Saturday, August 25, 2018

Let the beauty of the Lord be upon us...

I remember the day when I looked at myself in the mirror and was shocked with the realization that this was as good as it was going to get. In other words, I was past the point where my appearance was going to improve with age. Yes, that reality shocked me a bit, but it didn't make me sad. It made me determined to be the best me I could be for my age, rather than to waste away my days wishing for what used to be. Working with what God has given me, I try to steward my body well by doing things such as exercising, eating healthy, (most of the time), drinking water and moisturizing my skin. Even with all of that, time will continue to march on and this body will continue to age.

The Apostle Paul talked about the aging of our physical bodies in 2 Corinthians 4:16, "Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being[progressively] renewed day after day."(Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, August 26th, at Woman to Woman Ministries where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

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Monday, August 20, 2018

The answer to anxiety...

There are always plenty of reasons in life to give in to anxiety. It's easy for those worrisome things to become magnified in our eyes. When we exalt Jesus Christ, then our worries come into proper focus and we realize the truth that God is always bigger than our problems. Giving God our grateful praise, our heartfelt thanksgiving, is a one way to exalt Him and to recognize His greatness in our lives.
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)

-God's provision
-my oldest sister's birthday
-God's faithfulness in our lives
-a small medical issue with our daughter discovered and treated

-a sweet prayer time
-"His name is Wonderful. He is the God Who works wonders."-encouragement from today's reading in Judges
-an afternoon swim with our two youngest grandsons

-BLTs with fresh garden tomatoes from our youngest daughter's garden

-lighting my candle, sipping my coffee, leaning into trusting and yielding to God in my morning quiet time
-getting a bunch of yard work done with my oldest grandson's help
-love and forgiveness

-God speaking an encouraging word to my heart
-my oldest brother staying with us for the weekend
-my nephew and his family coming by for a visit

-heart talks with my brother and sister
-running into our other brother while running an errand
-a quiet evening before tomorrow's memorial service

-my nephew's memorial-all of the reminders of God's amazing grace
-a delicious dinner at our nephew's
-God's help

-worship focused on the name of Jesus
-a powerful message
-a good visit with good friends over lunch

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Saturday, August 18, 2018

The Word of God will stand forever...

I'm embarrassed to admit that I own fourteen Bibles - I just went into my home office and counted them. I'm pretty sure that my pastor husband owns even more Bibles than I do. We both still have the old worn out Living Bibles with the padded green covers that seemed to be the preferred Bible of our teen years. We have the "more scholarly" New American Standard Bibles required in our Bible college years. We have the marked up and worn thin Bibles that carried us through our early ministry years and other Bibles from all of the subsequent seasons of life since. We also have many different translations of the Bible.

When I was a child most Bibles looked alike and most were the King James translation. The Bible was easily recognizable- a black leather cover stamped with the words Holy Bible wrapped around gold edged, incredibly thin paper pages. It was a revered possession in my childhood home. In a similar way that there are rules for handling the American flag out of respect for what it stands for, my daddy had Bible handling rules. You didn't set the Bible down on the floor. You didn't stack other objects on top of the Bible. I wonder what my daddy would think of my journaling Bible that I write, draw and color in! The truth is, I'm a lot less concerned with how carefully we physically treat our Bibles, and a lot more concerned about how we treat the Bible as the Word of God.  Sadly, we live in an age when, even in the church, we think that what we think about what the Bible means is exalted above finding out what God Himself says it means. We think we can ignore the parts that make us uncomfortable or that go against the current cultural mindset. We have lost our reverence for God's Word in a much more serious way than setting a cup of coffee on it's cover - we have lost our reverence for its words, for embracing it as God breathed truth, for honoring it as our plumb line for living. (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, August 19th, at Woman to Woman Ministries where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Friday Faves...Simple Living Room Changes

I'm not the kind of person that has a continual remodel or redecorating project going. I like living in peace too much! (Which is one of the reasons I've been procrastinating tackling our last home renovation project since moving into this house-the bathrooms. I want them to be done, but I dread both the mess and the expense!) But, neither am I be the kind of person who never makes changes, who decides one thing is their style and leaves it like that for decades. 

When we moved into our new to us house three years ago, I realized that there was a definite change in the personality of this home versus our former home. This house had a more formal, traditional feel. So, we embraced that difference and chose a more formal, traditional wood flooring rather than choosing the rustic, pine floors we had in our previous home. I also let go of many of the decorating items and furniture items that no longer fit into the style of our current home.

I have been on a three year journey to simplify as well. I've probably given away or donated a small U-haul truck full of household items since our move and almost every week I get rid of something else that I no longer love or find useful.

I've been contemplating if I'm ready to get rid of the gallery wall in my living room, if I'm ready to find an oversized painting or something more simple to hang there. Since I don't feel quite ready to make the plunge,  I decided to make a simple change that I'm loving.

Here's the before...
And here's the after...
I removed the mirror and the H O M E letters, which I had to fight to keep hanging straight, and replaced it with this inexpensive reproduction tobacco basket from Hobby Lobby. I also spray painted the large S with the same color spray paint I used on the word hello. I replaced the glittery feathers inside the frame with a neutral colored starfish. It's not a huge change but it made things feel more clean and simple to me.
Even though the basket measured the same as as the mirror,  I still had to tweak other things on the wall a bit higher, or lower, or spaced a bit differently until it looked just right. Even now, in this photo  I've noticed that the large letter S is hanging a bit too straight and looks better at a very slight angle as in the before photo. So, as soon as I'm done with this post I'll move it a wee bit. I always keep a small container of wall spackle and wall paint in the cupboard in my laundry room to repair nail holes immediately when I move things on my walls. It's so much easier to take care of the nail holes right way rather than to have dozens of them to fix later on.
This wooden dough bowl was also an inexpensive  Hobby Lobby find. Hobby Lobby has great sales!
 Lastly, I'm loving my new blown glass glassybaby votive holder, which I got for my birthday. So simple but beautiful! I am sensitive to the smell of many scented candles, so now I burn unscented tea lights in my glassybaby instead of burning scented jar candles.

