Friday, July 28, 2017

Quieting My Heart: Draw Near in the Moment

It's in the ordinary time
that we live and breathe;
it's not in the past,
or in the future -
but in the present, 
right where we are.

"But learning to live well
in ordinary time
isn't a call to elevate moments;
it's a call to draw close
to Christ."
(Emily Freeman)

For it is only in the present
that we can lean in close,
that we can draw near
to God.

"Draw near to God,
and He will draw near to you."
(James 4:8 ESV)

Lord, may my focus be
to live in the moment,
to draw close to You, 
to listen to You,
to receive Your love
each moment -
to listen to others
and reflect Your love
right where I am, 
now, in the present.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Digital Scrapbooking: July 2017

July has been a wonderful month - filled with family home, and also with two weeks in Colorado for our every-other-year Cru Staff Conference! 

I did have time to scrapbook our fun Family Weekend that was at the very beginning of the month. The photo memories filled seven scrapbook pages! Here are four of those pages ... 

It was such a very special weekend together, and I'm thankful for photos to help treasure the memories! And I'm so very grateful to God for the gift of family; such a blessing to spend time together.

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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.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Praying Scripture: A Prayer of Surrender

Let me hear of 
Your unfailing love
each morning,
for I am trusting You.

Show me where to walk,
for I give myself to You.
(Psalm 143:8)

You are my shelter
and my shield,
I put my hope
in Your Word.
(Psalm 119:114)

Lord, there are unending thoughts and concerns
that threaten to crowd into my mind and my heart as I awake -
voices calling me to tasks, to responsibilities,
and also clouding my mind with worry and concern.

But above all the noise and all the concerns
that threaten to overtake my thoughts, my heart;
I long to hear first of all, and most of all, from You.
May I hear Your Words of love, Your unfailing love -
each morning - above all else, and before all else.

Show me where to walk today, what to do, what to think;
I surrender to You; I give this day to You.
I give myself to You.
You alone are my shelter and my shield;
I put my hope in Your Word this day, and all through this day.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Quieting My Heart: The Small and the Ordinary

Why do we often find ourselves
thinking that bigger is better?
That if we can accomplish big things
that we will reach our goal?

When all along
it is in the ordinary days and moments
that the important is accomplished;
for in the ordinary is where
God is.

"It is ingrained in us that have to do
exceptional things for God -
but we do not.
We have to be exceptional 
in the ordinary things of life,
and holy on the ordinary streets,
among ordinary people ..."
(Oswald Chambers)

"Keep company with Me,
and you'll learn 
to live freely and lightly."
(Matthew 11:30 MSG)

Lord, help me to 
hold onto Your hand
in the moment,
right where I am -
listening, learning from You; 
walking with You;
serving and loving
those around me,
right where I am.


(Thoughts from my journal as I was reading through parts of 
reading it again, as I needed to be reminded again ...)

Friday, July 14, 2017

Quieting My Heart: Stay Connected

A branch on its own
is quite useless
unless, of course,
it is connected to the
main stem, to the vine.

It's really quite impossible
for the leaves to form
and the fruit to grow
unless there is a connection.

Is not the same true for me?
How can I even expect
to produce lovely, tasty fruit
if I am not connected;
closely connected.

"Yes, I am the vine;
you are the branches.
Those who remain in Me,
and I in them,
will produce much fruit.
For apart from Me,
you can do nothing."
(John 15:5 NLT)

It's always been about
the connection, 
about the relationship - 
the reason Jesus died
and rose again for us.

Lord, may the cry of my heart
each morning, each day, be -
to walk in close connection
to You, my Vine,
my source of life
and all that I desire.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Bacon Pea Salad

Salads are such a beautiful and yummy taste of summer! I'm always looking for new salad recipes to use in the summertime, and came across this recipe a few weeks ago, and have made it twice already. Bacon Pea Salad - perfect for a summer outdoor meal! 

And when a salad recipe is an easy one to prepare, it is even better! This recipe requires no cooking of ingredients; just mix, refrigerate for 30 minutes, and enjoy! (I used fully-cooked bacon strips from Sam's, so didn't even need to fry the bacon - and I also used a bit more bacon than the recipe says.)

Click on the "Source" link below to print from the Taste of Home website.

Bacon Pea Salad

Course: Salads
Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 10 min
Yield: 6 servings
  • 4 cups frozen peas (about 16 ounces) thawed
  • 12 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 12 cup ranch salad dressing
  • 13 cup chopped red onion
  • 14 teaspoon salt
  • 14 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 Jones Dairy Farm Dry-Aged Bacon strips cooked and crumbled
  1. Combine the first six ingredients; toss to coat. Refrigerate, covered, at least 30 minutes. Stir in bacon before serving.
  2. Yield: 6 servings.
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Monday, July 10, 2017

Quieting My Heart: The Way to Live Free

Do we sometimes go through our days
carrying our own heavy burdens?
All the while, wondering why
the sun is hiding,
and our hearts are weighed down?

