Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tea for Two. . . Something Beautiful

Well, it's finally here!!
(Actually, it's more like it's here ALREADY!)
Twenty-five years ago today
I married my very best friend!
I promised you a little surprise today.
Here is a slideshow I made of my hubby and me  from our "single" days to the present. Some photos include his two children from a previous marriage and our son in the picture with us. I found that most older pictures had at least one of our kids in them with us when we were younger. And there literally were NO videos of just Ken and I, so I just added a few from a recent vacation we took to the Carolinas.
(remember to mute the music from my playlist in the right sidebar) 
It might also take a few seconds to download, so be patient. Hopefully it works correctly for you. Unfortunately, this site (Masher) has been very temperamental lately.
go to this site. . .
 music/photo/video slideshow

  One by one each year flew by,
Since we both said “I do"
25 years of memories,
Shared by us two.
From big events and holidays
To simple daily pleasures,
Some tearful times along life’s way,
Some joys that can’t be measured
One by one each year now gone,
But still they’re ours forever
Each and every memory,
Of a quarter Century together!

 Because our anniversary is 2 weeks before Valentine's Day, it's always easy to find things with hearts and romance to share with my hubby for our special day. But after 25 years, unique ideas are starting to be more of a challenge to find. As I was thinking about talking about tea in today's post, I thought about having an anniversary tea for two party with my hubby. I decided to google it and see what I came up with. These pictures are great ideas for a romantic rondevu, since we have a fireplace in our home. I may surprise him with this, when he comes home from work today.

Tea by the fire

candlelight and hearts

Sweets for my Sweetheart - Cream Cheese Tarts

 Rooibos, called red tea, is a good choice for a romantic tea for two
with it's naturally sweet taste and red hue.

A little romantic music would be nice.
These two songs were played at our wedding on January 31, 1987

We are planning on taking an anniversary vacation, but wanted to wait till summer, when the weather is more pleasant, as we want to renew our wedding vow on an ocean beachfront! Can't wait for that!

Linking over at:

Monday, January 30, 2012

Anticipation, Excitement, and Walking in the Unknown (No Worries)

Have you ever had lots of exciting (but kinda scary) things happening around you all at once and you try to not think too much about it, but it seems like things are happening so fast and your emotions are everywhere? Well, I'm definitely feeling that way!

For the past week or so, there have been lots of changes in our homelife. And more changes are right around the corner! I wrote a few posts ago about being on an adventure, and it sure feels like this adventure is in full speed! Part of being in an adventure is that there is lots of excitement and anticipation of what is ahead. Part of it requires faith and trust, as often we don't know what God really has planned for us. This also is a time when Satan wants to sneak in there and cause us to worry about the unknown. That's kind of the battle my hubby and I have been struggling with the past few days. 
Source: derias.se via Ann on Pinterest

 For several months we had known we would probably be moving to a new house on a lake. Our house was sold, but the buyer had to sell their house first. In the meantime, we had found a cute little cottage on a lake and made an offer, which was accepted, pending our house sale went through. Well, a few weeks ago, things started happening. Our buyer sold their house, so we contacted the realtor of the house we were wanting. There were several things in our agreement with the seller of the lakehouse that they committed to fixing, but have not even done anything on our list. So, we were a little hesitant about re-signing with them(our contract had run out on our bid on the lakehouse, but we haven't re-signed with them yet, so we do have the option to not buy it). Our concern is they won't do what they promised on the house before we have to move in. We also have a concern about this being a wise choice as a retirement home for us. There are a lot of stairs in this cottage house and it would be difficult to put in ramps or a stair chairlift if either of us had issues with stairs. Plus both of our parents are getting older and having them visit would be a difficulty. *Wow! I must be getting old, to think about these issues :- /    Anyways, we now are looking at other possible lake houses to move to, since moving to a lake is one of the main reason we wanted to move. It's been kind of a scramble, as the people buying our house are eager to move in!

