Saturday, April 21, 2018

Hubbie's Turn for a Daytrip

I missed FMF yesterday - Hubbie and I took a day trip! - but still wanted to join the group, so this is Five Minute Friday.  On Saturday.  And, admittedly, a quirky twist on this week's prompt:  turn.  Just a bit of encouragement and a quick recap of our day.

GO - After more than thirty years of marriage, my husband and I are at that stage where we not only know each other - well - but we also anticipate each other (as in, finish one another's sentences) and simply have a routine that regulates our days.  It may sound like "a rut" but it is not.  It is a foundation that beats a steady rhythm to our little world.  Whatever a day may hold - that might vary - but knowing our little bit of "ordinary" and "every day" is something I depend on and appreciate even more as each year goes by.

We enjoy day trips.  A chance to get away - but then, come home, and sleep in our own bed at night!  Priceless.  Most of our days out involve looking for the latest "treasure" in an off the beaten path secondhand store. Or wandering through a small town - looking for the local restaurant with the cutest outdoor patio where we can enjoy lunch.  I love treasure hunting and I really enjoy dining, al fresco, and Hubbie is my good sport - along for the fun!  Rarely do our trips revolve around history.  Sad, but true.  But yesterday was his turn.  His turn to spend the entire day doing what he really enjoys.  We spent the day in Gettysburg - about two hours from home.   We did the entire auto tour which was really quite interesting.  I learned a lot - from the narration, from hearing other tour guides in the area and simply from standing on the spots of history. I know that Hubbie thoroughly enjoyed it.

Honestly, our first plan was to go to one of our favorite spots - for more browsing and eating:)  But I'm glad it was "his turn" .... for his interests to set the agenda.  I spent far too many years in the early part of our marriage trying to ensure "I got my turn" all the time.  Protecting my interests.  So thankful for these years - where God has faithfully pruned me, taught me and matured me - that I can better enjoy marriage as He intended.

Just for fun.. check here for a (much older) post about my Hubbie and a photo of us - from those very first days!  Oh my.

And, one more "just for fun."  I came across these treats in the gift shop at the visitor's center.  I know that chocolate can cover just about anything these days...but, I was still surprised to find these potato chips with the pretzels and graham crackers!!?!  Do you like chocolate on your chips??:)

Friday, April 13, 2018

Be Ye Holy - Does It Apply to Me?

Before Moses came to the children of Israel, they had so long been living in bondage in Egypt that their way of life, even as slaves, seemed the norm.  At the very least, what they could expect for a lifetime.  But God had other plans.  He wanted something different for His people.  His "other plans" were different or distinct from all they had known.

Fast forward to their new lives in the Promised Land and the children began comparing themselves to the people around them.  Not surprisingly, comparison led to discontent and the people began to demand a king.  There were warnings that this was not a good idea - God's plan has always been the best plan - "nevertheless the people refused to obey...and they said, Nay; but we will have a king..." (I Samuel 8:19)  They wanted to blend in.  To be anything but different or distinct.  And the cost was high.

The first definition of "other" is:  a person (or thing) that is different or distinct from one already known.  Distinction has always been God's desire for His children.  And, holiness is the way to distinction for believers today.  Unfortunately, it seems many shy away from the pursuit of holiness or even the desire to be distinct.  Not only is holiness often viewed as arrogant - even prejudice - but many are embracing the idea that believers need to purposefully blend in. This is as dangerous as the Israelites insisting on their own way.

"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord...."  (II Corinthians 6:17a)

Can we be holy and still be loving?  Holy while putting others before ourselves and seeking to serve?  Yes, of course.  We can - and we must.  The two go hand in hand.

