Saturday, October 31, 2015

Five Minute Friday: Bacon

For the first time in several weeks I finally have time to join Five Minute Friday. The prompt is the word bacon. If you go to the linkup at Kate Motaung's blog you'll find out how that word was chosen.

START:

Remember that childhood ditty,
,
Bacon, bacon, who's got the bacon?

Oh no, wait.  It wasn't bacon it was

Button, button, who's got the button?

It was a game where a button would be passed around until one person kept it. Then the guesser had to figure out who had the button.

Silly, but it's the first thing that came to my mind.

Bacon is one of my favorite foods. I have it for breakfast several times a week along with eggs from our chickens. I love to smell it as it sizzles in the iron skillet early in the morning!




Bacon has gotten a bad rap, but it is really a food that is good for you if it is from hogs that have been pasture raised rather than in a confined facility where they eat who knows what.

Our delicious bacon comes either from Brick House Farms in Gaffney, SC, or Walker Century Farms in Anderson, SC.

If you have never tasted fresh bacon from pasture raised hogs you are missing a treat. 

Try it sometime. You won't be disappointed!

Well, my time is up. 

Have a great evening and enjoy the Autumn colors and crisp weather!





Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Kingdom of God is Like a Surprise During Church




One recent Sunday morning I played the piano for our Anglican church. The piano is electronic and has buttons that will change to practically any style of music. For our purposes it is usually set for grand piano, which is nice for the hymns and musical responses.

What I did that morning was quite unexpected to me and to the rest of the congregation. Our minister said afterward that it was about the second most memorable thing that has happened in the history of the church, the first being when they almost burned down the building during an Ash Wednesday service.

We had moved into the second part of the service which is the Eucharist. During this time of preparation for communion we have a lot of prayers, and with some we sing responses. Every time I think about what happened I can't help but laugh, although at the time it didn't seem quite appropriate. (I'll just say right here that in telling this story I don't mean to be sacrilegious at all, but share an analogy.)

After praying a corporate confession of sins and hearing assurances of forgiveness from scripture, our minister leads us into the next part by using these words from the 1928 Prayer Book:

It is very meet, right, and our bounden duty, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto thee, O Lord, Holy Father, Almighty, Everlasting God. THEREFORE with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify thy glorious Name; evermore praising thee, and saying,

At this point we USUALLY reverently and majestically sing the following, also from the Prayer Book:

HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, Lord God of hosts,
Heaven and earth are full of thy glory:
Glory be to thee, O Lord Most High. Amen.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Finding a Place of Calm

The dark rose LazyBoy rocker/recliner with wooden arms is still comfortable even though it is old. As I sit here this morning looking out my bedroom window, I see the tall oak tree with its leaves, some brown, some still green. Looking past it to the edge of the woods I see more color as there are yellows and dull reds. The sun is shining through the clouds with its brightening rays causing some of the leaves to look almost on fire.




The air seems very still, but a closer look reveals the leaves gently moving as they are kissed by the breeze. I watch as one lone brown one floats to the ground, and I hear the porch chimes every now and then. The only other sound I hear is an occasional car going by on the road below.

Sitting here I realize that my brow is furrowed, my jaw tight and my teeth clenched. These past few weeks have been full, and I guess I've just gone from one thing to another without taking time to relax.

When there is chaos all around, how can we find a place of calm?

I close my eyes, rest my arms, lean my head back and...

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Reminders of Hope



Hope is a word filled with expectancy.

There are many things that we hope for in our lives. We all wish for happy families, food, clothes, friendships, love, security, purpose, joy, forgiveness, peace... The list is unending.

Sometimes our hopes are realized and sometimes there is disappointment after disappointment. I believe, though, that no matter what our situation, there is still hope.

Hope is not found in ourselves, but in God, our creator, our redeemer, our Lord.

When we focus on ourselves and all the trials and hurts and fears, it is hard to find that glimmer of hope. It seems all is lost, all is darkness and we wonder what's the use of going on if nothing ever changes and we are stuck in a rut.

When we focus on God we can find a peace that transcends our circumstances.

There are things in my life now that would keep me feeling down all the time if I let my mind dwell on them. But when I remember to turn my attention to God realizing that He is good even when bad things are happening, I do get a sense of peace. I know that one day all wrongs will be made right, and I choose to trust and believe God whether or not I can see the good in a situation.




