Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Presidents' Day Snow Day...

Sunday afternoon it began to intermittently snow and thaw and has been doing that ever since. So much for my supposition that we were going to have an early spring! That means that Monday, Presidents' Day, was a day off from school and work for many people as well as a snow day. Our three year old grandson came over to spend some time with us since his siblings were hanging out with friends. We enjoyed a big breakfast together and then he had a snowball fight with papa while I wandered around the yard capturing the beauty with my camera.
I love this photo of the hellebores with the snow on them.

But of all of the photos my favorite is this photo of our grandson packing a snowball with a twinkle in his eye and and a plan to get back at Papa in his mind.

still following,

Flower Friday

Monday, February 19, 2018

Presidents' Day gratitude...

It's Presidents' day and we woke up to snow for the second time in the last few days. And here I thought we were going to have an early spring!  I don't mind. There's something to enjoy and be grateful for no matter the weather. Today I neglected my to-do list using the holiday and the snow as excuses. I enjoyed some time with our middle grandson who came over for breakfast and to play in the snow. Then I said "sure!" to a friend who wanted help finding some new chairs and rugs for her new home. (I'm always game when it comes to helping someone decorate their home!) When I got home I made my husband his favorite homemade meatballs and sauce for dinner which made him happy, (and me as well!) Tomorrow I may feel crunched for time when I have to add today's tasks to tomorrow's to-do list but today was worth it. I'm thankful, for Presidents' Day, for snow, for family, for friends, for God's continued faithfulness each and every day.

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)


-this cold, clear day
-crocuses and daffodils in bloom

-a friend stopping by for prayer
-a quiet evening home together

-a phone call with my big brother
-a job too long procrastinated finally accomplished
-my husband helping me with the dinner for our small group

-waking up to the surprise of some Valentine's day snow
-a sweet card, flowers, dinner and a movie from my guy
-finding just the right present for our granddaughter's birthday
-a hopeful prognosis for someone I love

-our middle granddaughter's birthday
-our Truelife Espanol pastor helping me learn a new program on the computer
-a sweet time with all six grands at our granddaughter's birthday party

-texts from our daughter that our youngest grandson learned something new, 
which seems to happen everyday
-yummy Friday date day breakfast
-a slow, lazy, relaxing day off

-catching up on sleep last night
-a breakthrough during my prayer time
-babysitting our youngest grandson

-an encouraging word for our church
-wonderful worship
-lunch with friends
-more February snow!

still following,

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Choose trust...

We can't insulate ourselves very long from the hurt, pain, and brokenness in this world can we?  We may be able to forget for a season, a week, a moment, and then we are suddenly reminded of our vulnerability and the fragility of life. All it takes is an unexpected accident, dreaded diagnosis, a job loss, or a horrific news alert and we are forced to face the reality that this world offers us no guarantees of peace, safety or provision.  

A few years ago I took an unexpected tumble down some stairs at a public park.  There were no broken bones but I was a bit cut up and bruised. Worse than the outward scars was the inner realization that I was no longer young and invincible.  I felt fragile and vulnerable.

Three weeks ago I had one of the biggest scares of my life when our second born daughter was hit by a pickup truck while she was out jogging.  Facing the fragility and vulnerability of my child was even harder than facing my own.

This week we all faced, once again, the horrific news of another school shooting.  Over the past several months our nation has been rocked by hurricanes, floods, wildfires, mudslides, turmoil, strife, and even possible nuclear threat. We can't help but realize that even our nation is not invincible.

The way I see it, there are three possible ways to cope with the reality of our vulnerability.   (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, February 18th, at Woman to Woman Ministries where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,

Also happily linking up with the lovely
The Mom Gene

Monday, February 12, 2018

Make gratitude bloom...

I clipped a little branch off of a tree.  It was covered with tightly closed buds.  I brought it indoors and set it in a little vase with some water.  There it sat on my kitchen counter looking like an ugly stick.  But, I had hope that with the right warm environment that little branch would think that spring had already arrived.  This morning I stumbled groggily into the kitchen for my morning coffee and was delighted to see that that ugly little branch had blossomed into something beautiful.

Life can give us plenty of reasons to be ungrateful.  There is always something negative in our life or circumstances that we can focus on.  Choosing to focus instead on all of the things there are to be thankful for is similar to forcing paper whites to bloom at Christmastime or a branch of buds to bloom weeks before it's really spring.  The more we focus on our blessings instead of life's negatives,  the more a grateful spirit blooms in our life.  It's easy to have a hard, bitter, and ungrateful attitude, but a grateful mind and heart is a thing of beauty that lifts the spirit of not just yourself, but those around you.
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)

(I'm posting two weeks of my gratitude journal today since my husband and I were out of town last week.)

