Friday, May 31, 2013

Random 5 Friday

Cute beaded bag for sale in one of the Biltmore House gift shops.

1. Big spiders, crawling fast like a locomotive at high speed, make me jump and run, but first I always, ALWAYS jerk my feet up off the floor :)

2. My neighbor has barn cats and that's fine but when they multiply like fleas it is not...fine, that is. I caught a couple of them and called animal control. Yep. I'm the one.

3. I might have taken a few photos inside Biltmore House ;) 

4. My chicken Smithy, is an outcast. The others don't like her. Maybe it's her good looks. (I am assuming that Smithy is a she now, since the comb is staying small)

5. Cake and brownies are good for breakfast. I should know. I had cake this morning.

Do you eat leftover dessert for breakfast?

Random 5 Friday

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Review ~ Surrendered Love by Laura V. Hilton

I first reviewed this book as part of FIRST Wild card Tours but since I am a member of Laura's Horse & Buggy Launch Team for her new book coming out, Awakened Love (Amish of Webster County, V3), I thought I would re-post my review of Surrendered Love (Amish of Webster County, V2).  

About the Book

Janna Kauffman enjoys her job as a personal shopper for the homebound in her Amish community. But when Janna's niece, Meghan, comes to live with her family—part of a plan by Janna's sister to rid her daughter of her rebellious ways—Janna spends less time shopping and more time explaining Meghan's erratic behavior to local police officer Hiram "Troy" Troyer, who was raised Amish but left the faith after a fatal accident that killed his brother and also a brother of Janna's. Frequent interactions draw Janna and Troy together, rekindling an attraction they first experienced in their youth. 

What will become of their relationship? And will headstrong Meghan ever tame her ways?

My Review

I always look forward to Laura's books but this one blew me away! Her writing and story telling keeps getting better and better. This is my favorite story so far!

In Surrendered Love, you will continue along life's amazing and sometimes painful path with Janna, Troy and Meghan. Personal, spiritual and emotional growth occur in perfect harmony with each other in the lives of these exceptional characters. 

It's not all fun and games, though. There's meat, too. Guilt and fear often lead a person to do things that they ordinarily wouldn't do, and feel as if they are alone in the world, not worthy of forgiveness. But there is hope and love. It is explored and revealed beautifully in this book.

There were times my heart ached while reading this story but mostly I was kept smiling as I was swept along on this delightful journey of discovery and surrender! 

Special thanks to Cathy Hickling at Whitaker House Publishers for sending me a review copy. I was not required to write a positive review just my honest opinion, which I have done. 

To purchase, just hop on over to your favorite online book retailer! Here's a link to CBD, though, and they have plenty in stock. Plus, you can pre-order Awakened Love!

 Grab a cup of tea and Happy Reading, Y'all!

* I used Picmonkey for photo editing and the Cora texture from Kim Klassen for the rose graphic print.

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Couple...

of photos from a recent trip to Biltmore House & Gardens (minus the house).

I loved the lily pond! 

I was relaxing on a bench under this vine covered portico, enjoying the cool breeze and snapping photos when I saw this couple strolling along. I imagined young lovers in days gone by walking out among the beautiful garden with a stodgy chaperone trailing behind. 

You know, to keep things like this from happening... 

I couldn't resist. I do think it's a great photo, though. They were so casual and comfortable, and seemed to be lost in their own little world of love.

I took about 300 photos of the house & gardens so there are a lot to sort through for future show & tell. They don't let you take photographs inside the house anymore, which is a real bummer!  

Have you ever been to Biltmore House & Gardens?

Have a safe Memorial Day weekend!

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Coop De Ville {Unofficially}

A quick photo tour of my husband and sons building the girls their new digs. It's not completely finished but is completely secure for them now. Unofficially we are calling it Coop De Ville until we come up with a permanent name. That one may stick but we haven't voted yet :)

My guys worked whether the sun was shining brightly or a storm was brewing. Of course, that's the way it goes when you only get one good day a week to work on a project.

My son's Roofing 101 class in the fall of 2010 came in handy!

My son's shirt says: 
Of course I don't look busy. I did it right the first time.

Lots of room for the chickies to grow

Added some shavings (haven't found any river sand yet) and then put those baby girls in there and they were so happy. Lots of room to explore...

