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G A T H E R I N G S | Canvas & Cocktails


was the accent color for this evening. Pink punch. Pink cookies. Pink paintings. And just a touch of pink in the sunset.

In October of last year, Mandy Ellard and I were sitting at my kitchen counter drinking a diet coke talking about how much we missed each other and how we were going to make sure we did a better job of staying connected during the upcoming year. Then I remember mentioning to her about this idea my daughter-in-law, Elizabeth, had given me - to open my home for ladies to come and create. Mandy says "yeah, to come gather". And I said "yes, 'Gatherings' ... it shall be called 'Gatherings'". And before you know it, I had convinced Mandy to come teach an art class.

Mandy and I first met in church. She tells the story a little differently than I actually remember it. She would tell you that I was standing in the middle of the mall area one Sunday morning {yelling} for all the ladies to come join a bible study class offered on Thursday mornings. Like, she has it in her mind that I was literally yelling - loudly - in front of everyone, and that it did not even seem to bother me to make a fool of myself. Long story short, Mandy, and her friend Donna, joined bible study that next Thursday. Apparently, crazy just works for me!

2 Corinthians 5:13 "If you are out of your mind, it is for the sake of Christ. If you are in your right mind, it is for the sake of others."

Sweet Mandy. That is how my heart refers to her. Mandy Ellard is covered in sugar. From her head to her toes. And gifted beyond measure. She is not only an artist - she is a calligrapher. Her words actually look like a piece of art. She not only writes beautifully with her pen, she can create a story with her words - the most artistic vocabulary you've ever heard. She can teach scripture in a way that makes you want to study the Word with a passion - Mandy loves Jesus. She uses her gifts to bless others. Which is why you can walk around my house and see many paintings that I have painted under the instruction of Mandy. And many paintings that she has given me during the years for just being her friend. And yes, you can tell them apart. Hers are the ones that look like they should be hanging in a gallery and mine look like garage art. Thank you, Sweet Mandy, for helping me name "Gatherings", and thank you for using your gifting to bless others. Thursday evening was perfectly pink!

When Mandy and I met for breakfast last week to discuss what to offer the ladies to paint. We both loved the idea of a flower. And since my pink azaleas have been in full bloom this spring, I thought that would be great inspiration for us on this evening. Once the color pink was decided on, I got busy looking on Pintrest for what to serve that would bring pink to the table, as well. I found this easy punch recipe and decided to try it ... and let me just tell you, it was a huge hit. For all of you that kept asking me for the recipe, here you go:

Strawberry & Lime Moscato Punch

Strawberry & Lime Moscato Punch has the sweet flavor of your favorite wine with a great strawberry lime kick! This is an easy cocktail recipe, perfect for entertaining!

Course Cocktail

Prep Time 5 minutes

Total Time 5 minutes

Servings 8 servings

Author Aubrey Cota


  • 1.5 liter of Moscato wine

  • 1 can frozen limeade concentrate defrosted

  • 1 cup strawberries diced plus 1 cup strawberries, sliced

  • 1 lime sliced into wheels

  • 2 Liter 7 Up or lemon-lime soda


  1. Place 1 cup of diced strawberries and 1/4 cup of limeade in a blender and puree

  2. Run through a strainer to remove most of the seeds

  3. Pour puree into a pitcher

  4. Add remaining limeade and Moscato into the pitcher

  5. Garnish with strawberry and lime slices

  6. Chill in fridge

  7. When ready to serve, pour punch into serving glasses, and then top each glass with 7 Up

Recipe for a beautiful evening =

sunset + amazing ladies + a gifted teacher + pink punch + southern fried chicken +

God's presence

Gatherings | Art Gallery

The cutie pie on the right in the picture above, drove down from Oxford to be a part of this evening. Thank you, Robin Bolton, for opening us in prayer and setting the tone for this evening with praise to our Glorious Father. And thank you, Celeste Hurst, for picking the scripture passage that captured this evening - "To Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, far greater than we could ask or imagine ...".

Ephesians 3:14-21.

Now, let me invite you to our next Gatherings:

Gatherings | Photography with Laurel Donahoo

Thursday Evening | April 26th from 6:00 - 8:00

Laurel wants to teach us how to take our iPhone or Android photography to the next level. As the content creator for a design firm and furniture store, as a blogger, and as a mom who wants great pictures of her people to treasure forever, Laurel has learned some valuable tips and tricks to making her iPhone photos look like a million bucks. One of her keenly edited photos was even used in a national publication! Join us at this Gatherings to brush up on your photo skills (while maybe even getting a pretty new photo of yourself out of the deal!). Appetizers and dessert will be served at this Gatherings. Go check out Laurel @laurel_at_thehive and and sign up today!

I'm still pinching myself, Ladies! Thank you for signing up and showing up.

Much love, Jill

Email if you would like to receive monthly newsletters announcing upcoming classes ... and sign up for classes @

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