Monday, July 15, 2024

A Collection: Sabbath Rest, In the Kitchen, and July 4th Memories

One of my favorites ... a little collection, a quick glimpse of a few of the many things that have given me joy recently. Life goes by quickly, and it is good to pause and to thank Him for His gifts to us ... 

The books pictured above have been capturing my mind lately, the bottom two I read in May and June, and currently I'm reading The Rest of God. It's quite evident that I am drawn to books on rest, on Sabbath Rest,  and on cultivating a Sabbath heart these past few months. So much to learn, and I am thankful. My husband and I are continuing to intentionally set aside a day or two each week, and pockets of time within the rest of the days of the week, for life-giving rest and soul-feeding. This is needed even in our retirement years, as we continually have a lot on our minds! 

A few great quotes from The Rest of God:

Without rest, we miss the rest of God: 

the rest He invites us to enter more fully 

so that we might know Him more deeply. 

 Be still and know that I am God. 

Psalm 46:10

Sabbath is both a day and an attitude to nurture such stillness.

It is a day we enter, but just as much a way we see. 

Click here for more thoughts on rest in a recent post.

My kitchen has been filled with more baked goods than usual this past week as we are preparing for some special family days coming up soon! Pictured above are delicious Sourdough Blueberry Muffins

Also, I made two kinds of bar cookies, my favorite ones to make during  summertime. I probably have been baking these at least once each summer for quite a few years now. We love these Blueberry Bars, and S'mores Bars.

It's always a joy to use my sourdough starter each week for bread, and this Classic Sourdough Bread is my favorite. I make it most every week, and here's my most recent one! My preferred way to bake it is in my oval-shaped dutch oven. So delicious ...

And this digital scrapbook page that I completed this past week captures some of the joys from our first full week of July ... our beautiful growing veggie garden, the first grilled meal on our new grill on July 4th, some time with our granddaughter Ali on her 17th birthday, and time with daughters three days in a row at grandson Cruz's baseball tournament over 4th of July weekend!

Much to thank God for, and most of all, for His faithful love and presence through all the things of life, the good and the hard. Our greatest gift: His presence with us, each day all the year through!

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Digital Scrapbooking: Memories from May and June

May and June held some significant events for us, and what better way to preserve them, and also share them, than through digital scrapbooking! And such a treat for me to scrapbook a few pages again, after a much longer break than I had thought. I started up again after about a six-month break, with these memories ...

We traveled to our daughter Cristy & Mark's home near Dallas the very end of April to see granddaughter Brianna in a school play (she did amazing!), and then again the end of May we made a quick three-day trip to TX again! This time it was because our oldest granddaughter Abigail & her husband were there with their sweet 16 month-old daughter (our great-grandbaby)!! And because they live in Japan and were just back very briefly for a wedding, how could we resist seeing them?! We had to squeeze the trip in between several severe thunderstorms with tornado warnings, and were so very grateful that God blessed us with this trip to spend time with family.

Back home we enjoyed a relaxing, fun month of June, caring for our yard and gardens, and also celebrating Father's Day together.

And a most significant event took place on June 23rd ... my dear hubby turned 80!! How can it be that that number belongs to us now? Together with my birthday coming up in Sept. when I turn 75, we call this calendar year our 75/80 year! We have much to be thankful for, and look forward to celebrating our birthdays together with our family in July!

Note for those who ask how I create these pages: About twelve years ago I switched from paper scrapbooking to digital 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 probably a quicker way to learn than the site that I used eleven 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.

Sunday, June 23, 2024

A Sabbath Heart


I've noticed a recurring theme in what has been drawing my attention recently ... maybe it's because we've had an extra full last few months? It's been a good full, but also a measure of challenging things that have filled up our lives. 

And the truth is, that even though we are retired, and have been for four years now, we need reminders to slow our pace. Even in the midst of busy days. Jesus surely exemplified an unhurried life while He was on earth. Even in the midst of knowing of His short earthly life, and in the midst of so much good that He could do. But He did not come across as being in a hurry. 

Just as Jesus regularly pulled aside for rest, and for life-giving intimate connection with His Father, we can do the same. And we are instructed to do the same. Doing so takes effort, and calls for us to stop our work in order to rest. The word Sabbath means to stop, to rest ... a day a week, and also pockets of time within a day. To nurture a Sabbath heart in the midst of our busy lives. 

