Thursday, December 8, 2016

Writing Brave


            " We are called to be a company of people on earth who know how to be loved by God." 
                                                                                                ~ Graham Cooke

On Instagram I am participating in Susannah Conway's December Reflections 2016. Every day we she gives us a topic and we post a pic to represent this theme. Yesterday's theme was "Five Things About Me." I finally mustered up the courage to share the news - I am writing a book! 

My book has been in process for a few years now but I got serious this fall when I signed a self-publishing contract to turn a dream into reality.

At first self-publishing seemed rather narcissistic. After doing some research and talking to a few people with experience, I realized trends have changed in the publishing world. I found a reputable self-publishing company and took the plunge.

The flowered folder on my desk holds the nearly-completed manuscript of my journey over the past 4 years. I will share more in the days and weeks ahead. For now I am learning to trust in God's love for me, which is a huge lesson begun on a path of brokeness.



Wednesday, November 30, 2016

At the Brook


As the Christmas season kicks into full gear, I usually find myself reviewing photos for the year. The above photo speaks volumes to me today.

Sitting still, empty-handed, waiting in trust.

"Do not depend on your own understanding." 

This one line from Proverbs 3 followed me through November days.

What did I learn in November? 

I learned I have a lot to learn. 


1. Obedience is hearing from God, listening toward him.

     I heard someone teach on this (I don't recall who) and it stuck with me. Listening toward Him. Sometimes simply listening toward Him is my call to obedience. In these noisy days when everyone has a loud opinion, listening towards God is a large obedience.



2. Discouragement and adoration can walk side by side.

     In my discouragement over health issues and other unanswered prayers dear to my heart, I discovered a new way to adore the Lord with His word. Simple, no frills adoration. Listen to Sara Hagerty over on God-Centered Mom's podcast for more. I find I can lift a simple prayer of praise with a heavy heart as I lean into one verse resonating with my soul.



3. God is my Father and He loves me.

    My head knows this but experientially I am lacking. I keep tripping over Father scriptures leading me this past week to pray an honest prayer.

 "God, I don't understand the depths of your Father-Love. Teach me Holy Spirit."



4. Heaven has a viewpoint different from ours here on earth.

     This comes back to listening and waiting. Instead of rushing into what I think is the right thing to do, I desperately need to wait a minute, lean back and breathe. Our pastor preached a message Sunday on Elijah at the brook Cherith. Elijah hadn't done anything wrong. Actually he was there in the lonely, desolate place because of his obedience to God. God provided for six months. Then the brook dried up.

He could have said, "That's that. The brook is dried up. I need to move on. No, the scripture says he waited for the word of the Lord." 

Circumstances may not indicate God's will. I need to walk with restraint. How difficult this is when I want to run to the side of a loved one and be a help! How hard to live out peace when chronic allergies attack my weary body.


"As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him." Psalm 103:13 NIV

 I lift my voice to adore you compassionate Father. I do so by bare faith in your word to me. I don't understand all your ways and timing. You know me. You see my weaknesses and my struggles. Let your compassion flow into my life and then through me to others. Amen.







Saturday, November 19, 2016

Hands Open to Joy


The past several days looked like my table, cluttered and a bit overwhelming. 

I had big plans a week ago to shop for Christmas while my car was serviced. After driving the three hours to Bangor where all this would happen, I turned around and came home at the end of the day, sick and discouraged. 

Hopeful, a few days later,  I wrote a long page of intentions for this week. Then life happened as it often does. I ended up in Physical Therapy three times a week for the shoulder pain that had been plaguing me and my mom-in-law went in the hospital after a fall. On top of everything else, I struggled with symptoms from the week previous.

Sitting at my desk one morning, trying to hear from the Lord (trying is never a good sign), a text message popped up on my phone. Nancy has been a dear friend of mine for decades. We can go weeks or months without talking or seeing each other as she lives a busy life, three hours away. She texted to say she was thinking of me and praying. I told her I needed it and thanked her. 

