Friday, February 28, 2014

1 Corinthians 13:12 (Amplified Bible)...


This sentence from 1 Corinthians 13:12 in the Amplified Bible impacted me greatly this week.
You can read a bit more about that here.
In the meanwhile, take comfort in this truth.
Your Creator fully and clearly knows you,
 understands you
 and
 loves you completely and wholeheartedly.

still following,





Scripture and Snapshot






SUNDAY STILLNESS 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Friday's Favs....a day at home in the kitchen, a birthday dinner and a new tablecloth


I don't think we've had a "normal" day since before the big snow earlier this month.
I do love my routine, perhaps a bit too much.


Today is my husband's birthday!
We will be busy at the church today, so we had a family birthday dinner for him last night.
I purposely scheduled a "stay at home" day yesterday so I could gather my wits about me,
get some things done at home, and spend the afternoon in the kitchen.
I love stay at home days!


I started the birthday dinner prep by setting the table.
I finally got a chance to use the new tablecloth I picked up at TJMaxx some months ago.
I love the tablecloth and I enjoy setting the table special for the people I love.


I cooked all afternoon, which I also enjoy.
It satisfied both my need for creativity, and with worship music playing in the background it
was therapeutic and comforting after a hectic couple of weeks.

I thought it would be fun to serve our dinner in courses.
(I don't think we've ever done that with the grandkids before.)
The first course was a homemade cream of asparagus soup.
(This was a spur of the moment idea after I found a bunch of limp asparagus in the refrigerator that needed to be used up.  Most everyone loved it, even the grandkids!)
Then we had a spinach salad with pear, feta cheese, candied walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette.


               We also had homemade french bread using my favorite recipe from Dreamy Whites.
The main course was roast beef, salmon, mashed potatoes and gravy, roasted carrots, and mashed sweet potatoes for the grand girlie that doesn't like white potatoes.


The dessert was warm berry crisp with vanilla ice cream.


But the birthday boy who had to have a sugar free pie from the bakery 
topped with a scoop of sugar free ice cream.
He said it was very good.
We all had a great day!



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




     
         




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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The joy of being fully known and understood...


After two weeks of topsy turvy days where normal routines were as illusive as grasping a handful of mist, today I have a blissful day to stay home. While a list of things that needs to be done awaits my attention, I knew that what I most needed wasn't to accomplish things, but was to connect with Jesus. I've had my devotions in spite of the interruptions to what is my normal routine, but there's a difference between doing devotions and meeting with the Author of the Book heart to heart.  Today I craved heart connection.

One of the scriptures I read today was 1 Corinthians 13:12.  In the Amplified Bible that verse ends with the sentence, "I am fully and clearly known and understood by God".  What a comfort that was to me today on a day when I felt frustrated with my own need for what I consider to be a "more than normal" amount of peace and quiet and alone time to think, pray, read, write and just be.  While I do believe that I tend to grasp my needed introvert time selfishly, while He's spoken to me clearly that I need to not make this an idol in my life, while He's dealing with my heart and asking me to relinquish my time to Him daily as my part in being a living sacrifice, I don't feel condemned by Him for this part of me.  I feel understood.  I AM fully known and understood by the God Who made me.

There are moments in time when God uses people to get that truth across to us, the truth that we are seen, known and loved by Him.  I hope I've been used to be that person to others.  I certainly remember those who have been used by God to be that voice of encouragement in my own life.  I'd like to share one such memory with you today.

As a pastor's wife for over 37 years, I've attended more than my share of gatherings for ministers.  These can be wonderful times of bonding, strengthening, instruction and encouragement.  In my opinion, it all depends on how real and relational those in attendance are willing to be.  I suppose, in that way, it's not that different from a retreat or conference for any group of Jesus followers.  In the case of ministers, if the focus and spirit of the event is size and effectiveness of ministry it then begins to feel to me like the popularity contests of high school.  You're in the in crowd or you're not.  I don't tolerate that very well because I'm of the opinion that the least of these are in Jesus' in crowd. In fact, I tend to think that our unknown, unseen, unheard of brothers and sisters that are serving Jesus in Africa, China, the Middle East and even the rural villages and seedy inner cities here in the U.S. are the greatest in His Kingdom.

It was at a casual gathering of pastors and pastors' wives, that I had a five minute life-changing encounter, an encounter where Jesus used someone else to show me that He saw me there, that He knows me.  It was a casual summer barbecue and a group of ladies were gathered on the backyard deck of the host's home.  Conversation was surface-y as it is when many of us didn't know one another well.  Suddenly, one beautiful woman stepped up and took control of the situation, not in the negative sense of that word control, but in the sense of guiding this group past the surface into the heart depths.  She was a beautiful, older black women.  Her husband and she have been the lead pastors of one of the oldest multi-racial churches in our city for years.  Like a mother hen, she gathered us like her little chicks.  One by one she asked us our names and some questions about ourselves.  She looked each one of us in the eye when she talked to us.  She made us feel like she was fully invested and interested in us.  As each woman spoke their name she would pause, look that person in the eye and say a word over them that started with the same letter as their name.  As I write this, it sounds like a contrived and insincere exercise, but when I looked into her eyes and she looked into mine I knew she spoke from not only her heart, but from the heart of God.  She said,  "Elizabeth, you're an  encourager."  Then she proceeded to say how important and necessary the gift of encouragement is to the body of Christ.  I've  never forgotten that encounter, the look on her face, the words she spoke over me.  God used her to speak  to me and every other women gathered around her.  In essence, she said, "God sees you, loves you, and He knows you.  You are a vital part of His body no matter how well or little you are known, no matter the size or influence of your ministry."  She not only told me I was and encourager, she made me want to be one in a greater way.  She made me want to be what she was to me that day. 

still following, 

     



at 3-D Lessons for Life

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A new white quilt...


