Friday, September 28, 2018

Friday five

Friday has rolled around again, so it's time for a quick version of Friday five. (It's still Friday somewhere, right?)  Here goes:

1.  Ladies' retreat two Fridays ago at The Wilds of New England.  Meaningful sessions  on the topic of Craving Connection.

2.  Meeting the retreat speaker, Denise Cunningham, and enjoying breakfast with her sitting at our table.  I've been reading Denise's blog for years and had greatly looked forward to meeting her in person.  So thankful God worked that out!

3.  A short break from teaching Sunday School.  Just two weeks, but a refreshment.  Thanks to my friend Chris and missionary friend Bonnie for filling in for me.

4.  Breakfast out with both of my daughters.  A rare opportunity, and I'm so thankful.

5.  God's hand in providing for and working out the details of our vacation.  More information to follow!

So ends another Friday Five!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Easy Layered Tortellini Salad

It's not too much like fall yet to share one more main dish salad recipe.  This is a sort of adaptation of a recipe I used to make a lot, years ago.  I've recently been preparing it again and we have really enjoyed it.  Since it's so easy and adaptable, I thought others might like to try it, too.


1 pkg. frozen cheese tortellini (I like the tri-colored variety)
Lettuce or greens of your choice
Tomatoes or cherry/grape tomatoes
Chopped ham, chicken, or turkey
Ranch dressing
Bacon bits

In a large glass bowl,  make at least two layers each of salad greens, cooked tortellini, tomatoes, and meat.

Drizzle ranch dressing to taste over the top of the salad.  Sprinkle with bacon bits and chill until serving.

Enjoy! 😊

Saturday, September 22, 2018

First day of fall

I just had to share this vintage magazine page and thought the first day of fall would be the perfect time to do so.  This is a magazine page I found folded up in a kitchen drawer at my childhood home.  It is from Woman's Day, November 1954. 

The words are from the hymn For the Beauty of the Earth.  It's interesting to me that, long before my mother knew Jesus as her Savior, she recognized to Whom praise was due for our blessings. 

The photo here is so reminiscent of the area of New Hampshire where I grew up.  I don't think the photo was necessarily taken there, but it looks so much as if it could have been.  I'm guessing this is why my mother was moved to save the magazine page.

I'm thankful that we live in the digital age, for I could just scan this lovely illustration, crop out most of the tattered edges, and then throw the paper away.  (To see the photo in its entirety, just double click on it.)

Hope you have enjoyed this bit of vintage fall loveliness today!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Two of the first leaves to fall

In the past couple of weeks, I've noticed fallen leaves here and there on the ground.  These leaves are usually damaged in some way, but they are often unusually pretty.  I often scan these pretty, early leaves, then throw them away.  It's a good way to "preserve" their beauty for years to come.

I love the red and green in the leaf at the top of the post.

Then there is this one:

It's slightly misshapen, as if it just didn't grow quite right.  But the shades of green, yellow, orange, and even a bit of red, are uniquely lovely.  It's such a blessing to view God's artistry in His creation!

Hope you've enjoyed this peek at the beginning of our foliage season!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Friday five

 (Above photo is from a previous fall retreat at The Wilds of New England)
The Fridays sure do come around quickly! I'm thankful to be able to take this opportunity to praise God for five things He's blessed us with in the past week.  Thankful too for the Best of My Days cards by Ashley at Under the Sycamore.  As I mentioned in a previous post, each December Ashley has offered a new set of these to download and print for free.  Each card has a month's worth of numbered spaces, one for each day of the month, on which one writes the best thing that happened on that day.  As I noted before, getting serious about this simple journaling technique in August has really increased my gratitude and helped me to notice more of my blessings each day.  Some days it is awfully difficult to pick just one thing!  Anyhow ... on with this week's Friday five:

1.  Visitors at church both on Sunday and Wednesday evening.  Sunday's visitors had just moved here from a western state.  Interestingly, in conversation we found that they now live on our street!  Wednesday night's visitors live in another region of our state, but have family near our church and have previously visited on a couple different Sundays.  It was a blessing to have them there unexpectedly on a Wednesday evening.  When your church is as small as ours, visitors are a huge encouragement!

2.  Getting my dining room and entry area decorated for fall.  I ordinarily wait until the first day of fall, but this year I needed to get it done early.  The pic I'll share will be from a previous year, since I haven't found time to take photos of what I did on Monday.  And now I see that I left out many fall items that I usually use.  No matter, what I have done is pretty and I can add more later if I choose.  For now, the fall decor is making me smile every time I look at it.
3.  Celebrating my hubby's birthday with our daughter's family on Saturday evening.  Always fun to spend time with these kids.

