July 2019 Favorites

by | Aug 22, 2019 | a slice of life, Favorite Things | 40 comments

I thought I should fit this post in before we get to September!  Man, August is just flying by.  I remember looking over the three months of summer approaching when we were in May and I felt like it would be an eternity.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the laziness of summer.  I enjoy sleeping in a little bit later, not having to prepare lunches or work on school projects. I like that the pace of activities is a little slower.  But, as an entrepreneur who runs my business out of my house, it’s really hard to balance work and having the kids home all day.  I want to do fun things with them, but I also have commitments and deadlines.

Well, we’ve managed to balance it all out (some days better than others) and the summer that threatened to drag on is now coming to a rapid end.

Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches

I love the trend of everything coming in mini-size after the years of everything getting bigger.  I’ve mentioned here and there that I’ve been working on losing weight, but I’m trying to be very balanced.  Slow and steady and balanced.

A part of balance means that I’m not cutting out any foods.  I can eat anything.  It’s all about portion, moderation, and making sure the good decisions outweigh the bad.  And one of the foods I’ve been enjoying are old school, mini ice cream sandwiches.  They are made with artificial vanilla and probably contain high fructose corn syrup.  But, you know what?  I just have 4-5/week and they are tiny and I enjoy them.

So there.

Mustard Seed Mentoring

This was one of my favorite things for June, because it was shiny and new, but it carried into July and August as a favorite part of my work.  I have seen growth and excitement from our participants and it has been fuel for me.  I’m always thinking about how I can be better, so I can help them be better.  I’m learning with more intention and taking notes on anything I observe or ingest that might translate to a valuable session or an encouraging word.  It’s been an awesome group.

If you currently own a creative business or are considering starting one, we will be opening the group again the week of September 23 and we’d love for you to join us.  I have a few one-on-one slots available, too.  If you’re interested in joining, you can get on the waiting list HERE and we’ll let you know when we’re accepting new members.

We have done sessions on photography (styling, editing, and lighting), harnessing the power of Pinterest to drive traffic to your site, the nuts & bolts of starting & running a business, multiplying content & profits, and more.

Ranier Cherries

Of course, I was all over my favorite summer fruit – cherries.  This year, though, I ate a lot more Ranier cherries and I think I like them even more than bing cherries if that was possible!  I’ve been eating a mix of both cherries along with sliced strawberries and that mix is perfection.

I still haven’t bought a cherry pitter and I cut out the pit of each cherry by hand every morning.  There’s something soothing about it to me, even though my fingers are stained for three months!

Hand-Painted Dresser

I hadn’t painted a piece of furniture in a while and I loved working on this hand-painted piece.  It turned out just how I imagined.  You can find the tutorial HERE.

You Come Too

My favorite painting was definitely the cow & calf pair named “You Come Too” at the suggestion of a reader.  It’s after the Robert Frost poem The Pasture, which is also a new favorite!

I’m going out to clean the pasture spring;
I’ll only stop to rake the leaves away
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
I sha’n’t be gone long.—You come too.
I’m going out to fetch the little calf
That’s standing by the mother. It’s so young,
It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
I sha’n’t be gone long.—You come too

order, disorder, reorder

This summer has felt a bit like disorder to me.  It’s not just the interruptions of being asked to make second-breakfast or act as an intermediary in a dispute, but there have been a lot of small stressors that keep piling up.  It’s nothing major or catastrophic, but I’ve had to be intentional about managing my stress reaction to it all.  Anyone who’s ever dealt with anxiety to any degree knows how that train can gain momentum even when things are generally okay.

Anyway, I heard Jason Gray perform this song at a concert this past winter and I was so happy when it was finally released on his latest album.  I prefer the acoustic version, so here is Jason performing the song at a church.  You can listen to the radio version just by Googling it or looking it up on iTunes.

It’s a great song about the pattern of order, disorder, reorder and how our lives go through seasons.

The song starts around the 4-minute mark on the video below…

King of my Heart

This is another song that’s been amazing for me.  When I felt uptight, I would go on walks, breathe deeply, and just savor the words…  “You are good, good, oh…”

Stranger Things

If you get it, you get it.  If you don’t, it’s weird.  My mom is probably in the weird camp.  Jeff and I eagerly awaited season three to come out and, while it wasn’t perfection, it was enjoyable to watch the kids and the story grow up.  If you’re into the 1980’s-Speilburg-X-files-ish-genre, then you’ll like it.  (Oh, you can find it on Netflix.)

Five Feet Apart

I rented this movie when Jeff was away and, I have to admit, it hung with me.  It made me full-out cry, it made me ache for the characters, and it made me thankful for simple things.

This movie isn’t perfect.  It’s a teen flick.  The parents are hardly ever there (in the hospital with their sick kids) and the filmmakers seem to insert little points of personal agenda here and there, but none of it distracted from the heart of the story for me.

Toy Story 4

Our boys dragged us unwillingly to see Toy Story 4 this summer and it was so surprisingly good, it made it to my monthly favorites list.  I was honestly dreading it.  Really?  Now we need to save a toy fork?  Couldn’t we just have stopped at the beautiful ending of Toy Story 3 where all of the toys were in a happy, imaginative home?  

