A good photograph can be found anywhere. And anything makes a worthy subject. When we take the time to look for light and angles, when we play with composition and framing, even the most boring and plain objects reveal beauty and inspire thankfulness. We just have to train our eye to see it. So wherever you are in your photography journey...keep taking pictures. You may feel ridiculous at first but it'll be worth it.

Sweet Shot Tuesday

When I originally started this weekly feature I thought I'd be using recipes just from Pinterest but lately it seems I've kind of dropped the pinterest part. I've been sharing recipes that have been in my family for a while, or shared by a friend, and even like last week the occasional I have no idea where it came from how-to.

Such is life, I guess. But I do intend to keep up my pinterest sharing stuff because there is some seriously good stuff out there. Of course I say that knowing that today's recipe falls into the I don't know camp. I can't even remember where I found it and have no idea what the original recipe is. It's one of those simple do it a few times and you know it by heart kind of things.  I tried to look for it but came across nothing that resembles the avocado salad we make.

Regardless of it origins this is one creamy and flavorful side salad. The avocado combines with the sour cream to make a delicious rich taste. It even has bacon so of course it's a double thumbs up in our house.

What you'll need:
6 to 8 strips of bacon cooked and crumbled (we cheat and cut up the bacon before we cook it)
3 to 4 ripe avocados (more than just about any other food I can think of it is important to have just the ripeness...too hard and the salad is bitter...too soft and you end up with mush so choose wisely. You can go here and read about the way to find a perfect avocado)
green onions chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup sour cream
smidge of lemon juice to keep the salad from turning
salt to taste

What you'll do:
Peel and cut avocado into pieces.
Combine all ingredients except lemon juice into a bowl and gently mix together.
Fold in lemon juice and season to taste

We've gotten pretty bad about just eating this as a side on our plate but it looks really pretty nestled on a bed of red leaf lettuce. It is rich a little goes a long way although don't be surprised if you go back for seconds!

Linking up with Sweet Sharing Monday, Marvelous Mondays, Melt in Your Mouth Mondays, and least you think people only cook on Monday's you can check out Try a New Recipe Tuesday.

One minute she's volunteering to wash dishes; the next arguing with her little sister over who is sitting up front and who gets exiled to the back seat.

The best of friends this morning and the worst of enemies tonight.

There's laughter and squabbles, acts of grace and crimes of selfishness.

Joyful obedience and sullen compliance.

Tender hearts and edgy pride.

Parenting, my friends, is not for the fainthearted. But we know that if we love our children, then for their sake we must be diligent in our parenting. (Which, if I'm being honest, can be exhausting and my stamina is sometimes not up to the task but usually because I maybe just might be exhibiting some of the above descriptions in my own heart...but that is a post for another day I think.)

I have long loved Hebrews 12:11 and taken much encouragement from it in relation to parenting,

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.  

The peaceful fruit of righteousness...what more could we want?

Recently I heard the dots of discipline and joy connected in a rather simple but thought provoking way. A father explains to his toddler that he is spanking her so that she will be happy. What? Spanking = happiness? Obviously, on the surface that doesn't really connect but it makes perfect sense if viewed through the lens of Scripture. Disobedience brings painful discipline that will produce happiness. (Please don't flood the comments section on a debate about corporal punishment...discipline does and should take many different forms. Swatting backsides in a loving manner to correct behavior is just an example of one method.)

My point is that from the very beginning we should be training our children to connect disobedience with consequences and discipline with joy and happiness. Why? Because good things come from obedience. In Leviticus 26 God says that He will walk with the one who is obedient. In the first chapter of Proverbs we're told that there is safety in obedience and in Psalm one that the obedient will flourish.

The world will offer many claims as to what brings happiness but our children should be taught from as early as they can possibly understand that true happiness is only found in Christ.

My six year old sums it up this way:

Linking up with the Proverbs 31 Sanctuary.

Remember my post about the lady whose family went to Haiti? Well she has a lovely new blog and a weekly feature that is pretty awesome. It's called Tell His Story and after she shares a chapter from her story that He is telling she invites us to share a chapter of our own.

Beautiful hearts...beautiful words...grab a cup of tea or coffee and take a moment. Read how the story...His story is being written across the lives of other believers...and be blessed.

You can find an earlier post that I shared at Tell His Story here.

Hello, my name is Marty and I like to cook with butter.

There I said it. In a world obsessed with olive oil, coconut oil, and all natural good for you oils, I am declaring my love for real butter. Not like Paula Deen just eat the stick of butter like it's a candy bar kind of love but I do like my butter.

It sort of makes this simple recipe as far as I am concerned. And by simple, I mean s.i.m.p.l.e. but such great flavor! I like to pair it best with pork.

What you'll need:
about 4 to 6 good sized sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1/2 to 3/4 a stick of real butter (depending on the number of potatoes you use)
Italian seasoning

What you'll do:
Melt your butter in a 9x13 baking dish
Stir your seasoning into the melted butter
Add your sliced sweet potatoes making sure to coat them well with the seasoned butter
Bake at 350 degrees until potatoes can be pierced with a fork easily (about 30 to 45 minutes)
Serve as a side to your favorite chicken or pork dish and enjoy!

Linking up with This Gal Cooks, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, and Monday Funday. And now with Try a New Recipe Tuesday.

I didn't think it would be this hard to write this post. It's a birthday...a celebration of our second born...but I just can't find the right words to express what it's like having her leave girlhood behind as she becomes a teenager. By His design something magical is beginning to happen to Emily Grace. It hasn't happened over night...it isn't as if she went to bed a twelve year old and woke up suddenly as a thirteen year old who no longer wants to play  pretend with baby dolls. Thankfully, He has considered our hearts in this matter and it has been a gradual change...a gentle letting go of one thing while reaching forward to something else. How precious is this time in her life...I loved every moment of her childhood and I am filled with joyous expectation as she begins this new chapter of the story He has written for her.

