Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Our Fall Vacation To South Dakota, Day 3, Part III: Roughlock Falls

This is a continuation of a travel series to South Dakota.  To start at the beginning, go HERE.  The rest of the posts in chronological order are  HEREHEREHERE,  HERE and HERE!

In last week's travel post, I showed two waterfalls in Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota.  This week I'm sharing the third one we visited:  Roughlock Falls.

Roughlock Falls is a multi-tiered water fall that is so charming it looks like it belongs in a Tolkien story book.  I kept waiting for the fairies and other creatures to pop out from behind all the green moss.

The unusual name of the falls come from the pioneer days when pioneers traveling down the canyons use to lower their wagons down the drop by rough locking their wheels to prevent them from rolling away.

You can get to the falls by hiking the Roughlock Falls trail which is located right behind Spearfish Canyon Lodge.  It is a lovely one mile (one way) hike.  You can also get to the falls by driving a gravel road and hiking a short distance from the parking lot.  Of course, my husband and I chose to walk.  We were surprised at how almost everyone but us drove to see the falls.  My, the beauty they missed!

The trail gives you beautiful views of the canyon walls, and you also pass a large pond with water so clear you can see the fish!

There is a bridge over the pond that you can walk out on to see the fish.  I couldn't believe all the fish in this pond!  Do you see the fish in the pictures below?

Most of the path is a dirt path through the forest, but eventually you get to the civilized part, where the other hikers who cheated and drove up to the falls will now meet up with you.  Here is a boardwalk leading to viewing decks of the falls.  I loved this pine tree bent over the path.

The falls are truly stunning to see. The falls is created by Little Spearfish Creek.  The creek falls down a spectacular chasm, then tumbles down fifty feet in a series of lacey cascades. To me, that was the most beautiful part, the "lacy cascades".  It was just such a magical and beautiful falls.   The green moss covering all the rocks surrounded by water was just so pretty!

After our hike,  I was tired and cold, and I so badly wanted a nice hot cup of coffee, tea, or hot cocoa, so we stopped at the Latchstring Restaurant to warm up and relax a bit.  But all they had to drink was plain black coffee and I was really in the mood for a fancy coffee drink.  So, I ordered a bowl of Buffalo Stew instead.  I never had buffalo before and I wanted to try it.  It was a little tougher than cow beef, but it was good.

After my nice hot bowl of Buffalo Stew, we got back in our car and drove to our next hotel for the night.  The town had a small movie theater, so after dinner we decided to relax and see a movie.  The theater had reclining seats, I can't tell you how good it felt to recline back and relax after a long day of hiking!

Or, maybe my husband can tell you how nice it was.  :)  A picture is worth a thousand words!

And that concludes Day 3, Spearfish Canyon.  Next week I'll start Day 4, beginning with a stop at Pactola Dam & Reservoir.  

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

I Found A New Hobby: "Bible Journaling"

I started blogging in 2008 and I was strictly a paper-crafting blogger.  I used my blog to advertise my cards and then I would be asked to be on digital stamp design teams where I could get "free stuff" to make more cards.  I also worked as a "Stampin-Up!" demonstrator.  Eventually, I tired of all the extra work of being on design teams, and I had enough stamp stuff to open my own craft store, so I quit all my design teams and quit being a demonstrator.  I did keep making cards for years for a card ministry at my church.  When I left that church, my ministry stopped.  Now I only make cards for family and friends for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc.

I started seeing women coloring in their Bibles a few years ago.  My first reaction was "Are you out of your mind?  You're ruining your Bible!  Now, you can barely read it!".  But eventually I became intrigued.  I wasn't making many cards anymore, yet I still had an entire room filled with every crafty thing any woman could ever need.  It seemed it was going to waste.  I needed a new hobby.  So I decided to delve into this strange new world of Bible Journaling by buying a Bible that was actually designed for it.  I chose the "Inspire Bible" in the NLT version.  It's available on Amazon, but I bought mine at Hobby Lobby.  They let me use a coupon on it, so I only paid $20.00!

