Monday, September 25, 2017

Giving thanks always...

There are many advantages to keeping a gratitude journal.  Of course, the primary one is that taking the time to notice and record the blessings of God in my life has resulted in a greatly increased confidence in His constant faithfulness and care in my life resulting in me being more contented and at peace.  But, another benefit has been that sometimes a busy week zooms by like a blur and I need my gratitude journal to remind me what happened in the midst of that blur! And so, I'm looking back at last week and all of God's blessings and I'm giving thanks.
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 faithful provision
-crossing to-dos off my list
-our son-in-law inviting us to meet them for dinner
-this prayer-"God order my days and my time"

-the riches found in the book of Ephesians
-cozy candlelight on this rainy day
-our small group filling our home with feasting, fellowship, study and prayer

-a walk just before the downpour started
-taking our two youngest granddaughters to the beauty shop and for a Starbucks treat

-my hubs repairing something for me

-breakfast with the oldest grands who spent the night while their parents are out of town
-surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life
-our oldest granddaughter singing with the worship team at our prayer service

-the first day of autumn
-a really nice Friday Date Day together 
-tinges of fall color appearing on the trees against today's blue skies

-sleeping in after staying up too late
-Saturday quiet time
-God's help with a writing project

-joyful worship and a really good word
-hungry new believers with lots of questions
-trusting God
-lunch with a dear family
-babysitting our youngest grandson while his parents attend a wedding

still following,

Saturday, September 23, 2017

A New Thing...

I am a creature of routine.  I like the comfort of my little daily rituals.  I like to wake up early and head straight into the kitchen for my first cup of coffee. I like to sit in my cozy chair in our kitchen nook and sip my coffee. Once the caffeine begins to kick in, I like to get my Bible and journaling supplies and have my devotions.  Yes, I like my routine...until I don't.  Sometimes my routine gets boring, lifeless, and same old same old.  When that happens, I know that my routine has turned into a rut.  I need to get creative and shake things up a bit.  At times like that I'll grab my Bible and journal and drive to a lovely spot by a park or next to the river for my quiet time.  Sometimes, I'll go for a walk first and get some exercise while listening to worship music or a good podcast. At other times, it's counterproductive to force my morning routine to stay the same when my environment needs tidying up or I have a long list of to-dos.  I find that I can focus on my devotional time better if I get those things done first.  So, while I like my usual routine, I don't like it when my rituals turn into a religious rut. I'm not afraid to change things up when I feel that happening.

This week, Autumn 2017 began.  I'm glad that I live in the Pacific Northwest where each season is distinct.  After a hot, dry summer, the cooler temperatures and the much needed rain are welcome.  Until they're not.  Just about the time us Pacific Northwesterners can't stand another gray, rainy day, the seasons change again.  I'm thinking that maybe the Creator doesn't really like ruts either!  In fact, I think that the Creator is constantly doing new, creative things. I don't believe those changes are just happening in the world around us.  I think God is constantly doing new and creative things in us.  That is, if we allow Him to.

Sometimes, I get a little too fond of things the way they are.  When my morning routine gets interrupted, I can get frustrated and upset at the person or situation doing the interrupting. Likewise, when I have my same old way of doing things, and then someone or something comes along that upsets the apple cart of doing it my own way, that makes me a bit cranky.  When it's the Creator Who is messing around with the way I've always thought or the way I've always done things that's a whole new level of discomfort.  That's messing around with my inner comfort zone, my inner routine, my inner rut.  Why that's messing around with who I am-with me!    (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, September 24th, 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, September 21, 2017

Friday Favs...Updating our 1990's kitchen

I've missed posting my Friday Favs! I think at one time my blog was the boss of me. I posted practically everyday! Then somehow it changed and life and busyness became the boss of me and I've struggled to find time to blog. I'm hoping to get back into some sort of a more realistic blogging rhythm without either the blog or out of control busyness taking over my life.

Two years ago this month we moved into our new to us home.  It was built in 1992.  Since moving in we've made a lot of updates and changes, but the biggest change happened this summer when we updated our 1990's kitchen. Here's a before photo.  Behold my kitchen in all of it's nineties golden oak glory!
Let me begin by telling you what we decided not to change.  We decided not to change the footprint of the kitchen.  The layout works really well for us and so we decided to keep it the same.  We also decided not to replace the oak cabinets.  The cabinets are solid wood, including the shelves.  We decided that we would rather figure out a way to update our solid wood cabinets because to replace them with equal quality solid hardwood would be out of our price range.
Here's what we did change. We replaced the formica countertops and their oak trim with solid surface quartz countertops.  We shopped around for the best price and were so very pleased with the company that we chose. We chose MSI quartz in the color fossil gray.  It looks a lot like concrete countertops, which I love. We deepened the width of the bar area just slightly and changed the previous angle cuts a bit.  We also replaced the sink with a high quality stainless steel undermount sink that we ordered from Amazon.
After debating how to update our cabinets, we decided to have them professionally painted. Our friends at Divine Concepts, LLC did a fabulous job! 
We also decided to replace the wood centers of some of the top cabinets with textured glass.  I chose quarter reeded glass which is slightly opaque.  Our good friend removed the wood centers and put the glass in for us, which we ordered from a local glass company.
We also added new hardware on all of the cabinet doors and drawers.  Previously the cabinets had no door or drawer pulls on them.  We ordered the drawer pulls and new hinges through Amazon.  Our same friend and his wife helped install all the hardware. 
For the backsplash I went with 4x12 white subway tile with gray grout that matches the countertop color.  I wanted something simple and clean looking without a lot of pattern.  I didn't want my kitchen to look too "busy" to the eye, but simple and clean.  My nephew and those same friends previously mentioned, (which happen to be my nephew's in-laws as well as our dear friends), helped install the backsplash.