My dear hubby and I are desiring to nurture a more regular rhythm of rest. Also as we grow older we need to be strengthened even more regularly in all the ways: physically, emotionally, mentally, in our connection with God. Our needs do not lessen as we grow older; they actually increase. And where do we look to be strengthened? Where do you look for strength amidst all the things of your life? We are invited to stop and listen, and to receive life.

“He’s patiently waiting for you to slow down 

so He can express His love for you.”

(From Rhythms of Rest)

Note: Link for quote in top photo, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry.

Thanks for reading my thoughts as I continually learn more regarding rest and regarding Sabbath. There will likely be more posts on this topic in the coming weeks/months. 

Friday, May 31, 2024

A Collection: In the Kitchen, Spring Gardens, New Bedroom Suite, and Good Books

I haven't been able to write here very often in recent months, but sometimes we just need to focus on other things. Big things, like a room remodel that kind of takes over your whole house, and your life for a period of time. Or it could be anything, really, that we need to give extra focus to; things that are necessary, and wonderful, and very worth the extra focus. (Read here for a recent focus of ours.) Or, things that are unexpected and difficult also may need most or all of our focus for awhile.

And after the added focus, it's good to pause, and return to some of the ordinary things of life that we needed to maybe put aside for awhile. And this is what brings me to write another a post that I like to call "A Collection". A collection of little pleasures, gifts from God, tangible things that bring joy! 

I do love to take the time to bake with sourdough. (Read here for how I got started last fall.) Baking with sourdough is a way of slowing down, as the process stretches out over a day or two or three. And it also allows for creativity, in the process of baking something that is nutritious and delicious. Pictured above is my favorite sourdough bread recipe, "Classic Sourdough Bread" from @everything.sourdough on Instagram.

I also love making granola (using sourdough discard) for the two of us. This "Chunky Sourdough Granola" recipe is our favorite! Doubling the recipe makes enough for a few weeks, and is a great way to use sourdough discard, as well. We love this granola, and will be making it continually. It's a good way to save on the grocery budget, as well, to make granola at home.

I have had an Instant Pot for a number of years, but sadly, have not used it all that often. But after doing a lot of re-organization of closets recently in our home with our recent room remodel, I have a new interest in using the Instant Pot more often. It's amazing how just re-organizing things so you can access an Instant Pot easier makes it more fun to use it! The "Instant Pot Chicken Breasts & Gravy" above was absolutely delicious, one which I'll be making again, for sure. 

May is probably one of my favorite months. Time for planting of our veggie garden, flower pots for the patio, and also my herb garden. The herb garden is in a perfect location, outside the patio doors which are right by the kitchen. I added a new basil plant (my favorite), a parsley plant, and some thyme to the collection of perennial herbs already growing. It will be easy to step right out the door to snip off some fresh herbs while cooking this summer.

This beautiful weigela bush outdid itself with pink flowers during this past month. We gave it some extra care a few weeks ago when we pruned back some of the straggly branches. 

We are so very grateful for our brand new Master Bedroom Suite ... you can read about it here. We're still in the process of finishing up the decorating of the room, but already, it is perfect for our needs. It's a gift for us in our current season of life; we are so grateful.

On the opposite end of the spacious Master Bedroom Suite is a cozy sitting area. This has become my favorite place for quiet devo times, reading and listening, connecting deeply with Jesus. This setting, with the morning sun coming through the east-facing windows, is where my soul is fed each morning. I am so grateful ...

Good books are also life-giving, and soul-feeding. I usually have two books on my reading pile at a time, one of them always a fiction book. Either historical fiction or Biblical fiction. I learn so much from the setting of a historical fiction book and/or a Biblical fiction book, bringing the time period alive to me as I read. Up from Dust was my first book by the author above, and I will be watching for more of her books. 

Another great author of Biblical fiction, Connilyn Cossette, recommends this book with her words on the back cover: "Taking us on an intriguing journey through heartbreak and healing, Heather Kaufman leads her readers directly to the joy of the empty tomb." 

It was a beautiful account of Martha, and I love how the author told her story. Though much of it was fictional, it captured the setting, the realities of that time period, and was a beautiful picture of Martha's heart as she was drawn close to Jesus. 

Thanks for reading my collection of little things that have given me joy through the month of May. Little moments of joy are all around us!  May was also filled with bigger things which give joy ... multiple times with family, including a trip we took to TX a few days ago! Maybe I will share some of the photos in an upcoming post. Thanking God for His gifts to us, big and small ...

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

March and April Recap

It's hard to believe sometimes, but this is the calendar year of our 75/80 birthdays! The first number is mine, the second one my dear husband's! At times we look at those numbers and are in disbelief, and at other times, we are realizing that ... yes, it is true; those numbers belong to us. 

Related to our ages, we have been involved in a big change in our home ... and thus, it has been rather quiet here on my blog the past few months. (I have not had the time to write here a few times a month, as I often do.) We have been fully involved in the process of the most amazing, and most unexpected change in our home!

When our six kids (and their families) were all home for Christmas, they gave us the most amazing idea that we should remodel two smaller bedrooms on our main floor into one larger Master Bedroom! The primary purpose of the remodel would be for us to move our bedroom from an upper level of our home, onto the main floor. Why hadn't we thought of that before? This makes so much sense especially as we are growing older.

Our two sons came up with the idea, and one of them drew up a plan that was just perfect. A builder that we know was available to start on it the last day of February.

Over the next three weeks, we went from having two smaller bedrooms on our main floor (pictured in the photo here) ...

To having a beautiful, spacious Master Bedroom Suite, complete with direct access to the bathroom on the main floor. It is absolutely lovely, beyond what we would have dreamed of on our own. Our bed is on the north end of the room, and ...

on the south is a cozy seating area!

In preparation for this remodel, we needed to move everything out of those two existing rooms. The rooms each held a fairly large closet just filled up with things. Who could even imagine how much we had stored in these old closets? Together with also going through things in our old bedroom, and also in my husband's former office, we have been quite busy these past two months. We have had boxes and piles of so many things all over the other rooms of our home, as we have made decision after decision of what to get rid of, and what to keep. It has been a lot of work, and it has brought us a lot of joy, too! 

The process of our remodel continues, as we are choosing to continue slowly, taking our time with making the best decisions. We still need to put up new curtains, put up another bookcase, purchase some comfy swivel recliners, and add some more decorating touches to our new bedroom suite. Such a fun process; we are loving our new space so much. And love being on the main floor; so fun, and so very essential as we enter our 75/80 year!!

We also just returned from a seven-day trip to visit two of our daughters and their families ... one near Dallas, TX, and the other in McCook, NE. It was the perfect time to get away, and enjoy several significant events that some of our grandkids were involved in. We are thanking God for the gift of family, and also thanking Him for the idea they have given us to have this remodel done, creating such a restful, refreshing space for us.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Just Start

 Just Start


   do we often wait until

   we have all the time we want

   until we venture to start

   something on our minds?

   Maybe we just need to start.

   Maybe we need to start with

   baby steps, 15-minute steps.

   And at the end of a week, or even

   a month, we’ll be pleasantly

   surprised to find that we are well

   on our way, making progress.

   Just take the first step, and then

   the next. And the next and the next.

   Being faithful in the present

   moment, with a 15-minute step.

   Not focusing on the finishing line,

   but taking steps; slow, but steady

   steps towards your goal.

   Desiring to focus not so much

   on the goal, or even on the task itself,

   but on being faithful with each

   step along the way, being faithful

   in the present, in the moment.

  Trust in the Lord and do good;

  Dwell in the land

  and cultivate faithfulness.

    (Psalm 37:3 NASB)

What do we care about the most?

In our walk with Jesus?

With our husband?

In our families?

In our homes?

As we serve others?

With our passions and gifts?

Why is it so easy to let other things crowd out the most important?

Why don't we give attention to the things that matter the most?

Let's take little steps, baby steps, even 15-minute steps towards the things that matter the most to us.

(I came across the words above, "Just Start", in my notes recently, written maybe 5-10 years ago? It seems to be the perfect time to share these thoughts as I am continually being reminded to take little steps, which then all together, add up to big steps. Maybe it will be an encouragement to you, as well? Click here to read another post I wrote recently, which is applicable to these words, as well.)

Monday, February 26, 2024

Cultivating ... Daily, and Intentionally

As the cold days of winter begin to fade away and as the first faint signs of spring begin to draw us in, we find ourselves longing for new life. We even may be starting to dream and prepare for our veggie and flower gardens. We begin to prepare our spaces, and also the soil for new spring life. 