I should back up a bit and explain that because of the terrible church environment I was in for many years before finding the wonderful church I am attending now, my devotional life was sadly lacking.  I found it difficult to get into God's Word every day.  I went to Bible college, I know every book, every chapter of the Bible inside and out.  If someone started quoting scripture to me, I could finish the sentence for them.  I was bored in my spiritual life.  Just reading God's Word wasn't enough for me anymore.  I didn't have the excitement I used to have when hearing the Word of God.  I felt very spiritually dry and I wasn't get much out of reading the Bible any more.

After I bought my new "Inspire" Bible, it was so beautiful I was afraid to touch it.  I wasn't sure what to do or where to begin.  So I bought another book "The Complete Guide To Bible Journaling" (also available on Amazon). In this book,  I read the story of Shanna Noel, the pioneer of Bible Journaling. It goes as follows:

"On one otherwise ordinary Sunday in 2014, Shanna opened her journaling Bible and, instead of writing a response to her pastor-husband's sermon, sat down with it at her art desk and went to work with her art tools.  After she finished, Shanna was afraid that what she's done was wrong. "I was worried I would be judged," she recalls....she worried what people would think of her if she went public.  Would they condemn her for defacing the Word of God?  "I loved this new art form, but I was really afraid to share," Shanna says. What God was telling her was clear, however.  So she took a leap of faith and published photos of her work on her blog, which quickly went viral.  At first Shanna was scared of the sudden publicity.  But then she realized that she was being inundated not with judgment, but with enthusiasm and support.  "I opened my e-mail and found it flooded with notes from women just like me who were visual learners and were excited about this idea on how to connect their faith and creativity" Shanna says."  

Reading Shanna's story in the book was eye-opening for I certainly could relate, but there was one sentence in particular which really hit home with me.  It was when Shanna said "'Once I started Bible journaling, everything changed for me.  I was hungry for the Word like I had not experienced before'  she says, "I believe it was because I was interacting with the Word in the way God had created me, as a creative person'".

After reading Shanna's bio I could certainly relate.  I am definitely an artistic person and a visual learner.  So after finishing the guide book to Bible Journaling, I very tentatively plunged in.  I decided to just start at the very beginning, and work my way through the Bible page by page till the end.  I thought it would be exciting to see my growth as an artist by doing it this way.  But I think I will also see how I've grown spiritually as well.

The "Inspire" bible has many pre-printed designs that you can color in.  But it also has lots of blank pages with wide margins so you create your own designs.  I started at the very beginning of this Bible, before the chapters even begin, to practice my coloring skills.  Here is the opening cover.  I used a mix of coloring tools from pencils, markers, gel pens, to water colors.

The Bible's next page has a spot where you can write the date and a message.  It'll be interesting when I'm all done to see how long it took me and how much I've grown since writing this letter to myself.

Some of the coloring pages are very simple, and some are very difficult.  This was one of the difficult ones.  It took me days to complete it.  I colored it with gel pens.

I've never been a fan of water coloring as I just can't seem to master the skill.  Most of this page is water colored.  The sentiment is colored in with glitter pens.  And if you're wondering how do you use water colors with the thin pages of a bible, you have to prep the page with Gesso first:  another thing I learned from the "Complete Guide To Bible Journaling" book.

Of course, I made a lot of mistakes in my pretty new Bible.  I was devastated.  I think that has been the hardest thing for me with this new hobby.  If you mess up a card, scrapbook page, sewing project, whatever, you can tear it apart and start over.  But not with Bible Journaling, your mistake is there forever.  I had to learn, that mistakes are OK, and not to fret over them.  The entire point of Bible Journaling is to grow closer to God through making art, not making the art perfect.

