Saturday, April 29, 2017

MTS Photography

Recently one of my blog readers reached out to me, and we began to communicate back and forth. She felt that my photography needed a better outlet than just my blog, and offered to help me to do that.  I was reluctant at first, as it seemed a bit of a huge project for me to delve into. However, Dianne continued to encourage me to do this, and before long, the two of us began to collaborate together, and I want to show you today the efforts of our work.

Dianne is a dear lady who loves the Lord and seeks to share messages from her heart with her readers by doing video shows.  She is very talented and is able to put together videos with a deep message.  She also has great skill and talent in creating websites and working on anything digitally.  I found her help to be invaluable as we worked together to create a website where my pictures could be shared all in one place.  

Without further ado, I hope you will stop by this new little place on the web that we have created:  

I will be adding pictures to this website as I can, so it will constantly be changing and updating.  What you see today may be different from what you see tomorrow :)  

If you would like to see a sampling of Dianne's work, here is a video that she made for me using pictures I have taken, using video taken of my daughter playing the piano: 

You can also see this video on my MTS Photography website under the "videos" tab. 

I want to thank Dianne so very much for her amazing efforts and work to make this website happen. Her help was invaluable and she was full of inspiration and ideas!  Dianne offers video services as a way to supplement her income, so do go by and check out her websites here: 

Diane offers her services to arrange your photos and film into video shows of vacations, family reunions, weddings etc., to be shared with others.  I invite you to visit her sites today, I'm sure you'll be blessed by any interaction with her, as I have been!

I hope you are having a lovely Saturday!  Today the sun has come out to shine here - it has been downpouring here all week.  Spring is coming, slowly and surely, but we are definitely having a very wet spring which is slowing down the spring blooms significantly.  However, we are supposed to reach temps this week up into the 70s, and I hope to come back soon with pictures of my tulips blooming :) Have a blessed weekend! 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Texas Visit and Homecoming Surprises

Easter this year was very special for my family.  My grandmother who is 87 years old, and legally blind due to macular degeneration, traveled with my Aunt R to be with our family in Texas over Easter.  

When I heard she was coming, I knew I needed to go, but wondered how it could happen. As my husband and I talked it over, our son and daughter told me that they were willing to take over all the chores around the place that needed to be done so I could go.  They were not able to go because of school and work, but they wanted me to be with my family for this special occasion. I appreciated both of them doing this so much, as they work and go to college, and to add any extra to the load was a lot on them, but they were willing to do it so my family could all be together for my Gram's visit.  

My dear sweet grandmother with a pensive expression 
as she tries her best to see what is happening around her. She can see shadows and movement,
but otherwise the world around her is a dark place.  With all the love and laughter, good food, hugs and joy with all our family gathered together, our time was simply wonderful, and I know she was glad she came, as was I!  I appreciated my Aunt R coming with her, and making the trip possible.  What a blessed time we had!  

I also got to see my precious mother-in-law who had been admitted back into ICU for the sixth time in a little over two months.  First it had been sepsis, and since the sepsis episode, her blood sugars have not normalized.  While I was there, we spoke to the doctors and case managers, and finally some arrangements came about for her to be transferred to an acute care facility for longer term management of her diabetes to help her sugars stabilize and hopefully return to a sense of normalcy after the acute episode of sepsis.  We had a wonderful time with her, and we are so thankful for the Lord's help and care for her during this difficult time, and appreciate all the many prayers prayed on her behalf! 


I have picked some of my favorite pictures from my trip and will share them with you below: 

Roses abloom in my parents yard. 

A sweet niece and nephew feeding the fish at my brother's pond. 

My brother's pond at dusk, as a storm was settling in for the night. 

Gorgeous roses abloom, oh how they make my heart sing!  

I made all of my family members a bookmark with their initials on it 
to use in their bibles or a book. There were 28 of them!

A trifle dish filled with a Mississippi Mud Cake made by my sister.  Yum! 

My sister-in-law makes the best asparagus!

 A heaped-up plate full of food, an amazing meal 
as we celebrated Easter and the risen Savior together. 

One of the wild cats that comes to my parents' house to be fed.  
She watched me carefully, not sure what my camera meant to her. 

Honeysuckle in bloom... 
not many blooms left thanks to all the rain, 
but I found these two hanging on! 

My parents' hummingbird feeders were nonstop with activity with the hummers feeding. 

This beautiful cardinal was in my parents' yard feeding at dusk. 

Too soon, it was time to return home.  The flight home was bumpy, and when we landed, I saw why... a huge thunderstorm hit just as I got to my car. 

And then...  this rainbow graced the skies as I drove home, what a joyful welcome for me to see!  

Upon returning home, I learned that Miss Riley had missed me very much.  Too much! 
I found a new pair of shoes that I had not even worn yet, destroyed.  
She had also managed to find some fish fertilizer that I feed my plants with 
and dumped it all over the mud room floor.  
Oh the smell was awful!  

