Donuts, Dog, and sweatpants

This past December my daughters bought me the cutest sweatshirt for a birthday gift. It has quickly become my go to sweatshirt. You know what I am talking about? That perfect piece of clothing with the soft lining and a little oversized for maximum comfort. The one you wear so much, that you eventually get holes in or completely wear it out. Yes, that is the one it has become my absolute favorite!! I reach for it anytime I am home and want to be comfortable. Hey, I reach for even when I’m going out too and just want to be comfortable. If you see me, well you will probably see me wearing this at some time. The front of the sweatshirt has writing that simply says: Donuts, Dogs, and Sweatpants. When I first opened the gift and saw this on the front, I actually had to giggle. Why? Because my girls know me so well!! Yes, one can definelty say that donuts, dogs, and sweatpants are three of my absolute favorite things in the whole world, besides my beautiful family of course. As I was folding the sweatshirt the other day after being washed and I read the saying that is on the front. It got me thinking about all the things that not only bring me comfort, but about what brings comfort to others as well. What is it that brings you comfort? Yes, I love my yummy glazed donuts, laying on the couch and snuggling with my dog, and a comfy sweatshirt and sweatpants. All of these things are tangible. However, my true comfort comes from God. He is the one that brings me the most comfort when I need it the most.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8-9.

A donut is truly delicious. One of the best things about donuts, is the countless options you have to choose from. Original, chocolate, glazed, and some even with delicious filling. Unfortunately, I am from a very small town so we do not have a place here to buy fresh donuts. Well, now that I think about it, maybe that is a good thing. It is no secret to my family when we go out of town and there is a Krispy Kreme, that I will be there to buy some delicious donuts. In fact, when we see that infamous red sign on, we stop traffic and do whatever we have to do to get there as fast as possible. No joke, we are crazy over donuts. They are just so delicious and truly are at the top of my comfort foods. What is your comfort food? Do you take extra measures to just get one bite of something that you love? What if we were to run to God like we do when that red sign is on a Krispy Kreme? When we have a craving for a taste of comfort, we can also run to him. God will feed our souls with his word. Whatever may be going in our lives, God is there. He will always be there to provide the peace and comfort our hearts desire. God is our comfort when our soul needs to be fed.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. Johns 6:35.

Just like that cozy loungewear and delicious donut, I also find comfort in spending time with my family and my dogs. As I am sure it is true for most of us, my family is my entire world. The reason I live and breathe. It is no secret they are my true joy and peace. My dogs, who we treat like they are our family, also play an integral part in allowing me to feel joy, peace, and solace. In fact, there has been research done that dogs can reduce anxiety and bring comfort to those in need. It is not uncommon to see dogs used for therapeutic purposes in this day and age. Emotional support animals, dogs who aid in the care of disabled individuals, and even dogs brought into medical facilities and schools to help improve the individuals there are all ways we see dogs helping people cope. There has been many days that I really felt like I needed a friend, and my dogs have been there and helped me get out of a not so healthy headspace. God can also help you when a shift of focus. It is so important to remember God is our friend. A loyal friend that will never leave us and will always be there to be the light on a day that may seem dark. Feel his embrace and hear his words when you need comfort. Find peace in just sitting and talking to him like you would a friend. His love is constant and never changes.

Praise be to the God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort this in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4.

I love having things in my life that bring me comfort. I will admit I cannot live without my comfy clothes, favorite foods, and my sweet little doggies. However, there is no comfort like that of God. He touches my heart, feeds my soul, and wraps me in such a safe embrace that there is nothing in the world that can bring me peace like him. He is everything that I need. I encourage everyone that needs to find comfort and peace to run to him. Lay everything at his feet, and get comfortable because he will always take care of you.

I pray each of you are finding comfort today and are filled with many blessings.

Love and hugs,

Jennifer

Live in Love

Do everything in love. Corinthians 16:14

Recently my family and I took our two oldest daughter’s jeeps and spent the day exploring a jeep trail called Shepherd Trail here in Kentucky. Our youngest daughter, Abby, was at a friend’s house that day so we were missing her, but we had such a wonderful day together on our jeep adventure. My family has always loved to look for new adventures to take and fun things to do together . I am proud to say that we do make an effort to do things often as a family. I believe one of the greatest gifts you can give to your children is your time. I feel so very blessed also, that they want to spend time with my husband and myself.

