Monday, February 22, 2016

10 Little Photos During an Unseasonably Warm Week...

I'm not doing to say too much about these photos, as my grandgirl is waking from a nap... and I'd rather get the photos up than get all wordy and miss time with her. :) Priorities. 

It was a warm week last week in the Ozarks. Things are blooming unseasonably early, and the sky has been beautiful. The birds are still coming to the feeders and I love getting to watch them. 

We have a few pilliated woodpeckers coming to our yard too. They're amazing and beautiful and kinda scary! 

The photo of the ground is taken in my front yard. Pretty much our whole acre looks like this. It will take some work and a lot of soil to turn it into a grassy area. I'm not sure if it's worth it or not!!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Roots & Sky (a review)

I have been reading a lot this winter, and I'm grateful for it. I'm even MORE grateful to get to be a member of the Revell Reads review team!! They allow me to read books for free, simply for my honest review!

It's been a very long time since I read a book that took me in immediately and enveloped me in her world. Roots & Sky by Christie Purifoy is that book.

Not only did the story capture me (which, in itself, is real-life reflections), but the spiritual truths encouraged me right where I am, even though our age/stage are very different.

Her complete transparency of situations, emotions, even spiritual growth, enamored me to a point I couldn't put the book down. It was begging me to be read from my nightstand, and got me up early in the morning before my day began. So well written, such a comfortable voice to read, and a delightful story that begs to go on all captured my attention.

I hope she'll write more. I want to know how things turn out for her, her friendships and neighborhood relationships beckon to be told.

You can find Roots & Sky at Christian and online retail sites.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Seasonal Changes

I glance at the weather forecast on my phone weather app. I can deal with the threat of icy stuff on Sunday and Monday, because I'm looking ahead past the bad stuff, to the really good stuff at the end of the week! Yay for the 60's and 70's in the forecast!

It's like that in life too... well, normally, but not this year for me. I have used the excuse that this is a new house, a new neighborhood, a new rhythm in life with a new job for my husband... but the truth is, there are some things that are always just the same. 

History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. Ecclesiastes 1:9 NLT

This winter has felt REALLY long. Technically it's been mild in comparison, and only since December, but my soul - and my hands and feet and heart - grew cold when leaves fell and branches grew bare last fall. Even though I've known all along "it's just a season" I've hunkered down in my cocoon and watched the world go by. I've not been living life in my normal winter ways. Being sick didn't help, and I'll be the first to admit that I've not felt good physically... but it's just compounded my need to hibernate.

I'm at odds with myself over seasonal markers and I don't want to plan for spring - it may as well not be coming. I'm having a pity party in the dead of winter instead of looking ahead, or even around, to the obvious signs that spring is coming in ALL areas of life! The evidence is out there, yet I've got a touch of Frozen that blinds me from the truth, despite the weather forecast.

Bulbs are beginning to push green from the barely thawed edges of the yard. Trees are pushing out buds at the end of their bare branches. Birds are getting brighter in their plumage. The sun is rising and setting higher on the horizon, and the light of day lasts just a few minutes longer each day. 

Sometimes winter is just a season to kill the bugs, a necessary part of life.

Sometimes winter comes like chemotherapy, trying to bring me as close to death as possible so only the very best can come back to full life in spring. This has been a spiritual chemo winter, and I've had a hard time remembering that it serves a purpose. As much as I've felt alone, I've not been left truly alone, and there is a Great Physician tending to me, watching over me and monitoring me every moment of every day. He knows how much winter I can handle, and places appointments on my barely-there calendar to insure I get the things I need, just in the nick of time; a sunny window here, a life-sustaining hug there, a baby's smile to inject joy into my own laughter-less spirit, all administered by His loving hand.

I haven't wanted to look at the calendar, and the things I would normally look forward to, I've dreaded. I have believed it is just my age setting in, but I see now that it's more a symptom of my seasonal spiritual illness than the terminal physical aging. It's ok for me to not want to drive half-way across the country, but it's not ok for me to think I'll never want to do it again. I will. In the Spring.

How can I remember this? How can I hold on to the Truth of the season of Resurrection instead of choosing to live in the season in the tomb?

For me, I need to surround myself with all the joys of God. Since I spend my days physically alone, I'm reminding myself to invite Him into this place with me. Practically, it means turning off the electronic distractions and worshiping Him in song, in Word. I will pray out loud to keep His nearness real. He IS here, tending to me. He IS alive and aware of my dark moments and my joyful ones.

It also means remembering, obedience is better than sacrifice, but His grace covers all.

I need to believe this not only in MY life, but to put into practice towards others too. I can not keep records of wrong, or intercept where God is working. I need to let them grow in their faith on their own, and let God do His part, with me stepping aside willingly, not helping by telling God where His next great work needs to be.

I have often prayed "Change me. Change them. Change the circumstances." Lately I've realized that I can stop after the first part. Change me. Change me. Change me. If I let Him do that, the outcome will be better, no matter if anyone else is changed, no matter if the circumstances are changed at all. If I am truly changed, it WILL change them, and change whatever comes next, and that will be a breath of fresh air, no matter what season it is on the calendar, or in life.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Marriage and moving...

Tomorrow I'm celebrating one thing I've dreaded in my marriage - moving! 

I'm never thrilled with the suddenness of the change, the amount of work, the eye rolling of my friends or family... but if I'm honest, as I  look back each move has had a purpose. I may not have seen it then, but moves have improved health, marriage, relieved some stress (in the long run), had financial or time benefits, provided (or removed) ministry opportunities, opened doors to new friendships and improved extended family connections. I ALWAYS see God's hand and feel His peace in the process. It always brings Mark and I closer together at the start, and I love the hours together house hunting or ironing out details. 

I know it's not cool, but sometimes I get a little excited about the prospect of another move. Who doesn't love a little adventure? I don't climb mountains, ski, or do extreme sports, but I move! 

Don't worry, it's not on our radar to move again, but I did leave space at the bottom of the board! #thankfulandgrateful #companymove #marriage #anniversary #theworkaholicswife #homesweethome🏡

Romans 12, Parts 2 and 3: Balanced and Beautiful in Christ

The new posts that I wrote for Balanced and Beautiful in Christ are now live on their Facebook page, and here on my new blog site (subscrib...