But Pixar did what Pixar does best and they told a great story.  It was funny and touching and I laughed so hard at “plush rush” that I could hardly catch my breath.  Duke Caboom was a riot, too.

If you were resisting this movie as I was, give it a try.

I know we’re three weeks into August, but can you remember your favorites from July?



  1. Karen K from Buffalo

    As a business woman, can you see the profits you would make by selling copies of your “You Come Too?” I don’t like cow pictures, in fact I don’t see the point of having one in my home, but this one that you painted hit it out of the ball park for me.

    • Marian Parsons

      Thank you! This painting was from a photo that was sourced off the internet and I cannot find the original source. Painting one is fine, but reproducing prints might be an issue. If I can find the photographer or determine that the picture was available for commercial use, then I will offer prints.

      • Judi

        Copies of Mary burnell’s Painting of the cows is for sale on her website for$399.00

        • Marian Parsons

          My painting is not a copy of her work, but we worked off of the same photograph. I was not aware of her or her painting until you mentioned it here.

      • Judith

        As a working artist and teacher it is important that copies of original art are not copied and resold. Mary Rochelle Burnham is the artist that painting “mother love”.

        • Marian Parsons

          Judith, I was not aware of her or her painting until you shared about it in this comment. My painting is an original off of a photograph I sourced online. I did not copy her original art, but we both used the same photograph as our source. I just want to be clear. If ever I do a study of another artist’s work, I always site the artist and I do not sell prints.

          • katieonwhidbey

            Going forward, you might want to choose your source materials more carefully before you paint — i.e., be sure you are using an image that is in the public domain or take the photo yourself — then you will not face this prickly problem of ownership. It is interesting that you and another artist both painted from the same photo found on the web. Is it a simple Google search of images that you use?

          • Marian Parsons

            Well, it’s not really an issue in this case, because I painted the original and have kept it and I’m not selling prints as of now. I usually use my own photos, photos with permission, or ones that are available for commercial use. I just loved this image and felt compelled to paint it.

          • katieonwhidbey

            (replying to Marian again)
            Good to hear, Marian, that your usual sources of inspiration are not problematic. So many are expressing an interest in this particular image and that was the reason for my comment. It’s a wild and wooly world of ownership questions out there, as I’m sure you know.

    • Janine

      I would love it if you were able to see prints of “You Come Too”. I grew up on a farm and we always had cows. I, like Karen K from Buffalo, did not think I’d want a picture of cows, but this is absolutely beautiful.

  2. Sharon W

    We are really enjoying Doc Martin which I believe I read about on your blog!

  3. Jeannie

    Love the cow picture. I was mostly raised on my grandparents’ farm & have a soft spot for cows.

  4. Jenny

    i STILL WANT YOUR COW AND CALF PAINTING!! It is beautiful. Can you paint me a similar one?

  5. Audrey

    There is a Pixar documentary that I recommend. It’s how they started and I think that you having a creative mind will appreciate it. It’s called The Pixar Story and you can see it on Netflix. I really enjoyed it.

    • Marian Parsons

      Oh, I’ll check it out. I’m reading Creativity Inc by the president of Pixar and it’s very interesting.

  6. Lisa Brown

    I also LOVE the cow and calf painting and agree with the reader who asked if you would consider having quality prints made. I would certainly buy one!

  7. Anne B

    I lost my mother this past year…”You Come Too” just broke my heart wide open…I love it. We were both Texas ranch girls with an abiding love of Robert Frost and the sweet faces of Hereford cows. Are there copies? I am completely blown away…did not expect to read a blog today and see a painting and get completely blown away…God bless…

  8. Roylyn

    I love the Jason Gray song and it just being acoustic. Since I am 81 I tend to shy away from the loud renditions of many songs! Thanks for introducing this to me.

  9. Phyllis

    Also love the cow picture as I am a farm girl (mid 70’s)…would also love a print.

  10. Linda Shoemak

    I have a cherry pitter from bed bath and beyond. It is nice and substantial. I love it,and can do a whole bag in no time. It was about $11. If you can’t find one get Linda(Parsons) to pick on up. I love cherries too and eat them more often now with this thing.

  11. FIL

    Mine is Friendly’s Vienna Mocha Chocolate Chunk ice cream. Wow, the best.

  12. Nancy

    You are such a creative and talented lady. I love your blog because you share so many wonderful things with your readers. I loved the music you shared today and would also love to buy a print of your cow print.

  13. Debbie

    Fabulous post, Marian! So much to savor and enjoy. Question: Might you be offering prints of “You Come Too” for purchase; I absolutely ADORE it!

  14. Mary

    About your diet…I follow your stories on Instagram, and just have been meaning to mention that you are looking fabulous. Your commitment to health really shows! Also, I am really enjoying your new podcasts. You are such an inspiration, and I thank you for all you share with us. I just made some awesome double welting for an upholstery project by following your tutorial.

