Sunday, February 28, 2010

A kiss and a hug...

holy experience

My six year old granddaughter's love language is definitely quality time.  She would choose to play a game with us or to go and do something with us over a present or toy anytime.  My five year old grandson's love language is very obvious as well.  His is physical touch.  He loves to be cuddled, hugged and kissed.  One day when his behavior was, shall I say, less than ideal, his mama sent him up to his room and told him to go lay down.  A few minutes later, she heard him holloring this question, with a slight bit of accusation towards her thrown in, "Mom, don't you know that when I get like this what I really need is just for you to come and snuggle with me?"

It's been a challenging few weeks.  Changes and decisions and hurting people and life made me, made us, (hubby and I), feel a little worse for wear.  Somewhere, deep in my spirit yet unexpressed with my flesh, an accusing voice was raised to God, "Don't you know God, that when things get like this what I really need from You is just for You to come and snuggle me?  Don't You know, Papa God, that I need held and reassured and comforted and refreshed?"  Yesterday in church, though no one else may have seen, no one else may have known, (not physically of course, but to my heart and my spirit),  God reached down right there to my seat on the front row and gave me a great big kiss and hug and told me everything's going to be all right.

and other love gifts from Him this week...281-293

...a Sunday nap and watching a movie with hubby

...sunny weather and blue skies and trees in bloom

...five year old grandson's company and help grocery shopping

...having my sister and brother visiting at mama's this week...enjoying dinner made by them one night...taking mama for lunch at Ya Hala for fabulous middle eastern food another day

...hubby's very encouraging lunch with a dear mentor

...a G.P.S. in the car that saved me from my directional dysfunction twice this week...And the fact that God is an ever present, faithful, life G.P.S. if we will keep our ears and hearts tuned to Him.  He promises we will hear Him say, "This is the way, walk in it..." Isaiah 30:21 many beautiful birds on my walk...they were singing so loudly!  That evening the frogs were croaking...sounds of spring.

...the view from my bed through the open bedroom door and out the window in the stairwell...hills, and trees, and sky

...a quick glance out of the passenger window in the car as we drive on a busy four lane street near the mall, and there on a wee patch of lawn, stand four, huge, beautiful Canadian geese

...six water baptisms on Sunday morning!

...God's overwhelming goodness and presence as we worshipped Him and heard His word together husband's birthday...a fun date day celebrating with just the two of us, then a surprise for him with our church family

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Happy Birthday to the man I love...

I wish I was a rich woman, cuz I would spoil him rotten today.  He deserves it.  Other than his handful of University of Washington Huskies football games each fall, he rarely does anything just for himself.  He is always thinking of and serving me, our girls, our grandbabies, and our church family. 
Happy Birthday Honey!

Friday, February 26, 2010

I simply remember my favorite things...Friday's favs-Home decor from the Dollar Store!

My pantry door adorned with a sticker from Dollar Tree...

My fireplace mantle adorned with a sticker from Dollar Tree...
this freaked hubby out a bit before I reassured him that it is easily removable.

Three Dollar Tree birdies that look remarkably Pottery Barn-ish in my humble opinion.

A Dollar Tree grapevine wreath, plus a roll of Dollar Tree satin ribbon, some weeds and sticks from my backyard, some fake eggs I've had for years, a hot glue gun...and Voila!

A 99 cent apothecary jar from Ross,  and some eggs I blew out and colored years ago...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Don't be's spring!