She responded, "Call me and we'll pray."

I have learned that prayer spoken aloud over me often clears the path for  heaven to come on the scene. 

I watched God work the rest of the week surrounded by her prayer.

All but two of the intentions on my list were accomplished plus I had time to rest and watch a bit of television and start a new book.


Our beautiful weather held this week but the forecast calls for snow on Thanksgiving day. My thoughts are turning towards Christmas and family. Last night I put fresh batteries in all my candles around the house, nesting in their glow. 

I read a passage in my beloved "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp.

"Joy is a flame that glimmers only in the palm of the open and humble hand. In the open and humble palm, released and surrendered to receive, light dances, flickers happy. The moment the hand is clenched tight, fingers all pointing toward self and rights and demands, joy is snuffed out... The demanding of my own will is the singular force that smothers out joy - nothing else."

I purposely open my hands, surrendering each day to my Creator Father, trusting and basking in the light of joy, knowing I can trust Him.









Sunday, November 6, 2016

Simple Treasures


I was on my way to the funeral of a 95 -yr - old lady from the church we used to attend.  Snow had been spitting from the sky and temps were cold, so I donned my black boots and warmer clothing. The last thing I expected to greet me as I exited the car was a colorful pile of leaves under my feet. I quickly snatched my iPhone from my pocket and snapped a photo, with a smile on my face.

Leaves conjure up good memories. I remember as a little girl coloring around leaves in school. As an adult, I loved leaf projects with my own children, including jumping in the piles.

This day was full of memories as I visited with old friends at calling hours. Young adults I once taught in Sunday School shared about their families and their lives. 

Treasures can be found in the most unexpected places if we but slow down and listen. 

Sunday is a busy day for many who still have to work or serve in some capacity. For me, the Sabbath has become a place of rest and recharging. Today my rest will include church. Some Sundays, we choose to remain at home if I see Hubby is in need of extra sleep. 

We all need a day to reflect and recharge. 

I read a quote recently from Eugene Peterson. 

"Busyness is an illness of the spirit."

Now I know we are all wired differently, but I believe the statement leans toward the side of truth.
At least for me. I need quietness and solitude to stay connected with myself, the real me. When I live in the noise of other peoples opinions or the frenzy of media and world events, I tend to flow with the stream around me. I want to walk before the Lord in step with his kingdom principles. 

Quiet time grounds me.

I talked to a lady at the funeral who recently had emergency surgery. She said looking back she realized her body was trying to tell her something but she wouldn't listen.

How often over the years I did the same thing!

When I hear young women learning to take care of themselves and their families, using wisdom in answering the constant demands upon their lives, I give thanks. 

I wish I could go back and do the same. Maybe you do, too. The important thing is to start where we are now.

On this Sabbath, make a block of time to return to rest, doing something you delight in, enjoying family, reading a good book, or taking a walk. Whisper a prayer of gratitude as you do so.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Room to Breathe : Lessons Learned in October


Each month I write in my journal the name of the month, a scripture and a theme phrase. My word for October was "Breathing Room." September held many challenges and rough roads, therefore I stepped gently into October with a sigh of relief. Somehow I knew this month would be different.





First things first:

I needed to return to some semblance of routine and getting back to the gym was at the top of my list. I walked all summer outdoors with a friend. Now I donned my headset and entered time set apart for me, alone except for other walkers. A full hour where I was unreachable. 


I thrive in quietness. 

Distractions come in bundles, one after another. I must choose what is best over good. The desire for human interaction overwhelms me at times. I pray for wisdom. I am always going to have people in my life but praying for balance is important. God has pruned this area of my daily routine for months. I didn't understand why until this past week, but that's another blog post.


I move with rhythms of the seasons.

I spent many years fighting each transition but this year I am moving in a grace I hadn't known before. My windows are closed in the morning now and I switch my little heater on as I enter my office where I meet with the Lord each day. Cloudy skies and nearly bare branches have replaced bright yellow flowers outside my window. I'm okay with the change. Perhaps the fact that we had a full beautiful summer and glorious autumn helps with the shifting, but I think my inner woman is ready to draw inside, to connect with heaven's rhythms for this season in my life.



