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G A T H E R I N G S | Phone Photography


was the idea that kept tossing around in my head when trying to come up with a theme for Laurel Donahoo's Photography class. For those of you that know and follow Laurel's blog (, you know what a trend-setter she is - so this put some serious pressure on me to set the stage for her creative juices to flow. Meshing the "Boho + Picnic" theme together proved harder than I originally thought, but it turned out so much better than my mind could conceive. It almost felt as if we were transported back to Biblical times sitting on the floor eating from a low table. In fact, someone said they felt like they were in the Middle East. I just wish I would have thought to have had Israeli music playing in the background. Oh well, maybe next time. Because there will be a next time! This class was such a huge success that the ladies asked for another Laurel Donahoo | Instagram class. So be watching for my monthly newsletter for the date when we might just re-create this scene.

Since this class was all about photography, I knew we needed a colorful table for our photoshoot. I wanted it to be food that did not need a fork since picnic was the theme. So above, you will see where I slaved in the kitchen all day, not really. Everything served was relatively easy. Pimento cheese and crackers, sweet-pickle deviled eggs, a dollop of guacamole on fritos, and romaine lettuce {from my sweet neighbor, Traci Holloway's garden} smeared with basil-mayo and stuffed with bacon and tomatoes - for a delicious BLT substitute. Below is the recipe for the basil-lemonade that was served.


1 - 2 Liter bottle of Ginger-ale

1 frozen lemonade concentrate

1 cup of lime juice frozen (keeps punch cold)

1 bunch of Basil (chopped and placed in the Gingerale an hour before serving to marinate)

Slices of lemons

Mix all together and serve.

Now, onto the good stuff. Laurel Miller {above right} and I became friends a long time ago when she babysat for my two sons, Patton and Crockett.

{Side Note: As I look at this picture I giggle because Laurel is sitting across from my daughter-in-law, Elizabeth. It just seems so weird that Laurel babysat Elizabeth's husband, Patton, and now Laurel and Elizabeth are friends. Just funny how time flies.}

I always knew there was something super cool and special about Laurel. And since I didn't have a daughter for myself, I pretty much adopted her in my mind as my own. She wore cowboy boots with dresses even before that was a thing. Like I said earlier - trend-setter! And because of her precious personality and creative spirit, people are just drawn to her. She influences me all the time. I find myself constantly looking at her Instagram account just to see what is in and what is not. And I love that she loves the colors yellow, white and gold which also makes me happy. She reminded us last night that Jesus wears a golden sash that stands for faithfulness.

Isaiah 11:5 ... Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

Revelation 1:13 ... "and among the lampstands was someone 'like the son of man' dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest."

Laurel shared a little bit of her testimony with us last night as she talked about the importance of taking pictures. We were all in tears when she told us that she would not take anything for the moment she realized there was undeveloped film in the camera of she and her late brother, Dooley, where they had been playing with the camera just two days before his automobile accident. Laurel, thank you for giving us the challenge of capturing every moment we can of our loved ones because we never know what the future might hold. You did a beautiful job teaching and sharing your heart with us last night and I adore you!

{you can follow Laurel on Instagram @laurel_at_thehive and Laurel's blog}

If you keep up with these Gatherings posts at all, you have probably seen this sweet girl {above}. Maggie Kate Bobo, and her mother, Kim Kelly, have hardly missed a Gatherings. But last night, Maggie Kate came for free. You see, Maggie Kate tagged her friends on the "Instgram Give Away" that I posted about a month ago. So next time I do an "Instagram Give Away", tag a friend and if they are the first to sign up for a class, then you get to attend a class for free. Well, not only did one friend of Maggie Kate's sign up first, but several of them have signed up. So thank you, Maggie Kate, for being intentional with Instagram. It does pay off!

I think it is safe to say that everyone learned so much last night and fun was had by all!

Visit the website for two new upcoming Gatherings:

Travel Sketch Journaling with Beth Dean | June 7th | 6:00 - 8:00

Father's Day Succulents with Hart Berry | June 14th | 6:00 - 8:00

And as always, thank you Ladies for making this my happy place.

Love you, Jill.

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