Friday, July 21, 2017

Five Things to Love: Summer 2017

Summer is at its high point right now.....humidity, sun-drenched days, long evenings of extra daylight, cold drinks in sweaty glasses, farmer's markets -  and produce departments piled with fresh fruits and vegetables. Blooming crepe myrtles, flower beds that need watering.  And impromptu trips to the seasonal ice cream stand. Oh, summer, I love you!

Here are a just a few things I am loving this summer - in no particular order:)

1 - Mornings!  I really do not need any new reason to love mornings.  I am, and always have been, a morning person!  And then, in the summer, morning comes so much earlier...and it is glorious!  We have a window directly above our bed.  From a decorating point of view, it is a bit of a nuisance but when the morning sun streams through that window and wakes up the room with light, I am so tickled to have that window there!

2- Netflix.  Although I have had Netflix for awhile, there never was a show that I was "just hooked" on - until this summer.  Then I discovered Call the Midwife.  I've heard others talk so highly about this show but never thought it would interest me, so I decided to see for myself.  I'll admit, it took about three episodes before I was absolutely hooked.  But I was definitely hooked.  As with books, I had to watch the series in order and I watch about two episodes a week but I think I'm actually nearing the end - nooo.  I really look forward to each new episode.  I know.  Totally late to the game - but I do like it.

3 - Light dinners.  The comfort foods and crock-pot dinners that cook all day are great during the cooler seasons, but during the summer, dinner is much simpler.  We have much lighter appetites and, admittedly, I have much less motivation to prepare full meals.  We have been enjoying lots of veggies, pasta salads and even more sandwiches that don't require a hot kitchen to prepare.

4 - Coconut and essential oil.  For washing my face.  I never dreamed I would wash my face with oil, but it is wonderful.  A few drops of essential oil (I use tea tree oil) in a small scoop of coconut oil - smells wonderful, removes every bit of my makeup, makes my skin feel so smooth and has noticeably improved the look of my skin.  It is the best.

5 - Devotionals on my Kindle. Not sure if it is the extra hours of morning or just the more relaxed schedule of summer, but I have more time for my Bible reading/study these days.  I have been adding some devotionals/suggested readings to my time and really enjoying them.  Often, I start a devotional and then find I don't use it or enjoy it (one reason I don't ever buy them) but this summer, I have come across several that have been great.  I am also slow to embracing my e-reader but it is almost a constant companion these days!  These early summer mornings spent in the word have been extra sweet this year.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Learning to Choose Joy

If you want to learn to swim, you have to get in the water.  You can sit by the pool and dream about can even flop on your bed and practice your breaststroke to perfection, but unless you get in the water - it's not swimming.

We've all heard the saying, "don't pray for patience!"  Why?  Because we can read, study and have all the head knowledge we want about patience but until we go through situations or circumstances that demand patience, we will never truly develop that wonderful fruit of the spirit known as patience.

So, I suppose the past few days that I have had all began when I asked the Lord to teach me more about joy.  More about choosing joy - even when circumstances are less than joyful.  The Bible tells us to "count it all joy" and I believe that Christians can choose joy - even on difficult days, during heart heavy and weary days.  But I also know that, more often than not, I choose to live defeated by my emotions.  So, I asked the Lord to help me.

Much like learning swim skills in the safety of the bedroom, I am not going to learn to make the deliberate choice to have joy - on nothing by "bright blue sky" days!  Surprisingly, these past few days have been anything but sunny and blue.  What a week!  But God is teaching, refining and helping.  He is so very faithful to teach us when we ask.  I hope to share some of what I have learned in some upcoming posts.

In the meantime, I will press on - and choose joy!!