Friday, May 30, 2014

Scrapbooking May Memories

The month of May has been a blur of activity! Finally, on Memorial Day, I had some time to preserve some of the memories from the past weeks. These five digital scrapbook pages capture much of what we've experienced this month.

Thankful for beautiful springtime, for a great visit from Cru staff, for a special Mother's Day picnic, many end-of-school year events and parties with Cru, five family birthdays (two daughters, one son, a son-in-law, and a granddaughter), and a memorable family barbecue in our backyard with a son home from San Francisco. Thanking God for His blessings, and for His peace and strength during this full and beautiful month!

(Credit for digital scrapbook supplies - First page: Page Template: Sweet Shoppe - mcato-wordsandpictures2; Second page: Page Template: Scrap Girls ABR_SSLOAlb-Ser5; Third Page: Page Template: My Templates 3x3; Fourth Page: Page Template: Sweet Shoppe-mcato-simplebeauty2; Fifth Page: PageTemplate: Sweet Shoppe - mcato-simplebeauty. Paper for all pages: Digital Scrapper June 2013 Premier - We are Family by Dianne Rigdon.)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Happy Birthday #4

May is always a very significant month for birthdays in our family - three of our six children (two daughters and one son), as well as a son-in-law, and also a granddaughter - these five family members all share the month of May for their birthdays. Such a beautiful month - my favorite! And there is also another birthday this month, as this May marks four years of blogging here at Pursuing Heart!

What started out as a simple step of following the encouragement of friends to start up a blog, and receiving confirmation from God as I spent time seeking His direction ... turned into the fulfillment of a deep desire of mine. Maybe a desire that I didn't even know had existed - but God, who knows the hidden desires of our hearts, has a way of surprising us with His special gifts.

Writing here at Pursuing Heart gives me such joy! The joy of taking from what God fills me up with (first, recorded in my journals as I spend time reading, and listening to Him) ... adding some photos next, and then sharing with others.

Along the way, I've also added recipe posts, and digital scrapbooking posts (the recording of God's gifts to us, preserving memories) along with my main focus of writing devotional posts. Thanks for following, and for sharing in my joy! And for being a kindred heart as we pursue God, and everything related to the heart, family, and home. 

In honor of this four-year blog birthday, I recently redesigned my blog header, and also spent some time re-writing my "Welcome" page (click here). I've also included it below, as my heart-felt welcome and thanks to you. 

Welcome to Pursuing Heart!

I am so very honored that you would come by for a visit here. Welcome to my online home where I share from my heart as I pursue God, and everything related to the heart, family, and home. As women, there are so many life-giving, creative ways that we can love and serve those in our lives ... and it is my deep desire to connect here as kindred spirits as we do all for God, putting Him first, following Him as our first love. Everything flows from this First Love.

You will find a variety of posts here ... devotional posts, favorite recipes, freezer meal days, mothering posts, and digital scrapbooking pages. And above all, you will find posts on four main topics. Topics that I am growing in and learning in ... areas that I am asking God to teach me in. And then my own times of learning and growing bubble up and overflow onto this blog. 

First Love: What We are Made For

Heart Connect: Living a Life of Prayer

Held Secure: His Love in Times of Trial

Forever Close: The Heart of a Mother

Writing is my way of learning, and of integrating truth into my heart and soul. From my times of listening and learning from His Word, from spending time in prayer with journal and pen, from reading the words of wise authors and bloggers, and from the learning we gain from friends and family in-real-life ... I must write. First of all, in my journal (filling many, many journals) ... and then as an overflow, onto the pages of this blog. 

A calling from God during these empty nest years ... a calling to take from a full heart, and share here. First, with those I know and love ... family and friends - and also connecting with kindred hearts of women through this online home.

A few little bits of info about me: I am a wife of one for 42 years, a mother of six grown children - 4 daughters and 2 sons, mother-in-law to 4 sons, and grama to 10 sweet grandkids ranging in age from 18 years down to 2 years. My sweet hubby and I have been blessed to serve together with the ministry of Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) for 23 years now. Much of my blogging stems from a full life which is filled up with so many good things, and also from the various trials that God has allowed into our lives to help mold us and grow us into His image.

Thank you again for your visit. And I would be honored to hear from you as we connect as women - as we pursue the heart of God, and as we follow His heart for our families, our homes, and the world.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Our High Calling

"Remember no prayer goes unanswered.
 Remember that the moment a thing seems wrong to you, 
or a person's actions seem not to be what you think they should be, 
at that moment begins your obligation and responsibility 
to pray for those wrongs to be righted or that person to be different."
  (God Calling)

When anything of concern is placed in front of us, whether in the lives of our loved ones, or even in the daily news, what is my first reaction? Is it worry, or anger ... or fear? Or, is my first reaction - to pray for that person?

How easily we are distracted, pulled away from our high calling. Even Jesus, when faced with the most trying of situations while on this earth, and even on the busiest of days - always, stepped aside. He was drawn to pray, pouring out His heart to His Father. Bringing His own needs before the Father, and also those of the desperately needy world around Him.

