I can’t remember a time when I didn’t dream of visiting (and moving to)the great state of Montana. I can’t recall when I fell in love with photographs of breathtaking mountain ranges capped in powdery snow. I don’t remember a definitive moment when I my heart first began to race at the sight of the unstoppable rush of crystal, blue rivers. Photographs of open valleys, green in the summer, bursts of yellow, orange and brown in the autumn have always brought me joy. I can’t explain the feeling easily, but surely I’m not alone. Montana – wild, harsh, winding, open, extreme. I am certain my human mind can’t begin to imagine the glories of heaven, but when I try, Montana is what I see. I’ve never seen a place in photograph or person that compares.

My husband and I travelled to Montana in October 2015 for our wedding anniversary. I visited my favorite place on earth in my favorite month. What a dream come true!

Montana

Montana -Glacier National Park

We flew into Spokane and spent our first day driving through Eastern Washington (gorgeous!), Northern Idaho (stunning!) and eventually to Libby, Montana. My husband lived in Libby for 6 months many years ago with a previous job (completely jealous), so he was familiar with the area. Driving towards Montana I was like a child on Christmas Eve. I waited 30 long years to see my heaven on earth. My husband chuckled frequently at my constant photo taking. I’ve seen my share of “mountains” back east, in California as well as Nevada, but nothing and I mean NOTHING compares to the Montana mountain ranges. Nothing. I found myself thinking, ‘is this even real’ often.

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Montana – FINALLY!

As you can see above, this photograph was taken just 14 miles from Troy. Troy is roughly 60 miles southeast by way of car from the Canadian border. Libby is a small, logging town located 12 miles east of Kootenai Falls, MT.



Anyone who knows me, knows that I am hopeless coffee addict. Seriously, I love it. I need it. Coffee owns me. I tend to drink it at inappropriate times such as late at night, which leads to insomnia, which leads to crankiness – not good. To substitute and distract myself from coffee in the evenings, I’ve recently taken to drinking to caffeine-free tea. I particularly fond of Bengal Spice tea in the Celestial Seasonings brand. It’s a perfect blend of cinnamon and clover-ish goodness. I take it wit a spot oh milk – yes, I said that in my best British accent. I just love British accents. HAHA Any who, so yea tea rocks. End of story. I mean it’s not coffee or anything, but it gets me through the evenings. 😉

Is anyone on GoodReads.com? I am obsessed. For those of you that have yet to discover it, Good Reads is a website where you can rate and review books you’re reading or have read. You can also add books to a virtual “want to read” list. I love being able to read other book enthusiast’s reviews and on books I’m considering to read. I like being able to save books I want to read in the future. Another great feature of Good Reads is being able to “follow” your favorite authors. I love following my favorite author’s blog posts and see what they’re reading and reviewing. Best part about GoodReads? It’s completely free. Seriously, GoodReads is great, you should check it out. If you’re a member or you decide to check it out, find me HERE.

Well, I guess that’s it for now. Have a lovely rest of the week. Go drink some tea! Join GoodReads.com!



The phrase, “But For The Grace” is one I use often to sign my works of pottery. It’s a phrase I mutter to myself daily, in situations as they arise. But what does it mean? To me the words, “But For the Grace” are a humble prayer of thanks, a reminder to myself of who I am and who I belong to. On days when I find myself out of control emotionally or angry at some one, “But For the Grace” is an instant attitude check. On days and moments of pride or materialistic greed, it is a humbling reminder of what really matters. When I find myself growing frustrated or even repulsed by the ignorance I see displayed in my fellow man, it is a reminder. But For The Grace I am nothing. I am ignorant and prideful. I am greedy and quick to anger. I am judgmental and mean-spirited. I am thoughtless and selfish. I am concerned with and swayed by the lusts of the flesh and of popular culture. But For The Grace, I am all of these things, all of the time. If not for the live-giving Grace of my Savior, I am all of these things all of the time and without hope of changing. A slave to the flesh, But For The Grace. There are moments when the full weight of what grace means hits me and I am brought to my knees. I am nothing, but for the grace. But For The Grace of God, I have a hope and a future. I was saved by grace that day, my sins wiped clean. My sins are wiped clean daily, by the undeserved Grace and blood of my Savior, Jesus Christ. I am aware of and repulsed by my own sin, because of grace. I am learning to be better and kinder because of His grace. He started a life-changing work in me that day He opened my eyes at the age of 11. To explain it in a way that does it any justice is impossible. I will never forget the way I felt that day I gave my life to Him. I wasn’t paying attention that day in church. I was being a silly 11 year old kid, doodling on the church bulletin. The visiting pastor gave a sermon on the reaping of the wheat and the tare, to symbolize Christ reaping those that belong to him. He asked the congregation to ask themselves one question, are you wheat or are you tare? Such a simple question. I couldn’t answer it honestly. Boom. I was raised by two Christian parents, who were raised by Christian parents. God and Jesus was spoke about daily in our home. I could recite verse after verse after verse and yet, up until that moment it never occurred to me whether or not I belonged to him. I gave my life to Christ that day and he washed my soul clean of every sin. The Holy Spirit filled my heart and my mind and my soul in that moment and on that day. In the blink of an eye, I was His child. I have recently downloaded Lauren Daigle’s “How Can It Be” and I can’t stop listening. The simple lyrics of this song are a prayer for me. One of the things I love so much about music is its ability to say the things I feel and experience in a way I can’t always articulate on my own. “How Can It Be” is one of those songs for me. If I had to choose one song to explain how I feel about what my Savior has done for me, it would be this song.

