Monday

10 Little Things I am Thankful for at Home - Coffee & Conversation




The weather may be something we tend to talk about a lot in Northern Ireland because it can be so changeable but we shouldn't let that have any sway on our feelings.

We should be happy and contented inside or outside, fair weather or wet weather.  

Those types of things may have some bearing on our actions but should not have any control of our feelings.  

We can be determined to find things to enjoy no matter where we are or how much we can manage to do.

So today I'm thinking about some of the small things indoors that make me happy, that put a smile on my face.






10 little Things that I am thankful for  -  not big things  -  but little things that should not always go unnoticed or unappreciated.


Maybe these will remind you to be thankful for the little things too.




1.  These coasters sit on my desk and always bring a smile to my face no matter what I'm working at.






You see I practically always have a mug of coffee with me as I work at the computer and because my desk is white wood I need to be careful not to stain it hence the need for a coaster.





2.  I love to hear Fred enjoying himself on the keyboard or guitar making up some tunes or playing some songs we know, it is very relaxing for both of us.


Pity you don't get the sounds as well.




Fred playing another of his musical "toys" a Cajon.




Thankful for his musical abilities and the joy they bring him.

Thankful for the input these abilities have been in our worship life both at home and in church



3.  These negatives are just an example of the many we have of old photos which may not be in great condition these days.
But we can still enjoy and be thankful for the memories they bring back.





Having old photos and especially the negatives of them today mean that we can get them transferred to digital and store with the more recent ones too.

Now I just have to get enough time to actually do that!




4. This little plaque that is very old ( from sometime before we got married ) still makes me smile. 





Still thanking God for giving him to me.




5.  This picture reminds me of the ordinary everyday laugh out loud fun I can have with family.





Thankful for all the silly, giggling moments with Fred, our kids, grandkids and friends.




6.  If I didn't include my coffee break with one of my various mugs many people would be surprised.

Nowadays most of my coffee breaks are enjoyed along with Fred as he is home more often since he took early retirement. Only thing is he's a tea drinker!

Oh the happiness of anticipating a lovely coffee in this mug I got on our first trip to South Korea and sometimes I even get to enjoy some Korean Coffee when my daughter can bring it over for me from her friend's Cafe.



Oh you thought I was going to forget the mug!



and maybe
A little treat too









7.  Every month I get a notification about this pic I have on Pinterest from a previous post on this blog.  They say it is one of my best performing pins.

  

Really?  

It was such a simple pic to make and is rather a personal pic so why would it be of any interest to others?

But it does make me happy to have this little reminder of the good marriage I am blessed with.







8.  This little gif from last Christmas is always a little reminder for me to be thankful for my family and the happiness and faith we all share.





Thankful for a loving marriage (not taking it for granted)
Thankful for our grown-up children (and spouses) and their love for us and each other
Thankful for our grandchildren and the love shared between them and all of the rest of us.

So I am thankful to be a wife, mother, mother-in-law and grandmother.



9.  A lot of things I do or think about seem to feature my husband in some way. Of course with us living on our own and him having taken early retirement then I suppose a lot of the things that make me happy will involve him.


There are little things like:

 He is not normally one for going to the shop just because I want something but he is the one that mostly goes to the shop because I hate supermarkets and prefer to do online grocery shopping.

 He is wide awake once he gets up but he knows that I am the opposite and like to enjoy my coffee quietly before I'm ready for the decisions of the day.

etc. etc. etc.

So 

It is great that we can be happy together after all these years even in the little things and we are thankful that we have a 43 year marriage. 









10.  How lovely to look out from our home to this view of the sunset over our town.







Here is something to remind me of the assurance we have that the sun will rise and set each new day.


Thankful that we know our God is in control of everything.
















Friday

Little Reminders - Unique Gift Ideas








Searching for that different, unique gift for a special occasion can prove to be a hard, time-consuming, eye-tiring search of the internet for us each time a birthday, anniversary or Christmas comes along!


Do you need some help to pick out something different for the people you want to encourage and show your love?







I like to support smaller businesses who give thought and care to their individual products so today I want to introduce you to 



Little Reminders


This is a small business venture by a young woman and I was very impressed by her designs and ideas which will make lovely gifts.





