Friday, January 31, 2014

Galatians 6:2...


The denomination I grew up in had a club for girls that had Galatians 6:2 as its theme verse.
Us girls recited our verse together each week at our Wednesday night meeting.
Next to John 3:16 this verse about bearing one another's burdens is probably
 the one most ingrained in my mind.
However,  today as my husband and I parked by the Columbia River so I could take some photos,
when I saw this tugboat the Lord gave me a whole different perspective about that verse.

In the past, this verse about bearing other's burdens felt like, well, it felt like a burden!
The image in my mind was of me being loaded down with other people's baggage so that they could be free,
in the meanwhile, I could barely crawl under the weight of the load.
In fact, that was too often how things actually felt, 
like people dumped their burden onto me and they felt better, while I felt worse!

Today, seeing the tugboat, I realized that the tugboat is not the one carrying the weight of the burden 
that the barge has on it.
The water is actually carrying the weight of that barge and its burden.
The tugboat is simply there steering it in the right direction and pushing it along on its way.
When God asks me to bear other's burdens, He's the One actually bearing the load.
I'm just to lovingly encourage them and keep pointing them in God's direction.
I'm the voice of encouragement, the hand lovingly placed on their back pushing them to keep putting one foot in front of the other,
to not give up, to not quit.

Whew!  I just felt a huge weight lift off of me with this revelation!
Don't you just love it when God uses something you've seen a hundred times to speak to you?

( In this post I am referring more to the spiritual burdens of others.
I am not implying that we don't help others in practical ways to ease their burdens,
caring for the sick, giving to the poor, etc.)

still following,





Scripture and Snapshot




Thursday, January 30, 2014

Friday's Favs..."My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean" a story of a faux pas and forgiveness


I love everything about the blog, Sunday Brocantes.
The author is Cat, writer, photographer, foodie, vintage seller, wife to "the French Guy" and mama of three, who lives on a farm called Rabbit Hill in Normandy, France.

Cat has managed to roll everything I love up into one beautiful blog bundle...
  • France - I've never been there, but my dream trip would be to go on one of Cat's tours of the French Brocantes.
  • French Farmhouse - Cat's home, Rabbit Hill, is just about perfect in my book, just the right mix of rustic and elegant.
  • Family -  She has a handsome French husband, two sons and a sweet baby girlie and she clearly adores them all.
  • Faith - I love Cat's story on God's provision of getting to move to Rabbit Hill.
  • Food - My can she cook!  And the photos she takes of the food are mouth watering.  Seriously, the woman needs to write a cookbook.
  • Fabulous vintage/antique finds - She sells her beautiful brocante finds in her online shop.  I wish I could buy one of everything!
So, one day I was reading a blog post that Cat wrote about the cows that lived in the pasture next to Rabbit Hill.
One photo, (the twelfth one down on the link above if you want to click over to her post),
captured my heart.
The cow, the fence, the gate...it was a perfect cow photo if there ever was one.
So, I showed Cat's blog photo to my friend who paints and asked her to paint me a cow.


At the time, it never occurred to me that I was, in essence, stealing Cat's image.
You see, when I watercolor something, like a tulip, for instance,
if I don't have a tulip to look at I sometimes have to look up an image of a tulip,
so in my mind it was sort of like that.
EXCEPT, my painting skills are lacking enough that it never looks like the original.
When my uber talented friend showed me the painting of the cow when it was about half way done,
it hit me what I had done, for this wasn't sort of like Cat's photo,
this was exactly like Cat's photo!


That night I emailed Cat and attached a photo of the painting,
confessing what I had done.
I truly felt heartsick.
I loved my painting.
But, I knew what I had done was wrong, even if I hadn't started out with that intention.
I had stolen her photo image and not only that, 
I had involved my sweet artist friend as a blissfully ignorant accomplice!


Cat so graciously emailed me back
asking that I simply give her credit for the original image when I showed you my painting.
(Of course, I am more than happy to do that!)
She also told me that this cow, "Bonnie", was her favorite.
I feel so privileged to have "Bonnie" hanging in my home.


 So that is my story of Bonnie, who lies over the ocean in France,
of my embarrassing faux pas,
and of a most gracious lady, named Cat, who forgave me.


The moral of this story is,
it is NOT better to ask forgiveness than permission.
If you want to use someone else's image in any way,
ask permission first!



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



     
         




vintage inspiration button              1aaadoveladygfairy006    

TidyMomShabby Art Boutique


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pathways and obstacles...


"You sift and search out my path and my lying down, and You are acquainted with all my ways."
Psalm 139:3 Amplified Bible


I love the Amplified Bible and the words it uses in Psalm 139:3.  I picture God in heaven walking the path ahead of us and sifting out all the stones and sticks that may make us stumble along the way.  My thinking is that if there's an obstacle still in your pathway after God's done sifting it, it's one of three things. 

