Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sweeter than Honey to My Mouth

Hello, friends!

First of all, I want to thank you for your kind comments about the pictures I included in my last post. What a surprise!

I was so disappointed when we hiked in Sedona and then again when we stepped up to the edge of the Grand Canyon. Both times I pulled out my "good" camera and the battery was deader than a doornail. I had even had it on the charger all night before the Grand Canyon, but apparently the outlet wasn't working and I didn't notice. Grrr.

Sidebar: I just have a Nikon that isn't anything fancy really and doesn't have extra lenses and can't take pictures that focus in on one thing and leave the rest all fuzzy, something I would really like to be able to do.

Side-side bar: Has anyone taken on online photography class? Which one would you recommend?

Anyhoo. I had to take pictures with just my cellphone, so I was surprised how they turned out pretty well, after a little tweaking in Picmonkey. If you have never used that free photo-editing site, I highly recommend you give it a whirl. Easy.

Moving on....




I have spent the last few days studying scripture with She Reads Truth that focused on the power of God's word. I loved every minute of it and am humbled that God the Father wants a relationship with me. And He speaks to me through His word. And YOU!!!!

The Bible is not just another book filled with another man's opinions.

No.

The She Reads Truth girls, tell us

The Bible is

                   .....His story and my story
                   .....the word and breath of God
                   .....the power of God
                   .....living
                   .....enduring
                   .....truth
                   .....for hearing and telling.

It is all about HIM.

His Mercy.
His Grace.
His Wholeness.
His Justice.
His Love.
His Redemption.

HOPE.


Scripture has been compared to a Swiss Army Knife. It is a tool that gets into our deepest places and transforms us from the inside out if we will let it. It isn't easy work, but it is sooooooo worth it!

Maybe you already have a dedicated quiet time with the Lord. If so, you know what I say is true.

Maybe you have never opened God's word at all because you think it is irrelevant in this modern age.

Maybe you think it is all a bunch of hooey.

I want to challenge you to get your hands on a version you can read and understand-maybe a New International Version, New Living Translation, or The Message or download You Version on your phone or Ipad-and dig in.

Maybe you want to join us at She Reads Truth. It isn't complicated. Read the scripture and then the commentary and then the comments. I bet you will be blessed.

Before you begin reading, ask God to make the words real to you and to speak to your heart through His Words.

He will.

Goosebumps?

I'd love to hear what version you would recommend for a new-to-the-scriptures Bible reader. Comments?

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

I'm a Weirdo

Hello, Strangers!

Remember my last post when I was stressing over how many pairs of shoes to pack?

Well, our trip is over and we are home sweet home. The washer has been running practically nonstop for the last couple of days, but I am just about caught up and ready to put the suitcases away.

We had a WONDERFUL time and our list of places we want to visit again is growing. Please add:

Scottsdale.
Sedona.
Laguna Beach.

We were able to spend just enough time in these wonderful places to wet our appetites for more of what they have to offer.

People. We live in an amazing country and I am so thankful that we are getting a chance to explore parts of it.

Our eyes were opened to even more of the world's "wisdom" through this trip and I realized what a weirdo I am in the eyes of those the majority consider to be smart.

Here is what I'm talking about.......


We loved the natural beauty of Sedona's Red Rocks. Hiking, great food, and quirkiness are all things I love.

Sedona is also the place to go if you want your palm read, or your future told, or your dead relatives contacted. Or maybe you need to restock your crystals or have your aura read. The town literature brags that it is the New Age capital of the United States. Or was it world? Either way, I don't want any of that.


I wish I could describe our reaction to our first view of the Grand Canyon. What a masterpiece by our Creator! Unbelievable and no picture does it justice, especially these taken with my phone.

Reading the posted information, we learned this beautiful, beautiful place was the result of millions and millions and millions and millions of years of water trickling and rushing. Of course, this was presented as fact not theory. No questions asked or wanted.


The prominent rock formations we viewed on the south rim had names like Shiva Temple, Brahma Temple, Vishnu Temple, and Buddha Temple all given by an early explorer, Clarence Dutton. Huh?

After reading carefully, I did find one that was called Solomon's Temple.

Does anyone else see the irony here? The True Creator gets no credit or praise, but the rocks are crying out praise anyway. So there.

Then we headed north to Las Vegas.


We stayed with my cousin and his wife and loved our time with them. Their warm hospitality and great home cooked meals went above and beyond our expectations.

Big Kudos also to Cirque du Soleil,  Love 

And Container Park.

And the Anthropologie store at Caesar's Palace.

I spent $5.00 in the Beverly Hillbillies game because I thought it was the most appropriate slot for me.  I ended up with 15 cents. Brad didn't waste a dime in the machines. He is smart like that.


