Friday, February 27, 2015

What I learned in February

(My niece's two cutie pies)

What I learned this month:


There is nothing like snuggling with a wee baby (or two!) to set your perspective of life back on track.  


Some days you have the camera to capture the moment but some days you need to leave it at home and just experience being in the moment.


Reaching out to someone is never a mistake.  A little bit of encouragement can go a long way.  

(Therefore encourage one another and built one another up just as you are doing.  I Thes. 5:11)





Some days you just need a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Period. 


Laughter truly is the best of medicines.  I have a Facebook friend who shares funnies like these on a regular basis.  I love her : )



     
Finally, today, February 27, 2015 is National shine a light on slavery day and I learned this: 

According to the US Dept. of Health and Human Services an estimated 199,000 incidents of sexual exploitation of minors occur each year in the UNITED STATES. That's one incident every 3 minutes.
Slavery is the 2nd largest global organized crime generating $150.2 billion per year. That's more than the COMBINED revenues of Amazon.com, Google and ebay every year.

Let's pray, let's educate, let's strive to end it!  




Linking up with chatting at the sky for what I learned in February.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

In living color

Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_funlovingvolvo'> / 123RF Stock Photo</a> (for picture collage of flowers)



The sunshine warm upon my shoulders, I gaze out at the yard to survey its ever-changing pallet.  I see the most brilliant yellow of the mini daffodils near the office window, the purest white of the snowdrops beneath the maple tree, a warm and glowing pink of a primrose peeking among the yet to be scraped up winter leaves and the wonderful green of the rhubarb springing to life once again.  Color.  Alive and beautiful color.

But the color that thrilled me this morning was an amazing shade of brown against the white sheets in the bed as I rose from them.  My skin.  

There is a lot of talk in the news these days about color - skin color in particular.  It is conversation that needs to happen and conversation that is far from over.  There is talk of judgment because of color and benefit because of color and we know that neither are right. There are uneasy answers given to hard questions and hearts being searched for truths.  

Through it all I hear a recurring word: colorblind.  I did a bit of reading and one particular description referred to colorblindness as "a color vision deficiency".  The phrase immediately pricked at my heart.  You see, I spent a long time thinking I was/wanted be colorblind, trying to treat each person I came in contact with as equals by ignoring their skin.  On the surface it sounds good but I have found that theory to be flawed.  A deficiency even.  

Webster's dictionary defines deficiency as this:  "a lack of something that is needed : the state of not having enough of something necessary"  "a problem in the way something is made or formed".  Deficient.  

We (that means me and you and all mankind) were created (formed) in God's very image, breathed into life by him and when he was done, "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good."  

VERY GOOD.


So no, I don't want to be colorblind.  I want to see diversity of skin as beautiful and necessary.  I want to see every God-created, God-breathed individual as the unique person they are - including the beautiful skin wrapping they arrived in.  I want to celebrate the exotic brown of my half Indonesian cousins, the beautiful tan of my half Native American niece, the gorgeous freckled cream of my friend's daughters, the stunning Ethiopian black of a family friend.  The red hair, the black hair, the brown, the blonde, the ash.  The curly, the straight, the wavy.  The green eyes, the blue eyes, the brown eyes.  The short, the medium, the tall, the very tall and the very small.  All shapes, all sizes, all makes, all models.  All equally yet uniquely created.  All beautifully created with promise and purpose inside.  None deficient.      

Each are precious in His sight.

 You are precious in His sight.

Loving the skin we are in, loving the skin other's are in might not change the race dialogue - but it's a start.  Color.  Alive and beautiful color.  Will you celebrate with me today?


     
Linking up with Kristin for Three Word Wednesday and Jennifer for #TellHisStory.  
    

Friday, February 20, 2015

Giving Thanks Friday


Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_antuanetto'> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>


This week I am thankful for: 



Extra time with the hubby even though it was due to him having oral surgery (which went well).  It was fun hanging out without any agenda and leaving some of my usual routine behind.  I did inform him that one day when he retires I will have to get myself on a schedule because my household chores went by the wayside for those couple of days!  Today he is back to work and I am catching up double time.   