I am guilty
Ashamed of what I’ve done, what I’ve become
These hands are dirty
I dare not lift them up to the Holy one

You plead my cause
You right my wrongs
You brake my chains
You overcome
You gave Your life
To give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be
How can it be

I’ve been hiding
Afraid I’ve let you down, inside I doubt
That You still love me
But in Your eyes there’s only grace now

You plead my cause
You right my wrongs
You brake my chains
You overcome
You gave Your life
To give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be
How can it be

Though I fall, You can make me new
From this death I will rise with You
Oh the grace reaching out for me
How can it be
How can it be

You plead my cause
You right my wrongs
You brake my chains
You overcome
You gave Your life
To give me mine
You say that I am free

You plead my cause
You right my wrongs
You brake my chains
You overcome
You gave Your life
To give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be
How can it be

Ephesians 2:8-9
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and [a]that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.



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I made this little charming beauty for our front door last weekend and I must say, I’m rather pleased with it. I think it rocks. How’d I make it you ask? I’d love to show you below.

I started with a white, wooden letter F, purchased from Hobby Lobby (LOOOOVE THAT PLACE!!)

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I achieved the distressed/shabby chic looks by using a medium sand paper around the edges. Have fun here and sand as little or as much as you like. Make it your own! After I sanded to my heart’s content, I used an old rag to apply some of my beloved, Miss Mustard Seed’s Antiquing Wax. You can learn more about this product at MissMustardSeedsMilkPaint.com

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After sanding and giving my little F that weathered look, I turned my attention to the base or wooden sign portion of my product.

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I cheated here. I’m a big cheater. And kind of lazy. Well, I was feeling lazy on this day. I didn’t make the wooden sign. I purchased this wooden base from Hobby Lobby. With my coupon, I paid roughly $9 for it. The sign was intended to hang horizontally, but I decided I liked the way it looks hanging vertically instead. I wanted to have the option of hanging in horizontally in the future, so I chose not to remove the rope that was already installed. Instead, I made another rope with materials I already had. I grabbed a roll of jute rope and my handy staple gun and went to town. I started by deciding how long I wanted the rope that would hang my sign. Once I decided that, I cut three pieces of rope at the desired length. I thought braiding it would add nice texture, so I got real fancy and used my socked foot to secure the three rope pieces while I braided away.

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After braiding my ropes, now began the task of attaching the newly braided ropes to the back of my wooden project. I used my staple gun here. Be careful to place either side of your chosen rope hanger at the same spot on each side, so it hangs correctly.

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Once my rope hanger was attached, I place these handy little picture hangers to my letter F and in the areas on my wooden piece, that I planned to attach my F. I chose to use these because I want to be able to remove my F in the future if I chose to change my sign up.

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And that’s pretty much it. Easy? I thought so.

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Questions? Comments? I’d love to hear them, so feel free to send them in the comments.



Wow. Who’s the biggest blogging slacker in the history of bloggers? ::Raises hand:: Sorry y’all. How have I been over the last SIX MONTHS you ask? Life is great, I really can’t complain. I have been a busy little bee, working hard and finding new artistic loves. Ceramics have taken over my free time. I find myself daydreaming about my wheel. I am obsessed with glazes and mud tools. I physically miss the feel of clay under my hands during the day. What can I say? I’m addicted to this new love of mine, ceramics. Our city has a wonderful art resource for all ages and levels of expertise. One of the many classes they offer is beginning ceramics. I enrolled just after the first of the year and have been in love ever since. I had a rough start, lots of lumpy, goofy pots, but I’ve loved it from my first class. I had the privilege of taking group pottery lessons with my cousins and siblings as a small child from the legendary, D.X. Gordy. I remember being fascinated by all that is ceramics even as a small child, but like with most things in life, life just got in the way of my pursuit of it over the years. I took 12 weeks of classes in a group setting and have taken off with it. I am by no means an expert in any capacity, but I am improving and learning every day. I’m making pieces these days that are useful and beautiful and that I’m proud of. It is an incredible feeling to sip a hot cup of coffee from a mug you created from a ball of clay. It is such a rewarding passion, pottery. I purchased my very own wheel a few months back and have enjoyed practicing at home, when I can’t make it to the studio. I’ve come a long, LOOOOONG way since that first night in class in the studio and I still have SO MUCH to learn. I am excited and thankful to have stumbled into this new passion of mine.

