Lately…

I’ve been keeping busy by sewing cushions for momma’s blue guest room, writing escort cards on silk leaves, arranging flowers, teaching an early-morning Bible study, attending a wedding, chatting with girlfriends, doodling chalkboard signs for my Bible teacher’s parents’ 80th birthday celebration, organizing/hosting a bridal shower, visiting with life-long friends, sewing a desk skirt (small space storage for free from a drop cloth), nestling found ginkgo branches in a demijohn, and serving up so much hot chocolate.
So thankful for every bit of busy blessing. Feeling the close and comforting hand of The Lord through it all. IMG_5609-0.JPG

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Pumpkin Painting

I confess, I’m a party pooper. I’m simply not a Halloween-lover! You can have all the spooky/scary you want, just leave me the cozy fall touches.
As an alternative to making a Jack-O-Lantern, I thought I’d paint a pumpkin.
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The inspiration was the splendor of creation during this glorious season. 🙂 Acorns, oak leaves, ginkgo leaves and more.
How are you preparing for this Halloween/Harvest?

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Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭9‬:‭37-38‬ ESV)

Sweet Friendship

The last week of Fall Break has flown by. I’ve been able to spend time with sweet girlfriends nearly every day and it’s been soooo refreshing!

Wednesday was these two, with a comfort-food lunch of tomato basil soup, Colby Jack grilled cheese, and some pumpkin muffins with cream cheese frosting.

IMG_4978.JPGWe washed it all down with spiced apple cider.

IMG_4979.JPGI confess, I bought the cider from the store, but I love to “doctor” it up by simmering it on the stove with orange zest, a dash of cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg, and PLENTY of cloves. Adding a little cinnamon stick and a slice of orange has become my habit.

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My two best girls snuggles up reading the Word. Well, one is snoring. This girl was fresh off the plane from NYC and was headed to Florida next!
IMG_5105 This bride-to-be delighted me with the news that I’d be in her wedding. IMG_5058 Celebrating a sweet friend’s wedding. IMG_5054 These roomies are just the cutest. Birthday girl on the right.

IMG_5056Friends of a close friend. I really adore them and their fascinating careers and lives. ❤

A Little Pruning

IMG_4927.PNGThis is one of my lovely Southern Maidenhair ferns. Huge and full, I loved watching it thrive.

IMG_4924.JPGThis is my Southern Maidenhair fern this afternoon. Scraggly. Bare. Cut down.

As I, with surgical precision, cut away fronds and watched them fall to the tabletop below, I thought of how the Lord cares for me, tending to my heart like the most watchful gardener tending to a prized rose…

IMG_4926.JPG…Carefully removing the parts that are dingy and damaged.Even if it’s a little painful. Even if I don’t want to see it. He loves me too dearly to leave me alone, blind to my sin and unrepentant.

Because, though on the day of my salvation, I stood fully cleansed by Christ’s blood, He’s still not finished with me yet.

IMG_4925.JPGHe’s making way for abundant newness everyday.

I look at the new life springing forth.

He is doing a new thing. Do you not perceive it? He is making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

He is making those dry dusty places, our wagon tracks, overflow with abundance.

He is removing my heart of stone and replacing it with a heart of flesh.

I pray you too know that He didn’t stop at salvation, though that was a gift beyond measure.

No, friend, He continues to shape those who love Him. We need not walk the earth alone and wait for our time in heaven. He has good things for us now.

If we’ll only remain clay in His hands. If we’ll only come eager, like the children who gather around my feet at school each day.

If we’ll endure a little pruning, friend, He’ll shape our hearts in ways we couldn’t imagine.

Thumbprint Tree

My precious childhood friend is getting married.

She’s a talented dancer and singer, and she blessed me by singing “Great is Thy Faithfulness” at our wedding. I’ll never forget anxiously waiting to enter the chapel, hearing that sweet voice, and forgetting my nerves as my heart agreed, “Yes! Great IS Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!”

I got to return the favor. No, no. Not by singing. The guests might evacuate the building if I did that.

I got to draw her a Thumbprint Tree just like ours.

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In place of a guest book, we asked guests to stamp their thumbprints on the tree. We also asked people to sign and/or mark favorite scriptures in our first Stewart Family Bible. Rather than a guest book stored for years, we get to enjoy both each day. Both are sweet reminders of the community we’ve enjoyed!

IMG_4822.JPGMy friend’s looks a lot like ours, but they’ve chosen to use fall-colored ink pads for the foliage. Won’t that be sweet?

IMG_4825.JPGThat crosshatching is tedious but rather therapeutic once you’re in the “groove.”

IMG_4823.JPGMy favorite part is this personal touch. The bride wanted the Irish Claddagh symbol incorporated. Traditionally, this symbol is worn as a ring by eligible young women with the heart facing outward toward passersby. When she’s not available, she turns it around to show that her heart is taken. Isn’t that the sweetest symbolism? I can tell you her heart is definitely taken by her groom. 🙂

I’ve thought it would be an enjoyable side business to draw and sell these to order. It’ll depend on how bold I’m feeling.

So looking forward to the nuptials of these two. And praying over this exciting season of life!

Classroom Updates

I continue to strive to make my classroom an inviting place for little ones who enter. I pray that each time they enter, they feel at ease. And you know what, it really helps set the tone for my day, too! 🙂

A co-teacher and I recently picked up new lamps for my living room, so I was left with an extra pair at home.

Just before giving them away, I realized they could make my Math room feel a little more cozy.

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I’m also excited to say that with over a year of re-organizing and re-working the space, I’ve reduced the clutter in the room from 4 HUGE filing cabinets down to one. What a relief to gain some space back!

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A parent owns a little art studio and let me pick one out. I had to grab the robin’s nest picture.

I have enjoyed styling the top of the shelf. It’s so easy to use “kid lit” as decor because there are illustrations to match any scheme.

Below are a zillion manipulatives for easy access for the kids. I love the blue plastic shoebox containers. 🙂 An easy pop of color that’s super functional.

Usually there are files and transparencies or stray coffee mugs on the top, so I realized I’d better take a picture to make it last longer 😉

This year, I also scored some clearance fabric from Walmart and sewed some simple curtains. I didn’t bother to line them, but sewed a little fabric ribbon and some buttons on for a little kid-friendly pop.

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Looking back, I wish I’d taken the time to line them but there’s no going back now. 🙂

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I picked up this fun organizer from IKEA in MN and have enjoyed using it at the writing center to hold pencils and crayons while leaving the surface free for a Clorox wipe whenever I feel the need to sanitize (only about 50 times a day).

There’s a finite number of sneezes and coughs I can tolerate before I have to halt all activity and pass out the wipes. 😉