Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Guest Room Brightening

Recently, I decided to re-do my guest room and brighten it up a bit. I didn't want to spend a lot of money, so I didn't. ☺

My main purchase was a quilted reversible bed topper. It came with two throw pillows, and had a beach theme. I also bought a set of sheets, a bedside lamp, and a few matching linens for the adjoining bathroom.

I had seashells galore, so I put some in aqua containers.

I had lighthouses and seagulls, so I scattered them about.

The canvas on the wall is a story all by itself, but yours truly painted it years ago. Could it be more perfect? And the sheer ivory panels? They were in a closet, and I don't remember from whence they came.

Eventually, I will paint the accent wall a lighter color, but for now, it'll have to do.

The little bench was a last-minute decision, but I think it looks perfect beneath the window, and I think Teddy is a warm and welcoming roommate to any house guests who might visit.

I'm joining:

Cindy for Amaze Me Monday
Judith for Mosaic Monday

Friday, April 15, 2016

Glorious Gifts for Free

"I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station,
through which God speaks to us every hour,
if we will only tune in."

George Washington Carver

After a crazy day at work yesterday, a spontaneous shopping spree seemed the perfect cure. Two hours later, as I exited the store with my goods, I glanced up and captured this magnificent view. Everything about it thrilled me. The stately palms. The sun's golden reflection on the clouds. The blue of the sky. Such glorious gifts! (And they didn't cost me a dime.) As I gave praise to the One who made them, the cares of the day fell off my shoulders, and I felt renewed. 

I'm linking with the good people at Spiritual Sundays.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Savoring the Day ~ Arabella Visits

Sunday afternoon I kept my grand niece for a couple hours, and we made every minute count. Here are a few pictures of our day.

She had just got up from a nap when she arrived, so she was quiet for a while. I took advantage of her stillness and snapped my first picture. Isn't she adorable? ☺

She loves this little pull dog, and before long, she had spotted it in the scattering of toys I had ready for her.

She can't walk and pull the dog yet, but she will soon enough.

What a precious smile on that little face! 

At one point, I sat her at the little table where my beloved granddaughter and I have shared many treasured moments. I could tell she really liked the chair, and when the color box was opened, she let out a little chuckle.

I didn't know if she had been introduced to colors (since she's really too young to hold a color and actually color), but I took my chances. (What happens at Aunt Gayle's stays at Aunt Gayle's.) The only coloring she did was one tiny little purple line on Aunt Gayle's wall. If you look closely, you can see it in the picture below. I might leave it there forever.

She was intrigued with this block puzzle. I loved watching her little hands and mind at work.

Here she is studying the zebra. (Be still my heart.)

Later, we walked over to the dining room windows and she spotted cousin Audrey's carseat sitting nearby. I had purposefully avoided it on prior visits, for my own reasons, but she saw it, and without any prompting, she plopped down in it and stayed for a spell.

Of course, we had to make a trek upstairs to Audrey's room. Arabella seems to love everything about it.

Check out the cupcake shoes! (I bet Memaw bought those.)

As the day wore on, she insisted on getting in this chair. I helped with her ascent, and remembered my other grand niece loving this chair and loved me catching her as she slid out of it, too. ☺ I wondered what Arabella was thinking as she sat there, so solemn and quiet.

Much too soon, she was headed back home, and I was sad to see her go.

There's an old Chinese proverb that says "A child's life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark." I hope to leave a beautiful mark on sweet Arabella's life as the years go by—one she'll always look at fondly. Although she's only a year old, she's already leaving a mark on mine, and how beautiful it is. ♦

Friday, April 8, 2016

Same Trees; Different Season

If you follow my blog, you might remember the photo on the left. I snapped it during lunch on a cold February day. The barren branches reminded me of myself, and I referenced it hereThe photo on the right was taken this week, and—wow! What a difference a season makes.

The same is true in life. Some seasons, we thrive, and other seasons, we're dead trees standing. When it comes to spiritual matters, I'm glad the Master Gardener doesn't chop us down during the harsh days of winter. I'm glad he loves us in our barrenness and waits patiently for spring. 

"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

Linking to:

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Sister Time On The Island

Sometimes you just need to escape with people who love you back, so on Thursday, I sent a text to my two sisters asking if they would be interested in a short getaway to Galveston—all expenses paid. They both said yes, so around noon on Friday, off we went to my favorite hotel on the Island, the San Luis Resort.

After a quick freshening up at the hotel, we headed to one of our favorite dining spots, Fisherman's Wharf. It was unusually quiet inside the restaurant, and between our slurps and bites, we laughed like school girls and enjoyed the view outside our window.

Afterwards, back at the hotel, I brewed a cup of coffee, donned my hoodie and retreated to the patio. The wind was gusty and cool, but nothing could mar the calming effect of the waves crashing to the shore.

While I tried to comprehend the greatness of a Creator who spoke the world into existence in six days, I received a text from a longtime friend who knows the personal heartache I carry: "Always know, the sun still shines behind every cloud. We only have one chance at life on God's beautiful planet earth. Live it to the fullest and make the best of every day, in spite of all. Bless you, dear friend. I love you." Her words touched my soul, and I was grateful for friends who genuinely care when I am hurting.

Later, as daylight slipped away and dusk fell across the Island, the sun suddenly broke through the clouds in a stunning descent westward. I remembered my friend's timely words and stared in awe at the Creator's matchless handiwork. Not only did I have sisters who love me back, I had a Creator who loved me to the cross and back. Even on the cloudiest of days, I am blessed beyond measure. ♦