God really does give us our hearts desires - in His timing.

Lily loves animals and recently began horse riding lessons, fulfilling her heart's desire. What a joy to watch her ride!

I've been experiencing an odd mix of desires thwarted and desires granted. One door I was sure would open recently closed. My heart longed for this particular change for years.  Hubby and I were certain this was the time. Yet the answer was NO.
Right on the heels of my NO, another door opened I least expected, fulfilling a desire I'd thought might never occur.

Proverbs 3:5-6 was my guide throughout October. 

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don't lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths."

I'm learning to live beyond what I see and feel, looking beyond the immediate with eyes of faith. 
Learning is the key word here, a lifelong process.

What did you learn in October?















Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Barrel of Memories


Every time I walk past the  potato barrel, a memory flits across my mind making me smile. I wasn't smiling on the day the memory was made. 

Newly married and barely 18 years old, I felt a need to prove myself, a city girl in a farm family. On the particular day in memory, I set out with my sister-in-law to work in the potato house, bagging potatoes. I jumped at the chance to drive when Judy offered. Inexperience and a sharp corner became the scene for my first embarrassing moment that morning. I plowed her green car into a local's yard instead of making the corner. No harm done, except to my ego, we managed to get to work on time.

Everything went fairly well until my father-in-law asked me to roll the barrel of potatoes off to the side. Judy worked as well as any man so he took it for granted I could too. Barely 5 feet tall and 105 pounds, I fastened my gloved hands on the rim and attempted to roll it away. You guessed it. A barrel full of potato seconds ended up on the floor.

How humiliating! For years to come, I winced every time I thought of it.

Only now, decades later am I able to laugh at my disastrous introduction to farming. Now I recall my father-in-law's precious smile and gentle ways whenever I look at the barrel. 



Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Snow on Sunflowers


"Have you entered the storehouses of the snow?" Job 38:22

Waking up to the first snow in October usually makes me want to pull the covers over my head. Today I donned my robe and grabbed my camera. I am working on a photo project and snow on sunflowers works for me!

The air was fresh and clean as if washed by white crystals. I snapped several photos before slipping reluctantly inside for my morning tea. 

Taking my tea and toast into my office where I meet daily with the Lord, I opened my Bible to Job. What a surprise to learn there are actually storehouses for snow in heaven!

I love it when God changes my heart and mind to see things from His point of view. I could have visited Facebook and grumbled with a dozen or so people who I know are doing just that today. Instead here I am delighting in the photos I snapped in early hours.

The Lord has been shifting several of my perspectives lately. You may recall the other day when I poured out my heart about the election. Since then God has done a work and I plan to cast my vote by faith, with peace on November 8. Here's a link to one of the tools he used- 

http://www.emic.org/blog/faith-nation-specials/

I learned so much by watching the whole of part 1.  I plan to return to part 2. This wasn't the only tool that God used but very informative.

No matter who I vote for in the coming election, my mind is fixed on the promises of Isaiah 9, knowing the true government of my life is upon the shoulders of Christ, the Prince of Peace.

Thanks for tolerating my ramblings, the journey through my thoughts these days.

What does the end of October look like where you live? I'd love to hear from you. Reply in comments or email. You can also find me on Instagram and Twitter as artsyfaithchic. Hope to see you soon!





Friday, October 21, 2016

Heartbeat of the Season



Nearing the the end of autumn here in northern Maine, a few  straggling plants have been pruned and  remaining planters, chairs, and hoses gathered and stored for the winter.  Sunflowers stand stark beside the bird feeder  in an otherwise empty yard. The birds love the sunflower seeds almost as much as the birdseed.

Tamarack trees transition from green to yellow. Hubby always says when they drop all their needles, winter is here and we can expect the first snowfall anytime.

