Learning to Breathe

Monday, April 30, 2012

I never would have thought I could dwell for so long on smells....
I'm still there. This time, let's talk about our FAVORITE smells. 
I'll share mine - with pictures when I have them. And you share yours in the comments! 

The ocean and the towns that surround them...
© Victoria 2010

Candles, but I really only burn those with scents according to the season we are in. 

Yummy things cooking or baking: cinnamon rolls, brownies, and meat loaf. 

When rain is coming...
© Victoria 2012


Book stores. 

Fresh spring or fall air...
© Victoria 2010
© Victoria 2010

The first day of school...Which means new books, notebooks, and clothes...Things I still enjoy even though those days are gone. 

Freshly brewing coffee. (Maybe I'll tell you why it must be fresh sometime.)

Flower gardens...
© Victoria 2009

The familiar smells of people I love. (Their favorite lotions, soaps, detergents, perfumes, colognes, etc...)

Tea. I had a teacher who drank regular old lipton in the afternoons while she read to us. I always hoped she would set it on my desk so that the smell was near me.

Campfires and toasted marshmallows...

© Victoria 2011

God was good to make smells and grant us the ability to smell them and enjoy them. 
He created smells that are nice as well as smells that signal DANGER.

May we not take these things for granted. May we learn to breathe. To enjoy the good smells and find the ROOT cause of the bad smells. 

That's all for now.....I think! 

From Four Days

Friday, April 27, 2012

Four Pictures

Here we have a book I am reading...

A cup of tea, a cozy blanket, and fingernails that are NOT actually orange.

A little boy's hand, a candy wrapper that ended up on the floor, and an attempt to rid the house of ants....I think I found the connection. 

A bag whose contents include a piece of my new swimsuit.

* Another win in baseball.

* A trip to the city which included the purchase of a new swimsuit. I came home with the bottoms and had to order the top because they didn't have my size in the store.

* Another trip to a different city to go to the dentist and do some more shopping. 

* A day to rest before heading out for a long weekend. 

*Getting stuff done around the house (i.e. laundry and cleaning) after not being around to do it for most of the week.

*Making (and enjoying) a pot of chili on a rainy day. 

*The anticipation of some packages arriving in the mail (they're not here yet). 

*My rotten attitude when a day of shopping and NOT finding a swimsuit started to wear on me. 

*Situations outside of my control....Pray for them! Pray for me!

My laptop's screen is remaining black even when it seems to be on. 

* Ants...It's spring and this year they are literally EVERYWHERE. I basically carry around fogger and powder whether I'm in the house, on the patio, or in the gardens.

Free in Christ

Thursday, April 26, 2012

We got real. 
We admitted that we are rotten.

We saw...
The truth that God's people are free in Christ.
Free to become more like Him.
Free to honor and glorify and love and enjoy God forever.
Free to put off that which is "us" and put on that which is Christ! 

I want to get even more real with you....

For me, one of the biggest rotten points in my life is ANXIETY.

I fret.
I worry.
I sulk. 

Sometimes it gets so serious that I actually get grumpy, sick, or too quiet. 

Along with anxiety comes:

unwillingness to trust

I know that to keep anxiety away the best thing is to stay busy. 

BUT....I also know that busyness is simply an "airfreshner" or a "candle" to my anxious spirit. The anxiety doesn't go away, it's just that the job at hand serves as a distraction for the MOMENT. 

My goal, and God's goal for me, is to REPLACE anxiety.

My Jesus was not anxious. He walked in belief, in boldness, in certainty, and total trust. 

The same Father that kept Him is keeping me. 

Because of Jesus I am able and commanded to walk in belief, in boldness, in certainty, and total trust. 

My God is keeping me. 

When I am more like Christ, I am at peace with God. I have a quiet heart. I am ready to be at peace with those people He has placed around me. 

Moments of exposure will come. 
Even though I am in Christ, the old me isn't totally dead yet.

Those moments of exposure remind me what I have in Christ and what I have in me. 

Those moments of exposure remind me that God is keeping me. 

Those moments of exposure remind me what I am here for....
To help others who face just as much exposure become aware of what is theirs in Christ. That they too make know that God is about the business of keeping His people. 

Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Excuse me, I smell?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

We don't like rotten smells. 

We often do whatever we can to get rid of them.

We do enjoy lovely smells.

