Friday, October 30, 2015

Like a green olive tree in the house of God...

I parked across the street from the antique store/coffee shop/restaurant where I was meeting a friend for our monthly mentoring session. (Truthfully, I'm not sure who mentors who.  Though I'm the older one, she manages to bless and enrich me each time we meet).  The parking spot is one I've used before, but I'd never before noticed the olive tree growing there.  If I was in California it wouldn't be so surprising, but I'd never seen an olive tree growing in Portland, Oregon before... (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, November 1st, at Woman to Woman Ministries where I write a weekly post, "Sunday Soul Food".)

still following,

Barbie Swihart

Scripture and Snapshot


Also happily linking up with the lovely Lisha Epperson 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Hope is springing up...

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

I love the lyrics of the song Beautiful Things by Gungor.
I believe there is great power in speaking truthful, hopeful words or, in this case, singing them.
It's all too easy to lose hope and give into despair and think that we'll never change
 or that another person or a situation that we are praying about will never change.
Looking back, I see so many things, situations, and people that looked so hopeless,
 but that God turned into something good, something beautiful.
It's good to remember God's faithfulness in the past, when we face hopelessness in the present.
It's really, really good, to fill our lungs with air, and sing words of hope, 
right into the midst of our messes.
God makes beautiful things, even out of our messes and even if the mess is us.

still following,
Kim Klassen {dot com}

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Rainy Sunday thanksgiving...

It's raining today.  That's normal for our area of the Pacific Northwest, but the last few months have been unusually dry so the rain is as welcome as an old friend.  Our former home had huge old growth cedar and fir trees surrounding it. They are beautiful in their own way, but messy and somewhat frightening on gusty days.  Our new to us home has one colorful little deciduous tree outside our living room window.  The rain running down the windowpane with the warm colors of fall outside on our tree made me pause and give thanks this afternoon. A little Sunday afternoon snooze did as well. There are always things in life I wish were different,  but right now, this cozy, rainy Sunday afternoon is enough for me.

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)


-the richness of Psalm 119
-thank you, Jesus! 
our friend figuring out how to do something that will save us some money on our house renovation
-the changing leaves on the tree outside our window
-meeting our daughter and two youngest granddaughters at Chipotle

-getting together with my friend that I've known for over 33 years
-a red cotton quilt
-this beautiful fall day
-youngest grandson "riding" his dog
-the blue hour sky

-reading my favorite chapters from the book of Jeremiah
-God's help with a long list of to-dos
-a friend from church stopping by for a visit
-yummy pot roast for dinner

-youngest grandson falling asleep in my arms
-the two oldest grands both getting braces
-praying together about a decision

-a nice morning together
-Jehovah-Tsidkenu:the Lord our righteousness
-our friend's help changing the fireplace location in our new house
-beautiful autumn foliage
-lamb kebabs at our favorite Middle Eastern restaurant with our friends

-friends who understand my vision for a reclaimed wood mantel and take me to Salvage Works to buy the wood
-meeting our kids for lunch
-my David Austin rose from our old house getting transplanted here
-an evening walk around our neighborhood
-my six year old granddaughter proudly learning how to tie her shoes

-rain on the window, autumn colors outside
-my favorite creamy tomato basil soup for lunch
-a Sunday afternoon snooze

gratefully yours,

Saturday, October 24, 2015

A gentle and peaceful spirit...

God wants the inner me to be clothed with peace and gentleness, not anxiety, not being wrought up, (which means agitated, stressed, tense, overwrought, nervous, on edge, keyed up, worked up, flustered, fretful or upset).   Let's face it, that's easier said than done when life is chaotic or stressful or when we are walking through times of trial and tribulation. (please join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, October 25th, at Woman to Woman Ministries where I write a weekly Sunday Soul Food post.)

still following,

Scripture and Snapshot


Also happily linking up with the lovely Lisha Epperson 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Lessons from renovation...

There's a fine layer of white sheetrock dust on the furniture and a gas fireplace sitting in the dining room.  We're making some renovations on the new to us home that we moved into last month.  I just want the whole list of renovations to be done yesterday!  I'm feeling restless to have life back to normal after living in some sort of chaos related to moving for three months now.

