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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Inspired by. . . a proclamation

 

Whether you reside in the USA or not this time of year seems like good time to look back and take stock of the year's "harvest" - - the things, material or otherwise, that have blessed our lives over the past year.

 

Vine_fall 

All of you are part of that blessing for me, and I thank you for reading, commenting, and encouraging me throughout the year. To all of you, no matter where you reside, I wish you a blessed season of THANKSGIVING.

Perhaps this proclamation by Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States of America, may inspire you, as it did me:

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

 

With gratitude,

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Inspired by. . . a woolly bear

 

If you live in Northern Mexico, the US, or southern Canada, chances are you have seen a woolly bear caterpillar.

 

WoollyBear

 

I chased this little guy around my front yard for about fifteen minutes the other day! We had tons of them in Vermont in the late fall, but having lived in AZ and TX for the last 20+ years, I can't recall the last time I've seen one.

They say the Woolly Bear can predict the winter weather. The more brown bands, the more mild the winter. If that's true then, according to this little guy, we're in for a cold one.

 

WoollyBear_1011

Textured with Kim's Nov Trio 1011

 

You can read about how the Woolly Bear became famous HERE. I found it very interesting that the "original" woolly bear came from Bear Mountain State Park in New York. This area is well known to my family; we drove through it nearly every summer on our way my cousin's house.

 

WoollyBearCinnamon

Textured with Kim's cinnamon texture

 

Whatever you believe about its weather predicting abilities, the woolly bear is a welcome sign of the changing seasons.

 

What's inspiring you today?

 

Blessings,

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P52 Sweet Shot Tuesday with Kent Weakley

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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Inspired by. . . the arrival

Is there something that you're looking forward to with eager anticipation?

When I was young, summer vacation and Christmas topped the list of most anticipated events. As time goes on, weddings and babies mark important and much-anticipated milestones in our lives. But not all of us get married, not all of us have children. And, I realize,  not all of us celebrate Christmas.

But Christmas is the ONE event that celebrates ALL of us.

Imagine God's growing anticipation as He carefully prepared and planned to reveal -- to send His Son, the Savior of ALL mankind, to earth. There are hints, some subtle, some not so subtle, of this much anticipated event all through scripture, beginning in Genesis 3.

Advent is the final crescendo of this great anticipation. And every year it fills me with JOY, excitement, HOPE and thanksgiving. It is a season, a holiday, like no other. And it is one that everyone in the world can identify with and celebrate as their own. Because Christ was given to ALL mankind.

My dear friend, Margo, said this about Advent:

 

The word Advent means "coming" or "arrival." The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent. Thus, Advent is far more than simply marking a 2,000-year-old-event in history. It is celebrating a truth about God, the revelation of God in Christ whereby all of creation might be reconciled to God. Advent also symbolizes the spiritual journey of individuals and a congregation as they affirm that Christ has come, that He is present in the world today, and that He will come again in power.

 

There are many different ways to celebrate Advent. Some are, and should be, very fun. Like Jacquie Lawson's animated advent calendars. These beautifully animated calendars have been a tradition in my home for the last three years. Advent calendars are a fun way to count down the days before Christmas. I've shared with you in the past the beautiful advent calendar my Nana made for me when I was a child.

 

Angel_Advent_Calendar

 

And I've started a pin board to keep track of all the wonderful Advent calendar ideas I've found through the years!

 

Celebrating Advent also can, and should be, solemn, reflective and thankful. Some of the examples on my pin board include DIY Advent Candle wreaths, which are a meaningful way to celebrate the four Sundays of Advent.

 

There are wonderful devotional books available, too. Watch for the Light is one I would definitely recommend.

 

And, if you're still with me, I would love for you to join our online bible study group for our upcoming Advent Study: Keeping our Hearts Focused on Jesus.

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We have a private Facebook page set up for the group. If you're interested, send me an email and I'll send you an invite to the group!

However you and your family choose {or not} to celebrate Advent, I pray that the JOY and excitement of this fast-approaching season will stir your hearts and minds with anticipation of His arrival.

 

With anticipation,

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Inspired by. . . easy dinners

I don't know if you've noticed, but many of Kikkoman's sauces and marinades now say "Preservative Free" on the label. Since Sweet 'n Sour {fill in the blank} and Teriyaki {fill in the blank} are favorites at my house, this is good news indeed!

 

Pork was on the menu this week.

 

SweetnSourPork

 

I hesitate to even call this a recipe, it's so quick and easy.