Can we do any less? Do we really believe that our prayers make a difference? Do we live as if prayer is our high calling?

"Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion ..."
(Ephesians 6:18 NLT)

"Yes! live in a large sense. Live to serve and to save. 
You may never go beyond one room, and yet you may become 
one of the most powerful forces for good  in your country, in your world." 
 (God Calling)

'If you trace (those) miracles all the way back to their origin, 
you'll find a prayer circle. 
Miracles are the by-product of prayers 
that were prayed by you or for you."  
(The Circle Maker

"Don't worry about anything;
instead, pray about everything."
(Philippians 4:6a NLT)

The photo above was taken on one of our Devo Outings this spring (a weekly time when my hubby and I pull away from the busyness of life to spend a few hours of focused time in the Word, listening and learning from God) ... and I was reminded, again, of the high calling of prayer - and I am thankful.

Click here for more posts on this topic:
Heart Connect: Living a Life of Prayer

Linking up with:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Freezer Meal Day

The last Saturday of April our kitchen turned into a little dream-world where a mom and three daughters spent about seven hours together - chopping veggies, cooking, and assembling about 40 dishes together. 

When our six children were young, they loved to gather up at the kitchen counter and help with the meal prep. I knew I needed to have a spacious kitchen counter when we had our home built back in 1982. Little did I know that all these years later, my three daughters who live near by would still come over to gather at our kitchen counter and help with the preparation of freezer meals. And sometimes one of our sons who also lives nearby joins us, as well! 

Several times a year we gather for a Freezer Meal Day. (We all wish it could be more often, but life is busy, and calendar days fill up.) We each bring ingredients for a main dish or two, and we make multiple dishes of each recipe. Besides making a dish or two of each recipe for each of our own households, we made meals for a son (single) who lives nearby, and this time we also made some meals for a daughter's parents-in-law as they are in the midst of hospital days for treatment of leukemia. What a joy to bless their family with some freezer meals.

The five recipes we used for our Freezer Meal Day were:

Cheddar Beef Enchiladas
Crescent Chicken Bundles
Bean and Franks Bake
Three-Meat Lasagna
Pizza Loaves

(I will need to put more of these recipes up on my blog in the future ...)

It usually works best to prepare a cooking plan for our day beforehand, as this helps us move through the afternoon in a somewhat organized way. We also had a Prep Chart (not shown here) with all the chopping of veggies and other prep work listed.

Such a treat to put some meals in the freezer, and a treat to be able to share with a son and also a family going through leukemia treatments. And for me, the biggest treat of all is to have three daughters in my kitchen with me - working together at our big kitchen counter, talking, and sharing our lives.

Here's a glimpse into our day together with a few digital scrapbook pages made of our recent Freezer Meal Day ...

(Credits for digital scrapbook supplies - Page Templates: Scrap Girls - ABR_SSLOAlb-Series 5; Paper: Scrap Girls ABR_CreasedNCrinkled.)

Click here for a list of posts on some of our past Freezer Meal Days, and also a list of links to some of our Freezer Fare recipes.

Linking up with:
Works For Me Wednesdays
Thrifty Thursday
Thrive at Home Thursday
I'm Lovin' It

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Dear Mothers

Dear mothers of young ones, 
and mothers of older ones ...

Are you a weary mother - weary and fragmented not only physically,
but also, often - emotionally?

Are you hard on yourself as a mother,
often and always, thinking that your efforts are not enough?

Are you hard on yourself as a young mom;
are there tears of regret at the end of the day?

Are you hard on yourself as an older mom;
are there tears of regret at the end of their childhood days?

Do you read books on mothering, blog posts on mothering -
always searching for ways to perfect your mothering?

Do you really believe that this mothering thing is all up to you?

* * * * * * *

Could it be that God has given us the role of mothering,
this all-consuming, 24/7 role of mothering ... 
to reveal our weaknesses, and our inadequacies. 
To show us how helpless we really are. 

For as our inadequacies and weaknesses 
are revealed in the dailyness of mothering, 
we discover in a new way how needy we are. 
Of how we need Him.

As mothers, it is right and good to do our best; 
we do not purposefully neglect or ignore 
the loving and the caring for our children. 
We give our best efforts, day in and day out. 
We love our kids, and we want the best for them, 
so we give our best.

The reality is that our best is not perfect

For God is perfect, and we are not. 
We are the clay, and He is the Potter. 
We are the created; He is the Creator. 
He is God; we are not.

But we will continue to give our best - 
by the power and the help of His Spirit within - 
and we will trust God to mold and make our children 
into His beautiful masterpieces. 
Making vessels of honor out of imperfection. 
Just as He is in the process of doing in us.

We will trust Him with our children,
as we trust Him with ourselves.

Not of our own work, lest we should boast. 
But by His grace, mercy, and love.

Click here to read more posts on this topic:
Forever Close: The Heart of a Mother

Linking up with: