Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Headed West!

I am heading out west for a wonderful family vacation.
I can't wait to see the glorious mountains and soak in the beauty of 
God's creation.
There is nothing that makes me feel so small and humbled, yet in complete
awe and peace, than being near the towering peaks of the Rockies.
I am so grateful to get to take this trip!

And best of all,  it is a road trip...
  a road trip that I am bursting with
excitement about, because the real
beauty of a vacation is all the memories you make getting there.
I can't help but feel so alive when on the open road headed to places unknown,
laughter and conversation and new scenery to pass the miles...
driving on roads like this one to get to our destination, where
the horizon is the only end in sight.

I will be out in the boonies, as they say, most of my trip, haha.
So I will not get to write here for a couple of weeks, but I look forward
to returning with photos to share and a fresh, renewed mind to get back to
writing, as well as catching up on reading your beautiful blogs :)

.            .           .

I wanted to take a moment before I go to say something I have been
meaning to... and that is simply to thank you.  Much more is deserved
than just a thank you, but I want to thank you for making blogging and writing
here such a joy! So many of you always leave me comments that are so very sweet
 and kind; you have truly touched my heart.  I have also been blessed to have
 you tell me stories or share your experiences in life relating to things I write.
I cherish reading those comments because there is nothing better than being
 able to connect with girls and ladies with such kind hearts as yours.
So thank you.  You have truly been a blessing to my life,
and always an encouragement.

Blessings to you, and I hope you 
have a wonderful rest of July!

See you in August!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Faithful Friday, Sunday Style!

Happy Sunday, Everyone!

I hope you are having a beautiful weekend.  I am writing a Faithful Sunday today, haha, or rather a Faithful Friday post on Sunday.  Busyness over the past couple of days has not given me time to write.  I am glad to get that time now, though :)

Today I want to share this verse that I was reminded of when I came upon it yesterday.  This is such an important thing to keep in mind in our walk with God.  The words here clearly express what it means to love God.  This is amazing to think of, because I know so many- including myself- who are always thinking and saying how much they love God, yet many are not keeping his commandments.  It is so eye opening to see that God provides us with such a finite part of the definition of what it is to love him!  If we are not following His laws and commandments, we are actually showing God that the things we put before Him and the bad habits we can't break are more important than Him.  By following His word, we show God how much we love him!   This may seem like an obvious truth, but seeing the reality of this in this verse captivates my heart and drives me all the more so to follow God's commandments whole-heartedly.

The second part is equally important: to not only love God by keeping his commandments and honoring them, but to do so with an attitude of willingness.  It can be easy to begin thinking that we can just follow the commandments that are convenient for us to obey.  We often know right from wrong and what type of behavior and actions in our lifestyle would please God, yet we go with the opposite because we find his commandments to us to be a burden.  Instead, how dynamically it will change and strengthen our faith to view HIS way as the way we WANT to go, not a way of burden or something we wish we didn't have to do.
This reminds of me of something that talented and inspiring author, Sarah Mally, mentions in her book Before You Meet Prince Charming.  I read it last Summer and to this day, one of the things she talks about that has made one of the strongest imprints on my thinking is something she said in reference to keeping your body and heart pure as you wait for God's best.  She discussed how waiting and remaining pure is not something we should dread or look at with a negative attitude, but we should instead be excited!  Excited that we are called to purity and excited that we have made the choice to be different from the world, different and set apart because we have chosen the way of the Lord.
We can adopt that mindset in all things!  This is the way we should view our lives in respect to our decision to follow God's ways in all areas of our lives... not as burdensome, but as a source of joy in knowing that we are pleasing God and surely choosing the best way of life.  And we can know that, because of this, we will be blessed and have His guidance; In no corner of the universe is the world's way even close to God's.

I am so inspired by this verse to have this type of attitude and fervor for following God's commandments as I seek to follow Him the best that I can, and I hope you are too!

Blessings to you :)

Have a wonderful Sunday!

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Faithful Fridays are a link-up hosted by Joy on her lovely blog,  Doodlebug, and it is a chance to share your faith and be inspired by the faith of others.  You can visit her blog, here.

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Walk in the Garden

Hi, Everyone :)

I hope you are having a great start to your week!
I missed writing for Faithful Friday last week because I was on vacation,
so it feels like it has been a little while since I have written a post.
I am SO thankful that I got to go on a trip with my family to the beach.
It was so much fun to get away and just to completely relax.
I love Summertime traveling.

Speaking of Summer, one place I am finding myself often lately
is out in the garden.  Our back porch and patio, as well as our actual garden,
have been fun to spend time in with a cool drink or walking
around checking on our roses, flowers, and vegetables and fruits we are growing.

It is officially sweltering here in the South, so the Spring/Summer garden is on it's
way to being finished, but we have a few things still growing.
We have gotten a good crop of tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, green beans, peas,
and what I am most excited for- they're almost ready!- are the cantaloupes.
Although we have a designated area squared off for those,
there are different plants and flowers everywhere, so everywhere out back feels
like a garden.
Last month, I went outside and just walked around seeing what things I found
interesting to capture with my camera.  It's neat to just observe
the things around you, whether it's ants busy at work, a rosebud you
find that has one petal a different color from the rest from being sun-bleached,
 or rainbows made by your water hose.

This wild, but very sweet, kitty loves to visit and relax in our garden :)

Wishing you a wonderful week!
Hope you are enjoying Summer and staying cool!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Faithful Friday: Teach Us to Number Our Days

The words of this Psalm have been on my mind a lot lately.
Although it is something I know happens every day, it just seems like lately I have been
hearing more stories than ever before- whether on the news or personally told to me by
friends and family- about tragedy and illness and life being lost.
I hear about accidents, infants and little children dying, all of the lives lost from illnesses,
heart-wrenching stories of people losing their battles...
Sometimes, it is easy to feel weighed down by the sadness of realizing how
much people are truly suffering and how many people are dying of diseases.

A few things that particularly come to mind, that have made me think of this
more so lately, are some stories that especially stand out to me.  Two
of which, I have heard in the news very recently.
The first is a former hockey player- retired, I believe- who should be enjoying his days
spent with his children and relaxing after his career, but instead he is fighting for his
life against a disease where his heart is literally hardening from an extremely rare
illness.  One day, he was fine, the next thing he knew he was being
given months to live.
The second is of a young mother, also an Army wife,
who found out while she was pregnant that she had a terminal illness.
She did not do any treatment because she knew it would
hurt her baby and she only thought of her baby's life.
She carried her son to full term, but was told that there was nothing that
could be done for her.  She had her baby early this year and is now living
out what appear to be her final months of life.  A brand new
baby, a family, so young, and all the years of love and life and loving her children
are being stolen from her.

Another is of a household name who actually passed away years ago,
but his story is one I have heard much about because I grew up with baseball
 being a central part of my childhood... Lou Gehrig.
Famous Major League player of the 20's & 30's, perfectly healthy, strong, with
 his whole life ahead of him.  Everything came to a screeching halt when
he found out he had a disease that would gradually debilitate him until he could no
longer function.  He gave his farewell speech- the anniversary of
which was yesterday, July 4th- (one of the most inspiring and emotional speeches
ever given in my opinion) and retired from the game he loved so much at 36.
He passed away just two years later.
He was also a shining example of positivity to a degree that continues
to compellingly inspire and amaze people like myself over 70 years later.

These are the kinds of stories I think of when I read this verse.
Most of all, I think I am struck by the strength of those who go through such things.
I also feel the emotion of looking at all those I have known in my life who have
passed away from an illness or suddenly in an accident.
You just never know.  Tomorrow is never a guarantee.

This verse is a stirring reminder to me
to remember the importance of living wisely, living in a way where 
we realize how PRECIOUS a gift our lives are!
How fortunate and blessed we are to have something that is being
taken away from countless others as we speak.  I don't mean that in a negative way,
or to live where you are depressed because you feel that any moment
you could find out you have a disease or face death.
What I mean is that I have been reminded especially lately that learning to
wisely take into account how sweet and cherished each day is meant to be
changes your attitude and your faith.
It changes your outlook on the future and is something we should
remember, perhaps most of all for the fact that living with an awareness of
the preciousness and fragility of life gives us such a heightened sense
of the value of our time....

it inspires me to want to use my time for the best possible
things... to enjoy a life of faith and closeness to God, my family,
living the way He would want me to, 
and making it my goal to truly make use of this life I have
been given to help others and give of myself!
Not forgetting this makes life all the more beautiful, truthfully...
when I am reminded of this verse, I see everything more magically and in a way
where I appreciate it so much more because I put a higher
value on the simple moments, the sunsets, hugs, food, the views and
experiences I am thankful to have.

Tomorrow is not a promise, but right now is.
This Psalm is such a loving and meaningful reminder to us
that right now is the time to live for others and for God
in goodness and selflessness, having
 wisdom to know that our lives are a gift, not a guarantee.

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend
and a fun and joyful time with family
on this blessed holiday weekend!

.           .           .

Faithful Fridays are hosted by my friend, Joy, oh her lovely blog, Doodlebug. 
You can visit her here.

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