I'm still not a minimalist by any means, but I am on a pursuit to simplify.  I want my decor to be visually peaceful, not over stimulating. I suppose it's a continual process, like most things in life!

It's almost FRIDAY, friends!

Have a HAPPY, HAPPY Friday
a BLESSED weekend!



Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Beating the heat...

Sometimes, when you're having a record breaking hottest summer on record, you unashamedly play hookie from normal life and responsibilities and drive to the beach on a mid-week afternoon. It's amazing how the temperature can be 30 degrees cooler by the sea than it is just a short drive inland.

 Our four year old grandson was our companion for our afternoon at the beach.

Summer will soon be over and the rain will inevitably return to the Pacific Northwest. When the rainy days seem relentless, I'll try to remember this day when we wanted to escape the summer heat.

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Flower Friday

Monday, August 13, 2018

Refusing to let stress be a joy stealer...

My husband and I sat across from each other at our favorite Thai food restaurant. Over my plate of chicken pad thai and his mixed grill plate the topic came up of person we know facing a possible auto-immune disease diagnosis. The conversation led us to question what is in our food or environment that is causing the rise of this condition. I wondered aloud if a big part of it could be the level of stress we continually live under. 

As a person who feels things deeply it is a challenge for me to not live under stress. I watch or read the news and I feel deep concern and stress rises within over the state of our nation and world. I counsel with people in our congregation and feel the pain of their problems. It's a challenge for me to leave their burdens on God's shoulders and to not carry them on mine. Stress results when I don't do this. 

Jesus gave us His peace. Our inheritance in Christ isn't a problem free life, but it is a peace filled life. John 14:17 in the Amplified Bible is a verse I refer back to and pray over myself frequently. 
" Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]" 

Psalm 32:6 indicates that there is a way for us to go through trials without stress penetrating our inner being.
"For this [forgiveness] let everyone who is godly pray—pray to You in a time when You may be found; surely when the great waters [of trial] overflow, they shall not reach [the spirit in] him."

The primary way that I reject stress is to choose to focus on the blessings of God in my life. But, I am also learning that there are times when I simply have to give myself permission to walk away from stressful situations in order to regain perspective. This past week I set aside my to-do list and rested on Monday afternoon. On Tuesday I took a walk around my old hometown with my youngest grandson and enjoyed the memories. On Wednesday we drove to the beach. I was amazed that the following day I woke up more clear minded than I'd been in weeks. I accomplished a week's worth of to-dos in one day. I had a clear plan for something I had been asking God for direction about for quite some time. I felt God's peace, presence and guidance as a counseled with a hurting one.

A new week has begun. I have a choice to make. I can succumb to stressful situations or I can choose to walk in God's peace. I can trust Him with problems that arise. I can live in an attitude of gratitude and focus on my blessings. I can refuse to let stress steal my joy.

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)

-getting my walk done in the cool of the morning
-ignoring my to do list and resting due to a headache
-re-reading a favorite book

-walking through my hometown with my youngest grandson (see a post about that here)
-a good report from our daughter's pre-natal checkup
-saying no to stress
-my husband's help with a household chore

-the words, "exhausted yet pursuing" in Judges 8 - 
I love how God's Word speaks to me in the most unlikely chapters and books of the Bible
-escaping the heat with a drive to the beach

-a good report on a friend's medical tests
-my daughter feeling the baby kick for the first time

-God's peace and help with some direction and guidance I needed
-catching up on all of the to-dos I put off at the beginning of the week
-a phone call with my longtime, ( I want to say oldest, but that makes it sound like she's very old!), friend
-my Father God's love
-a huge orange sun at sunrise and again at sunset 

-I couldn't go back to sleep after waking up at 4AM-but I was able to have a great quiet time!
-a drive down old, familiar country roads
-a good movie with a happy ending

-a wee bit of summer rain and cooler temps after two hot, dry months
-my daughter and son-in-law stopping by for a chat
-seeking God's help with a blog post and knowing He helped me

-praise that breaks through 
-good friends that encourage
-oldest granddaughter spending the afternoon with us
-some happy news

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Saturday, August 11, 2018


Recently, someone asked my husband and I how a person can make things right when they've really wronged another person. Their question got me thinking about what I need personally when someone wrongs me in order to feel that their apology, their repentance for what they did, is sincere. My train of thought led me to thinking about what true, sincere repentance toward God looks like. I realized it's really quite simple-as simple as three little words.

"You are right." Have you ever had a person give you a backhanded apology. For example, "Please forgive me, but you made me lose my temper when you _________." What they are doing is excusing their wrong behavior rather than sincerely apologizing. When Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the one and only thing in all of the garden that God had forbidden them to do, Adam tried the whole blame shifting thing, too. "And the man said, The woman whom You gave to be with me—she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate." (Genesis 3:12) In other words, "God, the trouble all started with that woman you gave me" was Adam's excuse. True repentance to God doesn't make excuses. It accepts that He is right, His ways are right, and He knows best.   (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, August 12th, at Woman to Woman Ministries where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

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