Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Mid-Winter signs of Spring...

We are only about halfway through winter. Yet, on a recent walk, I couldn't help noticing the signs of new life and the inevitability of the arrival of spring, mixed in with the obvious signs that it is still winter. (All photos taken with my iPhone 7plus.)

still following,

Flower Friday

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder...

I used to work on my weekly gratitude posts on Sunday afternoons, but for quite some time I've decided to make Sunday afternoons a true time of rest if at all possible.  So, my goal is to write my weekly gratitude post on Monday, but yesterday real life got in the way.  There were errands to run and our daughter, who was hit by a pickup truck while out jogging last Thursday, had some medical appointments so we helped with the grandkids. 

With all of that said, THANK YOU to all of those who have been praying for my daughter.  Recovery from brain trauma takes time but we are confident that prayer makes all the difference and that the brain, skull and ear damage will be completely healed.

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)
#10,675 #10,697

-listening to podcasts
-afternoon tea and a good visit 
-Costco rotisserie chicken when I don't want to cook

-making this soup for small group
-a rainy day walk while listening to a great message on the Sermon on the Mount
-our small group's first gathering since the holiday break

-coffee and candlelight and the book of Matthew
-new iron pot racks bought with a gift card from friends
-a wonderful dinner out with friends that we don't get to see often enough

-my oldest friend, (not in age but in how long we've been friends), 
and her husband coming by for lunch and a visit while they are in town
-angels watching over my daughter who was hit by a truck while out jogging
-the lady who let me go in line ahead of her in ER so I could get back to see my girl
-my daughter is alive, thank you, Jesus-it could have been so much worse

-up early to go to the hospital
-some more scans, some more insights into the damage 
-hundreds of people praying, dozens of offers of help
-just so, so thankful

-finishing the book of Matthew-remembering all that Jesus suffered for my salvation
-friends and family checking in to see how our girl, and we, are doing
-my hubs and I going to bed early after a super emotional few days

-God at work in us and our church
-lunch with some of our grandkids and friends
-my husband taking me to run a quick errand before coming home for some Sunday rest

still following,

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Trusting even when we don't understand God's ways...

Unexplainable suffering and loss happens in the world. Tragedy can strike both genuine Jesus followers and unbelievers alike. I have experienced and witnessed both God's miraculous intervention and protection in our lives as well as experienced Him allowing us to go through loss and suffering that for years left me looking for the good He promised to work all things together for.  It's a conundrum, isn't it? This mysterious God we serve just won't let us pin Him down into predictability. Yet, we human beings tend to continually search for the reasons why God allows the innocent to suffer while at other times He blesses and protects those who certainly haven't earned or deserved it.  If one of us could figure this all out, we'd have a best selling book for sure! (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, January 28th, at Woman to Woman Ministries where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,

Also happily linking up with the lovely
The Mom Gene

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Winter cheer...

(edited with Kim Klassen's waterfront texture)
It's been raining all week and will keep on raining until the middle of next week.
(edited with Kim Klassen's everyday texture)
Sometimes you just need a cheery grocery store bouquet.
(edited with Kim Klassen's waterfront texture)
I can't remember the name of this particular flower,
but it sure is pretty!
(edited with Kim Klassen's waterfront texture)

still following,

Flower Friday

Monday, January 22, 2018

Another week of gratitude...

The days zoom by and the numbers in my gratitude journal grow quickly.  I can't wrap my mind around the fact that our youngest grandson is going to be eight months old in just a few days when it seems like it was just a blink of an eye ago when he was born. It's hard to wrap my mind around how fast it all goes by.  However, keeping a gratitude journal helps to remove the fear that comes with growing older. God's daily faithfulness is recorded right there on paper for me to see and it reassures me that He always has been and always will be faithful as the years go by.

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)

-an unexpected chance to spend the day with our two youngest granddaughters
-good weather for an afternoon at the park

-my favorite healthy salad for dinner
(spinach, chicken, pear, feta, walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette)

-my hub's getting to spend some time with his best friend who unexpectedly came through town
-haircut and color day!
-a beautiful walk before dinner
-homemade spaghetti sauce simmering away to eat over healthy "zoodles"

-our middle grandson putting on a clip-on tie to visit us
-him singing the Hallelujah Chorus in the middle of Walmart
-reading books that are three generations old in our family to our grandkids

-youngest daughter and grandson coming to see us
-going on a walk together
-a fresh paint job inside of our church
-good news

-a relaxing date day morning
-lunch at one of our favorite restaurants with a Christmas gift card
-a relaxing evening catching up on "Victoria"

-God's help with the everyday practical things
-a walk as the sun was going down
-grabbing dinner out together at Hula Boy after a busy and productive day

-wonderful worship and word
-lunch with friends
-a Sunday afternoon nap

still following,

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Firmly Fixed...