Breezes blow raw, chilling the bones with an occasional warm afternoon heated by the sun. My days of walking outside have come to an end. 

My inner rhythms shift slowly. My brain struggles to catch up or gear down. Several projects call out to me. There's the cabinet I wanted to restore, painting in my bedroom I've thought about for three years and now the trim around new windows needs staining. 

Yet I sink into a chair by the heater and read a book. Guilt plagues me but I push it away, reminding myself how important caring for me is. I want to follow the rhythms of my body and soul rather than the to-do list, which screams out, "Christmas is only two months away."

I drove to the gym in the dark this morning, rain gently falling upon a few glorious leaves hanging on to their branches. From their I went to my massage therapist who is working diligently on my problem left shoulder. 
As I lay upon her table feeling the pain and tension in my neck and shoulders, I know I must continue to find ways to relax and release the things weighing upon my mind. Like the tamarack tree, letting go is a part of the transitions of seasons. 

My OLW (one little word) for 2016 is shed. Nine weeks remain. Next to"open," which was my word for two year, shed has been perhaps the most meaningful. 

As an English major, I learned the importance of writing with a sense of place and how it affects the characters and the story. My sense of place grows deeper with each passing year of my story. The heart of each season connects with my soul, beating a rhythm filled with guidance, if I will but listen.






Thursday, October 20, 2016

Which Way is Up?



Have you ever used a pair of binoculars and you couldn't get them to focus? You may have felt a little dizzy or frustrated after trying. 

If you are like me, as a Christian wading through the months and weeks of pre-election coverage, you may feel frustrated and out of balance. (I chose not to watch the debate last night.)

The media wants to be our binoculars, attempting to focus our attention on all the gory details of this election and its candidates. I have struggled throughout the entire process. 

This month God has been calling me into stillness, out from the widening circles of life, which often draw me away. He is instructing me to draw the boundary lines of my life circle smaller, closer to Him.

Lean back into Jesus and breathe.

Last night NBC News had a brief report at the end of their broadcast where they interviewed children about the election. I felt a shift in my spirit while watching, validating my struggle.

Confused and fearful students had been taught to respect each other, to respect authority, and to always tell the truth. Now they are watching the candidates for the next president of the United States break all those rules. 

They were also taught that bullying is definitely unacceptable. Here we are with a candidate who holds "bullying with words" in his daily repertoire. No wonder they are confused. So am I.

At least I was.

This morning as I drew near to the Lord and began to pray for our nation, my focus shifted to the Kingdom of God. I lay aside the binoculars of the media and the filters of Christian people I respect who say vote for platform. I picked up God's word, leaned back into his arms and felt a tiny bit of his heartbeat. 

Tears filled my eyes as a longing for the Gospel stirred in my heart. 

I want to see your glory cover our country Lord. I want our hearts to love you, to love each other, to be kind. I want us to return to values instilled in the very soil of this land, when our Founding Fathers dropped to their knees in worship and prayer, before making decisions they knew would affect nations.

I want to focus on your kingdom.

Matthew tells us that God takes care of the smallest sparrow, so we need not worry because he will take care of his children.

"But as many as received Him, to them he gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." John 1:12 KJV

This was the first Bible verse I memorized over 30 years ago when I made a decision to believe in Jesus Christ and surrender my life to Him.

Surrender has been the pathway to peace for me.

In God's Kingdom, the way up is down.

Help me to keep my focus on Your ways, Lord.

I don't know what I will do on November 8 but I do know how I intend to live every single day of the rest of my life.





Saturday, October 15, 2016

Trees, Testing and Trust



Autumn dressed in her finest colors this year. Absolutely stunning! I went out one afternoon for a photo shoot, only to discover a glitch in each of my pictures after downloading them. It seems I had something on my lens. Frustration threatened to wipe out my joy until I let go of my need for perfection. Nature had given me a gift, for which I was grateful.

