Friday, October 2, 2015

Clare de Lune

I put together a video the other night of the eclipse, using my photos along with the music, Clare de Lune (Light of the Moon) by Claude Debussy.  It's about 5 minutes long.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Odds and Ends

I completed my very last sewing order yesterday and am in the process of winding down my business.  I still have my items in three shops and will be closing up the business at the end of December.  It's a strange, bittersweet feeling but I know I'm doing the right thing.  Any leftover inventory will be coming home and used for gifts, for us here at home or for future retreats I go on.  I was toying with the idea of keeping the inventory in the shops but have decided against it.  That chapter in my life is closing and I need to close the book and put it down. ;-)

I spent two days last week, writing and editing my book, "Let's Have Coffee" and I'm almost done.  I know it will be complete before Christmas and that is a wonderful present to myself!

Today's plan is to get into the sunroom and clean, declutter and organize.  My sewing items are out there and the shelves are a total mess so I need to reorganize.  I did offer some of my fabric to our denomination's Bosnian Handcraft Project that supports women in Bosnia-Herzegovina who are struggling to support their families after their country was torn apart by war.  They make hand-crafted items which are sold here in the states and 100% of the proceeds go back into the project.  Anyway, that's a subject near and dear to my heart so it's a good cause. 

Emily's last tennis match is this afternoon so we will be attending that.

After two months of waiting, Nathan was finally assigned a job coach, and we meet with her tomorrow morning.  He is struggling and this is a good step to finding him a job that will better suit his needs.  He truly needs to find something in a positive environment rather than in one filled with negativity, criticism and unkindness. 

I need to work on a devotional I'll be giving next week at another church.  So that's on my agenda today too.  I also am starting to get everything together for our upcoming Fall Festival at church.

Anyway, there is a lot of exciting things happening and I'm keeping busy, as usual.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wednesday Words of Encouragement

Romans 12:2 ~

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

New habits, new attitudes, new reactions and new words.  When we say we follow Christ, we are called to change.  To experience a metamorphosis.  To shed those old skins.
Yet so often we stay in the old patterns.  Patterns of unkindness.  Patterns of discontent.   We continue with the same pattern of impatience, jealousy, anger, and a host of other behaviors that end up harming not only those around us, but ourselves.

I want to fully live.  I don't want to keep responding in the old, slow, caterpillar way.  I want to morph into a butterfly.  I want to spread my wings.  I want to fly.  But that will only happen if I shed that old skin.  It will happen if I listen when the Holy Spirit convicts me of sin.  But then I have to actually do the hard thing and change.

God doesn't reach down and make me do it.  A miracle will not happen where I open my mouth and only sweet things come out.  It's an act of my will.  I choose the metamorphosis.  I choose to change.  God offers His help but it's a joint effort.  I actually have to do the right thing.

The more we make the right choice, the easier it will get.   With God's help, we can turn into a butterfly and leave that old skin behind.  It's a painful process, but your life can be a wonderful metamorphosis too!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Missing Parts

Ephesians 2:20-22 (MSG) ~

God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.

What a beautiful word picture.  God, the master mason, uses us as bricks and stone and fits us together into a holy temple.  No matter what your gifts, talents or personality, you fit snugly into this building and He is creating a masterpiece where He will dwell.

That is why we need the body of Christ.  There are so many lone rangers out there.  People who think they don't need the church or don't need other Christians.  Yet, verse after verse in scripture says the opposite.  We are all necessary in order for this building to exist.

Another picture painted is that of a physical body with all the parts working together.

Ephesians 4:15-16 (HCSB) ~

But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ. From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.

We can't go it alone as a part of the body.  The hand or foot won't work without the head.  The tendons can't hold up the rest of the body without the bones.  The veins won't send blood throughout the body without the heart.

In this day and age, and in a reaction against the legalism of the past, people are forsaking the body of Christ.  I hear so many say, "I don't need to go to church to be a Christian."  That is true.  Faith in Jesus Christ alone is what saves you. 

But what makes you grow is being part of a local body of Christ where you can be challenged and stretched and encouraged.  Watching a television preacher will not allow you to use your gifts to serve others.  Staying home won't help you work through getting along with others in the body.  Skipping church on a regular basis won't help you to grow.

We need each other.  If there are bricks missing in a building, it won't stand for long.  If part of the body doesn't work or is missing, you are considered handicapped or disabled or sick.  Let's work together to be healthy and whole!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Multitude Monday

What a beautiful week this was and my heart is full of blessings!  It was a week of lovely sights, sounds and experiences.  Sometimes, words fail to express what's in my heart.  So today, on this Monday of a multitude of blessings, I'll let my photos do the talking.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Shake it Off!

This has been a quiet week and I've mostly been focusing on my home and family. It was a good week.
It was a week of baking.

A week of making meals for my family.

A week of finishing up the last of my soy wax to make candles which I'm bringing with me to a retreat this weekend. 
I went to Emily's tennis match and school open house yesterday afternoon and evening and it was relaxing to sit and watch and cheer on my daughter.
I have to confess that so often I feel pulled in a hundred directions.  There are so many people and activities that demand my attention and I've had people get upset when I cannot do what they want.  And then I feel extremely guilty. 
But I just cannot do everything.  I cannot be everything to everybody.  And if I attempt to please everyone, I'm going to burn out and get extremely stressed.  So while, I do try to minister to those I can, sometimes I have to say no to certain activities.  It's hard, but in my effort to be intentional this year, I have to shake off those guilty feelings.
Sometimes I almost think it's easier to just say, "Yes" given the amount of guilt I feel but in the long run it's very unhealthy and I end up feeling discouraged and frustrated.
One of the things I feel guilty about is leaving a day and a half early for my weekend retreat so that I can have some time to myself to write.  There is no logical reason for the guilt other than there are things here that I can always do.  But my husband has given me his blessing.  It's been on my goal list for this year so I'm going.  I leave this morning and I know once I get on the road, it'll be fine.
So I'm going to shake off the guilt and enjoy the rest of my week!  Have a wonderful day, my friends.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wednesday Words of Encouragement

2 Peter 1:3-11 ~ 

We have everything we need to live a life that pleases God. It was all given to us by God’s own power, when we learned that he had invited us to share in his wonderful goodness. God made great and marvelous promises, so that his nature would become part of us. Then we could escape our evil desires and the corrupt influences of this world.

Do your best to improve your faith. You can do this by adding goodness, understanding,  self-control, patience, devotion to God, concern for others, and love. If you keep growing in this way, it will show that what you know about our Lord Jesus Christ has made your lives useful and meaningful. But if you don’t grow, you are like someone who is nearsighted or blind, and you have forgotten that your past sins are forgiven.

My friends, you must do all you can to show that God has really chosen and selected you. If you keep on doing this, you won’t stumble and fall. Then our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will give you a glorious welcome into his kingdom that will last forever.

When my babies were born I could not imagine what it would be like to have teens or adult children.  Yet, as they have grown physically, it's also been wonderful to see their characters and personalities grow and mature.  They are young adults with their own thoughts and ideas and it is neat to see how God is shaping them.  Now I can't imagine what it was like to have babies in the house!  I would never want my children to stay babies.  I love seeing them grow and develop.

As believers we too are supposed to grow and mature.  In fact, God gives us everything we need to develop from baby Christians into men and women who are mature and ready to be used by him.  Yet, there seem to be so many who never grow past the baby stage.  While they should be teachers and leaders in the church. as well as leading others to Him, they still need to be bottle fed God's word.  In fact, many believe that all that is required is to believe in God and show up to church once in a while.

Nothing is required for God to save us except faith in Him.  Yet, something is required from us in order to grow.  We have a part to play.  We should be constantly striving to grow in goodness, understanding,  self-control, patience, devotion to God, concern for others, and love.  We are to work on these things each and every day.  We have to exercise our minds, attitudes, words and thoughts to shape ourselves into the men and women that the Lord can use.

As we work on these things, our faith will grow.  We will develop and mature spiritually.  We will have proof of God's saving grace and His work in our lives.  As we continually strive to be like Him, others will see the fruit of our labors.  We will have proof that God is has chosen us.

Let's remember to exercise our spiritual lives.  Thank the Lord for His free gift of salvation and then work towards becoming mature in Him.