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G A T H E R I N G S | Travel Sketch Journaling


is by far one of my most favorite things to do. When I sit and ponder all the memories that have been made during my years here on this earth, it seems as if most of my memories are actually when I was on a vacation of some sorts. This Gatherings class was one of the most unique classes offered so far. Did you know that Travel Sketch Journaling is proven to enhance your memory? By sketching and painting while visiting different places, you remember where you were, who you were with, the temperature outside, and even the smells in the air. It is remarkable what we learned about the benefits of Travel Sketch Journaling. And we owe it all to our classy and fabulous teacher, Beth Dean.

Follow Beth on Instagram @bethdeanstudio.



For many years, I have been a distant admirer of Beth Dean. Not only as a person, but as an artist. Even though we only live a stone's throw from each other, we have just recently had the opportunity to actually spend time together. Many of my friends are Beth's friends so I knew I would most definitely love her. But not until I took one of her art classes last spring did I discover the lovely spirit that lives inside that gorgeous frame. Calm, cool, and collected is how I would describe her to a general audience. But fun-loving and full of adventure is who we fell in love with on this Thursday evening's Gatherings class.

They say "the job of an artist is to offer a sanctuary of beauty to an ugly world" and I would say Beth has done her job well. She can turn an ordinary mundane object into, as we say, "a work of art". Beth loves to travel. In fact, she recently returned from a month long trip of painting her way through Croatia. Oil painting plein air is her true love, but travel sketch journaling is her favorite class to teach. And I quickly understood why after flipping through some of the travel journals she shared with the class. She desires for all of us not just to take a quick picture and move onto the next big thing. But to stop. Sit. Observe.

And sketch.


While sitting in my den on this Thursday afternoon before the ladies arrived, I prayed earnestly for the Lord's presence to fall heavy on this place. As much fun as we always seem to have, I truly believe that if His presence is not among us, then it is just another party. One that can and probably will be entertaining ... yet one that will be missing the "secret sauce". You see, His presence is what makes it all worth while. All the preparation put forth in getting my house ready. Setting up the tables and chairs. Finding the recipes and preparing the perfect appetizers and desserts. Not to mention, sweet talking my darling hubby into mowing the yard. Because, as nice as it is to visit with all the amazing women while making something special to take home, my main objective is to make sure I have opened the door for the Lord to walk through and dwell among us.

I desire for this to be a place where ladies come and find a respite from this crazy busy world. A place where they can breath deep and create from a place deep within themselves. I desire a lasting impression to be made upon each beautiful woman. A memory they can recall later: who was there, what the temperature was, what the food tasted like, and even the aroma of the candles. A truly unique experience that each lady will remember forever. An encounter.

I pray as soon as she walks over the threshold of my front door, she is captivated by the presence of the Most High God. And that she feel His love for her the entire time she is in this place. Otherwise, I will have just thrown another good party.

Ezekiel 10:4 ... Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD'S glory.




Recipes for this evening:

Chicken & Pesto Pizza

(thanks to Elizabeth Ford for sharing)

you'll need:

Naan brushed with olive oil on both sides

Basil Pesto (in place of pizza sauce)

Grilled chicken (I used rotisserie)

Sun-dried Tomatoes

Roasted Pine Nuts

Feta Cheese crumbles

Mozzarella Cheese shredded

Just start layering with pesto, chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted pine nuts, feta and mozzarella ... cook until cheese is melted and Naan is good and toasted ... you can also sprinkle arugula on top for a pretty presentation.

The Best Punch Recipe Ever

(thanks to Laurel Donahoo for sharing)

you'll need:

one 64 oz. Ocean Spray White Peach Cran Juice

one 12 oz. Minute Maid Frozen Lemonade

one 2 liter of Ginger Ale (or Sprite if you like it sweeter)

Just mix the cran juice and lemonade and freeze it at least a day prior. Put it in the fridge the night before you want to use it. It will start getting slushy. Set it out about 30 minutes before serving it if it's not slushy enough. Pour ginger ale over it right before party time!


Oh how I love to see who will be the last to leave. I almost had to get the pillows out for these girlies last night!

And for all those that keep asking me where I got these darling little rockers ... @Ikeausa in Memphis, Tennessee.


Upcoming Gatherings Class:

Father's Day | Succulents with Hart Berry

June 14 | 6:00 - 8:00

Hart Wardlaw Berry is a Tupelo native who grew up loving the flowers and gardens in her grandparents', aunt’s, and mother's yards. Now, she's a wife, mom, and pharmacist, but her spare moments are filled with flowers. If you follow her on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed the steady stream of flower posts! She most enjoys making arrangements with flowers and greenery that she can find around her neighborhood or even grow in her own yard.

While she has learned most of her gardening and flower arranging skills from her gardening family members (plus some trial-and-error on her own), she has created arrangements for all occasions including weddings, philanthropic events, and cozy home events like dinners and showers. Hart is going to teach us how to make arrangements with many items that can be found or grown in our own yards.

She is also going to show us how to use succulents in our arrangements and save them for potting and propagation after use. It makes her so happy to share the joy of flowers, and arranging them, with you! You will go home with a cute succulent arrangement to try and make your husband believe it was planted just for him! Appetizer and dessert included in this Gatherings. Sign up today!


Ladies, thank you for giving me this opportunity. My heart feels like it could explode ... I am truly blessed.

Love, Jill

Contact Jill if you are interested in a private Gatherings | Girl's Night Out, Shower, Birthday Bash or Office Party


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