The trail is a 38 mile narrow road that winds through the mountain and has several overlooks where you can stand and enjoy the scenery. With the fresh air of the jeeps the trail was just incredible. It felt like we were riding through an enchanted forest. The wind in our hair and the music playing in the background as we made our way down the narrow trail was something we all needed, just to feel free.

I loved looking back and seeing my girls, and our fur-babies, taking in the view with huge smiles on their faces. To me, that is a beautiful sight. There is nothing better than seeing your kids smile. I also found myself thinking how lucky I was to live in such a beautiful place. Y’all, if you have never been to Kentucky, you must come for a visit soon. I believe we live in one of the prettiest places on earth. I am proud to be from the mountains here. I am so very grateful to say it is my home.

The views from the overlook areas were beyond breathtaking. It really felt like you were looking at a picture. As I looked out at the view, I again, was so grateful that God has blessed me to live in such a beautiful place with picture perfect scenery painted all around me by his hand. As I was enjoying the wind in my hair, the freedom of riding, and the gorgeous scenery I can say that I did not have a worry in the world. The anxiety from all the stressors going on in the world right now had left me for those moments. I was free to watch the joy in my children’s faces, to be thankful, and feel blessed. I cherished every moment I was free to just live in a moment of peace, blessings, and love. It truly was a wonderful time.

On our way home and for the days that have followed our little jeep adventure I did some thinking. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could live everyday like I did that day. What if we could just live everyday with joy and love. To feel free and blessed and take in the air, the scenery, and truly just be thankful for what is all around you. To feel the wind in your hair that makes you forget about your worries. What a world that would be.

Our world lately has been one that I no longer recognize. It has become a world that I am scared for my kids to grow up and live in. A world that I will pray that will rise above all that is going on and become a world of love, peace, and kindness. I hope one day soon each and every person will be able to feel that wind and feel free of the terrible things that are happening now. I want everyone to not only to have that freedom, but to live a life that is filled with love.

Elle, Emma, and Taylor(missing Abby that day)

Between Covid-19 and now the unrest in the country it is hard to think that we will ever be able to live a life full of peace and love. The divide in our world, and our country is a strong one. There is a lot of fear, bitterness, loneliness, and unkindness that is looming in today’s society. It doesn’t feel like the same world I grew up in. It is hard for me to understand how people can hurt others so much. I have always taught my kids to be kind to everyone and that all people are equal and we all have the same father, our God. I have tried to teach them the importance of being a good daughter, sister, friend, and neighbor. I am proud of them to because they all seem to have servant hearts as well. They are always looking for ways to help others. The most important thing I have tried to teach them is that LOVE never fails, never. If we choose to live a life of love and loving on others, we will not fail. Will there still be problems? Of course, that is part of life. However, choosing love and kindness is always the best option. We must treat others the way we would want to be treated. So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12.

Peace and love may not be in the minds of most people these days. I also know there are many leaders and others out there that are struggling to find a way just to make things some what normal again (If it can be). One thing I know is that the one person that can make each person and this world whole, that is our great God. I believe with him we can all be healed, and with him this world can be healed. God is perfect love. It is his love that will make people feel the way I did that day in the jeep. His love will make you feel like your hair is blowing in the wind and feeling a rush of fresh air. His love will make you feel joy and thankfulness. His love will show you the way to treat others. His love will fill your life with peace and contentment. And all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:14. Our God can bring unity, peace, and love to everyone. I encourage each of you to put your hope and trust in him. To live a life like God intended for us. To live a life in love.

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13.

I pray that I can be a reflection of love to each of you. I pray you are safe and healthy and covered in many blessings today.

Love and hugs,

Jennifer

Cute DIY Ideas for Summer

I have a confession. It is going to be shocking to some, and I may even lose a few friends over this one, but I must get it off my chest. I do not like Summer, I mean I really do not like it. I get it, most people think I am crazy because of my deep-rooted aversion to summer. However, I just don’t like it. Let me explain myself before everyone gets to mad at me. The number one reason is because, I really dislike critters. By critters I mean, bugs, snakes, and all the creepy-crawlies. I have a deep rooted fear of all the above. You will be able to tell if you get to close to me outside in the summer. You may hear a lot screaming on my part if one gets to close to me. I am terrified!! So with Summer, that means more critters, YUCK!!

