Monday, November 20, 2017

Quieting My Heart: Thanksgiving Week

at the start of
Thanksgiving week
and all the year through ...

This is true -
“you were created
on purpose, and
for a purpose.”
(Ruth Chou Simons, in Gracelaced)

There’s only one of me
and only one of you -
created by God,
to be loved deeply,
to love Him completely,
and to reflect His love,
for His great purposes.

“For everything
comes from Him
and exists for His power
and is intended for His glory.
All glory to Him forever.”
(Romans 11:36)

May we beautifully
and completely,
rest in His love
and live from His love -
this week of Thanksgiving
and each day of the year.

(free photo from pixabay)

Friday, November 17, 2017

Quieting My Heart: The Key to Loving

We hear it often,
and we know it in our hearts -
but exactly what does it mean?

Sometimes it comes easy,
and other times, 
it comes harder, and we grow weary;
for loving others and
sacrificing for others
can leave us worn down, used up,
completely undone.

But if we pause, catch our breath,
rest, and listen …
Just maybe
we will find that our focus
has so easily become distorted.

Do we focus on the loving,
or do we focus first of all,
above all else,
on being loved?

“And continue to walk
surrendered to the
extravagant love of Christ …”
(Ephesians 5:2a The Passion)

Extravagant love for us -
offered on the Cross;
unending, faithful, present love,
today, this moment, now -
always with us, close.

How can we help
but let this love overflow
through our words,
our actions?

“Live a life filled with love,
following the example of Christ.
He loved us, and offered Himself
as a sacrifice for us,
a pleasing aroma to God.”
(Ephesians 5:2 NLT)

(Photo from Colorado 2015)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Quieting My Heart: In the Unseen

What is
most important today?
The things that we see,
or the things that are hidden.

“Martha, my beloved Martha.
Why are you upset and troubled,
pulled away by all
these many distractions?
Are they really that important?
Mary has discovered the
one thing most important
by choosing to sit
at My feet.”
(Luke 10: 41-42 The Passion)

“Squandering time with God 
in the hidden place 
was turning me into one
who would do anything
to bring Him glory
on the earth.”
(Sara Hagerty)

In the hustle and busy
of this month,
in this coming holiday season -
may I freely offer up
precious time to
nurture my soul and heart
in the quiet, in His presence,
in the unseen.

“We live for what is
right in front of us,
while God is ever so gently
calling us to the unseen.”
(Sara Hagerty)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Digital Scrapbooking: October 2017

My monthly digital scrapbook post is going up at the last minute, for these pages are just freshly done! It's been a full month, filled with two trips, another busy season of Cru work, some special family times, and sweet times with friends.

These four pages that I was able to finally finish up earlier tonight capture memories from a trip that we took at the beginning of October. Our little weekend getaway to Branson, MO, was just what we needed and wished for after the two very full months of starting up Cru again for another school year.

- - - - - - -

Note: Most of the page templates and digital products that I use are purchased from Digital Project Life. About six years ago I switched from paper scrapbooking, and took some online lessons from Digital Scrapper to learn how to digital scrapbook using Photoshop Elements. (You can also click here for some great tutorials on the Digital Project Life website - maybe a quicker way to learn than the site that I used six years ago.) Also, besides being able to share my completed pages online, I also print them out at home in 8x8 inch size to fit in the albums that I purchase from Michael's.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Quieting My Heart: Our Most Essential Work

What is it in our lives,
in our daily work,
in the things that we give
our time and our best efforts to ...
what is of most significance?

Surely there is a long list
of what we focus on,
and spend our best time on.
Things that we consider
essential, important.

And along with my list of things,
is prayer, talking with God.
For it is of great importance,
and all I do needs to be
covered in prayer. 
Of course.

But what if the praying - 
the bringing of my daily tasks,
my deepest longings,
my highest goals and desires ...
what if the talking with Him
about everything -
what if this is my most critical work?

What if entering into His heart
for the world, for those I love,
and all He longs to do,
becomes my highest goal?

"Our Lord put all the emphasis on prayer,
and He made prayer
not preparation for the work,
not a sentiment nor a devotion,
but the work."
(Oswald Chambers)

Lord, if we are looking for the significant,
may we keep our best efforts for the best work.
And then we will see You -
"through Your mighty power at work within us,
accomplish infinitely more than 
we might ask or think."
(Ephesians 4:20)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Quieting My Heart: The Work Has Been Done

The work has already been done;
the hard work of prayer
has already been accomplished 
on the Cross where Jesus
sacrificed His life, for us.

And because of what He did,
of all that He went through,
our prayers - In His Name -
reach the Father,
and are heard by Him.

Who am I to hesitate
and to hold back,
to even neglect and refrain
from asking, and from
sharing my deepest
requests and needs
with the Father.

“I tell you the truth,
you will ask the Father directly
and He will grant your request
because you use My Name …
Ask, using My Name,
and you will receive, and you
will have abundant joy.”
(John 16:23b-24)

How can we even grasp
this greatest privilege
that we have.
And how can we thank You
for the hard work of 
Your sacrifice for us, 
and for the unbelievable
privilege of asking.

(Photo: our Autumn Blaze maple tree, fall 2016)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Quieting My Heart: Searching for the Gold

This practice we call prayer
is really quite illusive …
we long to be faithful in prayer,
and we often struggle with prayer.

The short, desperate prayers come easy;
asking for things, for help,
but the prayer for others, 
the real travailing in prayer - 
for things of eternal significance;
well, why is it often so hard?

Could it be that the most important
actually can become the hardest;
for the gold is often hidden,
kept for those who search the longest
and with the greatest effort.

