Friday, May 30, 2014

Faithful Friday!

Happy weekend!
Life has been so busy lately and I have missed blogging more regularly.
I am hoping to take advantage of some free time soon
to share some things, hopefully some photos and a recipe :)
I hope y'all have had a wonderful and blessed week.

This verse is one I am so glad to be reminded of today.  
I am ever thankful and indebted to God for the beautiful meaning this verse has
in my life.
How powerful the thought is that because of the Lord's love for us, we cannot
be consumed.  We may fail Him daily and succumb to selfish desires or falter in
certain areas of our lives, but with God's love we are not consumed by that.
No matter how hard the devil tries to get us to move over to his side,
God is with us and He will hold onto us.
God's love never fails, and as one of my favorite verses tell us, nothing
can seperate us from His love.  And as it says here,
His compassions never fail and his mercies are new each morning.

How amazing to stop and think about that...
Every single morning of our lives that we are blessed to wake up,
God is ready and waiting to be compassionate towards us, have mercy on us,
and is ready to forgive.

Reading this, I am hit by how different life would be without that.
What misery to wake up and not have God there, or to serve a God
who was just waiting to punish and leave us when we failed Him, a God
without compassion.
I thank our Lord that just the opposite is the case!

This is a blessing of a verse to read in times of self-doubt, pain and hardship,
or whatever we are dealing with.  Even if we aren't in any kind of hardship at the moment,
we can be so thankful that God's love and compassion and tender mercies
are waiting for us every single day, keeping us from being consumed by our

I hope you have a lovely weekend!

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Faithful Fridays are hosted by Joy on her blog, Doodlebug.  Click here to read her wonderful posts.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Faithful Friday: Sufficient Grace!

Happy Friday!  I am thanking the Lord another weekend is here!
This verse I want to share has been working in my heart, but only today did I read it ALL with
full thought about what an amazing statement God is making through these words.
Sometimes you stare at something for a really long time or read it a hundred times and you 
don't get the full meaning or something doesn't click, until when it finally does, you are so thankful.
I guess it's like when you stare at a math problem and you might be so stumped, and then you
understand it and can't believe you never saw that before... that's sort of how this was for me.

I LOVE moments like this, most of all in my walk with God and realizing
things about a bible verse through those types of sudden thoughts that may hit me.
For this verse, I am talking here on the first part, up to "weakness"...
I have read this so, so many times, but for some reason
I always focused my attention on the second portion of that part of the verse.
Those words, "for my power is made perfect in weakness", have resonated with me and
been so beautiful in my eyes because they always remind me that a sinner and completely
imperfect girl who fails God continuously like me is not past hope.
It reminds me that my mistakes and imperfect ways don't make me too far gone.
Instead, God can work with me and mold me as the sculptor that He is to make something
wonderful out of a mess.  And I am so grateful for that beyond words and maybe even
my own understanding.

for some reason, my mind has been so in love with that part of the verse
that I did not truly focus on the first words before it.  So, waking up this morning and reading
this, I guess it was time for me to change that, because I read this and then those words,
"my grace is SUFFICIENT for you", hit me in a new way.
This message is found in other places in the bible, but so clearly stated here especially...
the message to you and I that God's grace is sufficient.  For everything.
There is no sin, no imperfection, no weakness, no person
that is beyond the help and graces of God.
And that is what I am now focusing on in this verse.  It was something I really
needed to hear and it changed my day after praying a lot about something on my heart.
This was also a reminder to me that aside from knowing God as a compassionate and loving
Father, my other favorite thing to know and appreciate so much about Him is
that He is all powerful without limit.
  So what a blessing to think about that in this case... applied to
the fact that there is no limitation whatsoever on how powerful God's grace is
and the extent to which it can cover our sins, strengthen us, and ultimately redeem
us and make us new in Christ.

What stands out to you about this verse?

Blessings to you always :)
Have a lovely weekend!

.             .             .

