Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Quieting My Heart: Who Do We Listen to the Most?

Whose voice do you listen ⠀
to the most?⠀
The voices of those around you⠀
or the voice of the God⠀
who made you for His purposes,⠀
and also, for your best?⠀

Where do we get our ⠀
sense of worth, ⠀
our value?⠀
Where do we turn to⠀
when we are feeling⠀
unloved, and unworthy?⠀

"Our worth becomes tied ⠀
to what we do for others,⠀
but God announces a ⠀
stunning truth:⠀
Your worth is tied to⠀
what God does for you. ⠀
He loves you.⠀
God chooses you continually."⠀
(Bonnie Gray)

"May you experience⠀
the love of Christ,⠀
though it is too great⠀
to understand fully.⠀
Then you will be made complete⠀
with all the fullness of⠀
life and power⠀
that comes from God."⠀
(Ephesians 3:19)⠀

Thankful for reminders⠀
to run first of all⠀
to the One who⠀
loves us most.⠀

Monday, June 19, 2017

Quieting My Heart: At the Start of a New Week

At the start of a new week
whether our path seems
light or heavy today,
one thing remains the same.

We can place everything
under His care -
our joys and accomplishments,
our burdens and our fears.

"Walk with Me ...
Keep company with Me,
and you will learn to live
freely and lightly."
(from Matthew 11:28-29 MSG)

"For You are my hiding place ...
The Lord says,
'I will guide you along
the best pathway for your life.
I will advise you
and watch over you.'"
(from Psalm 32:7-8)

In this world of tension and turmoil, I'm so thankful that we can put our trust and our security in the sure, safe place of His love and His care - today, and this week.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Quieting My Heart: Weekend Readings #2

When something grabs my heart, I must write about it in my journal, and then it often makes its way to Instagram, together with a photo from my collection of photos (and occasionally from a free online source)

I got the idea recently to collect these short little devo posts from my Instagram, and share them all together here at the end of the week. It's a way for me to keep them easily accessible for my own inspiration and learning ... and maybe, they will be an encouragement for you, as well? There is so much beauty in God's Word, and in His Creation!

Hope, Joy, Peace
not just advent words
but what we long for
every day of our lives;
our hearts cry
for hope, joy, peace

The source;

not from our own efforts
but outside of ourselves
the most precious of gifts
freely given

"I pray that God,
the source of hope,
will fill you completely
with joy and peace,
because you trust in Him.
Then you will
overflow with confident hope
through the power
of the Holy Spirit."
(Romans 15:13)

After fishing all night,
it says that
their nets were still empty.
It may often be the
same for us ...
our best efforts,
and finest intentions
still fall so short.

But it also says that
when they surrendered
and listened and followed,
that their nets were
filled to overflowing.

(Thoughts from 
Luke 5:1-10)

"Jesus calls us
to leave behind 
our 'nets' of competence,
and instead, experience
being the Beloved ...
with Him."
(Bonnie Gray)

Thankful for reminders
that we don't need to try so hard:
we just need to stay close,
listening, surrendering,
depending on Him,
and He will do beyond
what we even wish for.

It seems like everyday
there are weeds to 
pull out of the garden
of my heart ...
weeds like worry, stress,
bitterness, impatience.

And how are we to 
keep up with removing the weeds?
I can pull them one day,
and the next day
they are back with vengeance.
The weeds never stop.

"I am the Gardener ... 
when you sit quietly with Me,
I shine the Light of My Presence
directly into your heart ...

Each moment you can choose
to practice My Presence
or to practice the presence 
of problems."
(Jesus Calling)

It's His Presence
that makes the difference.
For there remains no room
for the weeds
when His Presence 
fills our hearts.

"My Presence will go with you,
and I will give you rest."
(Exodus 33:14)

Sometimes the dark closes in
and we feel hidden, 
misunderstood, and alone.

It can be hard to remember
how to breathe,
and we even begin to wonder
what the future may hold.

"If we remember there is Someone close,
a voice of Love whispering to us,
our spiritual eyes can adjust
and we begin to see the beauty
of the journey we're on."
(Bonnie Gray)

"I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night -
but even in darkness I cannot hide from You.
To You the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to You."
(Psalm 139:11-12)

Thank You, loving Lord,
that we are never hidden from You,
that even in the hard times
we are deeply loved,
understood completely,
and never alone.

So very thankful for
God's faithful
and sweet presence,
even and especially
when we go through
confusing, difficult times.

In this very busy world
is it okay to just rest?
To stop from our work,
and to just ... be?

Do we always need
to be producing,
serving, accomplishing?

Jesus said to His disciples,
"Let's go off by ourselves
to a quiet place
and rest awhile."
(Mark 6:31)

"What if God's plan for us
is not to be more busy,
but to be more loved?"
(Bonnie Gray)

And maybe the pausing,
and the breathing deeply,
quieting ourselves
to receive, and to experience
His intimate love
is necessary in order
to serve, produce, and
even to love others.

