Saturday, August 29, 2015

Who Knew? A Story of Katrina and the Mississippi Gulf Coast

Ten years ago today, she came on shore with a wrath most did not expect.  Her path was wide and the destruction immense.  She was strong, unforgiving, and gave no quarter as she passed through.  Her companion was the ocean.  Together, they rose to depths never imagined.  Together, they demolished structures and swept them out to sea.  Together, they changed the lives of many on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Who knew?
Who knew she would destroy 65,000 homes on the Mississippi Gulf Coast?  Who knew so many dear friends would have NOTHING left to the place they once called home?  Nothing...
Who knew she could lift a large building from its moorings only to carry it across a highway and sit it on top of a historic home?  
Who knew that MS Gulf Coast towns would be decimated by a storm surge of up to 32 feet?
Who knew we would lose so many historic homes? Preservation in Mississippi has a list of over 350 historic properties that were lost on the Mississippi Gulf Coast during Katrina.
(Photo Credit: Sun Herald of Grass Lawn circa 1850)
 Who knew she could dismantle the spans of a large bridge and topple them like dominoes?
Who knew she would destroy the buildings of many our Mississippi Gulf Coast churches?  We were married in this beautiful church 32 years ago. Many churches on the MS Gulf Coast were destroyed; however, the steeples and crosses were left almost untouched.  A powerful reminder that God is always with us.
Christ Episcopal Church, Bay St. Louis, MS...only the steeple.
First Baptist Church of Gulfport
Who knew that we would learn a new language...the language of the X-Code?  For some, the X-Code meant death.  For others, they saw the X as a cross and a sign of hope.  For search and rescue units, the X-Code contained critical information.  It was always heartbreaking to see a number in the bottom quadrant.
Who knew that many neighborhoods would be unrecognizable?  This is a neighborhood in Long Beach, MS. Photo credit: Gulf Coast News.
Who knew she would pull loved ones from their graves, some never to be found?
Who knew the immense pain, fear, and confusion that I and other counselors would see on the faces of children as we counseled them during the aftermath of the storm?
Who knew that entire schools would be destroyed? These are photos from one of the two schools which were destroyed in our district.  Our children were eventually housed in FEMA trailer schools.
Who knew that 70 countries and countless Americans would come to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to lend their assistance and help their fellow man?
Who knew that strangers would come to hold our hands and pray with us?
We know the people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast are resilient...
We know that tragedy can become triumph...
We know that together, with the assistance of kind and generous people from all over the world, we are rebuilding...
We know that the beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast was created by a loving God who gives strength to the weary...
And we know that one day, we will be whole again.

"You are my lamp, O Lord, the Lord turns my darkness into Light" 
2 Samuel 22:29
Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse
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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Water: Are You Getting Enough?

We all know water is a nutrient essential for life. The average human body is composed of 50-60% water. Science tells us that mental performance and physical ability become impaired just prior to one feeling thirsty.  The human body needs adequate water intake to perform at its best. The simple fact is many of us do not consume enough water. The Institute of Medicine has determined that the adequate intake of water per day is 9 cups for women and 13 cups for men.  I have been working to overcome this deficit in my own diet, but it is not always easy. Sources state that any liquid will help hydrate the body; however, water is the best choice since it's calorie free.  Who doesn't love "calorie free" and healthy for you?  I am all about a good, cold glass of sweet tea.  If I did the "any fluid" method, I would end up drinking my calories for the day!  Also, if you love caffeinated beverages, you need to remember that liquids with caffeine will dehydrate the body.  Our goal is hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!  Your body and skin will thank you for it.
Many of us have a hard time drinking our daily amount of water during the summer... and it's hot!  In cooler months, it's easier fall behind on daily water intake.  With fall quickly approaching, it is important to have a plan for increasing your water intake.  Sorry friends....pumpkin spiced lattes do not count as water intake! Sad, but true!  Let's take a look at 5 simple tips which helped me increase my daily water consumption.