I'm afraid my "momma" mode kicked in big time in Vegas and I had to hold myself back from going up to the dirty dancers, putting my arm around them and saying, "Honey, do you see the perverts videotaping you on their phones? You were created for so much more than this." I refrained myself, but I don't see myself really enjoying a town that has storefronts where one can purchase everything one needs for her stripper show.

See. I told you I was a weirdo.
But that's ok.

This scripture I read this morning nails it......

I Corinthians 3:18-20 Don't fool yourself. Don’t think that you can be wise merely by being up-to-date with the times. Be God’s fool—that’s the path to true wisdom. What the world calls smart, God calls stupid. It’s written in Scripture,
He exposes the chicanery of the chic.
The Master sees through the smoke screens
    of the know-it-alls.
I'm curious. Have you visited any of the places I mentioned? What was your reaction?

Sidebar: I wore every pair of shoes I took, but one. And that is because I only brought the right one. Dang.

Side-Sidebar: Forgive me if this post sounds too intense for a Saturday afternoon. I feel better getting it out of my head and onto the paper. xoxo

Side-Side-Sidebar: I haven't visited any of you for 2 weeks, but plan to make the rounds soon!
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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

One Way to Study the Bible

Good Morning, Sweeties!


I am in the midst of packing anxiety. We are headed for a little adventure in a few days, and I am obsessing over what to take with me. Most of the time I wait until the last minute to pack, but I can't do that this time. I have to be ready TODAY.

Here are my dilemmas.....

             I want to wear cute outfits, but I don't want to drag too many things with me.

             Should I take a suitcase full of shoes?

             I certainly don't want to pay extra for a too-heavy bag.

             I will probably default to my way-too-frequent-traveling habit and wear the same cute outfit multiple days in a row since no one will know me, we won't see the same people twice, and I'm not a sweaty person, so why should I drag all that stuff around? 

Oh the stress. wink.

I am giving my brain a little rest for a few minutes and checking in with some of my favorite people ever-you guys! Hope your week is going well and you are also looking forward to an adventure in your life. 

I know many of you are Bible study girls and are onboard with the adventure of a life with your Heavenly Father. You don't have to be convinced to pick up the Word because you have already benefitted from it. You know the wisdom and life-changing words buried in the pages. You can attest personally to the fact that those words have transformational power.

Sunday we had a wonderful sermon and I just had to share what we were taught that will help us go deeper into the word of God. 

According to this survey from the American Bible Society, most Americans agree with us that the Bible is a very special book.

The survey says.......


  • 88% own a Bible
  • 80% say the Bible is sacred
  • 61% say they wish the read the Bible more often
I think those are some encouraging numbers, don't you? 

However, we aren't called to just read the scriptures. We are called to DO WHAT THEY SAY!

Here is a way to study the scriptures that will make that more likely.

The S.O.A.P Method of Bible Study

S......Scripture
              Pick a scripture that stands out to you from the passage you read. Write it down.

O.....Observation
              What is this scripture saying to me? Write it Down.

A....Application
              How can I apply this truth to my life today? Write it Down.

P....Pray
              Write a prayer asking God to help you make that application.

Most of us need to approach new information in multiple ways to really assimilate it. The S.O.A.P method does just that.

I love to take notes when I read and study the scriptures, but I've never written out the actual way I am going to apply what I learn and then prayed for help to do it. This could really change the way I study, and I'm giving it a try.

Want to join me?

If you already employ this method in your study, please tell us about it in the comments.

If you use another method, would you share it with the rest of us?

If you have tried to read the Bible but it just seems irrelevant and a waste of time, share that, too. 

Can't wait to hear what you have to say-about Bible study or how many shoes I should pack!


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Monday, February 17, 2014

Looking for the Silver Lining

Freezing rain again here today, so we had to cancel another meeting that was to be held in our home tonight. I was looking forward to some great conversation, good dessert, and coffee. I even bought some pretty new coral napkins and 2 bags of Lindor truffles to put on my table.

{So far I have stayed out of the chocolate, but I had better give it away to a chocolate-lover-in need quickly or I might be in trouble!}

Instead, this evening I will be crocheting, eating popcorn, and watching Project Runway: Under the Gunn and Downton Abbey.

Ok. Maybe that doesn't sound so bad!

Yesterday the sun was shining brightly and that made it seem like a heat wave even though the temp was just in the upper teens, so Brad and I decided to go for a winter walk. We wrapped up tight and headed for our neighbors woods. It is really like a park and I love to walk there.

I snapped this picture from our patio before we left.


