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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Inspired by . . . wrong made right

This was originally posted in June of 2014. I'm reposting today in honor of my dad's birthday. He passed away February 4, 2015.

* * *

My dad has been going through boxes.

Pulling out memories that were tossed between four walls of cardboard. Some now forgotten, some still as fresh as when he laid them inside.

Some are my memories, too.

And I'm surprised to see them when he pulls them out.


I made a chess set once. It was a gift for someone who loved to play.

It was a large set, 16x16, I think. The board was made in four pieces. Ceramic.
It took me forever to clean all those chessmen. Once the glaze was applied, my instructor told me to fill each piece with bb's to weight them down. Then the pieces were fired.

If you've ever done ceramics you know that glazes are dull and almost unnoticeable – until the pieces are put in the kiln. When they emerge from the fire/intense heat they are bright, glossy, and the color shines! {Therein lies a lesson for another day!}


I was so excited about my chess set! It was the perfect gift, and I couldn't wait until Christmas morning.

But the next week when I arrived at the ceramic shop to pick up my set, I found this . . .


Turns out I had purchased copper bb's. Big mistake.

All the white chessmen sported this "marble" effect – my chess set was ruined! It had taken me weeks to make, and with Christmas looming, I didn't have time to make a new set of white chessmen. I had no choice but to wrap them up, marble faces and all.

I was so disappointed.

As you might have guessed, my friend was over-the-moon about the chess set – marble chessmen and all. They said it made the set unique. Special. One of a kind.


I was happy that my friend liked the set, but it took me awhile to get over the disappointment.

When my dad pulled these chess pieces out of his memory box I was surprised. I laughed a little and asked him why he'd kept those. His eyes moistened a bit as he said, "Because it was so good."


I hadn't realized it at the time, but my dad had been impressed by the set I'd made. It really was a beautiful chess set. I was the only one, it seems, that thought less of it because of the copper marbling on the white pieces.

My dad was proud of what his little girl had made.  So years later when the set was damaged, he saved some of the pieces.


There are several lessons here, I think, but what God is speaking most profoundly to my heart is Romans 8:28.

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God-
those whom He has called according to His plan.

We all make mistakes. And those mistakes have consequences. Sometimes life-changing consequences.

But whether it's a little mistake that takes some of the JOY out of a Christmas gift {for the giver} or a big mistake that changes what your Christmas celebrations are like for years to come, God's promise holds true.

He works ALL THINGS.

Some things?


ALL THINGS for the good of those who love Him.

You may never see the good that God works from your mistake. Or you may receive a blessing, as I did when dad showed me the chess pieces he'd saved.  That chess set had meant something to him. It has pleased him, made him proud.


And the gift I'd made wasn't even for him.



I had fun using Bonnie's textures on some of these images.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 8:52

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) was this past weekend. Did you participate? 

This is a worldwide event that takes place every February. This year's top checklist submissions came in from the United States, India, Canada, Australia, and Spain. Top-ranked by the number of species reported, Brazil came in at 814 species!

You can find this year's photo submissions here: 2018 Contest

Despite the yucky weather, my personal count came in at 14 species. I counted on Friday and Saturday. The weather both days was poor. In fact, on Saturday I counted from my kitchen window!

All but five of these pictures were taken during the count. They are mostly for documentation and some, like the Eastern Bluebird, were taken from several hundred yards away. Please forgive the poor quality.

From left to right, top to bottom:

Gold-fronted Woodpecker
Black-crested Titmouse
Northern Cardinal
Eastern Bluebird
Cedar Waxwing 
Black Vulture 
Lesser Goldfinch
Carolina Wren
White-winged Dove
Carolina Chickadee
Woodhouse's Scrub Jay
Chipping Sparrow
Eastern Phoebe

What are you seeing through your lens this week?

Have a wonder-filled week, friends,

Sharing inspiration here:
Nature Notes, Through My LensBird D’pot,
Saturday’s Critters, Life thru the Lens,
Wild Bird WednesdayOur World Tuesday,
Community Global, Photo Friday, Little Things Thursday

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Inspired by . . . Winter's Chill

Nearly every place in the world that experiences winter experiences cold temperatures. Like them or not, the cold does have a purpose.

Cold is a nod to nature to begin a cycle of death that will ultimately lead to new life. [click to tweet]

For some things the death is literal, for others, it is only a period of dormancy. Leaves die and fall to the ground as the trees enter a new cycle of life. Bears and some species of butterflies go dormant, their life cycle suspended in an esoteric sleep.

Mostly, cold is hostile. Inhospitable. Severe.

Yet, the deep coldness of winter is when the harsh pruning of self-examination takes place. The irony is that often our self-examination, while good and necessary, often exposes just how self-absorbed we really are.

We become so fixated on discovering what God wants us to do for Him, or on what we're already doing for God, that we fail to realize we've got things turned around.

Perhaps what is really important is what He is doing in us. [click to tweet]

It's a subtle shift but an important one, I think.

This time of year instead of offering Him our food or our social media time let's offer up OURSELVES.

"Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening."

Perhaps He will direct us toward deep self-examination or to giving up a certain luxury or habit. 

But let's allow Him to lead the conversation. Let's allow Him to draw us into Himself. Into His suffering. Into His joy. Into . . .

. . . where ever it is He wishes to lead us.

Let's allow Him to reveal the beauty of His plan. Let's take the time, maybe forty days or so, to sit quietly while He toils in the deep, dormant soil of our souls. Those cold, wintry places.

Then, let us watch in wonder as He sweeps aside the soil and shines His light into the darkness, revealing the growth that has made all things new!


Sharing inspiration here:
Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Faith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments, Heart Encouragement