Being present with Him
enables us to truly
be present with others.

Wishing and praying for
a weekend for you
and for me -
with pockets of beautiful,
refreshing rest.

Click the link below for:

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

BBQ Ranch Grilled Chicken & Veggie Bowls

An amazing new recipe that I tried out last summer,
and can't wait to make again soon:

BBQ Ranch Grilled Chicken & Veggie Bowls

My husband and I both loved this meal, and will be one that I will keep in my recipe collection of favorites! Perfect for summer days, and all through the year when it works to grill. 

There are so many good recipes to find online, and I'm not exactly sure how I came across this one ... but so glad I did. It is absolutely delicious!

Click the link below to view more photos, and to print: 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Quieting My Heart / Weekend Readings #1

It has been SEVEN years now since I started writing here on Pursuing Heart. You can read more about the birth of this blog, and my celebrating seven years by clicking here.

And though I love to continue writing posts here, I also love to share devotional thoughts from my journal, and from my heart - on Instagram. As I pause in the midst of my busy days, and quiet my heart, I am so often deeply moved and encouraged by the Truth from His Words. My thoughts spill out onto my journal pages, as I respond to what I read.  The beauty often takes my breath away ... the beauty of His Word, put together with one of the many photos that I have taken over the past years (and occasionally, a free photo available online).

I thought it would be fun to share some of these thoughts that have been so meaningful to me as I have quieted my heart, and listened to God's Words - all taken from what I have shared on Instagram recently. I pray that His Words will bring rest, and beauty to your weekend ...

Everyday, we can talk with Him
about everything.
Maybe our most successful days
are when we do just that ...

"I am calling you to a life
of constant communion with Me.
Remember that your ultimate goal
is not to control or fix
everything around you;
it is to keep communing with Me."
(Jesus Calling)

"Never stop praying."
(I Thess. 5:17)

(Photo from Unsplash)

Have you ever noticed
that a garden grows so quietly?
Not a sound as the seeds
begin to send out roots
and as the first growth
pushes up through the soil.

Maybe if we quiet our hearts
and our souls and our minds, 
we will discover new life.
Without a sound,
a steady growth, a gentle peace.

"Let all that I am
wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in Him."
(Psalm 62:5)

"I meet you in the stillness of your soul.
It is there that I seek to commune with you."
(Jesus Calling)

At the end of a busy week
after all that we've done ...
did we make a difference,
did we have the strength?

"In quietness
and confidence
is your strength."
(from Isaiah 30:15)

Wishing you a weekend
of gentle reminders
to quiet our hearts
before God ...
and He will make
the difference,
and He will
give us strength.

"Oh, how great are God's riches 
and wisdom and knowledge!
How impossible it is for us to understand 
His decisions and His ways!

For everything comes from Him
and exists by His power
and is intended for His glory.
All glory to Him forever! Amen."
(Romans 11:33, 36 NLT)

Who are we to even dare to think
that we are the ones who are
writing the story of our lives?
He is in charge; and we are not.
And His ways are best -
full of wisdom, riches,
and knowledge of Him.

Pausing and remembering
the stories of those
who have gone before us;
those who gave their lives
to secure our freedoms; 
and those close to us
who were part of 
our own stories -
my mother, my parents-in-law,
my sister-in-law,
and many others.

It's so easy
to go through life
and think that
we are the ones
who can accomplish
what we most desire.

When all along,
it is our Maker
who can accomplish
even more, beyond 
what we can even

"Now all glory to God, who is able
through His mighty power at work within us,
to accomplish infinitely more
than we might ask or think."
(Ephesians 3:20)

(Photo from Pexels)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Digital Scrapbooking: May 2017

May was overflowing with family fun, activities with Cru, and connections with friends! One of the busiest months of the year for us! Amazingly, I did have time to scrapbook two pages for the month - and the others will be done later! 

In the beginning of the month, I took a bit of time to do one last page from December 2016. Most all of our family was home for our Family Christmas, including our TEN grandkids! Here they are: five boys, and five girls!! Love these photos! Their ages, now, range from 21 years down to 5 years. So blessed by the gift of family ...

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.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Pursuing Heart: Celebrating Seven Years

May is the month for birthdays in our family
and we've been doing some celebrating ...

for three of our six children, 
one of our four sons-in-law, 
and one of our ten grandchildren!

And it's only fitting to also celebrate ...
the birth of this blog!

Seven years ... already?! The years go by so fast with our children and grandchildren, and also the years have gone by so fast since this blog was born back in May of 2010. 

Some things remain the same, 
and others things change as years pass by. 

My purpose and focus for blogging remains the same ...

