To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common–this is my symphony.~William Henry Channing

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Since our HOA decided to rip out the beautiful row of Bradford pear trees that once lined the entrance of our neighborhood, (I am only slightly bitter) I have to go hunting for fall color.

I don't know if Bradford's are inexpensive or just hardy in our climate or if, like me, people just really love their autumnal glory but there are a lot of them around Pace. I may or may not pull off the road or into parking lots just to grab a few pictures :-)

But how pretty are they?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Commit Your Way

Sometimes we begin a journey and have no idea where it is going to take us. Most of the time I think we actually may believe it's one thing and God surprises us by leading us somewhere new...somewhere we may not have thought of.

This comes to mind as I share a session of a sweet family from our school. Did they realize when their daughter started at the school that mom and dad would both end up teaching there this year as well?

Our family has the joy of walking part of this journey with them. She's Claire's teacher and we love her! She is fanning the flame of loving to learn in Claire. I've also had the opportunity to visit in his class and his love for the students and what he's doing is evident. And because older students are always paired with the younger students, both of our older girls have spent some time enjoying their sweet little girl.

Pensacola, children's portraits, downtown Pensacola, photography

They laugh a lot together...delighting in the family God has given them. Her with her little toothless grin just brings a smile to your face.

But what I really noticed was the way they live out God's instruction to parents in Deuteronomy six. Loving God with all their heart, and soul, and might and teaching their daughter of who God is, His ways and character. And not just in a book learning kind of way but in that " shall teach them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way..." kind of way.

Pensacola, downtown, family portraits

So, I'm not sure if they had any idea where God was leading them when they first came to our school...all that He would do for them and through them. But what a lovely journey it's been so far!

"Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the LORD,
and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in Him and He will act. 
Psalm 37: 3-5

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Pinterest Test Kitchen # 75 ~ Snickerdoodle Caramel Apple Something

Catchy title, isn't it?

It came about like this. I saw the recipe and pinned it of course. Then last week while I was making my grocery list I wrote down the ingredients, knowing I was changing out oatmeal raisin cookie for snickerdoodle, and then while at the store decided to swap out the regular boring caramels for the cute little round ones. The point being that I was thinking through the recipe several times.

I felt comfortable with the recipe. Felt like I understood I got the essence of it.

Turns out I missed a few key parts to actually making this recipe. Like you are supposed to use the giant cookie squares but that really wouldn't have made much difference since I only eat raisins in trail mix. But the biggie I missed was that I should have melted the caramel and drizzled it over the cooked cookie bar.

Still, I came home with an empty dish and everyone delighted in the snickerdoodle caramel apple something I made...not cake like at all but not really a bar either. (I still cut it in squares but you definitely had to eat it with a fork.)

What you'll need:
2 packs Snickerdoodle break apart cookies
1 can apple pie filling (I used my scissors to cut the apples up into smaller pieces)
1 bag of caramel bits (These are the sole reason I was drawn to this recipe...not gonna lie.)

What you'll do:
Take one package of break apart cookies plus three rows of the other pack and press into the bottom of a 9x13 pan.
Top with the pie filling.
Break apart the remaining cookies and tear into little pieces, scattering them over the pie filling.
Sprinkle with caramel bits.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes or until the cookie is a golden brown and the edges are bubbly.
Allow to cool completely before cutting.

As I said, this was well received but I will probably give the original recipe another shot. You know...actually follow it. Except for the snickerdoodle cookie part. Because frankly, snickerdoodle is much more fun to say that oatmeal raisin.

cookie bar, snickerdoodle, caramel apple

His Love Endures Forever

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who spread out the earth above the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever; the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever; the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever; Psalm 136:1-9

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

It Was A Party Y'all

Psalm 30 figured prominently in Lisa and Dave's wedding.

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
Psalm 30:11-12

It's a beautiful testimony of God's faithfulness to grant life where death once restore and put back together that which had been broken.

And for the newly wedded couple and their friends it was literal. These people danced! And the smiles and laughter spoke of garments of praise and gladness.

They had a fantastic dj who really knew how to get the people on the dance floor. A friend out did herself in preparing the food and of course the decorations were just beautiful.

It was a celebration to remember!

I absolutely adore this photo of Lisa's happy!

Such a beautiful couple.

DJ extraordinaire on the floor.

Yee haw!

Dancing, laughing, celebrating the good gifts of our heavenly Father...what a gorgeous night!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Test Kitchen #74 ~ Amazing Coconut Pie

I don't know about you but I rarely get a recipe from the back of a package with the possible exception of maybe cookies.

If I am buying Bisquick it's usually because I have already found a recipe that calls for it. Same with chocolate chips, and coconut, etc.

But then a few weeks ago I was with a delightful group of pastor's wives and one of them mentioned the recipe on the back of the Baker's Angel Flake Sweetened Coconut. She said it was super easy and really delicious and she was right on both counts.

Or at least I am assuming she was since I have made it twice now and have yet to even get a bite!

Amazing Coconut mix everything together in a blender and pour it into a pie shell. A lovely creamy almost custardy pie is the result.

What you'll need:
2 cups milk

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup all purpose baking mix (I used Bisquick)
4 eggs 
4 TBS butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla 
1 1/3 cup coconut

dessert, pie, coconut

What you'll do:
Add everything into the blender except for the coconut and blend for three minutes.
Pour into a greased pie plate.
Sprinkle with coconut.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes until the center of the pie is set and the top is golden brown.

Can be served warm right out of the oven or let it cool first.

dessert, pie, coconut

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Friends Make Things Better

Cinnamon Reed, Pensacola Real Estate Agent Keller Williams

I was so excited when I had the opportunity to do some head shots recently for a friend of mine. First, because she is a friend and I just love her to pieces. Second, because it was a type of work I had never done before and it sounded interesting.

Social media is a live thing and static old school studio head shots just seem dated and out of place.  We bounced around ideas of what we wanted to accomplish with her session and decided that professional but more personable was the way to go. I think we more than met our goal!

It has been said that if you love what you do and do what you love you will never work a day in your life.

I think of this every time I think of Cinnamon and her work with us buying our house back in August.

Cinnamon Reed, Pensacola Real Estate Agent Keller Williams

The details! And Lawd have mercy, the paperwork! It was never ending...or so it seemed.

Cinnamon Reed, real estate agent, Keller Williams, Pensacola

But Cinnamon was never flustered by the relentless requests for more information.  She was eager and ready to search out answers to any questions we had if she didn't already know the answer. More than that, she delighted in doing it.

The greatest part of working with Cinnamon was how genuinely happy she was for us, and how much she enjoyed helping us with the purchase of our home.

Cinnamon Reed, Pensacola Real Estate Agent Keller Williams

We couldn't have asked for anyone better to walk us through the process of buying a home. She made a tedious task enjoyable and less overwhelming than it might otherwise have been.

Keller Williams is blessed to have her on staff and we're blessed to call her friend.