Monday, October 24, 2016

Makes thanks your habit...

The stores are already filled with aisles of Christmas decorations!  I love Christmas, but it makes me sad that Americans spend 6 billion dollars on ghoulish Halloween decor,  and before it's even Halloween, out comes the push to start buying for Christmas.  I'm saddened by the way we overlook Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving should be more than a day, it should be the lifestyle of the believer, but the least we can do as a nation is to take one day to give thanks for all of the blessings God has given us.  I say we take back Thanksgiving and honor it for what it is, more than a day for feasting, but a day to give thanks.  And then, let's develop a thanksgiving lifestyle.  Why not start today?  A simple list of three things you give thanks for today is a good place to start.  If you keep it up, it may become a habit, and you may find yourself experiencing a joy-filled life.
Since 2009 I've been counting my blessings thanks to the prompting of Ann Voskamp.
 I continue to count my thanks
piling up gratitude day by day
in my journal.
(and capturing some of my blessings via my camera or iPhone)

-seeing God's blessings-even on the "gloomy" days
-a dry spell for my walk
-lots of loves from my grandson

-God's wholehearted love for us
-homemade Zuppa Toscana, bread and salad for small group
-the connections and prayer happening in our group

-foggy mornings-my favorite
-supporting a friend in prayer
-our neighbor asking questions about God

-facetiming with our two youngest granddaughters
-beautiful autumn colors on this rainy day
-encouragement right when we needed it
-having dinner with our two oldest grands

-a relaxing day off
-phone calls from our youngest daughter
-falling asleep to the sound of the rain

-a good report on some lab tests our daughter had
-this beautiful autumn day
-safe travels and a fun day going to Seattle and back with our youngest and her husband

-seeing a family who hasn't been at church in a while
-a baby dedication
-praying with others
-my great niece was born today!
-a fun evening watching the game with friends

still following,

Saturday, October 22, 2016

God is good and does good...

On a beautiful autumn afternoon, my husband left the office earlier than usual, picked up our youngest grandson from our daughter's house, then came by our house and picked me up.  He thought that this sunny day, tucked in the middle of a rain filled week, was too good to waste being indoors.  He took us to a nearby park where my grandson enjoyed playing on the playground and throwing rocks into the river.  It was lovely.

If you looked at that one little snippet in my husband's life, you might label him good and kind.  But when our two year old grandson proceeded to walk into the river, shoes and all, and my husband scolded him, perhaps if you had caught him only in that moment you might label him harsh or stern.

God is always good and always kind and does good.  Unlike us fallible humans, there is not one iota of darkness or sin in God's character.  In all that He does God's motives are pure and good.  Yet, when God sets up boundaries or tells us "don't go there",  like Adam and Eve, we too often assume that God is withholding something good from us.  (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, October 23rd, at Woman to Woman Ministries where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Friday Favs...Three Pumpkin Recipes!

It's pumpkin season!  The other day I was craving pumpkin pie, and in my opinion the original recipe on the can of Libby's pumpkin is the way to go.  If it was good enough for Mama, it's good enough for me!  If you're feeling too lazy to make a crust, or if the filling is your favorite part of the pie, you can cook the pumpkin filling in ramekins as you would a custard.  YUMMM! 

I also use the Libby's recipe for my pumpkin nut bread.  It's  the best in my opinion! 

But if you want to go to the next level and wow your guests with a pumpkin-y dessert this pumpkin cake with maple cream cheese frosting and topped with toffee bits won't disappoint!  So, so good!

Want a grab and go pumpkin treat?  These cookies were a big hit with my pumpkin loving grandkids!

These pumpkin muffins made with whole grain flour are a delicious treat for breakfast or snacking!

Well, it's almost Friday, friends!
Have a HAPPY, HAPPY Friday
a safe and BLESSED weekend!


Shabby Art Boutique

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Freely enter God's circle of love...

Before all that we see was created, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, eternally existed in the incomprehensible Godhead, the Three in One, the Trinity.  He Who was, Who is, Who is to come shared wholehearted love, perfect fellowship, unhindered unity in Himself.  He had no need that drove Him to create mankind.  His pure hearted motivation was to share the love that already existed between Father, Son and Spirit. Before the foundations of the earth were laid, He had a grand and glorious plan to form a family of adopted sons and daughters, of voluntary lovers, no matter what the cost would be to Himself.  How great that cost was!  Sons and daughters that He chose beforehand in love were bought with the precious blood of the Son.  The God Who is Love, can only love wholeheartedly, perfectly, fully, and so He wholeheartedly sacrificed Himself for us.  What love is this?  What other god of all of the gods man has ever created, thought up, manufactured, loves wholeheartedly, sacrificially?

