Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thankful Thursday - Cultivating a Grateful Heart

"Rejoice always, 
pray constantly,
give thanks in all circumstances.
For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you!"
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I have to be honest with you... I have not been feeling thankful very often this week... nor have I been rejoice all that much, nor praying constantly.  May is one of those crazy/wonderful/stressful months.  Everything comes to a end for summer break.  A flurry of activity and celebrations captures me.  An ever-increasing "to do" list weighs on me.  Summer beckons.  Children become restless and wild... This leads me to my first "thanks" this week...

I am thankful for this blog and being intentional about giving thanks.  The ritual of sitting down, placing my fingers on the keyboard, pouring out my thoughts in picture and word... it is a tool by which God is changing me.. calling me to Him, reminding me of all I have been blessed with and what it important.  This pause from activity refocuses me on how I want to live... how I need to live... rejoice always (not just when things are calm or go just my way... pray constantly - not perfect flowery words, not a formula... just talking with Abba My Father, My Heavenly Daddy... give thanks in all circumstances - lots of complaints here not thanks...
Stopping here and now to get back on track.  For that I am so very grateful!  

Some more thanks for this week:

our pool waiting to be set up... we spend a lot of our summer here

this big old tree in our neighbor's yard... it provides sweet shade all summer long

my sewing machine... I love love love sewing... creating... making things...
it brings me such joy

this pillow... love the fabric, enjoyed the sewing of it, and now it sits on my couch...
 I think the fabric is so cheery

fabric in general... it makes me swoon...
 I have this aqua material ready to make into something... not sure what yet
the light in the picture does not do this fabric justice

frozen peaches from a friend... 
I thought I had used all of them and was so surprised to find them in our freezer!

smoothies... this one I made with some of the frozen peaches

music... my son played in his last middle school concert this week...
 loved hearing the jazz band!
Just want to say... love all three of my kids with a passion and fierceness... 
I just happened to have posted a lot about Mark lately since his 8th grade year is a big year for him.  Many milestones for him this year.

yummy, luscious watermelon... all summer long!

this is our family's verse for 2013... I truly feel this is what the Lord gave to us... 
lately I have been feeling downcast about it... 
some hopes and dreams my sweet husband and I had have just not come to fruition and in our humanness, we haven't seen clearly but rather clouded...
yesterday, I was given this verse again by Him who has good plans for us... so thankful!!!!

Taking moments to reflect and be truly thankful is changing me... it will change you too!

What are you thankful for?

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday - And a Proverb to Clothe Yourself In

Linking up again with Lindsay from The Pleated Poppy  for  What I Wore Wednesday.  I think most of us have complaints with our bodies... doesn't matter if you are young, old, or in between.  I want us to remember we are precious daughters of God and created beautifully.  Won't you join me in the challenge to put a little extra into getting ready each day.  Find styles you like and that suit your figure.  It doesn't have to cost a lot.

Here are a few outfits from the week:

I bought this shirt on sale at Bob's Stores a while back.  The colors are such a great compliment to each other and I always feel good when I wear it.  
This time I paired it with some comfy brown pants and my leopard print shoes.   
So comfortable but cuter outfit than sweats!

I showed off my new red pants last week.. I got them at clearance at Wal-Mart and just love them.  I am surprised at how much they go with.  And, they are a change from my regular jeans or dark colored pants

They were perfect for a Memorial Day cookout!  

Saturday, I paired another top I got for a steal at Bob's Stores (this one is a few years older than the other)... I used to only wear it with a tan jacket but now am branching out....  try mixing up your clothes... very fun!  

Living in New England, I have learned that if you don't like the weather,
 just wait a few minutes and it will change.  
Saturday morning was warm and by that evening it was cooling down. 
For Sunday morning, I pulled out some boots, tights, and a sweater to go with this summer dress. 
 I have put all of my warmer clothes away but this combination with this dress was cozy warm!  
The picture is a little cock-eyed .. the outfit really did look better in person... honest!

