Called To Protect Book Review

Oh, what a book!

Lynette Eason has done it again and made me chew my fingers to the quick.
"Called To Protect" is the second book in her "Blue Justice" series and it does not disappoint.


 In the story we follow Officer Chloe St. John and her K9 Hank a Dutch Shepherd.  She is from a big close-knit law enforcement family.

We are dropped into our story that feels like it was just pulled off of the ten o'clock news and off we go on a high impact adventure where the stakes are high and there is no promise you will make it through alive.


Follow Chloe and her siblings as they take on a human trafficking ring that just might be involved in her cousin's disappearance just six months before. The story is packed with twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

I really enjoyed this book! It was suspenseful and kept me guessing through the whole book. The characters are well written and believable- and quickly become dear friends as you journey through the book. It gave me insight into a world I'm not familiar with.

Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Eason's book. You won't be sorry!

Called To Protect
by Lynette Eason
Find HERE on Amazon

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Simple Fall Farmhouse Mantel

By now you've probably caught on that cotton and antiques are some of my favorite things to decorate with- so of course, I used them both in our fall decor last year. You can check out our whole fall tour last year HERE

I wanted to keep it very simple and neutral last year so we went with creams and browns with a pop of green - not your traditional "fall" colors but we wanted to try something different in here. 


Antiques are so fun to work with because they tell a story, this gorgeous frame is handmade. We found it originally with a gorgeous painting of a child that had at some point come out of the frame. We placed it on our mantel with this beautiful cotton wreath we picked up at Hobby Lobby. 

Oh in case you are wondering we are planning on putting the painting back in, and hanging it in our guest room [Pictures to come!].


On either end of the mantel, we placed these beautiful candle holders. I love how it matches the browns in our wreath and garland.


We also placed white pumpkins on either side and little pumpkins from Walmart we painted with chalk paint. I believe the color was Alaskan Tundra.



Above the antique frame, we also hung our cottage sign - you can check out how we made it HERE.


Looking for some yummy fall decor for your Cottage? Check out our store HERE



My Favorite Autumn Finds On Antique Farmhouse

You guys I've been bad... after my trip to get eggs in what turned out to be pouring rain [You can read that whole adventure HERE] I decided that a cup of coffee and some internet shopping was in order... Never mind that it was 4 PM I got that cup of coffee- and it tasted AMAZING by the way. 

So I've been "window" shopping AKA drooling at Antique Farmhouse - if you haven't been introduced to that little patch of heaven PLEASE allow me to introduce you. So anyway I spent an hour or so going through their amazing merchandise and drooling -totally going to blame that on my dog *Wink*. 

They have so many beautiful pieces I could see finding a forever home at the Cottage, oh Mr. Cottage... 

Farmhouse Fall Decor


So I thought I would share some of my favorite finds with you! Are you ready to drool? I've linked all the products to the website so you don't have to wonder around drooling more than absolutely necessary, but don't worry affiliate links cost you nothing extra while helping bloggers like us to keep bringing you great content.

Fall Harvest Wreath

Pumpkin Pinecone Garland

Fall Harvest Cone Bouquet

Decorative Pumpkins and Gourds

Tree Slices

Decorative Tin Pumpkins

Primitive Wood Pumpkins

Rustic Lanterns

Decorative Pumpkins

AntiqueFarmHouse 

Pumpkin Buckets

Autumn Pumpkin Garland

Lanterns

Pumpkin Pancake Recipe

We have pumpkin on our mind so we did a bit of experimenting this morning! Out came pumpkin pancakes with pumpkin spice syrup (recipe coming soon!). These pancakes are absolutely delicious! The perfect mix of fall flavors in yummy pancake form. 

