Tuesday, June 11, 2024

A Look at the Junk Garden, The Library, And a Summer Cold

 Hey Friends!

It's Tuesday already! Yesterday I took it slow and steady; working on laundry, cleaning bathrooms, and sitting in between. I've got a bad case of summer allergies (or a cold) that is making it hard to breathe right now, but it's getting better each day, so I think I'm going to make it πŸ˜…

I did manage to walk outside in the sunshine and get a few pictures of my ongoing "junk" garden in the front yard. It's definitely a work in progress. We will add some rock and stepping stones inside the border, just to make it look nicer, but for now, it's just the natural pine straw look. 

It was hard to get a picture from different angles, because my shadow kept getting in the way. I'll keep trying. 

Here's the giant bird bath a friend gave to me. That black thing in the middle is a solar-powered fountain we bought to keep the water moving. It works great when the sun is shining and it helps attract the birds to the water. 

I mostly planted various flowers here. I wanted everything in pots that can be moved here and there, as I wish. It's just easier to take care of, in my opinion. 

In the bathtub, I did plant some Japanese Oregano, Rosemary and Citronella. The lady at the plant store helped me with these. The oregano is the pretty one on the right side. If you rub the leaves, it smells like oregano, which I don't even like, but I liked the look of it, so I bought it. It should grow and kind of cascade over the side, which is what I wanted. You can also see an empty pot in the bottom corner. I just need more dirt and more plants. 

Next, I want to go thrifting for some fun things to add to the garden, such as the metal animals they sell. I know I could buy them new, but I'll look at the junk stores first. I also have plans to let the girls create their own fairy garden in an old plant box I have. That will happen soon. They are pretty excited about that. 

I've always wanted a junk garden, ever since I saw a backyard in this style. Some people I knew had their entire backyard full of plants, old chairs and objects, perfectly placed to give it a fun look. It does take a tiny bit of strategy, because you don't want it to look like a true junk yard. It needs to be fun and natural, yet a bit whimsical and adventurous. I want to leave space for the kids to walk in between and find little hidden features. They can even help place objects here and there, which they will love. 

Well, enough of that...

Today I'm going to try my hand at some strawberry bread that Billie Jo shared HERE. I'll take a picture if it turns out as pretty as hers πŸ˜ƒ

I'm trying to finish up a book that has to be back to the library tomorrow. Have I mentioned how much I'm enjoying the library? It's so fun to bring books home, read them, return them and never spend a dime. I love that I can check out several, just in case I can't really get into one of them. I just move on to the next and it's no big deal. What I have started doing, when I see a book that I'm interested in, on Goodreads or Amazon, I will save it to a list on my phone and then look for those at the library. It's a fun outing and knowing I have to turn them in on time, pushes me to read more. It's a win win!

Well, I'm off to take some cold medicine with my breakfast. Hopefully I'm on the tail end of this thing! 

Happy Tuesday!

Until Next Time...


Monday, June 10, 2024

"Trad Wife" vs. The Real Deal


Good morning friends!

Recently I've been hearing the term "Trad Wife" and after looking into it a bit more, I wanted to share some thoughts I have on this topic. 

If you aren't familiar with the new fad on social media, referred to as "Trad Wives", it's basically a new term that stands for "traditional wife", which these girls are nothing of the sort. Sorry ladies, but it's true.

These new "traditional wives" are posting videos of themselves dressed to the nines, making homemade cough drops when their babies have coughs, whipping up some homemade bubble gum on a whim, holding baby on their hip while they fix a three course meal in their heels, no less, and all while moving the camera and tripod around, to make sure they get the best shots for their social media accounts. This isn't real life.

What's so frustrating and sad about these ladies is that they have millions of young moms following them, desperate to see how other people live, and they are misleading most of them. They are only in it for the following and the money.

Young moms can't live up to the pressure of having to look like a million bucks, make homemade everything, have babies that sleep tight in their sleep sacks, trained by their sleep training gurus, in bassinets made of lace and silk. 

What ever happened to looking to the women in your own life, as the standard for which you want to aspire? 

As I was thinking about this topic, I was remembering some of the women in my own life, that I was blessed to have as examples of what a traditional wife and woman looked like. 