All tuckered out and catching some z's while Smithy keeps an eye on any dangers that might be lurking outside ;)

We kept them inside the coop until the weather warmed up and they got more feathers. Then it was time for their first foray into the enclosed area.

It took forever but once they made their way out and discovered "real" food (bugs and ticks), they clamored for release now. 

The boys enjoy watching and playing with them. 
The coop had more work done on it but I haven't taken more pictures. The area above the front is now covered with wood so nothing can climb up the chicken wire and get in.

I'm looking for a Rooster Weathervane to go up on top.  

 It doesn't look very big but it's actually much larger than our last coop. We scoured the internet for ideas and sort of put together several different ones to come up with our own design. At least I think it is our own but of course someone out there probably has one almost identical. 

The run has to be completed but we are still in the design stage. We keep changing our minds on how we want it to look and how accessible it needs to be. When they are out in the open I want to be able to watch them and make sure no predators get a hold of them. 

Recently, we noticed a hawk spending an inordinate amount of time flying over their house. I know, the photo is grainy but it's a hawk!

After two weeks the shavings needed changing today. 
That's my job...ew!

One of my four Barred Rocks. Isn't she pretty? 
But they are not friendly.

Smithy is so gorgeous! 
Not sure if he is really a he but I hope so :)

Ok, the tour wasn't quick but it was fun, right?

Do you keep chickens? If so, are they 'cooped' up or free-range?

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sunday {Scripture}

A lovely rose in a bouquet my husband gave me for Mother's Day makes the perfect backdrop for God's Word. As I move through grief, I truly pray that my heart stays focused on His will for my life and not my own. It's not easy but He gives me grace and strength to face one day at a time.

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* My inspiration for the Scripture graphic came from an Our Daily Bread Designs© rubber stamp.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Random 5 Friday

Lonicera Hispidula

1. My husband built me a 20'x30' greenhouse and I don't have a green thumb. But the Jasmine and weeds in there grow well :)

2. I used to make my own soaps and bath salts. Lavender is my favorite scent to use in them. 

3. I paid for a honeysuckle vine. I didn't know what it was because it had the scientific name on the tag. Go figure!

(Yes, that is a picture of it up there in all it's splendor. Quite beautiful but it's still Honeysuckle...and I paid for it.)

4. I ask a lot of questions, but apparently not the right ones.

5. My children are all musically talented, whether in voice or instrument. I am not. They get it from their dad.

I'm participating in Random 5 Friday -- where you share 5 random facts about you, your day, your pets, your kids, whatever!

Hop on over and join in the fun!
Random 5 Friday

Thursday, May 16, 2013


~ Debbie Lynne ~
on winning the Shirley Plantation note cards from Carrie Fancett Pagels.

Janella, and Steve Mathieson 
each won Kindle copies of Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Carrie has notified the winners.
Thanks so much for coming by and supporting her in her work!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Murray's Mill

Life goes on despite our pain and sorrow. What better way to remember our lovely daughter than a day out in nature. Amy loved being strolled along the Greenway, around the park and just down the road to get fresh air and sunshine. We'd been to Murray's Mill with her years ago, so on Mother's Day my husband and I took a quiet and reflective drive out that way. Here's a few photos I took, although they didn't come out as well as I'd hoped.

We missed the Storytelling Festival but they will be celebrating their 100th birthday in July so we will venture back to visit then.

This is a beautiful wall that's been built, leading down to the mill.

Panoramic shot of the dam & water wheel.

I've seen the mill looking better. Apparently they had a big party the night before and the clean up crew was still in the process of cleaning up.

A tranquil tree shaded pathway and footbridge make a nice entrance into the forested area.

Lovely Mountain Laurel grows thick in this area.

Fantastic textures on this fern shrouded log.

I thought this tree was interesting. It looks like an old and dead poison ivy vine is permanently entwined in it's bark.

A footpath led down under the bridge and I just adored the rugged beauty and aging of this retaining wall. Plus the glimpse of the waterwheel in the background made for one of my favorite photos of the day.

An old Pepsi box (?) has been sitting for too long in the weather outside the old country store.

A pretty display of bright and bold colors at the corner of the front porch invites visitors to sit a spell and relax.

This tree sits in the front yard of a house across the street. As you can see, it's rotted clear through. 

This big guy was sitting on top of a fence post down the road.

There's a glimpse of our Sunday afternoon. 

Do you have a peaceful place to go and enjoy the warm weather and sunshine?

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