Otherwise, our kids had done a great job taking care of everything, and as I checked on my chickens, they are were all well and content.  

It seems Miss Riley was still quite upset with me for being gone, 
and continued to find things of mine to chew on... 
a sweater, another shoe, a scarf... the little rascal!  
It took her a couple of days with me being home to feel secure 
that I wasn't going to leave her again.  
I paid a price for being gone, lol! 

The next day after being home, I found a package waiting for me to open!  My precious friend Debbie who blogs at She Graces Her Home held a giveaway to celebrate her blog anniversary...
and I was the lucky winner! Isn't that the most beautiful box you have ever seen? It is three dimensional, and hard to see in the picture, but the graceful beauty of the peacock is stunning!

Inside the gorgeous box were all these lovely wrapped packages... 

A beautiful card, with a very precious handwritten note from Debbie, oh how I love these notes, they are so special to read, as she is ever an encourager, and shares from her heart! 

Included in the box were so many wonderful things!  I found a hand repair kit with cherry blossom hand cream, cuticle cream, an emery board and brush, and gloves to wear at night after the treatment... oh my!  Just what these gardener hands will need! 

A set of 4 heart-shaped coasters, oh they are lovely!  
Dear Stephanie of The Enchanting Rose  made these... oh they are so pretty! 
I can't wait to have a tea party with them :) 

And this room spray smells simply divine!  I took it out right away to my porch where the fish smell lingered and sprayed away... it certainly helped to curb the bad smell! 

Oh my, she had also included this gorgeous wooden plaque that says "Be Joyful Always".  This is something Debbie shares so often in her blog, to be joyful always, and what a precious and lovely reminder this is!  It is just darling! I have it sitting where I can see it during the day. 

Two gorgeous towels with pink pompoms sewn on the edges, they are just the cutest!  
I have a kombucha jar that sits on my countertop, 
and these will be lovely to drape over my kombucha tea as it brews.   
I save my nicest tea towels for this job, 
because when one cooks with iron skillets, strange things happen to nice linens, lol!  
So these towels will be saved to use with my kombucha :) 

I didn't take a separate picture of the two heart glass jewelry boxes, but oh they are just so dainty and perfect for those special pieces of jewelry that you want to be able to see easily!  She also sent me some hand sanitizer spray made with oils, and it smells divine!  

All together a most lovely and amazing gift! Debbie truly blessed me abundantly with this extravagant gifting in celebration of her blog anniversary, and it came at exactly the right time, just as I had returned home, and needed a moment to sit and just relax 
and enjoy the goodies she sent me.  

THANK YOU my dear Debbie, from the bottom of my heart!  She is such a gracious and kind lady, a precious friend, and if you haven't met her, do drop by her website to say hello... you will be blessed beyond measure by the graciousness, joy and peace she shares there! 


I'm glad to be back home after such a wonderful trip,
 and it has become that busy time of year when spring is here 
and much work outside needs to be done.  

It is time for seeds to be started in the greenhouse, 
and I am busy planning and working in my garden, 
getting ready for the season ahead. 

While out in the yard, I got this rare picture of these two within length of each other, as usually Pepper chases poor Sal off.  Sal just runs, so no fights ever ensue, for which I am thankful. 

 Our mud has dried up, and buds are on the trees... 
tulips haven't bloomed yet, but they are working very hard on it.  

I saw my first hummingbirds here this week, 
and that is one sign that tells me for sure that spring is really here :) 

It was quite an eventful, blessed and busy week, but I'm so thankful for all the precious memories that were made on the trip.  Best of all, our family had a time of prayer together before my grandmother and aunt left, and the presence of the Lord was so sweet in the room.  There were tears on our faces, because one never knows when we will gather together again on earth, but what joy it is to know that with the resurrection of our Lord we can look forward to eternity should we never meet again on earth, to be with Him.  And that hope is what draws us together as a family. 

It is a hope that lives on in our hearts...  as we remember the victory of the cross and what it means to our lives here on earth... indeed the greatest gift of all is knowing that eternal life awaits us, and it is that hope that carries us through all of life's turmoils and difficulties.. because we know that here on earth, as wonderful as life can be... this is not our lasting hope, but our true hope is in HIM and the finished work of Calvary.  

I think of spring as the season of hope, when the earth springs back to life after a long winter's cold, with the joy of new life coming forth, and my heart is thankful for the reminders all around me as I work in my yard and garden, that fleeting and fast as life may be... there is always joy in the season of hope that comes with each new spring.  

