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Monday, January 30, 2012

Inspired by... beauty


I've found it!

100% guaranteed, anti-aging miracle and you'll never guess where...


...in God's word...


 mouse over for original


... or what...


...a gentle and quiet spirit.


"Do not let your adornment be external... but let it be the hidden person

of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit,

which is precious in the sight of God."


When we adorn (put on) ourselves with a gentle and quiet spirit, God's word tells us that it will never age, never see decay.

So what is a gentle and quiet spirit? Does that mean we act like a wall-flower? or a door-mat? No.

Our spirit (as referred to here) is the power by which we think, feel and decide.

A gentle spirit describes a spirit of meekness, not weakness.


Meekness is "power controlled".


Consider this: Jesus was described as being meek.

A quiet spirit describes a calmness, a tranquility. We can ask ourselves: Does my presence comfort and soothe others? Are others able to be calm around me?

The adornment of a gentle and quiet spirit is precious in the sight of God. It is of surpassing value. Value that will never fade.

This Word is for every woman, regardless of your personality traits and can be achieved

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty if fleeting; but a woman

who fears the Lord is to be praised."




A big thank you to my Pastor's wife, who lovingly shared these insights which God had given her with us this past Sunday.

The photo (above) is textured with Kim Klassen's simplicity texture, which I think fits the commentary rather well. I encourage you to check out all the amazing contributions to this week's Texture Tuesday party, as well as the other inspiration linked below.





 Oops! Forgot to include the screen shot for you texture lovers!





Sharing inspiration here:

kimklassencafe Sweet Shot Day and then, she {snapped}

Friday, January 27, 2012

Inspired by... change

I think pretty much everyone reading this would agree; if there is one thing we can count on in life, it's change.

For most of us, change is usually... uncomfortable.

It kicks us out of our comfort zone. Even change that is immediately perceived as "good" can stretch and challenge us.

And change that results in adversity and trials... well... we always have a choice in how we respond.

We can let them make us bitter... or better.



Like the oyster that wraps that irritating piece of sand in layer after layer of beauty, ultimately producing a pearl, my hope would be that we all make the choice to be better


I'm a little late with my Photo Art Friday submission this week. But better late than never, right?

I had fun with Bonnie's challenge to use three photos and one of her textures to create an abstract.

These are the three photos I chose:

Texas Windmilljpg zinnia

And Bonnie's texture, old master dust:




I played around with the opacity of the picture layers and then added the texture on top.  The one at the top of this post was done using the luminosity blend at about 80%.  I played around a bit more and came up with these:


TX_Abtract_Hue Blend mode Hue 100%


TX_Abstract_Dif Blend mode Difference 57%


The Hue blend is my favorite. What's yours? 

I wish I had some photos of bluebonnets to really complete the Texas theme, but I don't (yet) so the zinnia will have to do.

I wish Bonnie's challenge was the only one I was facing this week. But that's not the case, and I'm sure it's not for you either. 

Jesus referred to heaven as "a pearl of great price." It's value is far greater than anything we have in this world. Responding to adversity in a Christ-like manner isn't easy. But when we do, a little bit of heaven shines through. And you never know who may be touched by the light.

Remember the oyster.







Sharing inspiration here:

Photo Art Friday

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Inspired by... Noah


Sunrise Sunrise from Casa Verde

"...and he walked with God." (Genesis 6:9b)


Noah was a righteous man. The one blameless man of his time. Do you ever wish that could be said or written about you?

Lest you think that Noah lived in a "simpler" time when walking with God was easy or easier than it is today, consider the type of world Noah lived in:


Gluttony and overindulgence was the norm. (Luke 17:27)

The concept of marriage was abandoned and abused. (Gen 6:2)

Corruption and violence were glorified. (Gen 6:11)

Fame, fortune, power and prestige were idolized. (Gen 6:4)

All spiritual influence was rejected. (Gen 6:5)


Any of this sound familiar to you?

When we first began studying Noah, I was amazed at how much his world resonated with mine. I was also surprised, and convicted, at how often I buy in to this world view.

So how did Noah "walk with God" in the midst of such a world?

The same way we do.

By grace through faith.


The writer of Hebrews tells us, "By faith Noah took good heed of the divine warning about the unseen future, and built an ark to save his household. Through his faith he put the whole world in the wrong and made good his own claim to the righteousness which comes by faith." (Heb 11:7)


"For it is by grace you are saved through faith; it is not your own doing. It is God's gift, not a reward for work done." (Eph 2:8-9)


"Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (Heb 1:11)


How often have I read over Hebrews 11:7 and missed the valuable instruction it contains? It is truly a clarion call to step out in faith, while heeding God's word, and claiming the righteousness that is already ours in Christ.


