The Happiness Tag

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A few weeks ago, I received the lovely surprise of being nominated for The Happiness Tag! What made this extra special is that it came from my dear blogging friend, Tonya, who is absolutely delightful! From the first time I visited her blog, Fourth Generation Farmgirl, I could barely pull myself away from reading, and now I eagerly look forward to each new post!

I love reading about life at Green Hill Farm, Tonya’s travel adventures with her husband, and of course, all of her sweet critters! Her sheep, Hamish, is one of my personal favorites — I’ve always wanted to keep sheep as pets! Maybe someday!

A very special thank you to Tonya for her nomination — I’m truly inspired by her kind heart and generosity!

Here are the Rules:

List:

-Five things that make you happy

-Five songs that make you happy

-Five bloggers that make you happy and notify them of your nomination

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Five things that make me happy

1.My wonderful family — spending time with them, laughing with them, and giving them big hugs!

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2.Cooking/baking with my family and friends — and while on the topic of food, chocolate makes me happy!

3.Our animals — they each have their own individual traits that make me smile. Seeing the chickens come running for treats, the bunnies hopping for joy over clover or dandelions and Marcie, our cat, who loves to cuddle!

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4.Enjoying God’s beautiful creation and spending time with Him. The beach, the mountains, a double rainbow perfectly set in the sky. Birds chirping, children laughing, people walking by.

5.Bringing joy to others!

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Five songs that make me happy

Priceless – For King and Country

The River – Jordan Feliz

That’s How You Change the World – The Newsboys

Hold Me – Jamie Grace

Me Without You – TobyMac

Five bloggers that make me happy

(it was so hard to narrow this down to only five bloggers!)

Sadie from Sadie’s Nest 

Claire from Paintbox Mum

Roberta from Chorizo & Thyme

Jasmine from The Richmond Avenue

Asheton Rose from Tales of A Southern Rose

My First Blogiversary!

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With great JOY, today I’m celebrating the very 1st Blogiversary of Life Bellissima!

Wow! Has it really been one whole year? Although in some ways, it feels longer because of all the wonderful experiences I’ve had while blogging!

The very first on my list is all of you!

All the wonderful friends that I have met, laughed with, shared recipes and special memories with and come to love as treasured friends!

Whether baking in my kitchen, hiking up a mountain to look for the perfect Christmas tree, picking cherries on a warm, spring day, experiencing life in the country, recalling amusing stories about our chickens, bunnies, tabby cat, Marcie, or our family, I feel like you’ve been right along with us on our journey, and it’s been a beautiful, wonderful and inspiring first year!

I look forward to many more beautiful blogging years to come — thank you for your friendship, encouragement and kindness!

Now if only we could celebrate together with a big blogiversary cake! 😉

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A Father’s Day Tribute To My Dad

Being Father’s Day weekend, I have naturally been thinking a lot about my Dad. Although I think about my Dad every day. For those of you who are new to my blog, my Dad went to be with our Lord five years ago after a very courageous battle with cancer.

When someone is so very dear to you, who holds such a special place in your heart, where do you even begin? My Dad was amazing! Even though I’m his daughter, I know I’m not exaggerating — everyone loved to be around my Dad! He was a loving husband and dad, he could always make me laugh, he always greeted me with a smile, he was extremely intelligent, but equally humble. He was a gentleman, he was always willing to help others, and I love that he would root for the underdog.

One of my favorite pictures of my Dad standing by his airplane …

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I have so many wonderful stories and memories to share about him! Since it is Father’s Day, I thought it would be appropriate to share some of my favorite times with my Dad — even though there are thousands!

Growing up in California, my Dad worked often worked swing shift. Because he had to commute in traffic, he had to leave for work before I got home from school, and I was already fast asleep when he arrived home — but he made certain that each and every weekend was special! We had a ritual of always getting ice-cream cones, and my Dad always took me to a particular ice cream shop that scooped huge scoops of ice-cream! He always encouraged me to get the double scoop so I could try two flavors, and if I couldn’t finish it, at least I had the wonderful experience of two flavors simultaneously running down my chin!

