Monday, July 27, 2015


(edited with Kim Klassen's flow texture, hard light, 30% opacity)

 I was told it's best not to be home when the home inspection takes place for our pending sale.  So, while the inspector was there, a friend and I went out to lunch and puttered around Anthropologie.  They were having a sale, so I picked up this cute new cup.  What a ridiculous thing to do, as if I needed one more thing to wrap up and pack up!  At the time, however, I used the excuse that I needed something to cheer myself up after losing the house we wanted to buy to another buyer.

(edited with Kim Klassen's hughes texture, lighten, 20% opacity)

Well, we're back to checking the listings, and having our agent make appointments to see places in person that we're interested in.  Meanwhile, I've got three weeks to pack everything in our house up, including my all too many favorite cups!

(edited with Kim Klassen's benjamin texture, add, 25% opacity)

And for Sonography...
(Edited with Kim Klassen's 2303 texture, hard light, 20% opacity 
Quote from Hello There by Cemorelli)

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Thanksgiving during transition and upheaval...

I think I realized something this afternoon.  My heart has let go of this house and I'm ready to embrace the new thing God is leading us to. That's a big deal to admit, considering I drug my feet for so long to take the plunge and put it on the market.  What's hard for me now is to not know what is next for us yet, especially after what has transpired the last couple of days, thinking we had found our next home and then losing it.  I find myself pouring over the real estate listings and getting tense and frustrated that I'm not seeing something that feels like the right thing for us, or if I do, it's more than what we're willing to spend.  

Today we had a guest speaker at church.  It was so good for my husband and I to sit and receive ministry for a change.  After lunch I came home and opened the computer to start searching the listings again.  It wasn't long before I  realized I needed to just shut the computer off and be gentle with myself for the afternoon.  I read a book purely for pleasure, nothing that required deep thought or for me to try to get something out of it other than relaxation.  When I found myself getting drowsy,  I napped.  

The coming month will be filled with packing up our home, hopefully culling out things it's time to let go of in the process.  I'm hoping to willingly and readily cull out any negative heart attitudes that arise in me during this time of upheaval and transition, too.  I think because being in ministry can be so stressful at times, I've always placed a high value on our home being a place of peace.  I work hard to keep a home atmosphere and routine that promotes peace,  even in the way I try to keep it tidy, and in the way I decorate.  I find that when things get chaotic at home, I am, unfortunately, my worst self.  I get crabby and snippy and easily stressed out and frazzled.  Prayers that my heart and mind will be ruled by the peace of God are much appreciated.

Meanwhile, I am looking for the blessing in the midst of the mess that transition and upheaval bring.  It's there.  I found a whole lot to give thanks for yesterday, which was a day filled with one thing after another going wrong.  Yet,  through it all, God was present, and sprinkling presents of His love for me to find throughout the day.  He's so strong and faithful and good and true, and I can be such a big, spoiled baby when my security and comfort gets messed with.  I'm sure thankful He puts up with me the way He does!
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 green journal.
(and capturing some of my blessings via my camera or iPhone)


-going to the river with my oldest daughter and all of the grandkids except the baby
-a bald eagle flew right over us!
-a wonderful dinner out with our youngest daughter and her husband and in-laws

-an offer on our house!
-my hairdresser that's been doing my hair for years
-my favorite soft, long, denim shirt over comfy leggings

-our counter offer on the sale of our house accepted
-our grandson hanging out with us as we drove around looking at houses
-a good run to de-stress
-late night reading God's Word

-asking God for a sign of which house was ours
-the first house we walked into, loving it, and, though the house was empty of furnishings, 
the seller had left a "sign" on the wall about God doing miracles
-trusting God with the results and placing an offer
-reading Ephesians and 2 Kings 

-though I don't understand His ways, trusting that what the selling agent did in withholding our offer, though it was first, from the seller and presenting one from her own client so she could get both sides of the commission, causing us to lose out on the house, God will work for our good
-wrestling to surrender and trust

-help from a friend
-rain after weeks of drought
-our realtor's assistant's helpfulness 
-taking my brother to the hospital with complications after a heart procedure and the texts flying from my sisters and daughters, (I love how the "troops" rally when one of us is hurting)
-prayer support for us from so many people 

-people from Che Ahn's missions team ministering at our church
-being gentle with myself after a couple of difficult days, taking a nap, reading a book
-the sound of rain on the roof
-our oldest granddaughter calling to tell me something she's so excited about

gratefully yours,

Friday, July 24, 2015

My times are in Your hands...

