Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ash Wednesday reflections...

Adam's image is readily seen in his offspring.  This man made from dust passed on to us his
Sin, selfishness and stubborn rebellion, and we all too readily slog along in his footsteps. Were it not for
His intervention on our behalf, this Radical Redeemer of the human race,
We would be lost forever, forced to pay the wages of our forefather's sin, saddled with a death sentence,
Eternally lost. If not for His intervention, the One Who paid our 
Debt so that we could have eternal life and an inheritance of hope that we 
Neither earned or deserved.  It boggles the mind and stretches our understanding to the limit that the
Everlasting, Eternal One would give it all just to
Save wretches like you and I, the sons and daughters of 
Disobedient Adam, who chose his own way instead of God's, just like you and I do all too often.  Now, we who are
Adopted as His own, long to bear His image, long for His beauty to be seen in us as as it was before that long ago
Yesterday in the garden when satan thought he'd doomed Adam's offspring forever.  Thank God he was wrong.

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Darling Downs Diaries

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Woman to Woman Ministries

Monday, February 8, 2016

In the quiet...

My word for this year is listen.
My desire for our home is that it is filled with peace,
that all who enter will sense God's peace.
Both listening and having a home that exudes peace,
means that I have to pursue stillness and peace within.
I can't really listen if either my outer or inner world is filled with noise.
I can't have a home filled with peace unless I'm at peace.

I'm taking Kim Klassen's online Be Still photography course.
With my current computer I'm unable to run Lightroom, 
so I won't be able to practice all of her editing techniques until I can upgrade.
But, I can practice the pursuit of stillness,
and attempt to capture a sense of stillness and peace in my still life photos.

The photos above are not a staged still life,
but are a photo of what actually is sitting on the old trunk that we've repurposed as a coffee table.
I'm pleased with the mood captured and the effect of the simple edits I did using Kim's waterfront1 texture.

I then tried some shots with the vase of flowers on a plain white cloth.

(lyrics from the song In the Secret by Christ Tomlin)

I'm excited to pursue stillness as well as to improve in my photography skills.

still following,

Sunday, February 7, 2016

God is in control...

It's a beautiful spring-like day here in the Portland/Vancouver area.
However, I chose a photo of a stormy day on the Oregon coast for this quote by Ann Voskamp,
because I know that it's a whole lot easier to give thanks when the weather is lovely and life is going well.
 When the storm is raging in your circumstances and within your own soul, 
giving thanks has to be an act of the will, a choice, because your emotions sure won't feel like being grateful.
Whatever your circumstances are in this very moment, from the highest of highs, to the lowest of lows, 
the God Who created you and Who loves you fiercely, is in control.
There's nothing happening to you right now that has caught Him unaware or by surprise.
If you feel overwhelmed by the storm around you, 
ask Him to open your eyes to see the evidence of His presence with you.
Then give Him thanks for those things.
The reins really are in God's hands even though your circumstances feel the opposite of under control.

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)

-God's provision for all of our needs
-running into our son-in-law at the grocery store resulting in an invitation to go to their house for dessert
-God's protection from known and unknown danger

-scriptures that I needed at just the right time
-"Nana school" with our first grader granddaughter (giving my daughter a day off of homeschooling)

-homemade chicken and rice soup, good for when my hubs has a cold and I have a migraine

-a day to stay home and recuperate
-my home office-my place to spread out all my Bibles, journal, etc., meet with God and write 
-Psalm 32 - compassed about with God's mercy and loving-kindness

-coffee, a visit, and prayer in our home with a friend from church
-some insights from a podcast while I was listening on my walk
-learning to listen to God's voice about when to keep quiet and when to speak up
-a good crowd at prayer and worship
-receiving prayer for myself

-brunch out with my hubs for our Friday date day
-going to a good movie
-a sweet day together

-God speaking to me from 2 Chronicles 20
-getting yard work done
-cuddling my youngest grandson
-making cookies with my oldest granddaughter
-little things from Father God that He uses to remind me how He sees me, knows me, loves me

-a beautiful spring-like day
-a powerful message
-an impromptu trip to the antique store with a friend

still following,

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The powerful weapon of praise...

