Welcome Spring GiveAway

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Spring is here, and you know what that means? It’s time for a WELCOME SPRING GIVEAWAY! Woohoo!!

I will be giving away FIVE separate prizes to FIVE separate winners. Four winners will each receive a small Roly Poly Bunny as shown in this photo. The Grand Prize winner will receive a $25.00 gift card to use for purchases at The Laughing Cabin’s Store.

SUBSCRIBE FOR A CHANCE TO WIN!

Deadline April 1, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. (EST)

 

 

The Roly Poly Bunny is a stuffed rabbit made of muslin fabric that has been “antiqued” to give it a vintage look. It has embroidered details and curled wire whiskers. The ears have wires inside that will allow them to be posed in different directions. The bunny is holding a stuffed carrot made of painted fabric. He has a weighted base that will allow him to sit without tipping over. His height is 5″ from the top of his head to his rump — height measurements does not include the legs and ears. Each bunny h as a retail value of $12.95 and comes with free shipping within the U.S.

Contest Rules

The winners of the Welcome Spring GiveAway contest will be selected by random drawing from the subscriber list of The Laughing Cabin’s E-Newsletter on Saturday, April 1, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. EST. If you are already a subscriber, you do not need to do anything to enter the contest — your name is automatically entered for a chance to win. If you are not yet a subscriber and would like to enter the contest for a chance to win, here is where you can find more information to SUBSCRIBE. No purchase is necessary to enter. The e-newsletter is free, and you may unsubscribe at any time.

This contest is open to U.S. residents only who are 18 years of age or older. The prizes being awarded are as follows:

Four (4) small Roly Poly Bunnies will be awarded to four (4) individual winners. Prize value is $12.95 and includes free shipping within the U.S.

One (1) grand prize of a $25.00 gift card for The Laughing Cabin’s Store will be awarded to one (1) individual. Prize value is $25.00. There is no expiration date on the gift card and no minimum purchase required. The gift card can be redeemed at checkout. The gift card cannot be redeemed for cash and cannot be combined with coupon code discounts or other gift cards for the same purchase. The gift card can only be used for purchases at The Laughing Cabin’s Store.

Names will be drawn after 5:00 p.m. EST on April 1, 2017. Winners will be notified by e-mail (using the e-mail address provided for subscribing to The Laughing Cabin’s E-Newsletter) within 24 hours of the end of the contest. Winners have until April 15, 2017, at midnight (EST) to reply by e-mail to claim their prize. Prizes that are not claimed by the deadline will be forfeited.

Disclaimer: This contest is not affiliated with or endorsed by Facebook.

Total value of the prizes being awarded in the Welcome Spring GiveAway: $76.80 plus free shipping.

 

SUBSCRIBE FOR A CHANCE TO WIN!

Deadline April 1, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. (EST)

 

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To Market, To Market to Buy a Pet Pig

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Photo credit: BigStockPhoto/Axente Vlad

 

When I was in my early 30s, I had it in my head that I really, REALLY wanted a Vietnamese pot belly pig to have as a family pet. Piglets were showing up in all of the local “exotic” pet stores, and at only a few weeks old, they were SO adorable. At one store, an enthusiastic sales girl greeted me by placing a wriggling curly-tailed bundle in my arms. She knew what she was doing. I took one look at that cute little snout, and I fell hopelessly in love.

I was living in suburban south Florida, at the time — so it’s not like I had a barn, a field or even a pen to keep a pig. I was fully prepared to bring it into the house and let it sleep on the bed with the kids and cuddle up with us on the couch for movie night. The clerk at the pet store told us that they are smarter than dogs and can be trained to do their business outside — and best of all — they don’t shed fur and supposedly don’t get fleas. And they were on sale at a bargain price of only $99!!!

For whatever reason, I was convinced that THIS was the pet for me! That is, until my then-husband calmly pointed out that they don’t stay little forever. That sweet little 5 pound piglet was going to grow into a 300 pound nightmare. Since I had never been around farm animals before, this was shocking news to me. I was SO disappointed.

When I moved to north Georgia several years later, I made a new friend who happened to have a small farm on her property. On her farm, she also raised pigs. They were not Vietnamese pot belly pigs, but the piglets were just as cute and adorable. So, I confided in her about my desire for a pig and how I wanted to give it a rhinestone studded collar to wear and let it ride around with me in my pick up truck. I was serious about this and wasn’t cracking a smile when I said it, but to my surprise, this confession completely astonished my friend. Her jaw dropped straight to the ground.

