Monday, January 16, 2017

I'm thanking God...

Have you ever had God intervene before you made a big mistake?  On the last day before our mortgage payment would have been late, it must have been God Who prompted me to check our bank balance only to discover that there was more in our account than there should have been.  For some reason, our mortgage payment hadn't come out of our account.  As I looked into it, I realized that when I payed our payment online, I must have skipped that last important step to click "submit payment".  Thank goodness, I was able to rectify the mistake and make our payment on time.

I wish that all my mistakes in life were prevented like that.  There are words I wish I hadn't said, decisions I wish I hadn't made, time and opportunities I wish I hadn't wasted.  I could wallow in the land of regrets if I let myself. While God hasn't always prevented my mistakes or wrong choices, nor has He always wiped out the consequences, He has graciously, mercifully made all things right between Him and I.  He has made it well with my soul.  For that I am eternally grateful.
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)

-it's a boy! 
(Our youngest daughter is expecting her first baby, grand baby number six!
 When he's born we will have a total of three grandsons and three granddaughters)
-ultrasound shows that he's healthy
-a friend checking on us

-tiny little gray and yellow finches
-the Lord's prayer

-building a snowman 
-our grandchildren playing together in the snow

-a favorite meal shared together
-a sweet talk with my granddaughter while I brushed her hair

-ham and cheese omelets and homemade whole grain waffles for breakfast with our two oldest granddaughters who spent the night
-talking about our funniest dreams and laughing together
-God sending us encouragement at just the right time

-an unexpected extra discount
-God's daily watchfulness over us
-dinner and games with friends

-more blue skies and cold temps
-how God mends hearts
-quiet time to read my Bible and write

-those who came to church in spite of the weather
-God prompting me to check our account and discovering a mistake before it was too late

still following,

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Don't give up!

On wintry days spring seems far away, harvest season even farther.  We can become weary of winter's short days and long, dark evenings and its cold weather and lose sight of the promise that winter never lasts forever and that spring always comes.

Just as every year has four seasons, life has seasons, too.  The difference is that the seasons we go through in our life aren't repeated in a yearly cycle.  Most of the seasons of our life come and go, never to be repeated again. Some seasons are short.  Mothers may recall how in the blink of an eye your newborn baby became a toddler. Some seasons are long.  Young mothers may feel like the toddler and early childhood years are stretching on forever in an endless cycle of laundry, fetching snacks, picking up toys, breaking up sibling skirmishes and trying to train your little one to be a decent human being.  Some seasons are gratifying.  You may be in a season like that, a season where you are seeing success at your job, in your ministry, in your relationships.  Some seasons feel thankless.  No one seems to notice, much less appreciate, how you go above and beyond at your job, the delicious meals you put on the table each night, the faithful way you serve each week in the church nursery.

Whatever season you are in, there is One Who knows and notices.

(Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, January 15th, at Woman to Woman Ministries where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,

Scripture and Snapshot

Also happily linking up with the lovely

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Big snow!

The average yearly snowfall in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington metro is 4.5 inches. When I looked up the statistics I was actually surprised it was that much!  Anything more than a dusting and everything just shuts down around here, that's how little we are used to it.
Big snows in our area are memorialized.  I still remember the winter I was eleven and the big snow we had that winter.  There was a total of 34 inches of snow that year.
In 2008 we had a big snow just before Christmas, nineteen inches!  That was one of my favorite big snows.  Our two oldest grandkids were five and four.  My mama was still alive and living in her little condo not far from our house in Portland.  My oldest daughter was seven months pregnant with her first baby after eleven years of infertility and loss.  The whole city shut down and all of the usual pre-Christmas hustle and bustle came to a stand still.  It seemed as though everyone accepted the fact that Christmas Day would be just fine even if the last of the gifts or all of the usual Christmas dinner groceries weren't purchased.  One evening, my husband and I pulled our grandkids all around the neighborhood on sleds.  We met neighbor after neighbor outside enjoying the snow, enjoying the peace and quiet of a city shut down by the weather,  enjoying an unhurried prequel to Christmas.
This Tuesday night our small group from church was gathered in our home for a simple supper and a time of study and prayer together.  The weather report called for snow that night, but not until later and we weren't supposed to have that much accumulation.  We were all gathered in our living room when my husband caught a glimpse of what was happening outside through the window by our front door.  It looked like a blizzard and had already covered the ground with more than the total amount of snow forecasted.  It continued to snow all that night.  

While almost a foot of snow isn't all that much for those who live in snow country, for northwest Oregon and southwest Washington, to us that's a big snow.  One granddaughter was stranded at our house overnight after her "nana school" day, the roads between her house and ours too treacherous to get her home.  She was ok with that however, as that meant she could play with her cousins, our other grandchildren that live nearby.
While the temps are still too low for the snow to melt away quickly, the sun came out this morning and the skies were blue.  The temps are dropping again tonight, so while no new snow is predicted the snow we have will still be here for another day or two.  While it feels like I've not been in my normal routine since Thanksgiving, I guess big snows are rare enough that I might as well just enjoy it!

still following,

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A taste of spring in winter...

The temperatures are dropping and the weather report says we should anticipate another bout of snow tonight. So, on today's trip to the grocery store it was a surprise and delight to see little pots of mini daffodils all abloom outside the the entrance.  For $2.98, who couldn't use a taste of spring when winter has commenced with such a vengeance this year?