Another old shirt that I got on clearance...
 this one was from Fashion Bug a few years ago (sadly, they are now out of business).   
Today was a super rainy day in the morning and I needed something bright and cheery to get me going.

So, how about it?  Will you take the challenge and pick out something nice to wear?  It will make you feel good and change your attitude.  

And, since true beauty comes from deep within, here is a Proverb to clothe your soul in...

"Do not be wise in your own eyes ; fear the Lord and shun evil.  
This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones."
Proverbs 3:7-8

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tortoise Tuesday - Summer List

Good Morning Sunshine!  Hope you all had a chance to rest and relax this weekend.  I am grateful beyond words to the men and women who have lost their lives protecting ours.

Summer is fast approaching and I love the slower pace at home with my children.  I have ideas... and projects... and lots I want to do.  The Hare in me wants to do everything at once... but then I fizzle and burnout.  Working on pacing myself as the Tortoise instead.  So this weekend, I sat with my family and created a Summer List.  We compiled a list of what we want our summer to entail.  Summer starts here for us in a little less than a month and we are ready... more than ready.  My goal this summer is to check off all of the items on the list before we start up school again in September; not to complete a list, but to be truly present and cherish these moments.

I have seen a lot of list out there in other blogs but couldn't find one that worked just right with my family.  My oldest daugther suggested I create one myself.  Took me a few minutes and here it is:

You can use hand write it or use a word processing program on your computer...
 all I did was use different colors for the fonts, made it a two column page, and use bullets for my list. 
 The colors make me think of summer.

Remember my memo board makeover?  ever since I redid my board, I use it all of the time.  
It is a handy place for inspirational sayings, important forms, paint cards, and now my summer list:)

What are your summer plans?  Let me know in the comments below!  Dream dreams big and small!

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thankful Thursday - Cultivating a Grateful Heart

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks;
 for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

I Thessalonians 5: 16-18

Gratitude and thanksgiving change everything.  As, I try to live out these verses in I Thessalonians, The Lord is refining me, molding me, pruning me.  Less focus on me and more on Him.  I am being changed.   The more thankful I am, the more I find to be thankful for... abundance, grace,and  joy grow.  Blooming where I am planted.   Seeing and feeling my heart and soul becoming more and more content regardless of my circumstances; not because of, or inspite of.

Here are a few things in my life that I am thankful for:

old things with character like this old glass knob that holds my curtain back

hanging laundry out to dry... the process slows me down...
and the scent that lingers on line-dried laundry is heavenly

lanterns... all shapes and sizes found throughout my house... giving light and charm

sunflowers... God's most joyful flowers

my blue-eyed Aunt Millie... so beautiful, loving, gentle, and nurturing... my family loves her so

our big old sectional filled with throw pillows where we sit and cuddle as a family... 
some of our most precious times are found here

our front porch with its chipped paint and sagging boards... 
I love times spent out here with my hubby in our rocking chairs

Intentionally looking for blessings in my life is changing me... less grumblings... more rejoicing... it'll change you too!

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday and a Proverb to Clothe Yourself in

Linking up today with Lindsay from The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday.  Here are some outfits from the week... and a little before and after.  You are a beautiful child of Jesus...  take a couple of minutes to put your outfits together to show yourself and your family you care.  Just a note:  It does not have to cost a lot... most of my clothes are secondhand or bought at super low prices.

Here's a peek...

casual and comfy but not frumpy

my son was confirmed Sunday... changed into something more relaxed for his celebration after church

got this dress last year at Target... so comfortable and versatile

last night our son was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society

And, here is a little before and after... dressed for a field trip for my school...
 took just a couple of minutes to change the outfit from frumpy to cute - 
little changes can make a huge difference!

love the zipper on the pant leg

And, here is my very favorite proverb!  Trust in the Lord is a beautiful thing!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

    and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight

Proverbs 3:5,6

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tortoise Tuesday - Sometimes You Have to Keep it Simple

Welcome to Tortoise Tuesday!  Here is where I try to be more slow and steady like the Tortoise and less frazzled and frenzied like the Hare. 