Seeing four bald eagles in the span of just three days.  One was sitting in a tree while I was driving in to town and it was so close to the road that I put on the breaks (a rural road with little traffic) and slowed to a crawl to be sure I wasn't hallucinating.  The second was a pair in a tree near the riverbank on our way to church and the third one was a very large bird along the freeway just sitting there.  No matter how many times I see these beauties I am still amazed at their majesty.  God's creation is awesome!              


Negative results on a test that a nephew had.  When lymph nodes and mention of the "C" word are involved there is always concern so very thankful that all is good.      


My parents and my mother-in-law - each blessings to us in their own unique ways.        


Pandora.  Our satellite package comes with Pandora music stations and I love that I can program in a favorite artist or genre to suit my mood.  Today I have been catching up on cleaning with the likes of Frank Sinatra and Michael Buble'.   


Love, not the easy kind with hearts and flowers (though our anniversary was Valentine's day and I can get behind a gesture on the day) but the listening ear when you would rather watch your favorite TV show love, the sit beside you when you are sick and rub your shoulders even though you might catch it yourself love, the I know you are scared but we will get through this together love, the stand beside you and hold your hand while a loved one is laid to rest kind of love, the I am frustrated with you but still love you kind of love, the we are in this forever kind of love.  The love that not only made the vows but keeps the vows.  

I STILL take you, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.  (Amen.)     

                    


What are you thankful for?


May your weekend be filled with wonder, laced with peace and bursting with love...

(Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good: his love endures forever. Psalm 118:1) 


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

5 Questions and my (not academy) award



Barbie, from my freshly brewed life, nominated me for the Liebster Award, along with four other bloggers, and I thought it would be fun to play along.  I especially appreciate that she changed up the rules and relaxed them a bit.  I like relaxed : )  Barbie is a wonderful blogger, author and encourager.  She also features many other amazing writers in her space in what she calls, "Share the Brew".  If you haven't met sweet Barbie before stop by and visit.  You will be blessed.  Thank you Barbie for the nomination!

So here are the official rules complete with Barbie's "tweaks":  
  1. Thank and link back to the person who nominates you.
  2. Answer the questions give by the person who nominates you.
  3. Nominate 11 5 other bloggers with 200 followers or less big or small.
  4. Create 11 5 new questions for the nominees to answer.
  5. Let the nominees know they have been nominated!


Here are the questions Barbie asked and my answers: 

1.  What's in your mug?  Coffee?  Tea?  Something else?

I love the smell of coffee when I come through the doors of our local Target and seeing all the wonderful frothy and whipped cream topped beauties at their Starbucks counter.  But the taste? Not for me - not even all "doctored up".  I am a tea drinker through and through.  Green matcha is a staple but I also love Tazo green tea with lemongrass and spearmint (and it is wonderful iced!). I have so many varieties of tea that my husband made me a tea chest to keep them in - yep, tea is in my mug : )  But it doesn't stop me from really wanting a coffee station in my kitchen with one of those beautiful espresso machines...maybe I could just brew it to smell...


2.  If you could sit and talk to one person who lived during Bible times, other than Jesus, who would it be and why?

Wow, so many great choices.  Depending on what is happening in my life at the current time this changes for me.  My current choice would have to be Job I think.  He suffered so much and I know so many who are walking such hard paths, facing such giant obstacles in their lives.   He is such an amazing example of unwavering faith despite immense suffering and trials in his life. He was real about his doubts and hardships but didn't question God's purposes.  He is a great example of integrity and an eventual overcomer.  I have much to learn from his story.    



