Monday, February 24, 2020

New Every Morning

Our months and our years,
our every days, and our lives,
are marked by 24-hour days.

And there is not a day,
in the past or in the future
when we will ever be alone,
left to ourselves, on our own.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.

(Lamentations 3:22-23)

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Everyday Opportunities for Beauty

Life is often filled with the mundane,
the ordinary, and often routine.

There are the spectacular and extra-ordinary,
but mostly, our days are quite repetitive. 

But what if we embrace the small and insignificant,
and give them our best, our finest?
What if we live our everyday moments not half-heartedly, 
but from the heart, with our whole heart?

"Take your everyday, ordinary life - your sleeping
eating, going to work, and walking-around life - 
and place it before God as an offering."
(From Romans 12:1 MSG)

"Whatever you do, do it from the heart,
as something done for the Lord, and not for people;
knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance
from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ."
(Colossians 3:22-24 CSB)

Loving God above all, "is meant to be expressed not just in the religious dimension of our lives, but in every aspect of our existence."
(Paul David Tripp, in New Morning Mercies)

What if we use our ordinary moments to reflect His love, His creativity, His image, all that He is, to those around us?

On an ordinary day filled with the mundane,
on an extra-ordinary day filled with the beautiful,
it's who we gaze on; it's who holds our heart 
that makes all the difference in how we live.

"A new heart is our only hope for seeing
our everyday, ordinary circumstances 
as they truly areplaces of worship where 
God will transform us into His likeness."
(Ruth Chou Simons, in Beholding and Becoming)

(Reminders for myself - and for you? - to do all out of love for Him. From the heart, with our whole heart - big or small, ordinary or extra-ordinary, the routine and the spectacular, the simple and  the beautiful. Taking all opportunities to give our best, to reflect our loving and creative God, to do it all for Him. All by His grace and power alone.)

Friday, January 31, 2020

Digital Scrapbooking: Preserving Memories

It's the end of the first month of this new year, and I'm thankful that I could take some time to preserve some of the memories from this month in the form of digital scrapbooking. A fun hobby for me ... maybe I can try to share a few pages at the end of each month during 2020?

Here are just a few of the nine pages that I have scrapbooked with January memories ...

Yes, if you read the words on this scrapbook page, you will see that we celebrated our Family Christmas in January! If it doesn't work out in December, it's just perfectly wonderful to celebrate in mid-January! I actually loved keeping our Christmas decor up into the new year, and didn't take them down until this past Monday!

We celebrated Family Christmas on Saturday, Jan. 18th! A beautiful snowfall the day before gave us a "White Christmas" that was special in every way! Four of our six (grown) children - and their families - were here in our home ... 23 of us in all! So very much fun as we had our big Christmas Dinner together, opened gifts, and played games.

What an absolute joy to have all these sweet grandkids in our home (pictured above)!! I can hardly even take in all the love and joy ... so thankful for these photos!

And this photo (above) captures our fun evening the next day, on Jan. 19th. What fun to enjoy a snack/appetizer spread together, with the amazing help of our four sweet, wonderful daughters! We played games, and also had a very special time together as family honoring our oldest granddaughter and her husband before they leave soon for Japan as long-term missionaries with World Venture. 

So many, many memories to preserve! There are no words to explain the joy of having family home, and I'm thankful for photos that help to capture the memories!


Note for those who ask how I create these pages: About nine years ago I switched from paper scrapbooking, and took some online lessons from Digital Scrapper to learn how to digital scrapbook using Photoshop ElementsYou can also click here for some great tutorials on the Digital Project Life website - this is a quicker way to learn than the site that I used nine years ago. I recommend using these tutorials. Most of the page templates and digital products that I use are purchased from Digital Project LifeAlso, 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, January 27, 2020

30-Minute Chicken Noodle Soup

These cold winter days
call for soup, and especially
this quick recipe of ...
30-Minute Chicken Noodle Soup.

I've been making this for years,
and just made it again last week.
It was enough for several main meals
for the two of us, and stretched to
another meal of just a small portion
which was perfect for lunch with
Grilled Turkey & Cheese Sandwiches.

Click here for the printable recipe from the Taste of Home website.