We made candy together, baked together, ran errands to the car parts store together, and I loved helping him work on his 1971 yellow Volkswagen Beetle! We watched football games, took donuts from the bakery to my grandparent’s house and often went for rides in the “bug” (Volkswagen Beetle) together with my Mom.

Years later, when I was old enough to drive, my Dad taught me how to drive stick-shift in the Volkswagen, then gave me the car when I turned eighteen. I still have that cute little car and think of my Dad each and every time I drive it!

On one particular outing, he was teaching me to shift gears on hills without stalling the car or rolling it backwards. Always encouraging and good-natured, my Dad stayed calm and had me laughing through my tears as I would stall the car more often than I could count! When I finally got the hang of it, my Dad rejoiced with me. Bringing joy to others was one of my Dad’s greatest gifts.

~A happy heart makes the face cheerful … Proverbs 15:13

Dad and I on my Wedding Day …

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God truly blessed me with such a wonderful Dad, and I am forever thankful. I love and miss him so much, and I rejoice knowing that one day we will see each other again!

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

Happy Father’s Day, Dad — you’re the best!

 

That’s Not Hay in My Hair – Book Review

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Written by the talented young author, Juliette Turner, That’s Not Hay in My Hair is the endearing true story of a young girl and her mom who move from the hustle and bustle of New York City to the wide-open spaces of a 300-acre ranch in Texas.

Together, this delightful mom and daughter team experience the joys and adventures of ranch life — along with Longhorn cattle, horses, dogs and a cat! Beautifully-written, Ms. Turner draws you in from the very first page, weaving together a combination of laughter, tears and inspiration to the very last page. I had a difficult time putting this book down, and actually wished I could continue reading more about their life on the ranch. Her writing has me longing to take my family on a Texas vacation!

From kindly neighbors who live several miles away to visits from the author’s grandparents, I felt as though I had met them all and was visiting the great state of Texas with all its charm and hospitality!

The recommended age for readers is age 8-12, but I completely disagree — I believe readers of all ages, especially those who have a heart for animals, will thoroughly enjoy this book!

*In exchange for my honest review, I was given a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

*Photos courtesy of Google images

The author, Juliette, with her mom, Janine

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The Joy of Chickens

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It’s been almost two years since we came home with seven fluffy bundles in a small cardboard box. Little did we know what a wonderful experience it would be to welcome Chickaletta, Henrietta, Apple Bloom, Cinnamon, Ariel, Midge and Rosa to our family! We were excited, for sure, but little did we know how sweet and endearing chickens could be!

Naturally, I could start by saying that we love our chickens for the wonderful bounty of eggs they supply us with, and that would be 100% true! It’s still a delight to check the nesting box each day and find a beautiful arrangement of tan and brown-hued eggs.

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But the love doesn’t stop there — the girls, as we call them, bring so much joy! Their almost-animated expressions, whimsical antics and inquisitive nature make us smile and laugh each and every day! As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, the hens might have their squabbles, but they always remain extremely loyal. If one gets separated while out foraging, she will call for her sisters, with growing intensity, until they are re-united.

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The hens greet us cheerfully each morning  — unless, of course, the weather is exceptionally cold and snowy, and with that I can completely sympathize. I love how they  answer and immediately come running to, “here, girls!”, “here, honey”, “here, chick chicks, and even “here, kitty kitty” when I’m calling our cat. When any one of us are outside, the chickens will gather around — content to spend time with us, sit next to us on a picnic blanket or follow us through the yard. They are especially delighted if we’ve brought them one of their favorite treats — oatmeal, fresh fruit or maybe a side dish of pasta.

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I love watching the chickens forage out in the yard free-range and seeing their excitement when they find something particularly wonderful! Like clock work, they will come waddling back as the sun begins to set — perhaps after spending time in the grape vines  or near the fruit trees. They are undoubtedly very full and content as they walk back to the coop like best friends, hopping onto their perch as they settle down with their soft murmurs and whistles.