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. 
Do not fear or be dismayed. (Deuteronomy 31:8)

 Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. (Psalm 34:10b)

I've been praying about direction with where God wants us to be. I have prayed this before, but in the past several months, kind of backed off of praying, since I thought it was going to be an easy transition, once things started to move. For the last week, I started to second guess myself. Maybe I wasn't hearing God's direction. Maybe, I'm being selfish about my heart's desire and wanting what He wants. I need to work on praying with my hubby, too, (we're in this together) for God's leading, but also for us to remember God is in control and I shouldn't worry or panic (which was my first response to this). My heart wants to jump with excitement, as I think about where we may be in the next few months! I  am waiting with anticipation, but not anxiousness. I will choose to walk with God into the unknown territory! No worries!!!!!!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 
in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Another change (blessing) in our household is that our 19 yr. old son got a full-time job. . . something we have been praying for a long time for! The timing was great, as the house we plan on eventually moving into will be smaller than our current home and he will soon be able to move out with friends on his own. We will officially be "empty-nesters".

I am continuing to count God's graces in my life and taking part in the Joy Dare:
  • 3 gifts found in Christ
408. New life
   409. Hope
410. Joy
  • 3 things blue
411. clear skies
412. Fresh Blueberries
413. Some of my favorite Dutch teapots and plates.

  • One grace borrowed, one grace found, one grace inherited
414. Borrowed - a book from a friend.
   415. Found – Great scarf on sale, while shopping (I love scarves!)
    416. Inherited – physical ailments from my parent’s gene-pool (an ugly-beautiful grace)

  • A gift before 9 a.m., gift before noon, gift before dark.
417. Taking an extra-long hot shower.
    418. A call from my hubby on his break. (Every time he calls he tells me I’m so beautiful. He is so amazing!)
    419. My two dogs wanting to play 

  • 3 gifts that might never have been. 
     420. My family having the opportunity to live in a beautiful neighborhood.
     421. Our current house being sold so easily in such a bad market.
     422. My son getting a full-time job through some connections (friend who knew the owners)

  • 3 graces found in your friends 
    423. A listening ear and attentive heart
    424. A timeless and distance-less kindred spirit!
    425. Fun shopping trips/coffee shop talks

  •  A song heard, a soft word, where you saw light
     427. peace John 16:33 NKJV "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.
     428. at the end of the tunnel. . .God is carrying through some unknown and unique times.

Linking on over at:

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Be of Good Cheer

(John 16:33 NKJV) "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

Linking over at these blog parties:

Friday, January 27, 2012

75 Years Young

My mom turns 75 years old today! You wouldn't know it, though, by watching her get around! That doesn't mean that she hasn't had her share of physical setbacks (she's had double knee replacement surgery, shoulder surgery, a hysterectomy, has osteoarthritis, and takes medication for high cholesterol).
Mom's high school senior picture

The thing is, she doesn't let any of that stop her from having fun! She recently retired, after 45 years as a beautician, running a small beauty-shop by herself out of the back of our home.
Mom and dad their first year of marriage.
She also faithfully cared for my dad, who for several years suffered with Alzheimer's disease, before he passed away in 2004.

 Here is a picture of mom and me enjoying a hug

She remarried in 2006. She and my stepfather are "snowbirds" and go to Florida every winter to enjoy the warm weather and time with their southern friends. They also take various trips in their large camper throughout the year.
Family picture when I was about in my sophomore year in high school (1978) . I am the one next to my mom, behind my little sister.

She is also very involved in her local church, helping with vacation Bible school, fundraisers, and special programs. Every week she hosts a card-game/dinner party with sometimes up to 40 guests at her house. (She's an awesome cook and quite the hostess!). And her house is usually spotless!