  15. Sue Anderson

    I had to laugh that you only eat 4-5 mini ice cream sandwiches a week! That seems like feasting to me. I am down to one hot fudge sundae per YEAR. It’s very special when it happens and is easy to keep it that way.

    • Marian Parsons

      Ha, and I get that! I’ve been there. But, I’ve decided I’m going to live. I’m going to eat well, but I can have treats even if they aren’t 100% natural and organic. I eat a ton of fruit and veggies and I walk every day, so I don’t feel bad about a small ice cream sandwich at the end of the day during the summer. 🙂

      • Mel

        I think balance is all that´s important. We can enjoy something not so healthy every day if the rest is well. Then again, a person who eats a sunday only once a year “lives” as well, only differently and hopefully happy!!!

  16. Ashley Williams

    Jason Gray made me cry! As a healthy wife and mother of 4 children I’ve always loved order. 3 years ago a “storm” called Lyme disease took every bit of order from my life. Jason saying that sometimes we crave order so much that we make it an idol resonated with me. I think we all crave some sort of order because are hearts were created to live in heaven, in peace and perfect order. It’s just in us. But when it’s what we focus on it can become our priority. Part of my healing was just as he said, allowing God to reorder me through the disorder. Waiting, depending on and trusting Him for that reorder, knowing it wasn’t up to me. I’m certainly a different girl now and praise God, a healthy girl again. Thank you for sharing this song. It is a beautiful reminder to us all no matter what our storm that he is using it to reorder us for His glory!

    • Marian Parsons

      He is such a moving speaker. I just loved his concert and that song! It’s so, so true. I’m glad it touched you, too.

  17. Kim

    I thought the same thing about Sporky. Just throw the stupid thing away! Lol

  18. Margaret Mills

    Would love to purchase a quality print of You Come Too. Maybe you could just retire early if you were to be able to provide all these prints. I knew that you had a painters talent, but I had not realized how advanced your painting had become. Congratulations!

  19. Cindy

    I saw a movie this week on Amazon Prime called “Shadows in the Sun” and it made me think of your podcasts. It is a funny and inspiring story that goes right along with everything you and Shauna have been saying. I’ve watched it twice because it reminds me to face my fears and just “be creative” whether anyone likes it or not. I would highly recommend it. A couple scenes of discreet nudity, so you may want to watch it when the kids are in bed. It is everything you’ve been saying wrapped up in a sweet story.
    On another note, I’ve enjoyed your podcasts so much! I’ve had a major drop off in my creative drive since spring, and then had a major surgery in June that left me tired and somewhat depressed during recuperation. My online business has suffered because of it all, and then I started listening to your podcasts. I immediately got up from listening and went back to working on my product and haven’t stopped since. You and Shauna are a godsend! Thank you so much!

  20. Susan G.

    Thank you for sharing a new favorite song along with an old favorite song in my time of disorder. I needed them both.

  21. Marianne

    Ok, I just had to laugh about you making “second breakfast”. We use that Hobbit term in our house too. It must be a boy thing.

  22. Kim

    My fingers and fingernails are stained all summer long, EVERY summer, thanks to cherries. It started in my teen years when I used to be the one who picked and pitted all the cherries from our 3 trees in our yard, and it has continued ever since! It is a real identifier for all of us cherry lovers. The Rainier cherries don’t cause that problem as much! And they are also the superior cherry. Hard to come by for us this year, though, they were only in the stores once.

  23. Mel

    Very nice July favorites. Love the cow painting. It´s unbelievable how you grew into an oil painter in such a short time it seems!!!! One of my july favorites was watch my own fruits and vergetables grow in a raised bed (Swisschard, tomatoes, red beets, turnip cabbage, salads, red peppers, pumpkins, strawberries, physalis and different herbs). I was thrilled how much can grow in very little space. Also I painted an old telephone bench and transformed it into a dog bed. What made me smile: do you guys really pit the cherries before eating them? Never ever have I done that. Never even crossed my mind. Cherry goes into the mouth, pit is being spit out into an extra bowl or if I am outside into the next bush. As kids we used to have “cherry- pit-spitting” competitions. That way we eat them kilo after kilo. Only for baking or cooking we pit them… just sayin´ ,saves you time for doing other fun things 🙂

    • Nancy Keller

      I found the best cherry pitting trick on YouTube! Use one of those hard plastic straws that comes with insulated plastic drinking cups. It pops the pit out perfectly!

  24. D L

    I live in the southern part of Fulton County, GA and often pass the sites used for the Stranger Things series. I did a double-take in the first series when she went past the laundromat into the grocery store. I’ve bought groceries there many times.

  25. celestial

    My husband grew up with “ten o’clock treats”, which may be like your “second breakfast”. At 10 am all the children would gather for an apple with peanut butter, bread and jam, peaches, or some other snack. We have adopted the term but it is for a late night (10 pm) snack.

  26. Erica H

    I held off watching Stranger Things until my niece was here for a visit so we could watch together. It did not disappoint! My only disappointment is that next season will probably be the last. We also went to see Toy Story and we really enjoyed it. Sounds like you’re having a great summer!


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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