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Friday, February 12, 2016

Brother Pine's Prayers




Probably 30 years ago now, I had an experience that I've often thought about. I can't say it had ever happened before or since. It was really remarkable.

I was attending church at First Assembly of God in McComb, Mississippi. There was an elderly man that always sat near the back - Brother Pine. He was a white haired gentleman that had an endearing quality about him. We always greeted one another, but never really had a lengthy conversation. He always seem to radiate a gentleness and warmth.

One morning during the greeting time, I was feeling troubled and sad.  I walked back towards Brother Pine, and as our hands met, we both started crying. It didn't feel odd, as you would think, but it did take me by surprise. It was as if his spirit connected to mine at that moment. I had the strangest feeling that he understood my heart and was praying for me.

The greeting time ended. We both smiled at one another and went back to our seats.

I've thought of that moment many times over the years. I needed someone's prayers that day and God sent me Brother Pine. Somehow, I knew he stood in the gap for me that morning.

Have you ever experienced a connection like that?

Courtesy Pinterest

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

10 Things That Make Me Happy Today



Photo courtesy of  Pinterest

Have you ever thought about what makes you happy on any random day or season of life?

Here are ten things that today just make me happy!

1. A bed that is made. A lot of times, I don't do this. I smooth out the blankets, plump up the pillows and call it a day. But when the bed is actually made with my comforter and all the throw pillows, I just feel happy whenever I walk into my bedroom throughout the day. Try it and you'll see what I mean (or maybe you already do that).

2. Fresh, clean sheets. This one goes with # 1, I guess. There's something about going to bed at night with clean sheets that smell so good. I think I sleep better that night. If that's all in my mind, then let's just go with it.

3. Boots. Oh, I do love a pair of boots. I have 3 or 4 pair, but there's always room in my closet for one more pair. A pair of boots makes me feel very happy.




4. A visit to Starbucks and Target - the dynamic duo. They just go together, don't they? And there's a new Starbucks drink - a Molten Chocolate Latte.





5. A candy bar stashed away for a rainy day. My favorites are a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup or a Hersheys Cookies and Cream. As you can see, I kinda like chocolate.



6. Sunrises and sunsets. I'm a pretty simple person and it's the simple things that bring me the most joy. Try getting up early one morning, make yourself a cup of coffee, and watch the sun rise. I always think of Anne of Green Gables when she says, "Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it." That's how I feel when I watch a sunrise.

7. I love when the snow is falling outside and all my family is home inside. It's even better if there is soup bubbling on the stove or cookies baking in the oven.

8. Black lampshades. Add a lamp with a black lampshade in your home. It adds elegance to a room.

simpledetailsblog.blogspot.com


9. Fresh flowers. During the dreary days of winter, I love some beautiful color in the kitchen. Trader Joes is my favorite place to buy tulips this time of year.

thingsiloveattraderjoes.com


10. New York City. I really love this great city. I've been privileged to visit twice and I hope that I can go again one day. I've checked off a number of things that I was able to see while we were there, but already have a new list. I love history and old buildings. I was doing a little research about the Titanic and  remembered that it was sailing for New York City. I learned that the old White Star building is still there today as well as what is left of the old pier where the Titanic would have sailed  had she made her destination. Those type of things fascinate me and I really want to visit both places if I get to go to New York again. ( I love Central Park and Broadway shows, too, but I also love walking around and looking at history.)

White Star Offices after the sinking of the Titanic 1912



Present day on 9 Broadway, NYC
Photo Courtesy of RMS-republic.com


1912 and today

 Are you like me at all in that you just want to stand on that very spot?

All that remains of Pier 54 in NYC. This would have been the Titanic's destination.

courtesy scoutingny.com


I've woken up praying for New York on several occasions asking God to protect the city and the people there. I can't explain why I have such a love for the place, but I really do.

That is my random Top Ten for February of 2016. Do any of those things make you happy, too?
Have a great week!

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

20 Years Ago Today...

Dave and Alex - McComb, Mississippi



Twenty years ago today, our little 4 year old boy passed from this life to the next.

In one moment, he may have remembered seeing my face looking at him, but in the next moment he opened his eyes and saw Jesus.

There is always a mixture of feelings on this day. Sadness at what might have been and happiness that he is safe and well. He no longer needs a wheelchair. He can run and play with no hindrances whatsoever.