And then she laughed. OH, how she laughed. She laughed so hard that I became downright embarrassed until I realized that, to her, pigs were made for rolling in the dirt and cooking over a barbecue pit. And here I was, this you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me woman from the city, who didn’t want a pig for eating. No, I wanted to dress one up like a doll and parade it through the town square — in a county full of bib overall wearing farmers, at that!

I’m in my 50s, now, and the whole “gotta have a pig” phase of my life is completely behind me. I now realize the social suicide I would have been committing if I had indeed tied a bow around a pig’s head and given it a fancy name like, “Petunia” — which would have been the name of choice, by the way. Even so, there is a streak of eccentricity that runs through my veins. I’ve got it under control, for now, but come find me in 20 years. Who knows? Pet pigs may come back in style by then.

Until next time! ~ Susan

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Spring 2017 News & Events

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Nora Mill General Store in Cleveland, Georgia. Photo by S.R. Williams.

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The Chickens Have Arrived at Nora Mill General Store

If you ever traveled through Helen, Georgia, you may have noticed Nora Mill Granary located on the southern side of town on Hwy 17. It is an old grist mill that sits next to the Chattahoochee River and it’s still in operation today. It’s where you will find some of the best freshly ground flour, cornmeal and other kitchen staples — and where you will find kitchen gadgets and collectibles, enamelware dishes, and a large assortment of homemade jams, jellies, syrups and old-fashioned candies. It is a must-see for tourists traveling through the region and a favorite of locals who are regular customers.

Several years ago, Nora Mill opened a general store across the street from the Mill. The owners saw photos of my chicken gourds circulating on Facebook and invited me to sell them in their store. I was definitely excited about it, and not long afterward, my chicken gourds made their first appearance and became instant favorites of the Store’s customers.

It was also a special thrill, last year, to see one of my chickens featured in a billboard advertisement for Nora Mill. My husband and youngest son were driving down the road and spotted it. They quickly turned around to take a second look, and managed to get this photograph, below. I had to laugh because the chicken on the billboard is so small when you’re driving past, that they literally had to have eagle-eyed vision to spot it going 45 mph down the road. I’ve added a red arrow to show you what I mean — the chicken is not so easy to spot without it:

A few months ago, Nora Mill General Store made the move to a new location on the Cleveland Square (Cleveland, Georgia) which put them 10 miles closer and right in my back yard, so to speak. Last week, my chicken gourds were given a place in the new Store and will once again be strutting their stuff for Nora Mill General Store’s customers.

The next time you’re in town, be sure to stop by Nora Mill General Store and take a look at all of the great new items they are selling. It’s a truly awesome store and perfect for finding “southern” gifts and home goods. Many local, handmade products are available there, too. While you’re there, give the chickens some love — take a photo of yourself posing with one of the chickens and share it with me on Facebook. It would be SUCH a thrill!

Follow Nora Mill General Store on Facebook

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.Woodland Ramble Festival in October 2016 at Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Gainesville, Georgia. Photo by S.R. Williams

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Woodland Ramble Festival – May 6, 2017

I had so much fun doing the Woodland Ramble Festival last October at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens in Gainesville, Georgia, that I have signed up to do their spring Woodland Ramble on Saturday, May 6, 2017. The Gardens are so lovely during the spring while flowers are in bloom, and the temperatures are usually very mild. This makes it a perfect place for festival-goers who can enjoy a leisurely walk through the gardens, and then take a turn through the festival venue where artisans will have their items on display. Food vendors like Big C’s Chicago Pizza, Tex’s Tacos, and King of Pops will be on hand to provide snacks, lunches and baked goods. The food is yummy, and you haven’t lived until you’ve tried a Southern Baked Pie. Their buttermilk pie is my favorite!

Come out for a day of fun, and be sure to stop by my booth. Let me know who you are, and I’ll have a surprise waiting for you!

Until next time! ~ Susan

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The Colors of Joy

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The painting projects above were painted by S.R. Williams from 2010-2014 using patterns created by artist Mary Jo Tuttle. Photo copyright 2017 by S.R. Williams.

 

I had ordered some painting instruction books from artist Mary Jo Tuttle several years ago, and she was kind enough to include an autograph in each book along with a personal note. One note that she wrote really jumped out at me. It said, “May you always paint the colors of joy.” Wow!

Whenever God wants to speak to me about something, He will often repeat a theme or topic in my everyday life, and I will find myself going back to it in my thoughts and digging deeper to uncover all the layers of meaning in whatever it is I am being shown or taught.

