Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December Hodgepodge

I thought it was a great idea to record a memorable moment each day of December but it never quite got off the ground. I joined #DecemberReflections on Instagram and it's been a challenge to keep up with that.

The weather in northern Maine has been a roller coaster since the first week of November when we were hit with two major snowstorms. Since then we have had a snowstorm per week and rain that followed. As you can see some of the days were cold but I bundled up accordingly.

This is one of my favorite moments this month. A hug from her dad helped a rough day become bearable. Love that I caught this in a photo.

I have been busy making Christmas gifts but won't go into details because someone might be listening :) but its been fun.

This is my favorite photo of the month, taken by my daughter when they were getting their Christmas tree. Lily loves Christmas. Can you tell? Pure joy!

My favorite blogpost this month thus far was also posted by my daughter. Regret is the topic and I really would like to write a response, if I can sit down and actually take the time. Its worth a couple minutes to read over here.

Lastly I loved decorating my Christmas tree this year. Hubby and I went to the lot and he picked it out. I lovingly added each ornament containing sentimental value. I am sitting here with my laptop enjoying its twinkling lights.

So there you have it, a quick look at some of my moments thus far this month.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Month of Moments

Christ comes small, the micro-macro-miracle 
who comes in the whisper and says, Seek Me. 
Ann Voskamp

Slipping out of bed at 5:30 this morning, I could feel the anticipation in my spirit of this day. Advent- Day One. I'd never paid much attention to advent, other than the lighting of candles at church each Sunday leading up to Christmas. I had to look up the word "advent" in the dictionary to understand why I was feeling this way. 

advent- the coming or arrival of something extremely important

Simple definition holding great meaning.

I plugged in my twinkle lights in the dark before dawn and gathered my Bible, journal and Ann Voskamp's book, "The Greatest Gift." It's a book of daily readings for Advent. 

"Advent, it is made of the moments."

That's it! 
The moments. 

A month of moments. 

Moments filled with grace. 

Moments anointed with Presence.

A month of His Glory.

Our lives are made up of moments. we know this yet we rush through them without a breath taken or a thank you breathed.

Will you join me this advent season in noticing? Breathing in, un-rush me, breathing out. See the glimpse of glory?

Use your camera, your pen, your art, your music, your form of noticing and capture the moments with me this month. Note them here or on Instagram with hashtag #monthofmoments.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Landing in Grace

Light is breaking out across my paths. Job 22 the Voice translation 

Sunday morning we skipped church in favor of a trip to the gym and breakfast together. As we were stopped at a light, I noticed a flock of birds flying back and forth from one rooftop to another. I grabbed my trusty iPhone and snapped a photo. Something about that scene connected with my spirit.

Life is a journey, never stationery. For the past two years now, the waters of this life have been rough at times, carrying me along, causing me to lose a sense of control and direction. Dare I say the waters have quieted and this ship has landed for a time? 

Sometimes what begins as a journey in one direction takes a totally different turn and we land where we never expected. The good thing about a life surrendered to Jesus is that we can trust that He had a plan all along.

I've landed in grace. That's what makes it all good.

So here we are at the close of November and nearly the end of the year. November 24th to be exact. Hubby and I have been married forty-five years today. He had a great checkup last week with the cardiologist. Our families are healthy and doing well. I am grateful. 

 I know all too well that life can change quickly. I write in my journal today from the Psalms.
"My heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord."

Give me an undivided heart Lord, purified and steadfast in your grace.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

In Need of Trust

Who knew when I posted my last blog writing, closing the month of September that life would change course unexpectedly once again. As we began October I was settling into my home, completing projects that I'd been thinking about for  a long time.

Heres my little black $10.00 table after I refinished it.

Then there's the chair I stripped three years ago. Oila'! Finally the finished product.

Hubby and I walked into the field one evening after they finished harvesting and gathered a large bag of potatoes for baking. I love the smell of a fresh dug field.

I hosted a Beth Moore event, bought material for Christmas gifts (Yay, an early start!), and sorted through art supplies - weeding out and planning for other projects. Then life interrupted my plans, as it often does.