I noticed that a friend had liked this business on Facebook so I asked my friend about it and got a good recommendation for it.

Later I discovered that my oldest son knew Chloe and her husband so I was delighted to be able to support her.


Let's meet the seller herself - her full name is Chloe Thomas and I asked her a few questions:







Sandra  -  We know your name is Chloe but what is the name of your business?

Chloe  - My Business is called Little Reminders



Sandra  -  I know from your name and from our mutual friend that you are Welsh is that where you are based now for your business?

Chloe  - I'm a welsh - Italian girl, currently living in Hereford as of August this year due to my husband and I taking on a new venture. In January I start bible college for one year (Thanks to your son Jonathan who interviewed me and gave me a place) & my husband became assistant pastor for the second time but this time at a different location which is Life church Hereford. Even though I miss the beach like crazy, I am beginning to fall in love with the natural beauty of the countryside.








Sandra  -  Obviously you will sell to anyone located in the UK but do you also sell internationally?

Chloe  - I don't sell internationally right now but hope to in the near future.




Sandra  -  Where can we go to have a look at your products - Facebook or Etsy or do you have a separate website?

Chloe  - I began with Facebook flash sales originally to see how my products would sell and they did brilliantly. Often when I release a product with limited prints I will sell on Facebook but since the summer I took the plunge and began selling all my products on Esty.
Thankfully after working with a friend for many years who is a professional and local illustrator that runs her own business, I was able to learn many skills/ tips/ tricks from her of running Etsy (of which I am so grateful for). I don't have a website 'yet'. Right now as I am a small business starting out I want to take things one step at a time. The process & the journey is so important and often we feel the need to rush it. I want to enjoy it as much as possible after all "I can do anything, but not everything". Maybe in the future as my little business grows I might take the plunge again and create a website. Stay tuned!










Sandra  -  What gave you the idea for your business?

Chloe  - I finished university 5 years ago after graduating with a illustration degree. Previous to that I had studied for 6 years in art doing various courses. When you get to the end of your degree you are asked to produce a final project and it can be of your choice. I wanted my art to have purpose and meaning. I wanted it not to just be a pretty picture that you could hang on the wall but something that would have depth and be a piece that would encourage others. I wanted it to be for EVERYONE not just those who have a Christian faith. I believe there are no outsiders to the love of Christ.
So I began creating pieces of work and products that would do exactly this, encourage others. Be what it is on the tin 'Little Reminders'. Every day isn't always good, but there is something good in every day and so little reminders was birthed from this very thought. To help remind people of the good things in life that we so often miss because of the negative things that go on in the world.










Sandra  -  Where do you get the inspiration for all your different products?

Chloe  - Some of my products especially the Christmas ones have been based on the countryside since our move.


New Christmas Card Pack


However I literally could get inspired by anything, so its hard pointing out one thing that inspires me. It could be another artist, photography, being out and about and noticing the details of life that often get missed, being with people, something that someone said, a colour could inspire me, buildings, music, reading books, reading the beautiful truths and letters within God's love story, films - I could keep going! Every day is different at what could inspire me and I guess everything around us is inspiration, you just have to choose to stop and notice it and don't forget it (so I have a little note book that I write literally anything and everything down in).




Sandra  -  I was delighted to see this card because of the encouragement it could be especially because this is a blog all about encouragement.







Sandra  -  Are you willing to do bespoke orders?

Chloe  - I have done some bespoke orders in the past and they have been very well received.
Bespoke orders take some time and I want to be able to do them justice. As little reminders is a part time venture and not a full time job currently the time isn't always there and so I mainly concentrate on producing a wide stock range for now.






You can view all of Chloe's products and order at her Etsy shop.

Little Reminders on Etsy





Follow Chloe on Facebook & Instagram to see more photos of her products and behind the scenes of the making process.

Little Reminders on Instagram

and

Little Reminders on Facebook

Feel free to send her a message too as I'm sure she will be happy to answer any questions.











Wednesday

Thankfulness & Happiness go Hand in Hand - A Dose of Encouragement








When you think of Thankfulness what comes to your mind?