I don't regret our purchase of our dark blue leather couch and chair almost fifteen years ago.
They have held up beautifully and are well worth the money we paid for them.
Best of all, it only takes a quick rub with a baby wipe to keep them clean after the grandkids visit!
The dark blue is neutral enough to go with most any color,
and goes especially well with my favorite colors of white, red and gray.

For Christmas I received some gift cards and hoped to find a twin size white cotton quilt 
to lay on the back of my dark blue couch.
My goal was to "soften" the look of my couch a bit.
It took until February, but I finally found the perfect one at TJMaxx.



I like the look of the quilt on the back of the couch,
and it's nice to wrap up in on cold winter evenings!



still following,


     
         

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A whole lot of gratitude...


I post my weekly gratitude list on Sunday evenings,
but last week I was computer less for several days.
So this week I will list two weeks worth of my gratitude list.
I have a lot to be thankful for!

In the middle of a lot of mess...
-computer problems
-scary moments in my daughter's pregnancy
-an emotional visit with my mother-in-law who is regressing rapidly with Alzheimer's
-church leaders that we love and care about going through deep trials
...there's been so much blessing, 
so much beauty,
such a deep sense of God's nearness.

{As a testimony of God's preventive protection,
last month at my daughter's big 5 month ultrasound to find out the baby's sex, (a boy!)
they also take a lot of time to check the baby for any possible defects.
The doctor declared him perfect in every way, but asked my daughter to come back in a month because there was one photo that they like to get of the baby's spine that they couldn't get because our grandson likes to lay on his back.
When my daughter went back last Friday they were able to get the photo of my grandson's spine,
 but also noticed that my daughter had developed a condition that made it necessary to have a hospital procedure to keep baby safely in until he's full term.  If he had not been laying on his back last month, this condition would not have been noticed in time to be corrected.  
Everything went well and mommy and baby are home and fine.
We are all so thankful.}

***************
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)

 #4306-4363

2-10-14-
-snow still on the ground
-the sound of chunks of ice sliding off the roof
-staying home and getting some chores done
-exercising indoors
-doing something creative
-a simple dinner of eggs, toast and fruit

2-11-14-
-the snow finally melted enough that I could drive
-finding an Anthropologie "E" cup at the Salvation Army


-Costco roasted chicken on top of a spinach, pear, feta and pine nuts salad
-going on a walk with the hubs

2-12-14-
-creating something
-birthday requests from our almost five granddaughter
-God speaking to me from my devotions in 1 John 3
 something that helped me in my message for Sunday
-finding just the thing our granddaughter requested for her birthday

2-13-14-
-a sunny day!
-a phone call from my buddy
-our grandson calling to confirm that we will pick him and his sister up from school
-having Valentine surprises for them when we picked them up
-teaching Bible study
-a great prayer time
-the hubs delivering flowers and chocolate to our single daughter and valentine surprises to the two youngest grands

2-14-14-
-the perfect card, flowers and my favorite candy from the hubs


-Valentine lunch at a new to us spot and going to see "The Monument Men"
-making chocolate covered strawberries together


2-15-14-
-our sweet granddaughter's fifth birthday...what a blessing and joy she is to us!



-quiet time with my favorite worship music playing after a busy day
-the hubs vacuuming for me

2-16-14-
-preaching God's Word 
-praying for others
-an impromptu lunch with a large group from church
-learning and discussing at our Sunday night class

2-17-14-
-President's Day
-time with the two oldest grands while they didn't have school
-an unexpected, expensive computer breakdown resulting in a blogging break

2-18-14-
-safe travels to see the hub's mama in spite of horrible rainstorms, then suddenly, a sun break
-getting there in time to see the sunset over Lake Washington



-dinner with the hubs and my sister-in-law and brother-in-law

2-19-13-
-waking up feeling great after going to bed with a neck ache
-seeing my mother-in-law and knowing that "her spirit knows us even though her mind can't connect the dots" as my daughter described it
-her happy and laughing in her childlikeness


-safe travels home
-HOME!
-God's blessing of a replacement for my computer

2-20-14-
-my afternoon Bible study gals coming 2 hours early so they wouldn't have to miss due to early release day at their kid's school
-a little nap on the hub's office couch on a long day at the church
-a sweet prayer time

2-21-14-
-an ultrasound that caught a problem in time to fix it
-church family, family, friends, Facebook and IG friends immediately starting to pray for my daughter and grandson
-taking our two oldest grands to dinner with our oldest daughter, son-in-law and the two youngest grands, while their mama is in the hospital
-staying up late watching the old version of "Cheaper By The Dozen" and "Belles on their Toes" with oldest granddaughter

2-22-14-
-God's grace on a day that didn't go as planned
-the procedure on my daughter went well and mama and baby are fine
-getting my weekly chores done
-God's help with sermon prep

2-23-14-
-an amazing worship time
-the privilege of sharing the Word
-lunch at our favorite Middle Easter restaurant with friends
-my daughter home from the hospital

gratefully yours,

Join the community of gratitude gatherers here...

http://www.aholyexperience.com