The snow was deep enough that it made for tough walking and we were plenty warm.


I was captivated by the light and the deer tracks that criss crossed the property.



This winter has been challenging, hasn't it? I feel fortunate that I have been able to be out and about quite a bit, but I think about elderly people or those with health problems who have been housebound-afraid to leave their homes because a fall could land them in a nursing home.

I should go visit them, shouldn't I? Or at least send a card.


We took the long way back home and were rewarded when we spotted two more owls! If I believed in "signs", I would wonder what in the world is going on. I've gone from seeing zero to seven owls in a week! (I wrote about my first owl sightings here.)



We also saw Precious, the neighborhood deer, and her twins. I was glad to see they survived the fall hunting season. I think they picked up their hooves and waved at us as we drove slowly by.


I'm so grateful for the beauty I can see within 2 miles from our farm. God is so creative and generous with his masterpieces!
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Monday, February 10, 2014

Just thinking.....

Another snowy day here on the prairie. Isn't is amazing how we can get used to the cold temperatures? The high is 10 degrees here today, but the sun in shining and it almost seems warm! Almost.

My goodness. Here it is the middle of February already. The days march on quickly.

Just a few things to share with you today.

#Apparently with lots of short, choppy sentences

#And fragments

#Where is my red pen

#toomuchtimeoninstagram

Random One:

Have you heard this song yet? I can't get enough of it!

              

Random Two:

I like this one, too.  
                                  

I'm adding both of these to my Holy Yoga playlist for the next couple of weeks. Can't wait to see the ladies yoga-it-up on "Move"!

Random Three:

The other day some friends and I went to a cute little store called Glamour Farms. They sell very reasonably priced cute clothes.

I found a really cute tunic top and was on the hunt for leggings to go with. They had some really cute patterned ones that I thought were age appropriate. I was shocked when I had to get a large and even more shocked that they didn't even come up to my waist. No matter how hard I tugged, they would only stretch to the about 3 inches below my naval. Yeeks!

Who wants to be tugging on leggings all day long? Not me! Those babies would have been down to my knees after an hour.

I came home and did a little looking on Nordstrom's website and found these by Zella. They were more expensive than most, and they aren't patterned, but they got rave reviews and I knew I could wear them for yoga too.

I love them, and I think you will too. They are warm and suck in shaky bits. So, if you are looking for leggings more suitable for someone who has a bum and a curve or two, you might want to give these a try.




Random Four:

Do you use essential oils? 

I am way late to the party, I guess, because I am just now beginning to explore them. So far, I am in love with lavender and until last night when I woke-up at 4:00 (Jesus was calling, and I answered), I have slept like a baby whenever I used it. 

What oils are your favorites?

Random Five:

I had to run to the John Deere store about 20 miles away from our farm to pick up Brad after he drove a tractor there to be repaired. On our way home, we took a road-less- traveled, and we were definitely rewarded. 

If you look closely, there are 5 owls in this picture! I wish I had my good camera with me, but since I didn't, we tried to burn the image in our brains. We sat in the car with the window rolled down right by them for a long time, watching them turn their heads all around. Sometimes they were looking right at us. I tried to get them to "Whoo!" but they weren't interested. 


I  don't remember ever seeing an owl up close and personal. Seeing 5 at the same time, was a real gift, and I am so glad we took the long way home!

So, girls, do you have anything to share with me? 

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Childhood Should be Reserved for Children

This is part of an old railroad mile marker. Notice all the potshots someone has taken at it. So symbolic, don't you think?

Have you ever experienced a scenario like this? 

Before starting your quiet time, you pray that God will show you what you need to know, that He will convict you where conviction is needed.

Then you begin reading along in the Bible, minding your own business, maybe reading verses you have read many times before, maybe busily applying those verses to other people because that comes so naturally, when SMACK!-God pours conviction on you like he is refilling sweet tea at Cracker Barrell?

Well, that is what happened to me this morning.

Hurts, doesn't it? 

The She Reads Truth girls have just started a new Bible study titled This is the Gospel. Part of my reading today was I Corinthians 13:8-13. What a section of scripture with so much truth! The verse that really gobsmacked me was this one: 

11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.

I have read that verse countless times and never once considered that it might still be applicable to me. I've been a Christian a VERY long time, after all. I'm grown up in the Lord, aren't I? 

Aren't I?

I guess not because today, I realized that there are many times I still speak and think and reason as a child.

I speak when I should listen.
If I think something, I say it.
I demand my way.
I pout.
I gossip.
I tattle.
I manipulate.

Gosh. I sound pathetic.

Dear Jesus,

Please forgive me. May I listen to the Holy Spirit so that I may GROW UP. May I stop making myself number 1.