My mom on Easter, 2011

Every time I talk to her, she has a full schedule and is either going somewhere or making more plans! I've always said I hope I have her energy when I'm her age. (I think it may be too late, already, though.I don't have half her energy and I'm 50)
Our family took mom out for her 75th birthday for dinner.(L-R my hubby, Ken; son's girlfriend, my son, Tyler; my nephew, my niece's husband, my niece, my brother, my sister-in-law, MOM, and step-dad)
 I'm so thankful for my mom! God truly blessed me with two very loving parents!  She's an inspiration to me to never let life get you down!! Love ya, mom!
 Linking up over at:
Brag on God Friday
Best Posts of the Week

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Adventures

I recently have been studying and writing down adventures I am expecting in the upcoming year. Already my adventures are beginning and it's only January!!

Here are some amazing adventurers! Just had to post this!
Source: tipjunkie.com via Ann on Pinterest

Source: vi.sualize.us via Ann on Pinterest

My Adventures for 2012:
  • Moving from a large home to a small lake house (very soon!)
  • Losing 40 pounds in 6 months! Winning a local “biggest loser contest.”
  • Reading "Made to Crave" and learning to crave a daily relationship with God!
  • Reading the Bible in 90 days.(an internet blog challenge group) starting in February. 
  • Renewing my wedding vows with my hubby on a tropical beach! 
  • Relaxing! 
  • Getting involved with other couples in my church 
  • Getting involved with more blog parties and making lots of bloggy friends. 
  • Restarting an awesome garden on our new property! 
  • Lots of fishing! 
  •  Make a healthy eating plan for myself.

Been reading "Made to Crave" with my bloggy sisters over at A Journey of Love and My Freshly Brewed Life. We are on chapter 3: Getting a Plan. Words in this chapter that popped out for me were plan(of course), sacrifice, invest, lessons, perspectives, friends. All these things are required, if an adventure is to take place!

When I think of the photos and quotes above I'm reminded that my choices in my food plan will be an adventure, as well, so I added it to my list.  Finding what works for me and my lifestyle and making it a permanent part of my life will be a challenge, especially at first. But what an adventure!

To read about some amazing adventure ideas go to my post "How to Become an Adventurer"

Linking over at these blog hops:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How to Become an Adventurer

How would you define adventure?
"Adventure" is defined in the dictionary as "an undertaking or enterprise of a hazardous nature; an unusual or exciting experience; participation in hazardous or exciting experiences. 

1.     For many people, "adventure" means being inspired to participate in extraordinary feats and experiences as an ordinary individual, to conquer something we once thought impossible, to find an outlet for freedom that our restricted working lives have taken away from many of us, and to leave us wiser, more fulfilled, spiritually lifted, and more in touch with ourselves as a result.

     A few things to remember for anyone who wants to be an adventurer: 

