Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Headed West!

I am heading out west for a wonderful family vacation.
I can't wait to see the glorious mountains and soak in the beauty of 
God's creation.
There is nothing that makes me feel so small and humbled, yet in complete
awe and peace, than being near the towering peaks of the Rockies.
I am so grateful to get to take this trip!

And best of all,  it is a road trip...
  a road trip that I am bursting with
excitement about, because the real
beauty of a vacation is all the memories you make getting there.
I can't help but feel so alive when on the open road headed to places unknown,
laughter and conversation and new scenery to pass the miles...
driving on roads like this one to get to our destination, where
the horizon is the only end in sight.

I will be out in the boonies, as they say, most of my trip, haha.
So I will not get to write here for a couple of weeks, but I look forward
to returning with photos to share and a fresh, renewed mind to get back to
writing, as well as catching up on reading your beautiful blogs :)

.            .           .

I wanted to take a moment before I go to say something I have been
meaning to... and that is simply to thank you.  Much more is deserved
than just a thank you, but I want to thank you for making blogging and writing
here such a joy! So many of you always leave me comments that are so very sweet
 and kind; you have truly touched my heart.  I have also been blessed to have
 you tell me stories or share your experiences in life relating to things I write.
I cherish reading those comments because there is nothing better than being
 able to connect with girls and ladies with such kind hearts as yours.
So thank you.  You have truly been a blessing to my life,
and always an encouragement.

Blessings to you, and I hope you 
have a wonderful rest of July!

See you in August!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Faithful Friday, Sunday Style!

Happy Sunday, Everyone!

I hope you are having a beautiful weekend.  I am writing a Faithful Sunday today, haha, or rather a Faithful Friday post on Sunday.  Busyness over the past couple of days has not given me time to write.  I am glad to get that time now, though :)

Today I want to share this verse that I was reminded of when I came upon it yesterday.  This is such an important thing to keep in mind in our walk with God.  The words here clearly express what it means to love God.  This is amazing to think of, because I know so many- including myself- who are always thinking and saying how much they love God, yet many are not keeping his commandments.  It is so eye opening to see that God provides us with such a finite part of the definition of what it is to love him!  If we are not following His laws and commandments, we are actually showing God that the things we put before Him and the bad habits we can't break are more important than Him.  By following His word, we show God how much we love him!   This may seem like an obvious truth, but seeing the reality of this in this verse captivates my heart and drives me all the more so to follow God's commandments whole-heartedly.

The second part is equally important: to not only love God by keeping his commandments and honoring them, but to do so with an attitude of willingness.  It can be easy to begin thinking that we can just follow the commandments that are convenient for us to obey.  We often know right from wrong and what type of behavior and actions in our lifestyle would please God, yet we go with the opposite because we find his commandments to us to be a burden.  Instead, how dynamically it will change and strengthen our faith to view HIS way as the way we WANT to go, not a way of burden or something we wish we didn't have to do.
This reminds of me of something that talented and inspiring author, Sarah Mally, mentions in her book Before You Meet Prince Charming.  I read it last Summer and to this day, one of the things she talks about that has made one of the strongest imprints on my thinking is something she said in reference to keeping your body and heart pure as you wait for God's best.  She discussed how waiting and remaining pure is not something we should dread or look at with a negative attitude, but we should instead be excited!  Excited that we are called to purity and excited that we have made the choice to be different from the world, different and set apart because we have chosen the way of the Lord.
We can adopt that mindset in all things!  This is the way we should view our lives in respect to our decision to follow God's ways in all areas of our lives... not as burdensome, but as a source of joy in knowing that we are pleasing God and surely choosing the best way of life.  And we can know that, because of this, we will be blessed and have His guidance; In no corner of the universe is the world's way even close to God's.

I am so inspired by this verse to have this type of attitude and fervor for following God's commandments as I seek to follow Him the best that I can, and I hope you are too!

Blessings to you :)

Have a wonderful Sunday!

.            .            .

Faithful Fridays are a link-up hosted by Joy on her lovely blog,  Doodlebug, and it is a chance to share your faith and be inspired by the faith of others.  You can visit her blog, here.