I remember my own mom, who was the greatest example of hard work. She is now 81 and still works a full time job! She also gave us the best Christmases. She also taught us to never leave without an "I love you." Thanks mom πŸ’—

My step mother was the epitome of the stay-at-home mom. She taught me everything I know about homemaking, cooking, cleaning, and putting your kids first. I miss her. 

My favorite aunt fascinated me, as she had routines and was very organized. I still look to her for advice on how to run a home. She also exercised every morning, which I thought was very cool. She's still one of the most poised ladies I know. 

I remember my grandmother loving the color red and not being afraid to display that color throughout her home and life. She wore red dresses and had red bath towels. Even the interior color of her car was red. I admire a woman who proudly displays her favorites. 

Then, as I got older, God put other women in my life to admire and look up to.

There were a few ladies from church that taught me how to be a better person. One who told me that sometimes your silence speaks much louder than actual words. Such wise advice. Another who maintained grace and poise, no matter the circumstances. 

David's aunt, who could whip up a country meal in 30 minutes, when visitors show up unexpectedly, taught me about hospitality. Sadly, I do not have this trait! But I certainly admire her for it. 

There are so many more women that I admire, for the way they raised their families, their special skills, their warmth and love and so much more. These are the women who deserve to be admired and even imitated. What's funny is that they would also be the ones who were humble about having anyone look up to them, because they were just doing what they saw the women in their own lives doing and teaching.

I only hope I can inspire someone, in some way. I hope one day that there will be someone who has caught something I've taught and had it mean something in their own motherhood. Not because it was flashy or brilliant or definitely not because I look like a million bucks! But, I hope I can pass down what it looks like to be devoted to my husband and kids. What it means to love being a homemaker and making it work, no matter the income or how many times your husband has to start over. What it means to love my grand babies and spend time with them. What it means to trust God, because he has come through every single time.

If I can pass that down to a young mom, then that is all the fame I need. 

Until Next Time...



Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Random Photo Catch Up

 Happy Tuesday, Friends!

Well, we are officially into summer and the heat index today is already reaching 103, according to our weather man, Greg. It's going to be a hot one!

I thought I would catch you up on some things I've been doing around here lately. So here are some random photos from the last few weeks.

The girls and I have been watching LoveMeg on YouTube the past few weeks. This is someone I watched for years, then she left YouTube and has now come back and I'm really enjoying her new content. 
In the link I'm sharing her video that has this Taco Tater Tot Casserole recipe. The girls and I made this a few weeks ago and it was so delicious! In fact, they talked their mother into making it for them over the weekend too. 

Now that the girls are not going to co-op, they are once again having Millie Day every week, which means I'm always looking for fun crafts to do. They love crafts and it's the first thing they ask for, when they walk in the door. 

So I found this easy craft online and we tried it a few weeks ago. You simply use glue to draw something, sprinkle your design with salt and let it dry. Once it's dry, you can paint the salt with water colors. 

I wouldn't say it was the best craft we've ever done, but it kept them satisfied for the hour or so. It took some time for the glue to dry and that's always tricky, to have to regroup in order to finish the artwork later. 

At the end of May we celebrated little Asa's 2nd birthday. David and I set up a water slide for the kids and they had so much fun playing in the water. We had burgers and fries and Asa got some fun gifts. I can't believe he's already 2 years old!

Now currently...yesterday we finally had the landscaping company come back and clean up our front flower bed. It's been two years since they built this for us and it was overrun with weeds and all the plants needed a refresh. We had been trying to keep up with the weeds, but it was out of control, so we asked them to come back and get it back in shape. Now it looks so much better! 

They also put some rocks in two side flower beds and put a border around my junk garden. I will share pictures of those spaces as I work on them this week.

This week I'll be visiting my favorite plant nursery, looking for more flowers to go in my junk garden. I also have an eye appointment, Millie Day and then lunch with all the kids on Saturday. We haven't had our traditional Tuesday night dinner for a few weeks now. Ted has been traveling to a church in Baytown for rehearsals for a worship conference he's a part of, so we are finding other times to get together. This week it will be for lunch on Saturday. 

We don't like to eat out as much, now that there are so many of us. It's much better when the babies can run and play at our house. But sometimes you make do with what you have, right? I'm just thankful I get to see my kids and grandkids weekly. What a blessing that is! 