An unexpected change in the daycare we had so carefully chosen occurred and I was needed. I packed my bags fully expecting to be home within a week. Two weeks have passed and every door remains closed.  My days are filled with toddler activities now and seeing life through the eyes of wonder.

Last weekend we slipped south to see two more of our grandkids. Our granddaughter was playing in the state soccer kick-off. Although it was  a chilly day, the hugs and kisses more than made up for it.

I wish I could say I have handled this change with pure grace, but that wouldn't be truthful. I've struggled with being away from home again and search for understanding. After all, I know God could move things along faster and open doors before us. But that hasn't happened. 
I sat before Him this morning, praying for wisdom and understanding. 
His answer was simple.
"You don't need understanding. You need to trust me, even when you don't understand."

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Closing the Month with Joy

Suddenly I have all these ideas for blogposts! What's with that? Hubby is waiting for me to watch The Voice so I will make this one quick and pray I can hold on to this momentum for another time.
Autumn leaped into view this past week. I don't know when I have seen the trees change so quickly and then an 80 degree record-breaking weekend swept in to everyone's delight who lives in Maine.

Our September closed in celebration. we had been trying to have a birthday party for a few weeks now but sickness and circumstances circumvented the plans. On Saturday I awoke with anticipation of the big day.  My daughter and her daughters are life's greatest blessings to me. It is so wonderful to have a picture of the three of us with huge smiles.

Then the birthday girl arrived surrounded with balloons and covered in stars. Perfect!

                 All went well until she had a fall but somehow those bandaids make it all better. :)

We moved the party outdoors.

She danced as she tossed the money from her cards into the air. How do we lose all that joy as we grow up?

It was a wonderful day and a beautiful weekend to close out September. I will tuck these memories in my heart to warm me in the colder days ahead.

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Shift in Perspective

There are days that require a fresh perspective. It can be as simple as sitting in a different chair in your living room, watching the light stream in the window resting on a bookshelf or a pillow. Perhaps a friend shares her point of view which gives you fresh insight that you wouldn't have otherwise. Listening to the simplicity of a child's voice of wonder can change your day. Of course you have to slow down a little to see or hear any of these things.

God is rarely, if ever in a hurry. Why is it that we think his people must be?

Un- rush me, Lord. I've been praying this prayer for a few weeks now ever since I read an online devotional from Lysa Terkeurst's new book, The Best Yes.

Be careful what you pray for.

Last week, Hubby and I went to the city for a few days. I had a doctor's appointment and then we were going to stay at the camper and visit with our girls. That was the plan. Then I came down with the flu. The timing was perfect, if it can ever be to have the flu, because the doc gave me anti-nausea meds. Those helped immensely. What would have been days in bed for me turned into one day in bed and two resting. Now I don't believe that God gives us the flu, but He is amazingly adept at weaving the bad things that happen to us into his plan.

I had just finished reading via Kindle, Michele Perry's book, "An Invitation to a Supernatural Life." I loved it so much that I bought the actual book. When I came into forced rest, I read her other book, "Love Has a Face." From there I dove into Heidi Baker's book, "Birthing the Miraculous."

Maybe you are thinking that these titles sound hyper-exciting and inspirational but you would be wrong. I found something stirring deep within me as I read about Michele wading in mud with her crutch and one leg, wrapping her arms around children in the Sudan lost and abandoned and much in need of love. Yes, she saw miracles. They were birthed in the midst of pain and suffering and immense love of the Father. By the time I got to Heidi's book, I realized that these women were living in a realm of Christianity that I can barely comprehend.

My perspective shifted.

Follow after joy. These are words that I have penned in my journal of late. Joy is not always found where you would expect. Heidi finds joy in Mozambique as she brings Jesus to person after person and sees their lives transformed. She finds joy in the midst of poverty, sacrifice, loss and the miraculous.
I am sensing a shifting of perspective these days. Jesus is challenging me to pay attention, celebrate life, and listen to love. This Kingdom life never grows old or dull and boring.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Five days of gorgeous weather for our camper rest. Hubby is recuperating from his heart attack and begins cardiac rehab next week. His brother is tending the business so we are making the most of these days together. 

