Thursday, May 31, 2018

Through the Eyes of Experience {HeartStrings, Out and About}

It’s one of those “life enigmas”—you know, like “once you can afford a big house, you no longer need one.” Once you finally are totally free to travel and take a vacation any time you want, you find you kind of really like staying home!

We do plan intentional getaways and trips, though not so much out of the country anymore, as we have come to feel that there are so many beautiful places to visit in our own country, reachable by car or RV (in other words, no need to fly!).

Visiting new locations and environments instead of staying in our own comfort zone adds spice to life (bonus: we enjoy home even more upon returning!).

So, we planned a short vacation to Hilton Head Island, SC, with a brief stopover in Savannah, GA. We changed up the route for the return, driving through the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Smokies. We were gone May 10-16.

It was a good time for this trip, as it was not unbearably hot along the way nor at the beach.

We enjoyed the travel and the destinations.

We stayed three days at the Hilton Head Island Westin Resort and Spa. Our beachfront room with balcony was very pleasant, and we enjoyed our view as well as time at the beach on both full days (under the necessary umbrella).

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Our room was in the wing on the right, third floor straight up from the beach.

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All our meals were at the resort, so our car stayed in the Self-Park for the entire stay.

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While there we had opportunity to observe life through the eyes of experience…from the two “destination weddings” we watched (some things never change—some things do) to the families on the beach.

It was good for us to see something other than each other (although no complaints about that) and to make some conclusions about our blessings.

Our second day on the beach, a family “parked” under the umbrella one over from us. A sweet and pretty family, mom and dad and three children (kids were probably all under 6), they were fun to watch. Mom was on her phone most of the time while Dad applied sunscreen (while calming the cries of the youngest). Then the children ran down close to the water to play in the sand and wade in the water, under the close observation of Dad and an occasional encouraging word from Mom.

Occasionally the children, especially the younger two, would run up to the parents to share something exciting. Then Dad joined the three children down by the water.

Shortly, all of them—Dad and all three children—came running up to Mom.

“We brought you a surprise. Look! It’s a sea snail!!”

They all crowded around, excited to see Mom’s reaction, while Dad opened his hands to reveal the prize.

“Oooooh,” Mom exclaimed, delighted.

“It’s not dead, is it?” Mom asked.

“Oh, no, we are going to put him back in the water. We just wanted to show him to you!”

Mom was appropriately impressed.

Mission accomplished, all three children and Dad walked back down to the beach to release the sea snail into the water.

Shortly after that, they all left for awhile to take a “nap” break. And then I took a picture of their chairs, to remind me of the story.

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I wanted to tell the mom, straight up:

“Remember this day, remember this moment, remember this time, when YOU were the center of the love and devotion of all of your children. Their primary desire in life is to share their finds, their excitement, their fears, their lives, with YOU, because you are the center of their universe. It will not always be like this for you. In fact, you will not believe how quickly this time of your life will fly by….Now, of course, it SHOULDn’t be like this forever, they should grow up and out and away from you…that is, if you have raised them to be independent and healthy young people and then adults. But, even though that’s the way it should be, and you know that, you will want to be able to look back, remember, and savor these simple times when, though it may be an exhausting task to be mom at this stage, it is miraculously wonderful to experience. Enjoy it.”

Yes, we (of my generation) could write many books about life through the eyes of experience.

Most of the time, these kinds of reminders leave me feeling thankful that I truly have enjoyed each stage of my life and the growing up years of my children.

But even someone like me, with an inherent awareness of the seasons of life and the need to enjoy each one as it comes, still, I know that there is no way, in the moment, I could have understood all the value of those seasons as much as I can now, in retrospect.

And so, as timing would have it, that day was Mother’s Day. I opened the gift from my son that hubby had packed away in the car, as it had come to our home with strict instructions not to open until Mother’s Day.

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It was a Willow Tree Mother and Son figurine (“the bond between mother and son”) with the sweetest note from him to me. Especially after the “family at the beach” experience, my heart was tender, and so the tears flowed when I opened the special gift.

The special day was capped by a nice FaceTime with my daughter and her family.

In Savannah, we visited Forsythe Park (USMC Memorial) and stayed a night in historic downtown, enjoyed a trolley tour and then dinner at The Olde Pink House (built before the Revolutionary War), recommended by my brother and his wife (it was awesome—the sweet little waitress took our picture, but she didn’t click on the right button, and so, no picture!).