Thinking about hope, a favorite verse of mine comes to mind: 

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; 
that ye may know what is the 
hope of his calling
and what the riches of the glory 
of his inheritance in the saints.
Ephesians 1:18 

May the hope of the Lord Jesus 
in the riches of His glory 
be made known unto you 
in exceeding and glorious ways today! 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

10th Tea Cup and Mug Exchange

It's that time. . .

This spring was the 10th Tea Cup & Mug Exchange that Stephanie at Enchanting Rose puts together twice a year.  I have participated for the last couple of years, and it has always brought such blessing and joy into my life.  If you would like to know more about the teacup & mug exchange, please visit Stephanie's website at The Enchanting Rose to learn more about the teacup & mug exchange.  There will be another one this fall, Lord willing.  This year there were over 200 ladies who participated, and that becomes quite a challenge for Stephanie to try to organize this, and each of us who participate in the exchange appreciate all the effort that goes into this, and feel so very thankful her efforts!

When Stephanie emailed me who my teacup exchange partner would be, I was so excited to find out that my  teacup exchange partner was from a town in Texas who my husband's brother was looking at buying property in.  In fact, as the email came in from Stephanie, my husband was on the phone with his brother discussing the property that was in the very town my exchange partner lives in!  My new exchange partner, Doniene blogs at, and is a precious Christian lady who is a very busy woman.  She helps her husband ranch and raise cattle and goats, and also loves to quilt. She and I have emailed back and forth and it has been such a blessing to get to know her better.

For her gift, because she lives on a Texas ranch, I had fun putting together some Texas themed items for her.

I found the cutest teacup at a local antique store, and thought it was quite one of the most unique teacups I had seen.  It also had a matching butter pat dish, but I found that it fit perfectly on top of the teacup, and would make a lovely teabag holder too.

I also included an assortment of other goodies including some handmade items that I made - a potholder, a bookmark, a teacup coaster, a country themed journal and pen, as well as the card.

 I included a few other sweet goodies including chocolate flavored tea, some Werther caramels and Cadbury fingers.

While at the antique store shopping for the tea cup, I came across the lovely square quilted pillow that someone had made, and sent it along in the package to Doniene.  It was such fun to put together this package for Doniene, but even more, a joy to get to know her better, and for a new friendship to take place.

My package arrived and upon opening it, each item was beautifully wrapped, and it was fun taking each little gift out.  First up was the card, with a gorgeous teacup on it.

Each item came wrapped so lovingly in pink tissue tied with sparkly pink ribbon.

A BEAUTIFUL tea themed journal was the first to be opened, and oh my, it is beautiful!  I just loved the beautiful teapot on the front, and one can never have too many journals!

Pure Leaf green tea is a brand of tea I've seen in stores, but never bought for myself.  I couldn't wait to try it out, and as soon as I finished opening everything, I brewed myself a pot of this tea.

Along with the tea and journal there was a lovely floral embroidered handkerchief, a teapot steeper, and a teabag holder.

And of course, chocolate!  I love Ghirardelli chocolate!

The loveliest teacup that Cindy sent to me was not just beautiful, but it was very precious and cherished.

Cindy told me she had been out shopping for a teacup for me, but then decided to send one of her very own grandmother's cherished teacups to me!  Oh, it brought tears to my eyes to know that my new friend, who had not even met me, was willing to part with one of her grandmother's cherished tea cups to send to me!  It was special beyond words, and this beautiful teacup will be lovingly cherished by me too.  

It is a Clarence Bone China set made in England, and it matched perfectly with the tea journal she sent me too!

What a beautiful blessing this teacup exchange has been once again!

I found the perfect spot for my new teacup.  It is a beauty!

My daughter was home on spring break, and we decided to have an impromptu tea party with my new teacup and goodies.  I made some blueberry scones from a recipe that Amy of God's Grace Overflows had shared (and oh my, they were delicious!) and we brewed a pot of the Pure Leaf Green Tea.

I had quilted these little tea cup coasters and they added a touch of beauty to our tea.

It was a lovely afternoon, with the beautiful tea package sent to me, and enjoyed with my daughter. Do visit Cindy who blogs at Considering It All Joy, what a precious lady she is, and I've been blessed by our new friendship.

The loveliest part of this tea exchange is not just the package that arrives in the mail, or the one you send, but it is the sweet friendships that develop because of it, and I am so very thankful for the incredible efforts that Stephanie puts into this tea exchange, to make it such a blessed time for all. Already, I can't wait for the next one!

If you want to read more about the tea exchanges, and to see what other ladies received in their tea/mug exchange, please visit the 10th Tea Cup & Mug Exchange linkup party here, and you will be able to see all the tea loveliness there!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Touches of Spring... and Winter too

Spring moments are here!

Our first family of robins has arrived...

Ducks and geese are back, swimming in the open waters again.

A quiet moment in the frigid waters.

I spotted this blue heron a good ways off... and even with my zoom lens, this is as close as I could get.  And it wasn't long after he spotted my lens, he was off and away, so this one shot had to do!