3.  How many pairs of heels to you have in your closet and how high are they?

I only have two traditional pairs of heels (pumps) and they are probably only 2 1/2 inches high.  I have a pair of 4 inch high sandals with a T-strap (that I can only wear to church or somewhere that involves a lot of sitting) and a pair of Tom's wedges (love them) at about 3 1/2 and another sandal wedge at 3.  I have two pairs of boots at about 3 inches each.  Wedges and boots are definitely what I prefer for a bit of height (and at 5' 1.5" I can use all the help I can get) rather than traditional heels.  Alas, I am getting older...
  

4.  How do you unwind at the end of a long, stressful day?

A long, hot bath with time to think and pray followed by a cold (because I stayed in the tub too long and am now hot) diet soda with ice.  Next up is fleece pants, a t-shirt and fuzzy socks. When I cool back down I might add a cozy throw.  Talking it out with my husband and or daughter helps immensely and if my mind still won't shut off I can be distracted with a good book.  


5.  What is one thing on your bucket list?

Strangely enough this felt like my hardest question to answer.  I don't have an actual bucket list and creating one feels like pressure to create the perfect one and then pressure to complete it. (yeah, I have issues...)  I do like hearing and reading the lists of others with grand places to visit and daring adventures to accomplish.  Thinking in terms of "things I would like to accomplish before I die" I have to say that I would love to be a part of providing fresh vegetables to our local food banks.  I guess you could say that my bucket list item involves a literal bucket, ha!  


So, there you have it, a bit more about me.  Now it's time to turn the tables and nominate 5 other bloggers to answer a different set of 5 questions.  If you are a nominee it is because I think you are amazing and I would like to get to know you even better.  (Please know there is no pressure to participate  and have fun with it if you do.)     

I nominate:

Karmen

Ceil

Annabelle

Pam

Debby


Here are YOUR five questions:

What is something that makes you smile?

Aside from the Bible, what is a book you have read more than one time?

What hobbies/activities do you like to do in your free time?

In what ways do you like to serve others?

Favorite vacation spot?

BONUS QUESTION:  What are you thankful for?  (I had to ask people, I had to!)

  














Thursday, February 5, 2015

She Just Offered

Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

It started out innocently enough, an e-mail from her and then my reply.  But it was her next message that stopped me in my tracks and eventually opened the flood gates.  It was one line only, "What kinds of things are you working on and how can I pray for you."  

My mind was immediately swirling with how I would reply.  The truth?  I wasn't working on any specific project.  In fact, I was barely blogging.  The truth?  There were some heavy things going on in my extended family and I was working out a new normal.  The truth?  My heart was overwhelmed by her generosity as well.  So what did I do?  I didn't reply. Well, not immediately anyhow.  I thought about it.  I forgot about it.  I thought about it again.  I pondered it over a warm bath.  I threw the idea of not replying at all up to God to see what He might have to say about it.  


"Tell her."  

Um, God, not to be rude or anything, but really?  Tell this busy wife, mama of two lovely girls, champion of serving others and, oh yeah, amazing author, tell her my "stuff"?  And did I happen to mention God but I have never even met this woman face to face.  

"Tell her."

So...after a good night's sleep and a morning of new mercies I sat down to type my reply.  I typed in the standard, "Hi" with her name behind it.  End of message.  I clicked out of the message and busied myself with meaningless household tasks.  I sat down again.  I re-read her message and her offer, "...how can I pray..."  I may have yet to meet her in person, but I know enough about this lady to know that she wouldn't send this message if she didn't mean it.  


She would pray.  

The truth?  I needed the prayers.  Admittedly, I doubt her sweet self expected the kind of reply I gave her.  

The message began again and this time I kept writing.  I shared what wasn't going on and then what was.  I tried to stop myself a time or two but the words just kept coming, my fingers kept moving and my heart spilled out.  I felt a peace already (even if I pictured her pulling her hair and rending her clothes).  I had done my part.  I told her.  End of story.  

End of story?  

Nope.  She actually read my return e-mail and she offered some suggestion regarding the lack of projects.  And then, she shared a tiny bit of her own "stuff".  You see, as it turns out, she has had some experience with the same sort of "stuff" I had been facing.  She heard my hearts cry and she didn't run from it.  She understood.  I can't remember, honestly, if her e-mail said she would pray but I knew she would, know she did.    