If you follow me on Instagram, whenever I finish a bible page I post it to my Instastories.  I am totally shocked at how many views (over 400!)  I get every single time I post a Bible journal page.  People are really interested in this new hobby!  I think it's more popular now than card making.

When I finished reading the book of Genesis and I started Exodus, I learned from my coloring mistakes and did a much nicer job.  See!  I'm better already!  That didn't take long.  ha-ha!

I should mention that when I am coloring in the pre-colored images I'm not just using my bible as a coloring book.  I read a few chapters first, and study it carefully.  Then, as I am coloring, I mediate on what I read and try to memorize the verse I am coloring.

Once I got comfortable coloring the pre-colored images in my bible, I started to create my own designs.  I read the page, and whatever strikes me or really speaks to me in that chapter, I make an image out it.  Here I was reading how God provided quail and manna for the Israelites in the desert.   I was struck by the comment that God gave every person "just enough".  Not too much, not too little, but just enough.  How often in life do we always want more, when really, we already have everything we need.

I used a bird stamp from Inkadinkado for the main image, then I hand wrote what I was thinking and colored everything in.  I messed up the background, but I still love this page.  See, I'm learning to love and live with my mistakes!

I've been Bible Journaling for several months now and I can say that I feel just like Shanna.  I LOVE to read God's Word now.   I look forward every single day to spending time in God's word.  In fact, I get upset if it's a busy day (like today) and I never make it downstairs to my craft room.  I feel I have really grown spiritually because I am not just reading God's word but I'm digging deep, exploring,  and mediating on it.  My husband, who in the beginning thought this was a silly fad, has also noticed such a difference in me.  He now agrees that everyone learns differently, and God teaches everyone differently.

I have many more Bible Journaling pages to share with you, so you can watch my progress both as an artist and spiritually.  If I don't have a card or another craft to share on Tuesday, I will share my Bible Journaling pages.

So what about you?  What do you think of this new hobby?  Would you ever try it?  I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Olive and Chambray

Have you ever been out and about and seen a woman wearing the cutest outfit and thought to yourself "That looks really cute together!  I'll have to try that myself".   That is exactly how today's outfit came about.  I was sitting in the car while my husband pumped gas into our car, and I saw a woman wearing a chambray top with olive jeans.  I was so inspired by this combo, I tried it myself.

For jewelry, I chose this western inspired beaded bracelet I picked up on my last vacation to South Dakota.

For footwear I chose these cute booties from JCPenney (old).  I rolled the end of my pants so the detail on my booties could be seen.

A simple stone necklace completed the accessories.

I wore a beige tank underneath my chambray shirt.  I left it open a bit so the beige color could be seen.  The color of the tank matched the color of my shoes tying the entire outfit together.

My chambray top I bought at JCPenney last year to garden in.  I was tired of slathering on chemicals everyday to protect me from the sun and insects, so I bought a few inexpensive long sleeve tops to wear instead.  However, when the tops arrived, they were so cute I couldn't bear to wear them in the garden!  So, I'm back to slathering chemicals on my body.  ha ha.

My olive jeans I received from Stitch Fix this past fall.  I just love olive green jeans and I find them so versatile.  If you don't already own a pair of olive green jeans, I highly recommend you invest in a pair.

After I saw the woman at the gas station I googled chambray shirts with olive jeans and there were a plethora of pins!  I guess this is a not a new color combo at all and I am late to the party.  Here are a few of my favorites from Pinterest.

I like the idea of adding a white cardigan and blanket scarf.  The day I wore my outfit was a warmer winter day, but I'll have to remember this for when the temps drop (like now!)

Photo Source

In this next pin the model is wearing a white tee with a denim jacket left open with sneakers.  My look is similar to hers, except I buttoned the lower half of my shirt as I am always trying to conceal my tummy.  I also switched out the sneakers for booties as I generally don't like the way I look in sneakers.  I love them on everyone else, but when I wear them I think I look frumpy.  