In this case, the theme “colors of joy” kept being repeated. I began to wonder what color joy would be if it could be captured by a paint brush. Or what joy would look like if we could visually see it flowing out of a person’s heart… or what a life would look like if it were “painted” with joy.

Joy has many facets — and therefore should be represented by many colors. A display of joy is evident by the immediate change it creates in a person’s heart. It is like a super power. It can blast through the darkness that surrounds a time of sorrow. It can penetrate even the most bitter of souls. It can create a bridge upon which to cross over the muck and mire of deepest despair.

“… the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.” (Nehemiah 8:10 Amplified)

In the deeper search to understand joy, I have learned its secret. Joy can only be found in the Lord Jesus. Once you find Him, you will always have and know joy. Jesus and joy are inseparable. Indeed, knowing Him makes it possible to experience joy even during an hour of greatest struggle. I am convinced that joy – in all of its many manifestations — flows from the very compassion that resides within the heart of God.

Like most people, I have known difficult times in life, and therefore have come to intimately know the characteristics of joy. Joy is faithful. It has never failed to come alongside just when I have needed a boost of strength or courage to continue through a difficult season of life. Joy restores purpose and renews hope. It is the greatest encourager. Joy is compassionate and merciful and is itself a refuge.

Because the Lord has placed His joy inside of me, I now understand more about His heart and the things that bring Him joy. I came to know that nails alone were not strong enough to hold Jesus on the cross – but joy was. We are the precious prize that “was set before Him,” and it created in Him such an all consuming joy that He was able to endure great suffering. Oh, to paint that color whatever it might be!

“He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross…”(Hebrews 12:2 Amplified)

That’s when I realized that life is like a canvas. If I could choose any colors of the rainbow to paint my world, I would choose the colors of joy. It is the best way I know how to allow the canvas of my life to be a reflection of the One who “counted it all joy” even while He was carrying my sins to the cross and dying in my place. It is that same joy that will accompany my life and eventually carry me home one day. Until then, I have a canvas to finish, and I know it will be beautiful when it is finally completed because it will be painted with all the colors of joy.

~ Susan

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Go Tell It On The Mountain

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Photo of the sun peeking above Ash Mountain in north Georgia by S.R. Williams. Copyright 2017.

There is a mountain that sits to the east of The Laughing Cabin, and it so happens that my bedroom faces that direction. There are glass doors on that side of the room that lead out onto a small balcony. We made a decision years ago never to put blinds or curtains on the doors because there are no neighbors, and the view is so spectacular that it needs to be enjoyed.

Hubby and I have not used an alarm clock for more than 14 years. He is an early to bed, early to rise kind of guy and naturally wakes up by 5:00 am each morning. I tend to go to bed a little later and stay in the bed a little longer, and it is the morning sun that is my alarm clock. It rises above the peak of the mountain at 8:00 am during daylight saving time. I can always tell what time it is just by glancing out the door and looking across to the mountain.

On days when I am sleeping in, there is nothing more luxurious than waking up to sunlight on my face and feeling the toasty warmth of the rays. It’s also wonderful to sit for just a moment and watch the birds and squirrels play on the branches of the trees that are part of this beautiful second story view.

As I was looking out at the mountains this morning, the lyrics to the old folk song, “Go Tell It On the Mountain,” came into my mind. The Lord began to speak to me about the many kinds of personal “mountains” we face in this world. As He spoke to my heart, I began to hear new words to the lyrics, and it became, “Go tell it to YOUR mountain, over the hills and everywhere. Go tell it to YOUR mountain that Jesus Christ is LORD!”

It was a wonderful reminder that whenever a disparaging mountain presents itself in my life, all I have to do is “go tell it” Who’s boss.

Until next time! ~ Susan

 

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Look What the Easter Bunny Brought!

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One of the things my children loved to hear when they would wake up on Easter morning was, “Look what the Easter bunny brought!” I still love the memories those words bring to mind because I loved our family traditions —  like Easter egg hunts, coloring eggs, going to church in our Sunday best and enjoying a family dinner of ham and raisin sauce and all the fixin’s.

One year, we had planned a vacation trip to the mountains during Easter week. Our two youngest sons were very concerned that the Easter bunny would not be able to find them if they were not home. What they did not know is that we had already planned ahead, and they woke up on Easter morning to what was, for them, a wondrous surprise. They were SO amazed that the Easter bunny knew where to find them. It is still a favorite memory for all of us to this day.

I suppose this is why I love the spring season so much, and I especially love bringing you some delightful items to help you welcome spring. I hope you enjoy looking and find something new for keeping or gifting. ~ Susan

 

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