-my daughter, (the one who was hit by a pickup while out jogging), 
getting some answers about her injuries from a new team of doctors
-time with our grandson
-making homemade chicken ramen for the grandkids

-starting Thessalonians with She Reads Truth
-signs of spring popping up already
-dinner and study with our small group

-a huge beautiful hawk landing in a tree right next to the road just as I drove by
-a little visit with my oldest daughter and her girlies before her trip to Rwanda
-youngest grandson and his "chicklet" teeth and sweet giggles

-a quiet morning 
-a good talk with our oldest grandson

-I slept til seven! 
-bacon, eggs and paleo pancakes
-family groups texts as our oldest daughter boards her flight to Rwanda

-daffodils already in bloom!
-frogs "singing" in our backyard
-a text from our girl that she safely arrived in Rwanda

-a sweet time of worship focused on the name of Jesus
-water baptisms!
-watching the Super Bowl with our kids and grandkids

-a safe flight to Kansas City
-our three year old grandson's new fascination with the story of David and Goliath
-lots of laughter with my guy

-a great morning in the prayer room
-video of our daughter meeting the little Rwandan boy she sponsors and his family
-this time away of rest and refreshing  for my husband and I 

-cold weather and blue, blue skies
-Jesus' blood shed for me and His body broken for me
-the lady who works in the bookstore praying for us

-a wonderful lunch break and walk around the Plaza after a morning in the prayer room
-this time away together
-our small group's prayers for us and our family

-safe travels home
-happy news of a new baby girl on the way for our sweet Truelife Espanol pastors
-the comfort of our own bed and own home

-God's presence here at home having my devotions just like He is at church or in the prayer room
-spending the afternoon with our two youngest granddaughters
-dinner at our daughter's house

-God's Word changing lives
-getting to see all six grandkids since we got home from our trip
-reading a favorite book to our youngest grandsons

still following,

Saturday, February 10, 2018

What God has prepared for those who love Him...

The other morning I woke up with the verse above running through my mind.  Lest you think I'm super spiritual, the only thought that is typically running though my mind when I wake up is, "I need coffee!"  That is why I knew it was a God thought-something not from my own mind but from His heart to me.

Have you ever had something turn out even better than you imagined? When I asked myself this same question, one of the things that immediately came to mind was having grandchildren.  Being a "nana" is way better than I could have ever imagined!

Have you ever had the joy of making something happen for someone else that was more than they imagined?  One of my granddaughters told me after a special day together that I had planned that it was, "the best day ever!"  Those words made every bit of effort and preparation I had made worth it.

It's overwhelming to think that the God Who created this beautiful world for us to enjoy, Who sacrificed His Son for our salvation and adopted us into His eternal family, Who daily, watchfully cares and provides for and protects us, has even more wonderful surprises in store for us. (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, February 11th, at Woman to Woman Ministries where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,

Also happily linking up with the lovely
The Mom Gene

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Not the word of mere men, but the Word of God...

Have you ever wondered why our world is such a sin twisted mess when the Bible is still the best selling book in the world? I've wondered the same thing. This week when I read the verse featured above in my devotions, (in the ESV version), I wondered if some of the reasons why might be revealed in this verse."And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers." 

Perhaps, some read the Bible as beautiful literature. They find it poetic and lyrical.  Yet, they read it and walk away unchanged.

Perhaps, some read the Bible as the words of mere men. They may think that the authors are very wise men. Maybe they even consider them to be prophets.  But, for some reason, the words contain no wonder working, life changing power in their lives.

But then, there are some who receive the Bible as a message from God.  They accept it as more than a collection of 66 books authored by approximately 40 different men, but as the God-breathed, Spirit-inspired word of God. (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, February 4th, at Woman to Woman Ministries where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,

Also happily linking up with the lovely
The Mom Gene

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Friday Favs...Cleaning and Decluttering, Part Three

I had every intention of posting the final post of my cleaning and decluttering series last week, but as those of you who read here regularly know, or those of you who follow me on Facebook or Instagram, last Thursday our second born daughter was hit by a pickup truck while out jogging. Your prayers for her full and complete recovery from all effects of brain trauma and damage to her ear and hearing are much appreciated. I am so thankful that our girl is still with us. Times like these remind us of the fragility of life and of what really matters, which is NOT our house and decor and decluttering but IS family, relationships, and our walk with God and eternity. With that said, here is the post I had almost completed last week and finally finished today.