The Webster's Dictionary definition of renovation is "to make changes or repairs so that it is back in good condition".  That's what we're trying to do to this twenty three year old home we bought,  and that's what God is continually doing within me.  He's wise enough to use things like upheaval and chaos to expose the things in me that are in need of His supernatural renovation.  He's kind enough that He doesn't just take a sledgehammer and start demolition.  He exposes the trouble spots and waits for me to acknowledge that I see them, too.  He shows me the image of His Son so that I see the beauty of what could be.  Then He waits for me to willingly open to His knock, let Him in, and allow Him to begin His good work.

There are some things that I've learned from renovations in the past, and the one we're living in right now, that have spiritual lessons as well.  Here are a few.

It gets worse before it gets better.
The first step of renovation is demolition, or removing the old.  In our case, it meant opening up the wall between the dining room and living room to move the gas fireplace.  After that is completed, all of the flooring in the entry, hall, living room, dining room and kitchen will be removed.  In order for beautiful new hardwood floors to be installed, the old has to go.  When God is wanting to do a beautiful new work in us, it can get pretty ugly and messy while He's dealing with the old stuff that we've hung on to for far too long. This is an important thing to remember when you're praying for or discipling someone else.  Sometimes it looks like things are getting worse than ever.  It's possible that God is just doing some of the necessary divine demolition work that has to take place before the new thing He wants to do can happen.

It takes longer than you'd like.
I don't think I've ever known anyone who had a remodel or renovation get completed ahead of schedule.  Most often things take longer than you'd like.  God is never hurried or rushed.  He's always right on time.  His time. Just like our home renovation, we want God's work in us to happen yesterday.  We get frustrated that it's taking so long.  The good news is this promise from Philippians 1:6, "... He who has begun a good work in you will [continue to] perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return]"  and this one from 2 Corinthians 3:18, "And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit."  The bad news is, we will be under continual renovation, the renewing of our mind and restoring of our soul, until the time of His return! Then we will be fully, completely, perfectly restored.  The best news is, God sees us as already completed even while He's still at work in us.  

It costs more than you expected.
This thing costs more than you expected it to. (Seven new light fixtures, cha-ching!) You forgot about needing to buy that. (New floors mean new floor molding in all of the main living area of the house!)  Spiritual renovation costs more than you expect it to as well.  The flesh likes to be pampered.  The work of God in you is uncomfortable and costly to the flesh.   

It takes the help of others.
My husband is gifted and talented in many areas, but being a handyman is not one of them.  I'm crafty and creative, but I'm not one of those DIY divas that can build cabinets and install flooring.  So, we've had God-given help with our home renovation.  My handyman son-in-law and nephew,  a good engineer friend and an electrician friend, to name a few.  We are so blessed and we couldn't do this work without them.  Similarly, God gives us others to help us where we are weak, to guide us, teach us, encourage us and pray for us as He is doing His good work in us.  All of the wonderful people who have helped us on our renovation didn't just barge in one day and start working.  We had to admit our need and ask for help.  We need to humble ourselves and admit our need for spiritual help and support as well.

It's worth it in the end.
I couldn't believe the difference new paint, new flooring, and other cosmetic changes made in our former home.  I loved it!  The time, cost and inconvenience involved in the renovations faded in my memory when I saw the finished product.  I know that I'm going to love the changes in our current home as well.  When God works in us and we see the result of His renovations, for example living in peace instead of in fear and worry, or walking in victory in an area in which we used to be in bondage,  we won't regret for a moment the process it took to get us there.  It truly is worth it in the end.

still following,


Darling Downs Diaries

USE this for BLOG

Monday, October 19, 2015

The challenge of living fully in the moment...