              1.  Be sure that your concept of adventuring fits well with what is possible, affordable, doable, and of interest to you in the long-term. Some ideas for adventure might involve the following: 
  • Extreme physical adventure: such as climbing a mountain; sailing, diving the deeps (including free diving and base jumping underwater sinkholes); kayaking down a fjord; or spelunking, extreme running, etc
  • Helper adventure (often under conditions very different from what you're used to): Activities such as helping to set up hospital or health services in a place without such facilities; training people and generally helping out in places without educational facilities; volunteering with a charity doing major overseas projects, etc
  • Travel adventure: Not quite as rigorous or hazardous as the extreme physical adventure testing but still requiring a tough will and rough living, such as traveling to out-of-the-way places and pushing yourself to take on activities that are taxing and sometimes confronting, adventure involving retracing the steps of a well-worn path from another time in history.
  • Charity or sponsorship adventure: Doing something intrepid and raising money for charity at the same time, including seeking sponsorship to travel or perform challenging activities, getting donations in return for completing a difficult adventure, etc.
  •  Cultural discovery adventure: Learn more about a region in the world, the culture, the crafts, wine and food, art, music, etc., it's about discovering something you are passionate about but still have much to learn from.
  •  Occupational adventure. Choosing a career can involve adventure if you select something like marine biology, space travel, missionary work, the military, art, journalism, historian, anthropology, or archaeology. These adventures are self funding when you complete the training, which may be long and expensive, short and paid for (military service overseas) or lifelong (art, music, writing). Academic ones may require developing a skill. Don't forget that with enough skill, anything can become a career - mountaineering guides, bicycle tour leaders, any form of coaching or guiding can become a way to make a living.
  •  Self defined adventure. If it is challenging, demands the best of you and involves taking risks you can consider it adventurous. Adventurers are passionate, if you have a goal that you're willing to throw everything to the wayside to achieve and approach it with common sense, you are an adventurer. Adventure means accepting hardship instead of taking the easiest course in life, willingly grasping it to accomplish something wonderful. Choose something difficult that only seems impossible, then find all the ways that you can to bring the impossible into reach. An inner journey can be as perilous as traveling across the globe and as rewarding. Adventure demands and teaches believing in yourself and in what calls you.
     2.  Plan the adventure. A successful adventure requires good planning based on detailed research. Even if you're usually very spontaneous, the success of an adventure will depend very much on knowing what to expect and being generally aware of what you intend to do and get out of your adventure.
  •  Do a lot of reading of people who have trodden in a path similar to yours before. Their inspirational stories of failures and success will give you an idea of what's involved. 
  •  For some, planning for an adventure might mean taking a few years to gain qualifications, abilities, or fundraising.
  • The mundane matters. Always have a mind on the details. If possible, talk with someone who has taken the same adventure.
      3.  Consider whether you intend to go solo, with a buddy, or with a group. Adventure is still adventure whether you're alone or with others.
  • Any adventure that involves danger should have you considering going along with a buddy at the very least, and perhaps trained guides or adventure groups, to ensure your safety as much as is possible. 
  •  Don't forget that you will also most likely meet up with new friends along the way of your adventure.
     4.  Get your health and fitness checked
  • Know your health; see the doctor for a check up and if you have ongoing medical issues that need managing, talk with your doctor about what you can do to take care of medical needs.
     5.  Check your budget. Have you got enough money to become an adventurer? Most likely you have but you might need to scale back on the more glorified ideas of adventure in your head. Tailor the adventure to fit within the budget, or delay the adventure while you save up enough for the adventure of the lifetime you're keen on experiencing. 
  •  Does being an adventurer have to be costly and not for those earning less? Absolutely not! Real adventure is simply living for new experiences, people, and places. Some of the most exciting adventures actually come from those times when a person has insufficient funds.
  •  If your adventure is so exciting, quirky, and interesting, you might be able to get a sponsorship deal.
     6.  Clear the adventure with others. Do consider your loved ones. If your adventure is going to impact them through your absence and in any other means such as financial or emotional, then start talking to them about it soon. 

     7.  Consider updating people about your adventure via a blog, website, or social media network. Adventure seekers take time now and then to update their blog or to leave a note on Twitter or Facebook to let everyone know how their adventure is proceeding. 
  •  Take a journal and document your adventure. You will appreciate being able to read it later in life, to recall the glorious fun and hazards that you experienced when you were free as a bird.
     8.  Get on with it. Most importantly, after you've done all the organizing, planning, checking and re-checking, get out there and love every moment of your adventure. 
  • Not everyone has the courage to become an adventurer, to discover new things about the world and themselves, so give yourself a big pat on the back for being open-minded, energetic, courageous, and ready for anything!

If you've never considered being an adventurer and would like to try something new or have wanted to do something for a long time, I encourage you start with a list (no, I'm not talking about a bucket list) of what you would like to do. Think about things you would like to especially do in the next 1-2 years. Remember to make it realistic, but challenging!
To read about my adventures go to my post "My Adventures"
Sample list:

Linking on over to these blog parties:
On Your Heart Tuesday(A Pause on the Path)
Winsome Wednesday(Beauty in His Grip)
Grace Cafe' (Reflections of His Grace)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Tea Time Tuesday's 2nd Anniversary/Birthday Tea Party

Today I'm celebrating over at Rose Chintz Cottage where Sandi is celebrating Tea Time Tuesday's 2nd Anniversary/Birthday Tea Party . Because of her love of roses, she has asked her friends to share all our "rose-themed" tea things. Here are some of mine.