1.  Drink a full glass of water as soon as you get up.
That's right, before you take a single sip of that aromatic coffee brewing in the kitchen, refresh your body with a glass of water.  Go ahead and gulp it down. Your body has been without fluid all night and is at its most dehydrated state upon waking.  I keep a full glass of water beside my bed and when my feet hit the floor in the morning, I drink it down.
2.  Drink 8 ounces prior to each meal and 8 ounces after each meal.
Water is a natural diuretic and essential element to aide in digestion.  Your body will tell you when you have not consumed enough water.  Simply put, urine is darker and solid waste is harder when the body is not hydrated.  An added bonus of drinking a glass of water before a meal is that it helps fill you up!
3.  Drink a cup of water after each trip to the potty.
You just removed fluid from your body, so replace it with a cup or more of water.  I have found this to be an extremely easy way to add water to my diet.  
4.  Drink from a pretty glass.
Water always tastes better in a pretty glass and with a cute straw. Visual appeal has long played an important role in food consumption.  Why not the same with a beverage?  I love getting out a favorite beverage container, filling it with water, and heading outside to read.  Before you know it, I have enjoyed a chapter or two and my glass is empty.  By the way, I highly recommend the book pictured above.  Twelve Extraordinary Women (How God Shaped Women of the Bible and What He Wants to Do with You) by John MacArthur.  He leads you through a wonderful journey into the lives of some of the Bible's most faithful women.  It has been a fascinating and inspirational journey!
5.  Add sliced fruit to your water.
Sliced fruit adds a delicious, natural flavor to water.  It is also visually appealing and good for your body. Skip the water flavoring packets sold at the grocery store.  They are packed with artificial flavors and chemicals. Who needs more artificial ingredients and chemicals in their body?
In the last month, I have been committed to drinking more water.  I have lost 7 pounds by skipping the occasional glass of sweet tea and drinking more water.  When I forget to drink my daily allotment, my weight is up.  There is obviously an important connection between water and the body.  I also feel so much better substituting pure, refreshing water for diet drinks and sweet tea.  As with any health issues, always consult your physician before altering your daily diet. If you are healthy, go ahead and drink up!  It's good for you! See you at the water fountain!
Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse
Please leave me a comment.  I love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Fun Fall Door Decor

I am ready for the heat of summer to be over and the cool breezes of fall to head our way.  My sister called me the other day and said she wanted to pull out her autumn decorations and to that I say "Amen, Sista"! We both can't wait to say, "Happy Fall Ya'll"!!

In the meantime, I need to update my fall door decor and have been looking for a few, fresh ideas.  Better Homes and Gardens had some wonderful fall wreath ideas.  I adore this unusual "wreath" made from a rake.
Who said a wreath must be round?
Etsy and Pinterest have an abundance of wreath ideas including several swags to use on your harvest door.
Another cute idea from Better Homes and Gardens. It makes me think of  warm apple crisp topped with a dollop of whipped cream!   Yum!  Or how about those wonderfully apple scented candles?  Love those!
Monograms are all the rage.  I think this would be a simple wreath to make.  Raise your hand if you like simple projects!
Super cute wreath from Kimberly Marie Interiors.
I like the simplicity of this acorn wreath. Often simple things make a bold statement.
Isn't this wreath fabulous?  So many items tucked into one wreath.
This fun wreath from Dream Home Style reminds me of Argyle socks!  Great idea!

Burlap, fall leaves and pumpkins make this an adorable wreath for any door.
A wreath of dried flowers make a lovely display.  So pretty!
I have numerous berry wreaths which I display throughout the year.  A wreath of fall berries with a simple striped ribbon make a welcoming statement.
I hope I have given you a few ideas for your fall door decor, because before you know it, pumpkin flavored everything will abound!  I can't wait to dress my doors to welcome fall visitors.
Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse
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Thursday, August 6, 2015

A Day to Celebrate!

Today is our 32nd anniversary!  We had a lovely dinner at Anthony's on the Bayou, a restaurant perched on the bayou and sheltered by towering oaks.  We watched the sun cast a golden glow to the sky as it slipped from the horizon.  We talked about our wedding day and the young dreams we had for our life. We reminisced about our 32 years together and we thanked God for His abundant blessings.  

Many people ask what it takes to have a good and lasting marriage.  There are many things, but most importantly, there must be three in a marriage:  a husband, a wife, and our Lord.  Dr. Billy Graham was once asked for advice by an engaged couple.  Listen to his wise answer..." What difference can Christ make in your marriage? First, He will give you a new love for each other -- a love based not on your own selfish needs and desires, but on what you can do to help each other. That type of love -- the type Christ has for us.  In addition, Christ will help you stay pure and committed to each other, because you know He brought you together and is always with you. Jesus said, "Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate" (Matthew 19:6)."  Wise words for all couples.  