Well, time to eat breakfast and start the day.

I hope your Tuesday is wonderful! Come back soon πŸ˜€

Until Next Time...


Friday, May 31, 2024

Finding Your Joy


Yesterday I grabbed my journal and my prayer book and I headed for Starbucks to get a coffee treat, then drove to the local park for some alone time, which may sound strange, since I have the house to myself all day. But when you're at home, the laundry is calling, the dishes need doing and there's always something that seems to get in the way of truly just being able to focus. 

So I decided it was time for a change of scenery and some one-on-one time with Jesus. 

The park was kind of crowded, but I managed to find a parking spot away from the noise. I got out my journal and pen and began to write out some questions I had for the Lord. As I would pray and ask my questions, I would write down the answers as I felt them in my heart. 

I then opened my prayer book, which is a small journal I made last year, that is filled with my favorite verses from the Bible. As I read the scriptures and spent time talking with Jesus, my mind began to calm and I was able to truly focus on Him. It was a sweet, sweet time in his presence.

One of the things that I asked the Lord was "Where can I find my joy?" Now, I wasn't seeking to find happiness in that moment, but I wanted to hear from the Lord, where my joy could be found. And his answer was the same as it's been for 35 years...right where I've put you...your home and family.

You see, the world tells us that we need to do more, be more, make more, produce more and women... we are killing ourselves doing it. We are selling ourselves out there, trying to be the keeper of the home, the paycheck, the kids, the extra curricular activities and the world of social media. We've been fed a lie that we can "do it all" and that we need to, to be counted amongst the "important" and to prove ourselves in a world that craves attention and status. 

I have always known that my calling from the Lord was to be a homemaker. To care for my home and my family is where my heart has always been. It's where I find the peace and the joy. 

But every now and then, I mix up my calling with my desire to do more and it brings the discontentment, every time. It never brings satisfaction.

So, as I prayed and spoke to the Lord about the confusion I feel sometimes toward what the world deems as important, I heard him loud and clear that I'm right where he wants me to be, which is where he put me all those years ago. 

That doesn't mean God won't use me to produce something, write something, or create something. But if he does, it will be within the context of where he's already placed me and it will flow from there, where my joy is found. 

I share this private situation in hopes that it will help someone else who struggles with "just" being at home. As I have always maintained...it's not a "have to," it's a "get to." Everything else is just the cherry on top.

If you're feeling a lack of joy these days (this is different than just being happy), I encourage you to go somewhere, away from the duties of home, and get alone with Jesus. Ask him the questions that are on your mind and listen to his answers. Trust what comes during this time and know that it won't be a burning bush, a talking donkey or even fire from heaven. Some people think it has to be big and showy to be God, and they are missing the point of having an intimate relationship with him. (But that's a whole other topic). 

Listen for that still, small whisper in your spirit. It's the sweetest moment. We make Jesus so complicated and he honestly doesn't have to be. He wants to speak to you, but he wants you to lean in and hear him when he does. 

Whatever you take from this post, know that the Lord has plans for you and always has. 

I pray you find your joy there.

Until Next Time...


Friday, May 24, 2024

A Lifetime of Firsts


Something's been on my mind lately and it's about how we keep growing, even when we're already old(ish). 

Growing up, I assumed the adults in my life knew pretty much all there was to know. I mean, they were old (or so I thought). 

But as I've gotten older, become a wife, mom, mother-in-love, and now a Millie (grandmother), I've realized that there is still so much I have to learn and so many more "firsts" I have to experience.

I used to think "firsts" were something that young people experienced. Or maybe having your first baby and going through all the "firsts" with them, was something. But then my kids grew up and got married and then I was experiencing my first daughter-in-love. Then my 2nd son got married and I was blessed with a 2nd DIL and it was my "first" time dividing my love between the two.

Then my first grand baby came along and my heart melted like never before...oh! and she was a girl, another first. Then her sister was born and it was my first time to have two granddaughters, 16 months apart. Again...something new to navigate. Then girl number 3 joined us and she was something new, as well. 

With each new baby, I've had to adjust to loving one more, keeping one more, teaching one more, and making sure everyone felt loved and enjoyed.

Then we had our "first" grandson and we were so delighted. Our "first" boy in a sea of girls. Five months later, we had our 2nd grandson and now it was our first time to have 5 grand babies in one tiny cottage!

