Giveaway #7: Notecards from Joyful Reflections Photography

joyfulreflections

I write a lot about words, books and what’s cooking. But I love good photography too. I love capturing nature and emotions into digital memories, and I love admiring the work of others who have better ability than I do. I have a lot of amazing photographer friends!

Today I want to introduce you to my friend, Samantha of Joyful Reflections Photography. I have loved watching her grow her talent as a photographer over the years, and she has taken some snapshots of nature, particularly of flowers, that I think are beautiful. One of my favorite ways of promoting her photography is through the lovely photo notecards that she sells in her etsy shop. I love this set of the trees in three seasons and I’m really glad that I get to share this beautiful set of them with one of you! 

il_570xN.294921363

NOTE: Shipping outside of the USA probably won’t be significant because these are really lightweight, but do note that you are responsible for the shipping costs and check into them if you enter and want these shipped to you outside of the states.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway #5: $15 to Marie Madeline Studio

marie-madeline-logo

I love marie-madeline studio. From their first few days of life on the internet, I have followed the Long Ladies and fallen in love with their cute patterns, adorable blog and their sweet vivaciousness. I’ve got a thing for pretty fabric, and regularly drool over their selections and the pretty ways they use it to create things.

I am bursting with excitement because the Long Ladies blew me away by generously offering a full $15 gift certificate to marie-madeline studio! This is exactly the sort of thing that I would love to win, and being able to give it away is so much fun!

marie-madeline-snap

Because marie-madeline studio does ship internationally, this giveaway is also open to all! You can call or email them and figure out the cheapest shipping route to your specific country, and they are so helpful and prompt in responding to inquiries!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Long Live Summer—a shutterfly contest

32014_427834155627_401234_nSometimes I can’t believe it is actually summer already. I can’t believe that the newness of spring has slipped into the comfortable, long evenings of mid summer. I think just about everyone that I know, myself included, is either in the middle of summer excitement and company or looking forward to it. Between the craziness, I’m trying to snap a few pictures to remember these days by.

I’m not a photography pro, but  I know some of you are, and when I got an email about Shutterfly’s Long Live Summer Photo Contest on Facebook, I decided it was worth sharing. I really love shutterfly’s products and this time they’re offering a pretty big prize to a photographer who captures the essence of summer in the next five weeks. Here’s the details they sent me:

Long Live SummerFacebook Photo Contest details (US residents only) 7/9 – 8/12

Multi-week summer themed photo sweepstakes with instant win prizes.

Win a trip for four to The Bahamas and a professional photo shoot so you’ll remember your vacation forever. All you need to do is upload your favorite photo and caption based on the theme of the week. Get a gift from Shutterfly just for entering! You can enter at any point during the 5-week sweepstakes period.

PHOTO THEMES

• Week 1(7/9): Americana
• Week 2 (7/16): Great Outdoors
• Week 3 (7/23): Water Fun
• Week 4 (7/30): Sports & Activities
• Week 5 (8/6): Parties & Celebrations

PRIZES

• Instant win prizes just for submitting a photo!
• Weekly prizes (contestants can enter one time/week)
• Weekly featured photos: up to 5 weekly entries will be selected from the gallery and featured on the Facebook fan page.
• Grand prize: trip for 4 to Bahamas, 4 nights, family photo shoot

the official rules

If you want to enter, head over to the shutterfly page and try your hand at a capturing this summer. Good luck!

enjoy the little things

littlethings

 

My life is filled with myriads of little things. They make up my days. They fill up my heart with precious glimpses of beauty and goodness given from my Father’s hand. They make me realize just how much of the good things in this life aren’t dependent on how much money is in the bank or the place that I life. The real happiness comes from making the most of what I have right now, in this moment and cherishing it as a gift. Because that is what they were meant to be, after all. And in this, I realize I am incredibly rich.

+ snuggling up on the couch with my niece to read stories.

+ watching the morning glow on the lake.

+ the way the spider never gives up weaving her webs

+ mist rising from the hills on a perfect morning

+ the scent of honeysuckle filling the air…and my house through the open windows

+ how the garden seems to grow right before my very eyes

+ fresh produce for next to nothing. (we’ve had so many yummy meals as a result!)

+ beautiful, intricately patterned moths and butterflies

+ hearing the birds begin to sing every single morning. It never gets old.

+ learning about the incredible people and wildlife in all corners of this globe. It amazes me.

+ teaching little people patience by learning it myself first

+ feeling the dew on my feet as I run to the garden in the early morning

+ watching a tiny rabbit nibble at grass

+ fresh asparagus

+ inspiring, encouraging friends who make me dare to believe that I can

+ more new books (and how the one I didn’t really want ended up being one of the best)

+ cool, refreshing water.

+ a pretty “new” (to me) shirt. Just what I needed!

+ lots of time to play in a tub of water with Shayla

+ coupons

+ rain so I don’t have to water my garden as often

+ time together after a long week

one spring day

I see skies of blue….

 

s6

 

Pink flowers, too.

 

s1

 

I see them grow, for you and me.