 "...many times we think we are in winter when in fact we are in spring. Again, the reason for this is both our doubt that He ever manifests His nearness to us in our experience and also our lack of knowledge of His heart...We must know this about our God: He has come near out of His great desire, and He is jealous that we would experience His nearness and His presence."
Dana Candler - Deep unto Deep

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Reflections on fasting...

holy experience

During this Lent season, Ann at Holy Experience has asked us to share about fasting.  Her honesty in today's post gives me courage to be honest.  The truth is, I am not good at fasting.  My failures in this area outweigh my successes.  My memories of one forty day fast that I attempted, in which I planned to eat only one meal a day for forty days, are of focusing on what I was going to eat for that one meal, not on prayer, not on Him.  Then I decided to try a weekly 24 hour fast for a while-to fast from Friday evening to Saturday evening. Saturday is the day when hubby is tucked away in his office studying, and I am cleaning house.  The fasting, in my mind, made what was already not my favorite day of the week, into the dreaded day of the week.

 The most successful fast I ever participated in was a 21 day fast from all t.v., no movies, minimal computer time.  Instead of watching my favorite Food Network show or such, I shut myself in my home office and there next to my little prayer bench, God and I really communicated.  That fast changed me.  It broke old habits of just automatically having the television on, of wasting precious hours without even noticing.  It quickened in me a craving for peace and quiet and time alone with God.

Ann quoted Isaiah 58 at the end of her post today, and that chapter has also been my reference point for what fasting is and what it isn't, and what our motives and purposes should be in fasting. 

First of all, fasting is not to get God to love me more, or to somehow gain His approval, or to earn "brownie points" with Him.  God's love for me is perfect and complete.  You can't improve on perfect.

Fasting is not to get God to notice me more.  God's thoughts towards me are continual.  His eyes never leave me, His ears are always tuned to my cries, and His thoughts towards me are more numerous than the grains of sand on the seashores of this world.  You can't improve on always.

What fasting does is change me.  It is admitting how easily distracted my heart can be from His heart.  It is letting Him realign my desires with His desires.  It is saying, let me see the truth about You God, and also about the world, the people, around me.  It is allowing God to show me how, in my little sphere of influence, to bring His love and justice.

I take comfort in the fact that even in my weakness in this area, God's great heart is ravished with love for me.  He sees my weak love, my weak and seemingly barren attempts in fasting and prayer, and delights even in these fumbling glances His direction.  He tracks every movement of my heart towards Him...even when those movements are three steps forward, two steps back.  As my heart grows more confident in His love and His good intentions towards me, fasting and prayer becomes less legalism, and more relational.  I begin to see it as more of a drawing towards Him and His heart, and less as an act of denial of self.  And so, I try again.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Now that's what I call a bargain...

If you asked me what I would prefer to spend money on, a new vacuum would not only NOT be at the top of my list, it wouldn't be on the list at all. That is the reason why we lived with a vacuum held together by duct tape for two years.  Everytime my husband would see it, he would comment, "would you pleeeeease go buy a new vacuum!"  To which I would respond, "mmmmhmmmm" and then promptly forget about it.  The old vacuum still worked, (sort of), and there are just so many more enjoyable things to shop for than vacuums...(my top favs being purses, wonderful things for my already overstuffed wee little kitchen, and other cute things for the house). 

And then the fateful day came when hubby and I were in the mall together, and walked through the appliance department of Sears.  There it was in all of it's metallic brown glory...the "Tim the toolman" edition of had more power, it was huge, it weighed approximately the same as a Volkswagon, and it was on sale...only $126 on clearance from almost $400.  The reason for this steal of a deal you ask??? Probably because only women named Helga who are Olympic gold medal winners in weight lifting, can push the darn thing...I'm just guessin'...

Already the repetitive motion of  vacuuming with our little light weight duct tape model vacuum, would at times trigger muscle spasms by my shoulder blade, and up into my neck.  So we both knew there was no way I was going to be able to handle vacuuming a two story house with THE BEAST.  But something about that giant shiny new supermodel vacuum with it's low clearance price was irresistable to the man of this house.  He fell for its charms hook, line and sinker.  He bought it.  He wedged the huge thing into the back seat of the car, after it failed to fit in the trunk.  He came home, opened its huge box, and put it together.  He took it for a test run around the living room.  In between gasps for air, he said, "Gasp...I think I doing...gasp...the vacuuming...gasp...from now on." 

