Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Nine things I learned in July


It’s the last day of July.  This month flew by.

I’m joining into with Emily Freeman and her invitation of sharing 10 things you learned each month.  Well, in the midst of rest, while the kids were at grandparents, I turned off my search mode and only thought of 9 things I learned this month.  Ok…here’s what I learned.

1)  Black snakes keep copperheads away in your backyard.  I was telling someone we have a black snake living somewhere in our back yard.  We’ve seen it a few times this summer and even though it can feel a little scary to have a snake nearby, black ones are good neighbors.  They eat other rodents we don’t want around and claim their territory so other snakes like copperheads won’t come near.  That was good to learn.

2)  I discovered the writing of Oswald Chamber…or maybe it found me.  It was an old book, My Upmost for His Highest, that I bought for 50 cents at a neighborhood yard sale.  So I did a little research to find out about this man I’ve heard great things of but knew nothing about.  When he lived in the late 1800s and early 1900s, he was a student of the Word and a faithful follower of Christ in his walk and work.  He also went to a college to study God’s redemption through art.  (I was an art major)  He did have an art for writing and wrote 30 books, My Utmost for His Highest being his most read and has never been out of print.  Just a few tid-bits of information I had never known before.


3)  Every day this month when I’ve read a daily devotion from My Utmost for His Highest (Updated Edition), it has pertained directly to me.  There’s a sentence or paragraph…or the entire reading where God spoke clearly to me.  One of the sentences I read:

July 12:  Am I building up the body of Christ, or am I only concerned about my own personal development?   

What a prayer I need to be asking God daily.

4)  I learned how to fly a June bug.  It can be a simple and free summer activity for all ages!  All you need is string and no fear of holding a green bug.



5)  There’s a cool new place to check out in Burlington, NC  Cork and Cow!  

6)   It’s not impossible to catch and hold a wild hummingbird.  See my post about that.

7)   I was told when our 13 year old son was not ashamed of raising his hands worshipping the Lord among peers at camp.  I also heard how his leadership is starting to bloom.   It makes this mom humbly give thanks to the Lord because it is all Him.  Not this mom who’s made many errors and didn’t take some opportunities laid in my lap to share the Story.

8)   Our daughter is starting to enjoy photography.  (I’d be so excited if this is something she wants to continue to pursue!  {Here’s some below!}





9)  I can still dance…or at least enjoy it!   at a friend’s wedding.  Even though I might have felt it a little the day after a friend’s wedding, it was fun!


Thanks for stopping by to see what I’ve learned.  I’d (and others I’m sure) would love to read something you’ve learned this past month.  Please make a comment below!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Is it impossible to catch a hummingbird?

Never in my dreams would I have the opportunity to hold a “wild” hummingbird and I wonder if one thinks never in its dreams it would be held by a 40 year old wife and mom.

Last week was one I had been looking forward to for a while.  The kids were at grandparents and church camp all week, so I had several things on my “want to do list”. Brainstorming and a little bit of journaling was one of the things on that list.

Wednesday I finally got the opportunity to do that.  I didn’t have to be anywhere and was in my comfy clothes, no make up on and time to just breathe.   Some favorite music was heard throughout the sunroom and I was in my little happy space.

In the middle of the afternoon I was typing away and I heard our dog in the screened in porch bark to come inside.  I had left the door on the porch open so he could go in and out to the yard on this muggy summer afternoon.

Something dark caught my eye on the other side of the screen when I opened the door.  I immediately realized it was a hummingbird that had flown into the porch by accident because the birdfeeder is right beside the porch door.  This isn’t the first time a bird has flown into our porch but this was the first time a hummingbird had.


Hummingbirds’ wings flutter at least 55 times a second. The possibility of ever trying to catch this bird was I thought zilch.


The hummingbird looked frantic trying it’s hardest to find a way out.  It’s tiny, long beak would stick through the screen and wings flutter wildly.  I ran and got a broom to try to redirect it towards the door but it didn’t understand what I was trying to do and flew further away from the door.