What are some things that bring me hope? 

Besides meditation on Scripture and praying, there are beautiful things in my life to remind me that God is working in this world. There are relationships with people who show me love, who enjoy being with me, who really lift my spirits.

One of my granddaughters loves to work in my art journal with me. We have a lovely time working together. It's not a masterpiece by any means, but the beauty is in the love we share as we take turns placing things on the page. How could I despair of hope when there is so much enjoyment in her eyes?

(the latest page we did together)

When I look at the beauty of creation, I am also reminded of just how big and wonderful my God is. He holds the world in place, brings each season in its time. In winter when we are so tired of the cold, we have the promise that spring will come bringing new life, growth and warmth.

Then spring rolls into summer bringing lots of heat but also beauty as the flowers bloom and we enjoy the outdoors. When we think we can't take any more heat, autumn comes rushing in with cooler temperatures and a burst of flaming color as the leaves change.

Before we know it winter is back again bringing with it the hope of logs crackling on fireplaces, steaming mugs of hot cocoa to warm our insides. And the cycle continues year after year showing us the faithfulness of God.




Here's a poem I wrote during Advent last year about hope.

HOPE

Hope comes searching in the night
when belief is wearing thin,
shining glimmers of her light
upon a world fraught with sin.
Can we see her reaching out?

Hope gives us a piece of truth,
healing balm our souls may grasp,
as reaching forth in the night
we seek something real to clasp.
Will we ever find that truth?

Hope is not a fairy tale
giving false security.
Hope is always in our sight
wrapped in clothes of purity.
Why is it so hard to trust?

Hope that comes from God is sure,
shown by prophecies fulfilled.
Jesus came when time was right
His great love could not be stilled.
Will He help me to believe?

Hope will never disappoint,
though shadows try to cover.
Beams burst forth now, ever bright
reminding us forever,
Our perfect Hope is Jesus.
     
                                        
I'm linking up with Erika Shirk and #wholemama where our prompt is the word HOPE. 


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Come Dreaming With Me




Our #wholemama prompt for this week is the word Dream. All we need is our imagination to find endless possibilities as we think about dreaming. I decided to reach into the archives and bring out some poems that still convey my thoughts on this topic. Some I have kept in their entirety and some I use only a portion. Hope you enjoy and are encouraged and inspired!


I Dream

I dream of a world
where wrongs are made right
where all are deemed equal
with no need to fight.

I dream of a world
where dark becomes light
where all that is hidden
is out in plain sight

I dream of a world
that's filled with delight
and all of the people
are happy and bright.


I firmly believe that my dreams and desires have been put into my heart by God. They are part of who I am. Here is a portion from a longer poem which you can find HERE.

God gave me my dreams
Wild, incredible
Dreams of photography
Published poems and children's stories
My home as an oasis
Where weary souls may come
Seeking peace and rest

Chasing my wild dreams
Working, creating
Writing, photographing
Interweaving words and pictures
Turning sod, clearing clutter
Forming lovely gardens
Making cozy nooks


And last but not least I want to share a poem I wrote with the word Dream-Weaver as a prompt. I like to think of God as the dream-weaver who makes it possible for us to bring our dreams to fruition.



I'm linking up today with:

Sunday, October 11, 2015

We Make Plans, God Directs

When I got up early yesterday morning to get ready to meet others for our “Couch to 5K” group run, I was greeted with darkness and the sound of rain falling. Since I live a distance from our practice track, I chose to stay home. It was best for me as I was still tired from running the day before along with other activities and trips that needed to be made. Later that day I had to make another choice, this time concerning my blog.
 
(view from my living room window)

On October 1, I began a series called 31 Days to an Attractive,Clutter Free Bedroom. It was a fun way to work through clutter and keep myself accountable by sharing the process with words and pictures. I was actually having fun with a job that I normally dread. My intentions were great and for the first few days things went very well.

We can make plans and try to follow through, but sometimes God changes them.

Unexpected things have come up and I have had to let some things go. It was really a hard decision, but I will be postponing my 31 day declutter/blogging project. However, I am not giving up on it completely. I plan to complete the 31 days during the month of November. At that time I will continue blogging about the process for those of you who have been interested.


It's not always easy changing plans, but I believe that God does direct our paths. It wasn't a surprise to Him about my mom's situation,which I share about in my last post. God had it all under control, and I am still blown away by how fast it all came together after praying for months.

