Sunday, April 20, 2014

How to live because of Easter


Easter
So because Jesus took our punishment on the cross for us, paid what we owed with His blood and came out of that tomb alive, it means that we can boldly come right into God’s presence with complete freedom and confidence.

Our sin was like a thick curtain that separated us from Him.  A wall.  A barrier that we felt in millions of different ways.  But Christ's death created a new and life-giving way through it.  Now we have free, unlimited access into the Most Holy Place - right up close to the Father. 

And since we have Jesus, living today as the way to God and Master over all of us who receive His gift of grace, let's go right into God's presence with honesty and vulnerability, leaning our entire selves on Him, absolutely confident in His power and wisdom and goodness. 

For our once-guilty consciences have been washed clean with Christ’s blood - because it takes blood to erase sin.  Our lives have been cleansed and rearranged and changed so we have new priorities, new motives, a new purpose. Now we can be confident that we're presentable inside and out!

Let's keep a firm grip on His promises, letting His word fill our thoughts and shape our expectations, because God can be trusted to keep His promises – He is faithful! 

Let’s think of ways we can motivate each other to love people well. 

And let's not neglect meeting together, even though it's easier to stay home on Sunday morning or skip bible study or avoid those who bother us.  We need the friction and challenge and growth that relationships bring.  

We need to encourage each other, especially in the times we are in right now.   Because Jesus could be returning to take us home any time now!
                                                             based on Hebrews 10:19-25




Friday, April 18, 2014

Death and resurrection

There are so many talented writers who blog.  It’s humbling and inspiring all at the same time. 

For this Resurrection weekend, I thought I’d share several of my favorite quotes this week…

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“Honestly, I don’t enjoy Holy Week.  As an optimist, walking through the darkness and hopelessness the witnesses of the events felt makes me squirmy.  I don’t want to linger in the dark parts, I want to fast forward to the celebration Resurrection Sunday… but doing so cheapens the very thing we celebrate.”  @lotsofscotts

Because we are people of the Resurrection. We believe in the impossible. We hope for the improbable.  @weareTHATfamily
 
“I believe that Jesus asked for us to remember Him during the breaking of the bread and the drinking of the wine every time, every meal, every day—no matter where we are, who we are, what we’ve done.  If we only practice remembrance every time we take Communion at church, we miss three opportunities a day to remember. What a travesty!”  @aholyexperience
 
Condemned. You pardoned me
Bound. You ransomed me
Orphaned. You adopted me
Dead. You died for me
Wretched. You washed me
Buried. You raised me
Powerless. You filled me
Purposeless. You sent me
@shaungroves
(Be sure to read all of Shaun’s beautiful poem ‘Downward Mobility’ at the link above.)


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Digital Brag Book

Remember when women would pull a book like this out of their purse to show anyone who happened to slow down long enough?

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Remember that you politely said how adorable her grandbabies were and told her they looked just like their parents? Well I am that grandma and this is my 2014 version. 

But really, have you EVER seen anything as precious as this? 

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Of course I am married to a WONDERFUL photographer. 

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Which means the Papa isn’t in many/any of the pictures.

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Lisa is such a good mommy.

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What a joy it is to watch your daughter with her own little girl. 
I catch myself goofy-grinning at them often!

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And this?  I love how much Hadley’s aunties love her too.

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We are all crazy over her.


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Absorbed in her new book... who can resist a great story with mooing and woofing and fuzzy pictures?



Lisa and Hadley e

I’m always in awe of all the products and gadgets that we never had…
this squeezy stuff is genius!


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A fun dinner out for Ray’s birthday!  He is in fire academy while working full time so time with him these days is rare.  We’re SO proud of him.

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One of our three grand-dogs, Biscuit, who is growing exponentially every time we visit.  She is four months old and every inch a puppy.

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Here are all three… because the brag book wouldn’t be complete without them!

Then there is the video!  Can you afford another 40 seconds?  You'll be rewarded with dimpled knuckles and some amazing teething biscuit-twirling skills!

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Jeff and I ask each other, “Is it really just us or is she not the cutest thing ever?”

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I want to be careful because everybody knows their grandbaby is the cutest.



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And all the grandparents everywhere said “Amen.”

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

On my nightstand



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The Antelope in the Living Room
This was a really humorous look at marriage by a really humorous blogger, Melanie Shankle.  It’s good to laugh at ourselves, don’t you think?


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Killing Kennedy
Since I enjoyed Killing Lincoln I thought I’d give this one a try.  For me, it was a discouraging look into the life of a US president.


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Dinner with a Perfect Stranger
This was a short story about a guy who curiously and somewhat reluctantly accepts a dinner invitation from Jesus Christ and the conversation they have about the man’s cynicism and doubt.  I thought there were some great points made and wonder how a non-believer would like it.


God grew tired
God Grew Tired of Us
  This is written by one of the Lost Boys of Sudan – one of over twenty-seven thousand who escaped that country’s violence in the mid 1980’s.  John tells his story with heart-wrenching detail.  I think it is so important for us to know what people on the other side of the world have and are still living through.  I loved a book by another Lost Boy: Running for My Life which I highly recommend.  And don’t miss the movie (probably available through your library!):


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Links I Liked

eggcorn
Eggcorns!
@thepioneerwoman.com
Oh this is a good one! 
Eggcorn: a word or phrase that results from a mishearing or misinterpretation of another, an element of the original being substituted for one that sounds very similar or identical.
The first one that came to mind for me was ‘all of the sudden’ instead of ‘all of a sudden’. 


How Busy People Make Time to Read-And You Can Too
@fastcompany.com
I saw this on Ann’s blog (I love her weekly collection of links) and though I don’t have to work at making time to read, I know a few people who wish they read more but don’t seem to have the time. 


