under construction

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Summer Is Coming!

Greetings faithful followers!

We’ve had enough warm weather to start me thinking about some of my favorite summer trips. One of our “must do” trips every year is Mackinaw Island. It has a little bit of everything! Bridges and birds, flowers and butterfly’s, boats and bikes, carriage rides and stables, beautiful churches and scenery. I’ve put together a couple of collages to share some of our excursions to Mackinaw. (The beautiful model is my oldest grandaughter!)

 

Mackinaw collage 3

Mackinaw collage 2

I hope that if you haven’t had a chance to visit this Michigan treasure, to think about scheduling a trip this summer!

On another note, this will be the last post on Sweet and Simple Inspirations for awhile. Jen and I are working on another project that will be fun and exciting and we will tell you all about it when we return. So don’t give up on us and stay tuned while we are under a bit of construction!

under constructionSee you all soon!

Jules and Jen

A Day Without a List!

List

My last post was about the wonderful gift of a snow day!  As much as I love snow days, I have an uncanny ability to spoil the day off for myself by trying to catch up on my never ending “to do” list . Before I know it, the day is over and I forgot to relax and sip hot chocolate curled up with a good book.  I was so mad at myself that I had “wasted” a perfectly good snow day working on laundry and housecleaning!  So this week when we were blessed with yet another snow day, I was determined that I was going to relax and make it everything I dreamed a perfect snow day should be!

I had been texting a childhood friend who also has the same Type A tendencies of not being able to sit down and relax.  She also works for a school and we agreed that if we both had a snow day, we would relax.  To me the perfect day would be one without a list.  You see, I LOVE lists and have multiple lists and even lists for my lists!  They keep me focused and productive but sometimes I just feel chained to it and would love to have a day where my life is not dictated by the next thing “to do”.  So on this snow day, the first rule was NO LIST!  I decided I would try to sleep in and then whatever I felt like doing, I would just do.  I had some ideas in my mind of what a snow day should look like (The sipping tea, reading a book, watching movies, baking chocolate chip cookies kind of day!) but decided that I would just kind of go with the flow and do what I felt like as the day passed.

After waking up at 6:00, I was able drift back into a deep slumber and slept in and then proceeded to have a leisurely day catching up on some reading, writing letters, exercising without feeling rushed and even a nap!  Before I knew it, the day was almost over and I felt accomplished in a different sort of way.  Although many things were left undone, for the first time in a while, I felt truly relaxed and re-charged.  Throughout the day, I had that antsy feeling that I should be doing something more productive, but I’m glad I stuck with it because I did feel much better.  (Sad to say my friend, who had been texting with me all day for relaxing accountability, only made it until 2:00 before she ditched out plan and went grocery shopping!  There is always next time!)  I survived a day without crossing something off my list!

For many years, I have tried to follow the commandment to keep Sunday a day of rest and worship.  This has always been difficult for me because after working full-time all week, I feel like I am always playing catch up on things that need to get done.  We attend worship regularly, but I need to continue working on the rest part after we leave church.  I want to focus on this because I think it will make a huge difference in how I feel as I start my week on Monday and beyond.  So no more lists on Sunday!  I want to make it a day of worship, rest and time with family and God.

I think (hope) our snowstorms are done for the year, so I’m very happy that I made the most of the last one for the season!  I hope you are all able to find some time to rest and relax this week.

~Blessings,
Jen

Snow Day Love

IMG_1267

My sister-in-law sent me this today and I thought it was such an incredibly cool picture, I needed to share it with you!  A perfectly shaped leaf heart laying gently in the snow!  We have been hit here in Michigan this week with a big snowstorm that left us with two very much appreciated snow days home from work and school.