It's a challenge for me to live fully in the moment.  To-do lists run through my mind.  I try to juggle doing several things at once.  It's when I'm with others that I'm most mindful of this tendency in myself. I fail all too often to let the tasks go and to be fully present. When I do choose to be all there, to sit still and read books with my granddaughters or take them to the park, to sit and hold my grandson while he drinks his bottle, (the only time he's willing to sit still), I've never regretted it. 
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)

-God's Word has been my song on life's journey-Psalm 19:54
-slowly finding "a place for everything and everything in it's place" in this new to us house
-oldest granddaughter, still recuperating from her tonsil/adenoid surgery, coming over
 and enjoying a bath in our jet tub
-youngest grandson snuggling with Papa 'til he fell asleep
-God's provision of our daily bread

-early morning devotions
-an unexpected refund in the mail
-a wonderful visit from a friend who came over to see our new house
-a phone call re. some progress on our house projects
-the grandkids showing us the whip and nae, nae
-the blessing of a house with more dining room, living room space for our family get togethers
-youngest granddaughter reciting to us about Pete and his white shoes
-oldest granddaughter feeling well enough to eat some of the softer foods
-oldest grandson asking his cousin about school
-six year old granddaughter's note, "I love you so much"
-our busy, active, youngest grandson

-Romans 15:13-hope overflowing!
-progress on organizing the garage
-a nice evening walk with my husband

-working some more in the garage when I really wanted to do anything but that
and being glad, in the end, that I did

-homemade biscuits drizzled with honey
-a new to us car
-taking the two youngest grands for a ride over to their cousins' house

-help from friends with another house project
-six year old granddaughter's note re. the house project mess-"beware mes"
-fun with the two youngest granddaughters at the park

-snuggles and reading books
-youngest grandson grinning ear to ear and saying, "NANA!" when he saw me at church
-God working in and healing lives

gratefully yours,

Friday, October 16, 2015

The beauty of a Spirit filled personality...

The other day I heard Ravi Zacharias say, "There's nothing more beautiful than a Spirit filled personality." Immediately I thought of Ephesians 3:16 in the Amplified Bible.  I think sometimes we can use our unique personality traits as an excuse.  "I'm just too timid to ever talk to someone about Jesus, that's just not my personality."  "I'm just quick tempered, I've always been that way, it's just my personality."  I don't think when we come to Christ that God wants or expects us to become someone other than the unique, one of a kind that He created.  But, when we allow His Holy Spirit to indwell our innermost being and personality then we become the best us we can be. (To read this full post, I hope you'll join me at Woman to Woman Ministries this Sunday, October 18th where I write a weekly post on Sundays called Sunday Soul Food.)

still following,

Scripture and Snapshot


Also happily linking up with the lovely Lisha Epperson 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Friday Faves...New Lights

All of the new lighting in our new to us home has been installed!
In the before photo below, on the right is the wall you are looking at in the photo above.
This room was originally designed to be a family room off of the kitchen.
We chose to use it as an open kitchen/dining room space.  
This weekend the gas fireplace is being removed and it will be installed on the opposite side of the same wall,
 and the mantel will be getting some updates too!
That room was designed to be a formal living room/dining room combo,
 but we are using it as one large living space.
New hardwood flooring will be installed in the kitchen, dining room, living room, entry and hallway,
but the fireplace switcheroo has to be completed first.
Because this room was a family room, there were no overhead lights except one can light near the fireplace,
 (they assumed people prefer lamp light), 
and the vaulted ceiling wasn't ideal for putting an overhead light  in.
The solution, these new wall sconces that I LOVE!
We choice a simple light for in the bay window nook.
This is where a round table was intended to go if the adjacent room was used as a family room.
We will be using it as a little morning coffee sitting area with two comfy chairs and a small table.
I considered a built in window seat, but wondered if we'd actually sit on one.
What do you think?
Here is the light that was in the nook when we moved in! 
Not only was it unattractive, but it hung so low it was a safety hazard just to walk by it!
We've got new updated lights in the bathrooms as well, 
which I hope to show you once I've got some other changes done.

I can't wait until the hardwood flooring it done!
And yes, I've got some decisions to make about how I'm going to update those oak cabinets.
Maybe if I wait long enough oak will make a comeback like brass accessories and accents have!

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


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