God then surprised me with more answers to prayer.

For the past couple of years I have wanted to attend Allume. I have been praying about it this year but had pretty much given up on the possibility of going. Continuing to pray about it anyway, I asked God to provide a way, if it was His will. Then I decided not to talk about it anymore but wait to see how God would answer. This past Monday, out of the blue, my husband came up with an idea of how I could get the money for it. That set the wheels turning and the very same day I was able to find someone who needed to sell her ticket. It turns out she suggested a price I could afford and it also helped her out. In her words, “We will both be blessed.”

The next step was to find someone to share a room with me.  

I would be able to drive back and forth from home each day, but that would be very tiring. Instead of feeling like I was really a part of the conference, I would miss out on the extra time with those who had rooms at the hotel. I began praying about it and left requests on facebook and twitter to see if anyone had room. A couple of days later someone responded. She already had one roommate so there would be three of us in the room, but they were okay if I was. So I gladly accepted and counted that as an answer to my prayer and affirmation that I was supposed to be there this year.

(view from my back porch)

 The very next day after my Allume plans were set is when my mom's situation came together. If we had known earlier how my mom's situation would work out, I probably would not have planned to go.

But God had different plans. His timing is always perfect because He knows best.

I look at the timing as another affirmation that I am supposed to be at Allume. I don't know what all God has in store for me, but I am open to whatever He wants me to learn during my time there. I'm both excited and nervous, but I've been told that it will be a wonderful experience. 
(one of the views my husband and I see when we run)


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Changes and an Answer to Prayer

Welcome to Day 7 of 31 Days to an Attractive Clutter Free Bedroom! I have had a couple of busy days so have not been able to actually sort through the next category which will be books. I may not get to it for awhile. Let me explain...

We just found out yesterday that within two weeks time my mother will be moving out of her house into a smaller apartment. By the end of the month she will have a closing on the sale of her house, so everything has to be cleaned out. This all literally has happened so fast we can hardly believe it. It is surely an answer to prayer!


(Mother enjoying some time on the porch a few years ago)

I will be spending a good bit of time helping her not only get rid of things but decide what to keep and what to give away. I first thought this might mean I would have to postpone my bedroom decluttering and also my #write31days.

To my surprise I figured out a way to do both!  

Mother has some things that I can use, and I have items that she can use. We both have things to throw away. So while I won't work exclusively in my bedroom, I will be getting rid of stuff from other parts of the house to make room for furniture and other items she is gifting me. They are special because they belonged to her and hold many memories.


(Here we are doing one of our favorite things)

Today I spent some time with her, and we had a lot of fun. We looked at her new apartment, ate lunch out and talked about all the changes that are coming rather quickly. I am happy for her, because she is excited. She feels like a weight has been lifted because all the things she had been concerned about are being taken care of. I'm amazed at how much better she looks and feels!

You're probably wondering what all this has to do with my 31 Days to an Attractive Clutter Free Bedroom.   I'm getting to it...

My project for today was to do something to make my bedroom more attractive. My mother makes quilts, lots of them. Today she gave me a beautiful one with matching pillows that she made a few years ago. I've always loved that quilt, so I was excited. I put it on the bed and love how it brightens up the room. 




I'm not sure what tomorrow will bring as far as my declutter project. It will be a day spent getting ready for some special visitors, namely some grandchildren and their daddy. We're looking forward to a happy time together!

By the way, did I tell you my mother is 92 years old? No one believes it!

To find a listing for the rest of my #write31days, you can go to This Post.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Pause, Take a Deep Breath, Enjoy


Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground,
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;
and man became a living being.
(Genesis 2:7)

Isn't that amazing? God took some dust, shaped a human being and made him come alive by breathing into his nostrils! That same God created this beautiful sunrise. Take a moment to reflect on the beauty and let it work its magic.




Man is like a breath;
his days are like a passing shadow.
(Psalm 144:4)

Whoa! Compared to eternity our lives on this earth are not very long at all. You know what this tells me? Life is too short to spend all our time working and constantly doing something. Every now and then during our busy days, we need to slow down, take a deep breath and reflect on the beauty God sends our way. Some days you might have to look hard for the beauty, but you will find it if you don't give up.




I've been going through my clothes these first few days of 31 Days to an Attractive Clutter Free BedroomThat category will be finished today, but instead of writing about it I decided to share how I decorated my dresser to make it an attractive area rather than a catchall.