The first possibility is, you somewhere you got off the path of God's will and purpose and got on your own path.  I don't think this can happen accidentally.  Somewhere, you made a purposeful choice to not listen or not obey.  So, in His great mercy God puts up roadblocks in hopes that you'll turn back to His path.  

The second possible reason that there is an obstacle on your path is you're on the right path but God has allowed there to be an obstacle in your way for a purpose.  Maybe He is delaying you at a certain spot until His perfect timing,  maybe He is testing your trust in Him,  maybe He's teaching you patience and endurance.  All of those reasons don't make facing an obstacle easier or more enjoyable.  But, God is intent on making you into the man or woman of God He created you to be.  He is also a God who is big on divine appointments and His perfect timing.  Both of those could be reasons He has you in a season that feels like delay.

The last reason there may be an obstacle on your path is that the enemy is trying to stop you. (For a Biblical example read Nehemiah and how the enemy tried to stop him from doing the work God had called him to do.)  If that is the case, God is still in control of you and your path and wants to show Himself strong for you and through you.  In Ephesians 3:10 we see that God uses us, (the church),  to make known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly sphere His wisdom and power.  There's never an enemy scheme or tactic that takes God by surprise or shocks Him. He wants to give you His power and wisdom to deal with it. 

 If you think you are  dealing with an enemy induced hindrance first ask God to give you discernment about what you are dealing with.  Simply ask, "Father, please show me if this obstacle is You trying to slow me down or lead me a different direction, or if it is the enemy trying to stop me."  Once, you feel sure it's not God Himself you are fighting against, then put on the whole armor of God and stand strong.   Get others to agree with you in prayer.  Pray, pray, pray and then obey, obey, obey.  Whatever you do, don't quit.  Again, read the book of Nehemiah or other great Bible passages about people who were hindered by the enemy, but pressed through to victory.  God won't waste your warfare, but is using even this to strengthen and train you.  Remember, God allowed David to face the lion and the bear, which prepared him and gave him courage to face Goliath.  Think back to a battle already won, an obstacle already overcome.  Let the fact that God helped you through that embolden you to face this new obstacle.

Take comfort in the fact that anything on the path before you is known and seen by God.  Then grab hold of His hand and this promise, because He will never, never, never let go of you.  "...for He, God Himself has said, "I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support.  I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down or relax My hold on you! Assuredly not!" (Hebrews 13:5 Amplified Bible)

still following,

     



at 3-D Lessons for Life

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A new-old ironstone bowl and other simple pleasures...


Sometimes the simple things are the best things, 
like a two dollar and some odd cents grocery store hyacinth
sitting on the dining room windowsill,
 blooming in the chill of winter.




To me, white ironstone is another lovely simple thing, some may even call it plain.

I saw a beautiful ironstone bowl on a favorite blog two years ago
I filed it away in my memory as one of those things to keep an eye out for when I was antiquing or thrifting.
Several times I did see an ironstone bowl just like the one on the blog, 
but they were always more than I wanted to spend.
Then, two years later,  I found this one for a third of the price I had seen the others.


 It sits on my knockoff restoration hardware shelf next to another old ironstone bowl 
that I've had for a long time.






Creamy white Trader Joe's roses from my husband,
are a simple and inexpensive gift of love.
I'm thankful for affordable flowers so I get them more often!









still following,


     
         

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sisters...


I was the sixth child in a family of seven children.
I have three brothers and three sisters.

Family is a powerful thing.
We all know horror stories of a family gone powerfully wrong
as well as stories of families that sound more like a family of saints than our own flawed reality.
The truth is, for most of us, we come from a family with both strengths and weaknesses,
good memories and painful ones.
At least that's my experience,
yet I can't imagine my life without them.

No one can make me belly laugh like my siblings.
We all share a quirky sense of humor,
we all share the same funny family stories and memories.
We also share in one another's childhood pains and wounds,
so we can bear each other's burdens with compassion and understanding...
we know where we came from.

I have some friends that are only children.
While I'm sure there are some pretty great things about being an only child,
give me a sibling or two or six to share my joys as well as my sorrows.

If there's one thing I've learned about the body of Christ it's this,
no one is an only child.
Oh sure, there are horror stories about people that have been terribly hurt in church
so they have chosen to withdraw away from gathering with other believers.
And maybe, somewhere out there, is a church so perfect that everyone gets along and no one ever gets offended or hurt. 
{If there is, I sure haven't heard of it.}
The truth is, for most of us, we come from churches with both strengths and weaknesses,
good memories and painful ones,
at least that's my experience,
yet I can't imagine life without by brothers and sisters in Christ.

But here's the deal,
sometimes when it comes to church,
we can't see the forest for the trees.
We hear the word church and we think of the handful of people that we actually socialize with out of the dozens, or hundreds, or thousands that gather to worship together in the building that we also call church.
So, to think of all of our siblings in Christ from various churches and denominations world wide as our brothers and sisters is more theoretical to us than reality.

