Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Autumn Day on Lake Washington...

One of my favorite places is the east shore of Lake Washington. Seattle is on the other side of  Lake Washington. Kirkland, Washington, where my husband and I went to college, is on the east side. It's a beautiful place, but especially so on a gorgeous autumn day.
On a recent Saturday, while my husband, daughter and son-in-law attended the University of Washington Huskies football game in Seattle, I watched our youngest grandson. With baby in tow, I did some window shopping in Bellevue, Washington, ate lunch at a favorite spot in Kirkland, then just enjoyed the beauty on this sunny autumn afternoon. At five months old, our grandson loved the park along the lake, the warm sunshine, and watching the people.  He especially liked watching those who were walking their dogs, especially if they stopped and let him have a close up view of their pup.
 My goal is to go paddle boarding on Lake Washington someday...preferably on a hot summer day!

Meanwhile, at our home some of the trees are almost bare now, while some others are in their full autumn beauty. I like to forage for little bunches of autumn color to bring inside, which I much prefer over faux foliage.
This weekend we set our clocks back and the countdown to winter begins. Meanwhile, I'm savoring the beauty of autumn 2017.

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Monday, October 30, 2017

Thanks-giv-ing...


Tomorrow is Halloween, but in my heart and mind I'm already thinking about Thanksgiving. This holiday that is focused on giving thanks and gathering with family and friends is definitely more preferred by me than Halloween, though I loved Halloween when I was a little girl. However, it definitely seemed to me more innocent fun all those years ago.  Costumes were simple, and not meant to be terrifying or gorey. A twenty five cent mask or an old sheet with eye holes cut into it plus a pillowcase to collect our candy in were all we needed for a night full of fun. We could not wait for dinner to be over and for it to begin to get dark enough to head out and begin trick or treating.  We would wander all over our little town without fear.   No one was afraid of or suspicious of homemade treats like caramel apples or popcorn balls.  At some houses we were invited inside for donuts and apple cider.  We would come home with our pillowcases heavy and bulging with candy.  I remember trying to ration it out through the year in hopes it would last until the next Halloween.  I don't think I ever succeeded.  It seems to me that Halloween has become a lot more dark, gruesome and creepy instead of the harmless fun I remember.  So, I've already moved on to Thanksgiving in my mind.  It's a wonderful holiday, but even more, a wonderful lifestyle.  I believe that a thankful heart is a contented,  joy filled heart.  And now, onto this past week's gratitude journal entries...

****************
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)
#10, 375-#10,397

10-23-17-
-a beautiful foggy morning
-fiinishing this week's Ephesians inductive study
-a beautifully sunny afternoon
-yummy pork chops for dinner

10-24-17-
-our youngest grandson's sweet giggles
-the flaming autumn colors of the tree in our front yard
-my hub's is safe after helping to catch a hit and run driver of an accident he witnessed
-I just love our small group! Thank you, Lord!

10-25-17-
-our youngest grandbaby is five months old today
-my light, white kitchen
-sitting with my good friend at the hospital while she had tests due to chest pains
(Thank God it was not a heart issue!)

10-26-17-
-thanking God that our second born and her family are safely home from a fun vacation
-a mini-getaway overnight to the beach
-absolutely gorgeous weather at the beach


10-27-17-
-a quiet morning at the coast to work on my Bible study and a writing project
-another beautiful day for a beach walk
-a safe drive back home

10-28-17-
-watching our grandbaby while my husband, daughter and son-in-law go to the football game
-a gorgeous autumn day!
-safe drive to the game and back home

10-29-17-
- this song-"I am Who He say I am
He is Who He says He is
I'm defined by all His promises
Shaped by every word He says"
-His body broken for me, His blood shed for me
-a two hour nap!

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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Contentment...


The other morning, as I finished wiping off the kitchen countertop between my stove and refrigerator, I turned around and suddenly it was as if I was seeing my kitchen through different eyes! It was like I was looking at my kitchen through the eyes of a stranger who was seeing it for the first time and noticing how lovely and light filled it is.

This might make more sense to you if you know that we recently did a whole kitchen update on our 1990's era all oak kitchen. Because we had a specific budget limit, we did not change the footprint of the kitchen or get new cabinets. Instead, we had the cabinets painted and did other budget friendly updates to them such as adding new hardware to the doors and drawers and putting glass inserts in the upper cabinets.  I am completely pleased with how it turned out, but I know that if money was no object we could have done more.  Demo that breakfast bar and add a huge island!  How about one of those fabulous French stoves!  Why not add a custom built range hood!  Yet, I am so very pleased and so very grateful for my kitchen just the way it is.  I am absolutely content with the kitchen God has given me.

I am definitely not a stranger to discontentment, however.  I have experienced it in many different areas.

Discontentment with my physical appearance, for example.  Why can't I be one of those people that can eat whatever they want without gaining weight? (Comparing myself to everyone I know who seems to have that kind of miraculous metabolism.)

Discontentment about my relationships. I wish my husband or my children or my friends were more ____________. (Fill in the blank with whatever I'm currently noticing in someone else's family dynamics or friendships.)

OR, I wish our church was more ____________ . (Fill in the blank with whatever I am noticing or seeing online that seems to be making another ministry more dynamic or successful.)