I'm not sure there's a cheerier flower than the early spring blossoms of bright yellow daffodils.  The fact that one can be forced to bloom out of season may delight, but it doesn't bode well for the longevity of the daffodil.  My plan when buying it was to enjoy it while I can and remember it through these photographs when it fades.  

still following,

Monday, January 9, 2017

Thank You, Creator God!

On Saturday it snowed. In the wee hours of Sunday, the ice came.  For my pastor husband, it was a difficult, but obviously necessary, decision to cancel church.  So we had an unexpected Sunday off relaxing in the warmth of our home.

First thing this morning, I was to meet our youngest daughter and her husband for her big five month pregnancy ultrasound. They take detailed ultrasound photos of all of the organs, spine, limbs, etc. of the baby making sure that there are no abnormalities. They reveal the gender of the baby if the couple chooses to know. Thank God that the roads were clear enough this morning for us all to make the trip to the doctor's office.  For the gender reveal, my son-in-law's mom and I got to go in when the tech announced and showed us the evidence that it's a boy! What joy!  Once our newest grandson is born my husband and I will an even three granddaughters and three grandsons. 

Don't we serve an amazing Creator?  I was thinking of that when I saw the snow falling and the ice coating the trees and bushes, but even more so when I saw our little grandson on that ultrasound. (Let me tell you, he likes to move! That tech was having a hard time capturing the photos he was so busy!) I'm so grateful for a healthy little grandson and I can't wait to meet him face to face in a few months.
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)

-beginning the book of John with She Reads Truth
-the yummy smell of pot roast in the crock pot
-an invitation from a friend
-a walk with my husband
-funny texts with all our girls

-freezing temps and blue skies
-God's daily care and provision
-homemade soup shared with our small group

-the power of praying the scriptures
-finally, some writing time!
-spending some time with my oldest daughter and her girlies

-picking the two oldest grands up from school and having dinner together
-laughing so hard together

-cloudless blue sky
-a good cry (over a movie)
-text between us and our girls all day and evening

-a walk in the frosty cold
-the smell of pork roast cooking in the oven
-babysitting our sweet, silly youngest grandson

-our safe warm home on this snowy, icy day
-a good nap
-a writing opportunity

still following,

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Keep us from distraction in 2017...

In the middle of my morning devotional time my phone dinged with a incoming text message. Several minutes later I looked up from my phone, not even sure what or where I had been reading before I received that text. Distraction.

I'm a notorious multi-tasker.  Because of this, I have been known to do silly things like leave a cup of cold coffee in the cupboard where I keep my vitamins.  I was drinking coffee while doing my morning kitchen clean up when I remembered to take my vitamins...and, well, you know the rest.  Distraction.

Being a pastor's wife for over thirty years, I know that at any given time there is always someone experiencing some sort of life crisis or spiritual problem in our church.   Sometimes, instead of bearing other's burdens to the Lord in prayer and trusting Him, I let concern and even anxiety preoccupy my thoughts as I think of ways to help or to try to fix the situation.  Distraction.

Distraction is defined as something that prevents us from giving our full attention to something else.  My phone keeps me from giving my full attention to my Bible reading and prayer time.  My tendency to multi-task keeps me from focusing and giving my full attention to one task at a time.  The needs of an individual in crisis in our church can distract me from the big picture of what God has for our church as a whole and from trusting God and letting Him work things out instead of letting myself become distracted with anxiety. (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, January 8th, at Woman to Woman Ministries where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,

Scripture and Snapshot

Also happily linking up with the lovely

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Friday Favs...Cures for the bleak midwinter blues- HYGGE...

The holiday hustle and bustle is over and the Christmas decorations are packed away for another year.  The bulk of winter still lies before us, without the holiday excitement to take our mind off of the gray skies and the cold weather.  This is a good time to glean some wisdom from our Danish friends and adopt the lifestyle of hygge, (pronounced heu-gah).  Hygge is, by my definition, a way to make your home a nurturing, cozy place during the bleak midwinter.  Here are some of the things I have found that help to do just that.

Whether you prefer battery operated or regular candles, don't save your candles for special occasions.  You and your family deserve the warm and cozy glow that candlelight adds to gloomy winter afternoons and the early evenings that the winter months bring.  I didn't get a photo of my fireplace for this post, but if you have a fireplace, enjoy it to its fullest these next couple of months!

Cozy throws-
Especially if you live in a house with wood or tile floors, you will want to add some visual warmth to your home in the winter by adding the cozy texture of rugs, pillows and throw blankets.
Keep a basket of cuddly throw blankets in your living area.  At my house, my husband's favorite one is always crumpled up on the couch lately, ready for when he comes home to relax.

Warm colors-
Winter is the perfect time to get out your warm colored metals. Bronze, gold or copper accessories add a warm glow to your decor.
Living plants-
One of the ways that I like to fight the "bleak midwinter" is to bring some life indoors with inside plants. I love to force paper whites or hyacinth to bloom indoors in the winter.
 Inexpensive grocery store bouquets are another item that adds a bright spot to a room on a cold winter's day.
Keep a cozy sweater handy-
Sometimes, even with the heat on and the fireplace crackling, you still need a cozy sweater and a warm pair of slippers.  Keep your favorite sweater or soft warm hoody on a hook where you can grab them anytime.
Comfort food-

Winter is the time to make sure you are well stocked on your favorite hot drinks, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.  Also,  keep your pantry and refrigerator stocked with the ingredients to make your favorite soups and stews.  There's nothing like coming in out of the cold to find a welcoming bowl of hot soup ready for you to enjoy! You can find a few of my favorite soup recipes in this post.

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


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