STOP.  These are my thoughts on the FMF prompt for today:  other. adjective used to describe God's children.  Distinct and different.  Written with all humility and as a challenge. To me.
 A desire to be holy is a choice each day - and not always an easy choice.  But, easy is not often the best choice and challenge should not be used as an excuse.  If so, the Israelites would, no doubt, have remained slaves in Egypt.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Making Candles

Happy Tuesday!  I think spring is here.  And, this time, I think I really mean it!  Such a beautiful
day!!  The passing of winter is so good for me - in many, many ways....and just one example of its positive effect is the increase in my creativity.  I'm not actually that creative but I do have a creative side (I think we all do!) where I like to express myself.  I (too) often find myself envying others' creativity - whether it is found in a bountiful garden or manicured yard (like my dad) or in the kitchen while baking or creating wonderful, homecooked meals (just like my mother)....or maybe in the craft room, the art studio, through a photographer's lens or even in beautifully wrapped gifts.  My creativity may not impress anyone, or ever win a prize, but it feels good to me and I am learning to embrace what I enjoy doing - simply for the pleasure of it.

Yesterday, I tried candle making.  For sure, I started out simply.  Of course, I found my "inspiration" online - you might be inspired yourself with this blog - Farmhouse on Boone -  by Lisa.  She also has a YouTube channel which I really enjoy.  She had the easiest step by step instructions for making beeswax candles.  And she made one in a crock - which I thought was cute.

I found my crock at a favorite consignment store and bought the wax, as well as the wicks, from Lisa's links on Amazon.  The whole process was not quite as easy as she made it look but it was fun and I was happy with the end product.  I definitely need another try or two - but I'm okay with that.  The creating was as nice as the cozy flicker later in the evening!

I have also been learning to crochet!  Also something that looks much easier than when you are actually working at it.  If I am ever able to complete a project...I will share that creativity another time. What have you tried creating lately?

Friday, April 6, 2018

Release Before Embrace

Embrace.  If you are visiting from Five Minute Friday, not to worry.  I do not have the wrong prompt.  I will get to release.  I always find it interesting, when the Lord is trying to teach or correct me, or perhaps simply wanting to encourage me, that the same words, phrases, and themes seem to reoccur everywhere.  And that is how "embrace" has been for me lately.  So many things I have seen, read, heard and have been impressed on my heart all involve embracing.  And, very often, you cannot embrace something until you release something else.  Release before embrace.

GO.  We have all seen the iconic picture of a child on the edge of a swimming pool with a parent in the water - arms outstretched and waiting for the child to jump.  He wants to be in the water.  Wants to enjoy the fun and even trusts his father....but the letting go can be so hard!  Although the analogy is not a perfect one, I often see myself in the child unable to jump.  Missing the joy that could be his if he would just let go of the edge.

For me, I have had a difficult time not only adjusting to but also truly embracing this phase of life that I am in.  There are, no doubt, several reasons for this - more than a five-minute post allows - but God has been challenging me.  He wants me to more than content with (or resigned to) this time but to fully embrace it.  To do all, be all, and enjoy all that He has in store for right now.  Not holding on so tightly to days, times and stages of life that were comfortable for me.  That were a great joy to me and where my identity was well defined.  I need to release my grip.  When I do, I do not lose my past any more than I lose my identity but I am able to embrace all that God has for me now.

I can trust my Heavenly father.  I can let go and I can be confident that great joy awaits once I do!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Because He Lives

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter.  Two days later, I am carrying thoughts of the wonder of the resurrection with me.  The cross.  The empty tomb.  The depth of all that means for a Christian. The defeat of sin and death.  Eternal life and the promise of reunion with those that we love and are missing.  And....having a living Lord to serve and to worship.  Who desires fellowship with even me!  All that Easter did and continues to do for us - truly, it is more than we comprehend!

For me, because of Easter, grief need not overwhelm me.  Past sins and regrets do not define me.  As the hymn goes, "and life is worth the living....because He lives."  That is the thought behind the name of this blog.  I am able to trade my "ashes" for a life that is worth living - and that glorifies God - because of Christ's death on the cross....and His resurrection.

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.  Isaiah 61:3

Haiku poetry has a certain number of syllables and, traditionally, is written about nature and the natural world.  I like it because it forces you to choose purposeful words to express a thought simply and purposefully.  With thoughts of God's faithfulness, the hope of Heaven because of Easter, and, as well, my reason for blogging.... this is my attempt at haiku today.

Beauty for Ashes
Hope, Joy and Purpose Each Day
All Mine By the Cross