 

s4

 

and I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

 

s5

 

s8

 

s9

 

Our spring day has been glorious. Gardens growing, tubs of water to play in, pink nail polish and pretty clover.

What about yours?

[five minute friday] a gift

springI wake up each morning before the sun peeks above the horizon to the sound of the birds singing. I get up to feel the sunshine pouring down, turning every dew drop into a string of diamonds.

The diamonds fade away in the heat of the day, but the grass is green and the world is alive with colors and flowers.

The birds don’t stop singing. Not until the sun has slipped away and even then they chatter to each other. It is almost like they are saying what my heart feels every morning and every evening: It’s a gift.

 

Life is a gift. Each day and each moment is a gift. Tucked into the ordinary days are treasures, and even in the days that don’t feel beautiful, my God never fails to put a gem or two, a ray or two of sunshine. These are the ways He tells me that even when everything is out of my hands, He still has everything under His control.

These moments and days are His gifts. How could I ever feel poor when He gives such riches in ordinary things?

[five minute friday] empty

1052096_35962411

 

A day of sunshine and good books and cups of tea.

Of plans and thoughts and dreams and of hoping.

A day to listen to bird songs, and to watch bumble bees and butterflies.

To wander the grass and look at new leaves just now bursting forth.

 

A day of just being still.

 

Not a lot of things get crossed off the list.

There is a lot of moments empty of busy and rush.

It isn’t how it was planned out earlier in the week.

But that’s okay.

 

Because some days are made for being empty.

 

a part of five minute friday

sunshine on monday

photobylisaadamsIt is one of those days when my heart is singing for no particular reason, and where everything that I see seems to have a little extra sparkle to it. It is all little bits of sunshine to me, and I’m soaking it all up while I can. I wanted to share a little of it with you today, too.

 

+ The brightest blue of blue birds singing his little heart out before the sun came up and a cardinal to sing as it went down again.

+ A new book in the mail, and a flurry of last minute excitement and preparation for March of Books in a few days! (Seriously, I am so excited about this right now!)

+ Catching a glimpse of a hint of green to the branches of some of the trees and a touch of redbud just about to blossom

+ Daffodils still looking like ever so many drops of sunshine in the wood.

+ Fresh towels and fresh sheets and clean dishes—all put away.

+ Pineapple Muffins.

+ Writing real letters and walking in the sunshine to mail them.

+ Reading books and snuggling under fuzzy blankets with my niece who is growing up so very fast.

+ Turning on the christmas lights on the porch one last time, just because she wanted to see the “pretty tree”.

+ The smell of spring in the air, and the sound of a garden-in-progress. I just wish it was mine!

+ Calls from my sweetheart who is working rather late this week again. Just to say hi. <3

+ Chats with two of my sisters and an email from my far away little sis, over in the Philippines.

+ Ice tea, and a day warm enough to enjoy it.

+ Tiny bare feet next to mine, asking for sparkles on her toes, too.

+ Stars in a dark sky. They always remind me of hope.

+ Homemade chili. It tasted scrumptious!

+ Spring cleaning lists.

+ Settling down into a pile of pillows to read the last few hours of the night away while I wait for Scott to return.

+ This pretty picture taken by a friend. It is breathtakingly beautiful and makes me think of happy days and memories.

Yes, it has definitely been a good day. What are some of your little moments from today?

[five minute fridays] delight

I am a simple, ordinary kind of girl. There are a lot of things in this life that honestly, I don’t really “get”. Sometimes I think I fumble through the motions, trying to not look as awkward as I feel, trying to find my place and where I fit in this world.

I don’t have a lot of big dreams, big plans for the future, or for how I want the rest of my life to play out. Sometimes I wonder if perhaps a part of me has never grown up—a part of me that just wishes that life was as uncomplicated as it was when I use to spend my days hard at work in the little garden I made all by myself, or climbing into my trees to read a book and to watch the birds, or anything except face the politics and confusion of a normal day “out in the working world.”

I don’t know much about how it is going to all play out, or if the dreams I do have will ever be a reality.

All I know is that I want to live this one life that I have in such a way that I don’t miss any of these real  moments. All I know is that when I get to the end of my life, of this year, to the end of today, I want to have taken time, no matter what I am, to truly delight the things that in my simple days He has seen fit to give me.

If these days are easy or hard, LORD, just teach me to not just live, but find delight in your perfect plan for my life.

written for five minute friday

p5rn7vb

a little bit of spring sunshine

 

 

daffy

 

The birds have been singing spring songs for a few weeks now. Our grass is turning much more green again.  I didn’t expect to see the daffodils blossoming already! It is not even February yet.

But there they were, looking as much like sunshine as they always do. I know I say it every year, but I love these first blossoms of spring, and each discovery is like finding another gift, just for me.

This morning, after taking unusually long to start the car, Scott came in with a bouquet for me. Now, even though the sun is hiding behind some rather rainy-looking clouds (oh, wait—there’s laundry still on the line!) we have sunshine sitting on our table.

How could this not be a beautiful day?