The past two weeks I've been reminded how much I love being home. The Amish came and replaced our old porch with a new deck and two new windows, opening up our home to abundant light. I weeded out a few things in the room where they were working, including a bookshelf. I filled three bags and headed to one of the local thrift shops. 

We closed our camper a week ago today, lugging totes home full of food, bathroom essentials and bedding. I spent a whole day making space for all the stuff! 

Yesterday we met our daughter halfway and brought our granddaughter home with us for a few days. Our home transformed into castles and princesses and fun.

I love fall.

In the midst of ordinary living, I've experienced moments of God's presence breaking through, but for the most part, he's been speaking quietly through his word or the books I am reading each day. I've had a sense he's been preparing me for a season of testing. The tests haven't been anything traumatic, but personal and sometimes hard.

Today my reading landed in Proverbs 3:5-6, mainly on the words, "don't lean on your own understanding." 

This is the season I am walking through. 

 I really thought I made a good choice. I don't understand Lord.

Of all places, why would he choose there? I don't understand Lord.

I thought this was a done deal. I don't understand Lord.

I am so disappointed. I don't understand Lord.

Dont lean on your own understanding.

I need to lean away from my perception right now and lean into quietness, into His knowing even when I don't.

Halfway through October, I am grateful for my home, the beauty, the everydayness, and the bigness of my God who sees the end from the beginning.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Stepping Gently


In some ways, I welcome October. September was a rough month. 

If you read my last post, things didn't get any better. My mom landed in the ER twice. My daughter had surgery and I came down with a fierce cold (which I'm still fighting) so I couldn't help her at all. 

I knew the joy I'd gained in the summer months was tender and vulnerable, so fresh and new. I didn't want to lose my joy, so I found my self grasping with both hands and trying to hold on. 

Rest is found in the letting go.

Yesterday in Journal Club, Jamie gave us two questions to write about. 

"What is it time for me to release?"

I knew it was time to let go of summer and all its joy, with gratitude.

"What is it time for me to begin?"

This was harder. I listened. I knew I needed room to breathe. Even my body was sending this message.

Words whispered in my spirit.

Embrace your life, finding the quiet spaces where they are. No fighting for them, just moving into them.

 I step gently into October. 

My eyes rest upon the scripture I found yesterday.

"I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me." Psalm 16:7 NLT

In the night seasons, my heart will instruct me.

Help me to step gently and listen to the whispers.





Monday, September 19, 2016

Breathe in September


"Holy joy lies in the habit of murmuring thanks to God for the smallest of graces."
Ann Voskamp

Sunflowers bow their heads, tomatoes ripen, flowers fade. More often than not, I grab my jacket as I head out the door.  All signs point toward fall. 

Summer was the best I've had in years. Daily gratitude filled my heart for all the many blessings I enjoyed. Beautiful weather, family, health, flower garden, friends, books, joy!

Warm weather lingers around the edges of autumn, delighting northern Mainers who notice every single day of sunshine and shorts. Yet we've had a few days of cold and even a night I had to cover my flowers. As I drive to town, I notice orange-tinged leaves reminding me we have entered fall.

September unfolded several challenges. Hubby's right- hand -man (and only one besides hubby) at work was out with pneumonia which turned into a heart attack. Not only is he important to our business, but our hearts for he is Terry's brother. Now he awaits open-heart surgery in Bangor.

Then a person close to our family committed suicide, leaving several of our loved ones devastated to say the least.

We spent a few evenings checking in with them and our weekend traveling to see my brother-in-law.

Life doesn't stop because of tragedy. Mom's car broke down and has been in the shop for days, leaving me to get her to appointments. Over and over the stresses piled up last week. I found myself fighting for joy. I didn't want to lose what I'd gained this summer.

"Happiness is not getting something, but being given to Someone." Ann Voskamp

I slipped into my office and opened my Bible to Deuteronomy 28:1-14. God reminded me of my covenant, my promises under His Blessing. He called me to faith, to remember I am not a victim of circumstances.