Another thing I really dislike about Summer, the HEAT!! Yes, again I know most people think that I am crazy on this one as well. However, I hate the heat and humidity. Especially now as a middle aged woman, the heat for me anymore is just unbearable. I hate it. Although, don’t get me wrong I still love going to the beach, listening to the ocean, and having sand between my toes. At the beach, there is a nice breeze to keep the heat more tolerable. I’m talking about the heat and humidity that is so extreme you start sweating the second you step outside. That heat. No fun for me. I prefer Fall, with the warmer days in the seventies and the cool evenings . That is much more my speed.

So as God intended, the seasons all come and go, and here we are again facing another Summer, and even though it is definitely my most disliked season, I still look for ways to make the best out of it. I have a Southern home with large porches and I am always looking for cute ways to decorate them every year. If I have to be outside in the heat and humidity then I need to at least have a cute place in the shade to sit. Every summer I like to go out and and buy fresh new flowers and plants to put on my porches. One of the things that is a plus about the season is that we are able to have such pretty things outside that helps bring some character to our homes, and it does feel like it brings our plain homes to life with all the lovely additions. I also like to look for other things that I can bring in along with my flowers to make my porches feel cozy and welcoming.

Due to the current state of the economy and the limited choices for shopping this year, I had to make the decision to shop on a pretty tight budget when I was looking for things to spruce up our home. So I decided to look into some DIY projects that would not only help pass some time during this quarantine, but that they also would be wonderful additions to our home. So, of course, I head straight to Pinterest. Y’all, let me tell you, I don’t know what I ever did without Pinterest. It is by far one of my most favorite things of all time. I feel like everything I do is linked to Pinterest in some way. Cooking, cleaning, craft ideas, life advice, you name it I use it. It is there where I drew my inspiration for my porch additions this year. I love doing DIY projects and I love saving money, so all around I had so much fun creating these projects.

My first project was so easy and it turned out super cute. The total cost was around 35.00. I drew inspiration for this project from Pinterest. I was able to snag a palette from a local store that had discarded it, and brought it home. Then after that, just painted it with some black spray paint. I really like the farmhouse, rustic look so I decided only to spray paint the palette with one coat of paint because I wanted some of the natural color showing through. Of course, anyone could spray paint it with more than one coat for a richer darker look, or even a different color. This could be anything you wanted it to be. After that I stenciled a little Welcome sign on the top and it was ready for the plants. I wanted to add some color on to the black so I picked up these colorful hanging pots from Amazon. I added in some flowers and there you have it. It turned out so cute and colorful and I just love it. It definitely adds in a sweet touch to our porch.

The next two projects were just as easy and cheaper!! As you may know if you have read my blog, I also love to cook. Therefore, I was looking for a way to grow some fresh herbs without spending money on one of those in home expensive herb gardens or buying pots to sit everywhere. So again, I looked on Pinterest and saw where you could plant herbs using a palette!! So once again I got a free palette spent money on spray paint, mesh backing, decorative signs and the plants themselves, that is it!! My husband added a few pieces of scrap wood underneath to keep the soil from falling, I spray painted the palette, added the soil, planted the seeds, then hung the small chalkboard signs I found on Amazon with small tacks and there you have it a DIY herb garden. As you can tell from the picture, things are growing well, and I look forward to having some fresh herbs to cook with.

The chalkboard sign on the bottom was the cheapest project of all. The only money spent was for chalkboard paint, and the paint color of your choice for the border. Y’all, I like getting by cheap!! The sign is actually an old cabinet door we had laying around. So all you do is paint around the edges, then add in some chalkboard paint in the center, and you have your very own homemade chalkboard sign!! Super cute and easy !! Add a new saying everyday and I am sure you will make your guest feel welcome.

The last DIY project is my absolute favorite!!!! I am absolutely in love with the Porch Swing Bed!! Now, this is the one project I did not build myself. I also tried really hard to get my husband to build it as well, but he was too afraid to give it a try, since (I will put it the nicer way) he is not a handyman. So, I enlisted the help of my mother and uncle, who both are great with DIY and building things and they got started. I found a very simple plan on plankandpillow.com that my family used to build it. Then once they were done I painted it, added in a twin size mattress, sheets, and decorative pillows. My uncle then hung it securely with some rope, and the bed swing was complete and I am in love!! I have wanted one for so long, but the price of the swings online or in the stores kept me from getting one. Now, I have one for just a portion of the price you would pay retail for. I could not be happier with this one. I will admit, I have already taken a couple of naps in this one.

