Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! It's been a busy month and I haven't been able to post as often as I wanted.  Now Christmas is almost here.  The food is made, the presents are wrapped and it's time to relax a bit!

This year I've been thinking a lot about Mary and her response to the life changing news she heard from the Angel, Gabriel.  There are lots of times in the Bible where God asks someone to do something hard, but I think Mary's response is one of the best.  She didn't doubt like Zechariah, and she didn't whine like Moses, she just said, "may it be to me as you have said".  I hope I have the same faith and restful trust when God asks me to do something hard.

I will be joining 
Friends sharing tea.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Rose in Winter

Lo, how a Rose e'er blooming
From tender stem hath sprung!

Of Jesse's lineage coming
As men of old have sung.

It came, a Flow'ret bright,
Amid the cold of winter
When half-spent was the night.

~German carol from the 16th century~

I love the word picture of this Christmas carol.  Jesus was like a rose blooming in the middle of winter, come from the old family root of Jesse, who lived 1,000 years before.  The picture I took of the rose above was taken yesterday, not quite mid-winter, and it was a little freeze-dried. (:  I really like old Christmas songs like this one, just think, people have been singing these words for 500 years!  God's truth is unchanging.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

My favorite Thanksgiving hymn is Come, Ye Thankful People, Come, so I decided to do a little research on it since Thanksgiving is next week.  It was written by Henry Alford, a pastor in England, in the 1840s.  Henry Alford served as pastor for 18 years in the farming village of Wymeswold, England, at the St. Mary's church, pictured below. (Picture is from Wikipedia).  He wrote the song for the English Harvest Festival.  He also published many other psalms and hymns.  I liked what Henry put on his tombstone, "An Inn of a Pilgrim Traveling to Jerusalem". 

Come, ye thankful people, come;
Raise the song of harvest home.
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin.
God, our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied;
Come to God's own temple, come;
Raise the song of harvest home.

Friday, November 11, 2016

November Tea

Monday was a very gray day outside, with light rain and mist.  It was the perfect opportunity for Miss E and I to have a little tea indoors.  There's something so cozy about a lamp, don't you think?

Wishing you all a cozy November!

The grass withers and the flowers fade,
but the word of our God stands forever.
Isaiah 40:8

I am joining Friends Sharing Tea

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Unchanging Comfort

I was so encouraged this morning in my devotions as I read Isaiah 38.  King Hezekiah had been ruler over Judah for 14 years and he was the same age as I am now, 39, when he got deathly sick.  It was so bad that the prophet Isaiah came and told him that he better get his house in order because he was going to die.  Have you ever felt like you were dying?  Sometimes in the last few years as I have dealt with seizures and other health issues I have wondered if I was (although I don't think I was actually close to dying, I just knew something wasn't right).  It's not a fun feeling.  In fact, it's rather scary.  I can identify with Hezekiah's response.

When Hezekiah heard this, he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, "Remember, O LORD, how I have always been faithful to you and have served you single-mindedly, always doing what pleases you." Then he broke down and wept bitterly.
Isaiah 38:2-3

I love how God responded to Hezekiah's sorrow- it's such a comfort to know that God SEES ME!

"This is what the LORD, the God of your ancestor David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears."
Isaiah 38:5

Well, God added 15 years onto Hezekiah's life, and I can also identify with Hezekiah's thoughts concerning what he had been through.  My sickness the last few years has made me learn so much and deepened my relationship with God.

Now I will walk humbly throughout my years because of this anguish I have felt.
Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health.
You restore my health and allow me to live!
Yes, this anguish was good for me, for you have rescued me from death and forgiven my sins.

Only the living can praise you as I do today.
Each generation tells of your faithfulness to the next.
Think of it- the LORD is ready to heal me!
I will sing his praises with instruments
every day of my life in the Temple of the LORD.
Isaiah 38:15-17,19-20.

It's amazing how something written almost 3,000 years ago is still so relevant and applicable to me today.  God never changes, and that is a comfort.

