You Know What It Is

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Every year, it never fails, at some point in August I realize (right along with many of you) that summer is almost over. Mid September, I realize that summer is still hanging on. Through October it goes back and forth between feeling like summer and being fall. Then Thanksgiving comes and there is no doubt about it, winter is here to stay.

Anyway, I spend August reminding myself that change is good and that in every season there are unique things that give me a reason to praise God. I usually post about it too. There is one quote in particular that I have posted several times

I think I've given in again, I'll love every ounce of summer that's left, but I'm ready for fall now too. (Okay, so I might have to tell myself this a few more times before I REALLY mean it). 
Yesterday morning I went out to take some pictures of the first few leaves that are falling of the trees. 

A few days ago, I made some soup and cornbread. (I also served a nice cold cantaloupe.) 

My throw blanket follows me around in the mornings, sweatshirts are coming out, and I have dark polish on my toes. 

Summer is a time when I, as silly as it sounds, feel most alive. I find myself in love with God's creation. I love feeling the sun on my skin and being able to spend so much time outside. During the summer there is a sense of community that seems to disappear come winter. 

So, during the summer I enjoy all that God has made in the fullest sense. 
Summer is a time to DELIGHT in God. 

Fall is the time when routine comes back. I find myself in love with God's ORDER. Every year I am reminded of His sovereignty and provision. I am always reminded of His work in my life. The summer leaves me feeling refreshed and I start fall with a sense of being recharged. 

Fall is a time to TRUST in God and be THANKFUL, for who He is and who He is making me. 

What are your favorite things about fall (or autumn if that's what you call it)? 

What is unique about the way you enjoy God's glory in this season? 

*The pictures in this post are: TOWELS still in their "summer place"// SUMMER scenes on Cape Cod// FALL scenes in Boston.*

Coulda Woulda Shoulda

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How many posts begin with, "I really mean to post more often, but..."? Too many! We all have something in common. That thing is, we all mean to do something(s) but don't ever do these things the way we meant to do them. 

I'll say it again. 

We all mean to do something(s)
 but don't ever do these things the way we meant to do them. 

We start blogs, but don't post as often as we would like.

We buy new cameras, but don't use them.

We have Bibles, but don't read them as thoroughly as we know we need to.

We buy journals, and don't fill the pages.

We decide to start menu planning, and find ourselves serving leftovers AGAIN. 

We start friendships, and go two weeks without getting together. 

We plant gardens, and before we know it, there are more weeds than flowers. 

We have children, and find ourselves at odds with them wondering how they ever got to be that way. 

I don't have to tell you. You know what you meant to do and you know how you ended up doing it. 

That's the thing, you DID something, just not the way you meant to.

You started the blog and only posted a few times. You carry the camera, and leave it turned off. You have the Bible, and chose to read something else instead. You have the journal, but wrote other things other places (FB, e-mail, twitter, whatever). You have food to serve, recipes to try, and served leftovers. 

The good news is, most of these "meant to's" are no big deal! We think we need to do so many things and we get stressed out when life isn't going how we thought it would. Honestly, most of these things that we just have to do, DON'T EVEN MATTER. 

There is freedom in knowing that. Realizing we don't have to do everything we meant to do leaves room for us to do the things that we really do need to do. We do need to know God, we do need to love people, and we really do need to spend our lives doing things that matter. 

Pinning down what we need to do is only the beginning. Even then, we won't do these things the way we meant to or the way we need to. That is life, figuring out what's important and devoting ourselves to that. 

I've been reading a lot more lately. Seriously, I've finished about five books in the last couple of weeks. (That NEVER happens.) All of this reading has had me thinking about PEOPLE and how much we have in common. 

We are all different, but when it comes down to it, we are A LOT ALIKE. We all have hopes and dreams. We all have failures, hurts, disappoints. We have favorite memories, foods, hobbies. We all want to be loved and known. We all want to be able to be happy with who are, where we are going, and who we are becoming.
Every single one of us is born and will live on this earth until we die. We have so much in common. 
So, figure out what's important. I'm not talking about what's important to you. I'm talking about what's important in the grand scheme of things.  
That's my question for you today: What REALLY MATTERS?

*The pictures in this post are: LEAVES, the first sign of fall//A TREE losing its leaves//Learning to play RISK//A garden tool, it takes WORK.*

Me Myself & I pt. 2

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

 It's time to do another link-up. 
There are five more questions today. I'd love for you to answer the questions on your own blog and leave me a link to it!

1. What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
Everything I've never done before! No, really, ever since I was little, I would rather not even attempt to do something than do it poorly. 
One specific thing I am putting off is refinishing a bed (that I got two months ago)
2. If you had only six months left to live, what would do with the time?
Spend serious time with people. I would talk to them about God and how I want them to treasure Him above all else.
*I would start with my family.
*I would then devote time to other people.
There are two specific groups... 