Quick 'n Easy Sweet 'n Sour Pork

Source: Adapted from Kikkoman's Classic Sweet 'n Sour Pork

Ingredients:

1 T corn starch

1 T soy sauce

1 lb boneless pork chops, cut into 1in cubes

2 T extra virgin olive oil

2-3 carrots, thinly slices

1/2 onion, thinly sliced rings (or you can cut it into chunks, your choice)

1 cup Kikkoman Sweet 'n Sour Sauce

1 can (8oz) pineapple chunks, drained (reserve juice)

 

SweetnSourPork2

 

Directions:

  1. Blend cornstarch and soy sauce in small bowl; stir in pork until well coated.
  2. Brown pork in hot oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Stir in 1/4 cup water. Cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir carrots, onion and sweet & sour sauce into pork mixture. Simmer, covered, 10 minutes longer, stirring frequently.
  5. Add pineapple chunks and/or about 1/2 the reserved juice; cook and stir only until pineapple/juice is heated through.
  6. Serve over brown rice

Note: Step 5 is optional depending upon your likes and dislikes. I only add 1/2 the reserved juice. The Kikkoman sauce isn't quite sweet enough for my sweetie, and neither of us care for the pineapple chunks. This made two servings with extra sauce.

I'm looking forward to trying some of Kikkoman's other Preservative Free products. Do you have a favorite?

 

With gratitude,

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Inspired by. . . frogs

 

I've been enjoying the Thanksgiving: Focusing Our Hearts on Gratitude study with Good Morning Girls this past week. It has been a great way to refocus and prepare our hearts for the upcoming holidays.

 

Mums_Textured

Textured with Kim's Autumn Burst

 

In Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul tells us to:

 

"Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, give thanks,

because it is God's will in Christ Jesus that you do this." 1 Th 5:16-18

 

As I was thinking through the application of these verses, I was reminded of a picture my dad used to have taped up in his room. It was of a frog holding tightly to the neck of an egret who was attempting to have him for lunch. Maybe you've seen it before:

 

Never-Give-Up

Source

 

This world is that egret. Trying to steal our JOY (vs. 16) , discourage us from PRAYING (vs. 17) and convince us to move our focus off God (vs. 18) and onto ourselves for the answers.

To follow through on my analogy, if the world is the egret, I guess that makes us the FROG!

I don't really mind. I like frogs and, as an acronym, it reminds me to:

Fully Rely On God

Truly, Beloved, we must never, ever give up, no matter what happens {and whatever happens}, we must continue to give thanks to God.  Why? Because it is God's will for us {vs. 18}. Could He have stated it any more clearly?

There are days when we will be unable to pray, days when the JOY seems unattainable, but if we can give thanks to God, no matter what, He will restore our JOY and the Holy Spirit will pray our prayers for us!

This is a promise you can count on.

 

 

Interestingly enough, when I was searching for the above cartoon, I found this image:

 

nevergiveup

Source

God has a sense of humor, too.

(first, actually)

 

What's inspiring you today?

 

With gratitude,

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SUNDAY STILLNESS Scripture and Snapshot

Monday, November 11, 2013

Inspired by. . . their service

Honoring all of you who serve in every branch of our military. You who sacrifice your personal freedoms to protect all of ours.

 

Flag_ThankYou

 

And to my brother, who would not appreciate me listing his name, rank, and serial number here,

 

You'll never know

how much pride I hold in my heart

for the person you are

and the things you do -

for your strength, courage,

and determination,

your accomplishments

and your dreams. . .

I love you with all my heart -

you'll never know

how much.

 

BecauseoftheBrave

 

 

With gratitude,

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Second image textured with Bonnie's backlight texture.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Inspired by. . . my desk calendar

Look around. Whether your "workplace" is a desk, a car, a kitchen, or some other place, do you surround yourself with objects, pictures, or sayings that inspire you?

I do.

Here are a few things from my desk top. Maybe they'll inspire you, too.

 

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Seriously, who can look at that face and not be happy?  My niece, Sophia, inspires me everyday!

 

It_Is

This inspiring quote proves itself everyday in my world.

 

Candle

This calming candle and sweet card from a friend inspire me and remind me to be thankful for the special people with whom God has blessed my life.

Close by, just out of the picture is a figurine of a woman releasing a butterfly. It's inscribed with these words:

"You are an amazing woman."

I'm really not. But my husband thinks I am, and this figurine is a visual inspiration to me to live up to his belief in me.

 

(Oh, and yes, that IS another picture of my precious niece in the background. LOL!)

 

There is one more item on my desk that I'd like to share with you. Maybe you have one, too.

 

DeskCalendar

Textured with Kim's 123

 

My desk calendar.

The pictures are all mouthpainted by people with disabilities.

'Nuf said.

 

What's inspiring you today?

 

With gratitude,

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Sharing inspiration here:


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