4.  My hubby had a day off due to rain on Tuesday.  We got lots of errands and other tasks accomplished, went out for coffee after voting and actually went out for an early supper around  4 or so.  It was a treat to be able to spend extra time together! 

5.  Strength that God gave for a very busy day yesterday and one that is equally busy today.  I've felt rather tired and not up to all that I need to do, but God has given strength beyond my own.

In a few hours I'll be heading off to a ladies' retreat at The Wilds of New England.  To my delight, the speaker this weekend is Denise Cunningham, who happens to write the blog RefreshHer.  I am so looking forward to meeting Denise in person and hearing all that she will share from God's Word.  No doubt when I write my Friday five next week, this retreat will be one of the blessings I'll be counting!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Paperless Post review

(Photo at top is from Pixabay, though it sure looks as if it could be in my neighborhood!)

Well, it has now been nearly a year since I first tried out Paperless Post for e-cards.  I've been asked to do a review, so here we go!

In case you've never heard of Paperless Post,  the site offers the capability to create one's own unique online and paper stationery.  There are many attractive designs for cards, invitations, and much more that can be completely customized to reflect one's own personal style (or, in the case of cards, the personality of the recipient).  According to their About page, Paperless Post users have sent out over 100 million cards for all occasions.

I had been interested to try this out, since I often send e-cards for birthdays and other occasions.  I had been finding it more difficult to find cards that I liked everything about.  So the opportunity to customize my own digital cards with photos, personal messages, and more, has been a very good thing.

I started by creating birthday cards for several of my grandchildren.  I have since gone on to send Paperless Post birthday cards to almost all of the grandchildren, and they have really enjoyed receiving them.  (They have also liked the option of sending me a reply!) There are many, many birthday cards to choose from, and you can find them by going to Paperless Post and choosing the birthday cards option.

 The cards are completely customizable -- one can change the wording, change typefaces, text colors and sizes and much more.  These aren't at all like e-cards I've sent in the past where the design, greeting, etc. are put together in advance by someone else and I've just added a simple personal message.  Users can put their creativity to work, and I really like the opportunity to do this.

First there's the card front -- as mentioned above, there are many great designs to choose from.  The message on the front can be changed if you wish, the font made larger or a different color, etc.  You can then choose an optional backdrop to complement your card.  This isn't necessary, but it's fun and there are many backdrops to select from, so I always choose one.

Next comes the back of the card, where the greeting will be located.  You can use their greeting or write your own, choosing the font, the font color, size, spacing, etc.  The envelope back is the next step; you can choose your color of envelope to coordinate with your card and then add an optional envelope liner which is lots of fun.  Again, there are many choices for these.  For the envelope front, you can choose a postmark and a stamp.

I've found the whole process to be  easy and fun.  It reminds me somewhat of the photo calendars and books I've made online, with the many options for personalization.

There is also the option to send a card right away or to schedule it for a later date and time.   I'm thankful for the option to schedule the cards, as I am very prone to forgetting the dates and then scrambling to get a card sent.

After getting started by making some birthday ecards, I went on to design and send cards to friends for many different occasions.  I've sent Thank You cards and Get Well cards, but I think my favorite category for all-occasion use may be the Paperless Post Just Because cards.  So many times, I would want to drop a quick note to a friend as I was thinking of her.  Paperless Post saved me many a trip to the store to buy a card.  It was a blessing to be able to personalize a card for a particular situation in a friend's life.

I really, really like Paperless Post.  I love being able to customize e-cards for various occasions, and the ability to choose styles that the recipient will enjoy.  So I would definitely recommend this site to my readers who might be interested in something like this.

This post was written in partnership with PaperlessPost and Anagram Interactive, but obviously all opinions are my own and reflect only my experiences.  Hope others will find this site as useful as I have!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Patriot Day prayer

Last year I posted a link to a prayer for hope and healing on Patriot Day.  Today I would like to just share that prayer and quote a few lines from the accompanying post written by Paige at Again this year,  I was so encouraged by this post: A Patriot Day prayer for hope and healing.

Paige wrote:

"On this 17-year anniversary of that sad day in our history, we honor the memory of those who lost lives and loved ones. And, we give thanks for those who had the courage to serve in the face of danger.

"And, while Patriot Day (9/11) is recognized as the official day of remembrance for this tragic event, we know that any day is a good day to lift those most impacted up in prayer.

"Dear Loving Father,

We pause to remember the great losses and courageous acts of September 11th. We lift up those who are still affected -- Families of the victims, police officers, firemen, first responders and all who were involved. We pray for the light of Christ to flood the hearts of people everywhere. We believe you desire to redeem all your creation, and we trust that beauty will continue to come from the ashes of our darkest days. Surround us with your mighty angels of protection, give us compassion for one another in all life’s circumstances, and the courage to answer your call.

