Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Winter beauty....

(quote by Tom Allen)

(quote by Andrew Wyeth)

(quote by Michael Leuing)

One of the gifts that I received from my husband for Christmas was a new Nikkor 40mm 2.8 prime lens.  I've enjoyed playing with it.  Today I took a few moments before I began the busyness of the day to capture the beauty that can be found in my own backyard even in the bleakness of winter.  (All three photos were edited with Kim Klassen's Monday texture.)

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Make the voice of thanksgiving heard...

In this sin-twisted world there are so many causes, so many injustices to be concerned about.  While, by nature, I am a person who despises conflict, I completely understand and have not shied away from speaking out on current events that I feel strongly about.  My concern, though, is for believers in Christ whose whole social media feed is filled with rage against the ills of our world with nary a mention to the One Who alone holds the answers to those ills nor any word of thanks for His sustaining faithfulness in their lives.  Ingratitude was one of the sins that kept the children of Israel from entering the promised land.  Their focus was on the challenges they faced.  They failed to recognize and respond in gratitude and faith for the protection and provision of God that surrounded them on their journey. ("Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness of mind and heart in gratitude for the abundance of all with which He had blessed you." Deuteronomy 28:47)  Because of this for forty years they wandered in the desert and failed to live the abundant lift of victory that God had promised for them.

Our world is a messed up place.  It always has been and always will be until the King of kings Himself returns to make wrong things right.  Obviously, in the meanwhile, His church is to be salt and light, spreading the gospel, ministering to the needs of the broken and bringing God's hope to the hopeless.  Unfortunately, too many of us have become so overwhelmed with the ills and injustices of this world, that we've lost our joy and gratitude, we've failed to recognize, see, acknowledge and give thanks for God's love, faithfulness, provision and protection to us in the middle of this mess.  Instead, the mess has become our focus.  The world already sees the mess, what they need from God's people is some hope.  My fear is that the church itself has lost sight of the hope they have in Christ.  If that's you, ask God to open your eyes to His nearness, His faithfulness, His provision, His protection, His blessings in your life.  Begin to write down, to keep of record of, what He shows you.  Then, tell the world, at least your little corner of it, about His wondrous works.  Let's make the voice of thanksgiving heard in His church again.
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)

-a beautiful day to get back to exercising!
-taking our youngest grandson for a treat
-groceries-how many don't have their pantry and freezer full of food?
-my red mixer

-God's help to get what I need to do done on this busy day
-an open door to share the gospel with a neighbor
-praying together for our nation with our small group 

-Nana school with my granddaughter
-taking a nice walk to the park with her
-tacos for dinner, her choice, before taking her home

-abiding in His love
-a phone call with a friend
-prayer and worship night

-a clean bill of health at my physical
-starting to pack for our upcoming trip to Ghana
-hellebore in bloom in our yard
-relaxing together on Friday date day
-apple nachos-yummy and healthy

-pink sunrise
-lunch, laughter, shopping with friends
-texting with my girls about current events

-a great message
-God's strength
-casting my cares on Him

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Saturday, January 28, 2017

In whom do we trust?

Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
And makes flesh his strength,
Whose heart departs from the Lord.
For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,
And shall not see when good comes,
But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
In a salt land which is not inhabited.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
“The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:5-9 NKJV)
In America our currency has, "in God we trust" printed on it. It's important that that is more than a slogan, but a reality that we are living in. Our trust cannot be in any elected official, in any political party, or in any of the manmade systems of this world.  They will all, in fact, one day pass away.  Our trust has to be in the God Who promised that one day "the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ and He shall reign forever and ever."(Revelation 11:15 NKJV) 
(Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, January 29th, at Woman to Woman Ministries where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

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Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday Faves...a simple homemade sign

If you've been a reader here for very long, you know the amusing story of the cow in my painting.  Since, in real life, Bonnie the cow lived on a farm in France, I decided to make a sign to hang over her head that says "Fresh Milk" in French.
Because I'm impulsive and tend to dive right in and try a project I have in my mind, you'll have to bear with me as I explain what the sign looked like before I changed it and the steps in how I made it since I didn't photograph the process.
This was a double sided arrow shaped sign that says BEACH.  It is still like that on the opposite side. The wood on the sign is rough, so instead of trying to sand off the word BEACH or to make the wood smooth, I simply painted over it with gray paint. Once that layer of paint was dry I went over it with a light and uneven coat of white paint. When that was dry I used a paint pen to make a black border around the arrow.  Then I printed the words lait frais, (fresh milk in French), in the font and size I wanted.  I  laid the words on the sign and traced around the letters firmly with a sharp ink pen. With a fine paint brush I painted in the letters.  Once everything was dry, I lightly sanded the sign to "age" it and then wiped a layer of Minwax natural wax on it.
This inexpensive French style milk bottle completes the theme of this little corner in my kitchen nook.  I found it for $3 at Ross!

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


Shabby Art Boutique

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Thoughts on abiding in God's love...

There are just a few evidences of the recent winter snow and ice storm remaining.  Occasionally I still see a small pile of snow in the yards I pass by on my walk.  That is less surprising then the already evident signs that, in a few short weeks, spring is coming.  Buds are already appearing on the ends of naked tree branches. The hellebore in my front yard is already blooming.  All around me signs of life are exposed that were buried under the snow less than two weeks ago. Buried under the snow, the trees, the flowers, the plants roots were still doing their work, still drawing life and sustenance from the soil.