And so taking time to pray,
to faithfully intercede
on the behalf of others -
maybe it is of deeper significance
than we even realize.

For in travailing in prayer
we enter into the very center
of God's heart -
and in entering,
we become one with Him,
with His plan and purpose
for all to come to know Him. 

And maybe if we neglect
this most high calling -
“What will suffer is the 
life of God in him,
which is nourished
not by food,
but by prayer.”
(Oswald Chambers
in “If You Will Ask”)

Lord, will you teach me,
will you teach us,
to pray?
Lead us to the gold,
the place where 
we are nourished
by You.

(Photo: our crabapple tree)

Monday, October 9, 2017

Quieting My Heart: Just Come

"I am
the Bread of Life;
whoever comes to Me
shall not hunger,
and whoever believes in Me
shall never thirst."
(John 6:35)

It's as simple
as pausing,
taking a moment, 
lifting our eyes to Him,
quieting our hurried pace,
coming close to listen
to Him.

"Why would we abandon
what is simple, available,
and sustaining
for what is cumbersome,
hard, and heavy?
Why do we try to fill 
our need with what is
ultimately empty?"
(Shelly Miller)

Lord, may today
be a day of pausing,
of quieting our hearts
even amidst our work,
and of coming close
to listen and learn,
to be loved by You.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Quieting My Heart: Completely Abandoned to You

Lord, at the start of this new month,
I long for quiet amidst the noise,
for paying attention to the
small and the ordinary things,
for spending quiet moments with You
listening, learning, and following.

“Hear me as I pray, Lord.
Be merciful and answer me!
My heart has heard You say,
‘Come and talk with Me.’
And my heart responds,
‘Lord, I am coming.’” 
(Psalm 27:7-8)

“Only when we give all of
ourselves to God -
unedited, abandoned,
even wastefully
by the world’s standards -
can we live out who
God created us to be.”
(Sara Hagerty, in Unseen)

May all of my days -
my quiet moments
and my work hours
flow from within -
a heart full of You,
completely abandoned 
to You.

(Photo: from our weekend getaway at a Branson condo -
Fall 2017)

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Digital Scrapbooking: September 2017

It has been a beautiful month - one of my favorites! And now, my dear hubby and I are enjoying a weekend away, relaxing, and being refreshed in God's amazing creation. But I am just popping in here to put up my monthly post about digital scrapbooking - the preserving of memories and of God's presence in our lives, through photos!

Here are two of the pages that I scrapbooked in September ... and then another one that I finished up this month from happenings back in June when my Siebert family came for a visit! 

Note: Most of the page templates and digital products that I use are purchased from Digital Project Life. About five years I switched from paper scrapbooking, and took some online lessons from Digital Scrapper to learn how to digital scrapbook using Photoshop Elements. (You can also click here for some great tutorials on the Digital Project Life website - maybe a quicker way to learn than the site that I used five years ago.) Also, besides being able to share my completed pages online, I also print them out at home in 8x8 inch size to fit in the albums that I purchase from Michael's.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Quieting My Heart: His Agenda or Mine?

Whose agenda do I follow?
When I awake each morning,
do I think first of all
of all the things that I need to do?
Of all that is going on in my world?

Or do I remember
to pause,
and to also consider 
Who I am working for,
Who I am living for,
Whose I am?

If I really am created by God
for His purposes, for His glory - 
then clocking in with Him
is of highest importance,
as soon as I open my eyes
each morning, of each day.

“He must increase,
but I must decrease.”
(John 3:30)

Lord, may these words
be on my mind, my heart
each new day …
will Your agenda, Your plans,
be my highest goal each day …
and may I open up my
heart, and my mind, to
receive all that You have
for me today - 
all the love, all the strength, 
all the peace,
that You have for me today
as I follow You.

(Photo: from our Colorado Trip / Sept. 2013)

Friday, September 22, 2017

In the Kitchen: September 2017

After the more carefree days of summer, with the last-minute menu selections of easy grilled meals, together with fresh veggies from the garden for sides, I've switched to being a bit more intentional with my menu planning again. I've welcomed the change, and thought I'd share a little snapshot of some of the things that have been happening in my kitchen during September. Just for fun, and in case it may be an encouragement to you!

In the Kitchen: September 2017

From top left photo, and clockwise:

Loaded Grilled Chicken Sandwich

meals have been a blend of summer and of fall:
grilled meals, and the first soup of the season, 
salads, and the first butternut squash recipe. 

And today, the first official day of Fall
the warmth and delicious aromas
of pumpkin, apple, and caramel,
of comforting soups and main dishes;
calling me into the kitchen, again.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Quieting My Heart: Our Words

just one word, or a few words,
or a whole lot of words - 
they make a huge impact.
They can make someone’s day,
or they can ruin the day.

Do we stop to realize
the power of words?
And do we stop -
think, and pray,
before we speak words?

Some say that I have 
a gentle, quiet spirit.
But I find that it is most often
my words
that cause me the most 
shame and regret.

How do we tame our tongue,
and how do we
s-l-o-w it down,
and how do we 
speak only those words
that edify and build up,
that instill love and hope
in others.

In this noisy, quick-speaking world,
may we learn to quiet our hearts,
asking God to control our every word.

“You must all be quick to listen,
slow to speak,
and slow to get angry.”
(James 1:19)

Lord, please fill us with Your Spirit,
with Your thoughts, Your words -
that we will only speak what is
“helpful for building others up
according to their needs,
that it may benefit those who listen.”
(Ephesians 4:29)

(Photo - of our peach tree 2017)