OR,  I wish my house was more___________. (Fill in the blank with what I'm seeing on decor blogs, Instagram, Pinterest or HGTV.)

"Comparison is the thief of joy", Theodore Roosevelt once said.  It may not be in the Bible, but it is true nonetheless. We are constantly bombarded with the temptation to compare, especially now in our media saturated culture. Contentment is something I've had to work on through the years.  Maybe some of the things that have helped me to learn to be more content will help you as well. ( (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, October 29th, at Woman to Woman Ministries where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)


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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Foggy morning...

The last few days have begun with foggy mornings that give way to sunny afternoons.
I'm loving it!
 I took my camera out into our yard to try to capture the beauty of a foggy autumn morning.
 I decided to have a little spooky photo fun with the photo below.
Morning dew on autumn colored hydrangeas...
 It took a few tries to get the camera to focus on this cobweb hanging from the eaves of our house.
I love this photo!
My granddaughter's favorite climbing tree in it's autumn glory.

 Do you like foggy weather?

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Flower Friday



Monday, October 23, 2017

Choosing an attitude of gratitude...


I actually had to read back through last week's entries in my gratitude journal to remember what I did last week!  All I know is that it was busy and it zoomed by!  Busy and blessed!
****************
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)
#10,353-#10,374

10-16-17-
-meeting a friend that I haven't seen in thirty years and my cousin, (who in a strange turn of events became her friend and reconnected us), for lunch and a wonderful catching up session
-golden hour, the way the sun is shining on the colorful autumn trees
-texts filled with fun photos and videos of our grandkids

10-17-17-
-a sweet couple of hours watching my three year old grandson-telling stories, getting and giving hugs and kisses
-sunny sunflowers on my kitchen counter
-baking bread and making soup for our small group

10-18-17-
-editing more photos of our trip to Maine and reliving the wonderful time we had
-gray skies but a warm-ish breeze on my walk
-encouragement and support from our mentor
-falling asleep early while reading a good book

10-19-17-
-a walk in spite of a deluge of rain!
-fun video of our four month old grandson "talking"
-my husband

10-20-17-
-beautiful autumn colors on the drive home

-a delicious Friday date day dinner at one of our favorite restaurants
-finishing my latest Mitford book

10-21-17-
-a sleepover at our house for the two youngest granddaughters
-Dizzy Castle indoor playground with the girls on this very rainy day
-my husband tucking them in for me when I fell asleep on the couch due to a migraine

10-22-17-
-a fabulous message at church
-His body given and broken for me, His blood shed for me
-being able to bless my daughter with some cash back and coupons on clothes for the girls

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Saturday, October 21, 2017

He Himself is our peace...



The trees were beautifully adorned in their golden autumn colors as my husband and I were driving home yesterday afternoon.  I wanted to capture the beauty in a quick phone photo through the windshield, but the phone focused more on the raindrops than the trees.

The background of the verse seen in the photo above and found in Ephesians chapter two is the enmity between the Jewish believers and the Gentile believers.  The Jewish believers were having a hard time accepting the fact that those "uncircumcised Gentiles" had the same access to salvation through Jesus Christ that they did.  Paul goes on to explain that Christ Himself is our peace and has abolished the enmity between the two and has made us into one body in Him. Paul was trying to shift their focus off of the raindrops, their differences, and onto the beauty of God's plan, that all those who accept salvation through Christ, whether Jew or Gentile, are part of Christ's body.

It's so very easy to focus on the raindrops in our life, isn't it?  I read or watch the news and my focus becomes on how messed up our world is, blinding me to the fact that God and His people are up to some incredible things in the the midst of the mess.  My husband makes me coffee, and I notice that he didn't wipe up the small spill he made on the countertop causing me to I lose my focus on what a blessing he is.  A problem in our body of believers can get my focus off of the blessing of the recent influx of new believers we are currently discipling.  The examples might be different for you.  Perhaps your focus is on how hard it is to get anything done around the house with little ones constantly demanding your attention and making messes and it's blinding you to the beauty and blessings found in this stage of your life.  Perhaps, not of your own choosing, you are single, divorced, or widowed and the pain of your situation is making it difficult for you to see God's faithfulness, presence and provision in the middle of your pain.  There are as many different examples as there are people.   ( (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, October 22nd, at Woman to Woman Ministries where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)


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Also happily linking up with the lovely
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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Friday Favs...Ina Garten's Ultimate Ginger Cookies

I've never tried an Ina Garten recipe that I haven't liked. While I've had other famous television chef's recipes disappoint, the ones that I've tried of Ina's have always been very delicious. Case in point, her Ultimate Ginger Cookie Recipe.
 The recipe is quite simple.
Sift the dry ingredients together.
 Add the wet ingredients.
 Roll the dough into balls, roll them in sugar, then slightly flatten them.
 Bake-then enjoy!

These have a wonderfully crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside texture and a delectably sweet and spicy flavor. A perfect cookie for fall!

The only change I made to her original recipe was that I halved the amount of crystalized ginger. It's a pricey ingredient and, to me, the cookie is still very "gingery" with half the amount.


 It's almost Friday, friends!
Have a HAPPY, HAPPY Friday
and a safe and BLESSED weekend!




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