I confess I enjoy decorating my whole house for Christmas.  Nothing elaborate, just a small woodland touch here and there.     Do you decorate your whole house for Christmas? For quite a few years I hosted a Longaberger open house the first Saturday of December.  Because I was a crazy lady and because I wanted customers to see my baskets and pottery in use around the house, I decorated every room of my home.  I will confess...it was fun.   And a lot of work.  In addition to that we used to host either a dinner or an open house or both for volunteers from church as well. Our … [Read more...]

This year I have enjoyed playing with nature's elements. You might remember my pampas grass wreath here, my grapevine wreath decorated with privet berries and colorful leaves here, or my oak leaf branches here. These are all items that get pruned, raked up, composted, or burned.  But for me, they have been a treasure for creating woodland home decor.     Winterberry is my new favorite for Christmas decor. Actually it isn't a new favorite, it's just that Michigan has more wetlands than either New York or Pennsylvania where I lived for the past 13 years, and it's been that long since … [Read more...]

  Are you getting excited for Thanksgiving? Usually, we gather with friends and family we rarely see and enjoy those foods we only eat at Thanksgiving. If I'm hosting the meal, I put almost as much effort into creating a beautiful Thanksgiving Tablescape as I do the meal.     I have to admit, for me, it isn't all about the food.  Though I have shared a few recipes that would be a great addition to your Thanksgiving menu.  My Far East Celery is crunchy and light and makes a perfect accompaniment to turkey and stuffing.  Or a true fall dish that you can enjoy as a salad or … [Read more...]

It's confession time. Do you ever let your feathers get ruffled by something someone has done or said? When was the last time your feathers were ruffled?     I looked out my window the other day to see a gathering of bluebirds around the bluebird house at the end of the driveway.  It's seems to be rather late in the season for birds to be checking out houses.  But, that's exactly what these birds appeared to be doing.  In and out they went. With hope in my heart, I grabbed the camera, just knowing that today, I would finally be able to snap some shots.  And yes!  I got a few. It was … [Read more...]

Welcome to Day 19 of 31 Extraordinary Days to Be...  Or...simply: Be... Together, we will learn to Be… to live fully and beautifully in our “skin” and in our homes and beyond.  If you missed The Introduction or you'd like to follow the entire series, you can find each post listed here.     What is it that makes your heart sing?   I love going for a walk in the woods, especially in the fall, camera in hand. There is so much beauty to be seen.  And captured through the camera's lens.     It isn't the walk that makes my heart sing.  It's the stopping. Maybe … [Read more...]

Spending the day at the beach isn't always possible. So when you find yourself dreaming of splashing waves and sand between your toes.... Put together a beach vignette. Don't roll your eyes....it really is a sweet band-aid solution.  And it's super easy to do.     Have you ever noticed play sand for sale at the garden center? When you do...be sure to buy a bag.  Yes...it may be more than you need, but I'm pretty certain that once you have your bag of sand, you'll be glad you bought it (and it certainly won't break the bank).  Plus, you'll find lots of ways to use that sand.  In … [Read more...]

  When my world gets turned upside down, I love to go on a nature walk. This quote by Sara Moss-Wolfe says it all. Nature is my medicine.   Maybe you are like me.... Or, maybe another activity feeds your soul. When you're weary and worn and need to set things right, what do you do or where do you go?   ~    ~    ~    ~   ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~   ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~   ~    ~    ~    ~   ~    ~    ~   Catch up on all that's Extraordinary...   this week at An Extraordinary Day:     Here's a rundown of  the posts... … [Read more...]

  Doesn't this photo make you think garden party? It seems with so many trees in flower and color everywhere the earth is having a celebration. I stumbled across this quote.  Is it not perfect? Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!" Robin Williams     Speaking of party! There is a big party being planned for An Extraordinary Day! It all starts on Monday with a guest post from someone who is a VIP in my blogging book and one of the first people that I connected with in the blog world.  It will be an honor to have her here to help celebrate my first year of … [Read more...]

