Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Beating the heat...

Sometimes, when you're having a record breaking hottest summer on record, you unashamedly play hookie from normal life and responsibilities and drive to the beach on a mid-week afternoon. It's amazing how the temperature can be 30 degrees cooler by the sea than it is just a short drive inland.

 Our four year old grandson was our companion for our afternoon at the beach.

Summer will soon be over and the rain will inevitably return to the Pacific Northwest. When the rainy days seem relentless, I'll try to remember this day when we wanted to escape the summer heat.

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Flower Friday

Monday, August 13, 2018

Refusing to let stress be a joy stealer...

My husband and I sat across from each other at our favorite Thai food restaurant. Over my plate of chicken pad thai and his mixed grill plate the topic came up of person we know facing a possible auto-immune disease diagnosis. The conversation led us to question what is in our food or environment that is causing the rise of this condition. I wondered aloud if a big part of it could be the level of stress we continually live under. 

As a person who feels things deeply it is a challenge for me to not live under stress. I watch or read the news and I feel deep concern and stress rises within over the state of our nation and world. I counsel with people in our congregation and feel the pain of their problems. It's a challenge for me to leave their burdens on God's shoulders and to not carry them on mine. Stress results when I don't do this. 

Jesus gave us His peace. Our inheritance in Christ isn't a problem free life, but it is a peace filled life. John 14:17 in the Amplified Bible is a verse I refer back to and pray over myself frequently. 
" Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]" 

Psalm 32:6 indicates that there is a way for us to go through trials without stress penetrating our inner being.
"For this [forgiveness] let everyone who is godly pray—pray to You in a time when You may be found; surely when the great waters [of trial] overflow, they shall not reach [the spirit in] him."

The primary way that I reject stress is to choose to focus on the blessings of God in my life. But, I am also learning that there are times when I simply have to give myself permission to walk away from stressful situations in order to regain perspective. This past week I set aside my to-do list and rested on Monday afternoon. On Tuesday I took a walk around my old hometown with my youngest grandson and enjoyed the memories. On Wednesday we drove to the beach. I was amazed that the following day I woke up more clear minded than I'd been in weeks. I accomplished a week's worth of to-dos in one day. I had a clear plan for something I had been asking God for direction about for quite some time. I felt God's peace, presence and guidance as a counseled with a hurting one.

A new week has begun. I have a choice to make. I can succumb to stressful situations or I can choose to walk in God's peace. I can trust Him with problems that arise. I can live in an attitude of gratitude and focus on my blessings. I can refuse to let stress steal my joy.

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)

-getting my walk done in the cool of the morning
-ignoring my to do list and resting due to a headache
-re-reading a favorite book

-walking through my hometown with my youngest grandson (see a post about that here)
-a good report from our daughter's pre-natal checkup
-saying no to stress
-my husband's help with a household chore

-the words, "exhausted yet pursuing" in Judges 8 - 
I love how God's Word speaks to me in the most unlikely chapters and books of the Bible
-escaping the heat with a drive to the beach

-a good report on a friend's medical tests
-my daughter feeling the baby kick for the first time

-God's peace and help with some direction and guidance I needed
-catching up on all of the to-dos I put off at the beginning of the week
-a phone call with my longtime, ( I want to say oldest, but that makes it sound like she's very old!), friend
-my Father God's love
-a huge orange sun at sunrise and again at sunset 

-I couldn't go back to sleep after waking up at 4AM-but I was able to have a great quiet time!
-a drive down old, familiar country roads
-a good movie with a happy ending

-a wee bit of summer rain and cooler temps after two hot, dry months
-my daughter and son-in-law stopping by for a chat
-seeking God's help with a blog post and knowing He helped me

-praise that breaks through 
-good friends that encourage
-oldest granddaughter spending the afternoon with us
-some happy news

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Saturday, August 11, 2018


Recently, someone asked my husband and I how a person can make things right when they've really wronged another person. Their question got me thinking about what I need personally when someone wrongs me in order to feel that their apology, their repentance for what they did, is sincere. My train of thought led me to thinking about what true, sincere repentance toward God looks like. I realized it's really quite simple-as simple as three little words.