This blue rose teapot was given to me by my mom. The teacup was an antique store find.
These sets of two different teapots with matching teacups are my favorites!
The teapot and teacup on the left have music boxes in their bases..
Here is the musical teacup turned upside-down. Notice the little winder that is used to wind the music box up to play.The teacup plays "just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down."
These teacup/teapot ornaments have rose designs on them
I do love white roses, but I don't have anything with white roses on it.
I found an awesome website, though, that made my mouth water with really cool tea things
(and white rose designs!)
It's called Cake Stand Heaven. Have you heard of it?
There are a couple of items I really want to get someday. . .
This rose cakestand is gorgeous, isn't it?

Here is a close-up of the teacup in the cake-stand.

This white rose teacup is used as a candle.

Wishing Sandi a wonderful 2nd anniversary/birthday and may the party grow and blossom every week with the joy and fellowship of other tea-lovers!!!

In exactly one week (January 31st) my hubby and I will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary! I will have a little surprise for everyone, so come on back next week.

Linking over at these blog parties:
 Rose Chintz Cottage (Tea Time Tuesday)
 Artful Affirmations (Tea Cup Tuesday)
A Delightsome Life (A Return to Loveliness)

Relationships Take Work! ( Forgiveness - Part 1 )

Source: google.com via Ann on Pinterest

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you..” Colossians 3:13
Understanding Marital Conflict from James 4:1-3
Just like any interaction between two people, disagreements in marriage are bound to happen. Sometime disagreements can turn into conflict and, if not dealt with wisely, can literally destroy a marriage. This is why so many marriage counselors and even businesses have offered conflict-resolution and problem-solving workshops.
Why do couples fight and argue? Why can’t they just enjoy lasting peace? Didn’t they get married to have a greater life together than when single?  We need to realize that conflicts are more than the simple difference of opinion or approach. Conflicts are the way couples poorly carry out the expression of their varying viewpoints.

“What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:1-3).
Two key words are used here:
Quarrels- the long-standing unresolved war along with all the tensions and underlying issues at stake.
Conflicts- the individual battles

If you solve a conflict, will you solve the quarrel? No. We need to go deeper, much deeper like James does. Six observations can be drawn from James 4:1-3
1) Quarrels require cooperation. Two are needed! We should be humble enough to accept that marital arguments require both the husband and wife.
2) Quarrelers are motivated to please themselves. Without careful thought, more than likely the world’s thoughts have influenced your attitudes and decision-making process when quarreling.
3) The actual pursuit to fulfill their desires causes conflict. James 4:2 says that they “cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. This is the opposite of love. There is no thought of God and they are self-driven.
4) Quarrelers lack self-restraint and self-control. Have you ever heard someone say, “That is just the way he is.”? Actually we all have a sin nature. The point is some spouses will repent and turn to God for His Spirit to help them and their marriage. Others will not. We all are responsible for our deeds.
5) Quarrelers do not seek God’s way. James 4:2 says, ‘You do not ask.’ They do not have a mind to seek what God wants or even to think how He might provide for them. They want to control God to get their wishes.
6) Quarrelers lack a perspective of peace or oneness. If a couple lives without a commitment to oneness, then their wills will compete against each other. Peace will be substituted for disharmony until they live according to their oneness.
Financial Issues:  When the purse strings are tight, then the spouses need to give up more of what they would like. James says that it is when they do not get what they want, that conflicts begin. 
The real source of conflict is our own hearts.  We allow ourselves to prioritize our own preferences over the wellbeing of the whole, in this case meaning our spouse and marriage. The reason we become so aggressive in meeting our own needs so that we will even become pushy or selfish (which is always impolite and unkind) is because of our selfish nature. Deep down below, we are out to please ourselves.