While I declutter frequently, I've been inspired to declutter even more since the holidays are over. With our kitchen being updated not that long before the holidays, the kitchen cabinets had already been totally decluttered. But, I hadn't cleaned out our pantry and our bathroom cabinets and drawers so I did those.
I've also simplified my decor in some areas and gotten rid of decor that I no longer love or need. (One of those projects was removing the old ladder from my kitchen, that I was using as a pot rack, and hanging iron wall mounted pot racks, for a neater and more streamlined look as seen in the first photo of this post.  My daughter is going to use the ladder for a project in her farmhouse.)

I've even tackled some projects I've been procrastinating about-hip, hip hooray! I finally put some shelving in our master bedroom closet and got rid of even more clothes and shoes.  Our closet, is finally neat, clean and tidy! If I was richer I would put in a fancy closet system, but for now some simple shelving is sufficient.
For our always messy nightstands, I've discovered that the cure is containers.  I found the perfect lidded box for my husband's nightstand, (on clearance at Homegoods), to hold remotes, chargers and other small items that tend to collect there.

My final big challenge is to go though all of the boxes of photos and memorabilia and organize them. These are the most difficult things for me to deal with as there are more emotional attachments involved.  Mainly, I want to get those things better organized.

For those of you who may have missed it, here is part one of my cleaning and decluttering series and here is part two.  Today I'm going to end this series by writing about what I typically do when I spring and pre-holiday clean. These chores can be divided up and spread out over time as you wish.  I'm usually a "get 'er done" type person who gets in there and tries to get as much done as humanly possible all at once.

Pre-holiday/spring cleaning-

-get rid of decor that you no longer like or use whenever you get out your fall, Christmas, or other holiday decor

-Clean out kitchen cupboards and drawers, pantry and refrigerator.  Take all items out, wiping down the cupboards inside and out, getting rid of items you no longer need or use and any outdated food.

-With a long duster dust ceilings for cobwebs

-Wipe down light fixtures

-Clean carpets as needed.  (Hallelujah for wood floors in all of house except the bedrooms and my office!)  Vacuum all carpets including edges and under furniture. 

 -Mop all other floors moving furniture as necessary to get under everything.

-Wipe down all baseboards, doors and door frames

-Touch up paint any areas on walls, frames or moldings that have taken a beating or are chipped.  (I keep a small tupperware of our wall paint in my cleaning cupboard and some wall putty handy so that I can instantly repair nail holes if I move things on the walls.)

-Clean inside of windows, clean blinds, (wash/iron curtains as needed)  
(I only wash the outside of windows once a year in the summer.)

-Clean out and vacuum closets. Don't forget those edges that gather dust!
 Donate  items you no longer need, or use.

-Clean out all bathroom cupboards and drawers. Get rid of anything you no longer need or use and old or outdated products such as old makeup or medicines.

-Clean out the cupboard or closet where you keep your cleaning products. Again, get rid of anything you no longer need or use.

-If possible, clean under and behind stove, refrigerator, washer and dryer. Clean the oven, vacuum refrigerator coils, clean dryer vent, etc. (In my current house, the stove and refrigerator is impossible for me to move so I was sure to clean behind and under them well when the painters moved them to to paint our cabinets!  I'm not sure when I'll ever be able to clean under or behind them again, which kind of grosses me out.)
-Dust and wipe down any objects you keep out on display. (For example, I wash all of the ironstone I have out on display and the pots that are hanging on my pot rack.)

-As you go through your spring or pre-holiday cleaning be mindful to look for things you can get rid of.  Lightening the load of excess stuff is freeing! For example, I recently got rid of all but a handful of old decor magazines that I had hung onto but never looked at since the first time I read them!  I've donated books I don't plan to ever read again as well, and probably could stand to get rid of even more! Old craft, hobby and sewing supplies that you never use are another thing that can just take up valuable storage space. Don't feel guilty for getting rid of and donating items/gifts the someone gave you that you never use or don't love.  They aren't doing the gift giver or you any good taking up space in your closet or cupboard.  Let it go!

Well, friends, thanks for your support and encouragement about this series.  Remember, my home is not perfect and neither will yours be.  Real life and real living happens within our walls.  For me keeping things neat and tidy evokes a more peaceful and welcoming atmosphere.  At the same time, expecting perfection is not peaceful or welcoming to the people that have to live in your home.  I have to continually self correct in this area and remind myself to let my husband relax, and not expect him to measure up to my sometimes unrealistic expectations of neatness.

Have a happy Friday
a safe and blessed weekend!