"You are right." Have you ever had a person give you a backhanded apology. For example, "Please forgive me, but you made me lose my temper when you _________." What they are doing is excusing their wrong behavior rather than sincerely apologizing. When Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the one and only thing in all of the garden that God had forbidden them to do, Adam tried the whole blame shifting thing, too. "And the man said, The woman whom You gave to be with me—she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate." (Genesis 3:12) In other words, "God, the trouble all started with that woman you gave me" was Adam's excuse. True repentance to God doesn't make excuses. It accepts that He is right, His ways are right, and He knows best.   (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, August 12th, 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

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Friday Faves...Two Summer Desserts You Will Want To Try!

Last Sunday evening we had a gathering at our house for our church's leadership. Because I love to bake, I made the desserts and our guests provided the savory finger foods. In a bit of a risky move, I decided to make this Chocolate Zucchini Bread recipe for the first time. I doubled the recipe and baked it in a bundt pan. It was fabulous! It tasted like a moist and rich dark chocolate cake that you would never guess had zucchini in it!

I also made this simple loaf cake that has become a frequently made summer dessert when we have company. Topped with berries and homemade whipped cream and it's an instant favorite. Many of our guests topped the chocolate zucchini cake with the strawberries and whipped cream as well. YUMMMM!
I got the recipe from Rhoda at Southern Hospitalit
who posted this old clip from her mom on Instagram.
It's almost FRIDAY, friends!

Have a HAPPY, HAPPY Friday
a BLESSED weekend!



Tuesday, August 7, 2018

My hometown...

I grew up in a little suburban town south of Portland, Oregon. After I was born, I came home from the hospital to the same house that I moved out of when I went away to college. I started school with many of the same kids that I graduated with. Once Mama moved into a retirement community in Portland, there wasn't much of a reason to return to my hometown, though on occasion I'd get sentimental and drive through it. But, all that has changed. Our youngest daughter and her husband just bought a house there! It's been so fun to walk all over town with my youngest grandson in his stroller on the very same sidewalks I used to walk on and past the same streets, buildings and landmarks that are so familiar to me.

Growing up, we'd swim and fish in the Clackamas River. Some of my more foolhardy siblings used to jump off that bridge into the river!
 Now there's a lovely walking path that wasn't there when I was growing up.
 The "Pow Wow" tree was a well know historic spot back in the day, but now it's properly marked.
The city park used to have a wading pool, but they've now filled it in and made it a splash pad. My grandkids love it!

I loved growing up in my little hometown and now this guy, (and his sister that is due in January), will get to grow up there!

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Flower Friday

Monday, August 6, 2018

Planks of thanks...

I'm not feeling well today, part headache, part "can't wait for vacation-itis"! Truthfully, 2018 has been challenging. In January, our second born was hit by a truck while out jogging. She has long term effects from the head trauma that she is still coping with. In April my niece died. Last month I tragically lost a nephew. Mixed in there are the challenges that come with ministry life, (or any job in which you are primarily dealing with people and their problems). But, also mixed in there are the myriad of blessings that I am daily surrounded with. God's faithfulness to me is abundant. I will continue to build the bridge to tomorrow with my planks of thanks, even on days when I feel like vacation can't come soon enough!

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 at work
-cooler weather 
-our oldest granddaughter got her driver's permit!

-lessons from the book of Judges
-baking a rhubarb crisp and a berry crisp with our unofficially adopted granddaughter
-a farewell dinner for her before she leaves for college

-it's August!
-spending the day with my two youngest granddaughters
-going to the splash pad with the four youngest grands

-God goodness to me
-the sweetest birthday card from my guy, (and new Birkenstocks!)
-birthday texts from my out of state siblings and a visit and card from my sister that is in town
-oldest grandson calling me and telling me "Happy Birthday, Nana! May all your dreams come true!"
-sweet text from my oldest granddaughter
-lunch with my youngest daughter and her husband and a huge beautiful bouquet of flowers
-a surprise birthday cake at church tonight-carrot cake, my favorite!

-a wonderful, (on the day after), birthday brunch at our oldest daughter's with our whole family
(photo is minus one son-in law who came late and plus two friends of the two oldest grands)
-a cooler day with even a bit of drizzle
-watching the Great British Baking Show with my guy

-morning fog
-God speaking to me through His Word
-snuggles with my snugglebug four year old grandson

-powerful worship
-my husband's great message in spite of having a tough week
-a great evening with our church leadership

still following,