I am definitely a work in progress. Quoting that sage philosopher, Oprah,"You can't do better until you know better," now I know better.

So, I will let the gospel do its transformation in me. While that is happening, I will try to follow some of Paul's other words in this section of scripture.


Conviction is a gift. May I receive it with a heart to do something about it.

Can anybody relate?

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Beach Love



After our wrestling match with the Blizzard of 2014, our hearts were aching for some sunshine and warmer temperatures, so we hooked our vintage airstream, Pearl, to the back of the truck and headed south. 

We purchased Pearl in July and had only camped for a couple of days at a time, in campgrounds relatively close to home, so we were excited to venture further from home to see if glamping was really for us.

We headed to our favorite area in the Florida Panhandle, 30A, the road that travels along the ocean from Destin to Panama City. Having made many trips to the area, this has become our home away from home, and we couldn't wait to get back!

Brad has set a goal to try to do something new-to-him every single day this year, and our little adventure fulfilled that and then some. There definitely is a learning curve.

Finding places to eat when pulling a long trailer isn't always easy. We pledged after eating another gross McDonald's meal that we would not be doing that again.

So, Cracker Barrel is our new favorite camping trip place. Travelers can call ahead for a home cooked meal and it will be waiting when you arrive, and they have special dedicated RV parking spots. Pass the biscuits please!

We learned so much about camping during our week away!  Some lessons involved antifreeze, broken truck mirrors, and putting too many paper towels down the toilet. I won't go into detail about how Brad took care of that problem. Poor guy. 

I don't recommend any of those experiences to you, but I do want to share with you a few places I do recommend if you ever find yourself in this beautiful spot on the Gulf of Mexico!

1. Camp on the Gulf


We spent our first couple of nights at this campground which is directly on the beach. Parking right in the sand made the ocean our personal pool. It was unbelievably beautiful and empty with front-row seats to amazing sunsets. 


We met lots of friendly snowbirds, who seemed to be enjoying their "homeless" adventure. Many of them had sold their homes and were living the RV life, traveling from one campground to another. This isn't something that appeals to me, but I enjoyed hearing others talk about it.

2. Grayton State Park

Following our nights on the beach, we moved a little farther down the coast to this beautiful state park. These were full hookup camp sights, which means they have electricity, water and sewer. The campground is right beside a beautiful coastal lake separated from the ocean by a "field" of huge dunes. I'm sure the naturalist wouldn't call it a dune field, but seems like a good name to me!

A small group of airstreamers were there for a rally so we took advantage of the opportunity to learn from the experts some tips for taking care of our vintage treasure. These people are SERIOUS about their camping and knew their stuff. They were also very friendly and invited us to their happy hours and potlucks.

Don't you just love the bunting I purchased from Modern June on Etsy?
We enjoyed hiking the trails and bike paths through the dunes to the beach and the breathtaking beauty all around us. One day as we entered a hiking trail, someone coming off the trail warned us that he had seen a bobcat. 

Yeeks! 

Since we live in an area that frequently enjoys (not.) coyote choruses at night, we have a very healthy respect for animals in the wild. When we started to see lots of tracks that didn't belong to any kitty, we hightailed it out of there. One morning,  I looked up and a small eagle was flying right over my head!

We loved it there.

3. Hibiscus-Hug In, Hug Out


One of the reasons we went to Florida this week was to be there for the 30A Songwriter's Festival. We stumbled upon the event last year, loved it, and vowed to return. We weren't disappointed. 

One of the venues was Hibiscus, a quirky bed and breakfast place, that was recently featured in Southern Living. We like to try new restaurants so we enjoyed a great breakfast here on Saturday morning before our first concert. I had pork hash and scrambled eggs and a yummy fruit salad, and it was GOOD.

It was very chilly though, and I knew I was going to be uncomfortable listening to the music outside-I am such a cold weather wimp. One of the employees let us go up a set of creaking stairs with walls decorated with vintage Florida tablecloths to a little library. There were comfy chairs and tables and we enjoyed the concert from the open window. 

What a treat to look down on the Backyard of Love from this special perch!

 

I could go on and on about our other go-to places in the area, but I'll save those for another day.




Even though we were heading back home to another arctic blast, we threw our winter coats in the backseat of the truck, and headed north.

After being in a 31 foot trailer for 8 days, our home looked humongous! As I sat in my chair the next morning with my tea, Bible and journal, I looked out the window just as the sun was rising.

The same sun I had seen rise over the ocean and over a coastal lake was rising over the black fields outside my window. 

And I was filled with gratitude for my life and blessings.

What are you doing to survive this harsh winter?

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