Saturday, June 23, 2012

There's something especially lovely about an arrangement of flowers fresh picked from one's own garden. . . .

Thanks to Mom, for planting her retired Easter lily in our backyard. =)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sparrows at Springtime

What a delight it has been this spring to observe a little family of birds, nestled in the geraniums in the window box just outside our kitchen window.

I marvel at the complexity and precision of God’s design in these little birds. The more I learn about nature, the more in awe I become of God’s immense power and detailed attention manifest throughout His creation. How do the father and mother bird know what size to make their nest—something small enough to provide warmth for the eggs, but big enough to hold four rapidly-growing young? Amazing how fast those tiny babies grow! In a matter of days, they transform from eggs to scrawny fuzz balls to full-size feathered birds ready to fly on their own. I took this picture on June 3, just two days before the young birds left the nest. 

I miss peeking at them through the geranium leaves, since they flew away last week. Watching them grow over the course of the past few weeks daily encouraged my faith. This spring I needed their tangible reminder of God’s precise design and intricate care in my own life. Luke 12:6-7 puts it well. “Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

Friday, June 8, 2012

Swimsuit Shopping

As I've been doing some swimsuit shopping online, I just have to say that I am very pleased by the current selection at JCPenney. Check out the Liz Claiborne tankinis and the St. John's Bay Mix and Match separates. I don't recall ever having so many high-neckline tankini tops to choose from! Most of the separates are under $27. I am also impressed to see the St. John's Bay high-waist swim skirt, which gives complete midriff coverage. Cheers for JCPenney, for providing a great selection of affordable, modest swimwear this season. =)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Back to Blogging

My, how the time flies! Amazing how a day turns into three, then a week, and before I know it two months have gone by. . . . This spring I've been trying to develop a personal routine that includes more cooking, more cleaning, and more sleeping—which has come at the expense of blogging. After such a long unintended hiatus, I have amassed quite a back-log of pictures, book reviews, etc., that I hope to eventually get around to posting. . . .

In the meantime, I'll start with photos I took today along my daily neighborhood stroll. . . .

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Backyard Blooms

Check out what's blooming in our backyard! In the three years that we've lived in our current home, my mom, especially, has put a lot of effort into making a small, unattractive backyard as beautiful as possible. It makes all of us so happy to sit on our back patio and see these flowers blooming around the yard.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Spring Fashion Week Continues

Earlier this week I posted pictures of the spring fashion show taking place around my neighborhood. More and more trees are joining the party. What a delightful time of year! There's one rosebud tree, in particular, that I've been admiring every time I drive past it. This morning I decided to walk to it, to take pictures of it. Along the way, I noticed a number of other beauties too. Check out what's hot on the runway (er, blooming along the sidewalk!) today . . .

This maple sports bright green leaves—a fresh look paired with the beautiful blue sky. 

This maple is all about scale—the tree's majestic frame combined with its delicate leaves showcase the beautiful harmony of contrasting scale.

I can't get enough of this frilly, blush-pink ensemble—soft, feminine, romantic.

I'm definitely loving the the vibrant color scheme this tree pulls together. Nothing says Spring like pink, green, and blue!

This tree favors a sculpted, minimalist look. Notice its dramatic silhouette against the verdant carpet.

Unfortunately just as the magnolia trees around town were coming to their peak last week, the temperatures dropped to the point of frost, killing the blooms. This tree maintains its poise, confidently letting its browned petals dance in the sunlight.

 All-over lace, yes please! 

Another lovely color scheme—splashes of deep pink add interest to the gold-drenched hues, while the blue contrasts and balances the warm palette.

 Isn't fun to see how God adorns His creation?! Which tree is your favorite?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Today is Thankful Thursday # 22! This week I’m thankful to be on spring break. I’ve been enjoying a quiet week at home. I think this is the best spring break I’ve had in years—not because I’ve done anything exciting or memorable, but because I feel rejuvenated just being domestic, without juggling my other typical commitments. [Does it have anything to do with the fact that this is the first spring break in several years that I haven’t had graduate coursework? ;-) ] I’m thankful for the relaxed productivity I’ve had this week. It’s been so nice to have the extra time to tackle big “To Do List” tasks, such as. . .

  1. organizing, sorting, altering, and purging my clothes.
  2. deep-cleaning around the house.
  3. spreading mulch around the front- and backyard.
  4. cooking and recipe searching.
  5. planning art projects for the summer camp I’ll be teaching.

It’s been a wonderfully satisfying week for me so far. Thank you, Lord, for spring break!

$avvy $aving: Free Mulch

"Youuu whoooo!" my Aunt Lurinda called, letting herself in our front door. "Fred and I were just on our way home. Check out this mulch we've got!" she bubbled. "There's a huge pile of it in the parking lot behind the community center, that's free for the taking! You should go this evening and get some too," she advised.

Every spring the City of Midland sets out a gigantic pile of wood-chips, from all the trees the City has cut down. The mulch is free for the taking, for anyone who's interested. Thanks to Lurinda keeping us informed, my family and I collected several loads after dinner last night, to spread around our yard. What a great way to spruce up our landscaping, without extra expense!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Springtime Trees

Don't you just love trees in the springtime?! It's like they've agreed to throw a party. And what a lovely celebration! The giants drape themselves in dainty lace, their tiny verdant leaves uncurling in the sunlight. Take a look at my neighborhood's spring fashion show going on this week. Which tree do you think wins "best dressed"?

Friday, March 30, 2012

A Perfect Pinch

I'm a huge fan of Mrs. Dash and McCormick Perfect Pinch  seasoning blends. They're my secret to quick and easy cooking, that's full of delicious flavor. Measuring individual spices is too tedious and time-consuming for me when, with just a few effortless shakes I can explore a variety of tastes from around the world. Cheers!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Today is Thankful Thursday #21! This past weekend I drove to Ohio to visit one of my old roommates, Evangeline. What a fun weekend we had together!
Vange and I, ready for another day of adventures together!

1. I'm thankful for nice driving weather. (Several times I canceled the trip because of the snowy road conditions. Finally, after months of trying to get together, we found a date that worked! Hooray!)

2. I'm thankful to live within an easy driving distance from Evangeline. (That is, when I don't get lost! Which brings me to #3 . . .). It's a quaint drive between my home and hers, that weaves through the villages and farmland.

The peaceful view from Vange's front yard.

Hyacinth blooming in Vange's front yard

3. I'm thankful to have a cell phone and family members to call, to help me figure out my way, when I find myself on the wrong highway. And I'm thankful for family members who point out that I'm on the wrong highway!

3. I'm thankful for girlfriends--both old and new. It was delightful to hang out with Vange and her mom at home on Friday night, shop with her sister-in-law and nephew on Saturday afternoon, scrapbook with her friends on Saturday afternoon, and run into another old friend of mine at church on Sunday!
Mom's Diner, downtown Archbold, OH! Photo courtesy of Evangeline Rupp

Girlfriends! Photo courtesy of Kari Ernst

4. I'm thankful for Saturdays, to shop, eat out, and scrapbook together.

5. I'm thankful for the haircut that Vange gave me. I like my new look. =)

What a special weekend! I am so blessed!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Running Early

This morning I was running a few minutes early in my morning routine. What a spontaneous luxury! On my way to school, I decided to treat myself to a mini photo-shoot of the daffodils growing in the Center for Arts parking lot...