I hate the devil.  I hate him vehemently.  I'm pretty sure it's okay for me to admit that, because I'm pretty sure God feels the same way.  The enemy of our souls doesn't play fair.  satan, (I refuse to give him the honor of capitalizing his name), and his demonic minions truly do come to steal, kill and destroy, and he'll use any means he can to do so.  

I urge you to stop and take the time to read the entirety of 2 Chronicles 20.  The condensed version is this. When Israel escaped bondage in Egypt, God told them not to attack the people of Moab because their land was not part of what the children of Israel were to inherit.(Deuteronomy 2:9)  Years and years later when Jehoshaphat was king of Judah, Moab and Ammon and the people of Mt. Sier united together to attack Judah.  Their purpose was to drive God's people out of what God had given them to inherit.  (vs. 11)

satan seems to use the same old tricks over and over.  his goal is to keep you from the purpose, promises and destiny God has for your life.  Oh, and he just loves to pour salt in the wound by finding someone you were good to at one time to do his dirty work.  he knows that it hurts a lot more to be attacked by someone you've got an emotional investment in, than someone you don't know.  

King Jehoshaphat seeks God for direction about what to do.  The Lord tells him, "Do not be afraid or dismayed...for the battle is not yours, but God's."  (vs. 15)  In verse 17 God instructs the king that they are not to fight in this battle, but to take their position, stand still, and see the deliverance of the Lord. (vs. 17)  Then Jehoshaphat does an interesting thing, but one that is quite appropriate when you realize that the meaning of the name Judah, the land he ruled, is praise.  Jehoshaphat appointed singers to sing to the Lord and to praise Him, "in their holy garments". (vs. 21)  When they began to sing, "Give thanks to the Lord, for His mercy and lovingkindness endure forever!", the Lord set up ambushments against the enemy and the enemy was self-slaughtered! (vs. 22)  The enemy literally destroyed themselves, killing one another!  

satan would love nothing better than to rob you of all God has promised you.  he will use any means and anyone he can to do so.  When you find yourself under attack, it's all too easy to be dismayed and afraid.  In fact, that's probably a perfectly natural response.  However you need to remember that you have some supernatural weapons at your disposal and a mighty God on your side. 
(Please join me for the rest of this post at Woman to Woman Ministries, on Sunday, February 7th, for some Sunday Soul Food.)

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Barbie Swihart

Scripture and Snapshot

Also happily linking up with the lovely Lisha Epperson 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Friday's Favs...Living Room Transformation

I thought it would be fun to take you around our new to us house, 
show you the progress made so far in our updates, and changes we have yet to make, 
starting with the living room.

Our house was built in 1992, so the house has a lot of oak and a lot of brass,
but we fell in love with the bright open floor plan.
Here are photos from the original real estate ad.
This is the formal living room and...
the far end of the room, shown below, was meant to be the formal dining room.
We decided to use the room as one large living room,
and make the family room off of the kitchen into a large dining room,
and the breakfast nook as a little sitting area.
We ripped out all of the carpet and vinyl in the whole living area, kitchen, dining room and hallway
and put in solid birch hardwood.
We replaced all of the dated brass light fixtures.
This is the "dining room" side of the room that we now use as part of the living room.
We have not had our t.v. in our main living room before, (my preference),
but I'm trying to be a nice wife and give it a try.
We are planning to wall mount it, and then hide it behind something when it's not in use,
perhaps a large vintage map.

We ordered custom woven wood shades for all of the living room windows.
I may add some drapes on this window.
This photo shows the pass through between the kitchen and "dining room".
It now just serves as a good way to peek into the living room from the kitchen,
or to talk between rooms.
Below is the fireplace as it used to be, facing the family room off of the kitchen.
We turned it around in the wall to face the living room, 
and gave it a makeover.

We kept our living room furniture from our former house, 
and just added some new pillows and lamps,
the floral chair and little side table by it,
and the red media cabinet.

Next week,  I'll show you the kitchen and dining room!

Well, it's almost Friday, friends.
Have a HAPPY, HAPPY Friday
a SAFE and BLESSED weekend.


Shabby Art Boutique

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