Friday, June 30, 2017

Quieting My Heart: Choose Joy



It's so easy to miss the beauty,
to look for it in all the wrong places.
When all along it is
 right there, in plain view.

But sometimes, everyday -
we need to purposely make a choice, 
the right choice.

"Joy does not simply happen to us.
We have to choose joy
and keep choosing it
every day."
(Henri Nouwen)

Where do you and I look for
this greatest prize - this joy?
We can try everything,
but there is only one true source,
never-changing, always near.

"You make known to me
the path of life;
in Your presence there is
fullness of joy;
at Your right hand are
pleasures forevermore."
(Psalm 16:11 ESV)

Everyday,
choose Him;
His life-giving Words,
His grace, His mercy,
the warmth of His love;
unending gifts here on earth,
and forever, with Him.


Thoughts from my journal while reading through
Whispers of Rest (Day 8) by Bonnie Gray.

Photo credit: Unsplash

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Digital Scrapbooking: June 2017

June has been a full and wonderful month, filled with special memories! 

The month started out with a visit from my three brothers, and one sis-in-law (the other could not come) - from the east coast and the west coast. Our days together with our 96 year-old father were so very memorable ... and it will be fun to preserve the memories from those days at a later time.

The two pages that I completed this month were of a very special day together with my dear hubby ... a quiet day together at Willow Lake (about an hours drive from our home). We love this place, and it was the perfect location to spend time together on his birthday, June 23! Our special celebration together with our sweet family will come later; this day was just for us ...



I prepared food to grill ahead of time - so relaxing to grill our meal together right at water's edge ... chicken kabobs, and a hash brown potato foil packet. Such a beautiful setting to enjoy this special day together.



I am so, so grateful for my hubby ... he is the most loving, patient, wise, and godly man I could ever wish for. We still choose time spent together as the best kind of day, even after 45 1/2 years of marriage! We absolutely loved our day together, just the two of us, at Willow Lake.


- - - - - - -

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, June 26, 2017

Quieting My Heart: My Safe Place of Refuge



Wherever we are ...⠀
at the start of a new week,⠀
the end of a busy season,⠀
when we are in great need⠀
or when the day is peaceful,⠀
it always remains the same.⠀

He calls us to sit awhile,⠀
to pull aside,⠀
and to rest;⠀
to remember that⠀
He alone is our Rock⠀
and our Salvation,
our place of refuge.

"Let all that I am⠀
wait quietly before God,⠀
for my hope is in Him.⠀
He alone is my rock⠀
and my salvation,⠀
my fortress where⠀
I will not be shaken."⠀
(Psalm 62:5-6)⠀

It takes an effort⠀
in this busy, fast-paced world⠀
to pull aside,⠀
to take time for quiet,⠀
to wait, and to trust.⠀

"Quiet puts everything else⠀
on hold for a moment⠀
so that you can be held⠀
by God's calm and peace."⠀
(Bonnie Gray)

.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Quieting My Heart: Our Extraordinary Life



Do you sometimes⠀
rush through the ordinary ⠀
parts of your life, ⠀
and your days,⠀
considering that they⠀
are not that important?

It's like we are waiting⠀
each day, anticipating⠀
the time when the⠀
important will finally come.⠀

But the only time ⠀
to be fully alive ⠀
is in the present.⠀

"What if, instead of thinking⠀
we have to choose between⠀
our ordinary life⠀
and an extraordinary life,⠀
we began to realize they're⠀
the same thing?"⠀
(Emily Freeman)

Choosing to live fully⠀
in each sacred moment, ⠀
with Him;⠀
embracing each moment⠀
as important.⠀

"Instead, clothe yourself⠀
with the presence of⠀
the Lord Jesus Christ."⠀
(Romans 13:14)


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Apple Pie



Served with ice-cream, Apple Pie is surely an All-American dessert, which makes it extra fun to serve during the summer, and especially around the 4th of July! I've had this recipe in my drafts for a year or two and now is the time to post it, just in time for the 4th; adding it to my collection of family recipes here on my blog. Fruit pies (or any kind of pies) always remind me of my dear mother ... she was an expert pie maker!

Print Recipe

Apple Pie


Course: Desserts
Serves: 8

Ingredients

  • 8 cups tart apples peeled, and thinly sliced
  • 34 cup fructose (or sugar)
  • 3 Tbsp. unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • dash nutmeg
  • dash salt
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • Pastry for 2-crust pie

Directions

  1. Prepare apples; place in a large bowl and toss with fructose, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  2. Put in pastry shell and dot with butter.
  3. Adjust top crust, allowing slits for steam to escape; seal and flute.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for about 45-50 minutes or until done.
  5. Allow to stand at least 1 hour before cutting.

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Click here for my favorite crust recipe, which I make into a mix for the freezer, to use as needed.

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.⠀
Today.⠀

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.

(Photo credit: Pexels)

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Quieting My Heart: Weekend Readings


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.


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

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
imagine.

"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)