Saturday, April 30, 2016

Encountering God...

I've been reading about the life of Moses in my devotions lately. Moses asked God to show him His glory, and God graciously did so. There on Mt. Sinai, God descended in a cloud and stood with Moses and proclaimed His own name and character to Moses.  

I can't imagine it, standing there in the cloud of God's glory, and hearing God's mighty voice, the voice that spoke the word and this whole universe came into being. ( Psalm 29 is a great chapter to read if you want some further revelation about the power and majesty of God's voice. )  It was such a powerful encounter, that Moses stayed there in the presence of God for forty days.  When Moses finally came down from the mountain, his countenance shone with the glory of God.

The good news is that God desires a personal encounter with each one of us.  He wants to reveal Himself, His wonderful majesty, His great mercy and grace, His abundant loving kindness and His foundational, unwavering truth to you and to me. Moses asked God for this encounter, he obeyed God's directions, and then he stayed in God's presence.  In my own life, I say I want to know God more, I want a personal revelation of His greatness, His love and His mercy and grace, but I hurry through my time with Him all too often.  When I lay aside my own agenda and spend some unhurried time worshiping along to worship music, reading the Bible and journaling what God is saying to me, and doing the kind of praying that is less about getting through my list of prayer requests and more about heart to heart communicating, I come away both satisfied and longing for more.   (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, May 1st, at Woman to Woman Ministries where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Faves...Sometimes it's the little things

Like many of you, I love the show Fixer Upper.
Chip and Joanna Gaines turn hideous houses into beautiful homes, 
and when you're watching the show, it all happens in an hour!
In reality, there's a whole construction crew working, and sometimes months of time passing.
Our new to us home, has gone through quite a transformation in the eight months we've lived here.
In our real life, it has to happen one project at a time.
We save up and pay cash, so that means it doesn't all get done at once, like on Fixer Upper.
I wish it did!
Right now, bit by bit, we are working on getting the yard in shape,
so some of the remaining updates inside, refinishing cabinets, new countertops,
new bathroom flooring, are on the waiting to be done list.
Meanwhile, I'm content with puttering around and doing the little things.
One of those little things was copying some of the decor stores, like Pottery Barn and West Elm,
by adding some wooden beads into the tray that sits on my living room coffee table,
(aka an antique trunk).
Instead of paying some ridiculous price for a string of natural wood beads,
I just went to Michael's craft store and bought two packages of beads using one of their frequent coupons.
I had my granddaughter string them, one small, one large, one small, one large, on a piece of jute twine. 
Easy, peasy!
Throughout  the house, updated light fixtures and faucets were one of the first projects we did.
I recently completed another little update in our two bathrooms,
replacing the builder grade mirrors and towel racks.
To replace the mirrors, it was as simple as unscrewing the brackets that hold the large plain glass mirrors on the wall and taking them down, (thanking God that the builders did not use glue!).
Then I filled in the holes left by the screws and painted the wall where the mirror had been
 to match the rest of the bathroom.
I traced around the mirrors onto a piece of wrapping paper, marking the spots onto the wrapping paper where the anchor screws needed to be placed.
I could then use the wrapping paper and tape it onto the wall to make sure the mirrors were level and exactly where I wanted them.
Once I had the paper level and exactly where I wanted the mirrors to be, I used a finish nail to poke a hole through the paper into the wall, marking the spot where I needed to place my anchor screws.
Then all that was left was to put in the screws and hang the mirrors!
(I find these lovely framed mirrors for a great price at TJMaxx.)

The other little project was to replace the builder grade towel bars for 
these cute towel hooks found at World Market.
I waited until I received one of their coupon offers and went and bought one for each bathroom.
Yes, the oak bathroom cabinets need refinished, the countertops and flooring need updated,
but while I'm waiting to do those bigger projects, little and affordable updates are being accomplished.

It's Friday, friends.
Hope you have a HAPPY, HAPPY Friday
and a safe and BLESSED weekend!


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Wednesday, April 27, 2016


I'm a woman of strong opinions.  Just ask my husband.  Yet, I've felt restrained from jumping into the fray of the current political climate, the upcoming election, and the current hot topics that have everyone on Facebook fired up.  Sure, I've got an opinion about most all of it, but the truth is, my opinion doesn't matter.  There's only one opinion that matters and that's God's. The one thing I will tell you my opinion about is this.  Those of us who claim to be Jesus followers need to make sure we really know what His opinion is, (and have the Biblical exegesis to back it up- God's truth, as well as a heart that is motivated by God's love instead of prideful arrogance-God's grace), before we go spouting off about our opinions.
It's all too easy for our own opinions, our own way of thinking, our own understanding to get slightly out of alignment with God's.  As you can see from the illustration above, when we keep walking down the pathway of that slight separation between our ways and God's ways, the distance between the two gets greater and greater.

The thing is, from the beginning satan's strategy was to whisper into the ear of man, "Has God really said...." and the enemy is using that same strategy today.  "Has God really said this or that is a sin?"  is one he whispers to all of us.  Just fill in the blank with whatever it is you or I struggle with, or with one of those hot topic issues being debated on Facebook.  If God has said in His Word that it is a sin and we allow the voice of the enemy or the culture to get us to veer away from that, we've taken that first small step out of alignment with God's ways.