Lotions, perfumes, colognes, candles, air fresheners, soaps, detergents....People make good money on these items because they are important to other people. 

The key to getting rid of a bad smell is finding the ROOT of the problem. Covering it up simply isn't good enough.

In our lives (who we really are underneath it all) there are smells. 

They usually come across by way of our attitudes, words, and actions. They are rooted in our thoughts and desires. 

Sometimes, something is ROTTEN. We can hide it for a while. We even get very skilled at hiding our rottenness. But then, something or someone comes along and exposes us. 

We blow up with an outburst.
We throw a nasty look at someone. 
We retreat to sulk.
We get angry, upset, and rude. 

In that single moment, the "refrigerator door" is "opened" and the "smell" is made clear

Sometimes it goes away as soon as we calm down....Sometimes it just hangs in the air because it has gotten so out of hand.

Let's be honest. 

We are all rotten. We all have sin that overwhelms us at times.

The answer is to identify the rotten "thing". 
To hand it over to Jesus.
To set our hearts and minds on becoming more like Him. 

The point isn't to smell good. The point isn't even not to smell bad.

The point is to be pleasing to our God and so point people to who He is and what He does with the lives of those people who are His. 

These lives, these people, are still rotten. They still have moments of exposure.

But, these people are free to rest in the fact that they are not stuck in that sin. 

The Scenic Route

Monday, April 23, 2012

Friday, Saturday, Sunday

*Friday morning, I met with a friend for coffee.
(I haven't seen her for a few months. 
It wasn't until we were back in our cars that we realized we had been talking for THREE HOURS! 
Woops...Only, not really.)

*Driving through farm land by myself means I can play the music as loud as I like....I definitely did! 

 *Behind the scenes of baseball...Oxyclean at work.
*All ready for a cook out. 
*Italian Soda Time
* The start of something beautiful.

*One of the first tulips. 

*I'm confident it's only going to get prettier!

 *At church meeting on Sunday morning, there was  guest speaker who talked about discipleship. I have to say that I LOVE seeing people become passionate about making their life count.
To sit and listen to a man talk for over 30 minutes about taking time to share Christ life-on-life with other individuals is awesome. 

*Watched "The Music Never Stopped". Yes, I cried....Even after it was over I couldn't shake it. 

Posing with my sister...Sorry about the shadows. 

Scripture for the Week
Luke 8:22 -25
2One day He [Jesus]  got into a boat with His disciples, and He said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, 23 and as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. 24 And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And He awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that He commands even winds and water, and they obey Him?”

My friend and I talked about this Scripture when we were together...These men were guilty of unbelief not because they were afraid, but mainly because they were afraid IN SPITE of what Jesus had JUST told them. Go back to verse 22 - Jesus SAID they were going to the other side of the lake. When the storm came, their fear showed that they didn't believe Him. 

How often do I walk around in unbelief? I'm going to be made to be more like Christ. I'm going to make it to heaven to be with Him forever. Whatever happens on this earth is BEST and for my good. When I am anxious or worried or just plain upset at the way things are going, I'm showing that I don't believe Him. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I have been having problems with both the internet and Blogger. 

The internet was completely out off and on this week. 

When it was working and I had a chance to sit down to schedule some posts, I had been switched over to the new Blogger format. 

I tend to hold off on the new and "improved" updates. When I am finally forced to deal with them, it's usually not very pretty. 

My posts are being SAVED and PUBLISHED now. :) 

The rest of Tuesday's post will be coming soon! 

Hope you are all having a nice weekend. 

From Four Days

Favorite Picture
Came home to find these blooming! April 19, 2012

Yes, we do water our plants. Yes, this picture does look like it was taken on the moon.
Maybe I live there, maybe I don't.
Our soil really looks like this on it's own. We just started this flower bed last fall.
Give me 2 or 3 years and it will actually look like soil.


* My brother's team won BOTH games this week.

* I got some pretty neat pictures of the cutest second baseman ever. (He just informed me that that should read "fiercest second baseman ever"! See what I mean...He's cute!)

* Going to visit some friends and getting home in time to visit with another one that evening. 

* That the hyacinths have joined the daffodils and my tulips aren't far behind! 


* Being reminded that life isn't all sunshine and rainbows.
   Some of my friends are dealing with some serious problems in their family...I'm glad to    
   be there for them through it, but it is hard to watch. 

   Another of my friends has been dealing with tons of health issues among the young and       
  old in her family. 