First, the junk was cleared off. I will spare you from having to look at a picture of that. Believe me, you wouldn't want to see it. Next, I got the homemade furniture polish that I shared in THIS POST, and used it to clean the wood. After that I arranged a few things on top that were pleasing to me. 




The jewelry box was a gift from my parents when I graduated from high school. My mom gave me the candle, one daughter decorated a bottle to make a vase for the flowers, and another daughter created the art in the picture frame. Here is a closer look of her artwork and the poem.




Today the #wholemama prompt is the word breath. Starting early this morning with the sunrise, I have taken time to pause and breathe and enjoy. I have been more aware of the beauty around me. 

There is still a lot of mess, and I'm far from finished with my job of decluttering, but I am refreshed and ready to tackle the next category in Marie Kondo's suggested order. 

Whenever we begin to feel overwhelmed with our days, let's remember to pause, take a deep breath and relax before going on to the next task.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Shoes, Hats, Scarves, Oh My!

Welcome to Day 5 of my 31 Days to an Attractive Clutter Free Bedroom! Today has been a very busy day hence the lateness of my post. If this is your first visit, I'll let you know I'm following some of the advice in Marie Kondo's book, the life-changing magic of tidying up

The first category is clothing and today I am going through shoes, hats, scarves and belts. First up is shoes.




Believe it or not these are all the shoes I own.! I had already discarded some earlier this year. Today I decided to get rid of the two black pairs on the right. They are cute shoes, but they hurt my feet so I never wear them. The rest of the shoes I am keeping. 

Do you think maybe I like sandals? I have three pairs of chacos! There are just very comfortable and supportive. The other two pair of sandals are fun to wear. The leather boots in the back are also very comfortable and perfect to dress up an outfit. Believe it or not they are pretty old and are hand-me-downs (or should I say hand-me-ups) from one of my daughters. 

The brown boots I keep for the few times we have snow here in upstate South Carolina. The pink with orange ties are my running shoes so they are needed as I prepare for my first 5K coming up in November.

Maybe it's time to buy some newer shoes. What do you think?

Next I went through my hats, scarves, purses and belts. Most of the belts I never wear so they were ousted except for the wide one in the front. The four purses along with my brown leather one not shown I decided to keep.




What surprised me were the number of hats! Can you believe all those straw hats? They've been collected over the years. Since my granddaughters enjoy playing dress-up I am keeping them all for now. They may be stored somewhere besides my bedroom.

The two hats that didn't make the keep list were two winter ones I never wear. I did keep the one with faux fur, because it was a gift from my husband. I wear it sometimes and am not ready to part with it yet.

I'm glad to see the progress made in my room, but there is still a ways to go. I'll spare you the details of going through socks, pajamas, underwear and exercise clothes. Maybe tomorrow I'll tackle my desk.

(First day of sunshine and blue skies after many days of rain)


Thank you for joining me! I hope you come back for another visit. Until then be blessed and have a good night!


The Lord bless you, and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord turn His face toward you
And give you peace.
(Numbers 6:24-26)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sabbath Rest and a Prayer


Today is Day 4 of my #write31days series, 31 Days to an Attractive Clutter Free Bedroom.  Since it is Sunday, I'm going to take a break from the bedroom declutter and maybe do a little decluttering of my mind and heart.





On the glorious splendor of thy majesty,
And on thy wonderful works,
I will meditate.
(Psalm 14:5)

He counts the number of the stars;
He gives names to all of them.
(Psalm 147:4)

It was a good day to rest and meditate on Scripture. I also had some uninterrupted time of prayer. Writing in my prayer journal, I pleaded with God about some things dear to my heart.

Having the quiet time alone was good for me. I was inspired to write this prayer/poem to share with you. May you be blessed and encouraged as you read and pray along.

On This Day of Rest

Father, on this day of rest
Help me see that You know best

Calm my heart and give me peace
As I my cares and fears release

Keep me in Your warm embrace
Guide me through each storm I face

You alone deserve my praise
Throughout all my length of days

Make my life a blessing, Lord
Offering hope, not a sword

At the start of each new day
May I not forget to pray

When at night my eyes I close
Let me sleep in sweet repose.





I'm linking up with: 
Lisha Epperson and #GiveMeGrace.
Weekend Whispers


All photos and artwork are my own.