April Mug Swap

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Last month, I mentioned that I participated in a Mug Swap.

Susan, over at this BLOG hosted the swap.

We sent her our info and she paired us up with another blogger. We were supposed to visit our partner's blog, buy them a mug, get it sent to them sometime before April ended, and then post about it on our blog after we received our package. 

Emily, over at this BLOG was my partner. She and I both spent a bit of time on the road last month. 
We did manage to shop for each other and get our packages mailed in time!

Unfortunately, I am just now getting around to posting about the package that I received from Emily. :(

She went with a spring theme. Everything, including the note she popped into the box, was a bright color. She sent me a mug...But, she ALSO sent me some kitchen goodies and a book.

Not the greatest picture....Taken when it was too dark and with instagram to top it off. 

Somehow she figured out that what I needed was a travel mug! I have no idea where she got that idea....
Thank you, Susan! You should know that Emily and I enjoyed taking part in your mug swap.

This was a chance to put together a gift, receive a gift, and meet some new people along the way!

Have you ever taken part in any kind of blog swap? 

 This was my first experience, but since then I have seen all kinds. I'm definitely going to do something like this again sometime. 

Life and Times

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Apparently, I enjoy playing catch up around here! Last week I did a lot of "going" and didn't really stop until this morning. I covered a lot of ground, saw a lot of people, and got a little dirty along the way.

From my "spot" on the back patio early one evening.

Since you heard from me last I have been:

* Enjoying a couple of rainy days.

* Trying out a new recipe for "brownies" that we decided to consider "cake" instead.

* Doing some very successful geocaching. 

* Taking in The Avengers in theaters. 

* Having an evening visit with a friend of mine.

* Finding out about a good deal on a camera and being able to buy it! 

* Skyping with some friends and learning more about a place called Ellerslie.  

* Taking an evening drive to check out some flowers and visit in a friend's yard.

* Heading out for a long weekend to meet up with friends and get some work done. 

* Picking up a new dog with a friend of mine and catching up with her. 

* Enjoying my first ever DQ Blizzard....Not sure how I haven't managed that before now. It was good. I'll be back. 

Now, I get to continue playing catch up around the house too. 

I'm looking forward to: 

* Planting some FLOWERS in the ground and in my pots sometime this week. 

*Playing around with my new camera that should be here in a few days.

*Having a CLEAN house again. 

*Putting away the "spring" decorations and pulling out the "summer" stuff. 

*Taking time to listen to some teaching DVDs and CDs about discipleship that a friend of mine loaned me. 

What are you enjoying right now? What are your favorite things about summer?

"A Quest for More"

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I think I've told you about the stash of awesome books that I received for Christmas last year. I haven't been reading nearly as much as I should, but I just might make it through them before this next Christmas rolls around.

Lately, I have been reading this lovely book.

Every chapter begins with a question that gets you thinking about how the truths that you will be reading apply to your own life. In other words, how you tend to act like you instead of like Christ. That's how Tripp works, calling out sin and pointing towards righteousness. That's good stuff.

Those are the kinds of authors, pastors, preachers, and friends we need to keep near us.

"But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called 'today',
that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin."
Hebrews 3:13

That's a big responsibility. The human relationships that we are forming are mainly about helping us NOT become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Let me tell you, if you haven't figured this out yet, not only is sin deceitful, but so is the heart. We have got to be purposefully pursuing an openness towards these kinds of exhortations that will call us to be more like Christ. 

Back to the book....Tripp also opens every chapter with a single statement that basically summarizes whatever he is about to say in that chapter. It makes the truth he's seeking to communicate very clear and leaves you ready to dig deeper. 

He closes every chapter with a final question that ties everything you've just been reading, considering, and thinking together in a way that brings it HOME. 

I have some news to share...

#1 on my sidebar there are now several ways for you to subscribe to my blog if you haven't already. I haven't decided which of the three options will stay on the sidebar yet. What do you think? 

#2 While I was writing this post the exact thing I was talking about happened. I'm eating almonds, blogging, and talking on the phone with a friend who I am buying a camera from. The almonds get dipped into, I am asked to move to a different computer (twice), and there are already plans being made for others to use my camera. No big deal, right? Yeah, I'm a sinner, so it was kind of a big deal. 

