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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Inspired by . . . savoring this life

 

I wish you could experience the smell in my cottage right now! I just pulled a batch of Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pies from the oven.

If warmth and comfort had a smell, this would definitely be it.

They were worth the work. Even worth the dough that got crammed up under my fingernails. Ick.

Mine don’t look as picture pretty perfect as Miss Kelly’s but, oh-yeah, they’re yummy!

 

SinglePie

 

I’m alone in the cottage today. Enjoying the quiet. I knew it would be the perfect day to try this recipe. Not having to rush, or worry that every inch of my little kitchen is, a-hem, covered in flour.

Baking brings with it a lot of memories for me. I wanted to savor them today. Not just the memories, but life.

I want to slow down and savor this life.

I lay my dad’s bread board across the sink, doubling the counter space in my kitchen. Decades of gentle kneading has made the surface as smooth as silk. It is a large board, seamless, nearly eighteen inches wide. I think about the tree from which it came, and glance outside.

 

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The wind is playing with the trees in my front yard. Coaxing them to release their leaves.

 

Tree

Release.

I wonder if the trees feel a sweet relief as they let go and slip into their winter slumber. I know there are a few things I’d like to let go of . . . .

 

"Come to Me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” Matt 11:28

 

Knead the dough. Roll it out. Feel the rhythm.

 

BreadBoard

 

In the background, faintly, because I’m enjoying the peace of this day, Elvis sings White Christmas. It’s the day after Thanksgiving, so Christmas music is allowed. I like to keep it special.

Sometimes less is more.

SometimesLessIsMore

 

Life is so different now, of this Elvis reminds me.

My thoughts swirl like the cinnamon and sugar, mixed with the sharp tang of the Granny Smith apples. The good, the not-so-good, and the new.

Sweet and salty.

Mix it all up, assemble your pie and apply intense heat.

 

AssemblePies

 

The goodness comes bubbling out.

 

Even gold, which can be destroyed, is tested by fire; and so your faith,

which is much more precious than gold, must also be tested, so that it may endure. 1Peter 1:7

 

I’m so grateful for the memories. All of them. Even for the times when something other than good came out when the heat was applied- - for the times I needed a  do over.

The times I received grace and mercy.

For they are all evidence of God’s fingers weaving the fabric of my life.

I’m so grateful for the moments-in-the-making. For God is here, now, still weaving.

 

TwoPies

 

He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; Phil 1:6

 

What moments are you savoring today?

Is there a “do over” you need to thank Him for?

 

Blessings,

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Check out more recipes on my Pinterest board

Sharing inspiration here:

#GiveMeGrace

Sandra Heska King - Still Saturday

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Inspired by . . . a special dinner

 

Focusing on Thanksgiving as a Lifestyle, not just a holiday.

Freedom_from_want_Norman_Rockwell

 Freedom From Want ~ Norman Rockwell

 

Does your typical Thanksgiving look like a Norman Rockwell painting? Are you blessed with family, and friends, a warm place to gather and an abundance of food?

Freedom from want.

Although we are a small family unit now, I enjoyed large family gatherings growing up. Looking back on the holiday feasts we had at our small family farm in Vermont, the farmhouse overflowing with family and friends, I’m more thankful now for what I had then, than I ever was as a child.

 

Post-home-in-PeachamVT

Old Farmhouse  - Scanned image

 

Part of that thankfulness comes from more fully knowing the Hand from which the blessing came; and part of it is understanding the reality that for many most people the Norman Rockwell setting does not exist.

Sometimes the family, friends, places to gather and abundance of food are not the blessings they seem. Sometimes they just don’t exist.

However, there is one dinner to which we are all invited. There are no special requirements, other than, you must come of your own free will, wear a robe of repentance, and remove your shoes before you enter. The place where you’re standing is holy ground. Don’t worry, Beloved. If you forget your robe and your shoes, one look at His marvelous face will remind you.

 

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it,

and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”

Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.

For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on

until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”

And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Matt 26:26-30

 

Even after receiving such a blessing from their Lord the disciples experienced loneliness and pain. You will too. That is the way of this world. But there is one more feast I want to share with you today. If you have willingly received the blessing of the first meal with Jesus, then your name is on the invitation list for this feast - - A feast beyond imagination!