Spring has sprung and my little corner of the world is a fireworks of white, pink, green, and yellow!     Today is the official day for everyone to be... celebrating Earth Day!   Yup.  I'm sure it's the talk of the day at every school and on the television.     Can I let you in on a little secret? I'm not celebrating Earth Day. Nope! But...I am celebrating!     I am celebrating the Creator of this amazing orb we call Earth. My mind cannot comprehend the amazingly detailed perfection that was required and is still required to keep us … [Read more...]

  After being bombarded all week with tragic photos everywhere, I want to give you.... a picture of hope. To give you words of truth. Words of hope.     Beauty. A friend told me about this video.  I don't usually watch videos...I prefer to read.  If you're like me, humor me, please watch the video just because I ask you to.  It's eye-opening.   http://youtu.be/litXW91UauE   Did tear up as you watched the video? If you're like me, maybe you've been running a recording in your head that really isn't true.   Let's change that, my extraordinary … [Read more...]

My heart and my spirit sing songs of joy...   Each day I take my camera in hand and make an attempt at capturing the glorious beauty unfolding around me.  This spring.  This world re-awakening.  This bursting forth of bud and blossom and new life emerging from the depths.  This hope renewed. My spirit sings JOY!   I mediate on Your wonders, sing songs of Your worth, O God.     Your majesty and glorious splendor have captivated me; I will meditate on Your wonders, sing songs of Your worth. We confess—there is nothing greater than You, God, nothing mightier than Your awesome … [Read more...]

  Walking.  It's something we do every day. We love it for getting our exercise.  But, one reason that I choose walking is because it gives me the opportunity to actually 'talk' with my husband.  And the other reason, is because it gives me more time to notice the world around me.    I know, that's no surprise to you....especially as it seems that my second most favorite thing to do is to go out, camera in hand, and see what I can discover.     Maybe that's why I notice things that change along my paths.  Like the first day the Crocus stick up their pretty … [Read more...]

  To live an Extraordinary Life is to see the Miraculous in everyday things. Emerson says it just a little bit differently. I like his thoughts too.     “The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson Hmmm.... I'm thinking that if we're wise we will train our eyes so that we can indeed see the miraculous in the common. This beautiful plant is a Croton which I photographed on a recent trip to the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh. You will be seeing more photos in upcoming weeks from my little jaunt there.  Certainly it was a … [Read more...]

  Do you have a mantel? Though I snapped my fingers, for some reason, a lovely fireplace and mantel fail to appear in my great room. So what's a gal supposed to do? Improvise.     You might remember last fall I wanted to decorate a mantel for...um... Fall!   What did I do?  Decorated my sideboard.  It worked. Now that Spring is on the horizon, and no fireplace or mantel is gracing my home, I picked the top of the piano to be my imitation mantel. I think it works.     I know that most people choose to decorate for Spring with daffodil yellow, springy green, and just … [Read more...]

  Are you familiar with the artists who are known as painters of light? They capture a moment in time when the light is perfectly golden, or that moment when the street lights first begin to appear just before twilight.  That magical time of day.     After spending a few hours hiking in the shadows of the mountain it was time to head for home.  On the drive we rounded a curve, and as we did everything became golden in the light.  I asked my husband to stop the car and turn around so that I could attempt to capture it with my pocket camera.     I think you can get a … [Read more...]

  Faith in tough times... Several years ago a co-worker gave me a copy of Streams in the Desert, a devotional with 365 daily readings.  Over time I would pick it up and include it in my daily routine.  And then it would set on my shelf, waiting as I enjoyed another more current devotional.  The other devotionals might have been more contemporary, but not more current.  At this time in my life, it seems that it was written just for me, right now.       I am in the desert, again.  Thirsty for God. It's as if I am walking through vast stretches of nothingness and yet, … [Read more...]

  Lovely. Floating. Flakes. Gathering. Whiteness. Snowfall.     The other evening we had an unexpected snow at dinner time. Look closely and you can see the large falling snowflakes. It was a magical few hours.   Truly extraordinary!! Supper was ready and I sat down to eat.  However I could not contain myself. It was getting late and the light was getting low.   So, I excused myself from the table, grabbed my camera, and attempted to capture the moment.  The windows which had been locked against the winter winds were cranked open to capture this photo and many more.   Such a … [Read more...]