*A group of kids I had every year in VBS from the time they were in 4th grade until they were too old for VBS. 
*And a group of people that I met during my time away a couple of years ago. 
3. If a front page news article was written on you, what would the headline be?
Well, my family would like to see: "Got married" or "Had a baby" actually, make that, "TWINS!" .
I would like to see an article written BY me announcing a published book, speaking tour, and weekly column in the paper to follow.  
5. Favorite chick flick movie?
Just one? I have a few...
*The Lake House
 *North and South (Elizabeth Gaskell version)
 *Beauty and the Beast
 *Pride and Prejudice
*High Society 

The Scenic Route...Sunday Morning Baking

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sunday morning called for some baking. With summer here and the temps being right around 100, I just don't have it in me to do much in the kitchen at all. Yesterday was probably the first time I have baked in two months! 

I got onto the internet and checked around for a NEW recipe. What I found involved....



Peanut butter

....You get the idea. It was just sure to be GOOD! Joy the Baker's recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes is what I found myself with this morning.  

Sometimes I bake all alone, sometimes I have company, sometimes I have spectators. This morning, the house was empty. So, Matt Chandler "joined" me. I listened to part 3 of the Holiness series that I mentioned last week

These were some DARK cupcakes. The batter, well, it was pretty much AMAZING. Almost better than brownie batter amazing. Oh, and Joy didn't mention eggs...It didn't seem to matter. Not too cakey, not too fudgy. Just perfectly moist chocolate cupcakes.

 Some hints from me:

*I didn't want a whole bunch of these things around, so I cut the recipe in half. 

*Don't be shy with the batter. I filled the cupcake cups and had some left over. I happily ate it with a spoon, but I could have put it into the cups and that would have been just fine.

* Even with a half batch of frosting, I had a good bit left over. This time I popped that into the freezer to use later. Next time, I'll just make even less. 

*As soon as they are cooled and frosted, people eat them. There were 12 cupcakes. By the time I got around to taking pictures, there were 9. They're good. :) 


When do you like to bake...morning, the middle of the night, when do you put on the apron? 

Does summer slow you down too? 

What should I add to my list of recipes to try out? 

I made these just because I wanted to bake, but they were a great snack too! Some had them with coffee, others with milk, and I had mine with some iced water. As usual, Joy DID NOT disappoint! 

Just in case you missed it, here's the link to the original recipe before I fiddled with it! 

Party Time

Saturday, August 18, 2012

It's still morning, where I live...So, good morning! 

This has been a lazy Saturday so far. I went to bed early last night because I wasn't feeling well. I slept in this morning because I still wasn't feeling well. 

When I finally got up, I found a beautiful day waiting. After visiting with my Mom out on the back patio for a little while, a friend stopped by. I've known this lady for quite a while, so she and her husband have become another set of Grandparents to me. 

Anyway...It was nice to just sit and visit! Even though we live very close to each other, I don't get to see her very often these days. 

That's kind of what this summer has been for me. A chance to slow down and really enjoy the people around me. 

It's been great. To be able to just focus on those people I am with.

So often, we get so BUSY that we don't really listen to people or take time out to be with them. 

Do it. You'll be glad you did. 

Today, I am off to celebrate the 3rd birthday of a very special little girl. I don't take days like this for granted...I know that at any moment a life can be changed and simple things can be GONE. 

This little girl's family has been having a hard time of it this year and some big changes could be happening in their lives. 

Today, I'm going to try not to think about all of that. I'm going to try to keep this verse in mind and APPLY it while I'm at it. 

"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. 
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
Matthew 6:34

This verse comes at the end of a chapter devoted to telling us to fully trust in God. It's not mainly about not worrying. It's mainly about trusting God because we know Him and are known by Him. When we are trusting God, we won't worry. As we trust in God, we will be fit to live helping others treasure Him. 

Matthew 6, is the chapter where Jesus teaches us the Lord's Prayer and about looking at our lives the way He looked at His own life. To be like Jesus (the goal) we must learn to look at life the way He did.

Today, that's the goal. To help this family treasure God more fully and to join them in the pursuit of knowing Him. 

This way, whatever changes come, will be EMBRACED as what is absolutely good, and best, and necessary for each person.  

The hard things in life remind us that we can't do it alone. That we need God. May your good times and your bad times help you see these things!

From Four Days

Friday, August 10, 2012

This week there are three things I want to share with you: a sermon series I started, a cd I have been loving, and a book I just started. 

*I haven't listened to anything by Matt Chandler in few months. Then, this week, I went to his church's website and found out they had started a new series about a month ago. This series falls right in line with what God has been teaching me in the last few weeks. 