Photo Source

And finally, a look very similar to mine except she is not wearing a tank underneath.  This look is the one the lady at the gas station wore.  And she looked almost as cute as this model too!

Photo Source

So what do you think?  Is olive and chambray a look you'd ever like to try?  I'd love to hear from you.

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Keeping Warm In OTK Boots

When the weather gets very cold, the Over The Knee Boots come out.    I have to be honest and say that even though I own three pairs of OTK boots,  I still don't feel comfortable wearing them.  But, they are so, so warm!  They are perfect for frigid weather, you know when it's so cold out your legs freeze through your jeans.  But not if I have OTK boots on,  I don't feel the cold at all.  So I put on my brave face, and wear my OTK whenever the temps drop to the single digits, because these babies keep my legs warm.

When I appeared before my husband for our photo shoot wearing this outfit he said "That's what you're wearing?  It's all old stuff".  I replied,  "Well, I like to show new items but I also feel my fashion posts are about what I really wear, and this is what I really wore this week!".  So yes, everything in this outfit is a year old or more.  The classic cable knit sweater is my go-to sweater for really cold weather and it is super warm!

I purchased these boots from Agaci last year and they have really held up well.  I didn't want to spend a lot of money on OTK boots because I wasn't sure how much use I would get out of them.

For jewelry, I kept it simple and wore western style bracelets I picked up on my vacation to South Dakota.

I do recommend purchasing OTK boots that tie in the back, as my first pair did not and I always have a problem with them slipping down.

So what about you?  Do you have any go-to pieces that you like to wear when the weather gets frigid?  I'd love to hear from you.

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Our Fall Vacation To South Dakota, Day 3, Part II: Bridal Veil Falls and Little Spearfish Falls

 This is a continuation of a travel series to South Dakota.  To start at the beginning, go HERE.  The rest of the posts in chronological order are  HEREHERE, HERE, and HERE!

On day three, after spending the morning at Mt. Moriah Cemetery, my husband and I headed to Spearfish Canyon to see some waterfalls.  We saw three waterfalls in one day, but I will only cover two in this post and I will share the third waterfall next week.

Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls is the easiest to find as you can see it from a viewing deck right off the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway (US Hwy 14A).  There is no hiking involved unless you are more adventurous like my husband and I are, and climb off the viewing deck to a closer look of the falls.

This waterfall is 60 feet tall.  The fall's namesake can be seen in the shape of the water as it falls over the edge and thinly veils the limestone like Victorian lace.

Below the viewing deck is a lovely babbling brook that brave souls like my husband can cross to get closer to the bottom of the falls.  I was content with just staying near the water's edge and admiring all the beauty around me.

The second falls we visited in Spearfish was my favorite!

Little Spearfish Falls

Little Spearfish Falls is a GORGEOUS trail and the falls are so pretty too.  You can see the top of the falls right from the trail parking lot, but barely.  You really must take the short little hike down 100 feet to see this beautiful water fall.  And the hike is so lovely, that is worth seeing too!

You pick up the nature trail just behind Latchstring Inn.  The trail is a 3/4 mile loop that crosses over Spearfish Creek where I got the stunning views pictured below.

With the exception of the rocky decent, once you cross the bridge over the stream the trail is paved. And, did I tell you how GORGEOUS this trail is?  Oh my gosh, just look at these amazing trees.  I felt I was in a fairy land it was so pretty.

This waterfall is only 40 feet tall, but I just thought it was such a beautiful waterfall because of its stunning surroundings.  We were there just as the colors were beginning to change making it more magical than ever.

The Scenic Byway is so pretty!  Even if you're not much of a hiker,  you will enjoy seeing this area.  This picture was taken right from car.  The third waterfall, which I will cover next week, you can also drive too (or you can hike a mile like we did) and just walk a short distance from your car to see.

Next week:  Roughlock Falls Trail and Falls!

Have a Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!