The last update to the kitchen was to replace the can light over the kitchen sink with a pendant light that matches the sconces we have in our dining room.

I couldn't be more pleased with how our kitchen turned out!  It's always gratifying when something turns out the way you've pictured it in your mind!

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


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Lobster Feed...

Hi All!
Today, I'm continuing to share with you my 60th birthday trip to Maine that I and my three daughters went on this summer.
Here's where we've journeyed together so far.
Kennebunkport-click here
Portland-click here
Fort Popham-click here
Bath-click here

On today's post we are still in Bath, Maine, my Mama's hometown. My daughters and I were welcomed with loving hearts and open arms by my Mama's last living sibling, my aunt, and her sons and daughters-in-law. Because we live on the west coast, throughout my life I've only seen these cousins a handful of times, and my daughters had never met them. To be so warmly welcomed by them meant the world to us.

My aunt's oldest son and his wife invited us to join them for a Sarah Evans concert, sponsored by L.L. Bean. What fun that was! They also took us all over Mama's hometown of Bath. Then, they generously provided us with an amazing lobster and clam feed at my aunt's house. My oldest daughter had promised my Mama she would never eat lobster until the day she got to eat it in Maine, and she kept that promise. It was fun to go with them to pick out the lobster and the clams and to watch the whole process of cooking them.

We each had two lobsters to eat, plus the clams the side dishes and a delicious dessert my aunt had made.  Let's just say, we all blew our diets that night, but it was worth it!
My aunt looks so much like my mama, with so many of Mama's mannerisms, that when I had to say goodbye to her I burst into tears.  It felt like saying goodbye to Mama again.  Our time with her and my cousins are treasured memories for me and my girls.

 still following,

Flower Friday

Monday, September 18, 2017

Rainy day gratitude...

This summer was very dry in the Pacific Northwest.  We've had many very devastating wildfires, resulting in tens of thousands of acres of devastation and smoke, ash and very poor air quality all over the area.  Yesterday afternoon the rain began.  It's rained off and on much of the day today and we should have rainy weather for much of the week.  Sure, us Pacific Northwesterners get more than our fair share of rain most of the time, but the last two days everyone I've talked to has mentioned how thankful they are for the rain.  I am, too!
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)

-remembering sixteen years ago and God's hand on our lives as we were flying home from the east coast and stranded in Chicago when the terrorists attacked NYC, Pennsylvania, the Pentagon
-a good visit with my friend and her hubs while they were helping us with a project
-a fun and delicious dinner with our Truelife Espanol pastors to celebrate their birthdays

-trying my hand at a fall cornhusk wreath-I love creating!
-listening to Ravi Zacharias podcasts
-my youngest daughter and youngest grandson moving in for a few days
 while her hubs is on a missions trip to Haiti

-eliminating one possible cause for my clogged ear/hearing issue
and a med that will hopefully eliminate the real cause
-going on a walk with my girl and grandson
-the way our grandson makes sounds like he's trying so hard to talk to us

-some quiet time while everyone else is still asleep
-"Hula Boy" Thursday with our oldest grands, (a favorite restaurant)
-really wonderful worship and prayer time tonight

-youngest grandson learned to roll from back to front and to grab his toys while he was here!
-my guy :)
-my hubs working on a big outside project on his day off

-a house full of grandkids
-homemade chai tea lattes
-eating homemade pizza and watching the University of Washington Huskies football game

-God growing our church His way
-God at work in us all
-a relaxing evening with the grandkids watching America's Got Talent

still following,

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Accepted in the Beloved...

The book of Ephesians opens up with some amazing and profound truths. If you and I could really grasp them and really believe them for ourselves I believe it would revolutionize our relationship with God. 

-We are chosen-Ephesians 1:4
Ephesians 1:4 says that God chose us before the foundations of the world.  That means that before the earth was created He had us in mind. We were the intention of God's heart when He put into motion the great plan of redemption that would require the sacrifice of His Son.

-We are adopted-Ephesians 1:5
At the legal adoption ceremonies for our two oldest grandchildren, the reality of what it meant to be adopted by God was made clear to me.  The judge read a declaration stating the legal date of the adoption, and then decreed that the child, using their new legal name, was now and forever the legal child of the adoptive parents, our daughter and son-in-law.  When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior I believe that in heaven a declaration of our adoption into God's family is made, then all of heaven rejoices!  (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, September 17th, 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

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Beautiful Bath, Maine....

Welcome to post number four of my photo tour of my recent 60th birthday trip to Maine with my three daughters.
Here are the links if you'd you'd like to catch up on the previous posts-
Kennebunkport here
Portland here 
Fort Popham here
As I mentioned in my previous posts, Mama was born on P.E.I. but grew up in Bath, Maine.
It was a dream come true to be able to show my daughters my Mama's home state and town.
I love the fact that Mama walked these same streets and passed by many of these same landmarks
 and buildings when she was a little girl.
The names of the old businesses imbedded in the sidewalk and painted on the sides of the buildings have remained intact even though many of those businesses have changed.

This is the house my Mama grew up in.
The summer I turned six we drove cross country from Oregon to Maine to meet Mama's family for the first time, and this is the home that is the background of all of those sweet memories.
When my Nana got older, she moved into this home, with my aunt and uncle.
Bath is a shipbuilding town.  
Right now they have a contract for the new navy destroyer.

Under the guidance of a master shipbuilder, 
volunteers are building a full sized wooden ship,
a replica of the Virginia which was built in Bath long ago.
I love Bath, Maine, not just because it was my Mama's hometown,
but because it is such a beautifully quaint, peaceful, and friendly little town.

 still following,

Flower Friday