Fall Breakfast Food

Ingredients: 

2 tablespoons raw sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
1 cup of organic flour
1 1/4 teaspoon of non-aluminum baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
2  free-range cottage eggs
1 cup of cream, half and half or sour cream
1/2 cup milk

Related Article: Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

Fall Breakfast Recipe

Directions:

Place dry ingredients starting with flour in a mixing bowl. Add your eggs (beaten) sour cream milk, and pumpkin, to the top and let sit 5 -6 minutes. You will start to see the cream or sour cream and eggs reacting to the leavening. This will make your cakes more fluffy. Gently fold in the ingredients. Do not over mix. Cook on an oiled griddle on medium heat.  When bubbles form on top and pop making air holes, flip your pancake. When finished keep on a plate in a warm oven until all are done and ready to serve. These are amazing with strawberries sliced on top and whipped cream.


There Is A Lesson In The Storm

The wind buffets your face, drawing tears to our eyes with its harsh brutality. It mocks us as another wave draws near threatening to devour you. Your hands strain at the oars in a useless attempt against the power of the storm. Your raw hands tremble, and your soul is weary, your heart aches.

God, I thought this was your will...

You will your arms to move just one more time, but you can't see the shore anymore. You're lost in the fury of the storm.


Where did I go wrong...

It looks hopeless.
You want to give up.
You're tired. Oh so tired

How did I miss you...

Your heart is as weary as your hands.
Your tears mix with the rain invisible in the deluge.

Didn't you call me here?

Sister, there is a purpose in your storm! He hasn't forgotten you. You aren't lost in the waves. He sees you! This is NOT the end of your story. He IS still working.

Related Article: There Is A Purpose In The Storm

Throw your hands in the air and praise Him in your storm- He was already working on the outcome before this storm was ever on your radar.

Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them... Mark 6:45-48A NIV

He saw them straining at the oars... He saw them. Jesus saw them. Even when they felt alone, forgotten, abandoned. HE SAW THEM. He knew their fears, He saw their panic, He knew their terrified words. The storm wasn't a surprise to Him.

Sometimes God lets us journey into a storm to teach us about Himself. In much, the same way that He used Jacob's rock pillow to teach Jacob that He had been with him all along our storms serve as a testament that He has always been there.

The wind doesn't always blow in the direction God sends us. Often it blows against us, forcing us to strain against it. You see if it was easy, we wouldn't need Him. If it was easy we could do it on our own. If it was easy, we would ignore the lesson in it.

Sometimes the wind against, tells you your going the right way. It's there to show us that you need Him, that we can't do it in our own power. If the wind was with us, we wouldn't need Him to step into our storm and speak peace to the winds and order the waves to be still.


It takes faith to keep rowing when you can't see the shore on the other side. It takes Faith to keep going, to keep rowing when you are tired. It takes faith to keep rowing when you want to give up. It takes faith to keep rowing when the storm is raging all around you and your life is falling apart. It takes faith to keep rowing toward His promise when doing so brings you further into the storm. It takes faith to trust what He's told you, and ignore what you see.

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake... Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Matthew 14:25A & 29B NIV

You won't die in the middle of the storm during the night- because He promised to meet you on the other side. How often do we forget what He's said when we see the storm raging?

How often do we look at the circumstances around us, and lose sight of the promise that He's already on the other side, He's already seen the end of your story?

As soon as we take our focus on the storm and put it on the circumstances we sink. Your help is already on the way. He sees you! You are not forgotten. Hold on to His promise.

Sometimes your greatest testimony is that you went through the storm, that you went through the fire, and you don't smell like smoke.

The truth is it's not important what happened when Peter stepped out of the boat, it's not important what happened all night while they labored against the storm trying to get to Jesus. What's important is what happened when Jesus went out to them and got in the boat-

Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, Mark 6:51 NIV


Your storm isn't significant- because your help is on the way. Your daddy who created the world is on his way out on the water to order your storm to be still. Remember the last time you didn't think you'd make it? Remember the last time He provided for you? Remember when you wanted to end it all and He wrote across the sky in the flaming colors of a sunset LIVE. That is significant!

The last time in the bible Jesus calmed the storm, was with His words. He spoke and the wind and the wave submitted. This time, He got in the boat and the wind died. All we need is His presence. He is above the storm. He commands the wind and the wave.