And seeing their contentment, their joy in the simplicity of a warm spring day or a cool summer evening, their delight in a cluster of grapes or a bowl of oatmeal with sliced banana in turn brings me much joy!

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Signs of Spring

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From blossoming fruit trees to buzzing honey bees, the signs of spring are everywhere …

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The beauty of God’s creation abounds … what a wonderful season to experience, enjoy and explore!

Blogger Recognition Award

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I want to extend my sincere thanks to Katie at Quirky and Wonderful for nominating me for the Blogger Recognition Award! What a delightful surprise! From delicious recipes to beautifully-expressed inspiration, Katie’s blog always brings encouragement and joy to my day! I’m blessed to call her my friend, and I hope you will visit her lovely blog often!

Rules for the Blogger Recognition Award:

  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a post to show your award. Attach the award to the post.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give a piece of advice or two to new bloggers.
  • Select up to 10 other blogs you want to give the award to.
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Starting Life Bellissima — Living Life Beautifully:

I have always enjoyed writing, and starting a blog became a way for me to share what is near and dear to me — family, faith, organic living/eating. In essence, it is my joy and desire to share with you God’s many blessings! I started my blog nearly a year ago, and I never dreamed what a huge blessing it would be to me! I have met so many wonderful people and many have become very dear friends from all around the world!

A little advice for new bloggers:

If I could give one piece of advice to new bloggers, it would be to write from your heart. Write about what is near and dear to you, and enjoy the creative process!

My nominees:

First of all, I appreciate all of you! It’s very hard to narrow this down to only a handful of bloggers, and I sincerely hope to highlight many more in the future!

 

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We have been enjoying refreshing rain showers today — as it was getting close to sunset, the rain gracefully stopped, the birds came out to sing and a full rainbow appeared in the sky.

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Meet Marcie – Part Two

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Slowly but surely, our remodel started taking shape, and we were able to make the move into our first house. The long hours finally paid off, and Marcie was always there to greet us, keep us company while we worked and put a smile on my face.

Time went by, and a little over three years later, we were over the moon with joy to welcome our first daughter! Marcie loved sitting next to Aviah in her stroller, curling up on the couch by her and watching her as we sat out in the yard and played.

I often took Aviah for walks in her stroller — we loved going for walks together, and as the post office was only one block away, we could easily walk there two or three times during the week. Marcie always wanted to go with us, but I was apprehensive of her crossing the street. If I didn’t take her back home, she somehow knew how to hide and swiftly catch up to us.

One beautiful, sunny afternoon while waiting in line at the post office, I could hear soft meows and as the door would open, the meows became louder and more urgent. Marcie seemed to be calling us, and as I turned my head around and smiled, customers would inquire if that was my cat. Why yes it is! When we returned outdoors, Marcie had a mixed expression of relief to see us and pure delight at all the attention she was receiving from most everyone who passed by her.

Time went by and again, we were over the moon with joy to welcome our second daughter. Marcie has always loved the girls, and her desire to join us on family walks continued as we made our move to the country. With the exception of cold winter days, if the girls are headed outdoors to play, Marcie will watch them from the window, then head straight to the door to go out with them.

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Although I wondered how Marcie would react to seven chickens and numerous rabbits joining the family, I had the feeling she would do fine. She has always had a very calm, loving disposition and only seems irritated if another cat roams through the yard. She would watch the young chicks in their brooder like a mother hen, and enjoys the company of a bunny as long as the he/she doesn’t become too rambunctious. In the photo below, Marcie reached her paw out to Cashmere, and the two of them sat contentedly for over an hour.

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In two months, our sweet little Marcie will be turning 15 years old. We’re overjoyed that she is still extremely healthy at her age and enjoying country life with us. These days she moves around a little slower, and it takes some time for her to climb up in her favorite apple tree, but she can still be as playful as the little kitten we once found so long ago.