#3 I decided to go for it. I'm buying my first SLR camera. These days it seems like everyone is a photographer, everyone has a nice camera, and when everyone is doing it, that usually kills whatever desire I may have had to do it. I've gone back and forth for quite a while. The right deal came my way. This camera should be in hands very soon!

This post was powered by this little snack...God's grace...and of course Blogger.

Tut-Tut It Looks Like Rain

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

 Yesterday, was a lovely rainy day. I had a nice post all written up to go with these pictures for you and it disappeared.

In all the years that I have been blogging, I have not had so much trouble with posts not actually saving.

I sat down to TRY to re-write it, but now I'm not even sure exactly what I had to say. 

 So, here are the pictures because I still have those. For now at least. :) 

I opened some  of the windows to let in the fresh smell, the sounds of cars going through puddles and birds singing their songs. The air was warmer than the day before and a little more humid. I love days like this! 

The rain against the window...

Look at that sky..

Salted Caramel Mocha - the first hot beverage I've had in while.

The calm after the rain.

Just a lovely, quiet, rainy day. 

The Scenic Route

Monday, May 21, 2012

* Friday I took some time to organize my room. I decided that it was time to switch out my cold weather clothes for my warm weather clothes.

*Saturday morning I was in the kitchen preparing salads and dessert for a BBQ that evening. 

No matter how large the cutting board, I always end of scooting things OFF of it.
Broccoli Salad
Macaroni Salad

*It was a day to clean up the house and yard and get some laundry done.

*That evening, friends came over for the first BBQ of the season.

Banana Pudding on the way to be ready to eat.

*Later on, I crawled into bed and attempted to watch "Exposed" on Netflix. While it wasn't good enough to recommend, I enjoyed it because it was a mystery and old (i.e. black and white). 

*Sunday, was my favorite day of the weekend. It was long and very full. 

*The morning began with breakfast on the back patio. I realized that it had cooled off, was slightly humid, and looked like some RAIN might be coming. 

*A little later on, I grabbed some left over juice from the BBQ and a made some more progress in a book that I have been reading. 

*I spent some time playing...A sword turned lightsaber fight with my brother, baseball, and even some SLINGO on an app. that I just found. 

*I had lunch with my sister and enjoyed being able to just sit and talk with her for a while.

*We finished the latest Mary Higgins Clark book that we had been reading. It was better than the last book of hers that I read. Taking a trip to New York through her books is always fun!

It was a nice weekend. The rain is sticking around and I'm pretty excited about that because I've been wanting some of it to come our way! No trips, nothing too exciting, just a simple weekend at home with my family and some friends. 

Now, it's Monday and we're onto yet another week in this world. 

From 21 Days

Friday, May 18, 2012

I have not sat down to blog since the end of April. I knew that I was not going to be home much for the first part of May, so I took the time to schedule the posts that have appeared so far this month.

Even though I am home again, I haven't updated because my laptop is in "blackout"...

Time to play catch-up I guess!

*We spent a long weekend with friends being tourists and celebrating a birthday, complete with a surprise party.

*Came home for celebration dinner with friends here and to get ready for another short trip.

Every trip needs fresh baked cookies

I came home with some new nail polishes...I realized they're basically just different shades.

An attempted sewing project. It's delayed until the machine works again.

The first step to getting organized involves new calendars for the month.

*Short trip to help some friends get settled in their new home turned into a week away.

*Home again. More baseball games and a new recipe on Mother's Day.

 Sticky Date Toffee Cake, good stuff!

Caramel Macchiato  after a day of filling in at the coffee shop I used to work in.

Yes, this happened. I went into the garage to find the DOG watching the CAT eat the dog's food.

*Enjoying a few days that reminded me of my life a few years ago. I got a couple of calls from people I used to work for who needed help.

Here we have the Momma cat doing something right...Keeping an eye on her kittens who made their first trip outside a couple of weeks ago.

Now, all of this probably looks like fun and full of life and joy. It is, but there are other things going on too. Sin and death and struggle and strife have been a very real presence over the last few weeks. 

No one has actually died, but everyone that I have been spending time with has been facing the realities of life in this broken world. Somedays with God are good and sweet and somedays His presence just seems to be missing. On those days when the bad outweighs the good, sin, death, struggle, and strife become overwhelming. I have seen that where sin has been left unchecked it has grown.

