Saturday, May 26, 2018

A Collection: Thoughts, Books, Recipes, and More

We're back home now from an amazing 6-day trip to Texas for a granddaughter's beautiful wedding! And this view welcomed me as we stepped into our home ... a picture of Home Sweet Home!

And as I step back into my blog again, after a quieter-than-usual month with writing (as life is always so very full during the month of May), my heart is called back to this online home! This month marks eight years of writing here!

And though blogging has changed a lot in the past eight years, this continues to be a sweet place for me! Writing continues to be part of who I am, a way that I process life and all that God teaches me ... and I am continually encouraged by Him to share here at Pursuing Heart from what I am learning and loving through the joys and trials of this life. You can read more about my blog vision and purpose by clicking here. (Updated a year ago; and I need to update it again soon!)

I thought it would be fun to jump back in with writing this month, with a collection of thoughts and things to share from this past week ...

Did I already mention what a full month this has been? I absolutely love spring, and especially the month of May, but it can get a little crazy with everything that is going on. That is why I have referred back to this post - Each Day, Listening and Watching - over and over again through this month. The thoughts I shared in that post came straight from what I recorded in my Quiet Time journal one day earlier this month. I have needed to be reminded over and over to keep my focus on the most important, even in all the busyness. (Most of what I write about here on my blog are things that I need to read myself, and are a picture of what God is teaching me on my own journey!)

Do you love to read as much as I do? This is my current stack of books ...

Gracelaced: Discovering Timeless Truths Through Seasons of the Heart - by Ruth Chou Simons

This beautiful devotional book, filled with Ruth's original creations, is organized around the seasons of the year. And that is how I am reading it: taking one season at a time. I'm almost finished with the spring season - a collection of eight devotional writings. Each one is so beautiful!

Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life - by Lara Casey

I purchased this book some months ago, as I have learned from Lara Casey's blog and also have used her very practical and helpful PowerSheets. Now seems a fun time to read it, as it weaves it's theme of "cultivating what matters, little by little, with God's transforming grace" together with the season of planting and cultivating a garden. 

Sensible Shoes: A Story About the Spiritual Journey - by Sharon Garlough Brown

I just started this book this past week, and am drawn in already! A friend recommended it to me ... thanks, Linda! It's the first of a series of four books, following the stories of four women as they are each drawn into a deeper life with God. A spiritual journey of four women, with many things that we can relate to in our own lives. Am looking forward to this journey ...

The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms - by Timothy Keller

I am loving this daily devotional book, reading it on my Kindle. It divides the reading of Psalms into daily portions, going through the entire book of Psalms in one year. I was drawn to read through Psalms in a more worshipful and prayerful way, and was reminded of this book that I had heard of. And I love anything by Tim Keller - always so full of insight and truth. How I'm using it: I first read the Psalm portion each day, record my prayerful response in my journal, and then read the daily thoughts and the daily prayer for that portion that are in this devotional. So very good! (Instead of starting it on Jan. 1, as it is set up, I am just taking it day-by-day from when I started reading Psalms a few weeks ago.)

We were so very busy before our trip to TX that we didn't really have time to do much grilling, but the day after we returned home, we made sure to grill! I love this Bacon-Wrapped Tilapia recipe! You can find the recipe here on my blog by clicking here.

And finally, sharing one of my favorite photos from our granddaughter's wedding in TX on May 20th! What an absolute joy to be there for Abigail & Addison's special day! This photo captures their love for each other and for others, as they are surrounded by the three flower girls and two ring bearers. It also captures Abigail, our oldest grandchild, and Eva (flower girl closest to her), our youngest granddaughter ... a fairy-tale photo at the beautiful wedding venue.

This last photo is another of my favorites from the wedding ... my dear hubby and I, with our six all-grown-up children! Having all of our six there in TX for the wedding was like the icing on the cake ... such a joy! This photo was taken at the very end of all the celebrations and also at the end of all the clean-up ... the ending to a beautiful day, all a gift from God!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Each Day, Listening and Watching

It has been five months now since the start of the new year. (How can it be five months already?) And it is time to refresh my thoughts. 

Spring is a time for new life, for welcoming thoughts that bring new life to our souls. Spring just naturally does that for me ...

Have you noticed how busyness and responsibilities can take our minds off of the things that really matter the most? We can become so immersed in what we are doing, in what we are accomplishing, that the task or the responsibility slowly becomes our main focus.

And we can miss the beauty of each day; we miss the beauty of His Presence.

But spring brings in a breath of sweet, fresh air ... reminding us to look up from our work, calling us to see His gifts all around us.

Reminding us that our main focus each day is simply to open our eyes and our hearts, and to listen and to watch. And it requires a being still to hear what He has for us, and to truly see His Presence in our lives.

What if ... our main focus each day is to see Him? 

"Show me Your unfailing love
in wonderful ways."
(Psalm 17:7a)

In the midst of whatever I am doing today ...
as I persevere through a responsibility or task that I need to care for,
as I go about the routine activities of my day,
as I face a problem, a set-back, or a recurring health concern,
as I listen to a friend, or a family member,
as I receive that unexpected phone call or text message,
as I pause and step outdoors on a beautiful spring day,
whether this day brings the good or also the hard ...

Whatever comes my way today, 
may it not become my main focus.
May my main focus be to watch and listen. 
To watch and listen for You,
to open my eyes to the 
gifts of Your Love, Your Presence.

Immanuel, God with us

May the most beautiful part of each day be You.