One day we went into Bar Harbor and walked around. Another we went to Asticou Gardens. I can't wait to get all my photos from that adventure on my laptop so I can share them! Tomorrow we will head down to see our grandchildren in the Portland area. It has been nearly two months since we've seen them. 

We are taking our time and enjoying the journey. This is a big change for us. Usually we are making a flying trip and trying to fit everyone and everything into a two day weekend. I am grateful for God's blessings in the midst of all the changes.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bridge of Hope

I am sitting at my desk looking at this photo. There is something about it that draws me. I snapped it on my walk today, not realizing my setting was still on black and white from the August Break challenge yesterday. 

I know that I am connected to it in some way. I look up from the keyboard in front of me and spot a book on my desk. The words on the binding are "Today is Day One." 

Yes, it is. 
Day One to count blessings of the present moment. 
I am grateful today for:
  • warm sunny day
  • half an hour with the Lord and His Word
  • sweet goodbye to my bestie
  • a walk with Kate, my trainer/friend
  • a favorite tv show with my lunch
  • few moments captured with hubby sitting in the sun
  • clean laundry
  • a neighbor's quick visit
  • Instagram which brings fun into my day
  • thoughts of my children and grandchildren 
  • the little yellow bird's daily stop at the feeder
  • flowers still blooming
  • chocolate always
  • provision
  • strength
  • plans for the camper tomorrow, Lord willing
There are many women across the world today suffering, lacking, fearing. Lord, I lift them up before you. Be their center, their comfort, their hope as you are mine. Help them see the bridge you have provided for this season in each of their lives. A small prayer for an enormous need to a huge God of Love.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Starting the Day with IF:Equip

The Word of God has been the single most important key in my life. I have found instruction, direction, correction, comfort, love and grace there. And peace. The Bible word for peace is Shalom. It carries the meaning of wholeness, health, prosperity, soundness of mind, freedom from agitation and discord, safety, tranquility, harmony, fulness and rest.

Isaiah 26:3 says "perfect peace" is mine when my mind is fixed on Jesus, trusting Him. That perfect peace is actually Shalom, Shalom.

Over at IF:Equip today a new study is beginning on Galatians. Paul begins by blessing the Galatians with Grace and Peace. Look at all he was saying in two little words. And words filled with the power to bring them to pass!

Every morning, I turn to my iPhone and watch the barely 2 minute video on IF:Equip where women share on the scriptures. It starts my day by turning my thoughts to Jesus and his Word. Won't you join me?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Changing Course

This morning I gathered around me all the tools for my daily ritual. 

  • My go-to green NIV Bible
  • Faith to Faith devotional that contains my daily Psalm 91 prayer from the Amplified Version
  • Jesus Calling devotional
  •  yellow index card book with my daily prayer scriptures and declarations
  • lavender journal
  • pens
  • study on the Blessing with BVOV
It was the first time in a week that I was able to sit in my chair and quietly regroup. I looked back in my journal to the beginning of August where I had written - Changing Course. I knew it was a word for my life but I had no idea what lie ahead. Then last friday Hubby suffered a heart attack.

I had to drive him forty minutes from where we were on the Island to a hospital, where they life Flighted him to a larger city. As I drove, the scriptures that I had been studying came quickly to my mind and I began to pray them aloud and bless him. I am grateful for God's preparing. Two days prior  I'd read Psalm 90 in the Message Bible where it says, "Lord, show us what you can do." He did just that.

Hubby is home today and doing well. He has two stents in his heart but no damage. A month off from work is a tremendous challenge for my hubby, who loves his job. We own the company so it's a lot of stress, but his brother has stepped up to the plate. Dietary changes are tough and I feel for him as I play the bad guy, reinforcing these things. I know how hard it is to be restricted in what you can eat.

Nevertheless, I am extremely grateful that he is alive, able to enjoy our family and continue life with us here on this earth. God provided every step of the way this past week and I know he will in the days ahead as we change and adjust our course according to His plan.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Reviewing Intentions and Changing Course

At the onset of July, I wrote down a list of intentions and added practices to help me to stay focused. I must admit it was a difficult challenge in a crowded month. I've been going back over my list today and thinking about how I did overall.