In the same way, after the restful, maybe quieter days of winter, I am also reminded this time of year to prepare my heart for a new season of growth. Preparing to grow my heart for what matters the most. Maybe because a bit of the winter cold has settled in? And I find myself longing for some breaths of fresh air in my soul.

So I am welcoming these seasonal reminders to pay attention to more than just preparing the soil of our gardens for spring, but to also pay attention to and to nourish what matters the most to me. Is it the same for you? Have the cold winter days (though they do have a charm of their own) and the days of less sunlight left you longing for new life?

This is the setting for what grabbed my attention a few weeks ago, as I pulled another verse card from my growing collection of favorite verses. 

Trust in the Lord and do good;

Dwell in the land

and cultivate faithfulness.

(Psalm 37:3 NASB)

It was the whole verse, but especially the word cultivate that drew my attention. This is what we do in early spring to prepare for the growth that spring/summer brings in our gardens. 

And I wonder the same for my heart ... how can I cultivate my heart for this new season? 

But first, what does cultivate even mean? 

"Cultivate" - (from Webster's Dictionary online)

"to direct special attention to, to devote time and thought to, 

to care for with a view to valuable returns, to till, to fertilize, 

to improve by care or study."  

And another helpful list of meanings:

"Cultivate" - (from Lara Casey's book Cultivate)

"serve, nurture, nourish, prepare, encourage,

improve, refine, pay attention, foster growth,

loosen and break up hard ground,

and care for what you've been given."


Isn't this what we desire for our lives? To nurture and to till up the soil of our hearts for growth? it's a continual thing, all through the varying seasons, to care for our hearts. To be in tune to listen intently to the One who loves us more than we can even imagine. It's easy to become dry and in need of nourishment.

Above all else, guard your heart,

for everything you do flows from it.

(Proverbs 4:23 NIV)

Above all else, for the condition and the health of our hearts affects everything. And this is why we need the reminders to continually cultivate our hearts. To faithfully cultivate. To cultivate faithfulness

Just how do we cultivate faithfulness? Maybe it will look different practically for you, and for me. But for all of us, it begins in the heart, doesn't it? It's a desire, a longing, to spend time with Jesus. In His Word; not just the rote reading of His Words, but reading with a longing to hear from Him. To hear His heart, to hear what is Truth. And to share our heart with Him in response. A heart that also then seeks to live out His Truth in every area of our lives.

It's a relationship, not a mere religion or a task to check off our list. A relationship that needs nurturing, time, and yes, even effort. Pausing in this busy, broken world, for what is most important. And for what we long for.

Just as each plant, flower, herb are unique, each of us are created uniquely, What does the soil of your heart need now, right now in the season of life that you are in? The soil of your heart, of your life, may need different specifics of nourishment than mine. But we all need continual tilling, and ongoing nourishment to continue producing and blooming.

Right now, I am discovering that I am needing even more frequent pauses, and needing even added nutrients to refresh the condition of the soil of my heart. We have had a lot going on recently ... offering support and encouragement to a brother in need in his Parkinsons condition, preparing our home for a needed (and wonderful) remodeling project which includes going through closets and rooms that need to be simplified and organized, and at the same time, keeping up with all that is part of the many callings and passions that God has given us, including each one in our precious family. 

Cultivate faithfulness ...

So I am needing to take extra time to tend to my heart these days and weeks. Extra needs call for extra care of the soil. Daily attention and cultivating. Focused time reading His Words, listening and learning at the start of my day, pausing in the midst of my day, and quieting my heart again with journal and pen in His Presence at the end of the day. 

Tilling up the soil of our hearts, receiving nourishment from His Word, His Love. And over time, we will see sprouts, and we will see growth. Season after season. Cultivating faithfulness. Our lives will keep on blossoming and reflecting the beauty that we were created for. By His grace and mercy alone.


Lord, may I be a cultivator, faithfully making it a priority to care for  my heart, for all that You place on my heart. Taking time for the things of most importance, dwelling deeply in Your Word and in Your love. Slowly, one step, one moment at a time. You are the One who brings the growth, and I offer my heart as a sacrifice, desiring to till up the soil, and to cultivate faithfulness. For You.