When you think of Happiness what comes to your mind?








When my husband and I think of thankfulness we often talk of God's protection over the years.         

       One winter Sunday evening we were driving home on the same road on which we then travelled twice every Sunday to go from our home in Banbridge to the church we attended in Lurgan. The drive takes 20/25 mins depending on traffic but on Sunday evenings there is normally very little traffic on that road.


        A certain section of the road has a few quite significant dips so that as you drive up towards one of these you have no real view ahead and the road is clearly signed to tell drivers about this in advance. So as we drove along in the dark around 8.30pm and came to the slight brow of a hill before one of these dips we suddenly saw several lights of cars coming towards us but as well as this we saw a set of lights coming towards us on our side of the road. 


       This is a country road with a very narrow footpath and hedges or walls etc. so usually no room to manoeuvre. A large lorry (truck for my American friends) was trying to overtake 3 or 4 cars and was still on the wrong side of the road; he had obviously ignored the signs about the dips in the road and also the road markings which clearly showed that no overtaking was allowed on that stretch of road.


        The only thing my husband Fred could do was to swerve in to the side of the road as the lorry tried to cut back into his proper side in front of the lead car. Up until then there had been no break in the narrow footpath but at the exact place that we had to cut in there was a gap in the footpath and in the hedge because there was an entrance to something there. 

Just enough room for our car to get in out of the way as the lorry skimmed past us.


Obviously God had brought us to the right spot at the right time

 and saved our lives.



There are big things in our lives that can cause us to be thankful & happy like this time 
and the other times He has protected us in the car. 

 You can read about these occasions at:
4 Accidents and a ????  (pt1)
4 Accidents and a ????  (pt2)
4 Accidents and a ????  (pt3)
4 Accidents and a ????  (pt4)
4 Accidents and a ????  (pt5)



But there are also the other smaller things everyday that we sometimes forget to be happy about. 

We have had several times when we have been thankful to God because of his hand of protection but so many other times we forget to be thankful for the things that make us happy.  Most of us will have something each day which makes us happy but often we forget to thank God for that (however small) thing He has provided in our life.




Then also we often forget to thank others who in some big or small way help us out.

One example is the time I was happy to have been able to help someone I only knew online, with somethings that I used to have to ask others to help me with.






Isn't that nice that Caroline acknowledged the help I had given her, she didn't need to do that, but thankyous are always appreciated.


Then there are the friends that you make that no matter what happens throughout the years you know they will always be your friends.  The ones who know you for who you really are.  Such a gift to be thankful for.








Who or what are you thankful for & happy about today?


So many times we are drawn to think on the more unpleasant things in life which lead to unhappiness and they can keep us from being thankful for anything when we are in that frame of mind.  






What can we do to keep the right frame of mind and not get into that attitude that can get worse and worse as we dwell on the hurts and unpleasantness caused by others?





 

We can remember that God has not promised us that everything will always be perfect for us, that every day will not be full of happy events, that many days will bring upon us the more unpleasant things in this imperfect world.

 

One of the saddest times in my life was when I miscarried my first pregnancy.

All those years ago most people did not know what to say or how to comfort someone but God sent me someone – not a particularly close friend, not someone who had gone through a similar experience, not someone who was even married.

He sent me someone who simply said they were sorry about what had happened and were praying for me and then they gave me a card with a little poem.  Somehow that card got lost – I just don’t know how or when but then one day I saw the same poem

 




I bought this box and it sits in my study now (empty) but it reminds me to be thankful and happy that God will care for me through the worst of times.


Memories of times when we proved God's comfort and love are GOOD! 




God’s word also reminds us that: 
  • God’s love to us never ends.
  • God’s mercy to us never ends.
  • God’s faithfulness to us never ends.







So let's not forget that:
  • God has promised to be with us at all times, the best and the worst.
  • God has given us His Holy Spirit to guide us in all our days.
  • God is still with us even when we don’t feel we are close to Him.
  • God is still demonstrating His love even if we are not looking for it.









Tuesday

Meditate & Delight - Unique Gift Ideas









Searching for that different, unique gift for a special occasion can prove to be a hard, time-consuming, eye-tiring search of the internet for us each time a birthday, anniversary or Christmas comes along!