If you're looking for something to listen to, check it out:


*The cd I have been listening to is PRo's "Dying to Live". Here's one of my favorite songs from the album.

*The book that I just started is called "CrossTalk: Where Life and Scripture Meet" by Michael Emlet. This book was written to help Christians apply Scripture to life and conform life to Scripture. This way, as we do life together we can hear what God has to say in our day-to-day.


*In the meantime, it's been a normal week. Laundry, cleaning, cooking, baking, writing, meetings, appointments, shopping, and stopping to take pictures of neat things. In this case, it's just a forgotten alley.

Now, I'm off to get ready for a weekend with friends!

July 365

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Taking pictures outside with my new camera was a lot of fun. Maybe trying new things isn't so bad?  Nectarines are showing up in stores, I ate a really good one today! I wonder if I'll be missing Keats by the time this is posted?

July 2 - 8
Vacation at the ranch...We did our own cooking to give the ladies at the ranch a "break". I had my camera, but didn't take any pictures this time around.

2) Busy day getting ready to take off. Visited with Alice for quite some time in the morning. I don't have much to say other than I am getting excited about this week away with so many great people.

3) Loading up and heading out. Made some stops along the way to pick up fireworks, eat some fair food, and pick up snacks for the week. Once I was all settled in, vacation began.

4) Spent the day in the kitchen visiting and prepping salads and things for the week. Shot off fireworks with some friends, their daughter, and their new dog who LOVED the fireworks.

5) My friend Heidi and I went into the garden to dig up strawberry plants. After lunch, another friend came up to the ranch for the first time. More visiting in the evening with some new friends.

6) Another (early) morning spent visiting with Tori on the front porch. Picked cherries in the afternoon. More visiting until LATE....

7) A lazy day to rest. We've done about all of the catching up we can do. This afternoon, I decided to find a shady spot to watch a bunch of kids do archery. I did my fair of sitting today because I twisted both of my feet last night.Thankfully, there are plenty of people around to keep me company.

Home from the ranch. Great week of vacation minus the little spill that kept me off my feet from Friday night on. Loved getting to know some new people and swapping stories about the grace of God. The rest of the unpacking can wait until tomorrow. 

It's officially HOT (we're talking over 100). Keeping the blinds closed until this heat wave passes. Lots of unpacking, laundry, and planning the rest of the week. Even though I helped with the cooking at the ranch, I'm itching to get back in the kitchen. I'm wanting to fix bacon, biscuits, and meat loaf.

I am cheating today...This is actually a picture from yesterday. I didn't take any pictures today. This is from a little lemonade, sausage, cracker, and cheese "party" we had on the patio yesterday afternoon. It's how we beat the heat. Today, was full of driving, shopping, laundry, and gardening. It was also another great day at the summer Bible study getting to know a new group of ladies.

Packed up and headed back out. The ranch has become a second home...Well, I actually have quite a few "other" homes. This summer, the ranch has pulled into second. Picked up some friends who joined us in this round of helping out. Really swam for the first time this summer. The water felt GREAT.

Found ourselves in the kitchen prepping salads for the weekend and any other foods we could get ready beforehand. Went to town in the afternoon for a few things and had to stop at DQ. Today's choice was Georgia Mud Fudge. The trip back was quite scenic (ie I missed a turn). It just meant more time in the air conditioned car.

Another HOT day...Here I am at the end of it up to my elbows in dirty dishes. Today was great. Went swimming again, finished a little collage project, enjoyed a game of "Empires", and managed to get some sleep.

Home again. Just in time for a HUGE storm. It rained, it thundered, it lightninged (is that a word?), and there were some HUGE puddles. I drove through part of it, but was home to enjoy the rest of it on my couch with a book and a fresh batch of sweet tea.

Not the best picture, I know. This was a beautiful night out on the patio that came after a great day at home. Blogging, organizing pictures, catching up with my brother on the phone, and planning what my week was going to look like. July has been very full. I can't believe it's already half over!

Still enjoying being back at home for the week! Today I started The Great Gatsby, visited Alice, spent some time in the kitchen (KEY LIME PIE, breakfast for dinner: biscuits, sausage links, and peaches), and did a few things around the house.

Another Bible study day, lunch with friends, and a stop at a new to us bookstore. As we were looking at books, I said, "Now, if I was a REAL blogger, I would be taking pictures of this place." It wasn't the biggest shop, but it was FULL of books. I heard the owner say something about having like over 50,000 books on the shelves right now. So, my Mom, who is the real blogger,  takes my camera and starts shamelessly taking pictures. Why can't I do that? Anyway, this is totally posed, I'm about to start laughing, and I had to post it to show you that yes, I'm a dork too.