Then, along came the internet.
Suddenly,  we're connecting and communicating with our brothers and sisters in Christ
across the country and even around the world via the clickity clack of our computer keyboard.
We're experiencing a foretaste of that great day when all of those who name Jesus as Lord from every tribe, tongue and nation will worship Him together.
In truth, the walls have come tumbling down in so many ways that there really is no reason for any Christian to walk alone, to live like an only child.

Maybe you're reading this and thinking, I haven't connected with others like that,
how do I get started?
Well, (in)courage wants to make it easy for you to connect with some of your other sisters in Christ.
They might not meet at the same church building as you do on Sunday mornings,
their worship style may be different than yours,
they might not even have the exact same doctrinal statement as you,
but they love the same Jesus that you do.
Today, you can register to join an (in)courage group.
There's a group to fit your area of interest, your area of need, or the season of life you are in.
Why not check it out?
As far as I'm concerned, you can never have too many sisters in your life.

still following,

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Thanks for the memories...



On the top shelf of the closet in Mama's bedroom in the tall yellow house on Dartmouth Street 
was a folded piece of woven work, the size of a small area rug or lap blanket.
It was woven of threads the color of the winter sea, blues and grays and black.
Mama had made it on a loom in the mental hospital when she spent some time there for severe depression the year I was nine.

When I went away to college, Mama sold the yellow house that I had lived in for all of my eighteen years and moved to a smaller, more manageable home.
I suppose she might have gotten rid of that piece of woven work when she moved, 
for I don't remember seeing it after that.
Likely, for her it was associated with one of the darkest seasons of her life.
But for me, it was a wonder that my mama's hands could still produce a thing of beauty when her soul was broken.

It's strange that this is the thought that bubbled to the surface of my memory as
three years ago today Mama went to heaven.
Yet, God showed me something through this memory.

I've often said that Mama was my roots and Daddy was my wings.
Mama was practical to a fault and hard working and faithful and steadfast.
Daddy was impractical,  imaginative, a dreamer and a storyteller.
I figured I got my steady, practical side from Mama, and my imaginative, creative side from Daddy,
until I thought of that woven work which led me to more memories of all the other creative things Mama made.
She might not have played with words or a camera or paints or crafts, 
which are some of the ways my creativity is manifested,
but she created play clothes and school clothes and prom dresses and wedding dresses on that sewing machine of hers, the finish work hand sewn in her  perfect, tiny stitches.
She sewed quilts, knitted mittens, crocheted blankets, and embroidered tablecloths and pillowcases.
She made the best homemade breads, cookies, candies and pies.
She created beauty with her hands in the good times as well as in the deep valley.
So, I guess Mama wasn't just my roots, but she gave me some wings as well.
Daddy, he taught me so much about God's love and grace,
so I guess he wasn't only my wings, he helped me to be rooted and grounded as well.
On this third year anniversary of Mama's death,
I'm giving thanks in a new way for the parents God gave me,
for my roots,
for my wings.
****************
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 little black journal.
(and capturing some of my blessings via my camera or iPhone)

#4225-#4256

1-20-14-
-my husband's mentor who is such a help and encouragement to us
-the check engine light on the Hub's car just needing re-set, nothing wrong with his car
-my handyman son-in-law fixing the molding on my antique wood cubby for me
-a phone call from my big brother
-youngest daughter excited about some "Jesus time" at the beach

1-21-14-
-a beautiful day
-antiquing and thrifting with my friend
-eating a healthy salad for lunch then sharing a delicious dessert


-running some errands with the Hubs in the evening
-a phone call from my second born daughter asking me to go with her for her ultrasound on Friday, (her husband had to work)
-a sweet friend's 50th birthday
(No, I don't have a flower in my hair! It's behind me.)


1-22-14-
-a warm house
-a fire in the fireplace


-roses from the Hubs


-hot coffee
-Greek yogurt with granola and fruit
-going to my oldest daughter's and enjoying time with our two youngest granddaughters and a good dinner my daughter made for us
-making some homemade granola



1-23-14-
-my little grocery store hyacinth in bloom


-delicious homemade healthy soup that the Hubs loved in spite of all the veggies in it


-Thursday night prayer and worship at church

1-24-14-
-we're having a grandson-no doubt about it on the ultrasound!
-all tests show that he's healthy
-going with my daughter to surprise my two oldest grands at school 
with blue frosted cookies and "it's a boy!" balloons
-lunch with the Hubs at a favorite place that we haven't gone to in a long time
-enjoying a drive on a sunny afternoon

1-25-14-
-a sunny Saturday morning
-a husband who's perfectly happy to have leftover soup and tuna melts for dinner
-my friend finished a painting she's doing for me!

1-26-14-
-His body broken, His blood shed, for me!
-buying a red dutch oven as a housewarming gift and finding out after that her favorite color is red
-home in bed and snuggled under a warm quilt after a long day


gratefully yours,


Join the community of gratitude gatherers here...

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