This is the time of in-between seasons with the cold wind blowing off the snow-capped mountains and yet spring is doing her best to settle in with warm sunshine, blue skies, and the arrival of robins and geese.

It was a cool sunshine-y blustery day, with the clouds sailing effortlessly along the horizon, hurried along by the brisk winds.

So nice to see these lakes, just a few weeks ago that had been ice-covered, now calm and crisp on this breezy spring day.

Nothing green growing in the marshes yet...

One of the first Idaho wildflowers to bloom in early spring, the buttercup has begun to grace the hillsides around us.

Did you know that this beautiful flower is poisonous? I did not either, but on visiting the Idaho website for wildflowers, this is what it said:

Ranunculus glaberrimus) 

History: The Buttercup gets its name because of the resemblance of the shiny petals to a cup of butter. "Ranunculus" is taken from the word "rana" which is the Latin name for frog and is a reference to the aquatic habitat of some of the Butterucps. The species name "glaberrimus" means very smooth. 

Description: This "first sign of spring" has bright, shiny yellow flowers which turn white with age. It has 5 to 8 petals, sometimes more, and numerous stamens and pistils. Stems can have one to several flowers with both entire and divided leaves. It can appear as early as the latter part of March in lower elevations and is flowering in mountain valleys in May. 

Habitat: This spring jewel can be found in several habitats ranging from sagebrush flats to moist mountain meadows. 

Comments: Buttercups as a group are poisonous. One species contains principles so acrid and poisonous that it will cause stomach pain if even a small portion of a leaf is eaten. It can also cause inflammation and blisters if applied to the skin. They can also be poisonous to livestock. The Sagebrush Buttercup, however, is an important spring food of blue grouse.

USDA Buttercup

The fields are beginning to respond to the sunshine and warmer temperatures, and it won't be long now, and the grass will be green!

Riley, Annie and I on our evening walk.  We climbed a steep hillside, and all of us took a moment for a breather at the top.

It felt good to be out hiking without needing boots! Our snow has completely melted, tulips are steadily growing in the garden, and the mud is drying up... why we've even got dust now on the gravel road!  With just a day or two of sunshine and wind, we went from mud to dust! But at this point, I am thankful for no more mud!

This happy package arrived in the mail, and a sweet little girl was hoping there was something in it for her.. and there was!  I won a spring giveaway that Carla from The River had, and in her note to me, she said: "Give that little pup a pat from me"... well, I was only too happy to oblige!

Carla sent me a lovely package of goodies, so very sweet of her!  And Riley got that extra pat, with great gratitude :) Thanks Carla for the happy mail!


I've been spending a lot of time out in my yard and garden getting things back into shape after a long winter.  Lots and lots of raking taking place!  Oh, those pine needles, lol!

I put up this bluebird box last week in our yard close to the bird feeders.  I have seen some activity around it, but I'm not sure if a bluebird family has made it their home yet, but I'm hoping they will.

This morning after nearly a month without snow, it began to snow again.  So far the snow has accumulated about an inch on the ground.  No doubt it will melt quickly once it gets finished snowing.  It is pretty watching it come down!

I went into the garden this morning, and got this picture of little Riley watching from the outside looking in.  No animals of any kind are allowed in my garden right now, and she doesn't think that is fair... doesn't she have the cutest pouting face!

My tulips are growing quickly, and I anticipate the blooms, hopefully within a couple of weeks or so.  I planted these last fall.  I ordered them from Breck's which is an American company which ships the tulips from Holland.  I am eagerly anticipating their blooms to see the rich colors promised in the catalog!

It is nice to watch the snow come down, knowing that it will melt shortly!

Back inside, Riley was thrilled to find a cozy spot curled up with Mister Simba... for the first time ever!  Mister Simba has been slowly warming up to Riley's ambitious gestures of love, and today I saw a break in the clouds... Mister Simba allowed Riley to curl up beside him, and they both were sound asleep at my feet as I typed this blog post.  A milestone made today, lol!

I will be traveling to Texas later this week to spend Easter with both my family and my husband's family.  My 87-year-old grandmother and one of my aunts accompanying her will be flying tomorrow from New Brunswick to spend the Easter weekend with all of us.  I will join them on Thursday.  I ask for your prayers for safe travels for all of us, and that the Lord will bless our time together.  My husband's mother has been very, very ill, and has been in either ICU or the hospital for the last two months, so I am looking forward very much to seeing her too.  It will be a very busy, hectic time, seeing lots of family, and lots of traveling too.  I am looking forward to seeing the Texas bluebonnets too... this is the best time of year to visit Texas, in my opinion :)

If I don't get to post again until after Easter, I wish all of  you a blessed and very special time of celebrating and remembering what our Lord did for us at Calvary!