* SIN.....That's the main problem with this world. Yours, mine, and ours. We really mess things up. Sometimes it just gets overwhelming. It kinda was this week. 

* This last one is really trivial. I made this post SEVERAL TIMES. Somehow, blogger did not save it and did not post it at the scheduled time. I THOUGHT everything was set, but when I got onto check I realized that no, it wasn't. Oh well. :) 

The top two lows are really highs when I think about it. Because, the low points in life are just one more opportunity to gather together as people, hurting, broken people. We share the love, grace, mercy, and sovereignty of God and the hard times tend to really help us BE THERE for each other. 

Not only is God good....He knows exactly what He's doing! 

I should just TRUST Him.

What's That Smell

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Warning...I've got a lot to say and there won't be any pictures. 

For a couple of weeks our fridge had been getting a little stinky. 

At first it was just a slight souring smell.

I thought...
Maybe it is the different cheeses we have in there.
Maybe it's just me.
No, it's got to be SOMETHING, because it's getting worse.

At this point, there was absolutely nothing obvious or left that could be causing that smell, which was now quite horrible. 

I decided that it was time to pull EVERYTHING out and find the problem.

I began on the top shelf. At the very back of the very top shelf was a can of evaporated milk. The can of milk was small and there was barely anything left. I'm honestly not even sure why it was in there. 

But, let me tell you, the smell disappeared as soon as the can was removed.
(I didn't think you'd enjoy a picture of a can of rotten milk.....)

Something so small and so simple. Every time the door opened and even a little while after the door had been closed I could smell it. 

Since I am always thinking about the simple things and comparing them to bigger things in life this turned into a two part post...Come back Thursday to hear the rest! 

The Scenic Route

Monday, April 16, 2012

I baked some cookies.
Fixed tacos for dinner.
 Was laundry day... 
Just so that I could pull out my warm weather clothes. 
Watched "And Then There Were None" (again).

Yes, a chocolate cookie with peanut butter chips and orange juice. Why not?  

I woke up to find an absolutely gorgeous day waiting.
The air was crisp and fresh. 
I played cards and speedminton.
Admired the flowers that are finally starting to bloom. 
Went downtown for lunch, the library, and the store. 

A piece of the yard at sunset.
A package from my grandparents.
Contents of said package....Yes, more chocolate and peanut butter. 
Summer is coming, getting some sun! 

 Kids were out with their friends, lawnmowers were buzzing,  and the hardware store had a bunch of flowers out on the sidewalk.

Later in the day, we did some yard work of our own and a friend stopped by on his way back into town. 

 A day of leisure
I read some of that new novel I picked up a few weeks ago.
Took some time to write
Sat and listened to the sounds of spring. 

Aside from a neighbor next door, I can't say that I heard a single lawnmower. Kids weren't even out playing. It was just slow and quiet. 

Scripture for the Week
Isaiah 26 especially vs. 3-4
"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You,
because he trusts in You. 
Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock." 

This week is going to be a busy one, so I was glad to have some time without having anything planned. 
This weekend was filled with sunshine, lots of laughs, and the peacefulness that new life brings. 

From Four Days

Friday, April 13, 2012

When I was growing up, we had a tradition around our dinner table every evening. 

We would go around the table with each person giving a "high" and a "low" from their life that day. 

Sometimes the "high" would be a positive thing that happened and the "low" would be a less positive thing that happened. Sometimes both the "high" and the "low" would have a more negative feel to them. Sometimes the "high" was truly a high point and the "low" was truly a low point.

I will *try* to start doing this each week. Just giving a list of highs (and maybe even some lows) from the week.


Favorite Picture 
(from the week)

Taken from the couch....© Victoria 2012

(You will notice a theme: WARM WEATHER, SUNSHINE, SPRING.)

* I spent time in the yard cleaning up, relaxing, and studying. 

*Finding an unexpected surprise....Last year I got some mint from a friend of mine and              
  wasn't sure if it would come back or not. It did!

 © Victoria 2012
*It's time for another baseball season.

*Sitting on my porch swing, anytime really, but especially during my new favorite time of   

*Pulling out my warm weather recipes. 

*That Together For the Gospel is happening again. Thousands of men are there and I am   
  happy for them. I am also happy that they post the messages online and I listen at home! 

*Playing basketball in the driveway again. 