NOTE: I accidentally doubled the carrots this time I made this recipe, and actually liked it that way!
Updated recipe from the past: click here to see the original post in 2011.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Savoring Christmas - Anytime of the Year

The snow is lightly falling,
the gifts are wrapped and under the tree,
the guest rooms are ready,
and it's been busy in my kitchen -
the freezer is filled with
wonderful make-ahead dishes.

Can Christmas be any time of year?
In our home, with our family,
this year it's a January Christmas!

And I truly believe ...
Christmas can be anytime of the year.
And Christmas can happen
every day, every moment of the year.

For what is Christmas?

Christmas is the celebration
and the remembering of the
Greatest Gift ever ...
"Immanuel: God with Us"
His Presence with us -
every day, every moment;
the most precious gift ever.

Christmas is a celebration
of family and of friends;
gifts of love to us from God.
Tangible touches of His Love.
Gathering together, being present
together - at Christmas, 
and all through the year;
day by day, moment by moment.

Christmas is the joy of
giving gifts; of Being the Gift
to each other. Our presence
with each other, our purchased
or hand-made gifts to each other.
Expressions of love -
all through the year;
day by day, moment by moment.

It's Christmas in January,
and it's Christmas in our hearts
whenever we embrace and savor
the Greatest Gift of all.
Whenever we are present
with love and care for family
and for friends, and anyone
who needs a tangible touch of
the Greatest Love of all.

(Thoughts on this beautiful snowy morning, as my dear hubby and I anticipate the arrival of precious family members, coming home for our January Christmas. And as we soak up His Love and His Presence -
"Immanuel: God With Us" - every day, every moment.)

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Nine Days into 2020

Just nine days into this New Year 2020. How am I doing? How are you doing? It's been a full nine days - for me: prep for our family home for a January Christmas this year ... a funeral, a gathering of cousins, a movie with a friend, sharing my heart and my care with another friend suffering with ALS, sending cards to family (thank you's, a birthday, an anniversary), easing back into our last semester as full-time staff with Cru. It's been a full nine days so far. And I'm thankful for gentle reminders ...
In the midst of the activity,
in the joys and also the challenges;
He calls us to quiet our hearts,
He calls us to "Be Still". "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10 ESV) "In quietness and trust is your strength." (Isaiah 30:15 NIV) "You're my place of quiet retreat; I wait for your Word to renew me." (Psalm 119:114 MSG) "Let all that I am wait quietly before God." (Psalm 62:5a NLT)

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Word of the Year: Be Still

Do you pick a "Word of the Year" 
for each new year?

I have done so for quite a few years in a row now. It must be part of who I am after numerous years of doing so, and quite unexpectedly another word has settled into my heart and mind in the past few days. 

It's not a new word for me, as I saw it often as I took some time to read back over my journal from recent months. This word grabbed my heart all over again. And I know ... it's my new word to hold close during the coming year 2020.

Be still ... has so much meaning for me, and even brings up tears in my eyes. Maybe it's because life is so full, and the days tend to go by so fast. And I can get caught up so easily in being so focused on everything that I sometimes let the most important slip through my hands. 

These words from my journal that I wrote one day this past year are so true ...

To be still is to receive.
To faithfully pause, to soak up His love and His Grace.
The soaking up, the receiving, is what brings growth.
To still our souls is to open the door to receive.
To be what we were created to be.
To grow into something beautiful.
By His power alone.
Becoming beautiful and fruitful. For Him.

"Be still and know that I am God."
(Psalm 46:10 ESV)

"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him."
(Psalm 37:7 NIV)

"Let all that I am wait quietly before God ..."
(Psalm 62:5a NLT)

"In quietness and trust is your strength."
(Isaiah 30:15 NIV)

"You're my place of quiet retreat; 
I wait for Your Word to renew me."
(Psalm 119:114 MSG)

"Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord."
(Psalm 27:14 NLT)

Lord, may I faithfully choose to pause my busyness, to quiet my heart, to be still. So that I can hear Your heart as I read Your Words, as I go about my days, as I live each moment. And may Your love and presence overflow out of my heart to bless those around me. For Your glory and Your purposes alone.

I plan to start out this new year with continuing to read through my Chronological Bible, and also these first few months to use the beautiful and inspiring Beholding and Becoming book (and A Guided Companion) by Ruth Chou Simons. 

And watch for more posts sharing added insight into my Word of the Year: Be Still, and how it relates to additional areas of our lives, as well.