Monday, October 10, 2016

October Tea

Life is busy, and there is always so much to do.
But sometimes we just have to stop and take time for
those things that will make lasting memories and impressions
on our children, things like tea parties in the fall down by the bridge!

Miss E and I enjoyed our Honey Vanilla Chamomile tea as well as
our pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting.  YUM!

I am joining

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Books I've loved this year

One Thousand Gifts... Yeah, this one's been around awhile but I read it again this year and got a lot out of it again.  It was interesting to see how it strikes me different now than it did 5 years ago.

Saving my Assassin... This is an autobiography of a lady who grew up in communist Romania and went on to become a defense attorney for believers.  It was hard to put down!  It challenged me to appreciate our freedoms more.

Hope Heals... An inspiring story of perseverance through hard medical challenges, very good.

Plain Faith... The true story of an Amish family who found freedom from the legalism of the Amish church when they accepted Christ.  It challenged me to think about how legalism is affecting my life as well.

She is Mine... The sad but true story of a little orphan girl in Vietnam who is miraculously saved from death multiple times and chosen to be the daughter of a missionary couple.  Eye opening.

The Heart of England... I got this book about England at the thrift store and really enjoyed it.  England is one of the places I would love to visit someday.

In a Sun-scorched Land... The true story of the years long journey to bring three children home from Haiti to be adopted by their new family.  Shows God's good work!

The Good, the Bad, and the Grace of God... I liked this book because it shows how God uses imperfect people and how he can work in our lives to change us into who he wants us to be.

Falling Free... Just finished this new book and really appreciated her heart for hurting people.  If we would just love people like we should this old world would be a lot better place!

Father to the Fatherless... A great and inspiring story of how God used one poor little child to grow up and be a father to hundreds of street children in Kenya through orphanages that he started.  Amazing story!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Happy Fall

A couple days ago Miss E and I went for a little walk and saw all these butterflies, there were a few monarchs too but I didn't get a picture.

It's smelling like fall outside!
I was trying to think how I would describe the smell of fall here, and I would say it's kind of dusty and sweet.

I like this poem I found in an old book called, "The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady", by Edith Holden.  It's her journal from the year 1906.

She has lots of beautiful illustrations and poems, little bits of country wisdom, and her journal entries in the book.  I have been enjoying it.  There are several others she wrote as well.

Happy fall to you!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Oak Trees at the Lake

This last weekend was our family's 4th annual weekend at a lake cabin near us.  We had a great time even though the lake was flooded 22 feet higher than usual.  This lake is so peaceful and beautiful, with post oak trees growing everywhere around it.  Scientists have tested some of the oak trees and some are 300 years old.  Miss E and I had fun collecting acorns to use in our fall d├ęcor.

I have been thinking about Isaiah 61 again lately.  It is one of my favorite chapters because it's full of hope for our suffering world.  In verse 3 it says that our righteousness will be like great oak trees, and I was thinking, why did it say we would be like oak trees and not like cottonwoods or elms or cedars?  I think it's because oak is so long lasting.  The righteousness God gives us through Jesus is just like that, steady, firm, and immovable.  What a blessing! 

To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.

In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the LORD has planted for his own glory.

I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God!
For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation
and draped me in a robe of righteousness.
Isaiah 61:3,10

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Journaling/Coloring Bibles

I just had to share my new Bible with you, because I love it so much!
Have you seen the new journaling and coloring Bibles? 
I think they are awesome for personal devotions.  Taking the time to color the individual verses really does help you take the time to think through what it's saying.

Of course, a cup of tea while coloring is nice too. (:

Here's a couple of the pages I've done.  I chose the Inspire NLT translation Bible, and after using the NIV for 25 years I am enjoying reading a new translation.  It's interesting how reading the same verses in a different translation can make them come alive again in a new way.

They also have coloring Bibles in NIV and KJV.
The Inspire version that I chose has over 400 illustrations to color,
and so it will take me awhile to work through it.  I'm planning to color the
verses as I read them in my devotions, so that way I'll be able to tell at a glance which
books I've read lately and which I should read again.

These would make a great Christmas gift if you know someone who likes artsy activities!

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