Pray for them and for me. For hope. For Jesus to be real. For sin to be hated, God to be loved, and people to be CHANGED. For people to be cherished in a way that is most loving. That is, a way that points them to Christ, that by God's grace we ALL would become more like Him. 

We have had some good times. Still the background is full of these issues that we are all continually reminded of and going back to. 

Our problems are real but God is bigger! 

"And I am SURE of this, that He who began a good work in you
 WILL bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."
Philippians 1:6

The Finale: Be a Lion

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A few years ago, I got a new CD called "Lions and Liars" by Sho Baraka  who was an artist with Reach Records. I took some time to post about this project once.

You can check out the series that I wrote about it here if you want to.
As I went through these posts again, I realized that I never finished posting everything that I had hoped to in this series. It's sort of cheesy, but I loved it then and I'm still challenged by this man now.

I recently found a drafted post that would have served as the conclusion... 
If you read that series you know how much this project blessed me. If you read this blog then I hope you begin to know how much the idea behind this project impacts the person that I am. 

Here's the post....Here's a summary of my aim. Sometimes I seem to forget. Sometimes I get sidetracked. It's always there and God is always bringing me back around to remind me of what is important in this life. 


In the words of the man, Sho Baraka himself (taken from an interview):

"Ultimately, what I'm trying to communicate is that no matter where you serve, no matter what you do...If you're a teacher, if you're a doctor, if you're a hip hop artist, if you're in an office, if you're working a 9 to 5, if you're a stay at home mother, if you're a dancer....No matter where God places you, master that arena for the glory of the Lord. That's what lions do. They know their territory and they take over. There are so many lies that we have to fight against. Whether it be the world, the flesh, satan, or the ways of contemporary culture. Be a lion for the Lord and roar!"

"You have a responsibility to articulate the correct theology. To correctly reflect the Lord and His Church. Be mindful of your life. Do not let sin and pride well up within your heart. Make promoting the Gospel the focus of your life. We'll all have to answer to what we do for the Lord."

Be a lion for Him, ROAR with a big lion shout!


On a side note, Sho Baraka has branched out from Reach Records. I don't know him personally so I can't know exactly what or why he's doing what he is. I do know that he continues to pour himself out for the Gospel and his culture through promoting art that points people to the Gospel and the beauty of all that God has made. 

The Simple Things Continued: In Real Life

Thursday, May 03, 2012

We have a shower curtain that I really like. It brings together our bathroom very nicely. 

The cat scratched it up. At first, it was bad, and I was upset, but more in the "Oh well" stage of things. (i.e. It was damaged but still usable and most people wouldn't really even notice it). 

Well, the cat scratched it up again. This time, it is really bad. It will have to be replaced. I noticed it and I was really upset, the ugly upset I mentioned above. I went from "Oh well!" to  nearly in tears over that dumb thing. A SHOWER CURTAIN, people. 

As I was ranting about it, I realized, "I have taken cherishing the small things too far!" That is a problem. 

Perhaps I shouldn't even aim to "cherish" the small things. Instead, maybe I should make it my aim to enjoy the small things (pretty shower curtains and cats that scratch things ups) as a means to glorify the God who is making my life exactly what it is. 
Sounds better and I have a feeling the latter won't lead me to ugly upset anytime soon. 

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers."
Romans 8:28-29

Sounds pretty simple right? By God's grace, I'm making my way to become just that, more like Jesus, and it's all because He is working all things in my life to that end!

The Simple Things

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

I know you have heard the sayings about living in the moment and cherishing the simple things. 

I appreciate these reminders because I do think that it helps us remember that God has us where He does for a reason and in that place there are certainly things we ought to delight in. As we hope for tomorrow, we are not truly living today. 

BUT....I also have a way of corrupting all of that. I end up cherishing the simple things so much that when they are removed or broken or lost or whatever, I end up upset.

You know, the kind of upset that is totally ugly. Sometimes it involves tears and rants, sometimes it involves sullenness and retreating, but it is never just a simple, "Oh well! It was good while it lasted, but it's really no big deal." 

I try not to, but I have a way of making a big deal out of something that really doesn't matter. 

Rather than using the things of today as a means to glorify God, I am like a beggar rushing around grabbing up pieces of bread that have been thrown down in order to hoard them. 

I get so caught up in the pieces of bread that it becomes obvious that in those moments I have actually forgotten about the One who has given them to me.