Faithful Fridays are hosted on Doodlebug, where you can visit Joy and read her 
wonderful posts.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Faithful Friday: Testimony

Sharing my faith is something that I have been encouraged to do from the time I was little.  It wasn't until I got a little older, though, that I really started to think about not just sharing about faith but about how that faith came about- testimony.
This is something I have been thinking a lot about, and the main reason for that is because I know how strengthened and encouraged I have been- so much!- especially in just the past few years by hearing the testimonies of faith that others have expressed.  Testimonies are so powerful and such a blessing to hear because they show the incredible power of God to save those who may have seemed like they were headed anywhere but to a good life.  And while my heart smiles at the testimonies of those around me, it is neat to think about the testimonies we are shown through scriptures also, like that of Paul!

I have heard of testimonials of people who committed awful crimes, were in prison, and had someone come to the prison to share about the Lord and their lives were turned around forever by the promise and hope they found.  But a testimony can be equally moving when shared by someone who has had God in their lives all through their childhood and had something happen where they realized they were not truly connected with God.  Any testimony is an encouraging one and I'm so thankful for the ones I hear and read about.  They make my heart so thankful for salvation through Jesus and my my heart fall on it's knees so to speak, awe-inspired by God's love.

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Sometimes I know I have thought, especially when I was very shy, that something I had to share about my faith was maybe not what someone else wanted to hear.  But I began to realize how important it is that as people who are blessed to have a relationship with God, we should not hide that away in our hearts or be shy or afraid to talk about it to people just because we feel like we might be ridiculed.

How amazing to realize this... A testimony of our faith that we share with someone might be the difference between them living a life of sadness and a life of hope and joy!  God can use you to change someone's life through your testimony.  We may run across people who are so distraught over a loss or over something awful that happened to them.  Or maybe they have sinned in some way that they feel they cannot be forgiven for.  Hearing your testimony or even sharing the testimony of someone you know change their world and give them a new hope, showing them that with God, nothing is impossible.  Nothing.

This is so wonderful to think about.  It is something I am feeling working in my thoughts as I ponder how important it is to share our testimonies and our love for God and His love for us with others.  I'm encouraged by this reminder that we should never think the roots of our faith are not worth sharing, because if they could bring someone new life, they surely are.

Blessings and a beautiful Spring weekend to you!

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Faithful Fridays are hosted by my Joy on her lovely blog, Doodlebug, where you can read her inspiring posts.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Spring Storm

Red.  That was the color that was covering the entire screen on the radar last night.  Yellow was everywhere too, but mostly red.  I have a fascination with weather, but at the same time I have a fear of scary weather.  As long as it doesn't get too bad, though, I love it...

These long, loud storms like the one last night have the loudest claps of thunder, drawn out into more like booms and eruptions than claps.  They last and they start out weaker and then they grow to sound like the roars of lions.  That deep, heavy roar that seems to shake the ground... at least from what I know it feels like at the zoo.  Thunder is beautiful, but when it roars and claps as hard and as suddenly as it did last night it can be a little scary, I think.  At the same time it is soothing when it subsides into smaller sounds, more like little drum rolls of thunder.
But my favorite thing in the world about rain-storms is lying in bed and drifting off to sleep or reading like I was last night and hearing a never-ending trickle of thick, stormy rains on the roof.  I love that pitter-patter sound of those heavy raindrops that eventually make their way to the edge of the storm drain and start to fall and trickle in streams down the side of the house.  That is when I know the storm is staying awhile and that it is good and strong, and I have been in love with the feeling of the comfort of soothing rain ever since I can remember.  A good storm- but not too strong a storm- makes Spring and Summer feel alive because you know that it is watering all the flowers, giving a much needed drink to things that were starting to dry up and whither, and because storms this time of year are almost nostalgic to the season.  Just like when it's evening and you see one rolling in and the skies start to get that perfect darkness and the air cools down, a new smell of wetness in the air telling of the storm around the corner.

It is funny that people, myself included, can be frightened by thunder, when lightning is really the thing that can hurt you.  I am that way but only when the thunder is deafening, because somehow that makes me feel like the storm could be worse than I thought.  But lightning... despite it being the thing about storms that can hurt you... lightning has always seemed neat and just beautiful to me.  On nights just like last night, I like to look out the window at the lightning as it brightens the sky and everything outside.  Sometimes it seems to illuminate everything in a light that almost feels like it's from heaven and sometimes that light goes on and on through consecutive lightning strikes and it almost looks like day-time for a few seconds.