To live in this way will truly show the whole world to be wrong and will glorify God.


"But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;" (1Peter 2:9)


Sound a little intimidating?


Walking with God,

begins with just one step.

After that, you'll never walk alone.






Sharing inspiration here:


Friday, January 20, 2012

Inspired by... days gone by


There are a lot of special and neat things about where I'm living now. And today I'm going to share one of them with you.

Anybody know what this is?




Most people guess: a cannon. But it's actually an engine from an original 1898 oil rig. Not only is it a neat story (how it came to be sitting where it is today – that is my cottage, Casa Verde, in the background) but it also provided me with an interesting composition from which to create an abstract for this week's Photo Art Friday Challenge!



A screenshot of my layers is at the end of the post. I layered the original photos and used Bonnie's Chinks of Light and Off Kilter textures to create the affect.



The Story: Back in the early 80's my friend's dad was working down in south Texas on the oil fields. He would travel the pipe lines, through the vast south Texas ranches, and read the pressure gauges to make sure there weren't any leaks. Over the course of 80+ years the oil companies had left a lot of junk treasure laying around. Eventually, one of the ranchers asked my friend's dad if he knew anyone who would be interested in cleaning up his ranch. He immediately contacted his son and grandson.

If I haven't lost you already, here's where the story gets interesting...



On the rancher's property, nearly hidden by trees, was an old tin building about 30ft wide x 100ft long. The building had been erected some 60+ years before by Magnolia Oil to preserve one of the last known, complete, original oil rigs. Somehow, as Magnolia became Mobile, became Exxon, the rig down in Web County was forgotten.

For my friend, it was love at first sight. He's still looking for the pictures he took of the rig as they found it inside this tin building, and I'll post them here when he does, but see if you can imagine what he saw:

The engine, pictured above, was attached to a wheel, about 14ft in diameter which rotated and engaged the walking beam, a 24ft x 18inch x 20inch solid piece of wood, mounted on an "A" frame. At the end of the walking beam was the shaft that went down into the earth, usually a quarter-mile or more, and brought up the oil. A massive, complex system with many parts, the oil companies quickly engineered to the more streamline rigs you still see today.



It took about a year-and-a-half, but my friend and his son cleaned up the rancher's property and moved the rig with the intent of setting it up exactly as they had found it. As you can see, they got as far as the engine. But the other parts have been preserved and one day (hopefully soon) people driving by won't be pointing to the "cannon" anymore...



Tico 2

Titusville Iron Works

Titusville PA.

Pat. 1898


The last picture is textured with Kim Klassen's awaken. It's just enough, don't you think {wink}. I've enrolled in her Beyond Layers class, and am looking forward to a "year of art full inspiration!"

I have to admit, I'm intrigued by stories like the one shared above. I love old equipment, gears, rigs, etc. and believe history comes alive when you can teach it through personal stories. It's more interesting and meaningful, because it's the people in history that makes it matter.

I hope you've enjoyed the story. And if you have one of your own or know about these old rigs, I'd love to hear from you!








Sharing inspiration here:

Photo Art Friday beyondlayers Sweet Shot Day and then, she {snapped} kimklassencafe

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Inspired by... cooking light


One of my favorite culinary magazines, I always look forward to finding Cooking Light in my mailbox!



On average, there are about 5 new recipes in each magazine that my family loves. The Jan/Feb edition is no exception.

The first recipe that caught my eye was the Shrimp Stuffed Shells. Shrimp and pasta, two of my favorite things! and Oh, my.... was it YUMMY!




  • 20 uncooked jumbo pasta shells (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon potato starch
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 cups lower-sodium marinara sauce (such as McCutcheon's), divided
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
    1. Preheat oven to 400°.
    2. Cook pasta 7 minutes or until almost al dente, omitting salt and fat. Drain well.
    3. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallots; cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add cream cheese, milk, and pepper; cook until cheese melts, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in basil. Place shrimp in a bowl. Sprinkle with potato starch; toss well to coat. Add cream cheese mixture to shrimp; toss well.
    4. Divide shrimp mixture evenly among pasta shells. Coat a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray; spread 1 cup marinara over bottom of dish. Arrange shells in prepared dish; top with remaining 2 cups marinara. Sprinkle shells evenly with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until shrimp is done.

    Julianna Grimes, Cooking Light
    JANUARY 2012


    I could not find the potato starch at my local grocer, so I just used a bit of flour, but honestly, you could just leave it out.  You could also substitute another hard cheese of your liking if you don't have the parmigiano-reggiano.

    This meal went together quickly and easily.  The verdict from my family: "You can make this again."


    What have you been cooking lately?






    Sharing inspiration here:

    Nap-Time Creations  Positively Splendid

    Tidy Mom