2 Timothy 1:9 "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began."
It's been busy in the ol' Mountain Musings' kitchen today...we three girls have been cooking up Marinated Carrots, Cranberry Relish, Apple Pie, Sweet Potato Casserole, and Cranberry Orange Bread...just to name a few delicious dishes that we'll contribute to the meal with friends.
We hope your holiday is filled with good family times and full of thanks for all the blessings the Lord has given us all to enjoy.
Today Pepper turns 13 years old! It hardly seems that long since I first opened the Christmas card telling me that I was getting an English Springer Spaniel puppy. It was so exciting - I had been begging for a dog for so long! Our family had fun brainstorming ideas for names as we drove home after Christmas. Noel, Buttons, Oreo, and Pepper were on the final list. I'm glad Pepper was the winner, aren't you? :)
That winter there was an ice storm that caused many power outages, and the breeder called and wanted us to pick up Pepper early since there was no heat at her house. My puppy was soooo tiny, and she trembled and howled all the way home. Awww. She got used to us fast though.
Look at that picture of my young 12-year-old self! That was our first attempt at playing Frisbee outside - it was almost as big as she was! Nowadays, she prefers fetching rocks when playing outside, but most days she snoozes away on her blanket. Pepper is almost completely deaf now, and she's slowing down since those first puppy days. The vet just said this year, "At this point, consider every year a bonus." *tear*
Last Friday Hannah, Sarah, and I loaded up the van and drove three hours to South Boston, Virginia, for the Holiday Living Show.
With the help of some of the 4-H group, we unloaded and got our tables all set up that evening, and it looked very pretty we thought. The next morning on Saturday we headed to the show arriving around 8:30 a.m., making sure everything was in place before the crowd came in at 9 a.m.
After I sold a basket, I told the folks to go over to Hannah's booth and buy some soap to put in it! Lots of them bought her soap: Our booth was swamped with people through the day, and they seemed to like the baskets. We had fun talking to everybody and met lots of my old friends. It was a busy, busy day, and we were ready to leave by 5:00 p.m. We were tired! The girls packed up all the soaps since they were just doing the Saturday show.
The next day was Sunday, and we went to my church where I've attended 55 years. It was good to meet all my friends at church that I've known for so long. We enjoyed being there.
I finished up the afternoon show, packed up all the baskets that were left, spent the night with my sister-in-law, and we headed home the next morning.
I'd like to thank everyone for buying my baskets and hope they enjoy them. We had a good weekend. If you weren't able to attend the show, you can still buy a basket here on the blog.
Also, thank you to Deb's blogging friend, Lisa at Shady Grove Journal, because she bought four of my baskets and several of Hannah's soaps. You can read her blog about it and see the photos she took after they arrived at her house here.
Recently Heather, over at Post Road Vintage blog (farmhouse decoration plus homemade inspiration!), posted a photo of her mason jar chick feeder filled with chocolate chips and M&Ms. You can view and purchase it here. Neat idea!
And you can see all her Post Road Vintage products for sale here and here.
Heather asked her email newsletter subscribers to send in some creative ideas of how they would use her chick feeder. She's in the midst of her winter photo shoot for her shop and wanted to go with a winter-white theme.
I sent in my idea of filling her blue mason jar with cotton balls. She did an excellent job photographing that idea, don't you think?
Anyway...she picked my idea!!! How fun! You can read about it here. So...one of these unique chick feeders is winging its way this week to Mountain Musings all the way from snowy Lake Linden, Michigan. Thank you, Heather!
I'm planning on filling it with cotton balls and placing it on my bathroom counter as soon as it arrives!
Why not head over to her shop and check out her other Mason jar treasures!
This is the last post in this series, and again it focuses on meeting friends--but this time after the conference was over and as we were on our way back home to Virginia (so I guess officially it's not really about the conference, but in my mind it will always be Part 4 and the last adventure of our trip).
We stopped for the evening in Statesville to have a meal with the Toms family and to tour their farm. Here we are just arriving and getting re-acquainted: Earlier this year our friends stopped by our place to eat with us and told us about their property and small farm beginnings. This was our chance to see their gardens, pigs, chickens, and cows...we are so not cut out to be farmers!Here are the girls posing together outside one of the barns:
Unfortunately, Sarah and I were called in from the farm tour to rush Granny to ER and didn't get to sit down to the meal with them (we hear that it was delicious!):
Thank you to everyone who prayed for Granny and asked about her. Her blood pressure had risen dangerously high, so they admitted her overnight in a strange hospital in a strange city. (After a couple of weeks she's recovered now and was well enough to travel to the craft show this weekend!)
While Sarah and I were racing to the hospital, the rest of the family stayed at the Toms and enjoyed dinner and a musical evening together. Jonathan checked out their dulcimer while Rachel played guitar:
Here's Mrs. Toms recording Jonathan playing some fiddle tunes called Salt Creek and Gold Rush:
Thank you Toms family for being so understanding of the situation and for your great hospitality. We'll have to plan a re-do of the evening with all of us in attendance...except let's not invite ER to the party!
Part 3 ~ Friends Who Invited Us Over At the Conference
As we arrived at the conference center and started checking in the first afternoon, we began to see some familiar faces. The Hynes family spotted us and invited us to come over to their room on campus and have supper that first evening with them.