Do you need some help to pick out something different for the people you want to encourage and show your love?







I like to support smaller businesses within the UK who give thought and care to their individual products so today I want to introduce you to 



Meditate & Delight


This is a small business venture by a talented girl and I was very impressed by her unique designs and ideas which will make lovely gifts.





Let's meet the seller herself - Katie Wood

Disclaimer:  I have not received any products or money from Katie or Meditate & Delight - this is simply a review of her business because I wished to support her.



Katie tells you about her collections and business here:


Hi, I'm Katie, owner of Meditate and Delight.







I am based in the West Midlands in England. I am a huge lover of God's word and believe in the power of the scriptures. So, around 3 years ago I decided to paint journals and write scriptures on the covers.

I wanted people to have small reminders of an encouraging or uplifting verse each time they used their notebook. Whether at home during quiet time or at work during a meeting, I wanted scripture to be at the forefront of daily life.






Since then, I have begun to produce other products and currently I sell hand-painted journals, cards, vinyl stickers, mugs and t-shirts. Everything with a Christian message. All to bring life-giving truth into our daily environments






I got started when I saw one girl on Instagram painting Bibles.

Nowadays there are loads of people doing this but years ago it was only one or two people doing it. I thought "I could do that" but for me it was less about the 'prettiness' of the Bible, and more about the scripture. So - since it was too expensive to stock Bibles at the start of my business - I decided to do notebooks instead. I wanted scripture to be more prominent and visible. As a reminder of amazing truth. Since then I have expanded to multiple products with scripture on/inside.

(I do paint hardback Bibles, but by request only. This can be done on any hardback (non-shiny) Bible. Many translations are available.)


In terms of inspiration, I get ideas from the scriptures themselves in many cases. Other times I see trends on social media. For example, at the beginning I did more landscape paintings (mountains, beaches) but nowadays I do more florals. The 4 journal designs being released in the Christmas Collection 2020 are all floral designs. Again, I saw stickers everywhere on social media so I did some digital designs and had them printed by a sticker company. They have been very popular.




So far I have added the products to my Etsy Shop here and there, when I have the money/time to create them. However, going forward I will do 4 collections a year - starting with this Christmas Collection 2020, which I am so excited about!

So 4 times a year I will produce and create a collection of various items and release them all at once. Once they are gone, they are gone.


In the Christmas Collection 2020 there are:


  • 4 designs of hand-painted journals - a few of each design are available. They are all floral designs and have scriptures on the front and back.




  • Professionally printed Christmas cards - a pack of 5.





  • Various professionally printed vinyl stickers which are for indoor or outdoor use and are weatherproof so are great to stick on water bottles, notebooks, cars etc.

  • Slogan t-shirts and glass items.





  • Also a variety of ceramic hand-painted Christmas decorations.




The products in this collection are probably my favourites of everything I have ever made.

The collection was released on Tuesday 3rd November.


I do custom, bespoke orders but usually only when people message me and ask. I have taken down the custom order listing from my Etsy shop. I find it easier to produce a variety of hand-painted journals and list them ready to be shipped. But I do get people messaging me asking if I can paint them something specific - either a Bible or a notebook/journal. And I am happy to do that. Depending on the design it takes around 2 weeks to paint and varnish and dry. I create a mock-up digitally and send that to the customer before I start painting for them to see/suggest edits. Once the design is approved, I start painting and that takes around 2 weeks.


I sell within the UK and also internationally and have sent products to America and France and even as far as Mozambique.


You can view all of my products and order at my Etsy shop.

Meditate & Delight on Etsy


Follow me on Facebook & Instagram to see more photos of my products and behind the scenes of the making process.

Meditate & Delight on Instagram

and

Meditate & Delight on Facebook

Feel free to send me a message too and I'm happy to answer any questions.






I hope you enjoyed reading about Katie's unique gifts and if you need any help with your Christmas shopping or for birthday, wedding, anniversary or just those little gifts to say "thinking of you" in these times take a little note of what she has and do look around her shop to see ALL her items.