Another enemy strategy that's as old as time, is a sense of distrust of and dissatisfaction with God's leadership.  It happened in the garden with Adam and Eve.  They believed the lie that God was withholding something good and beneficial from them.  It happened in the eighth chapter of first Samuel.  The children of Israel came to the prophet Samuel and told them they wanted a king just like the other nations.  What a slap in the face of God that was, for He had been the only King over them up to that point.  So, they got a human king, and more times than not, those human kings led them further and further away from God's ways. The thing is, when we are fully trusting in and following the leadership of God, we're not going to fit in with "the other nations", we're not going to fit in with the way culture thinks things should be.  In more than one place in the Bible God calls His people peculiar.  The definition in the original language doesn't really mean odd as we would define the word peculiar. Rather, it denotes possession, we are God's chosen people, we belong to Him, bought with the price of the shed blood of His Son.  As His people, we are to honor and glorify Him. Instead, our desire to be loved, admired and accepted by others too often overrides our desire to honor God.  We all struggle with this.  If we didn't, when God's Word contradicts a current cultural mindset, we wouldn't be so fearful to stay in alignment with God's Word and ways no matter what it costs us.

The truth of the matter is, we can't change others.  Arguing, reasoning, and Facebook debating won't change anyone. You can't make anyone else but yourself get in alignment with God's ways. First, you and I have to decide that He means what He says and He says what He means.  We've got to quit listening to the voice of the enemy and the voice of culture whispering, "Did God really say...." inferring that He doesn't really mean what He says. Then, we've got to decide that we're going to follow His Word and His ways and that we're going to live to give Him honor and glory, even if it means less acceptance for us in this world.  I'm not going to candy coat this.  It's hard.  It's scary.  But, God's opinion is what counts.  It means more than mine.  It means more than yours.  Now, let's crack open our Bibles and make sure we know what His is, and then, let's do it.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

God made you beautiful...

(edited with my own preset "triple")
"God made you beautiful.
You're beautiful, beautiful."

We have five grandchildren.
Each one, of course, is my favorite for each one is unique and wonderfully made by their Creator.
The sweet girlie in today's photos is our oldest daughter's oldest daughter.
She was born, a miracle from heaven, after her mama and daddy struggled with infertility 
and miscarriage for over ten years.
Her mama home schools her, and to help out I've been having Nana school with her on Tuesdays.
Two weeks ago Papa was home with the flu, so I didn't want her to come over and get sick.
Last week, we were out of town visiting my ailing mother-in-law.
She was so sad about missing Nana school for two weeks,
so I decided to make today extra special with a field trip to Huldah Klager Lilac Garden
followed by doing our school work outside at a park near the garden.
Huldah Klager hybridized many, many varieties of lilacs.
My granddaughter loves science so we talked about the science of what Mrs. Klager did
 to make this beautiful place.
The garden is now in the national registry of historic places.
Huldah's farmhouse is restored and open to the public to tour as well.
The old farmhouse is always my favorite part of a visit to the gardens.
(edited using Kim Klassen's waterfront-1 texture, lighten, 30% opacity)

These lilacs with the white border are my favorite.
They are called "Sensation".
After we left the gardens, we went to a lovely little park on the lake.
After we completed our work in one subject, we took a play break.
 (edited using Kim Klassen's waterfront-1 texture, screen mode, 20% opacity)
It was a lovely day for both of us.

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Busy week gratitude...

The past week was busy and full.  Sunday evening came, and along with it, the desire/need to just rest. So I did, making my weekly gratitude post a day later than usual.  Without a lot of words, but will a heart full of thanksgiving, here it is.
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 journal.
(and capturing some of my blessings via my camera or iPhone)

-on our visit, my mother-in-law waking up, smiling, trying to talk 
-lunch and a good visit with my sister-in-law
-driving out to beautiful Kayak Point
-all of our daughters driving up together to see grandma
-fun with our youngest grandson

-seeing our girls say goodbye to their grandma
-stopping at Lake Washington together on the way home
-Teriyaki Madness for lunch
-a safe drive home for all of us
-early morning devotions-God speaking to me from Exodus 15
-excercising with a fun new video with the ladies from church
-slow progress on our yard work, but progress nonetheless

-finally connecting with my sister on the phone after some days of phone tag
-more progress on the yard, bit by bit
-visiting a beautiful family owned greenhouse/nursery near us
-the encouragement of praying for one another

-a wonderful slow and lazy morning on the hub's day off
-going to a new to us restaurant
-getting another house project done
(new mirrors replacing the builder's grade mirror)
-one more flowerbed done as well

-oldest granddaughter spending the day with me
-oldest grandson helping Papa with yard work
-homemade Zuppa Toscana for dinner

-God's continued work in us and through us
-an encouraging Vision Conversation lunch at our house
-resting after a busy week

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Saturday, April 23, 2016

I will not give in...

Folded inside my Bible are some pages of old, marked and tattered paper with scripture based prayers and faith declarations printed on them.  One of those is based on the verse above.  I wrote it in my own words like this, "I will not give into fear, evil foreboding and anxious thoughts, but I will have a glad heart, resulting in a continual feast, regardless of circumstances." 

Some years back, we went through a long "Job season".  It seemed that in every area of our life what could go wrong went wrong. Legal problems, financial problems, relational problems, on every hand we faced loss and turmoil.  I became nervous and anxious. I suppose some would label it post traumatic stress.  I became afraid to check the mail or answer the phone.  A sense of evil foreboding became my constant companion. I wondered when the "other shoe would drop", the next problem arise. (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, April 24th, at Woman to Woman Ministries where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

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