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Walk in the Garden

Hi, Everyone :)

I hope you are having a great start to your week!
I missed writing for Faithful Friday last week because I was on vacation,
so it feels like it has been a little while since I have written a post.
I am SO thankful that I got to go on a trip with my family to the beach.
It was so much fun to get away and just to completely relax.
I love Summertime traveling.

Speaking of Summer, one place I am finding myself often lately
is out in the garden.  Our back porch and patio, as well as our actual garden,
have been fun to spend time in with a cool drink or walking
around checking on our roses, flowers, and vegetables and fruits we are growing.

It is officially sweltering here in the South, so the Spring/Summer garden is on it's
way to being finished, but we have a few things still growing.
We have gotten a good crop of tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, green beans, peas,
and what I am most excited for- they're almost ready!- are the cantaloupes.
Although we have a designated area squared off for those,
there are different plants and flowers everywhere, so everywhere out back feels
like a garden.
Last month, I went outside and just walked around seeing what things I found
interesting to capture with my camera.  It's neat to just observe
the things around you, whether it's ants busy at work, a rosebud you
find that has one petal a different color from the rest from being sun-bleached,
 or rainbows made by your water hose.

This wild, but very sweet, kitty loves to visit and relax in our garden :)

Wishing you a wonderful week!
Hope you are enjoying Summer and staying cool!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Faithful Friday: Teach Us to Number Our Days

The words of this Psalm have been on my mind a lot lately.
Although it is something I know happens every day, it just seems like lately I have been
hearing more stories than ever before- whether on the news or personally told to me by
friends and family- about tragedy and illness and life being lost.
I hear about accidents, infants and little children dying, all of the lives lost from illnesses,
heart-wrenching stories of people losing their battles...
Sometimes, it is easy to feel weighed down by the sadness of realizing how
much people are truly suffering and how many people are dying of diseases.

A few things that particularly come to mind, that have made me think of this
more so lately, are some stories that especially stand out to me.  Two
of which, I have heard in the news very recently.
The first is a former hockey player- retired, I believe- who should be enjoying his days
spent with his children and relaxing after his career, but instead he is fighting for his
life against a disease where his heart is literally hardening from an extremely rare
illness.  One day, he was fine, the next thing he knew he was being
given months to live.
The second is of a young mother, also an Army wife,
who found out while she was pregnant that she had a terminal illness.
She did not do any treatment because she knew it would
hurt her baby and she only thought of her baby's life.
She carried her son to full term, but was told that there was nothing that
could be done for her.  She had her baby early this year and is now living
out what appear to be her final months of life.  A brand new
baby, a family, so young, and all the years of love and life and loving her children
are being stolen from her.

Another is of a household name who actually passed away years ago,
but his story is one I have heard much about because I grew up with baseball
 being a central part of my childhood... Lou Gehrig.
Famous Major League player of the 20's & 30's, perfectly healthy, strong, with
 his whole life ahead of him.  Everything came to a screeching halt when
he found out he had a disease that would gradually debilitate him until he could no
longer function.  He gave his farewell speech- the anniversary of
which was yesterday, July 4th- (one of the most inspiring and emotional speeches
ever given in my opinion) and retired from the game he loved so much at 36.
He passed away just two years later.
He was also a shining example of positivity to a degree that continues
to compellingly inspire and amaze people like myself over 70 years later.

These are the kinds of stories I think of when I read this verse.
Most of all, I think I am struck by the strength of those who go through such things.
I also feel the emotion of looking at all those I have known in my life who have
passed away from an illness or suddenly in an accident.
You just never know.  Tomorrow is never a guarantee.

This verse is a stirring reminder to me
to remember the importance of living wisely, living in a way where 
we realize how PRECIOUS a gift our lives are!
How fortunate and blessed we are to have something that is being
taken away from countless others as we speak.  I don't mean that in a negative way,
or to live where you are depressed because you feel that any moment
you could find out you have a disease or face death.
What I mean is that I have been reminded especially lately that learning to
wisely take into account how sweet and cherished each day is meant to be
changes your attitude and your faith.
It changes your outlook on the future and is something we should
remember, perhaps most of all for the fact that living with an awareness of
the preciousness and fragility of life gives us such a heightened sense
of the value of our time....

it inspires me to want to use my time for the best possible
things... to enjoy a life of faith and closeness to God, my family,
living the way He would want me to, 
and making it my goal to truly make use of this life I have
been given to help others and give of myself!
Not forgetting this makes life all the more beautiful, truthfully...
when I am reminded of this verse, I see everything more magically and in a way
where I appreciate it so much more because I put a higher
value on the simple moments, the sunsets, hugs, food, the views and
experiences I am thankful to have.