Maybe I was silly to think it could all happen so effortlessly.  Twenty four hours after we received a pending sale on our home, we found a house we both loved, in a great location close to our church. It was even listed for below the amount we had both agreed on was our target price.  So, we made our offer, our realtor being assured by the seller's realtor that our offer was the first one on the table.  

At lunch today, I looked at the listing for the house one more time, and was surprised to see it listed as sale pending.  We still had not gotten a call that our offer had been accepted.  Instead, we had been told that the seller's agent was having a hard time reaching the seller, who was "traveling".  What was really happening was that she was stalling for a client that she had shown the property and whom she knew was interested to get their documentation together for an offer.  In other words, she never presented the seller with our offer or our letter of intent, (the seller was evidently a Christian judging by things we had seen in the home, so in our letter of intent we had told the seller a bit about ourselves and how much we liked the home, and our desire to move closer to the church my husband pastors).  Anyway, a pending sale happened on the house with our offer being unseen by the seller and ignored by the seller's agent in favor of a client that enabled her to get both the selling and buying fees.  It made me heartsick.

It's at times like this that it's easy to forget that I told God to open or close doors according to His perfect will.  I forget the many times I gave it into His hands and told Him I trusted Him.  What I remember is the way I was already making it our home in my head.  That's me,  emotionally over invested in a house we don't even own yet. My times are in His hands is a truth I need to keep imprinted on my mind and hidden deep in my heart if I'm to make it though this transition time with a peaceful attitude.  "No good, (beneficial), thing will He withheld from those who walk uprightly", it says in Psalm 84:11.  I must trust that He knows something, He sees something, that I'm not seeing right now.  

still following,

Scripture and Snapshot


Also happily linking up with the lovely Lisha Epperson 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Building my own kind of happy...

 My mama used to eat her crab or lobster with gusto,  picking the shells clean of the meat, then sucking all the juice and flavor from them.  I'm savoring summer like that, slurping up all that I can of hot summer afternoons and letting them sit on my tongue until I've enjoyed every nuance of flavor I can suck out of them.  There's only one summer that my grandchildren will be twelve and eleven, six and three and one, after all.  I will never get back this one special summer with them.  So, although I'd prefer that June, July and August have totally blank calendar pages, though I'd prefer that the there be some kind of mandate that summer is all about fun and pleasure and time with family and friends, the reality is that we have some pretty big life changing events on the calendar this summer.  We have a potential buyer on the home we've lived in for sixteen years, so it looks as though a big move is happening for us before summer's end.  There are also two overseas ministry trips happening during that same time frame.  Exciting? Yes!  Stressful?  Yes!  Will I take time to play with the grandkids anyway? Yes, yes, yes!

I think the saying "happiness is a journey, not a destination" is a profound truth.  It may sound like a trite clichĂ© that looks great on a sign you hang on your wall, but I propose that it's a good guiding motto for life.  Too often I've lived with the wrong mindset that I'd be happy if this person would change, or that circumstance in my life were different.  Happiness became as elusive as chasing the wind.  There were two events in my life that dramatically changed that way of thinking for me. 