With no success, I finally decided I’d try to get a hold of it so I could set it free.  But I thought, what are the odds I’ll get a hold of it?

As the wings kept beating, I pulled a chair up to the screen and to my surprise, it stopped moving.  It just sat there clinging to the screen.  Clinging for it’s life.


I gently reached out, expecting it to begin to desperately try to escape again, but it stayed still.  It was as if it was waiting for me to pick it up. 

So I did.

It was lighter than a feather.  It was weightless.  It was not lifeless, it was life-full.

The words to a song rushed through my head: “And the weight of glory, if you held it in your hand, it would pass right through you, so now’s your chance.”

It was like holding the weight of glory. 


It was the weight of glory because it had become a God–moment to me.  A weight where you so strongly feel His Presence yet it’s a weightless feeling of transparency and revelation of God’s glory.  The weight of glory is a mountain-top experience where you simply feel is Presence.  One of those experiences where you don’t want to have to climb back down that mountain.

As it’s green feathers glistened with gold as the sun shined on them, I was holding onto something I never imagined possible.  I was in awe and joy at the same time.  

It was simply beauty. 

It’s little eye blinked…or was it a wink to me as a gift from Abba? 


Was it to remind me…or urge me… to rest in the hand of the One who rescued me and Who holds me in His hand after I’ve gone in the wrong direction?  Was it a gift for me to share?

But I knew I couldn’t hold it forever.  I stepped outside and after a moment I reluctantly began to open my hand although I honestly and selfishly wanted to hold onto this beauty a little longer.  But, I slowly opened my hand expecting the hummingbird to immediately fly away.  It didn’t.  It stayed there on the palm of my hand. 

It was a time to simply enjoy the moment just a little bit longer.


Then a minute later, I could hear its wings humming before I realized it had lifted and then it flew away quicker than I could blink my eye.

Was that little bird a gift from God delivering a promise of hope to come?   A message to lift those wings and fly?  Go after dreams never thought possible?  But more than that - a simple, yet holy, experience. 

Isaiah 40:13 says those who hope in the Lord will soar on wings like eagles

Well, this summer afternoon, my hope was soaring on the wings of a wild hummingbird in our backyard.

The chorus to that song that went through my mind earlier keeps coming back to mind ever since.  “Would you fall to pieces, would you fall to pieces, would you fall to pieces, in the high countries?”  

Well, I kinda fell to pieces after that experience in my little cottage, (or screened-in porch and sunroom) in my little high country place as I write.  I mean, why would catching a hummingbird get your heart-felt emotions stirred up?  Because God can take the smallest and most simple things in our everyday life and make them holy moments.  We just need to pay attention and notice them.  Take time to slow down for a moment each day and simply thank Him for His grace and goodness and your eyes can be opened to the beauty of His glory around you.   


Would you make a comment below and share a God-Moment you’ve had?


Not only thankful for that high country moment but also for these things this past week: 

#1563  Rescuing a hummingbird from being trapped in our porch

#1564  The God-Moment that catching a hummingbird became

#1565  Our daughter spending the week with grandparents and cousin

#1566  while at grandparents playing dress up, cooking, shopping, laughing and making memories

#1567  some time with my sister

#1568  daughter starting to bloom

#1569  Son at camp and the fun he had with our church’s student ministry


#1570  The leaders who went with all our kids and the heart they have for them to experience Jesus more

#1571  How the leaders shared with me how during music at camp our son sang with hands held high in worship and was not ashamed.

#1572  A fun and special bridal shower for a dear friend.



#1573  The opportunity for friends to share and give a wedding charge and blessing

#1574  God’s description of love   1 Corinthians 13 

#1575  Being able to help make a wedding day special for a dear friend

#1576  the rain stopping right before the service

#1577  celebrating this day with life long friends


$1578  the love a bride and groom have for each other on a wedding day…yet, as a friend said that evening…in years to come will be the day they love each other the least.

#1579  dancing with friends!

#1580  son in his first diving competition

#1581  son not hitting his head on the board!


#1582  summer flowers




   multitudesonmondaysbutton2-1_thumb Joining in today with Ann Voskamp’s Joy Dare

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Early morning thoughts…

It’s Five Minute Friday and today’s word is BROKEN


It’s very early Friday morning (12:15am) and I’m not too tired to go to sleep yet.  The evening was spent with my dear girlfriends and what a special one it was as we celebrated for our friend who’s a soon-to-be-bride. 



There was wine, cheese, a perfect night on the patio to see the sunset and the almost full moon rise.  There was the sound of the clink of glasses, click of the camera and unwrapping of gifts.  There was laughter and tears.  There were words given as gifts, encouragement, charge and blessings. 

We’ve done life together for 10 years now. 

We’ve been there for each other as we’ve held onto our hands as we’ve walked - what seemed blindfolded - through pregnancy, parenting babies, toddlers and now entering the teens.  We’ve prayed together, cried together, been vulnerable with each other, and laughed until we’ve snorted and cried. 

We’ve celebrated that we’ve had each other when a heart had been broken, a challenge that overwhelmed, when fear or pain lingered. We’ve celebrated so many birthdays, baptisms, holidays, just-becauses, and now this weekend a wedding!


There can’t be enough gratitude for this gift - the gift of community, the body of Christ.  In other words: Friendship.



Monday, July 22, 2013

We thought it would’ve been much easier


This past week was the week I look forward to each summer, as I have the past 13 years.  Each year my husband’s parents take the kids for a week to spoil them and make memories with them they’ll hopefully tell their kids about one day.  It’s usually planned the week of their small town’s annual  Lawn Party.  This week is always a win-win-win situation: our kids get loved on by their grandparents and relatives, the grandparents love to spoil their grandchildren without mom and dad being around, and this mom and dad get some “just-the-two-of-us” time.

For the past several years during our kid-free week, my husband and I work on a house project.  Two years ago we painted the playroom and put new furniture in the kids playroom.  Last summer we painted and decorated our daughter’s bedroom. 

Before the week arrives, each year we usually have a project set and ready to go.  But this time we didn’t.  The only project we thought we might work on was to make some changes with my blog (maybe you’ll see it soon!)  It seemed strange to not have a house project.  At the beginning of the week, though, my husband planned our delicious menu of things I don’t normally fix for our typical family dinner, and he even planned to cook and do the grocery shopping!  What a gift that was!

Then on Tuesday, my husband received an email from the university where he works, informing that the football team’s locker room was being remodeled and the current lockers were outside by the field house and were free to anyone who wanted to come get one.   A project!  Our son has been hinting ever since last summer that he would like his room to be re-done.  We had been thinking about it but didn’t have an idea and when we heard that announcement, we knew just what we’d do. 

That evening we went to the university to claim a locker.  To our surprise, they weren’t individual lockers; rather three big lockers attached together.  Three to a pack.  And you know they had to be pretty big to store the belongings of a football player.  Well, to make a long story short…it took two days (one very hot one) to get those lockers apart, cleaned up and taken individually upstairs to our son’s room and then reassembled. 


We thought it would’ve been much easier.

They were a lot heavier than we expected and it was a lot more work than we expected.  My husband, who’s a jack-of-all-trades, did most of the work but I wanted to help how I could.  When it was time to take the lockers upstairs to our son’s room, I put on my work gloves and spirit of determination.  They were heavy!  It took a lot of strength to get those lockers up those stairs…three times.  I had to stop for a break half way with each locker, but we did it.  And we couldn’t have done it by ourselves. 

We couldn’t do it half-heartedly.  We had to give it our all.

And that applies to marriage.

As newlyweds many think marriage will be like a piece of their wedding cake…always easy to relish and enjoy.  And yes, God designed marriage to be relished and enjoyed, and to easily become more in love every day.  And most of the time it does become easier through the years of marriage, but it can also become easier to develop the habit of being just comfortable, or too busy, or even lazy and fall into the nature of not making the effort to intentionally give your relationship your all.  Self can get in the way.

At church yesterday we heard a great teaching about Mary Magdalene and how she was completely devoted to Jesus.  Her love and devotion for him was not half-hearted.  It was full adoration.  Never-ending commitment.  Her all in all.

I know there have been times in my life when, at one point or another, I haven’t lived my marriage, parenthood, and devotion for Jesus in all strength and perseverance the way I did to get those lockers up the stairs.  Doubt, anger, apathy and lies creep in the soul to make me feel weak, not good enough, or strong enough, or determined enough.  And then it becomes easy to think: why try to do my best when I don’t think I’ll make the mark or reach the top-of-life-stair anyway?

But I AM is stronger and He tells me I am stronger than I think I am.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”              2 Corinthians 12:9

When we feel incapable in whatever area of life, Jesus gives us His holy power and the strength to press on to win the prize…which includes a stronger marriage and parenthood and a sold-out devotion to Jesus Christ.  When we have that devotion to Jesus, hearts change and grow.  Now, it’s not that we have to give it our all…we’re now devoted to love and desire to give all we have whole-heartedly back to Him and those we care for.  He just wants us to give our marriages and people close to the heart our all because that’s what He did and will always do for us.  

(And our son loved his new room!)


Joys and thankful for these recently

#1539  gift in story - The story of Mary Magdalene and how she was quiet, more risky then courageous and over it all was devoted to Jesus…not just halfway.

#1540  gift in story - the cute story about a preschool girl at our church who asked why weren’t there any girl disciples after having learned about the 12 in church class.

#1541  gift in a story - “Ours is a love story written by God”  Studio JRU

#1542  teaching the kids how to “fly a June bug”


#1543  watching and hearing laughter while flying a June bug (is that too much summer boredom…or to show a creative way to have fun?)




#1544  baby fingers and granddaddy fingers

#1545  zucchini bread made from a HUGE zucchini from our garden


#1546  a raspberry filled cake from the bakery we got our on date night,

#1547  Maxie B’s bakery makes you smile

#1548  husband’s strength…and strengths


#1549  a project for son’s room

#1550  sleeping in late

#1551  husband’s gourmet cooking

#1552  candlelight

#1553  grandparents to keep our kids for a week each summer

#1554  them taking our kids and niece to see Noah’s Ark at Sight and Sounds and through the Amish country.

#1555  shopping with friends for a bride

#1556  brother in law who’s helping get us started on my blog facelift…and “us” meaning my husband who’ll design it.

#1557  an invitation to share workout tips over a block of cheese

#1558  joy in son’s face when he sees his remodeled room



#1559  reading My Upmost for His Highest recently and each time was written for me to read that day

#1560  my husband planned our splurging dinner’s he planned to cook and even did the grocery shopping

#1561  I’m stronger than I think I am…because I was redeemed by God.


#1562  a beautiful sunset…and each one is unique by God’s hand.


multitudesonmondaysbutton2-1_thumbJoining in today with Ann Voskamp counting joys

Friday, July 12, 2013

You are…

Joining in with Five Minute Friday and today’s word is PRESENT


God, You are the Rock of Ages

You beauty with age in our lives

You are with us.

You are for us.

You take hold of our hand and guide us.

You delight in us.

You fight for us.

You are always present even if we feel it or not.

You love us deeply.

You redeem us.

You rescue us.

You revive us when we’ve lulled into complacency.

You allow us to make mistakes in hope that we’ll run to you for grace and forgiveness.

You see us as you created us to be.

God, You are…


How do you see God?


Next week I’m resting from writing and won’t be posting on my blog.  But come on back in a week…and always strive to choose joy!




Monday, July 8, 2013

A beautiful mystery and dinner

I remember when I was about 10 years old, my mom threw a birthday party for me that included a Mystery Dinner.  Thirty years later I asked my mom is she still had the menu.  It only took her 30 seconds to pull it out of a drawer and read it to me.

So, I planned for our daughter to invite a few friend over to celebrate her birthday which included the Mystery Dinner. 


It’s where the food on the menu is given a “disguise” name so the friends don’t know what it is.  The meal is served in four courses and the friends must choose what they want to be served at each course, not knowing what they’re ordering.  And the menu included the utensils!


My daughter’s first course was Shark’s Friend, Moon Goop, Shaky Foundation and Brown Cow and she was served goldfish, string cheese, Jello and ice cream.  She had to eat her Jello and ice cream with no utensils.  Another friend had to eat spaghetti with no utensils while others were lucky and ordered a fork at the same time.  They had to make choices and then have to wait to see what was the outcome.

It was a beautiful mystery dinner to see the girls giggling with messy fingers and faces.

A favorite song of mine is “Beautiful Mystery”.  I think the words beautifully describe everybody’s life.

I tried to know
Every mystery
Soon realized, no
It was too much for me
'Cause most things true
Are simple and complex
So it is with You
What else should I expect

It’s true.  There’s things in life that we’ll never know the answers to on this side of heaven even though we want to be know-it-alls.  And sometimes we think we’re know-it-alls when we’re not. 

Life can be simple and complex.  The simplicity of it all is love.  Yet isn’t there so much complexity in love?  The two greatest commands Scripture tells us is to love God and love people.  The simplicity of God is that He loves us deeply and He’s the only One – plain and simple.  The complexity of Him…well, is like a mystery.

Yet, He wants us to still ask him questions…maybe that’s why he doesn’t give us all the answers immediately.  So we’ll keep talking to him and keep asking so we’ll stay in fellowship with him.

There’s so many things I don’t know the answer to but want to.   Why does there have to be war on the other side of the world and in our homes and hearts?  Why does God allow school massacres?   Why do I have to wait so long for Him to answer?  Isn’t there a quicker way?  The list can go on.

He doesn’t leave us hanging to aggravate us but instead He wants us to hang onto Him while we ask Him questions and wait for answers.

God wanted his people throughout the world to know the glorious riches of this mystery-which is Christ living in you, giving you the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27 GW)

Giving us the hope of glory.  The holy mystery of God gives us glorious hope.

I recently read this statement by Frederick Buechner:  “To say that God is a mystery is to say that you can never nail him down.  Even on Christ the nails proved ultimately ineffective.” 

Let that one marinate.

The nails couldn’t hold him down.  This glorious mystery is beautiful in it’s holy way.  There can be glory in all we see and feel and wonder.  There’s no mystery in the ultimate love God has for us.  He loves us.  It’s plain and simple.  It can be found.  It can be felt.  It can be seen.

Lord, Your Word says that you want us to know the glorious riches of this mystery – which is Christ living in us, giving us the hope of glory.  Christ, live in us.  Let us understand and have faith in the beauty of your holy mystery. 


Joys to add to the count

#1523  childhood mystery dinner memories

#1524  giggles from crazy courses


#1525  eating spaghetti with no utensils


#1526  celebrating daughter’s 10th birthday

#1527  Paul’s donuts for breakfast for a birthday treat



#1528  joy she had opening her keyboard gift



#1529  celebrating our freedom




#1530  daughter wanting to be a photographer

#1531  a new place to see fireworks with friends

#1532  rain held off for our 4th of July celebration

#1533  being there for friends in need

#1534  hard eucharisteo – seeing friend off to overseas to serve our country but thankful for his willingness.

#1535  husband putting in a new door

#1536  daughter being asked to teach her peers about the importance of God’s Word

#1537  her willingness and boldness to do teach

#1538  family movie night

multitudesonmondaysbutton2-1 Joining in with Ann Voskamp today counting joys


(And by the way…if you’re interested, here’s the menu I used for the mystery dinner if you’d ever like to try it!)

Red and Green Wheels - tomatoes and cucumbers

Night Sighter – carrots

Pucker Upper – pickle

Shakey Foundation – jello

Shark’s friends – goldfish

Evening Tumbler – rolls

Thimbles – raspberries

Moon Goop – string cheese

Streamers and Balloons– spaghetti and meatballs

Three paths – fork

Silver ladle – spoon

Butcher’s Delight - knife

Chip off the Old Block – toothpick

Drooler’s Delight – napkin

Brown Cow – chocolate ice cream

Instant Refresher - lemonade