If you are a genuine Christian and still struggle greatly with these issues, we can be confident that God is able to and desires to help us out faster than we ever thought possible. We have the power to live a godly life in Christ by living out the fruit of the Spirit. Of course, we can also by choice and deception fall to living by our old nature.
Steps to Bring Relief from Past Conflict
(1) Identify these pleasures or desires. What is it that has been driving you into conflict?
(2) Repent from seeking your own gratification rather than God’s will. Focus on your own shortcomings rather than your spouses.
(3) Commit to doing God’s will regardless of the consequences. You as a Christian are to serve God.
(4) Follow God’s will. Talk is empty without action. (More on this is coming next.)
(5) Patch up ‘war’ scars. When you have hurt others (whether it was in anger or in defense of your spouse’s negative behavior), then you need to apologize, confess your wrong and ask for forgiveness.

The couple is one, not two. As husband and wife, are we not on the same team? Do we not have the same goal? Aren’t we both winning when the other does well? We sure are!
In “Forgiveness” (Part 2) I will talk about Creating Marital Harmony (Philippians 2:2-5)

Continuing to list God's graces upon me and take part in the Joy Dare
3 ways you witnessed happiness today: 
390. Son's reaction when he got in for an interview for a job. 
391. A video of missionaries at our church, who felt called to serve and are enjoying living in New Guinea.
392. People talking and laughing in the coffee shop.
One gift that made you laugh, one gift that made you pray, one gift that made you quiet
393. Time with family, reminiscing and sharing life’s experiences, and laughing
394. Prayed for my son to get a new job.
395. Reading scripture – finding words in the book of Proverbs that made me contemplate God’s wisdom.
3 Gifts from God’s Word -
– Proverbs 30:18-19 “There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand:
396. the way of an eagle in the sky,
1.    397.  the way of a snake on a rock,
398. the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a young woman.
A grace in the kitchen, a grace in the weather, a grace that might never have been.
399. Watching my son and his girlfriend make a Caesar salad together.
400. Sun shining on a cold winter day.
401. Having and raising my son.
3 gifts you saw only when you got close-up
402.red plant covered with winter snow

403. Squirrel, gathering nuts

404. deer grazing in the back yard.

One thing in the sky, from your memory, that’s ugly-beautiful
405. Clouds
406. Growing up in a nice neighborhood
407. Moving to a new house in the wintertime
Linking over at:

(Information on marriage from the website “Biblical Foundations For Freedom” – Building a Great Marriage” Series.)

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Journey of Love Link-Up/Photo Sharing

 I'm linking on over to  A Journey of Love: Habits are hard to break..with Venessa, as she takes the "Made to Crave"(book) Journey!  So hop on over and check out her post! It's a great one!

I am also going on this amazing journey of better health habits!! Hopefully by June, when my hubby and I will be enjoying a beachfront anniversary trip, I will be fit and trim!!! So I'm also motivating myself by dreaming of some cute outfits I would like to wear...I'm 
posting some great outfits from my Pinterest and Polyvore Pages!

A simple white dress, denim shirt, and large-brimmed hat
Source: theberry.com via Ann on Pinterest

Simple, but cute above the knee dress
Source: theberry.com via Ann on Pinterest

Interchangeable skirt or sundress! Love it!

I love maxi dresses. This aqua color is lovely!

Here's some really cute color combos!

For those cooler days/evenings on the beach

And the hot/sunny beach days, sunglasses, tanks, sandals, and bikini's

Now, I'm really motivated to keep my healthy eating and exercise habits going! I want to be beachwear ready by June!!!! (I have lost almost 3 lbs this week. . . yayyy!)

Linking on over at:
Good Life Wednesday
 Best Post of the Week,
 As of Late

Pinning and Singing on the Weekend