If I've seen it once, I've seen it hundreds of times.  The storms of life expose how deeply rooted we are in Christ. Specifically, hard times expose how deeply rooted, how confident we are in His love.  If we are abiding in God's love, if we are deeply rooted in His love, then we do not easily fall prey to satan's lies that come when we face hard times.  During those times of vulnerability, satan whispers, "God must not love you or He would not be allowing this to happen." Those thoughts will inevitably come, fueled by the one who wants to separate you from the very source of life that will help you to survive the storm.  satan's whole motivation is to steal, kill and destroy.  he doesn't want you to survive the winter seasons of your soul.  

In my own life, I've had to saturate my mind with the truth of how much God loves and delights in me.  Especially in times of trial and testing I continually have to renew my mind with the promises of His never-ending love, care and faithfulness.  I have also found that keeping a written journal of His blessings in my life has helped me to see that even in my worst of times, His love and care have been evident.  My point? I've found that abiding in God's love has a whole lot to do with where I let my mind and thoughts dwell. I don't have to listen to the thoughts of the enemy, or even to the tangled up web of my own emotions. I can, by an act of my will, choose to plant the truth in my mind and to dwell on that.  Abiding in truth and abiding in God's love are inseparable in my opinion. That is the good soil I want my roots to be planted in.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Antique mirror, french jar and spray roses...

For Christmas my daughter gave me a gift card to a favorite antique mall.
What fun to go post Christmas shopping and to find this beautiful antique mirror 
and an antique French canning jar, both on sale!
The antique mirror hangs in our spare room above the antique dresser I recently refinished.
 (photo edited with Kim Klassen's flow texture)
Creamy white spray roses are one of my favorites and I love them in the old jar.
I photographed some dried spray roses last week, and they're even lovely in that state.
 (photo edited with Kim Klassen's flow texture)
I hope you enjoyed looking at my Christmas gifts as much as I enjoy them!

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Abiding in His love...

When we flew from Portland, Oregon to Kansas City, Missouri last Tuesday we left home with snow still on the ground and a looming threat of an ice storm.  Fortunately, we were able to take off before the freezing rain arrived.  The flight was smooth and uneventful.  My husband and I looked forward to the four days we would be spending in the prayer room, worshipping, reading, journaling, listening  for God's still small voice and seeking His direction for the new year. 

Unexpectedly, I caught a head cold.  While I had no fever, no body aches or chills, nothing that necessitated me staying in bed back at our hotel, I felt sorry for those sitting near me in the prayer room with my incessant nose blowing and mountains of used Kleenex stacked on the desk in front of me.  I read my Bible, I journaled, I worshiped, but truth be told, that darn head cold made me feel a bit out of it, made it difficult for me to concentrate.  I had to make a decision at that point, to live in God's grace, to give myself permission to leave my husband in the prayer room one afternoon while I went back to the hotel, got in my pajamas, sipped hot tea and read Beth Moore's fabulous first work of fiction.  Surprisingly, I felt God's love and pleasure over me as much in my weakness there in that hotel room, as I did in the most fervent moments that I've experienced in that prayer room over the many years we've visited there.  I felt loved, as if my good, good Father, wrapped me, His beloved daughter, in a cozy quilt and told me to get some rest.

I've at times lived in a scarcity mindset.  I've believed the lie that if I'm not at the top of my game at all times, I may miss a God moment or opportunity.  I've not abided, not dwelled in His love. I've not always been confident that He won't pass me by in my weakness.  I've not always felt His pleasure even on the days when I don't hop out of bed and eagerly start my morning devotions first thing.  This year, as I focus on my word for 2017, ABIDE, I'm learning to do just that. To live in the truth of God's love and acceptance on my best days and on my worst.  

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)

-thank God for preventing a financial mistake
-our health coverage
-God's daily provision
-a cup of tea and a good visit with my friend before she returns to Guatemala 

-an uneventful flight to KC out of Portland in spite of the ice storm threat
-going to bed early
-thank God, no fever or aches with this head cold

-our daughter's frozen pipes thawed out without breaking!
-the prayer room (Laura Hackett Park leading the worship this morning!)
-God is my Shield, my Strength, my Portion, Deliverer, my Shelter, Strong Tower,
 my very present help in time of need

-a good night's sleep
-giving myself permission to rest
-my husband

-the peaceful transition of power
-the name of Jesus being lifted up
-dinner and a great visit with our dear friends who live near K.C.

-a bit of time in the prayer room before heading home
-a half empty plane resulting in extra treats from the flight attendant!
-such beauty out the plane window

-such a wonderful gathering at church this morning!  Amazing!
-lunch with friends, meeting their pastor/missionary parents
-hugs and kisses from our grandkids

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Saturday, January 21, 2017

What we say is where we abide...

Psalm 91 is one of my husband's favorite chapters in the Bible.  He memorized it as a young boy when he was struggling with fear.  When I first started dating him, the Lord spoke specifically to me from Psalm 91 though at that time I had no idea of the significance of this passage to him.

Right now my pastor husband is preaching a series of messages on this psalm. One of the things he mentioned is how the Psalmist, in verse one, declares that he is dwelling, abiding under the shadow of the Almighty.  Then immediately in the following verse he begins to declare who God is.  He speaks out that God is his Refuge and His Fortress, the one he leans on, relies on and in Whom he confidently trusts. The point is that what we say affects where we abide.(Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, January 22nd, at Woman to Woman Ministries where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

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