To The City

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Last week, I decided to take part in a mug swap (you'll hear more about that later)

That, along with a few other things, meant a trip to the city to do some shopping. It was a crazy day. 

I crossed everything off of my list. This is amazing! Even though I enjoy shopping of any kind, when it comes to clothes, shoes, and gifts I tend to be very indecisive. 

I came home with things not on my list. Usually, I make a list and I stick to it. 

My "treasures" of the day were a new bag, some sunglasses, and a novel. 

My brother modeling a non-list item. © Victoria 2012

A "blizzard" of sorts blew in...it turned to rain...by the time I was driving home the sun was shining and the only sign of the storm were the huge puddles everywhere. Since rain, puddles, and sun are normal this time of year, I only took pictures of the snow. 

Parking lot shuffle © Victoria 2012
© Victoria 2012
My Mom © Victoria 2012

Thankfully, this was only the weather of one day in April! I hope it stays that way...


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Making Christmas lists can be difficult. 

I realize that this is evidence that I have been blessed with much. I truly don't have needs that go unmet. When people start asking for my "wish list" that's all it is - a list of things that I would like to have. 

Once I might have asked for a different outfit....
3 1/2 months old © Victoria 

 A little later on I might have asked for some new teeth....
 6....Lovely, isn't it? © Victoria (Family Albums) 

This last Christmas, one of my favorite online book stores was having a wonderful sale. 

So, I loaded my wish list up with items from said sale. 

My Mom happens to appreciate books even more than I do. What did I get, but every single book I asked for? (And some other great stuff too!) 

Last week I began reading one of the books that I received: Charles Spurgeon's "The Saint and His Saviour". 

I was influenced by Spurgeon as I was writing one of my posts here. I want to share a link with you: You can read this very work online for free! The foreword is definitely different than the one in my printed copy of the book, but I assume the rest of the book (Spurgeon's own words) are the same. 

Go check it out! It was chapter one, "The Despised Friend", that provided the Scripture I referenced. That chapter had me thinking about what it is like to walk with God compared to what it is like to walk "without" God. 

Don't be surprised if you hear more about what I learn from this work of his. 

Do you have a favorite piece or collection by Spurgeon? 

Two Walks

Friday, April 06, 2012

The special light that sunsets create are to me like the peace and joy and strength that come from knowing God and walking closely with Him.

This walk is familiar, it is the sunset. Many before me have enjoyed communion with Him. 

Yet, times come when the walk isn't so close. In those times the peace and joy and strength waiver. 

© Victoria 2012

I think He means for it to be that way. 

In this world that has been corrupted by the sin that we all hold so dear, we desperately need to feel the unsteadiness, the misery that comes when we are not walking with Him. 

Until we know what is to walk with Him, we cannot really know the misery of walking without Him. 

He was always there and yet, 
"...we esteemed Him not..."
Isaiah 53:3 

© Victoria 2011
Without the sunset of walking with God, that special light of truly knowing Him simply isn't there to be enjoyed.

Without the presence of God, lasting peace, joy, and strength simply aren't there to be enjoyed. 

How good He is to give us Himself as well as the ability to find fulfillment in Him.

Walk with Him...Bask in the light of the sunset and take the time to enjoy the beautiful light His presence creates in your life! 

Peace and Quiet

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

I am convinced that just about everyone everywhere enjoys watching winter take its leave each year. 

Everyday this week between 7 and 8pm I have noticed something. It's been a happy feeling. I can compare it to the feeling I used to get just before the school bell rang to signal  lunch time or better yet, the end of the school day. 

Even now that I haven't sat in a classroom for nearly 10 years, I tend to think of 3:30 as my favorite time of day. 

This week may have changed that. These quiet moments as the sun is setting, I have been looking out of the window to see its final rays peaking through the trees. The street lights begin to come on, the sounds of civilization begin to quiet down, and the wind dies down. 

Before I know it, the sky is dark and filled with stars. 

What I have been enjoying isn't the sunset itself - I can't see that from my window. What I have been enjoying is the light that it casts. It's a different light, surely, you know the one that I mean. A light that reminds me of warm summer nights and lightning bugs and porch swings.

The difference between this...

Cape Cod © Victoria 2010

and this.

Cape Cod © Victoria 2010

These pictures were taken on the same day, at the same beach, just moments apart. 

I love how something so common, something so familiar, can be so beautiful!