"So when we ask ourselves, even today: What is happening to our country? Are we safe? Is it going to be ok? Here‘s what I know: God was there in the chaos, and He is with us in this moment. His heart may break for His precious children, but He is never surprised by our struggles. He goes before us; He can be trusted with every detail; and He is our safe place today, and for all eternity."

So I exhort my friends today: oh, let us all take courage from those facts!  As His children understand, God is with us in chaos, as He is in each moment of our lives. And just as Paige pointed out so beautifully, "He goes before us; He can be trusted with every detail; and He is our safe place today, and for all eternity."

Friday, September 07, 2018

Friday five

From Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
Giving this a try again ...

1.  So incredibly thankful for God's protection in a very scary near-collision on Labor Day.  We were merrily tootling down one of our state roadways when an old man pulled out in front of us.  My hubby had a split second to decide what to do and quickly swerved around the back of his car.  Another vehicle was behind the old gent and thankfully there was enough room to go in front of them.  Pretty sure they were as horrified as we were when he pulled out.  It seems as if he looked to his right but not to his left before pulling out.  Praise God for His angels round about us!

2.  A cookout followed by s'mores and then learning a new game with grands, on Labor Day evening.  Lots of fun!
Arielle with s'more
A fun game
 3.  A great time of fellowship with friends visiting from out of state.  We took them to our favorite local seafood place.  (Not the one pictured below.  That one's in Maine.)  I don't have a good photo of our local place.

4.  Finding time to write a blog post for the last Wednesday Hodgepodge.  I will miss it (as will many other bloggers) but I'm sure I will find plenty to write about going forward.  Finding time to write may be a different matter!
5.  Finding a home for a large amount of music CDs and cassettes.  My parents and sister had large collections of Christian music.  Through a missionary prayer letter, I learned that a Christian radio station in another country has a need for good music.  The missionary (who, with his family, had stayed in my parents' home years ago and knew them well) specifically mentioned CDs, but when I emailed to ask about cassettes he was happy to take those as well.  I packed up a huge box, sent it off media mail (they are in the US right now) and it's on its way.  How wonderful that this music is going to be heard by folks who will be encouraged and blessed by it.  And my parents would be so pleased that a personal friend of theirs could utilize these tapes and CDs.
And there is my Friday Five!  Thankful to the Lord for all of His blessings this week, but those are a few of the highlights.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Farewell Hodgepodge

 (Above image made using a free image from The Graphics Fairy)

It's Wednesday -- time again for the Hodgepodge with Joyce and friends at From This Side of the Pond.  Sadly, but understandably, Joyce has made the decision to retire the weekly Hodgepodge.  Even as a relative newbie with the Hodgepodge myself, I had come to rely on it as a means of ensuring at least one blog post per week.  I will surely miss it, but completely understand Joyce's decision.  She has been hosting this for nearly nine years ... an incredible time commitment!

So why not join in for this final Hodgepodge? Just head on over, copy the questions, then paste and answer them on your own blog.  Go back over to Joyce's to link up, and you're done!   Here are this week's questions:

1. What has been the highlight of your summer so far? (It's still summer, people!)

I don't think I can pick just one highlight.  It may have been the wedding we attended in Maine, or meeting up with Vee,

or our recent visit to the Inn at Crotched Mountain.

Or it could be any one of the fun picnics we've enjoyed, or simple get-togethers with family or friends.

2. What do you wish you'd done more of this summer? Less of?

I should, and probably eventually will,  wish I had done more housework.  I wish I had done more walking.  My walking partner hates humidity (as do I) and was dealing with some hard things over the summer, so we didn't walk as much as we might have otherwise.  But I also wish I had spent more time at the lake.

I will probably come to wish I had eaten less ice cream, but for the moment I'm glad we enjoyed that as often as we did.

3. Something you're looking forward to on your September calendar?

A fantastic time of making memories with loved ones from far away.  Memories a little bit similar to (but in most ways vastly different from) those above, as these people are all together again for the first time in three years.

I'm also looking forward, very much, to a ladies' retreat at The Wilds of New England.

4. Best/favorite book you've read this summer?

 Have I even completed a book?  I'm nearly finished reading Gladys Taber's The Stillmeadow Road, so may have to call that the best.  I've also dipped into The Fringe Hours, by Jessica Turner, and have also been enjoying reading a cookbook -- Ken Haedrich's Feeding the Healthy Vegetarian Family.  I picked that one up at our local library and liked it so much that I ordered a copy from Thriftbooks.  Lots of good ideas in it.