This has been a whirlwind week.  It seems like the end of the school year is always like this... end of the year celebrations, field trips, tests, projects... and the list goes on.  In the midst of this flurry of activity, sometimes you have to keep things simple.  Our son was confirmed at church on Sunday and we had a celebration at our house after.  Confirmation is a wonderful time in our church where after two years of study, a teen confirms his or her faith in Jesus Christ.  Big milestone for sure and one worthy of great joy!  And, a gathering for us must ensue.  

Now,  I love parties, decorating, hospitality, and all these  parties entail.  But sometimes, well in order to keep my sanity, simplifying in the way to go.   I would have loved to make amazing decorations, scoured Pinterest for a plethera ideas, and craft to my heart's delight.  And, the seeing my plans come to fruition... oh, the joy in that.  However, the reality is this...  had I done that for this party, I would have been super stressed.  This is not always the case; in fact, sometimes the planning and implementation of hosting gatherings like this often relieve my stress and feed my inner creative streak.   So, setting my priorities in order, some things had to go and some had to stay.  Creative party prep lost out.

Sunday we worshiped together, and then come home for my son's celebration.  Here is the list of what it did not contain:

~ lots of cool decorations
~a diverse menu of fruits, salads, cute little finger sandwiches, many yummy desserts
~ a spread that was both visually creative and pleasing, as well as, delicious
~a creativly wrapped gift
~meaningful party favors to commemorate the day

Here is a list of what the day did contain:

~store bought meatballs simmering in sauce in the crockpot
~ rolls to make meatball subs
~ a plate of American cheese (yep, no assortment of fine cheeses in pretty dishes)
~ice tea, lemonade, soda, and wine (brought by a dear friend)
~four kinds of chips
~ice cream bars for dessert
~ paper goods all in the same color

You know what?  

The joy and fellowship were just as sweet.  There was storytelling and laughter... and love.   Kids' play was spontaneous (yep, no activities planned except eating).  Joy abounded.

Okay, I couldn't let the day go without getting a little creativity out... 
this is one of the centerpieces that I made for the confirmation students at church...
 we used our son's for the centerpieces for our table outside as well... 

Sometimes, you just have to keep it simple!

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thankful Thursday - The Cross, Wisteria, and More

In the book of Thessalonians it says:

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, 
give thanks in all circumstances; 
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

This set of verses seems to be impressed upon my heart over and over lately.  These word rattle my discontent, comparisons, grumblings, and lack of gratitude to the many joys before me.  How easy it is to become complacent in noticing the countless joys around me?  My vision is easily clouded by my perceptions of how things are and my expectations of how things should be.  I am being refined;  molded and reshaped each day by the Lord.  And, I am realizing more and more how a to really live out these words in Thessalonians, I need to cultivate a grateful heart; open my eyes to blessings big and small all around me... fully live in this day.  Continually clearing out the weeds.  

 Each Thursday, I am pausing to record some of the wonder around me - in the great and in the little... 

The Cross... without Christ's lavish, unfathomable, radical gift, I would be nothing.
Forgiveness, grace, pure lavish love

Chocolate peanut butter bark... rich and delicious
You can find the recipe here:  The Stay at Home Chef

Using my mama's depression glass collection.  I miss her terribly - 
it has been 4 years since she passed away. 
 Using her depression glass brings a smile to my face thinking of her
 and how she collected it over the years.

Wisteria from my neighbor's yard 

We've lived in our house for 6 years now and each year the wisteria next door expands & 
drapes our fence in all its beautiful glory

this elastic band is from physical therapy... 
I am so thankful for the progress I am making with my shoulder 

Bike rides... it's true, you never really forget how to ride a bike!

Got my new bike for Mother's Day and have felt like a kid
again enjoying the simple pleasure of cruising along and feeling the wind blow!

So tell me... what are you thankful for today?  Leave me a comment below and let me know... 

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!