homeless in your communities....we do our mission work on a daily basis, and we must be intentional about it. Can I get an "Amen?"

During the lunch on Saturday, I received a text from my husband letting me know how our son had done in his cross country meet. He ran the JV race and gave it 110%!  He placed 10th overall in the county meet and had his fastest time this season. I missed it. I cried....but with joy! I had missed my son's last XC meet after his running for 5 years. But, God is good! This past week, it was announced that he would be running varsity based on the time that he had run at Saturday's meet. What a blessing! I am still watching him run as we head to the state meet next weekend.

Here are some iphone pictures from Allume to see just a smidgen of our time together. When you trust God to be over an event, it's going to be awesome!

Some of our fabulous Noonday Collection girls and Anthony Evans, Jr.

I loved this African proverb! Snapped it during a video.

One of the sponsors, World Renew, treated us to yumminess!

Sweet Jennie Allen, author of "Anything"

Ok, you local girls, sponsors Mary& Martha (cute stuff!) provided these from Greenville's "The Chocolate Moose. " This picture speaks volumes!

She is so sweet...Ann Voskamp author of  "1,000 Gifts"

Love these two!

Precious Kate....she ALMOST makes me want to bake!! Fabulous recipes.

My online teacher, September McCarthy--what a heart!

Melanie Shankle @Bigmama --loved her words

Noonday gals Paige, Corrie, and Brandi--I heart them!

Can you tell this was an awesome time?!!

My darlin' friend Shannon standing in front of the Hyatt with "Free the Girls"--love their mission statement.
Ok, I hope that you  know what a blessing Allume was to me! Early bird registration for 2014 is just around the corner! And, yes, I will be headed that way again next year.
Sweet blessings,

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Yummy Fall Dessert....Right Here!

Hey sweet friends!  Yes, it has been almost two months since my last post.  But, I have a super delicious recipe for y'all to try. It's actually kinda healthy!! Dessert and healthy usually do NOT appear in the same sentence! Just sayin'.

I have been following a super sweet gal on her blog, and she is a foodie....I am not. We all know that! But, Kate has a love and desire to share her wonderful recipes.  I first "met"  Kate via a site for those of us who are going to the  Allume conference for the first time. It's a wonderful conference for bloggers who love to write about encouraging others and who want to share how God is working in their lives. I am beyond excited as this event is happening in two weeks here in Greenville!! Looking forward to seeing what God reveals to me since I really have laid down blogging for the past few years. But, that's another post.

OK, back to the dessert. I decided that this carrot cake recipe sounded really good and not too difficult--my love language! My only issue was to locate the three kinds of flour that Kate has combined for a gluten free flour mix. And, no, we do not have to eat gluten free at our house. We can and do eat anything....which is not very healthy. But, I am working on that.

I read in Kate's recipe that you can find these first ingredients in most grocery stores. Well, she lives in Atlanta, and that is probably true for our neighbors down I-85. Here in G'ville, it's a different story. In the past two days, I went to 4 different stores looking for oat flour (Whole Foods), coconut flour (Whole Foods), and Tapioca Flour (wonderful Indian grocery store on Woodruff behind KFC for locals!!!). Once I got those ingredients, I was ready to go! 

So, without further rambling, here are the pics to show you how my version of the carrot cake came to be.

Step one....locate the flour and measure correctly. (Please note that the counter is CLEAN at this point of photo shooting!)

One of my fav ingredients is cinnamon....while the cake was cooking, my house smelled lovely! And the  counter is no longer clean.

Add grapeseed oil....yes, me neither!!! Something else new in the pantry!

You know this is the yucky part....all of the dirty dishes. See, all of the wonderful food blogs do not show what happens in real life after the mixing and measuring....I thought you might want to see what I was working with.  Another reason that I am not an enthusiastic cook!

But, ohhhhh!!! Look at this right out of the oven. You can even see where I almost destroyed it by poking a gazillion holes in it to make sure it was done!

And the final result....pure heaven! Oh my word! So worth the trips to the stores.  There's just a little bit of cream cheese frosting on top....just a bit. Please make sure to hop over to Kate's blog for the recipe and for her wisdom. I am beside myself that I will have the chance to meet her for lunch in a few weeks. Y'all enjoy and let me know your thoughts.

Sweet blessings,

Friday, August 16, 2013


May I translate? "Thank you to give us order.  We're very appreciate that.  When we have order, we have hope."

This is a photo of a thank you note from some of our Noonday collection artisans in Haiti. It was received in the main office and shared with us. Y'all, it's a thank you note to the customers who want to purchase their products.  See those two cute NEW bracelets? Those are coming out on Aug. 28 in our catalog for the fall! These artisans are beyond thrilled that American women want their it jewelry, scarves, belts or bags. Your orders give them hope!
 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

God uses many ways to bring hope to His people. It can be through a smile to a stranger.  Acknowledging a homeless person to help them remember that they too are important. Providing shelter and food to those suffering. Taking a new mom a meal. Listening to someone who is struggling and just needs a sounding board and a hug. Purchasing a piece of jewelry knowing that it helps provide the artisan with a living wage--not just a hand-out-- for a pretty trinket. Sometimes I think we are too busy to remember that God wants to use us to give hope and show love to others.

I am learning to slow down and abide in Him. That was the word that I have held close to my heart this year. I am learning to say "no" to good things; things that are not meant for me during this season. Learning to lean in and to really hear what His Word is speaking to my heart and how He wants me to follow. This is not easy for a gal who wants a plan now! I am in "wait" mode.

This sweet note truly touched my heart. It's such a simple reminder that our words and actions carry more weight than we realize. So, I encourage you to be that hope for your family, friends, and folks that may pass through your life for just a moment.

Hope y'all have a great weekend! It's the last one before school cranks up this year. Child #1 has already headed off to the land of Williams Brice and is counting down the days until the first SEC game. Hoping that he plans on studying as well! Child#2 begins his senior year in high school. Cross country conditioning has been going on for a while, and our first meet will be in a week up in Charlotte. What are your plans this weekend?

Sweet blessings,

Friday, August 9, 2013

Summer Mantel--The End!

How crazy is it to spend almost an entire summer redoing and redecorating just one teeny tiny area of your house? Well, if you have been following me, you KNOW that I am that crazy mama! We have two weeks left until school begins here, and it's about time to I did! Then, come next month, I will start with fall mantel ideas :).

Here are some pics of the finished mantel with some cool pieces that I inherited, shopped my house for and bought--at the fabulous Real Deals here in Greenville! Lori and the girls will definitely help you if you have any decorating questions--I always do! I love the way it came together, and it gives a peaceful, cottagy (is that a real word?) feel for that dark portion of the den.

 Done!!! Yay!

 Lantern from Marshall's Home goods, blue mason jars from target, dead hydrangeas from my backyard!

 Blue vase and funky green frame from Real Deals.

 Vintage blue mason jars (the medium and tall ones), from my sweet friend, Cathy, who purchased them in Texas.

Green grassy stuff
( don't you just love my decorating wordage?) from Real Deals, milk white glass from my collection.
Hope y'all have a fabulous weekend!!
Sweet blessings,