I wonder often what he is doing and who he is seeing. I wonder if he ever thinks of me. 

I think about one of the last things he ever said to me, "Mom, what are we having for breakfast tomorrow?" He really enjoyed breakfast:)

But thankfully, joy outweighs any sadness. This life truly is temporary. All the things that seem so hard today won't carry carry the same pain when we stand before God.

I want to encourage you today that if you are feeling alone or forgotten, you aren't. There is Someone who passionately loves you and sees the pain you feel. If you want Him to, He will come in and walk with you and you will never be alone again. There is nothing you have done that can't be forgiven or redeemed.

That is what I want you to know today.

I know that some things hurt so badly and you want to know the whys of it all.

I don't have the answer to that either. But Jesus will never leave you or forsake you. He will stay with you until the end.

One day I will hear his voice say, "Mom!" again. All the sickness and fear will no longer be associated with him any more. I will see him whole and happy and running to meet me.


Monday, December 28, 2015

New York, New York! (Trip #2!)

 I had wanted to visit New York City for several years ...so, would you believe that I was just there last month for our second trip?!! It's incredible to see a dream come true.

This was an even sweeter trip than last year. On my first trip in October 2014, my husband took me to NYC for our 25th anniversary. But this time, we brought along our 18 year old daughter for a special high school graduation trip.

We arrived on a Monday afternoon and checked into our hotel. We stayed at The Belvedere in Manhattan, just a few blocks from Times Square. We would recommend that hotel if ever you are looking for a place to stay. It was clean, which if you know me at all, is HIGH on my list! The location was great, too, as it was within walking distance of Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall.

Our first afternoon, we walked to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree (yippee!!), walked on to Grand Central Station to eat at Shake Shack, and then did a little more sightseeing on into the night.

The next few days we squeezed in as much sightseeing as we could. On Tuesday night, we had tickets to Aladdin. It's such a great show and our daughter loved it as much as we did.

Another magical performance!
Aladdin at New Amsterdam Theater, NYC



 Afterwards, it was raining and we walked to a place we found on the internet called Capezzi's. It was located in Hell's Kitchen and was the cutest little place. The pizza was fresh and so delicious. We pretty much inhaled it.

9th Avenue, NYC





Ah, that fresh basil!


Our daughter was so excited to see Central Park. When we arrived there, I suggested walking into The Plaza Hotel first.  I really wanted to see the inside. I kind of wondered if the doorman would just look at us and tell us that we couldn't go in. But I had nothing to worry about. It was a beautiful place. We walked around the lobby and headed downstairs where there are bakeries and shops. As we were leaving, I noticed they were serving a formal tea to a family at their table. I would love to do that next time, but we decided to go on across the street to Central Park.

I had wondered if we had arrived too late in the season to see any fall colors (this was early November), but the park was beautiful with orange and yellow leaves everywhere.



The Plaza Hotel is the white building in the front




The Plaza Hotel

Wollman Rink Central Park


Dave and our daughter on the right at Bethesda Fountain, Central Park
Dave laughed when he saw this photo. He said he looks so dramatic, but  was just pointing out The Boathouse to Caitlin.


A very sweet lady at our church had slipped me a $50 bill before we left and had told me to spend it on something special in New York.  When I saw the horse drawn carriage rides through Central Park, I knew that was where the $50 should go:) 


I couldn't find my photo, so had to substitute this one I found online.




My husband and daughter in Central Park.


After spending a few hours in Central Park, we walked across the street to the upper West side to a few movie locations we had found on our previous visit. You know, you really can find just about anything on the internet. My daughter and I love the movie, You've Got Mail, so we had a map of locations with us. My husband and I had walked to a few of them on our last trip (he is a great husband because he could really care less about seeing those places), but this time we walked on even further until we found the location from the last scene of the movie. I know, some of you are probably wondering why we would even do this, but my daughter and I had so much fun seeing all the locations. I just can't explain it. If you've ever loved a movie, then you might know what I mean.


Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail




We found it! This is the same spot from the movie in the photo above. 
91st Street Garden at Riverside Park



We went to Cafe Lalo on West 83rd as well as Zabars on Broadway, which were two other movie locations.