This love, unearned, undeserved, surely deserves my wholehearted devotion in response.  I experience glimpses of it, then distractions capture my attention and affection and I'm off chasing things more than I'm chasing Him. Yet, He doesn't despise my weak love, but accepts my meager offerings, while knowing full well that nothing else and no-one else that I pursue will satisfy my longing to be fully known, fully understood and wholly loved like He will.  God, help me to love You wholeheartedly like you love me, to love You with all of my heart and soul and mind and strength.

I have been drawn in to share the familial eternally existent love of the Godhead.  I am in the inner circle of all possible inner circles.  How ludicrous that I should seek to be filled up with the approval of man or the trappings of this world.  What more could I possibly need than this?  I belong.  Eternally adopted as His own precious daughter. This should be enough for me.  This is enough for me.  He is enough for me.  I am His and He is mine.  Forever His.  Forever part of His circle of love.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Sunflowers and copper...

The last several days have been gray and rainy. 
I only use natural light when I take photographs, which can be challenging on gloomy days.
In the first three photos in this series I overexposed the shots purposefully,
in the last three I left them a bit more dark and moody,
which, in this case,  I think I prefer.

Light and airy or dark and moody, what is your preference?

still following,

Monday, October 17, 2016

The fruit of our lips, giving thanks...

As I sit here and type, the weather outside is as gray and gloomy as the political atmosphere in our nation.  It's all too easy to let that gloominess seep into my attitude.  Yet, it was only a few days ago that we had a gorgeous sunny autumn day.  We took our youngest grandson to the park and enjoyed a couple of hours of watching him play on the playground equipment and throw rocks into the river.  Why is it so easy to let the gloomy days rob us of the memory of God's blessings?  Journaling the blessings helps me not to forget the blessings of those sunny days, and also helps me to see that God is still blessing me even in the middle of the gloomy ones.  He's still the same unchangeable good, good Father that He has always been and always will be, no matter the weather.

Since 2009 I've been counting my blessings thanks to the prompting of Ann Voskamp.
 I continue to count my thanks
piling up gratitude day by day
in my journal.
(and capturing some of my blessings via my camera or iPhone)

-the comfort of God's Word in these times
-a foggy morning-(a text from our daughter that our youngest grandson keeps calling the fog "smoke" and saying, "Fire! Fire!")
-a sunny afternoon
-refinishing the old dresser that my oldest daughter gave me
-new books in the mail

-a writing deadline met with God's help
-God's faithful provision
-a great evening with our small group

-a beautiful sunrise
-this beautiful autumn day before the predicted heavy rains tomorrow
-spending time with our youngest grandson at the park

-raindrops on roses
-walking in spite of the storm
-a good turnout for worship and prayer at the church in spite of the bad weather

-Friday date day!
-Olive Garden soup and salad 
-Psalm 139
-a sturdy new roof on our house before we moved in-something I don't take for granted in this rain!

-God is in control
-asking for prayer, and feeling the peace when people start praying
-the Forward Edge banquet
-seeing our youngest daughter, son-in-law and his parents at the banquet
-sitting by and visiting with my oldest daughter's in-laws at the banquet

-a beautiful time of worship
-a powerful message about the Holy Spirit
-an encouraging lunch and visit with our long time friends
-a friend running an errand with me
-a quiet Sunday evening at home with my husband

still following,

Saturday, October 15, 2016

His kingdom rules over all...

 In four places in the New Testament we are told that we are first and foremost people of the kingdom.  

Ephesians 2:19 Therefore you are no longer outsiders (exiles, migrants, and aliens, excluded from the rights of citizens), but you now share citizenship with the saints (God’s own people, consecrated and set apart for Himself); and you belong to God’s [own] household.

Philippians 1:27 Only be sure as citizens so to conduct yourselves [that] your manner of life [will be] worthy of the good news (the Gospel) of Christ, so that whether I [do] come and see you or am absent, I may hear this of you: that you are standing firm in united spirit and purpose, striving side by side and contending with a single mind for the faith of the glad tidings (the Gospel).

Philippians 3:20 But we are citizens of the state (commonwealth, homeland) which is in heaven, and from it also we earnestly and patiently await [the coming of] the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) [as] Savior,

Hebrews 12:23 And to the church (assembly) of the Firstborn who are registered [as citizens] in heaven, and to the God Who is Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous (the redeemed in heaven) who have been made perfect,

Of course, we are still to be good citizens of whatever earthly nation we are from, which is also made clear in scripture.  For example, we should prayerfully and intelligently research the issues and then vote in the upcoming election. Being  a citizen of heaven does not mean we don't participate in the activities of earthly citizenship.

What does being a citizen of God's kingdom mean for us?  (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, October 16th, at Woman to Woman Ministries where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

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Also happily linking up with the lovely