I was always a reader.  Learned to read very young and always enjoyed reading, to an extreme at times.  I still like to read, but carving out time is difficult.  Hence, I am more apt to use books as seen below ...

5. Share something positive, encouraging, or uplifting here.

Oh, let me think.  I know!  Every year for the past few, I have been printing out the Best of My Days cards by Ashley at Under the Sycamore.  Every December for some time, Ashley has offered a new set of these to download and print for free.  Essentially, each card has a month's worth of numbered spaces, one for each day of the month, on which one writes the best thing that happened on that day.

I often give these as Christmas gifts to young women in my life, and usually make a set for myself as well.  (Below you see some that I have done as gifts.)  This year I failed miserably to write anything on my own set, but in August I determined to get serious about it.  As I recognized things to thank God for each day, I found my gratitude increasing so much!  This has been such a blessing in my life this month, especially when I would have preferred to complain about the heat and humidity.  I plan on continuing this for the rest of the year.

Why not try this yourself?  At the very least, why not number some notebook pages or scrap paper with the days of the remaining months and jot down a blessing each day?  You'll find it so encouraging to see all that God is doing in your life.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Not all that random, but it has to be a thank-you to Joyce for keeping the Hodgepodge going all these years.  A huge commitment of time and energy on her part -- and a blessing to her readers and Hodgepodge participants.  Thank you, Joyce, and may the Lord bless you as you move on in your writing and blogging endeavors.  Lots of fun family things going on in your life as well!

So ends the final Hodgepodge.  Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Saturday, September 01, 2018

September goals

A new month, and time for some new goals!  Here are my goals for September:

* Continue with my Bible study of Colossians
* Memorize at least 4 Bible verses and review some older ones.
* Add 4 pages to my "What Do I Know About My God?" Scripture notebook
* Continue study for Sunday School -- A Woman Who Reflects the Heart of Jesus
* Get to bed by 9 pm each night  
* Limit sugar and red meat.
* Drink enough water each day.
* Walk and/or exercise each day.
* Keep up with Flylady's homemaking zones of the week.
* Do something creative each day
* Post in this blog at least twice weekly if possible
* Continue working on several UFO craft projects
* Continue planning for family birthday gifts and crafting any handmade ones
* Continue stocking my Etsy shop and continue selling vintage items
* Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family
* Help and encourage my local daughter as I'm able
* Fine-tune our vacation plans
* Attend a ladies' retreat
* Continue to encourage and support my hubby as he works through a pastoral search for our church
* Clean church and set up for fellowship time
* Sort out and declutter my dad's house; work on estate
* Plan meals with a greater emphasis on healthy eating

SEPTEMBER'S HEALTHY HABITS:  Drink enough water/exercise/eat healthfully/get enough sleep
WORD FOR 2018: Settled
🍂     🍁     🌻     🍂     🍁     🌻     🍂     🍁     🌻     🍂     🍁    
And here's how August went:

* Continue with my Bible study of Colossians -- done!  (as in, I'm continuing to work on it)
* Memorize at least 4 Bible verses and review some older ones -- done!
* Add 4 pages to my "What Do I Know About My God?" Scripture notebook -- done!
* Continue study for Sunday School -- A Woman Who Reflects the Heart of Jesus
-- done!
* Get to bed by 9 pm each night  -- not done consistently 
* Limit sugar and red meat -- doing okay with this
* Drink enough water each day -- doing okay with this, but it's still not enough
* Walk and/or exercise each day -- not done
* Keep up with Flylady's homemaking zones of the week -- doing okay with this
* Do something creative each day -- done!
* Post in this blog at least twice weekly if possible --  managed 9 times in August
* Continue working on several UFO craft projects -- not done
* Continue planning for family birthday gifts and crafting any handmade ones -- done!
* Continue stocking my Etsy shop and continue selling vintage items -- done!
* Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family -- done!
* Send lengthy email to a friend -- not done
* Call faraway friends to chat -- not done
* Learn more about cultured foods and begin making more of them -- not done
* Declutter and reorganize my closet -- not done
* Declutter and revamp computer room -- not done
* Help and encourage my local daughter as I'm able -- done!
* Go out to breakfast with friends visiting from Wisconsin -- done!
* Continue to encourage and support my hubby as he works through a pastoral search for our church -- done!
* Clean church and set up for fellowship time -- done!
* Sort out and declutter my dad's house; work on estate -- working on this consistently, but it's not done
* Possibly plan an overnight with my hubby -- done!
* Plan meals with a greater emphasis on healthy eating -- done!

AUGUST'S HEALTHY HABITS:  Drink enough water/exercise/eat healthfully
WORD FOR 2018: Settled