 Let go and flow. 

Letting go is a daily practice for me. Journaling helps and prayer. I'm not sure how well I did with this in July, but I know I made progress in some areas.

 Receive the gift each day holds for me.

Joining a Hand to Heart group helped with this, their posts and Liz's weekly emails. Also the Instagram challenges and taking photos each day caused me to focus on the moment.

 Listen to my Life and Identify Patterns and Rhythms

I tend to push myself beyond what my body is really up to and paying for it later. I am finding that this week I am exhausted to the point that its a bit scary. July was extremely busy. I am hearing two things as I listen to my life right now, in this moment: self- care and "un-rush me, Lord" (a word Lysa Terkhurst shared.)

 Choose joy. 

For the most part, I started every day with Joel Osteens book "I Declare." This book has thirty days of affirmations. By the time I read through it each day, I was ready to choose joy.

 Be wholehearted.

Yes. I managed to fit in a little writing and a lot of reading in down time. I have a lot of work to do here. I want to choose the things that my heart is directing me to do.

Today I sat down to look through a few magazines. I only got as far as my Artful Blogging when the first words leaped off the page at me. 
I grabbed my visual journal and glued the words to the page. I know they mean something and are a signpost for the month ahead.

I would love to hear what intentions  you are setting in your life, what course you are pursuing in the days ahead. Please feel free to comment and leave a link to your blog.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July in Pictures

Every year we begin July with our family camping in Bar Harbor. One of my favorite moments this year was riding up Mount Cadillac in my son's jeep, door & top off. On the way up the mountain I was sitting where you see my grandson in this photo. It was both exhilarating and scary. I felt like I was right out there, in the air.

             There were a few quiet moments during that ten days, like reading a book to Lily.

Our week of family togetherness ended on the fourth of July, with the parade. A storm system was moving in the next day so everyone packed up and headed home. That was also my worst moment of July, the day I got the cat bite.

I love the fresh fruits and veggies available in the summer, like this spinach salad I threw together. Yum!

I had a lot of fun with Instagram challenges this month too like this photo I took on the deck of our camper, not staged either :)

This is one of my favorite photos from July. Hubby and I went to Seawall in Acadia National Park. It was a quiet moment with the tide out and only a few spectators.

I spent the last two weeks with Lily while my daughter went away for Air Force Reserves. Constant photo ops and plenty of hugs and kisses.

I closed out the last weekend of July with a few magical moments with my girls. I drove home on Monday and am catching up on my blogging and photos today. These are all iPhone photos as I can't find the cord to plug my camera in and upload my pics. Going back and forth this month from camper to home causes my frustration level to rise when I lose things or leave things behind. 

All in all, I am loving this summer and I can't believe it's two thirds gone. July, where did you go?

The last couple of years I have joined Susannah Conway with her August Break, just posting a pic a day here on my blog, only writing a post if I feel the urge. Obviously, I have been lagging behind on the posting so this may be an improvement! Hope you are enjoying your summer days.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ordinary Days


How did a whole week sneak by me without even a thought of blogging?

 Last week was a beautiful sunny week at home. I spent a few hours in my flowers and mini-garden making them presentable after vacation, only to leave them again for two weeks. I sorted through old photos that had been piled up and waiting. With a black sharpie I wrote the names of each of my siblings on envelopes which I packed with childhood photos collected by my grandmother or myself and sent them via actual mail. On Friday I made a trip to the local Cubby thrift store and dropped off scrapbook magazines, CDs and an old sewing machine. It felt so good to get those things done.

This week finds me in Trenton at the camper. I had a long travel / car problems / grocery / settle in day on Sunday.,Monday was supposed to find me picking up Lily at daycare but instead I spent a long lonely day recuperating from a stomach bug or pancreas problem here. Not sure which. 
Today her big sister picked her up so I spent another day here. I must say when I watched the rain pour off the camper awning this morning, I was bummed. How would I get through another long day? And I still felt too queasy to venture out.