For the past twenty four hours the news has been reporting non-stop about the U.S.A.'s current "government shutdown".  Though in actuality there have been seventeen government shutdowns since the modern budgeting process began, you would think that it's the end of civilization as we know it.  Obviously, it's a frustrating situation, is not beneficial to our nation, and will be harmful if it continues too long.  But, it is also an example of the way fear seems to be running rampant.  

Turn on the radio or television and every other commercial is for some product that you need in case of natural disaster, in case the banks fail or the stock market crashes, to protect your home from invaders, or something you need to keep you safe from all manner of potential physical ailments.  Each commercial is banking on fear to motivate you to buy their product. 

Clearly, there is wisdom in being prepared for the future and emergency situations. The reality, however, is that no one can prepare themselves or protect themselves from every worst case scenario.  You could drive yourself crazy and bankrupt trying to do so.  Eventually, we have to accept that we can only do our best and then we must simply trust God for the rest.  (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, January 21st, at Woman to Woman Ministries where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,

Also happily linking up with the lovely
The Mom Gene

Friday, January 19, 2018

Friday Faves...Cleaning and Decluttering, Part Two

Welcome back for part two of my little blog series on cleaning and decluttering.  Last week was part one which you can access by clicking here.  That post was mainly about daily tidying and how to stay on top of excess and clutter.  This week I thought I'd write about my weekly cleaning routine.
Just a reminder of last week's disclaimer.  I am not a self-proclaimed expert on cleaning.  I have areas that I struggle to keep tidy-like the closet my husband and I share.  (We definitely need to invest in some sort of closet system-and we both might like clothes and shoes a wee bit too much.) I am not a minimalist.  I LOVE minimalist decor and blog stalk many people who decorate that way. But, while I declutter and get rid of junk on a regular basis and try not to bring anything new into our home that doesn't have an immediate place and purpose, I am far from a minimalist. In other words, minimalism inspires me, and I glean a lot from their decluttering tips. That's what I want these cleaning posts to do for you-inspire without bringing condemnation. Everyone has different standards for their home.  Everyone has different standards of what is too cluttered and what is clean enough.  My goal for my home is threefold-I want it to always feel calm and peaceful and quiet, (not necessarily meaning the noise level but the feeling), to feel welcoming and to feel cozy.
Because my husband is a pastor, he spends most Saturdays in his office at the church making sure everything is ready for Sunday. (Our day off is Friday.) For years, Saturdays have been my house cleaning day.  I suppose it stems from years of wanting our home to be ready in case I decided to extend any last minute invites for Sunday lunch. Now we mostly eat out on Sundays after church and rest on Sunday afternoons/evenings. We are more likely to have people over on other days of the week-but old habits die hard so I still clean house on Saturdays. You should do what works best for you.  Perhaps dividing cleaning chores up on different days would work best. I just like to get it all done on one day.
Here's what I do on my Saturday house cleaning day-
(I like to listen to something while I clean-music, podcasts, the news, or even a movie that I've watched before.) 
I start with the chore that I dislike the most.  That way when I'm done with that, I already feel I'm on the downhill stretch to being done.  For me that chore is... 

-scrub the tubs, shower, toilets and sinks  
-wipe down the countertops and the cabinet and drawer fronts 
-clean the mirrors and shower doors
-wash any dirty towels and rugs
-scrub the floors 
-wash all dishes
-wipe down countertops taking time to move and to clean underneath anything on the counter 
-wipe down all appliances-clean stove top, clean out and wipe down refrigerator, (don't forget to clean the top of the refrigerator which is a place that collects dust and grease)
- clean microwave
-wipe down cabinets-I wipe down my white cabinets weekly using a vinegar water solution or other mild cleaner. (This is much easier than waiting until grease and dirt have made a grimy layer!)
-vacuum and damp mop wood floor 
(This is my favorite tool for vacuuming my wood floors. I have the older version which is not cordless. To damp mop I use a microfiber mop and a spray bottle of vinegar water or other mild cleaner.)
Wash sheets
Dust all surfaces (I try to declutter the top of our nightstands when I dust-but it feels like a losing battle!)

Dust all surfaces (My office desk top is another challenging spot to keep clutter free.)

-Dust all surfaces
-Vacuum or wash all area rugs
-Damp mop wood floors 
-Wipe down leather furniture with leather wipes
That's about it for my weekly house cleaning routine. (I do make sure all of the laundry is done as well, which isn't a huge deal since I do laundry during the week.)  Next week I'll end this series by writing about deep cleaning, spring and pre-holiday cleaning, and decluttering excess.

Have a happy Friday
a safe and blessed weekend!