She's my farm girl. This child who has always loved sleeping, once spent a summer getting up at 5:30 in the morning so she could go work on a goat farm. She likes goats better than cows, since apparently cows stink. She loves horses too.

Our regular birthday shoot tradition kicks it up a notch when the girls turn thirteen. We want to mark the occasion in a special way so we do some sort of formal session. Emily's day was helped by the generosity of friends, first in the loaning of the gown she wore and second, the sweet friends that let us include their beautiful horse in her pictures. It made her day and the images are extra special to her.

She loves to cook and is always flipping through cookbooks and recipe magazines. She'll cook as often as we'll let her and has already been put in charge of dinner on several occasions.

Of all the children she is the quietest and also the most like Rob in temperament. She even has his sense of humor. Which means she can be super funny at the most unexpected times. She's also sneaky. Once, over the span of several weeks, she was hiding her sister's underwear a pair at a time until finally Sarah was complaining because she could hardly find any. Emily thought this was uproariously funny.

A friend nicknamed her the baby whisperer. She has a knack for getting even the shyest little one off their mother's hip and onto her own. She loves babies. Her mothering streak is strong and so is her cuddle gene.

She's smart. And a wee bit lazy with a strong tendency toward messy. It adds to her charm.

She's not a girly girl but she is feminine and good gracious does she enjoy playing with hair! She always wants to look on pinterest for different ways to braid or curl hair and even enjoys messing with her brother's hair. And let's just say that Sam is not a fan of spiking his hair but that doesn't deter Em from trying to convince him he should.

She's crafty too. She gets that from my mother in law...this ability to try new things and do them well . Sewing, knitting, cooking, etc. She's willing to try it all.

This past year she played on the school volleyball team and really enjoyed it. She likes to ride her bike and wants to start running. She swims like a fish and during the summer we call her our brown girl because she tans so well.

Most importantly, she has a tender heart. She accepts correction and is quick to seek forgiveness. Family and friends are important to her. I am sure that as she continues to mature and grow up that she is going to be an amazing woman whose worth is far above rubies. She is certainly a treasure to us already. 

Happy 13th birthday, sweeter Weeters!

Simple Things, The Weekend Brew, and Scripture and a Snapshot.

Sometimes a picture captures a moment and reflects a story. Or at least a chapter of one...sometimes even just a few sentences.

but some images just cause you to remember...to reflect...to daydream.

these kinds of pictures offer a sense of emotion rather than dialogue...a kind of dance with a forgotten memory

they evoke a story from your thoughts...weaving will-o'-wisp of moments into a kaleidoscope of feeling

Photography isn't always about documenting a special moment...or even the normal everyday ones. It can be about the intangible things that we don't necessarily see with our eyes but it feeds our souls.

Sharing with Thursday Thoughts and joining for the first time with the Almost Friday Thursday Blog Hop.
Also with my regular Friday favorites: Photo Story Friday, 1440, and the No Rules Blog Party.

First of all, did you know the word "twofer" is actually a word? Like a real word in the dictionary and everything? I didn't...I just thought it was something we say and fully expected spell check to show up when I typed the word. And when it didn't I had to look it up just to make sure that it meant what I thought it meant before I posted it here in the blog world.

All of that to say that this week I am posting two images. Technically neither one has perfect composition but I have learned that sometimes the value of an image is not in perfect execution but rather in the moment that it captures.

I look at these pictures and I hear laughter bouncing off the walls...I see the delight of a younger sister when the older sister picks her up and swings her around...I shake my head at the week long chapter in our life's story that had a living room minus furniture.

Pictures don't really tell a story. They merely reflect the stories that we live...and sometimes that happens a little outside the frame.

Sharing with Sweet Shot Tuesday.

It is no secret that my husband in particular and my family in general  loves bacon. We've made chocolate dipped bacon and double chocolate chip and bacon cookies. It's a staple in our house and the saying, "You either love bacon or you're wrong" is kind of a family motto.

So when a friend posted a recipe for bacon muffins I knew I was going to give it a go the first chance I got and the first chance I got was this past Wednesday at our weekly mom's group. Because our son is on a special diet I am used to adapting recipes from "normal" to gluten free. But this time I was adapting a gf recipe to "normal" and I think I had some success. Although I did get more of a biscuit texture than a muffin one and I thought they were a tad dry so I will definitely play around tweaking the recipe because the flavor was good. (Wow, now that's a sentence that makes you want to rush right into the kitchen and try a new recipe isn't it? But hey, I'm just keeping it real...some recipes need a little more work. I could just wait and show you only perfect recipes but where is the adventure in that I ask you? Besides, I've visited some of y'alls blogs and you people can cook so you might have a solution that could help me out. Feel free to speak up if you do :-)

What you'll need:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 TBS baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 TBS sugar
1 TBS bacon drippings
1 cup milk
2 large eggs, well beaten
6 slices of bacon cooked and crumbled into pieces

What you'll do:
Place a lightly greased muffin pan into the oven while it preheats to 400 degrees.*
Mix the first four ingredients together. 

Add the next three ingredients.

Fold in the bacon pieces.
Spoon batter into warm muffin pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
Allow to cool and then slather some butter or strawberry jam on them and enjoy! 

*I just realized that I failed to do this step. Any thoughts as to whether or not that could have been why my first batch was a little dry?

Sharing the bacon goodness with This Gal Cooks, Melt In Your Mouth Monday, and Sweet Sharing Monday. This is also my first time linking up with Monday Funday.

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