I grabbed my iPhone and played with the Hipstamatic app, snapped a few pics of the rain, and journaled. Finally I opened my laptop to my book project and began to edit, changing the font to an acceptable one, adding page numbers, fixing margins etc. before I knew it, the afternoon had flown and here I am, with a day nearly at its close.

It's foggy here tonight with thunderstorms in the forecast. I have sent many prayers heavenward about that for both my daughter, who is away at reserves this week and had a close call last night, and myself here alone.

I finished a novel yesterday called Sea Music by Sarah McDonald. It's a hauntingly beautiful and painful story of a holocaust survivor. It reminded me how extraordinary our ordinary days really are. Even though these last few have been challenging, I have much to be grateful for.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Girl Talk Makes the Grade

This is how I felt about the fourth of July - off kilter. The fifth and sixth weren't much better, as I posted last night. Today, however, was a turnaround day. Yay! No fireworks, just gentle movement.

I did what I said I was going to do last night. I journaled and read a bit in my encouraging books and went to sleep listening to a message from KCM on my iPod.
This morning I gathered my Bible and journal and pens and devotionals and a few books and my tea and settled into my chair for a couple of hours of stillness and regrouping. I listened, I wrote, I read, sensing my thoughts shifting.

Later on in the day, my friend Barbie came over and we shared vacation stories and concerns and we prayed together. We parted with smiles on our faces and fresh resolves to do better in a few areas such as gratitude and  taking it easy on our hubbies. Oh, how thankful they must be that we have each other! :)

My foot is feeling better. I was soaking my foot as Barbie and I talked. I told her we had just experienced a spiritual Epsom Salts soak via sharing. The soreness and and any lingering bad stuff literally drew away from us. I love my online groups and texts and emails with friends, but there's nothing like a face-to-face girl talk session to make a gal feel better.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Testing Intentions


One of my intentions for July is to find the gift each day offers to me. On my birthday that was easy. My  sweet granddaughter brought me a crate full of carefully chosen presents and a card that made me cry. My daughter arrived later in the day with a bag full of gifts perfectly suited to me. What a delight!

It wasn't so easy to follow this intention the next day. I got caught in the crossfire of a dog-and-cat fight and was the recipient of several puncture wounds on my toes from the cat. While sitting in the walk-in care, I pondered my intentions. Only six months previously, I was on crutches for a bruised heel, followed by a fierce cold, followed by surgery. In between these things I've tried to get to the gym to walk and my plan was to eventually run, preparing for a 5K in November. Two weeks ago, I got another cold and cough. And now I'm soaking my foot, taking an antibiotic and limping again. Once again I cancelled tomorrow's trip to the gym. 

I have to admit that I'm discouraged. In all of the other events, I managed to find the gift. This time I can't shake the shadow hovering over me. The day this all happened, I had fallen into the trap of complaining and that whole morning found me irritable and on edge. Somehow I felt I opened a door to this attack. When I think about grace, I know God doesn't bless me because I deserve it. But I can't seem to move out from under the feeling that I deserved this. 

Another intention this month is to identify patterns and rhythms of my life. This is a pattern of thinking and I need to find a way to turn this around. Usually I like to wait until I am on the other end of the trial so I can give you the good news. Tonight I am in the middle of the process and sharing the struggle. 

What are the practices that I can use to move through the fog of the voices in my head, accusing and condemning? Those things which were said to me in the past that carry shadows haunt me when I get into this space. 
It's critical to have good spiritual practices in place for times like these.

I'm going to get into my jammies, crawl into bed and put pen to journal. I'm going to look back over this past week of vacation and write a gratitude list. I will read the daily entry  in my new book from my daughter. I'm going to pull off the shelf a few of my go-to reads when I really need something. It's a start.

What are your go-to helps when discouragement hovers? Sharing with each other can be added to the list. I am certain things will look differently in the morning. There's another practice to add to the list - a good night's sleep. Sweet Dreams.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Listening to My Life


Tomorrow I will turn 62 years old. How is that possible? I don't feel 62 but I do feel different than last year. The past two years I have learned a lot about myself, not all of it pretty. I may have mentioned that before. Nevertheless, I am learning to accept all of me and with that acceptance, embracing the need to change. Letting go has become a daily practice in my life. I feel like I will never live long enough to become the woman I long to be.