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On the way home, we spent a night in Knoxville and enjoyed some truly great southern food (fried green tomatoes, homemade blackberry cobbler, for example)!

Great vacation, great to be home, and for both those things, I am thankful.

#Heartstrings #OutandAbout #HiltonHead #Savannah #TheOldePinkHouse #WestinResortandSpa #MusingsofaGrandmother

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Be Still and Know His Purpose {100 Days of Bible Promises, Faith Art}

(Note: All of these 2-day spreads in this devotional book require a “click to enlarge” in order to see the pages.)

In the Illustrated Faith devotional book, 100 Days of Bible Promises, Days 4 and 5 are actually linked in my mind. Day 4 is “Be Still” and Day 5 is “Your Desires, God’s Purpose.”

Day 4 Before My Additions

100 Days Original Day 4

Day 4 With My Art Journaling

100 Days My Day 4

I have always thought this admonition from Scripture, to “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps 46:10), was directed to me. Well, of course it is. The entire Word of God is directed to me. But, some parts of it seem more targeted….like this passage.

I am too busy, rarely slow down, and REALLY need the reminder to “be still.” Sometimes I think I may miss seeing greatness in the moment because I’m so intent on moving forward.

This verse from 1 Samuel 12:16 is also appropriate:

100 Days My Day 4

One of the results of being still is that I might even be able to more clearly see God’s purpose for me.

Day 5 Before My Additions

100 Days Original Day 5

Day 5 With My Art Journaling

100 Days My Day 5

My favorite passage from Day 5:

“He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

I agree with the prayer at the end of Day 5:

100 Days My Day 5

#100DaysofBiblePromises #IllustratedFaith #BeStillandKnow #HisPurpose #mixedmedia #artjournaling #FaithArt

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

God’s Colorful Creation {Around Peaceful Acres}

We have so enjoyed watching the birds come to our feeders. Who knew? We should’ve put feeders out a long time ago!

The most colorful birds are the goldfinch, cardinals, male grosbeak, and several varieties of woodpeckers. But just last weekend, we were visited by indigo buntings and Baltimore orioles. They have become regular visitors the last few days, so it looks like they are going to stay.

We read that they sometimes the Baltimore orioles only pass through, but may be enticed to nest if oranges are out for them to eat. They are stunning.

“Male and female created He them.”

We also have a young raccoon who has visited a couple of times. He hasn’t learned yet that he is not supposed to come out during the day. The seeds that have fallen to the ground are just too tempting.

I hope to soon capture some good photos of the remarkable indigo bunting and the beautiful male grosbeak.

#PeacefulAcres #BeautifulBirds #ColorfulCreation #MOWildlife

Monday, May 7, 2018

First Camping This Season {RV’ing}

This year it seemed that spring was never going to get here. The calendar date “First Day of Spring” really doesn’t have meaning for me. Spring is here when it is warm enough to un-winterize the RV and go camping (without freezing to death—cold and fun are mutually exclusive for me).

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We often like to camp nearby. When we want to take a “road trip” in the RV, that’s a different story. But camping is fun for us if we don’t have to drive forever to reach the destination. Besides, a beautiful state park is only a 30-minute drive from us: Cuivre River State Park.

Since we are retired, we can go during the week and have most of the place to ourselves, this time of year.

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Since I enjoy “rock painting” myself, it was kind of fun to find a painted stone “hidden” by the restroom close to our camper.



I found the group on Facebook (#islastones), joined the group and posted my pictures (they ask that you post a picture of yourself with the rock).


It was interesting to learn that the group is an international group, originating in the UK, and is in honor of a little girl (Isla) who has a terminal disease. Apparently it makes her happy to see rocks with her hashtag, all over the world actually.

After I posted, the owner/creator of this particular rock responded (local gal). I re-hid the rock in the park.

It was absolutely beautiful weather until the third night, during which we had a severe thunderstorm. No harm done, but it did make “breaking camp” the next morning a bit less fun (who likes putting away wet stuff?).

We did a lot of walking and a lot of relaxing and a lot of cooking and eating.

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#RVing #CuivreRiverStatePark #ThorCompass #CookingandEating