Abiding in the place of intimacy with Christ every day makes all the difference. I am reminded of who I am and whose I am.

As I pray about other things concerning my children and family, I look up at a paper taped to my desk. My eyes fall upon these words:

"I've got this. Rest in Me."

I breathe in September.


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August Break Ends


August was full of color, summer days, discovery, photos, Lily days, fun, family, friends and fruitfulness. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

"I am"


I got behind here on wings open but you can catch up on Instagram @artsyfaithchic

Here "I am" ready for church today. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Friday, August 12, 2016

Secrets


Only those who have walked the full journey know the miracles we see everyday in Lily's life. As we look through her eyes more secret treasures are revealed 
#augustbreak2016

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Monday, August 8, 2016

Favorite Taste



August Break 2016

Ginger Peach Decaf Green Tea & Amish Raw Honey every morning.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Beneath My Feet



Yesterday Hubby drove me around back roads here in the County so I could take photos. Great fun!

August Break 2016

Saturday, August 6, 2016

I'm Reading...

 


August Break 2016

Just picked this up again last night. Still love "Simply Tuesday" by Emily Freeman the most but this is good, too. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Midday


Getting ready for Friday's Journal club. I love these online gatherings. 

August Break 2016

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Sweet



I chose an old photo for our August Break 2016 challenge today. Couldn't resist :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Handwriting


August Break Day 3

Check out Jamie Ridler's blog for instructions on how to make a magazine journal. They have all sorts of uses. Mine will be for free writing. 

Here's the cover, which I may alter. I used two of "the Simple Things" magazines. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Monday, August 1, 2016

Morning Light


I am following along with Susannah Conway's August Break. 

If I miss a day here you can catch my photos over on Instagram @artsyfaithchic.



Thursday, July 28, 2016

Favorite Reads So Far 2016


I apologize for background noise and my weary countenance. A well-meaning girl at Dunkin Donuts gave me iced coffee with caffeine last night instead of decaf!

Scroll down and be sure to catch the very short video of the storm which hit right afterwards.

Enjoy!








The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Art of Losing Yourself by Katie Ganshert

Simply Tuesday by Emily Freeman

Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar

Harry Potter - Book 1 by J.K. Rowling

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Angels of Humility by Jackie Macgirvin

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Also mentioned the podcast- What Should I Read Next with Ann Bogel - You can subscribe to the podcast here- 
 http://modernmrsdarcy.com/what-should-i-read-next/




The sound is hail hitting my windows!

Friday, July 15, 2016

A Perfect Summer Day



Today is the perfect July day in northern Maine. I took my tea outside where I enjoyed my flowers and wind chimes and morning breezes. After a phone chat with a friend, I hung a load of sheets on the line. Oh how I love the smell of fresh sheets blowing in the breeze!

My brother needed a few errands done in town, so a couple hours were spent taking him to Walmart etc. I got home just in time for a quick lunch before online Journal Club began. Inspiration kicking in,  my collage journal begged for a few minutes of my time.

It's nearly 3:00 and I've put off my office work all week. Yikes! Time to get down to business. I still have last week's work to catch up on after vacation.

Maybe I will eek out a few more minutes to step into the sunshine, take my sheets from the line, perhaps read a chapter in my book. Work will wait a tad bit longer.

I know around the world such horrible things are happening, adding layer upon layer of grief to the load we already carry. I haven't forgotten, but today I will honor those who suffer and those who slipped into eternity by living  in the moment, breathing a prayer into the air of a perfect summer day.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

What I Learned in June

Life is more like a rhythm to move with.


June was an incredibly full month with many responsibilities, a few surprises and renewed joy. Hubby and I were treated to the Waterfront concert in Bangor by our daughter. The performer was Dolly Parton and she was absolutely delightful! As you can see in the pic, it was a cold windy evening but a lot of fun.

I find myself enjoying the altar of my desk each morning more and more. Some days I fit in fifteen minutes to begin my day with prayer. The mornings I can leisurely sit here for two hours are my favorites.