Each time our grown kids experience a "first", it's our first time to walk along side them and guide them or stay quiet (always a hard "first" πŸ˜…). 

Sometimes we have decisions to make and they lead to our own first mistakes, mishaps in parenting or first family issues. 

The "firsts" are endless and they don't stop, just because you reach a certain age.

Growth is part of life and life is an endless line of learning and doing and learning something new.

I've learned that it's important to communicate this issue of "firsts" with your kids, just so they know that you're still learning and growing and navigating new things too. Maybe this helps them to see that you're human too πŸ˜…

So...if you're reading this and you've recently experienced something for the first time, I see you 😊

It might be something joyful or something painful, but either way, it's your first and it means something...it means you're growing.

Have a wonderful weekend friends!

I'm off to experience our first blow-up water slide in the yard. Wish me luck!

Until Next Time...


Tuesday, May 21, 2024

The Art of Lingering


Good morning friends!

Just thought I'd post a good, old fashioned blog post today (thanks Danielle for the reminder of old school blogging), filled with my comings and goings and unexciting plans for the day.  

Currently I'm sipping on my 2nd cup of coffee, while writing this post. I spent the early morning hours catching up on other blogs and eating breakfast - toast with peanut butter - getting dressed, printing out some documents for my son, talking with David before he left for work, packing up a lunch for him, ordering a few new shirts online (thanks Jennifer, for the tips!) and planning out my chores for the day.

I'm having a cleaning day today, with several things on the list. First I'll tackle the typical things inside, such as bathrooms and floors. But the big project for the day is the back porch. It needs to be swept, wiped down and just some overall TLC, which it hasn't had in a while.

I was talking to a friend yesterday about the reality of enjoying outdoor spaces. It's nothing like you see on tv, magazines or social media. At least in our area, there are several things that have to be done before you can enjoy an outdoor space, such as wiping all the dust and pollen off furniture before sitting. Then there are the bugs, even in a screened-in porch. Spider webs pop up over night and I don't share spaces with spiders, so these must be completely destroyed before I can sit and enjoy the porch. The wind blows here quite often, so there is always a layer of dust everywhere, that needs to be wiped down regularly. Point being...sitting and relaxing takes work! πŸ˜…

So that's on the agenda today. 

I was also discussing (same friend) the idea of lingering. I love having a few days during the week where I can linger and not feel rushed. There is always a sense of urgency that everything needs doing. 

To linger means to sit a little longer on the (cleaned) porch. It might mean reading a few extra blogs in the morning, rather than rushing off to start the day. Lingering also looks like taking time to sit and enjoy lunch, rather than hurrying through it, to get to the afternoon tasks. Lingering in the yard, enjoying the outdoors, tending to the flowers, playing with the dog, or just taking a walk at a slow pace. I'm not great at lingering. I always feel like I need to be doing something.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm in the season for lingering yet. Is that a thing? Not feeling guilty or like something has to be done every time you sit down? It's something I'm going to practice a few times a week and see if I can successfully linger without guilt.

Today I will have leftovers for lunch - shredded chicken I made yesterday in the crock pot, over rice and beans. I'm trying to cook in batches these days and eat on things for several days in a row. It just makes cooking easier and the food stretches farther. I do still get a craving for Schlotsky's now and then, but I've found a way to stretch take-out into two days, as well. I can buy a sandwich and salad and eat half of both and save the other half for the next day. It's just a nice treat when you've exhausted all the homemade ideas. 

Creatively, I've been working on a new planner and a new journal. I recently purged a bunch of old journals and notebooks and cleaned out some supplies I had been holding onto for no reason. I bought myself a proper journal. For years I have used composition notebooks and covered them with scrapbook paper and thoroughly enjoyed being creative with my journals. But recently I had a change in what I wanted, and all of a sudden I wanted a proper journal that didn't look homemade. I've also pared down all my writing into this one journal, rather than have multiple notebooks going, for various topics. It all sounds very frivolous, doesn't it? I think I'm just in a simplifying stage right now. 

And one more topic for today...Television. We just finished the season of American Idol and I have to say, if you are a music fan, this is a season worth finding and watching. So many amazing singers and this year, there were so many believers who boldly shared their faith through music and testimonies and I loved watching this air on regular tv! I won't give away any spoilers, but it's well worth finding and watching for yourself.