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Life outside of the studio is wonderful as well. My wonderful husband just added a HUGE deck off of the back of our house. I know we will enjoy having the added space and the entertaining opportunities more space brings. I foresee myself spending many an evening reading out under the stars on our new deck. The business is so busy. SO. BUSY. We are incredibly thankful to be busy, but it can be a bit exhausting keeping up with everything. I am a proud sister, as my “little” brother will be graduating from the police academy in just a couple of weeks. He has been one of my closest friends, my confidant & my partner in crime since infancy and I couldn’t be prouder of him. I am so excited to see what God has in store for this exciting season of his life. He’s an incredible person and I am thankful he has found something he will enjoy making a living at. My sister gave birth to her fourth little one the end of April. My newest niece is precious and a joy to know. Life is great. We’ve recently returned from visiting family on my husband’s side of the family. Our nephew on his side just turned one and is absolutely precious. We had a great few days of seeing his mom, stepdad, two sisters and their families. We are blessed with great families on both sides. All of the furry kids are well, thankfully and adorable as usual. Stay tuned for updated biographies of our little ‘furry family’. I know, I know, I always say that. I promise, I am typing it as soon as I finish here. :)

Well, I need to go switch the laundry and get ready for a brand new week. I am thankful for a new week, a new chance to get it right, make it count. Until next time, y’all.



Merry (belated) Christmas and Happy New Year! 2014! 2014! What?! I remember being a young kid, 7 or 8 and thinking about the years 2000 as so far in to the future, so far away, so “in forever”. Life is so fast and slow at the same time. 2013 was a challenging year for my family. We definitely had our ups and downs. I am looking forward to a new year! Now to catch you guys up…

Over the last month I had the privilege of caring for a little squirrel, whom I named Weasley. Yes, Weasley as in Ron, George, Fred, Ginnie, Charlie, Bill, Percy, Molly and Arthur. Weasley the squirrel came to us because he was attacked by the neighbor’s dog. :( He was left with a shattered right rear leg and a maimed and broken tail. X-rays revealed his broken bones and after consults with my vet and an exotics specialist, it was decided that cage rest, antibiotics and TLC was our only feasible option for the little guy. That or humane euthanasia. The first day, I was seriously considering euthanasia because of the extent of his injuries, but something inside me didn’t feel at peace about it. There was something about the little feisty bundle of fur that tugged at my soul. The first few days were touch and go, but slowly, steadily, he made progress. The dead tissue of his tail fell off, leaving him with a shortened, hairless “stub”. For about five weeks, Nate and I grew closer to Weasley. He began to trust us more and more, allowing us to pet him. He would even take food right from our hands. I have always appreciated all animals, but until Weasley I never realized just how much personality a squirrel had. Weasley’s favorite game was “wrestle with the human’s long hair”. He would grab on to strands of my hair that I dangled in his vicinity, similar to a cat with a string toy. He was such a riot the way he would rub all over his fresh, clean towels at night. His favorite foods were almonds and raspberries, which he ate every day, along with an assortment of other squirrel-friendly fare. Weasley recovered well and lived about five weeks as a pampered, loved little guy before succumbing to what we assume was a blood clot from his prior injuries that dislodged and traveled to his brain or from complications due to a possible underlying cardiac issue. I found him when I came home from work, snuggled in his bed. He was gone. My heart was broken. I cried and continue to grieve the loss of my little friend. I will always remember him, little Weasley. Such an amazing little animal. What a joy to know and care for he was. Having the opportunity to care for him reaffirmed my belief that all life is sacred. All life is precious and should be protected. Everything from the human lives of you and I to the smallest, little almond-loving squirrel. All life matters. This post is in tribute and remembrance of him. I love you Weasley the Squirrel and I always will. I’ll never forget you and your funny little antics.

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2013 has been a year of ups and downs, heartaches and triumphs. I am thankful to be going in to a new year, thankful for another year on this earth. I am thankful for my life and all that is in it, good and bad. Until next time.



My baby boy, Levi or “Kelly’s Levi Blues” turns eight years old today. I will never forget the first hour that he was mine. I was in love before I got to the Florida line. He is and has always been such a joy and blessing in my life. Levi is energetic, but well behaved, happy go lucky and playful, but more than content to sit by my side. I know everyone says this about their fur kids, but HE IS THE BEST DOG EVER. PERIOD. He has been by my side through some of the worst times in my life and the absolute best times in my life. Here’s to another eight years for my loving, protector and angel with fur, Levi. He has been a joy to know, love and have by my side. He is my best friend, my child and I count my self privileged to care for him.

Levi as a baby!Levi as a wee baby… a little ball of fur!

So Smart!

He is precious!

Such a small little guy!

I absolutely LOVE this one of him as baby boy. So tiny!

Levi at the beach!

Levi having fun at the beach!He is amazing!

 

Unbelievable how amazing he is. An absolute joy. Sleepy Levi!

Sleepy boy!

He's a lady's man!He’s such a lady’s man… what a flirt!

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” – Anatole France

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