Thursday, May 30, 2019

When you are refined by loneliness...

My earliest memories involve feelings of loneliness and longing. Born with a highly sensitive personality, my little spirit was continually bombarded with all the feelings of life in our sin broken family. Even when I was too young to actually know and understand the facts of what was happening under our roof, I felt it. I sensed it. 

Mama was busy with all of the needs and cares and work of having seven children. She didn’t have the time, nor perhaps the ability, to delve into the deeps of her own emotions, much less mine. Daddy, while perhaps a bit more in tune with my flights of fancy and imagination than my practical mama, found someone that took him away from mama and us kids. 

The combination of my sensitive spirit and the secrets that lived in our house and in my little heart reinforced my feelings of isolation, loneliness and longing to be really heard, really seen, really known, really understood. I didn’t know who to turn to and so I’d lay in bed at night and talk to Jesus about it all. He was the one to whom I poured out all of my little girl worries, fears, longings, hopes and dreams.  (I'm privileged to be guest posting at Lyli Dunbar's and would love for you to join me for the complete post HERE.)

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Monday, May 27, 2019

Weekly Gratitude Journal...

It's Memorial Day and so I begin my weekly gratitude post by giving thanks to God for all who have laid down their lives in service for our country.
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 You, God for...
-a few minutes of weeding that reminded me that sometimes what looks overwhelming
 isn't as daunting as it seems
-peonies in our front yard
-a trip up the Oregon City elevator with my three middle grands

-2 Corinthians 12:7-10 God's strength in my weakness
-an afternoon of baking and cooking for our small group
-a friend's prayers for me
-our small group

-seeing answers to my prayers
-a membership to the YMCA
-dinner eaten outside in the sun
-daily provision
-a super helpful store clerk 
-orange sunsets and unexpectedly loud rain showers

-an encouraging prayer gathering
-G home from college!
-holy yoga class at the Y

-a slow relaxing morning on our day off
-twice seeing clearly this week how God is taking care of the details in my life
-stepping out in faith in a small way and God confirming that it was the right thing to do

-one of those catching up on rest kind of sleeps
-our youngest grandson's second birthday!

-being with our whole family to celebrate

-a sunny Sunday morning-
-memorial weekend bbq/potluck with our church
-working in they yard together

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Saturday, May 25, 2019

God's strength in our weakness...

We visited Ghana, West Africa for the first time when our second born daughter and her family lived there for a season. At the end of our stay, we spent a couple of days on the coast of Ghana at a resort with a swimming pool. When our Ghanaian driver/friend saw our grandchildren swimming, he asked them to teach him how to swim. Our granddaughter and grandson began by trying to demonstrate the concept of floating. They tried to get our friend to understand that if he relaxed his body the water would actually hold him up. The only trouble was, when he got into the pool every muscle in his body tensed up and he flailed and fought against the water. His own strength became a liability. He couldn't let go of his need to be in control enough to just lay back in the water and relax. Meanwhile, our grandchildren were completely confident and relaxed, floating and swimming circles around him. 

Too often, we can be like my Ghanaian friend. Our circumstances become the water that we are fighting and flailing against. We wear ourselves out, foolishly fretting about and struggling against things, many of which we have no power to change.  (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, May 26th, at Woman to Woman Ministries, where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Umpqua River and Oregon Coast...

Last week my husband and I were blessed to have a little getaway at our youngest daughter's in-law's cabin on the Umpqua River. The weather was typical of a western Oregon spring-a mixed bag of rain and sun breaks. I took the photo above from the deck of the cabin on one of the rainy days.

My favorite place to walk is by the sea. Since the cabin is only twenty miles inland from the beach, we drove to the beach for our daily walk most days.

One day we drove south down the coast and I took the photos below. You could hear the sea lions and see them gathered on the rocks below from the roadside viewpoint.

These last three photos might be my favorites!

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Flower Friday

Monday, May 20, 2019

Weekly Gratitude Journal...

My husband and I spent last week at our youngest daughter's in-laws little cabin on the Umpqua River. It was a wonderful time of rest and refreshing and recuperation. I didn't blog while we were gone, so this week I have two weeks of gratitude journal entries to post.

One change I've been making as I count my blessings and write them down in my journal, is to include the words Thank You, God. I never want to forget that this isn't just about counting my blessings, but about giving thanks to the One Who is the source of my blessings!  With that said, here's two weeks of gratitude!
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 You, Father God, for...
-youngest daughter and the two youngest grands coming by for breakfast
-a walk with my youngest grandson
-an afternoon at the park with the two middle granddaughters and my youngest daughter and youngest grands
-meeting up with our oldest and youngest daughters and their families for Hawaiian grill

-sipping coffee in bed and reading Ephesians in The Message Bible
-summer-like weather
-vases of viburnum in my kitchen
-a really good prayer time with our small group

-Eugene Peterson's commentary in The Message Study Bible
-God's help when I cry out to Him and trust Him
-my sweet friend got a good report from the surgeon-BENIGN!
-another good medical report about a loved one

-texting with our oldest granddaughter about her sweet sixteen birthday plans
-picking up my little buddy from pre-school and surprising him with a Frostie and fries
-a good prayer time

-coffee, oatmeal, and feasting on the book of Galatians
-another beautiful, warm summer-like day
-freshly mowed grass

-our middle grandson's fifth birthday!
-time with our grandkids before next week's vacation
-writing a blog post that reminded me of God's faithfulness to me through the years

-sweet written words and gifts from my family for Mother's Day
-chocolate covered strawberries for all of the ladies at church made by two of those sweet ladies
-remembering a God given dream that came to pass more abundantly than I could ask or think
-a safe trip to the cabin

-sitting on the deck overlooking the river with coffee and God's Word
-1 Peter
-Thank You, Father, for a wonderful, long walk on the beach while praying and casting all of my cares on you
-seeing a whale spouting!

-rainy weather that gave way to sun so I could have another beach walk!
-fun photos of the grands who are at Disneyland this week
-my husband seeing an eagle swoop down and catch a fish in the river, then sit in a tree and eat it
-$18 off on the best, most comfortable, casual pair of Levi's

-a drive to the beach town where we lived when our youngest was born
-beautiful Sunset Bay, Cape Arago, and a walk on Bastendorf Beach

-cooking a yummy dinner for my guy back at the cabin-steak with sautéed mushrooms and onions, baked potato, roasted carrots, and spinach-he even ate the veggies!

-a wonderful day together
-warm berry cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream
-a long walk on Heceta Beach
-watching a favorite movie together before bed

-God Who bears my burdens and carries my load
-seashells lined up on the cabin windowsill
-my daughter's in-law's generosity in letting us use the cabin

-morning coffee made by my guy
-our home
-talking to my big sister

-our middle daughter's birthday!
-powerful presence of God in worship
-God speaking to our church
-a clear word from God to my heart

still following,

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Does God promise not to give us more than we can handle?

I've heard it said many times that God promises not to give us more than we can handle. It's often preceded by the words, "In the Bible it says". So, I've unsuccessfully tried to find a verse that says that. If you know of such a verse, please let me know. The Bible does say in 1 Corinthians 10:13,
"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." But it seems to me that this verse is talking specifically about temptation. It is saying that God always provides a way of escape out of temptation.  (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, May 19th, 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:

Sunday Scripture Blessings

Crystal Twaddell

Saturday, May 11, 2019

By grace...

I have always loved Jesus. From my earliest memories He was very real to me. I was so young that I can't remember the first time that I asked Him to forgive me of my sins and to come into my heart. I do remember asking Him into my heart repeatedly whenever I felt that I had done something wrong or when there was an "altar call" at church or a question of "who wants to give their heart to Jesus?" in Sunday School class. My sensitive spirit, tender conscience, and the lack of teaching on assurance of salvation in the churches we attended contributed to this. I also didn't fully understand salvation by grace. When I failed at being good enough, I'd just go back to square one and get saved again!

In spite of my lack of full understanding, Jesus and I had a strong friendship. You've heard of children having invisible friends?  When my best friend moved across town and no longer walked to school with me, I used to imagine Jesus walking to school with me instead. I guess you could say that Jesus was my invisible friend. He was also my confidant. Things between Mama and Daddy weren't good, and while I sensed it more than understood it, I would lay in bed at night and talk to Jesus about all my worries and fears.

When I was in fourth grade Daddy left Mama and us kids. Shortly afterward, we began to attend a a little church in the next town over. That church became our support system. They loved our little broken family into wholeness. I could go on and on about various milestones in my relationship with Christ that happened in the following years, but perhaps the most significant one happened when I was about sixteen years old.(Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, May 12th, at Woman to Woman Ministries, where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,

Also happily linking up with:

Sunday Scripture Blessings

Crystal Twaddell