He needed a situation to teach them His Sufficiency. We say He is all we need, but I don't think we truly understand that. So He used the storm, just like He did the loaves just a few chapters back to teach us about Himself.

for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened. Mark 6:52 NIV

 He took something insignificant from a little boy that was so insignificant according to the world that he wasn't even counted among those who were there and He did something amazing with it. But sometimes we witness the miracle and miss the significance.

It's hard to see the significance of the season you are journeying through when you are going through the storm. It's easy to get caught up in the un-important and miss what He is teaching us. It's easy to forget about all the times He has provided for us when we find ourselves in the storm.

The lesson of the loaves was that He is all you need. HE is the bread. He will sustain you.

He is the water in your dry places.
He is the balm in your broken places.
He is your sustenance in the weary places.
He is your protector in the dark places.
He is your shelter in the stormy places.
He is your hope in your hopeless places.
HE IS WITH YOU.


The same God that was with you on the mountaintop is with you in the midst of the storm.

The disciples witnessed the miracle but missed the significance of the miracle. The miracle wasn't just full bellies, He didn't feed the people just so they would know what He could do. He did so they would know what He was. The miracle isn't just what He does for you, but that you see who He is.

He has saved you time after time after time. What has He save you for? You have a purpose on this earth. You have a calling. He put you here to do something. He's not done with you.

At the end of this, you'll be on the shore- you'll be in Bethesda. You can't die in the middle of the storm in the dead of night because He promised he'd meet you on the other side.


Stop worrying about the stuff He's already worked out. He spoke a rock into existence so that one day Jacob could lay His head on it and wake up aware that God had never left Him. Stop doubting what you've seen Him do over and over again. He's got you.

He's been with you all along.
Through every storm.
Every time you wanted to give up.
Every time you've been hurt.

When you are in the stormy season, it's easy to believe that the wind will break you... but He won't let it. Your story doesn't end in brokenness. He isn't done with you yet! Your story ends with the baskets full. He's coming. Your help is on the way and He is faithful. So praise Him in the storm.

Stop listening to the wind. Take the basket full from the last time He provided and remember it while the storm rages. Because He is with you in the storm and He's all you need.

Our Cozy Fall Living Room

We shot the living room yesterday between clouds, canning and video calls with our dear friends in Sierra Leone (also avoiding getting on the same friends live video makeup tutorial- it always happens when I've been out in the garden all morning without a shred of makeup).

The lighting was not nice to us but after a 30-minute fight that involved snapping photos while the sun was out and moving studio lights around to banish shadows, I think it came out pretty nice.

Farmhouse Decorating, Fall Decor, Cottage Style

I had so much fun with the mantel! It's really different then what we normally do, but I really love how it came out.

Farmhouse Decorating, Fall Decor, Cottage Style

We moved our gorgeous chalkboard from Home Goods over here and laid it on its side. On either side of that, we place white pumpkins - these ones are actually faux pumpkins because I didn't want to put to much weight on the mantel. On the outside, we have the bottom half of my grandmother's butter churn filled with dried hydrangeas from our garden and on the other side, we put our antique coffee urn filled with cotton stems.

Farmhouse Decorating, Fall Decor, Cottage Style

 We used one of our cotton bowl garlands and then added this adorable galvanized blessing banner we found at Walmart -Have I told you how much I love galvanized letters? I think we picked it up for $5. I love how Walmart -at least ours- are starting to carry more farmhouse themed decor!

Farmhouse Decorating, Fall Decor, Cottage Style

You may remember that white trunk from our Antique Yardsale haul a few months back, we moved it in front of the fireplace -it's still to warm to use it-. We added a couple adorable little pumpkins and a stack of antique bibles.

Farmhouse Decorating, Fall Decor, Cottage Style

Above it all, we have the Cottage sign we made last year. Find the tutorial HERE. Someone just today told me they love how we used different fonts for it. I kind of chuckled, because that was completely an accident, I hadn't even realized that I had done the three last letters all in CAPS until it was dry and I was getting ready to hang it. At first, it drove me absolutely nuts, but now I've come to love it.