"It's the light of God's care
that will set you free.
But you need to
cast your cares on Him."

"Give all your
worries and cares
to God, for He cares
about you."
(I Peter 5:7)

Maybe it is in the giving up
of solving our own problems,
in the moving of our cares
from our own shoulders
to the warmth of His care -
that we are then
ready to receive
His Love.

"Rather than stressing out
to get as much done
as you possibly can today,
make the space
to let God love you
as much as He possibly can."

(Photo from our 40th Anniversary Trip - Cinque Terra, Italy)

Friday, July 7, 2017

Quieting My Heart: Our Constant Source of Honor

When we're tempted
to look to others
or to our accomplishments
for our validation, our worth,
we often come up empty,
defeated, and alone.

But there is a 
constant, never-changing
source of affirmation ...

"My victory and honor
come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock
where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in Him
at all times.
Pour out your heart
to Him,
for God is our refuge."
(Psalm 62:7-8)

"When you come to a 
fork in the road today -
between choosing the quiet
or filling up,
by performing, pleasing,
or disappearing - stop ...
Choose instead to be loved.
Let God love you.
Choose quiet love."

A quiet invitation,
each day ...
to pour out our
hearts to Him,
to hear His voice
of love.

(Photo: Cinque Terra, Italy - on our 40th Anniversary Trip 2011)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Welcoming Beautiful July

If life were a garden, each new month would be a brand new flowering plant. Full of freshness, full of possibility, full of beauty. A gift from God ...

I always have this sense of awe, of excitement, when I turn the page on my calendar. Like a breath of fresh, new air ... for each new day, and each new month is a gift from God, a new season of our lives, a new chapter, with new possibilities to grow and learn from Him, and to let His love fill our lives and overflow into the lives of those around us.

And I always love to pause, and reflect at the start of a new month. Thinking back over the past month, and looking forward to the new month.

A glimpse into what my days look like at the beginning of July ...
  • My dear hubby and I are in the midst of a few weeks "off work" - choosing to take these "vacation days" at home this year. We're nearing the end of this time, and will soon be leaving for our every-other-year Cru Staff Conference in Colorado. We're looking forward to this time with other staff, and to learning and growing through the speakers and seminars!
  • We just had a most wonderful weekend with family here! A daughter and two of her children visited from TX (her husband and older two college-age children could not come this time). We had a very memorable few days with all four of our daughters here with their families (three daughters live nearby). Such a joy to have family filling our hearts and our home, and to have eight (of our ten) grandkids having so much fun together! Spending time with family just fills me with joy - all such a gift from God. (And we missed our two sons, on the east and west coasts, who were not able to come this time.) 

And a few glimpses into what is on my heart and mind in recent days/weeks ...
  • I am loving sharing short little devotional/inspirational thoughts several times each week on Instagram, and also here on my blog - something new for this season of blogging. You can read a bit about it on my updated Welcome Page
  • Rest ... is what I am being reminded of, and what I am growing in these recent months. Life can be so very busy, even in "empty nest" years, and I am grateful for God's reminders of rest. I am appreciating Bonnie Gray's brand new book, Whispers of Rest: 40 Days of God's Love to Revitalize Your Soul, slowly reading through it during these summer months.
  • Though prayer is of very high priority to me (connecting my heart to God and listening to His), actual intercessory prayer for others is sometimes a challenge for me. There are so many distractions when we set aside time to pray for others. I am thankful for a new little tool that I've been using in recent weeks. Maybe I will share about it here on the blog at a later date. 
  • I really do love this time of year, and the times spent outdoors. My hubby and I have been spending a lot of time together planting flowers, doing a bit of new landscaping in our yard, and caring for our little 10x30 foot veggie garden space. Besides our patio flower pots, we also have a few new little flower garden spots this year. I especially love our new hydrangea plant. And I love time spent out on our patio, sharing a meal together, and reading, relaxing.
  • It's also a joy to continue on with some organizing of my photos on my laptop ... and also to gather them together in digital scrapbook pages. I have quite a few pages to catch up with from the middle of May to the present, and maybe will finish some in the coming weeks. So many special memories! And also, it gives me a lot of joy to look back through photos I've taken in the past, as I look for those to use here on my blog. The photo above was taken last summer while we were on our Pacific Coast Trip ... these hanging flower pots were at the place we stayed at in Seaside, Oregon - so very beautiful! 
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I have loved writing this little post at the beginning of this month, just sharing a few things going on in my heart and life now - and hope it brought a little joy to you, as well, as you read it.