Tomorrow is not a promise, but right now is.
This Psalm is such a loving and meaningful reminder to us
that right now is the time to live for others and for God
in goodness and selflessness, having
 wisdom to know that our lives are a gift, not a guarantee.

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend
and a fun and joyful time with family
on this blessed holiday weekend!

.           .           .

Faithful Fridays are hosted by my friend, Joy, oh her lovely blog, Doodlebug. 
You can visit her here.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Faithful Friday: Dirty Dishes

One of my greatest and most fervent prayers is that God would comfort and provide for those who don't have enough to eat or having nothing to eat at all.  I can only imagine the way those families feel, the way children who have to grow up without enough to eat must feel.  Being fed and having a full tummy before bed is part of what makes your childhood whole, part of what makes you feel comforted and gives you a sense of home.  Some people don't have that, though.

This may be on my heart and my mind often as I think of those struggling to find and buy enough food for their families, but seeing these words above recently awakened me to something that may appear to not have much meaning on the surface: I complain about doing dishes.  That may not seem monumental, but to me it is now that I really think about.  I've always been sensitive to trying to not be picky about what I eat, because I always grew up being told that a child somewhere who has nothing to eat would be so thankful for that food... but a less obvious thing is how complaining about dishes relates to this.  That just isn't something you think about as quickly.  This is specific, but it really hit home for me upon reading it.  I am so thankful for this reminder!   I needed to read this.  Even if it is just complaining in my mind or having a spirit of that in my heart, this is wrong.  When there is a pile of dishes and it is my turn to do them, I want this renewed spirit of thankfulness to be inside me instead- an attitude of thankfulness for all these dirty dishes!  Dirty dishes are something to rejoice over, for the fact that there was more than enough food to dirty them in the first place.  Because dirty dishes mean being fed and being full, a great blessing that should never, ever be taken for granted.

I pray that all those who are going to bed hungry at night and sweet children who's parents can't feed them like they should be able to, soon have dirty dishes, too.  

In the grand scheme of things, this is a lesson to me that I am grateful for, encouraging me to think of my attitude and have one that is slow to complain or be negative- especially about something God wants me to see for the blessing it actually is!

Happy weekend, friends :)


.          .          .

Faithful Fridays are a linky party hosted by Joy on her lovely and encouraging blog, Doodlebug.  you can visit her here.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer by the Creek

Happy Summertime!

I hope your weekend, which brought with it a new season,
was a wonderful one.
It is so hard to believe Summer is already here, when it feels like we just said
Hello to Spring and now it's gone.

The very beginning of Summer seems like a time when the weather is
 nice no matter what state you are in- it isn't usually cold anywhere by this time,
and it also isn't yet too terribly sweltering anywhere either.
Here in the South, it is starting to get a lot warmer, but surprisingly
we haven't even had one three-digit degree day yet.  I love that!
I'm sure we will be getting more than our share very soon, though ;)
I'm just thankful for air-condition, lemonade, and swimming...
especially swimming holes.

I have an affinity for "swimmin' holes", Cypress hanging
overhead, blocking out a little bit of the sun's rays on a hot day. 
The trickles of sun that do make it through the branches dance on
the surface of the water sweetly.
They are part of my personal definition of Summer that I've
acquired growing up here, and I hold onto that as a part of me and what I
fall in love with about every Summer.

When we can't take a day-trip or go over to the next town (which has some of
the prettiest natural places to swim that I've ever seen) to swim, we quench our longing 
for the water by coming to sit down by the creek that is a few minutes walking
 distance  from our house.
We've been doing that a lot lately and sitting there below all the trees in a
 place that reminds me of a dream is as close to heaven as a short walk someplace
can get me.  I feel so blessed to get to come here on hot days and enjoy the rippling
waters of this creek and feel almost tucked away from the
world for a little while, soaking in the view and the memories that
will one day be what I will look back on when I think about how
I spent these long, dreamy summers as a girl.

One day when we came back from the creek, 
I started reading Little House on Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder,
and I fell in love with the picture she painted with her words
of the creek she once lived by:

"The flat creek bank was warm,
soft mud.  Little pale-yellow and pale-blue
butterflies hovered there, and alighted and
Bright dragonflies flew on blurry wings.
The mud squeezed up between Laura's toes...
there were tiny pools of water in their footprints.
Where they waded in the shallow water
a footprint would not stay.  First a swirl like
smoke came up from it
and wavered away in the clear water...
There were tiny fishes in the water.
They were so small that you could hardly see them.
Only when they went swiftly  sometimes
a silvery belly flashed...

Suddenly they came out of the high grass and
the creek was there.
It ran twinkling over white gravel
into a wide pool, curved against a low bank where
the grass was short.  Tall willows
stood up on the other side of
the pool.  Flat on the water lay a shimmery
picture of those willows, 
with every green leaf fluttering".
-Laura Ingalls Wilder
{On the Banks of Plum Creek}

Wishing you a wonderful Summer!

What are you most looking forward to this season? :)

Blessings! ♥

Friday, June 20, 2014

Faithful Friday: Friendship!

Honestly, the first thing that comes into my mind when I hear the word "friendship" is an image of Lucy and Ethel singing the song, "Friendship", as they stand side by side in their matching dresses, tearing flowers and sashes off of each other, haha!  That may be coming to your mind, too, now.

The second thing I think of is the importance to who we are.  Friendship is one of the most powerful and incredible blessings that ever graces our lives.  It is with us through every phase of life as we make new friends and cherish the ones from whom we never part.  Friendship makes the world more beautiful because through the eyes of our friends, we are given new eyes to see what our kindred spirit sees when we may not be able to.  

Because friends play such an important role in our lives, it is only natural that we would want to have friendships with the best people possible- not with the best clothes or looks or popularity, but the best inner selves.  Something I was reminded of recently when I reread this Proverb is that a good friendship only comes from finding someone who sharpens us, brings out the best in us, and ultimately encourages us... someone who is a positive influence on us, "sharpening" our character and our hearts and minds for the better.  My parents always reiterated to me just how important it was to find friends who had the same kinds of morals and mindset as I did...  a similar outlook on life when it comes to things like standards or faith.  They told me that this would shape who I became for better or worse and they were more than right.  

I love the saying, "Show me your friends and I'll show you your future".  This has come to mind for me a lot as I have made friends.  How true!  Who we associate ourselves with has such a great bearing on our actions, thoughts, and the way we are shaped.  I believe it it is so influential on our relationship with God.  When we surround ourselves with people who not only love God themselves, but who would never think of discouraging us from our faith and our relationship with Him, and who have good habits and life morals, how much more likely we ourselves will stay strong and be encouraged to keep our faith where it belongs... at the forefront of our lives.  Afterall, how can we be truly close to God if we are close to someone who doesn't want to be or doesn't want us to be?

.           .           .

I'm thankful to say that God has allowed the best friends I could ask for to be the ones who never trickled out of my life, seeing to it that I had encouraging, kind-hearted girls to be surrounded by... friends I can joke around with, up-build, be built up by, dream with, tell my dreams to and share my heart with, listen to, and learn from.  We never know when God will send a new friend our way to cross our path- as he has for me in just the past couple of years- so although I am so grateful for the friendships I have now, I so love this reminder of the importance in choosing friends wisely as I think of the years to come.  There is a reason the Lord tells us, "Bad association spoils useful habits" (1 Cor. 15: 33).   It's so easy to get wrapped up in wanting to be friends with someone because of their kindness or likable personality, but it's important to stop and think about the goals, life outlook, morals, language, countenance, and overall character of that person also.  Would they support and encourage you in your paths, and are they the type of person that you could encourage in theirs?

I never want to lose sight of what a truly blessed friendship is... one of sharpening each other and motivating each other to seek all things good and righteous.

Wishing you a beautiful weekend!

.           .            .

Faithful Fridays are hosted by Joy on her wonderful, faith-inspiring blog, Doodlebug.  You can visit her, here!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...