I always hope and pray we won't get any truly scary or dangerous storms, although summers in the South always seem to bring quite a few, whether in Tornado Alley or in other states... but as long as we don't have tornadoes, I welcome storms.  Last night was our first glimpse this season of a big storm like the ones we start to see this time of year.  I loved staying up late and listening, because listening is the best thing you can do when it's raining, the most wonderful thing.  Everytime we get a storm like this, I am reminded of how it makes me feel alive to simply hear all the little parts of it, how each storm has a melody of it's own as the rain drops fall down or slant-ways or whichever way they fall and create the background music of nature for a few hours or for a night.  Even the details of each sound amaze me, like how one sound of thunder may sound close and another may sound more like a warning of what more is coming our way from a distance.

I could listen to thunder and rain forever because it's beautiful and it somehow makes me feel closer to God to be able to hear rain falling straight from heaven onto my roof, trickling in a mix of soft and hard and soothing me to sleep, spilling onto ground outside my window.  The only thing better would be to lie in a hammock on the front porch with my eyes closed listening to the same thing.

This morning it was still raining.... cozy, cozy, cozy.  I'm hoping for more days and mornings like this through Spring and into Summer.  There is nothing that makes me feel cooled off more than even the mere sound of rain falling.

Is it obvious I love weather through the fact that I just wrote so much simply by being inspired by the lovely sounds of a storm?  :)

Do you enjoy storms?

Just like we should stop to smell the roses, we should stop and listen to the rain.  I love listening to this while I study or read.  So relaxing...

Have a blessed day!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Special Faithful Friday!

This is remarkable to me to think about and it makes me so incredibly thankful that God created the role of the mother to be someone so special, nurturing, loving, kind, and caring in ways that no one else in our lives can quite be... because he put that into mothers instinctually.  A truly wonderful mother is that way because God made motherhood her calling.  Raising children isn't just a project or something she does with her extra time after tending to her own needs or wants- it is far beyond that, a calling as she purposes to put every ounce of her effort and love into giving that child what they need to be the best person they can be.
The Lord surely could not have picked anyone more special and amazing as a mother to fulfill that!

This inspires my thoughts even more when I think about how unique a gift the bond a mother has with her children is.  He allowed them to share the same body for 9 months, two heartbeats in the same body, the closest you could ever be.  And the mother is always and throughout all of history has been the core of the family, the one who holds everyone together...
she is the best encourager, source of comfort, giver of love and hugs, listener, and all of the above.

To give thanks for what our mothers are and who they are in our lives- completely irreplaceable- goes hand in hand with faith, acknowledging that no one else but God could have dreamed up and created such an amazing figure in each of our lives as our loving mothers.

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God has really given me a greater sense of appreciation for mothers as I have gotten older.  I have always had appreciation for and been so grateful to have her, as well as other mother figures in my life, but being in my early teens to now has made me more sensitive and aware of just how much mothers do and how grateful we should be to have them in our lives and never take their love for-granted.
A few years ago, I saw my two childhood best friends lose their Mom.  Even now, that still doesn't feel completely real to me because it felt like it couldn't happen, but it did.  That changed me and the way I look at so many things, but especially mothers, because I realized that things can change so fast.

I thank God for him creating mothers, giving me mine, and for the blessing they are to our lives each day.
I think mothers play the largest part in teaching us to be honest, kind, and shaping us into loving people and they are unique to our lives in that they have that chance since they are around us perhaps more than anyone else as we grow up.
I'm appreciative for the foundations in faith and goodness that mothers are a huge part of giving us, but also for the simple things like being after us to keep our rooms clean or to not leave our shoes in the middle of the hallway so someone doesn't trip over them  When you're a kid, you get tired of that, but when you start to grow up you love your mother more for her caring enough to teach you simple but useful things.  And also things that shape you and make you appreciate the finer things and things you grow to love, like reading and sewing and cooking and making a home or studying the world around you, gardening, being a woman of substance and as a daughter, and knowing the importance of things like writing thank you notes.

.           .           .

This old picture just makes you smile.  It looks like the epitome of joy at becoming a mother.

I am thankful to God for giving me not only my own Mama, but being born into a big family with too many women to count who are mothers to me as well- who were born to be mothers- and who have shaped who I am since I was born.  There is no greater blessing in family than to have mothers wherever you go.

Our mothers invest so much into our lives, but they don't stop there.  I'm thankful for their willingness and love that is so strong that they pray for you and with you more than anyone else and even when they are exhausted, they keep going.  Wherever you are, whoever you're with, whatever you do, what a blessing that your mother is always with you in your heart ♥

What I think about most when I think of mothers is to me, what I love most.  Whenever you're in the arms of your mother, everything is alright for that moment no matter what else is going on.  A Mama's hug is home.

God bless you if you are a mother!  Here's to all of the mothers whose love reaches the ends of the earth for their children, who are patient and kind and loving, whose calling is to raise their sons and daughters, who so lovingly stay up at night with sick babies, who juggle it all and never show how tired they are, who are the cores of their home and are steel magnolias during the tough times, and most importantly who never give up on their children.

....and because I love it so much, even though I think I posted it last year, I'm including this.  It is true and funny, shows the meaningful love of mothers, and makes me smile.

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Faithful Fridays are a linky party hosted by Joy on her lovely blog, Doodlebug.  You can visit here, here!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

It's May... Dreaming of Big, Beautiful Hats

This time of Spring, I always start dreaming about big, pretty Spring hats.  I think it's a combination of feeling the heat on my face when I walk outside and wishing I had something to block it out, and probably a little more so the fact that the Kentucky Derby has just happened and seeing all of the BEAUTIFUL hats all the ladies are wearing in photographs inspired me.
This makes me wish I had a fancy hat tea party to go to.  I wrote a post awhile back a little bit about hats and mentioned that I went to a mother-daughter party like that when I was younger.  It was the prettiest party you ever saw.  Classiness and beauty everywhere.  I'll never forget it.

Even though I don't have anywhere to where a Southern or Derby style hat anytime soon, I love looking at them in vintage shops and other stores and in photographs.
For anyone else who has classy hats in your soul and wishes all ladies still wore these out for more than just one or two days a year, I thought I would share some beautiful ones I found... some I just think are gorgeous, some I find so unique, and many are from actual shots taken at the Kentucky Derby...

This is not at the Kentucky Derby, but it is a hat I found that I love.
This is one I would love to have this Summer- for the beach, picnics, walking around
on vacations.

And I included these because, for anyone who ever saw Gone With The Wind, chances
are you are like me and if you have a love for hats like these, a great deal of it might
come from watching Scarlett O'Hara wearing her elaborate hats in all her glory.

It is hard to choose, but if I had to, I would say that the second photo from the top has my favorite hat in it and the one I would want to wear most.  It is so lovely and looking at it makes me feel as if I have stepped back into the old South.

I've been thinking about how fun it would be to make hats, also.  I would love to try that.  I remember having some hats that women in the family had made, mostly summer hats with flowers and ribbons.  This makes me think about the wreath I made this Spring.  To do a big display of hydrangeas on a hat and then a green silky ribbon tied around it with the ends hanging off the back!  This makes me want to go to the craft store and get started now ;)

Which hat was your favorite or which one would you most want to wear?

Do you love hats, too?

I hope you have a blessed day!

{photo sources: Pinterest and Kentucky Derby}

Friday, May 2, 2014

Faithful Friday: Beautiful Psalm 4:8

I can lie down and sleep peacefully because I dwell in the safety of the Lord.  Wow.  There is something about this, even before it is written on this painting, that makes my heart and soul so thankful and closes away my worries.  One of my most special, savored times I spend with God is right before I got to sleep.  I would not give up talking to Him before bed for anything.  I am so blessed and comforted to tell Him my thoughts, my burdens, my hopes for others, and everything before I drift off.  It is so amazing to have the feeling of offering everything to Him and off of me, allowing me to feel light and freer as I fall asleep.
The aspect of my walk with God as I have grown throughout the years that I have appreciated perhaps the most is knowing He is a loving and warm God of comfort.  A true Father.  Oh how David's words ring true in this Psalm to how I feel each night, knowing I can sleep in peace without burden in my heart because God has made me safe.  I can't describe the childlike, most precious feeling I have.  What a gift to dwell in His safety.

The end of our day each night can be stressful because we are thinking of things we have to do later, things we didn't get done today, burdens and worries, stresses, health problems, parts of our current situations we wish would go away.  I have that feeling too.  But then I crawl into bed and talk to my Lord and everything changes.  Sometimes He puts me so at peace that my worry fades away so much that I fall asleep during my prayer and wake up the next morning to realize I never finished!  No matter what it involves, feeling God's peace over you is the best feeling ever.  There have been nights where I was so overwhelmed or had a feeling of sadness about something, but remembering this changed that in seconds.

Know that it doesn't matter what you are going through because God knows your heart more than anyone, and he can soothe it better than anyone.  God wants us to dwell in his safety, not stay awake worrying and feeling anxious.  How wonderful to sleep as gently and peacefully as that sweet dog in the painting (which I love, by the way)!  My heart is so overjoyed at the beauty of this verse.


Happy first weekend of May to y'all!

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Faithful Fridays is a link up over on my friend Joy's blog, Doodlebug.  You can visit her and be inspired by her posts, here.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

April Days

Happy 1st of May!
Wow, did April fly by!  I hope you had a wonderful April and a wonderful
start to Spring, since it is the first full month of beautiful Spring.
April has been crazy busy here but also wonderful, with so many blessings, great family
 time, fun, and relaxing and doing things I love on the weekends.

I love this time of year!  I get so excited about it- everything is so bright, both
the mood and literally.  I think I mention that a lot, but it is so true.  
The food, the flowers, the skies, the feel.
These are my favorite shots and things I enjoyed about this month.

One of our first strawberries from the garden, ripe for the pickin' ;)
It is so exciting growing strawberries!  Picking them so far has been so
fun and I hope we get enough in the future to make a pie or cobbler.

I loved experimenting with baking and new recipes and looking for new recipes,
 as I always do.  It is so nice to get to use the pure Mexican vanilla my Grandma brought
 me back from Mexico this year.  Mmmm.  It seems to make things richer.

Something we love to do is decorate and rearrange furniture and create
new spaces.  Since I can remember, my Mama would ask me a few times a year
how I thought the living room or whatever room it was would look if we moved things
this way or that or changed the decor.
Since we've been in this house, we haven't changed up things nearly as much as
we used to because it's a little smaller, but a couple weekends ago we had so much
fun together creating this new kitchen nook area.  It is so cozy with the hutch
and the perfect breakfast area.  We also have our aprons hanging to the side.
It was extra neat to get to add Spring touches to the table.

Lately I have had the delight of getting into cake decorating.  I love it!
It fills my need to be artistic.  After not being in serious art classes for a few years like
I used to be, it was so nice to find something to do that was somewhat like painting...
except in this case it's painting icing onto cakes.
I'm a beginner, but I am so excited to get better and try new cakes and ideas.
This is my first cake and I started with something really simple.  I made the icing, 
which thankfully turned out nice and smooth.
Piping the bottom is harder than it looks, but it was really fun to try it out.
It was a special cake I made for my family so I got a little decorative and
put a tulip on top and finished
with a star tip border.

And inside...
Surprise!  It's pink :)

It is such a beautiful sight to look out the back window to see our
bush of pretty, pink roses blooming brightly.  As it gets hotter- because Summer
is already starting to make it's appearance more and more- they are fading a little,
but oh how lovely they are.  We have loved cutting a few to add some
cheer to our table each weekend and there are still more than plenty left.
Having fresh flowers in your home gives everything a lovelier feel.

Just last week, I got to go to the graduation party of one of my best friends
whom I have known since we couldn't even tie our shoes.
She and her sister are both so special to me and I got to see them again for the first 
time in what I think was almost a year.  I had so much sheer
 joy to see them again.  The moment we saw each other was more emotional
 than I thought it would be, and was the sweetest moment.
I also had fun getting the chance to dress up.  I finally got to wear this sequin blouse,
which I put over top a semi-formal dress that has a top I don't like.
I have a thing for sequins.  They feel very mermaid-y to me.

Having lunch with my family in this beautiful place with all these gorgeous trees
on the sunniest, prettiest day was another great memory from April.

My favorite view of all during Spring... a vibrant sea of native wildflowers
on a country road we drove to see.  

Other amazing parts of April were celebrating the incredible ransom of Jesus
and more recently finishing school for the semester (for the most part).

I hope you have had a wonderful week.
This has been such a busy month that I have only had the chance to write Faithful 
Fridays for the past few weeks.  It is a joy to get to write today!

Blessings to you
and wishing you a relaxing weekend!

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