So even though Summer and I do not jive, I have still found a way to bring joy to the season, my family, and my guests. I hope each and every person that visits my home finds it is not only welcoming and cozy, but that will be blessed when they are here. The heat of the Summer may get to all of us, but at least we have a pretty place to cool off and drink some sweet tea.

I hope each of you are covered with many blessings today, and may you find a way to bring light into any season.

Love and hugs,

Jennifer

Making Lemonade

When life hands you lemons, what do you do? You make lemonade!! I am sure everyone has heard this popular quote before. And if we are honest about it, then we all could say that even though we have heard this and even given advice to others to do this, we rarely follow it ourselves. When life throws hard things at you it is very difficult to make negative circumstances into positive. I believe it is just so common during trying times to cave into the negativity. To panic, to cry, to fall into depression, to ask why me? I would bet there are very few people who actually make the lemonade out of those lemons. More of us are probably eating more lemons than drinking lemonade.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12.

Life is tough, and each and every one of us will face many different trials throughout our lifespan. Some of those trials will be mild, and some will be beyond difficult. Either way it is inevitable that all of us will face them. We also will have to decide during those times how we are choosing to deal with them. Yes, we get to choose that. No matter what the situation is, or what life throws at us, we get to choose the reaction we have to them. So I ask you, what do you want to do? Do you want to be the person who lives at the bottom, sulking in the negative circumstances? Or do you want to be the person who rises to the top and makes some delicious lemonade? Guess what? It is up to you.

This past weekend, my family and I decided that we were going to make the best out of some very negative circumstances. Yes, we chose to make lemonade out of some very sour lemons that were given to us. My daughter, Emma, is a senior in high school, and due to the Covid-19 virus her senior prom was cancelled. This broke all of our hearts. Prom, especially your senior prom is a milestone in life. It is one of those events that you will remember for the rest of your life. And for Emma, this memory that would have been was taken away. Yes, Emma was devastated to say the least, and as her mother I took it pretty hard too. My heart broke for what she was missing and because she was hurt as well. Overall, it was just a very sour end to the end of her senior year, along with all the other senior activities she was missing.

My husband and I have talked numerous nights and prayed about the best ways to try and make things as normal as possible for our kids during this pandemic. So we came up with an idea. If Emma could not go to prom, then our family was going to bring the prom to her. Yes, we were going to have our very own family prom!! And so we did. We tried to make it as fun for Emma as possible. We all dressed up in our formal attire. We took the standard “prom pictures”. We fixed some pretty delicious finger foods. Had some music and dancing and even played some games after to mimic the Project Prom that usually follows the formal dance at school. Overall, I believe it was a great memorable night. I will also say Emma had the best, most handsome prom date this year, her daddy.

What a great night we had as a family. Not only will Emma be able to look back at this night and have a senior prom to remember, but as a family we all made memories that night that will live forever in our hearts. Something positive that came out of very negative circumstances. So you see, even in the dark, scary days we can always find a way to turn the tide and bring a little positivity in. I think as a family, we not only had a fun memorable night, but we also achieved a lot of growth as well. No, this was not the “ideal” prom night Emma had envisioned for her senior year, but she saw that sometimes we just have to take what is given to us and make the best out of a situation. As a family, we are so proud of her. We all grew in watching her make the choice not to let the situation get her down, but to rise above it.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

I am proud of my whole family. We all came together to make sure Emma was able to have a special memory. It absolutely was such a blessing to be a part of. My family decided we were going to make lemonade out of a very sour lemon. We chose to be thankful for what we were given, not sour because of what was taken away. Y’all, how much better would things be if we could apply this to all areas of our lives? Trust me, I am like everyone else, it is very hard for me to know let life knock me down. However, after being blessed with this experience and seeing my family come together during a very hard time, I now can see that the best thing to do is just to turn the negative into a positive. I can tell you there is nothing better than to make and enjoy some of your very own lemonade.

I pray each and every one of you are safe, healthy, and covered in many blessings today. Please enjoy some of our prom pictures.

Love and hugs,

Jennifer