It amazes me how God can bring people together, how a small bonding of hearts over a shared bit of "stuff" can bring a peace.  It shouldn't amaze me really.  That is how God works...if only we allow Him.  It reminds me of the blessing others can be in our lives, that we were not made to go it alone.  It reminds me that I need to remain open to reaching out to others in the same way. 

She just offered,
and what a difference it made in my heart.       



(If you happen to read this Ms. you-know-who-you are, once again thank you for listening, for reading and for offering.  Praying for you and yours today.)



Linking up with Kristin here for Three Word Wednesday and The Weekend Brew here.  

Friday, January 30, 2015

Giving Thanks Friday



This week I am thankful for: 



Hand-me-downs.  In our family, before making a trip to donate unwanted items from our household, we often check with other family  members to see if they are in need/want of these items.  We got a very nice toaster oven from my parents pile this week : )  Now we shall see if anyone returns the favor and takes something I added to the pile : ) 


The opportunity to gather with family this Sunday afternoon to eat, visit and cheer on our Seattle Seahawks as they play in the Superbowl.  Also thankful for our quarterback who lives out his faith in such real ways including weekly visits to Seattle's Children's Hospital.  Win or lose, it will be a great day.            


Memories.  Our community lost a former classmate of our daughter's way too young.  He leaves behind a great number of family and friends who loved him as well as a young son.  They could certainly all use our prayers.  It has been comforting seeing a memory page on Facebook created in his honor where people have been sharing their special memories and/or photos.    


Finding a misplaced item.  I have been looking high and low (literally), cleaning out previously cleaned out cupboards, looking for a set of test tube type vases hooked together into one.  I had it in the kitchen window but it kept getting in the way of the wide slats on our blind so I had moved it.  Somewhere.  I finally even asked my daughter if I had passed it on to her but she said no.  I semi gave up and moved a small plant where I wanted to use the vase.  Today, while moving a metal bin above the dryer, what should my wondering eyes spy - the vase!  Ahhh...victory!      


Unexpected money.  I got a phone call this morning from the company we bought our roofing from earlier this summer stating that we had overpaid and had a credit of $80+ dollars.  I thanked the gentleman while telling him how unusual it is to get a call wanting to GIVE us money when usually callers are wanting us to give THEM money, ha!


The abundance of nearby wildlife and the occasional opportunity to capture their image.    


Beautiful hearts overflowing with the goodness of God and an eagerness of spirit ready to bless at a moment's notice.  Something for us all to strive for.


                    


    


What are you thankful for?


May your weekend be filled with wonder, laced with peace and bursting with love...

(Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good: his love endures forever. Psalm 118:1) 


Friday, January 23, 2015

Giving Thanks Friday




This week I am thankful for: 



Life in a community that not only comes together to celebrate the good but to grieve a loss or fulfill a need as well. 


A husband who works a physical 10 hour day and yet still listens patiently to my next hair-brained household DIY plan, that he will be doing the bulk of, not long after he comes through the door.        


A new recipe that turns out great the first time.  I like to try new dishes which means sometimes the first try is less than stellar...  


Healthcare professionals who take the time to let you (or in this case a loved one) know they care.  Means so much when you are made to feel like you are more than a number.  Even though many doctors care for their "number" patients well physically, a little TLC from a kind provider can go a long way to care for you emotionally and calm anxieties.


Neighbors that will run (okay drive...) down the road to help your husband carry the end of the heavy table that you can't quite lift high enough.  When it comes to a two-man job I usually only count as half a man : )    


The strong, brave women in my life who I continue to admire and learn from on a regular basis.  Thank you ladies!


Fresh bread, warm from the oven.  Sigh...             


    


What are you thankful for?


May your weekend be filled with wonder, laced with peace and bursting with love...

(Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good: his love endures forever. Psalm 118:1)