Now that, my friends, is what I call a bargain!

Monday, February 22, 2010

God's love lanquages...

holy experience

I'm a words kind of gal... my preferred "love language" is definitely words, followed closely by a desire for quality time. Spend time with me in good open hearted conversation and I'm in heaven!  But love isn't always expressed  in words as we all know...sometimes it's shown by a loving touch, a thoughtful gift, an act of kindness.  My husband knows that I need words of love and affirmation, that I need quality time with him, and he is very good about speaking the language of love that I most understand.  However, I have come to recognize when he speaks love to me in "another tongue" so to the act of service he does daily when he makes the morning coffee and wakes me up by bringing me the first cup, or in physical touch, like holding my hand as we watch a movie.

God speaks His love in whatever language our heart most desires...words, of course!, quality time, He never leaves us!, acts of service, He died for us!, loving touch, absolutely!, thoughtful gifts, continually!  But sometimes, we can get so mono-lingual, (is that a real word?), that we fail to recognize the many, many ways that daily He is communicating His love to us.  And so, together we make our gratitude lists, looking for the many evidences of God's love right here in our real lives...


...Waking up on the morning after the grandkids spent the night, and finding them in bed with me, and Papa the one on the pallet on the floor

(the happy aftermath of a grandkid's sleepover)

...President's Day...the banks are closed, school is out, the flags are flying...sounds like a good reason to relax

...Watching husband talk, laugh and joke with the 20somethings from our church

...Visiting a friend at the hospital at the same time as three other gals...a girlfriend reunion right there

...Watching my husband remain calm and caring in a meeting that could have been tense and stressful

...On a busy day, so thankful for a husband who is easy to please and doesn't care  if we have tuna sandwiches for dinner

...Thankful for having my husband's help at the "bag your own groceries" grocery store

...A beautiful day and a wonderful lunch at a river view restaurant with my daughter's mom in glad she has fabulous in-laws, and baby granddaughter has another Papa and Nana that love her as much as we do

...A fun outing with a friend provided by another friend

...A beautiful day off spent babysitting baby granddaughter, enjoying the sun and enjoying her...laying her head on Papa's chest, eating the crust off our pizza, flirting with all the other people in the restaurant, playing in the bathtub, stealing licks from our ice cream cones

Friday, February 19, 2010

I simply remember my favorite things...Friday's favs

In my dreams...
Look at these wee little Cape Cod style cottages..even in my dreams I'm trying not to be greedy. But if Ina Garten, (Barefoot Contessa),  wants to give me her beach house, or if I won the beach house from the movie Something's Gotta Give I would humbly accept something a bit larger.
Big sigh........

Thursday, February 18, 2010

For all you "Fancy Nancys"...

Today I was invited to an open house luncheon at this place!  I am not a Fancy Nancy Victorian type when it comes to home decor, but this home was a feast for even my simple beach cottage loving eyes.  I know oldest grandaughter would be head over heels in heaven to go to tea here, for she is a Fancy Nancy through and through!

Front porch
Over the front door

A friend in the entry
One of the bathrooms
The tea room

The kitchen
And with only three rooms photographed out of about a bazillion, my camera battery died...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Reflections on repentance...

holy experience
It is Ash Wednesday, and Ann @ holy experience has asked us to share about repentance.

I loved Jesus since before I can remember.  I asked Him into my heart over and over again as a wee one, not knowing, not understanding, that I could have assurance of His love and forgiveness.  My conscious was overly sensitive and tender, so the slightest wayward thought in my little mind, and I would shut my eyes and ask Jesus to "forgive my sins, wash my heart".  One of my first memories is of telling my mama an out and out lie, of making a deliberate choice to sin in this way, and the dirty feeling that it left inside of me.