I am leading a small Bible Study on Priscilla Shirer's "Armor of God." This is a good companion to her book Fervent. Given a choice I recommend the book.

We had our foundation worked on this month too so I have been in a mess! No washer for 10 days, dirt tracked in regularly, and various musty smells from wind blowing up through open cellar.  Not great for a woman sensitive to allergies! All in all, I managed to learn a few lessons, maintain a rhythm and practice gratitude.

Here are a few things I learned in June:
  • My Year of Yes is an effective tool! 
In May I made a decision to say yes to what matters to me. To what I love, to adventure, to things that normally make me afraid. For a year. 
I have become more confident in my choices. I find I am not waiting to matter to someone else and being disappointed because I matter to me. 

  • Forget the Pools!
I signed up for Emily Freeman's audio scripture meditations. In one of them, she made a piercing statement: forget the pools. Emily was describing the man by the pool of Bethesda waiting to be healed if only someone would put him in the pool. Then he met Jesus. I realized there were pools in my life that I turn to for various needs, only to discover they fall far short. I love the mantra- Forget the Pools!

  • The Holy Spirit does the impossible, AKA- I can give up chocolate.
After struggling with acid reflux for months, I made a few drastic changes in my diet. Chocolate has always been my love and my nemesis. Finally after a horrible attack, I asked God to take over and remove this addiction. As simple as the prayer I prayed, He did!

  • Setting intentions still works for me.
Every week I write out my intentions and check in now and then. It works!

  • I am learning to protect my heart.
When I am feeling hurt, rejected or overlooked, I bring those feelings to the Lord and remember I matter to me and that's enough. Somehow this knowledge helps me to know I matter to God.

  • God works while I pray, wait, and trust. He loves to surprise me!
I have been praying for a family member for months with a directive from God to wait. June was the month of turnaround.
I also prayed for Mom for a heart procedure she was having done. We drove the three hours to Bangor, staying in a motel for the night, expecting perhaps another night on top of that. A brilliant cardiologist decided to run a few more tests and sent us home without the heart cath and a clean slate. (well other than new BP medication and instructions). What a blessing!

  • Journal, journal journal!
Journaling is a valuable practice in my life and I wouldn't be without it. I joined Jamie Ridler's Journal Club this month. even though I keep missing the live feed because of traveling, its a lot of fun!



I cannot believe I am saying goodbye to June already but what a  jam-packed month of joy even in the midst of chaos and challenges!





Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Showing Up To Celebrate!



Lupines fill the fields, grass and trees are already the rich green color of summer, and the wind blows incessantly. Winter blankets still grace my bed, to be thrown off after an 80 degree day and pulled back over us in the middle of the night. June has been wet and cold, yet dusty fields cry for rain due to the hefty breezes.

The past couple of weeks my days have been filled to the brim with office work, trips to doctor appointments with mom, and journeying downstate every weekend for one thing and another ( i will highlight these soon).

I haven't even had time to get all my flowers in. The Amish are working on our foundation so we are in a mess. What garden I  did plant is struggling.

Yet I am celebrating today. I stopped the car and got out to snap a few photos of the lupines. They are so beautiful right now. This afternoon I returned to my long neglected book and wrote four whole pages. Hey, every little bit helps!

I have so many things I want to write and share with you here, but never seem to get to it. Supper preparation beckons me now, but I have decided to use the little snippets of time I have, to do the things I enjoy. This post may not be polished but nevertheless, I am showing up. :)

Take those fifteen minute breaks you have and do something you love this week. Show up in the moment.

Hopefully I will be back soon.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Discovering Podcasts


A world of information, community and joy has opened to me recently in the form of podcasts. 

I always had a few go-to podcasts on my phone like iBethel and EMIC plus Creative Living with Jamie. but wasn't aware that anything else existed. Then I stumbled across "What Should I Read Next?" with Anne Bogel. This led me to a few more discoveries. Here they are.

What Should I Read Next?