And, now I've lingered here at the computer, my coffee is just about finished and it's time to start the rest of the day.

I hope you've lingered a bit this morning too (or whenever you read this) and have had time to sit guilt-free. 

I'm not only on board for old-school blogging, but on board for slowing down and lingering a bit more.

I'll be practicing this more and more. Let me know if you linger this week and how. 

Take care and...

Until next time...


Friday, May 17, 2024

A Treat for Millie Day and a Small Hurricane

Happy Friday everyone!

Last night we had a small hurricane blow through, knocking out the power
for a few hours.
That's the second storm this week!
We live about 15 minutes north of our kids,
so we were getting the wind, rain and lightening
before they were.
As soon as our lights came on,
theirs went off.
By about 9:30 or so,
everyone had their power back on,
just in time to go to bed.

I did manage to do some reading by candlelight, which was nice.

Now...as for the daytime portion of this crazy day...

I took the girls to see PawPaw at work.

Here they are, looking down at the parking lot below

from the 3rd floor.

The office building is very nice and has several cafes inside,

so of course, they got a treat. 

 The wind was really blowing that morning
(a sign of what was coming later on),
and they wanted to play outside,
but it was time to take a tour of PawPaw's office.

The office manager offered them some snacks,
which they politely declined,
since they had just had their coffee treat.
I was so proud of them for saying
no to more treats.

They were able to see where PawPaw goes to work
every day and Addie saw that he had a piece
of her recent artwork on the wall,
which she was so happy about.

The rest of our day was spent
doing crafts, playdoh,
attempting a puzzle,
and watching an animated show
about Helen Keller.

In the afternoon I had to get them home
and get back to my house before the storm
came in.
I made it in plenty of time, thankfully.

That's the second storm we've had this week.
I hope that isn't an indicator of what hurricane season
is looking like this summer. 

I hope your week has been drier than mine πŸ˜€

Have a wonderful weekend!

Until Next Time...

Monday, May 13, 2024

What's On My Phone Lately?


Looking at the pictures on my phone lately, I've realized that most are not curated photos, shot with Instagram in mind, but just every day things that touch my heart or make me happy for some reason. 

Like that top photo of a cute little pig that I found at Hobby Lobby and filled it with dirt and cilantro seeds, just to see if I could actually grow something edible. And you know what? I did!

The funny story is that I was afraid to taste it because it never smelled like anything but dirt. So last week I asked my son to taste it and when he did, he said it was amazing, so the rest of us tasted it and what do you know...it was! I actually grew something edible! Now that was worth taking a picture of πŸ˜€

Then there was Millie Day, last week, when I let Emmy and Ella make lunch. Ella made the pigs-in-a-blanket and Emmy made "taco dumplings". Both were yummy! I was so proud of them for making lunch, so I snapped a shot to send to their mommy. She was proud too πŸ˜€

I got this shot of our pantry door...the one with the chalkboard paper on it. This is the first door you see when you walk in the house. It's not a pretty door, by any means, but it very often holds the best artwork.

As much as I would love a fancy door that greets guests as they arrive, I would miss the action of the three little girls who know just which drawer the chalk is in, draw what's on their minds at the time, ask me to write math and spelling words for them and who very often ask me to make a list of what we're going to do on Millie Day. There's no door that can do all of that, no matter how pretty it would be.

This was on my phone too. It's just a tree in the corner of the living room. I like to plug it in at the end of a long day, when all the dishes are done, the house is straight, and David and I are sitting down to watch tv. I'll light a candle on the dining room table, plug in the tree, choose a lamp and finally sit and relax with my favorite guy. It's our time and we both treasure it. Little lighted trees just make it all the more cozy, don't they?

This is just one of the flowers that the girls and I planted one Millie Day. I took them to a local nursery and let them pick out some flowers. It was already a hot day in April, but we powered through, got some plants and managed to get them in some pots before everyone had a (literal) meltdown. 

Every time I stand at my kitchen window and see the various pots with one or two flowers sticking up, I just smile at the memories with my girls. 