That was me growing up. I wanted to please God.  I didn't want to rebel against my parents. I strived to do well in school, and did. So when, as an adult, I would come across the passage in God's Word that says, "...there is no one good, no not one..." (Psalm 53:3), something inside my self-righteous soul would sub-consiously say, "...except for you Elizabeth.  You've always loved God.  You've always wanted to live for Him."

Until one night when God showed me the depravity of my own heart.  I had been hurt by someone. Betrayed.  I couldn't sleep.  I took my Bible and crept quietly out of bed so as not to disturb sleeping hubby. As I sobbed out my hurt before God, searching in His Word for some comfort, I asked God to show me the truth about my own heart in the situation.  Kneeling there in my dirty rags of self righteousness, God showed me my cold, unforgiving, bitter, angry heart.  From the depths of my being groans of godly sorrow and repentance welled up as I saw the truth about me.  No longer was I deceived by my own goody two shoes exterior.  I saw the truth of my own depravity and capacity to sin.  My heart was as contaminated as Ted Bundy's or Adolf Hitler's by it's horrid stains.  But oh, the grace of God, the mercy of God.  He doesn't just expose, He covers.  He doesn't just cover, He removes. And that night He did, and daily He does.  Blessed be His glorious, gracious Name.

Psalm 103:10-13
10 He does not punish us for all our sins;

He does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.

11 For His unfailing love toward those who fear Him

is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.

12 He has removed our sins as far from us

as the east is from the west.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Sometimes I can be very resistant to change...maybe not outwardly, but inside I can feel myself digging in my heels.  I can feel my soul saying, "I don't want to!  This place, this season, has been comfortable for so long. Why, oh why, can't things just stay the same???" But the truth of the matter is, seasons come and seasons go.  That's the way God made it.

Genesis 8:22
“While the earth remains,seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.”

The good news is, difficult seasons don't last forever either!
Song of Solomon 2:11-12
"For, behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds has come..."

Monday, February 15, 2010

God hears and answers...

holy experience

Today is baby granddaughter's first birthday!

She is one of our greatest answers to prayer. For over eight years our oldest daughter tried to conceive, would finally conceive, and then miscarry.  For over eight years, they prayed, we all prayed, people literally all over the world prayed. Seeing my daughter experience all those years of waiting, and loss after loss, was devastatingly heartbreaking.  Seeing her hold her little answer to prayer is joy overflowing! 

Thank You, God for the answer but also for Your good purposes in the waiting, the longing, the losses...You are good and You do only good.  You are wise in all your ways. From the foundation of the world, You planned our little blonde blue eyed answer to prayer.  You saw the very day, the very moment, when You would speak the word, "Now!" and she would breathe her first breath. You always knew what You were doing.  You were always in control. When it all seemed so hard, so cruel, when our hearts doubted Your great heart, Your plan was still in motion.  And someday, You will sit down with my daughter, and show her the bottle where You have stored and treasured that which can only be produced in this world, in this flesh- her tears. You will show her how each one was precious to You, and how You used all that You allowed to work together for good.  Thank You.

And continuing to give thanks...

261) Husband and I both felt a little puny for an afternoon, but thank God, we DID NOT get the stomach flu!

262) Friends and silliness and laughing til you cry.

263) An email, "I'm glad you're my mom." 

264) God hearing and answering a heart cry.

265) Little red wagon for the birthday girl..found just what we wanted $20 less than we thought.  Love it that God cares about whatever we care about.

 266) Baby often are my grandkids on my gratitude list?

267) Six year old granddaughter and how her eyes twinkled with excitement talking about her and Mommy  making Valentine dinner for Daddy and brother...dressing up, eating by candlelight, then dancing together afterwards.  Five year old grandson who makes me laugh, laugh, laugh.

268) Sharing baby's birthday celebration with Auntie via Skype.

269) Having the same Valentine that I married almost 34 years ago...the flowers, card and dinner out were great too!

270) A great sister in law and brother in law who drove 4 hours to be at baby's party.