It's amazing the food you can cook on a griddle or in a crockpot when you're not even in your own kitchen with a fridge! Thank you, Hynes family, for the fellowship and food!
Look who else we ran into during the conference...Erich and his family who traveled from Texas (23 hours of driving, ouch!) to attend:
They invited us over to their rented log cabin a few miles away from the Ridgecrest campus after the conference ended for a Texas chili supper and hot chocolate (Thanks, Austin!) by the fire (thanks, Travis!). Whee-doggies! Now this was an adventure!Thankfully, we didn't see any bears out there in the deep dark woods...only a deer head above the door of the cabin. I think I could live here. I loved the plaque above the fireplace:
The dads, David and Tom, enjoyed catching up with each other's lives:
And the moms enjoyed talking round the kitchen table:
Dessert time for everyone!
Before we knew it, it was time to say good-bye and head back to the conference center for the night. We wanted one last photo with everyone in it. Hard to do without a tripod, but Hannah experimented:
...and somehow we all managed to get in this picture! Thanks, Ehlingers, for a very fun evening!
Next up: NCFIC Gospel Centered Marriages Conference ~ Part 4 ~ Visiting friends on the way home to VA
If the only way you could witness to someone was by singing a song, which song would you pick?
That's the question Jonathan posed to everyone at the supper table on Friday evening. We were gathered round having our family devotions before celebrating Jonathan's 26th birthday later that evening.
Granny immediately answered Jonathan's question with Amazing Grace as her song choice.
Jonathan said he'd pick And Can It Be That I Should Gain (click on Midi link for tune). And since it was his birthday after all...that's the song we selected. After pondering the words, I think it's a good choice for someone to hear of God's amazing love, don't you?
And can it be that I should gain An interest in the Savior’s blood? Died He for me, who caused His pain— For me, who Him to death pursued? Amazing love! How can it be, That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me? Amazing love! How can it be, That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
’Tis mystery all: th’Immortal dies: Who can explore His strange design? In vain the firstborn seraph tries To sound the depths of love divine. ’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore, Let angel minds inquire no more. ’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore; Let angel minds inquire no more.
He left His Father’s throne above So free, so infinite His grace— Emptied Himself of all but love, And bled for Adam’s helpless race: ’Tis mercy all, immense and free, For O my God, it found out me! ’Tis mercy all, immense and free, For O my God, it found out me!
Long my imprisoned spirit lay, Fast bound in sin and nature’s night; Thine eye diffused a quickening ray— I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee. My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
No condemnation now I dread; Jesus, and all in Him, is mine; Alive in Him, my living Head, And clothed in righteousness divine, Bold I approach th’eternal throne, And claim the crown, through Christ my own. Bold I approach th’eternal throne, And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
How would you answer Jonathan's question? Which song would you pick? All answers awarded a piece of Jonathan's birthday Turtle Cake. Hurry...only a few pieces left! :)
Seeing folks I know at conferences we attend and meeting new people are two things I really enjoy...actually, I love it!
The National Center for Family-Integrated Churches conference I wrote about in the previous post was attended by 2,200 people! What a turnout! It was so fun to see many folks we knew from Virginia there, but also we saw many old friends from across the United States.
First, let me tell you about two blogging friends that I met for the first time--in real life! I was so excited!
Here's "Mrs. U" from the blog Making a House a Home. She recognized us all from seeing us on the blog, but we'd never seen a photo of her that I could remember. We met her family and kept running into each other throughout the weekend...and hugging every time we did! (Sorry about the slightly out-of-focus photo.) This was a very fun meeting!Below: here we are visiting after Mrs U introduced us to another family she knew from Canada while we waited for Tom who was standing in the long registration line.Next I met sweet Laura from The Muncks Quiver!! Most of her children stayed home to run their family business, but we did meet her husband, oldest daughter Elizabeth, son, and baby #11 at the conference. Behind us Elizabeth and Sarah are getting acquainted:And here's Tom, Jonathan, and I meeting Mr. Munck and Elizabeth as they arrived to check in:Dear friends we know from the Richmond home fellowship group came over to visit. There's Alli on the left, her mom Julie, Alli's little daughter Esther, and Alli's mother-in-law Dawn.
Here I am with my friend Julie: And here's Jonathan talking with Julie's husband, Tony:
A family who drove all the way from California sat behind us at one of the keynote sessions and introduced themselves afterwards. It was so interesting talking with them and finding out we know friends who have attended their church...Hi, Fracchiollas!...small world! Below: also attending the Petersens' church out in California, Miss Antoinette, over at Practical Simplicity, and Hannah met for the first time; they have been online acquaintances for awhile now. Grace, of the Petersen clan above, also joined the girls:Old friends are always fun! Below are the Girotti and Hayden ladies talking at breakfast. We first met through our blogs many years ago, and we posted about their visit to our home here.Hannah met Tiffany from Kentucky and enjoyed eating and conversing together--we learned that we have mutual friends here in Virginia...Hi, Woods!: And last, but not least, we met a family from Washington State who sat across from us at lunch one day. I had never heard of Gig Harbor, Washington, but found out it's very close to Port Orchard. I visited a friend there years ago, so I could picture exactly where they live. It was fun getting acquainted and exchanging email addresses: I hope you've enjoyed meeting a few of the people we ran into at the conference. And there are more, too!
Next up: NCFIC Gospel Centered Marriages Conference ~ Part 3 ~ Folks Who Invited Us Over