My daughter also had heard of a bakery that she hoped we could visit. We found it on our walk back. The cookies were huge and so good!
image courtesy of reddit.com

Levain Bakery West 74th Street. This was the very long line waiting to buy their cookies.



(We also visited Magnolia Bakery for their banana pudding and Milk Bar on Columbus Avenue on our trip.) 


On Thursday, we took a taxi to Serendipity for their frozen hot chocolate. It was as wonderful as it looks!

Serendipity East 6oth Street, NYC


We walked all over that beautiful city, took buses a few times, taxis a few times, and Uber rides a few times. We found the people to be very friendly. But it also helps that my husband can become best friends with people in five minutes. The Uber drivers and my husband would talk and talk. They would end up telling him their life stories while my daughter and I would just look at each other and smile. He is just like that.


Little Italy

Chelsea Market





A blogging friend recommended this restaurant to us on West 51st Street


We happened upon this photo shoot near the Flat Iron Building.



The Empire State Building in the clouds
On our last day, Friday, my husband and daughter went to the top of the Empire State Building while I stayed safe on the ground at Macys. I shopped for some Christmas ornaments and found these two.



We ended our trip on Friday with our first visit to Radio City Music Hall. We had tickets to the very first Christmas show of the season. Our flight also left Friday night, but we had time to take in one more show. It was a special experience for all of us. If I lived there, I would go to that show every year. It was really everything you would hope a New York show to be.




The Rockettes!




Then it was time to pick up our suitcases and take our last Uber trip to the airport. You guessed it. The driver and my husband never ran out of things to talk about. 

We made it home around midnight. My daughter says that it seems like it was a dream. It's still hard to believe that we went! We would get up every morning and hit it hard. We never got back until it was dark outside. Even after being there Monday through Friday, there are still things we didn't get to see! I saw the Statue of Liberty from a distance, but next time I want to actually go out and see her up close and visit Ellis Island.

I'm so thankful that we were able to take our daughter. I hope to go back again someday. If  I were rich, I would take all eight of us. I would love for all my kids to see it. This is when it can work against you to have a large family. ha!


I loved New York City. I'm so thankful that I've been able to go. It was as wonderful and magical as I remembered it to be!













Washington Square, NYC


Goodbye, New York...until next time!





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Saturday, October 31, 2015

#Thanksgiving Ideas

 I'm in a celebratory mood as tomorrow is November 1st! I love this time of year and all the happiness it brings. The leaves have turned and are now fluttering to the ground. The air is a little more brisk in the mornings. My mums are still alive and hanging on for another few days before a freeze surely comes. This is a time of cozy evenings and planning for the holidays.

Pottery Barn Kids always has a beautiful display set up in their stores. I had an email to save 25% off an order recently and so ordered these plates for the kids' table.


$6.50 each @ Pottery Barn Kid
potterybarnkids.com


I loved this banner, too.

Pottery Barn Kids
potterybarnkids.com





Their Thanksgiving kids' table gives me a lot of inspiration.


www.potterybarnkids.com




Do you like to dress your little ones in something special for Thanksgiving? I always did, too.




www.oldnavy.com

www.oldnavy.com

www.oldnavy.com

www.oldnavy.com







Pinterest

Wouldn't you love to walk down this sidewalk? (Pinterest)




If you are looking for a side dish for this year's meal, this was a big hit at our house last year. It is Ina Garten's Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta. My daughter, Caitlin, prepared it. It was delicious!


Her recipe is as follows:

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half through the core
4 ounces pancetta, 1/4-inch-diced
1/4 cup good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon syrupy balsamic vinegar
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Directions
Watch how to make this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the Brussels sprouts on a sheet pan, including some of the loose leaves, which get crispy when they're roasted. Add the pancetta, olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, toss with your hands, and spread out in a single layer. Roast the Brussels sprouts for 20 to 30 minutes, until they're tender and nicely browned and the pancetta is cooked. Toss once during roasting. Remove from the oven, drizzle immediately with the balsamic vinegar, and toss again. Taste for seasonings, and serve hot.

2012, Ina Garten, All Rights Reserved



Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/balsamic-roasted-brussels-sprouts-recipe.html#lightbox-recipe-video?oc=linkback



Happy November to each one of you! May you have the most blessed holiday season this year.

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