Kay Warren: A Year of Grieving Dangerously
@christianitytoday.com
"As the one-year anniversary of Matthew's death approaches, I have been shocked by some subtle and not-so-subtle comments indicating that perhaps I should be ready to 'move on.' … I have to tell you – the old Rick and Kay are gone. They're never coming back. We will never be the same again."


You Won’t Believe This and It Really Happened
@SusanNorris.org
Sex trafficking is called the crime hidden in plain sight.
What does a pimp look like? Where does he operate? How does he gain possession of a new girl? These are questions we all need to think about. The answers might surprise you.


Cynthia
She’s Somebody’s Baby Girl
@SMART GIRL stupid world
Maybe her parents cherished her, maybe they didn’t. But God DOES. She is precious and valuable to Him, and therefore she should be precious and valuable to US, the church.


10 Signs You Might Have a Need for Approval
@relevantmagazine.com
I have to admit to at least 7 out of these 10.  You too?  A good reminder.


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Kids Were Here
I just love this blog… a group of photographers documenting evidence that kids were here.
Spend some time scrolling through these wonderful pictures!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

New in the garden


Brazelberries…

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Have you heard of this new plant yet?  It is a compact berry plant designed to be grown in a pot.  This Raspberry Shortcake version is thornless, requires very minimal care and produces "a bumper crop" of full-sized, super-sweet raspberries year after year.  It doesn’t get much better than that!  I bought a plant today and will get it into a large container ASAP.

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This won’t replace the raspberries we have in the raised bed but I’m anxious to see how it produces what, for me, is the taste of summer.


Hollyhocks…
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We have a bird bath near the back patio that sits up against a low stone wall and it will (hopefully) be surrounded by hollyhocks this year.  This area is one that doesn’t drain well when we get our occasional Oregon rain so I wanted to find a perennial that could tolerate that soil.  I can’t wait to see how these will look!

                                                                                                Source: HGTV
Well, that’s exactly what it will look like, minus the benches and the other shrubs and the dark, leafy background.  And that pretty scalloped bird bath.


Dahlias…

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For years I’ve been faithful to plant geraniums, usually from tiny starts.  And I LOVE geraniums.  But I decided to go with a perennial in the front yard where I normally have annuals in an effort to curb my flower budget.

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Dahlias are one of the most incredibly designed blossoms on earth, don’t you agree?  Just look at those petal formations!!  God is the ultimate artist.  Jeff planted 15 tubers in vibrant shades of pink, orange and red in amongst the currently-blooming tulips.  I also got some ‘dinner plate’ dahlias, which are just stunning in their size and color, to have for cut flowers.  My only worry is the bees… apparently they love the dahlias even more than I do and it’s iffy whether or not I'll be able to get near the plants to deadhead or bring in cut flowers.



RABBIT TRAIL:  Did you know that fear of bees is officially called melissophobia?  At least it has a pretty name.  I have dutifully passed this fear down to my children.  If I'm going to be completely honest, it’s actually an all-emcompassing fear of insects – entomophobia.  I tried so hard to hide my terror from my kids when they were little but completely failed.  Living as we did in the southern California desert meant we had an occasional cockroach.  BIG ones.  I remember like it was yesterday trying to hold in a scream so that I could either spray or whack them but I always ended up squealing like a baby – especially if they flew directly into my face.  I usually had three girls huddled right behind me, matching me shriek for shriek.  I have even been known to try to bribe our youngest into killing one of the monsters.  She would never do it.  She always has been a smart kid.



That’s it for now… until I visit a nursery or garden center and see something new I just must try in our garden.  It’s called horticompulsion.  Or maybe it is herbamania?  Whichever it is, I’ve got it bad.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Learned in March

Today I'm linking up with Emily over at Chatting at the Sky who hosts a monthly 'Let's share what we've learned' party.  I love this idea!  So here are a few of the things I've learned this month...

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1       It’s a good thing to break out of your routine and try a new coffee spot. 

That desire inside of me to run my own life and be my own god will never change.  It can’t be trained.  It won’t get better.  It can’t even be starved into submission.  But here’s the thing I’ve been thinking about and am still trying to grasp… 

You are not controlled by your sinful nature.  You are controlled
by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you…
therefore you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do!
Romans 8:9,12


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A text picture a day helps shorten the miles between a grammy and her little one.  (I don’t quite get one a day but almost!)  I got these three earlier this month.




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Even though you love the freedom of being able to leave home without the responsibility of having a dog, it’s fun to enjoy your grand-dogs.  (I have three.)  Biscuit seems to double in size every month.


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Be as careful as you like but someone can still steal your identity.  I am one of almost a million people so far this year who are victims of tax return identity theft.  Even the police officer who came to my house to interview me said his wife’s SS# was used to file a fake return.  From The Examiner:  “While the exact numbers of fraudulent tax returns reported vary from source to source, identity thieves are exploiting a system in which the IRS does not process the W-2s and 1099s it receives for taxpayers until long after a refund is issued... All a fraudster needs is a name and Social Security number, a new address, a bank account or debit card number, and they are in business.”  So incredibly frustrating and annoying and time-consuming.  Grrr.  What I haven’t learned?  Where someone got my number and how it’s going to be used in the future. 


6      Some people really believe in vampires and werewolves, including the 20-something girls in my life group.  I did not know this.  I’m sure it is a direct result of all the movies they've watched.  They even told me 'It's in the bible somewhere, isn't it?'  I haven’t seen any of these movies so I don’t know what the message is but I do know that almost all of them struggle with bad dreams as a result.


There are lots of people who are as concerned as I am about the prospect of getting mugged when selling or buying something from a stranger on Craigslist and who are willing to meet you in a public place to make the exchange.  Here’s what we just bought in the parking lot of a motorcycle dealership:

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What did you learn?
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