I absolutely love this podcast! I devoured episode after episode until I was completely caught up to date. In this podcast Anne interviews guests with a few simple questions. 

What are 3 books you love, a book you hate and what are you reading now. Anne then recommends three reads to her guest to try. 

My love for reading stepped up to another level. I quickly ordered "The Kitchen House," a novel about slavery on a plantation and the complex relationships crossing racial borders. Also "All The Light You Cannot See"  a World War II novel that I couldn't put down. I will tell you more in the future about these books.

I dug out a classic "To Kill a Mockingbird" and a long must-read copy of Harry Potter. These are on my summer reading to do list.

I love this podcast! Did I mention that? :) 

I ordered my books very cheap on Thriftbooks.com.

~ The Healthy Mom's Podcast

Although my family is grown, I find the Healthy info interesting and informative.


~ Sorta Awesome

I've only listened to a few so far, but I'm enjoying them. While working in the office today, I listened to the episode on " Ten Friends Every Woman Needs."


~ HopeWriters

I love Emily Freeman's books! This podcast is done by Emily, her dad and her sister- possibly more. I've just discovered it. A great podcast for writers of all kinds.


~ On Being &
The Simple Show

The jury is out on these two podcasts so far as I am still new to them.


~ The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey

So far I like what I'm hearing! Love episode #90 with Lauren Chandler.


Check them out at iTunes or in your app store for more information. And please, if you have a favorite share with me in the comments section.

Happy Podcasting!







Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Yes to May!




~ Miracles still happen

Almost four years ago Lily didn't speak, make eye contact, interact with others, function in crowds etc. In May she played "Mary had a Little Lamb" on the piano, sang with her class and enjoyed it- all in a crowded auditorium. 

Ending with an adorable curtsy!
                                                     




~ I don't always understand what God is doing.

                              

Several years ago when my daughter entered the military and moved across country, I was confused and discouraged. The years ensuing proved difficult for her. Now in the Reserves, she makes monthly treks (6 hour drive one way) to do weekend stints. Somehow Saturday night, it all seemed worth the sacrifices she and her family make, as she counseled for the Vet Center at the traveling Viet Nam Wall. My heart overflowed with emotion and pride.



~ Say yes to me. I matter.






I've been doing a lot of inner work over the winter - identifying thought patterns, shedding old reactions and choosing to listen to the rhythms of my body and soul. I spent decades hoping others would care about what matters to me. The practice of putting others first and me last almost always is catching up with me and its not feeling good physically or mentally. I honestly thought God expected this of me. Now I realize the balance is that He places value on me, as well. I need to do the same in my choices not mere words.

In May I read Shonda Rhimes book "Year of Yes." Even though I don't agree with some of her values,  this book was perfectly timed for  my life in this season. I am saying yes to me in a lot of little things and shedding old resentment and habits along the way.



~ Living in tension between faith and mystery continues.

I still struggle with physical issues and food. The old what-to-eat-what-not-to continues to plague me. 
My latest plan is to eat more alkaline foods. Lunch consisted of roast turkey on romaine, carrots and garlic hummus, and beets. I snuck in a GF cookie at the end. Now I feel bloated and yuck. 

Bill Johnson is one of my favorite authors and preachers. He has a ministry where countless healing have been experienced yet two weeks ago he underwent a serious surgery. 

There are no formulas when it comes to my walk with God. I continue to live in the tension between faith and mystery, trusting God along the way.

~


I'm happy to report Spring has finally arrived here in northern Maine with all its green, lush beauty and swarming black flies. 
Goodbye May. 
Hello June.






Monday, May 16, 2016

Going with the Flow


"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and He will direct your paths." Proverbs 3


Boxes and bags sit in the middle of my kitchen. Hubby and I were headed south today to open the camper. At 6:00a.m. I heard him say," Dont look out the window." 

Of course I looked! 

10:00 a.m. It's been snowing ever since, with no sign of stopping anytime soon. 

Welcome to  Spring in northern Maine. :)