The days never go as planned, but the memories just make me giggle later on. As I think back on that day, a month later, the scene ended up being Emmy and Millie planting the majority of the flowers, while Ella and Addie rode circles around the house in their battery powered Jeep.  Some are made for working and others...not so much πŸ˜€ 

The last photo of the day...pretty colors on the dining room table. 

My table is quite literally the center of everything. It sees all, feels all, seats all, and then stands there proudly holding something pretty until it's needed again. So it's in a lot of photos and will be for years to come. It's just part of the family.

I haven't been taking a lot of pictures lately. I've been trying to be in the moment more and that means having my phone out of reach, even for pictures. I've also not been sharing too many pictures of all the kids lately. 

This world has gone crazy and there's just a check in my spirit sometimes about showing pictures of all the babies. 

When I feel good about it, I will share, but on the days that I feel a caution, I won't. 

I hope you've enjoyed this tiny glimpse of what's on my phone lately. 

See you soon!

Until Next Time...


Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Summertime Memories

Summertime is quickly arriving and with every warm morning I am reminded of childhood days. 

I had the best summers and every year those memories pop up, as I step outside and feel the sun and warmth on my face. 

There were summers spent in Corpus Christi with my aunt and uncle, where I rode bikes with friends, played my favorite board games in their game room, went grocery shopping with my aunt and loved visiting my friend's house, where her mom had a beauty shop. I mean, those were the days!

There was a Maverick Market across the street, where we would get Icees every day. My favorite was the Coke and Cherry mixed. Yum!

I also have wonderful memories of summers spent with my dad and stepmom. We would have watermelon on the porch at night, visit my Aunt Julia in a big, southern house in town, where she had pictures hanging on the wall of my Uncle John with past presidents. We would head to the lake on some weekends, with a cooler full of Shasta drinks, sandwiches and snacks. The truck would be loaded down with new floats, beach towels and kids. What great memories those were!

I also have hilarious memories of popping fireworks with cousins and my dad's joking around leading to my grandmother's beehive hairdo catching on fire when a spark landed in her hair. Hairspray and fireworks don't mix! But they do make for some crazy memories!

Then there were the summers when I had my own children to play with. I still treasure those memories just as much.

David and I lived in the first home we bought - a little brick starter home, with a fenced in backyard. It wasn't fancy, and we could hear the train go by very loudly, as we were just a block away from the track.

We bought that house as a foreclosure and wallpapered everything we could get our hands on, it seemed. We were so proud of our little house. 

I would keep the little, blue plastic pool right out in the center of the backyard. Every summer morning, about 10:00 a.m., I would take my son Ted outside and he would play on the swings and slide and run back to splash in the pool. I would sit in a lawn chair and enjoy his laughter, read, or have a friend over to chat. It was a simple life and it was the best!

By the time Collin was born, we were packing up the little house and moving to a better neighborhood, but we created a fun backyard there and made even more memories of homeschooling, legos, new puppies and Chester the cat.

As the years do, summers changed as the boys got older (and so have I), but I still go back to those memories when I walk outside on that first change of season and feel the summer mornings warm my face.

I will treasure those days forever. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Breakfast for Dinner and for the Freezer Too

 Hello Friends!

Well, it's already Tuesday! Monday was busy with grocery shopping and putting away, which also leads to straightening the pantry and fridge as I go. 

Every week I try to make something that I can eat for breakfast in the mornings and this week I decided on an egg/sausage/cheese quiche that I can cut into squares and stick in the freezer. 

Whenever I'm needing something for the freezer - whether breakfast tacos, egg squares, or sausage balls, I try to make them for dinner, so I'm cooking once and achieving two goals with the same meal. 

We eat a bit of the meal, then I wrap individual portions and put them in the freezer for the week ahead. 

David eats breakfast bars every single day on his way to work. Those don't work for me. In fact, if I eat a breakfast bar, I will be hungry within an hour. 

I need a lot of food in the mornings for some reason, so I like to eat something that has protein and is hearty enough to hold me until lunch. These breakfast foods do the trick.

For this quiche, I whisked about 5 eggs, browned breakfast sausage, cheese, spinach, onions, tomatoes and chopped jalapeΓ±os. I seasoned it with onion powder, garlic, salt and pepper. 