The picture above was taken today, riding in my son's jeep with the doors and top off. Going up was exhilarating, smelling the pines, snapping photos of the scenery. Coming down was scary. I realized in that moment that I still cling to comfort zones, like a door.


Speaking of doors, I happened to notice this one was open as we walked by. Everyone else seemed more interested in the next store or their destination. I, however, turned aside to snap a pic. A lavender door, open. For some reason, this door resonates with me today. 

One of my intentions for the month of July is to listen to my life. I'm listening. 

Here is my list for this month:

Let go and flow.
Receive the gifts each day holds for me.
Listen to my life. 
Identify patterns and rhythms.
Choose joy.
Be wholehearted, even in things that are necessary, perhaps not always of my choosing.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Lupine Love

I'd been driving by this little patch of Lupines for several days wanting to stop but it was on a corner and I wasn't sure where to park. Log trucks go by pretty fast on that narrow road and I would be out in the open taking pictures. There were several other spots where Lupines grew wildly, but the colors in this one caught my eye. They were unique. 

Today didn't begin that well. I woke to my ear bothering me from lingering congestion. My thoughts were mired in the past or at the least,  unfruitful paths. I tried sitting with my Bible and prayer. I took a shower. I went in the office and worked on billing until it was done. I read. The shadow lingered.

After lunch I told hubby I had to go for a ride and I needed ink, so we headed for Staples. Hubby decided to go along. I picked up my ink and was looking at pens (thinking a new pen might provide inspiration), when I heard a familiar voice. A friend I hadn't seen in some time came around the corner. After she filled me in on the latest in her life, she asked how I was. Somehow I couldn't gloss it over. 
"Today is not a good day for some reason,"I told her.
I shared a little bit.

She stepped toward me, placed her hands on my shoulders and began to pray. I wasn't embarrassed or wondering what people would think. Those days are behind me and besides, I needed this prayer. I left Staples lighter than when I'd come in.

We stopped at Dunkin Donuts for an ice coffee and headed home. 

"Now where was that place with the Lupines you mentioned?" Hubby asked. I had mentioned it in passing on the way to town. 

"Just up on that curve." I pointed. 

He pulled over and I hopped out of the car with my iPhone and my camera. After snapping several pictures, I crossed the road back to the car all smiles. 

"Thanks, honey."

So here are a few of the un-edited pics of Maine's Lupines from today. Photos can't do them justice.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Surgery, Siblings, and Sniffles

This is me tonight, in my jammies early, drinking a cup of echinacea tea and looking through my photos of the day. I'm lucky to blog once a week these days but I am enjoying my Instagram photo challenges.

I was sick all weekend coming down with this cold. Mom arrived at my house Monday morning promptly at 6:00 a.m. I took her to Outpatient surgery to have a cataract removed from her eye. She came home with me for yesterday and today.

I had been looking forward to having her but this whopper cold put a bit of a damper on things. I barely slept last night and whenI came downstairs at 7:30, Mom was waiting for me wondering when I was going to get up. Groan. I forced myself into the shower. We drove over to the Amish bakery which she loved but I was too tired to go to the gardening place.

After lunch we took a stroll over to the shop, where my sis-in-law, Judy, was waiting for her brother to return. I got a great picture of her.
Gotta love that iPhone.

Mom's doctor appointment wasn't until 4:00 so we drove to town and asked my brother to go for an ice cream.  He decided to ride along to the doctor.  There was a little pond across the street from the eye surgeon. Mom declared that she could go in by herself so Steve and I sat on the bench, watching a duck and a creepy moving reed (you had to be there:). For an hour we chatted and laughed. Those moments went in my nightly journal for my favorite of the day.

When did those two kids who used to play marbles in the back yard together grow so much older so quickly? Still young at heart. Not a bad day feeling as bad as I do. Silver Linings. Its been a while since I've thought about those.