There is just something about the feeling of anticipation of a snowstorm coming and the possibility of a snow day!  I am a teacher and the workplace atmosphere on Wednesday was nothing short of kids on Christmas Eve as we all discussed the possibility of a snow day!  People checking their messages, waiting for the call-would they call it the day before or wait until the morning?  Peeking out the window watching the snow blow by and seeing the cars creeping by on the road-a sense of excitement mixed with anxiety over the worsening weather conditions.  Parents picking up their kids early from school to get home before the storm worsened. Sneaking a peek at the weather channel on our lunch breaks.  If we knew the night before that school was cancelled -we could turn off our alarms and blissfully sleep in to our heart’s content!  I could hear the whoops and screaming from my desk before I even saw the message!  School was canceled!

We just needed to brave the trip home, as we dreamed of jumping into our pjs and staying in them the whole next day, curled up on the sofa with tea and hot chocolate, catching up on TV shows, reading and watching movies (as a type A person who can’t sit still that long, I have to admit I got all of my laundry done and cleaned the house-not exactly a dreamy snow day but I felt great about getting caught up-since we actually got two snow days!)

So when my sister-in-law sent this picture to me I thought it was a perfect symbol of what a snow day means to those of us in the north!  A small, perfect reward for enduring the long, cold days of winter, a mini-vacation, a chance to be cozy and snuggle with our loved ones!  Snow day love!

I hear there might be another storm brewing for next week!  Is it to early (or greedy) to start dreaming of another snow day?

~Blessings,

Jen

Seven Bible Verses To Meditate on During the Season of Lent

Lent 2

Hi All, I hope everyone is having a great week and that some even got an extra day off for the holiday weekend!  We have been busy as ever and Jules and I are in the midst of a new project that we can hopefully reveal to you in a few weeks!

With Easter being early this year (March 27th), Lent arrived before we barely had the Christmas decorations stored away!  Many people choose to give something up for Lent as a way to draw closer to God during this time of repentance and preparation for Easter.  Personally, over the past few years I have chosen to give up some types of social media in order to gain some time back, which I try to spend in prayer and devotion.

This year Little One and I also decided to also add something during Lent.  She chose to add Bible/devotion reading each evening and I have decided to try to add more words of encouragement to others through spoken and written words.  As part of adding words of encouragement to others, I wanted to share with you seven of some of my favorite Bible Verses (one for each week of Lent).  I hope you find encouragement, hope  and peace as you read these words.

1. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

2. “Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12

3. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5: 22-23

4. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

5. Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37

6. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. ” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

7. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16

 

~Blessings,

Jen

 

A Picnic for Who??

Hi everyone!

We are having a very snowy day here in Michigan! This is the most snow I think we’ve had all year! What I noticed first thing this morning was how many birds were flocking around my feeders. They’ve had it pretty easy so far, but I think their food was covered up this morning. I love watching the birds, and it was so pretty out, I got the idea to make my own suet feeders! Of course, I headed over to Pinterest for some recipes and ideas. I found there are LOTS of recipes, so I kind of took the basics and made my own!

Picnic BasketThis was an old picnic basket I found at Good Will. I thought the cups were colorful and would stand out in the snow.

 

Birdfeed ingredients 2

I gathered all of my ingredients. Some called for shortening and some for coconut oil, so I decided to use some of both!

 

Bowl of ingredientsSo here mixed together is 2 cups of bird seed, 1 cup of raisins, and 1 cup of plain peanuts. Just grab a bowl, use your fingers and mix it well.

 

Heating shortening

Put a pan on the burner on low. Add 1 cup of shortening, 1 cup of coconut oil and 1 cup of crunchy peanut butter. You just want to melt this, not cook.

When its all melted, stir well into seed mixture. I suggest using a ladle to put it in the cups. Now I forgot to take a picture of this, but I put sticks in so that the birds would have something to perch on. I put them in the freezer for about an hour and they were hardened up. I found some cute ribbon to use to hang them on the tree. I put a drop of hot glue under the handle so the ribbon wouldn’t slide around. And voila! I present the finished product!

Finished bird feeder

I hope you enjoyed this snow day project!

Julie