It amazes me that even before God created me, He knew that one day I would meet the one "whom my soul" would love and we would eventually be joined in marriage.  It amazes me that even though we lived in different areas of the world and at times on different continents, the Lord knew that one day we would cross paths. I am so very thankful that our Lord planned for this little girl to one day meet this little boy and fall in love.

Blessings from Still Woods Farmhouse

Friday, July 31, 2015

It's National Mutt Day!

Who knew there was a day to honor the mutt's that make our life so enjoyable? There is and it's today!  So in honor of my three mutt's Lucky, Lucy, and Luke Bailey.   I wanted to share a few sweet photos and the story of their lives.  I also want to encourage others to consider adopting a loving companion from your own local animal shelter. There are so many four legged friends just waiting for a place to call home.
We have always adopted our dogs from the local animal shelter.  It's the thing to do for our family and we have had wonderful, loving pets.  Our little Luke Bailey is our first non-adopted mutt and he was a gift from my sister.  Lucky is our oldest dog.  He was originally adopted by an older couple to be a "lap dog".  He quickly grew and the couple could not keep him in their home.  My hubby found an ad at our vets office stating that the couple wanted a "good, Christian home for their Lucky".  We went to see Lucky and fell in love!  Thankfully, the couple felt we would make good owners for their beloved pup.  Lucky is a fierce snake killer, but terribly scared of lightning.  He will follow you anywhere and has such a sweet personality.  He is very patient and will step aside to allow his best buddy, Lucy, get her time with us.  Much to my chagrin, he is a champion at squirrel chasing and has brought his bounty to lay at the front porch as a gift.  Yuck!!  He loves to swim in the creek on hot, summer days. Isn't he handsome in his recent July 4th attire?
Lucky was a little lonely here at Still Woods Farmhouse and needed a friend to walk beside him as he wandered the woods and played in the creek.  We headed to the Harrison County Humane Society to find a companion.  My husband has a gift for selecting the best pets.  He saw this black beauty and we adopted her.  The information said that she kept digging out from the yard of her previous owner, but other than that, was a wonderful dog.  We named her Lucy for one of my favorite shows, I Love Lucy!  I affectionately call her Lucy Bell.  Our Lucy loves to sun by the pool and eat Lucky's food before she eats her own.  The first day we brought her home, I went outside to sit on the back steps and read a book.  Lucy came over, sat by me, and put her paw on my shoulder.  I was shocked!  I looked at her and she was facing the woods, looking not at me, but at the  woods.  Just hanging out with her new owner! She is a chow, lab mix just like Lucky.  Here is our sweet Lucy in her July 4th attire!
Lastly is our little Malti-Poo, Luke Bailey.   As a mixture of a Maltese and a poodle, he is a mutt.  An expensive mutt, but by definition, a mutt all the same.  I fell in love with him when my sister's dog gave birth after being bred with a poodle.  You can read more about Luke Bailey at a blog post he wrote..."Puppy Love".  We have a very talented puppy!  Luke Bailey actually smiles when you come in the door.  If my husband and I are in two different rooms, he will try to position himself so that he can see both of us.  Even though he weighs a mere 8 pounds to Lucky's 65 pounds and Lucy's 90 pounds, Luke Bailey thinks he is their size!  He is also the official "lightning alert" pet and makes sure that he gets our attention so that his older brother and sister come in the garage until the danger is over.  He is soft and cuddly, but would rather sit with my husband than with anyone else.  He is a gem! Look at those eyes!
Thank you Lucky, Lucy and Luke Bailey for your unconditional love and companionship!  If you have a mutt as a pet, give them an extra dose of love today and maybe a new bone in celebration of National Mutt Day!

Blessings from Lynda, Lucky, Lucy and Luke Bailey at Still Woods Farmhouse
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Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Walk to Remember

We just returned from an enjoyable week with our oldest son.  He recently became a homeowner and this mom loaded up the car with her sewing machine and necessary gadgets and headed to Virginia.  During our visit, I made window treatments for 21 windows!  That's a mother's love for you!

Of course, games of Canasta, antique shopping, and site seeing also filled our days and nights.  One of my favorite towns is Port Royal, Virginia.  After dinner one night, we headed out the door and decided to walk off some of our calories in Port Royal's historic square.  It was a lovely evening with gentle breezes and low humidity.  Love low humidity!  I snapped a few pictures with my cellphone.  Established in the mid-17th century, Port Royal is a small, river town steeped in history.  Situated on the Rappahannock River, it was developed primarily as a site to export tobacco, the cash crop of Virginia.