The summer I turned fifty, I went to the beach by myself overnight.  I knew there were some things twisted up inside my heart that could only be straightened out with a good long talk with God while I walked by the sea.  My heart was full of unforgiveness and bitterness towards others and about circumstances in my life that I was unhappy about.  I can take you to the exact spot on the beach where God spoke to my heart these three simple words, "Build your life".  He gave me the understanding that I had been focusing on all of the unchangeable things in my life, other people and certain circumstances that I had no control over, while I had been ignoring things I could change. Shortly after that I quit a job that had become way too stressful and which was limiting my availability for ministry at our church.  I also began pursuing things I love to do,  such as writing and photography.  
Not long after that trip to the beach, I also began to keep a gratitude journal, which I have now been keeping for over six years.  Every day I take notice of at least three things to be thankful for and I write them in my journal.  Each Sunday evening, I write a blog post about all of the blessings that I counted from the previous week.

It was those two things, choosing to shift my focus to the things I could change about my life rather than focusing on what I could not change, and learning to see and give thanks for the many daily blessings in my life, that caused me to find happiness in the journey instead of waiting for everything in my life to line up perfectly.  

In a perfect world, my dream house with a river view would become available in our price range, closing and moving would not happen until after all of the upcoming travel was over, and someone else would miraculously do all of the packing and moving for us.  Meanwhile no one in our church and ministry would have any crises for us to have to deal with, our kids and grandkids would be trouble free, there would be world peace, and I'd win the lottery even though I've never bought a lottery ticket in my whole life.  

On the other hand, it's a beautiful summer day here in Portland, Oregon, a bit cooler and milder than it has been.  CarpĂ© Diem! There's a whole beautiful summer day to be seized, to be savored, to be enjoyed.   Today,  I'm choosing to build my life, to build my own kind of happy in the middle of my perfectly imperfect, messy, busy real life.

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Darling Downs Diaries

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Still life photography in the cool of the evening...

(edited with Kim Klassen's 3303 texture, screen mode,30% opacity-
Quote from the Irish song, The Rose of Tralee )
I hoped to take some still life shots today.
After not getting home 'til late this evening, I hastily grabbed a kitchen towel, a Pellegrino bottle, 
clipped a hydrangea from the bush in our yard and went out on our back patio with my camera
 as the sun was low in the sky.
(edited with Kim Klassen's sybil texture, hard light mode, 20% opacity)
The light was actually perfect.
The temperature was mild and pleasant, too, after a hot day.
(Edited with Kim Klassen's flow texture, multiply mode, 30% opacity)
 (edited with PicMonkey's cinerama preset)
(no texture)
(edited with Kim Klassen's hughes texture, hard light, 30% opacity)

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Abounding in thanksgiving...

As I'm reading and journaling my way through the Bible this year with the She Reads Truth 365 Days of Truth Bible reading plan, I'm in 1 Kings in the Old Testament, and began Colossians in the New Testament this week.  I love the book of Colossians!  It's one of my favorite New Testament books.  As I'm reading this already much loved and often read book, I'm reminded once again how often the Apostle Paul writes about giving thanks.

Evidently, abounding in thanksgiving was a primary principle taught to the early church by the apostles.  I can see why.  It's all too easy to default to a mumbly, grumbly, unbelieving attitude when you haven't been taught to make thanksgiving a lifestyle, a habit.  And so, while I haven't perfected this practice by any means, I will continue to count my blessings and to give God thanks.
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 green journal.
(and capturing some of my blessings via my camera or iPhone)

-a wonderful drive to Bandon
-the lighthouse up close

-the way this part of the Oregon coast reminds me of Maine

-a safe drive home from our all too short getaway
-a good talk together 
-revisiting our little trip through the photos

-a good morning in God's Word, (resulting in writing this blog post)
-our youngest grandson so excited to see me!
(He kept repeating "Nana!Nana!Nana!)
-going to dinner with him and his two older siblings at Chipotle
-our middle daughter and her husband put an offer on a house and it was accepted!

-strawberry waffles for breakfast
-doves that seem to have made their home in our neighborhood

-a nice Friday date day
-finally finding some tomatoes on our plants
-figuring something out that I was having trouble with after I prayed and asked for God's help

-getting chores around the house done before it got too hot
-treating myself to a pedicure
-a successful men's outing for the guys from our church
-a late evening run

-thinking about that day when people from every tribe and tongue will gather round God's throne to praise Him
-a new bag for my camera

still following,