This is probably going to be one of my favorite pictures from the summer! We went to the lake today and took the boat out for the first time. I have to admit, I'm not a fan of lakes. Even though they are warmer than rivers, there is just something about nice CLEAN river water that floats my boat a little bit more. We got lots of sun today and managed to come home with good spirits.

Today, I went with my Mom, brother, and sister to pick up our van where it was getting fixed. Unfortunately, we made the trip for nothing because it wasn't ready and they forgot to call. Thankfully, we had planned to do a few other things that day. First up was seeing the new Spiderman movie. I did not expect to like it - but I actually did. We also got to sit with at least 15 other cars, trucks, and semis while a train picked up some new cars. During out rather long sit, I snapped some pictures of the wheat fields that are beginning to change. While we were out, we also did some geocaching and had a burger, fries, and a blizzard at DQ.

Today, my Mom and I went together to pick up the van. It was ready today. This is a site I've been seeing a lot of lately. The steering wheel of my "trusty" Accord that has been nicknamed the lawnmower...So it smokes a little and the AC doesn't always work, is that a problem? (NOTE: I will have another Accord someday and I prefer Hondas.) Nice day spent with my Mom, dodging the massive storm that came in as we went from store to store.

Spent the day enjoying a summer festival. I love this picture that I snapped of my brother as he was learning tricks from a magician. My brother is a total ham, so he was flicking the cards and really looked like he knew what he was doing. The little boy (who I didn't even notice until I was going through the pictures later) in the back, was clearly impressed! There was a parade, candy, watermelon shaved ice, a book sale. When I got home, I found out that Tori is now in ICU. My heart is heavy this evening.

July 22

No pictures today. I had waffles and some sausage for breakfast out on the patio and I found out that Tori passed away this morning. It is sobering to think that I just said good-bye exactly two weeks ago today definitely expecting to see her again. Trying to praise God for the life He gives and the life He takes! 

I have loved this spot for years. Someday, I want to actually STOP and get some pretty pictures in these trees! Today, I was doing another drive by on my way back to the ranch. This time, there is a retreat to help with.

Today, after lunch a bunch of us went for a hike. This was just a piece of the beautiful scenery. We drove through this and hiked around through the rocks. There were caves and bats for some of us and a nice shady spot to sit and visit for the rest. My favorite part of this group was getting to meet and know a lady named Liz. She is probably in her 80's but here she is in the middle of nowhere wearing make-up, pearls, scarves, and just looking like a total LADY. The joy of the Lord is truly hers and it was great to hear her story.

Here are two men who set up camp....I saw them across the lawn and had to take a picture because they were just too cute not to. If I remember right, they were playing chess. This is a day up here. Just getting away from everything and spending time with other people. Nowhere to be, no phones ringing, no internet to check, just LIFE ON LIFE.

Today was a HOT day. Most everyone spent the day down by the water. We were no exception. My sister had planned to go riding with a friend. She had her mind made up and the heat did not stop her! As soon as she got back, we all headed down to the water until it was time to prepare dinner for the guests. This is the new dog that I mentioned before who will be keeping Cassie company.

I cheated again...This picture was actually taken on the 25th. But, I had already decided to share a different picture on that day. Today, we didn't do any swimming. We got things packed up and headed back home as early as we could after breakfast was all cleaned up. Back home, we headed over to have a BBQ with some friends.

Another Saturday spent at a summer festival. I wrote about this day pretty thoroughly in a post already. This was really a day for the kids. There were so many fun contests for them to compete in. This is a "pie" eating contest. My brother won some money in this one and my sister learned that pies are best eaten slowly.

Went to spend a few days with Alice to help her get back on her feet. The good news? She is HOME from the hospital now! The bad news, her AC went out and the repair guys can't come to fix it until Friday. This little fan is what's going to get me through the nights. We kept a bigger fan close by to get us through the days too. Tonight I made the BEST grilled ham and fried egg sandwich - I think it helps that it's being compared to two months worth of cafeteria food!

A day spent with Alice except for a trip to run errands downtown. We did some laundry, took a look around her yard, and watched the Olympics. It's been a LONG time since I've seen any of the Olympics and I actually enjoyed it. It reminded me of being with my Grandparents and having sports on the TV ALL day long. Pretty happy that the USA teams are representing so well too.

 A different kind of morning light than I am used to. I have grown to enjoy my quiet time with the Lord in this room. The house is quiet, the light STREAMS in, and I can just sit and be. I guess, this has become another one of my "other homes".

It's been a great month. Lots and lots of packing and driving and going. But then, that means getting to spend time with so many different people in so many different places. One more month and school will be starting up. Two more months and I'll be 22. Five more months and we will celebrate Christmas and the beginning of a 2013. 

Enjoy these last days of the summer of 2012. I hate to say it, but I think it's on the way out.