Farmhouse Decorating, Fall Decor, Cottage Style

I think this is my favorite shot from the whole shoot! The galvanized words make my heart happy! We found the galvanized harvest sign at Hobby Lobby on our last trip, it was completely unplanned but when I saw it I knew it needed to come home with us. It found it's forever home for the next couple months right here over our chalkboard.

Farmhouse Decorating, Fall Decor, Cottage Style

This is where our chalkboard use to hang since we move it we had to come up with something else for this area. We chose this beautiful sunflower art and a lovely cotton bowl wreath. Sunflowers in a black crock brought a bright pop of color to this little table. We also hung this beautiful handpainted guard done by the amazingly talented Ms. Beverly. Check out her work HERE.

Farmhouse Decorating, Fall Decor, Cottage Style

We ended up moving our military panoramics to this wall so the afternoon sun wouldn't be directly on them. We also moved the cedar trunk here and placed the antique suitcase I picked up at the same yard sale as the white trunk on top. The prayer chair from the same yardsale also found a new home over here with a beautiful pumpkin we picked up at Aldi. They had a great deal on them the last time we were there so we bought a couple.

Cozy Fall Living Room

Related Article: 2017 Fall Home Tour

Farmhouse Decorating, Fall Decor, Cottage Style

We moved the couches around again and changed the slipcovers to cream instead of white. Our couches are from Ikea which is awesome because they have a wide selection of slipcovers to choose from, we have white and this cozy cream. The best part? We can wash them! And with all the craziness that happens around here, that's a really good thing.

Related Article: Ikea Couch Review

Farmhouse Decorating, Fall Decor, Cottage Style

We moved the antique armoire over to the wall our troop photos use to be and decorated it with a tub of dried hydrangeas and a beautiful drink server. We also added that gorgeous sunflower garland from Hobby Lobby.

Farmhouse Decorating, Fall Decor, Cottage Style

For the centerpiece on the table, we added a bit of straw, some cute pumpkins and cotton bowls to our bread bowl from Magnolia Market. I love how the rug pops the blue color in our crate coffee table -Curious how we ended up with a crate coffee table? Check the story out HERE. PS. the rug is from Natural Area Rugs you can find it HERE.

Related Article: Our New Rug From Natural Area Rugs

Farmhouse Decorating, Fall Decor, Cottage Style

You may recognize Brianna's favorite pumpkin bowl in our candy dish... if not here is the video


Farmhouse Decorating, Fall Decor, Cottage Style

We added little touches of fall here and there to our TV consul and a huge basket of hydrangeas to the top- can you have too many hydrangeas?

Farmhouse Decorating, Fall Decor, Cottage Style

Look at this cutie! Faith is usually harder to get a good picture of because she doesn't like to look at the camera but for a moment she was an angel- just long enough for me to snap this picture before she was off galavanting around the house. You can keep up with her adventures on Instagram.

Farmhouse Decorating, Fall Decor, Cottage Style

See that big white awesome thing known as a pumpkin? That is one of the beauties we scored on our trip to the Amish community. I think they may be my favorite pumpkins ever!

Do you decorate for Fall?

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Craving pumpkin? We got you covered! These delicious cookies are easy to make and oh so good!


Cookies:


Ingredients:

1 cup grass-fed butter melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
⅔ - 1 cup pumpkin puree
2 cups organic all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon tapioca flour
2 teaspoons non-aluminum baking powder
1 cup raw sugar
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large free range egg

1 teaspoon nutmeg


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a stand an electric mixer cream together butter and sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla and beat until creamy. In a medium bowl mix combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg, salt. Mix dry ingredients into the butter mixture. 
Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls and flatten slightly. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven.


Frosting:

Ingredients:

½ cup softened cream cheese
½ cup softened grass-fed butter
2 cups organic powdered sugar
1 tablespoons vanilla
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 teaspoon apple pie spice 

Directions:

Cream butter and cream cheese together. Add vanilla and milk. Slowly add powdered sugar and mix until thick and creamy. When cookies are cooled- spread frosting on top with an offset spatula. Sprinkle with cinnamon.