The Holloway House is in need of lots of love and attention.  It was built in 1775 and owned by John Hipkins, a prosperous merchant in town.  Wouldn't you love to get your hands on this house?  The work would be enormous, but the reward of saving a home like this would be plentiful.  My guys posed for me!
Around the corner is an example of a nicely restored home.  This one was built in 1850.  The above ground power lines detract from the natural beauty of the home.  It would be wonderful if the town could bury the lines.
Next is a home built in 1755.  The owner, William Fox, secured the appropriate documents to operate a tavern from his home.  According to expense ledgers, George Washington spent the night in the taverns accommodations on three occasions.  How cool is that?  My photo did not turn out well so I am borrowing this one from the Historic Port Royal website. 
Just like the tavern, the house below built in 1865, is full of history.  One fateful night, John Wilkes Booth and four other men rode up on horseback, knocked on the door of the Peyton House and asked the mistress of the home, Sarah Peyton, if she would give them refuge.  She refused and the group traveled 3 miles down the road to the Garrett farm where John Wilkes Booth was eventually killed.  
Riverview, a home built in 1846, sits on the banks of the Rappahannock River.  It is a beautiful home and is one of the largest homes in Port Royal.  Crepe myrtles line the walk up to the house.  
Townfield was built between 1745-1750 and enlarged in 1790 and again in 1837.  It's a well maintained home and simply beautiful!
Love the colors of this home! Cats are everywhere in this town.  These two didn't mind me snapping a picture.  Notice how the front of the house bows inwards.  
This structure built in 1750 is labeled with a tavern sign, but was the town's print shop.  It is built as a shop and not a home.  Early enterprise at work!
Isn't this a cute home?  It was built in 1775 and is obviously well loved and cared for.  
We ended our walk at one of the newer homes in the area, just a young 109 years old!  It is also a home our son considered when he was house hunting.  When he found a house he was interested in, I would anxiously ask what year was the house built...1700's, 1800's, 1900's, 2000's?!!!  I adore old houses, but I know they are a lot of work.  This house was built in 1906 and has been in the same family for many generations.  He eventually decided against the home and a young couple ended up as the owners.  I am sure they will be happy there for many, many years!
Next time you find yourself in Virginia, stop by this historic town, park your car, and set out on your own walk to remember!
Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse 
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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Jolly July Christmas Project Number 1

In my area of the world, one word describes our weather... HOT!  So this is a perfect time to think of cooler weather and a few Christmas projects.  Christmas in July events are found everywhere.  Some of my favorites are on shopping channels, Etsy, and in Blogland.  I have the month of July off each year and it affords me the opportunity to pre-plan.  Do I need to donate gently used decorations to Goodwill? Is there anything I need to put on my early Christmas "to do" list? And even more importantly, is there a way to simplify the hectic holidays so that I spend more time reflecting on the true gift of Christmas?
I decided to focus on a few projects which might give me a head start on my Christmas happies.  I will share several projects with you during what I am calling Jolly July!  Let's start with a simple project. I like the word "simple"!  This would make a cute, inexpensive personalized teacher gift for Christmas.  I plan to make one for my niece to coordinate with her new bedroom colors!

We have had an ugly mouse pad for as long as I can remember.  Yes, I like using a mouse!  I thought of buying a new pad when this idea came to me.  It took all of 15 minutes to complete this project!  All you need are a few simple supplies.  The most difficult task is to decide which fabric to use.  Pictured are fat quarters I picked up at Walmart for less than a dollar each.  I selected a leftover remnant of upholstery fabric.  If the thicker fabric worked out, I would have a mouse that coordinated with the nearby bar stools! Let's get started...

Mouse pad
Fabric of your choice (Pictured are Fat Quarters)
Heat n Bond (I used ultrahold)
Stop Fraying Adhesive
The directions are a breeze! Start out by tracing the mouse pad to the back of the fabric and cut.
Next, trace the mouse pad to the Heat n Bond and cut out the shape.
Following the directions on the Heat n Bond, iron the product to the top of  the mouse pad. After cooling, slowly peel the paper section of the Heat n Bond from the mouse pad.  I like the shiny look it gave my old mouse pad!  Excuse the blurry picture, but I only took one.
Next, position the fabric on the mouse pad and iron the fabric in place.
Allow pad to cool.  After cooling, trim any extra stray edges you see. Apply the Stop Fraying product according the bottle directions.  Wa-lah!  Your mouse pad is now ready for use!  How is easy is that?
Have a Jolly July everyone! Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse