Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Treasure Seeking

Monday morning a week ago, I woke not wanting the day to begin - I had left a messy kitchen the night before and a busy weekend had caught up with our house.

I was behind before I ever started.

Obviously, I did get up and begin the day. I picked a pretty skirt to wear and was dreaming of tying on an apron. I was giving myself a pep talk about not giving up on the day before it started.

Sitting in my Peace chair for some much needed soul nourishment, I read the Jesus Calling entry for May 23:

"...Search for deep treasure as you go through this day..."

Ok, I thought. I can look for treasure today and redeem this day! Then, I opened to Proverbs and my eye immediately saw Proverbs 24:3-4 and there were those words again:

"... rare and beautiful treasures..."

Yes, Lord - I heard the message. Search for treasures today. I thought of how I hoped to snag photos during the day and what a great joy it would be to seek for these treasures and share them here.

Then, I looked outside and noticed our children had been removing pieces to the porch swing to (in their words) create windows. Sigh - destruction, not treasure.

Next I picked up Walking the Walk and read part of the day's entry which motivated me to get up and exercise. Things were moving along well until the DVD was skipping and not working. After inspection, I noticed it has been scratched in a few places. Seriously? I just got it with some birthday money - and this was only my third time using it as it has not even been here a full week yet. More destruction, not treasure.

My feelings included hurt, frustrated, upset and sad. God led me to make it a work day - the girls did chores all day. And it was a good day. At the end of the day the house looked great, we had worked together and I realized I spent the day doing what I was supposed to be doing, "keeping an eye on everyone in my household and keeping them busy and productive." (Prov. 31:27)

And, as I thought back - I realized I had seen treasures throughout the day:

* realizing I was doing the right thing
* Rachel's attitude: going the extra mile in her work
* baby birds chirping in our back yard
* a tidy, relaxing home
* working together
* object lesson for our study in industriousness

A home is built by wisdom and established through understanding, it is adorned with the treasure of knowledge. (Prov. 24:3-4)

And, I am reminded of Mary who gathered up the sweet moments as she treasured and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19)

It wasn't the treasure I was looking for - but I was still seeking and God helped me to find His perfect treasures from my day.

Picture: See the little treasure we found in our banana bread? The girls saw a heart shape nut!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day: A Blessing of Thanks

On Memorial Day this year, we will pause to remember
that our freedom has not been free, but been purchased by another.

Our ultimate freedom, purchased by Him
who died on the cross and saved us from sin.

But, our earthly freedom has been hard won too
by men and women serving for me and for you.

You have given of yourself, you have helped to build this land
you have not backed down but continued to lend a helping hand.

On our own soil and lands and waters far from home
your strength and courage have brilliantly shone.

From coast to coast and sea to sea
your service has given us a land that is free!

We will not forget you - so many who have gone before us
we hope that now you'll hear a great big thank you chorus!

Today we remember those who have faced the grave
we remember for your service, for being courageous and brave.

We remember the sacrifices of you and your families
oh, the things you have given up for others such as me.

To make our land a place we can proudly call home
where our children are safe and free to grow.

As new life continues with every passing day
so we will not let your memory pass away.

I'm out of rhyming words to say thank you to the many who have gone before on my behalf.
I am thankful for this nation - not always for the things we do or the ways we act.
But, for the principles and One who this nation were founded upon.
I am thankful for America, for the freedom we have and know here.
And, I know that we must not ever take this for granted.

I am remembering my father-in-law, Bill, who gave so much of his life to serving our nation.
He is just one person of so many past, present and future who will accept this calling.
And, I am thankful.

We remember that there are so many whose names are not even known.
Oh, how they have sacrificially given for us.

Thankful for our founding fathers who risked their lives to begin this nation.
Thankful for our military and the many who have served - we honor your memory and service.
Thankful for the military families I am privileged to know today - you are doing a hard thing. But, we want you to know we see it, we appreciate you, we love you.

My words are not adequate at expressing my thoughts and heart - so I hope this comes across despite my disjointed words.

Thank you.

Patriotic Song "Thank You" Military Tribute - Amazing videos are here

** Try as I might, I could not get this song centered, but enjoy the message!
All photos were taken very recently at a visit to my father-in-laws grave at the local National Cemetery.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Giveaway: Stories about Jesus

Last post for today! Read and Share: Stories about Jesus is a board book Bible Story book! Perfect for little hands and suggested for children ages 4-8. View the digital flip book preview here. My favorite thing about this book is the durable format! Most children's Bible story books are not durable for little hands!

I have one copy of this book for giveaway. Simply leave a comment on this post by Sunday (May 29, 2011) at 10pm EST to be entered in this drawing.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review purposes. Tommy Nelson has also agreed to send one copy to a winner.

Giveaway: Thank You, God, for Daddy

Thank You, God, for Daddy by Amy Parker would be a perfect gift for Father's Day!
A board book for little hands (suggested age: 2-5) that teaches our kids to show gratitude and pray for their dad!

View the digital flip book version here.

Wouldn't it be fun to give one of these to a military family whose daddy is deployed?

I have one copy to give away today.
Comment by finishing this sentence: ‘My favorite thing about the father of my children is…'

Entries will be accepted until Sunday (May 29, 2011) at 10pm EST.

Disclosure: I will be receiving one free copy of this book for review purposes. I haven't received it yet, but am telling you about it now so we have time to do the giveaway before Father's Day. Tommy Nelson will be sending a complimentary copy to one winner.

Giveaway: Thank You, God, for Mommy

Sorry I didn't receive this in time to give away for Mother's Day!
Thank You, God, for Mommy by Amy Parker is a board book with a sweet story about a panda bear who thanks God for his wonderful mommy!

Suggested for ages 2-5.
View the digital flip book preview here.

We all know what sacrifices our moms make every day - I'm all for anything that helps bring some encouragement and thankfulness their way!!

I have one copy of this book to give away.
To enter, please leave a comment on this post by Sunday (May 29, 2011) at 10pm EST.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book to review here. Tommy Nelson is providing one copy to a winner chosen from this post!

Giveaway: April Grace

In Front of God and Everybody (Confessions of April Grace) is the next giveaway book today.

This super funny novel captures the best of humorous stories and social issues told first-hand by April Grace herself, while still being “mom” and “pastor” approved!
This book has a genuine feel while still conveying a great moral message and includes a practical and poignant lesson that reminds us everyone knows what it’s like to have a really bad day! Perfect for girl ages 9-12

View the digital flip book preview here.

Know someone you'd like to share this book with? I have two copies up for grabs today - please leave a comment on this post and you're entered!

Entries accepted until Sunday (May 29, 2011) at 10pm EST.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review purposes. I'm offering up my copy for giveaway plus one additional copy thrown in by Tommy Nelson.

Giveaway: No Place Like Holmes

I have several giveaways today courtesy of Tommy Nelson!

The first one is this book No Place Like Holmes.

Christian values are presented as part of a fun, action packed mystery.
Not only is Sherlock Holmes a name people know, but it will be a big theme this year with the release of the Sherlock Holmes sequel in movie theaters.
Perfect for boys ages 9-12 or any children who love a good mystery!

View flip book preview here.

Two winners will be chosen for this one!
To enter, please leave a comment on this post telling the folks at Tommy Nelson what kind of mystery your kids would love to solve!

Entries accepted until Sunday May 29, 2011 at 10pm EST.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review purposes. But, I'm offering it up to one of you in addition to one copy provided by Tommy Nelson to one winner.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Small Doses

I'm realizing something - I've historically thought of creating beauty in big doses. Right now, my life doesn't support big doses of much of anything - but that doesn't mean I can't create this beauty in smaller pieces.

Even when my life looks like this:

I can take five minutes (yes, that's it) and make one small space beautiful:

Side note: I've always sort of ignored one of my hydrangeas that doesn't produce full blooms. This past weekend, I decided to embrace their unfinished beauty and enjoy them instead!
The tiny buds are blue instead of the usual green and these only the ones around the outside open to white flowers while the entire middle stays tiny.
Unfinished beauty - I'm enjoying it!

Since typing that above paragraph - I've learned that those hydrangeas are lacecap hydrangeas and are supposed to be this way. Shame on me for ignoring them all these years.

How do you enjoy small doses of beauty?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Button Flowers & Hydrangea Details

Remember these hydrangea pictures where I pointed out the little button
inside each flower? I noticed another thing about them this week.

Here's another peek at the little buttons inside the middle of each tiny flower:

Look! Those little buttons open up into teeny tiny flowers in the middle of each small bloom!
Isn't that amazing!!!
You already know how much I love hydrangeas - I've been looking at the color variations even within each petal of each bloom, looking at the little buttons in the middle and even the charming shape of the hydrangea leaves!

Ok, I had to run outside and get some pictures of the leaves
after thinking about how pretty they are too!
I certainly could not cut so precise and beautifully!

Oh, just one more thing? Look at this bloom - just beginning to open!
All my blooms start this color and then after they open, their color develops!

Alright, I promise I'm done.
(For now!)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Coming up for air...

You know that feeling, right? When you can hardly catch your breath and then all of a sudden there is a respite and you feel like you are finally coming up for air?

Last week - God really gave me this gift in our home. Our children played outside for hours and it was such a refreshing time for me to do my chores and actually get caught up on a few things.

And, I noticed something. When I start to come up for air and get a few things caught up, I am reminded of details that I overlook when I am in survival mode. When was the last time I lit candles for dinner on a regular night? When was the last time I sat out on the screened in porch and just rocked for no real reason other than enjoying the beauty of the evening? When was the last time I made cookies with the girls?

Then, I noticed something else - it was more than coming up for air at that point. I was gulping it in and feeling refreshed and renewed. So much more relaxed that I have been for a while - yet still accomplishing more than I have for a while. The details that I now had energy and vision for continued to feed me and refresh my spirit.

We moms never really know how many days our children will play well or how long this good routine will last. So, I just rejoice in each moment that I have - each day that I am breathing easier than the last is a rare and beautiful gift.

Let's face it - this mothering gig is really hard. I mean really hard. It calls on more of us than we ever knew we could give. It makes days where there is more playing and less bickering so much the more precious.

Thank You, Lord for the gift of these days that my children are playing well outside and enjoying your creation! Thank You for the order it has brought to our home and my heart. My cup is running over.....

Monday, May 23, 2011

Quilt Project

Remember this quilt? I knew the first thing I wanted to make was a little gift for the sweet giver of this quilt! Since she and her husband have an organic farm, I knew I wanted it to be something about gardening. Using my concordance, I looked at lots of verses - but settled on this:

I love how it turned out! I just cut a piece of the quilt to fit the frame, then free-hand stitched the words on. The glass would not fit once I put the quilt in - I don't mind it that way! Plus, I found the weathered looking frame on clearance!

By the way, don't you just love how well used quilts feel? They just have the homiest feeling!

This one has been delivered and now I'm envisioning one for our kitchen! And, I just have to share that when I delivered it, my friend was not there - but her husband agreed to deliver it to her for me. He read the verse and said, "She is like a well watered garden. And, such a blessing to me and others." Wasn't that sweet? It's true too!