- a calling on my heart to take from what God teaches me, from my thoughts that spill out onto the pages of my many journals, and to share here

- a love of writing, as writing is essential for my own learning and growing, and then sharing, in hopes that the words I write may be an encouragement to others 

What this sharing looks like has taken on new faces ...

- seven years ago there were no photos in my posts, just text - now, photos are essential to a post, and in fact, they add life and focus to my words

- seven years ago I posted much more often, as blogging was at it's prime - now, there are other avenues to share (Instagram, twitter, facebook, and more), and I write here less often

Pursuing Heart: 
My Focus at Seven Years

- glimpses into my heart, as I share devotional thoughts from what I am learning

- a warm welcome into my home and kitchen, often sharing favorite recipes

- sharing digital scrapbook pages, pictures of stories God is writing in our lives

- inspiration gained from books, from other bloggers/authors, and from living life

- a goal/desire of writing a post once each week 

- and a deep joy when I meet up with someone in real life, or in the online world, who tells me that they have been encouraged by what I have written; a deep joy in my heart, for it was and is a step of faith and obedience to God to share here

Thank you for your sweet visits here!  

Click here to read my updated WELCOME (About Me) page!

And click here to read my (often) daily devotional/inspirational thoughts on Instagram.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Strawberry Banana Split Cake

This recipe has been in my collection of new recipes to try for a couple of months, and this past week was the time to try it out! It was perfect to make for a daughter's birthday this month!

A refreshing, creamy, sweet dessert for any springtime or summer occasion ... with layers of strawberries, bananas, and crushed pineapple! I have a lot of recipes that I have collected over the years, and this one will be added to my collection of favorites!

Click on the "Source:" link below to print.

Strawberry Banana Split Cake

Course: Desserts
Prep Time: 20 min
Total Time: 20 min
Yield: 12-15 servings
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 12 cup butter melted
  • 14 cup sugar
  • 12 cup butter softened
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large firm bananas cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 cans (8 ounces each) crushed pineapple drained
  • 2 quarts fresh strawberries sliced
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 14 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1-12 cups chopped walnuts
  1. Combine the crumbs, butter and sugar; press into an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. dish. Chill for 1 hour.
  2. In a bowl, beat the butter, confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth. Spread over crust; chill for 30 minutes. Layer with bananas, pineapple and strawberries.
  3. In a small bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form. Add confectioners' sugar; beat until stiff peaks form. Spread over fruit. Sprinkle with nuts. Chill until serving. Yield: 12-15 servings.
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Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Path to Springtime

Don't you just love spring? 

It's my favorite time of year!

I love ...
the freshness of new life,
the blossoms of the fruit trees,
birds singing, grass turning green ...
the planting of our veggie garden,
choosing the flowers for our patio planters.

I love the spring events - 
the picnics, graduation parties,
family birthday parties,
gathering with friends outdoors.

I love spring!

But even more wonderful to me than the season of spring ...
is holding a sense of springtime in my heart -
a kind of springtime that lasts all through the year.

Living each day with freshness 
and closeness in our relationship with God -
where we are aware of His love
and we are walking closely with Him.

Where every day can feel fresh, 
like spring ...

Maybe this springtime that we long for
begins by quieting ourselves,
not just once, but continually,
and by becoming very small,
like a seed ...

Why do we resort to thinking
that we are the ones who can do it all?
That we are the ones who can grow tall,
the ones to produce the flowers,
the fruit that will nourish others?

How often do I need to be reminded,
continually, always,
that it is about surrender.
Waving my white flag of surrender,
and giving up my own efforts,
my own need for control -
and just resting 
in the soil of His love and His power.

Maybe we need to give up our own agenda
for the masterpiece that He is creating.
Give up writing our own story for our lives
and embrace the one that He is writing.

Not settling for second best
with our own chapters and plot-lines,
but yielding to Him,
embracing the beautiful story
that He created for our lives.

Yielding completely,
growing to be the most beautiful flower
that He has designed us to be;
each seed, unique,
crafted for specific purposes.

“For we are God’s masterpiece. 
He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, 
so we can do the good things 
He planned for us long ago.”
(Ephesians 2:10)

For Happy Mother's Day,
and for every day of the year!

To all mothers, and to all who long for the growth,
 and the flowers and the fruit ...

A sure promise from our Creator -
as we yield control,
and as we rest in His care,
trusting Him alone, 
the One who created the seed ...
that it is He who brings the growth,
who causes the flower and the fruit
to blossom and to grow.

Fruit fashioned specifically for me, 
and specifically for you.
Unique, beautiful, life-giving,
reflecting the fragrance of His love.
All for His glory alone.

“Now all glory to God, who is able, 
through His mighty power at work within us, 
to accomplish infinitely more 
than we might ask or think.” 
(Ephesians 3:20)