I sometimes use a muffin pan and make "egg cups," but I was feeling lazy this time and just used my casserole dish. Squares taste just as good as cups, I've discovered. πŸ˜€

Today is Family Dinner day, so I will be busy putting the roast in the crockpot, same with the beans, then later mashing the potatoes and getting the salad ready. The past few weeks we've been having strawberries with cool whip and chocolate chips sprinkled on top. Yummy and easy!

Our little cottage is getting crazy-er now that both boys are toddling around! That's 5 kids on the move in one small house! But the memories are going to be amazing!

Well, I'm off to eat some hearty breakfast and get started with my day.

I hope this Tuesday brings you lots of sweet moments. Savor every one πŸ’›

Until Next Time...


Sunday, April 21, 2024

Recognizing God's Presence - Here, There, and Wherever You Are

 Happy Sunday my friends,

As I was having my coffee this morning, I was reading one of my favorite passages in the Bible - 

Luke 24:13-35 - The Road to Emmaus.  I love this story for several reasons. 

I've been on a "walk to Emmaus" and it still remains one of the most beautiful experiences I've ever had. Of course, it wasn't the actual road to Emmaus, as in the scriptures, but it was definitely an encounter with the Lord.

Many years ago, our community had an organization that held men and women's weekend retreats called "The Walk to Emmaus." It was a weekend filled with encouragement, silence, service, blessings and encounters with Jesus. It was, quite literally, a great example of what Heaven will be like, in regard to many different religions (but all Christ followers) being together in worship. 

As we all ate together, worshipped together, sat and were served together, it broke down the walls of man-made religion; all the doctrine that men cling to, rather than clinging to the single focus of Jesus and nothing else. 

What a refreshing time!

As I was reading the scriptures this morning, about the disciples on the road to Emmaus and their "hearts burning within them" while in the presence of Jesus, it reminded me of some of the different times I've been in the presence of Jesus and felt that burning in my heart.

Quite contrary to what some may feel, I rarely encounter Jesus in a church service, unless my sons are leading worship. That's a soul connection that I feel every time. There have been other times of worship where the presence of the Lord was so very present, like at the end of every Gaither concert, when 10,000 people are singing Just As I Am, as one voice. That's an amazing encounter.

But most of my 36 years spent knowing the Lord have been filled with encounters that were very personal, just me and Jesus. 

Some of the most memorable times I've felt his presence are when I'm alone in my car and I can pour out my heart to him and focus on hearing him. I've had a lot of revelations in my car, while praying. It's a safe space.

Other times have been in my home on a random day, walking around the house, opening curtains, coffee in hand, sun coming through the windows and just giving thanks for the blessings around me. I may put on worship music or I may not. Sometimes I do a "prayer walk" around the house, where I go from room to room, praying over our family and our home. Every now and then I will take a Sunday to myself, while David goes to church, and I will spend it in God's presence. There is something about a Sunday morning that just feels sacred and all the hustle and bustle of getting to church and greeting so many people, just aren't the connections I need at that time. I try to listen to what my soul is needing and many times, church is a distraction. Just being honest.

I used to be very legalistic (properly trained at church) and looked down upon those who would opt out on a Sunday, for time fishing alone or hunting or hiking, etc. Sundays were for church and church only...right?

But then you mature in your faith and you realize that our soul needs that time alone with Him and sometimes the only place to feel his presence is to get away from all the noise. 

I get it now.

What our soul craves, as believers, is His presence. It's the sweetest gift there is and it's not confined to a church service. It's not even confined to reading the Bible and nothing else.

Some of the greatest "aha" moments come from reading what someone else has been inspired to write and letting that enhance what you already knew or letting it teach you something you didn't know. God still inspires writers! So again...don't be legalistic about only reading scripture, when God does anoint people to teach and write and expound on his Word, in ways that will reach people. That being said, there is no substitution for having God's word hidden in your heart. 

If you were on that road to Emmaus (which, by the way, was a Sunday - resurrection Sunday), would your heart have burned as Jesus walked beside you? Would you have recognized his presence?

I can tell you this...I want to sit in his presence every single day. I want to be able to recognize it, feel it and come to expect it, even among the noise. But even more so...in the sweet, still moments when it's just the two of us.

Those are the best times of all.

I hope you have a Christ-centered Sunday - wherever you've chosen to spend it.

Until Next Time...

Blessings πŸ’›