 

And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude,

as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying,

“Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!

Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory,

for the marriage of the Lamb has come,

and His wife has made herself ready.”

And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen,

clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

Then he said to me, “Write:

‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’”

And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” Rev 19:6-10

 

The Wedding Feast of the Lamb! There is no loneliness here. No disappointment or pain. At this final heavenly celebration with our Risen Lord we will truly know freedom from want.

This is a promise we can be thankful for today.

This hope is the anchor of our souls, a reality that will carry us through during times of darkness and despair.

 

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kk_friday 

 

No matter what your Thanksgiving looks like

this year, may the Love of the Lamb

surround you.

 

Blessings,

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PS Don’t forget to check out my Facebook page for daily inspirations on cultivating a grateful heart! I would love for you to join the discussion!

Note: My inspiration for this series comes from the November 2009 issue of Today in the Word. A ministry of Moody Bible Institute.

#monthofthanks

#TellHisStory

 

Sharing inspiration here:

TestimonyTuesdayLinkUp Kim Klassen {dot com}

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Inspired by . . . the deer

 

 

Dark eyes and long lashes draw me in.

Wide eyes watching.

Waiting.

 

Asthedeer1

 

Peaceful creatures. 

Hunted.

 

Asthedeer3

 

Graceful.

Long, delicate legs defy gravity.

Leaping.

Prancing.

Playing.

 

Asthedeer2

 

Her gracefulness quiets my soul

and leads me to worship.

 

As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after thee
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship thee


You alone are my strength, my shield
To you alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship thee

 

Shalom,

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Sharing inspiration here:

#GiveMeGrace

P52 Sweet Shot Tuesday with Kent Weakley

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Inspired by . . . greater than all the gods

 

Focusing on Thanksgiving as a Lifestyle, not just a holiday.

 

WetGrasses

 

Many years ago my husband and I owned a small business and had several employees. There were days that were stressful. There were times when my husband made business decisions that I didn’t necessarily agree with. It was hard living out our personal relationship, and our business relationship in front of others.

Because how do you really separate the two? You don’t.

What made it even more difficult, was that I was determined to be a Godly example both as a person, and as a wife. Not that I didn’t fail. I’m certain I did, often. But even in my failures, maybe especially in my failures, I wanted to be a good example of a believer in Christ.

Why?

Because our employees were not Believers . . . they knew we were . . .

. . . and they were watching.

If you profess to be a believer in Christ, I guarantee there are people watching you. {and lest you think you need to be perfect in this, you may want to go back up and read what I said about failures}

Your marriage {if you are married} and your relationship with others is one of the most challenging and fruitful places to exemplify Christ.

The other is in showing our gratitude to God for the things He has done, and is doing in our lives.

 

Grasses_light

 

“when we respond to our circumstances, particularly the difficult ones,

with gratitude to our Lord, we bear witness to others around us

of His existence and His goodness.”

 

There are numerous examples of this truth in scripture. One is the response of Moses’ father-in-love, Jethro in Exodus 18:8:11, “Blessed be the Lord, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of Pharaoh, and who has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. Now I know that the Lord is greater than all the gods; for in the very thing in which they behaved proudly, He was above them.”

When Moses sang his song of gratitude to the Lord in Exodus 15 , Jethro’s eyes were opened to the One True God.

Another example, and one of my favorites, is found in Acts 16. Paul and Silas are beaten and put in jail. Yet, after all this, at midnight they could be heard praying and singing songs to God. Now before we are tempted to do them a disservice by thinking they were only roughed up a bit, the scripture says, “And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.” Paul and Silas had their flesh laid open, and yet they were praising and thanking God for all He had done for them.

Their perspective is a difficult one to achieve. Yet it is one that saves.

Read the result of their gratitude: Acts 16:25-34

The jailer and his entire household were saved!

 

Leaves_light

People are watching.

People need hope.

You never know how one small act of kindness, one small offer of thanksgiving to God will be received.

We are the salt – we are the light.

Go – shine forth and season with love.

 

With gratitude,

Blog_Signature

 

PS Don’t forget to check out my Facebook page for daily inspirations on cultivating a grateful heart! I would love for you to join the discussion!

Note: My inspiration for this series comes from the November 2009 issue of Today in the Word. A ministry of Moody Bible Institute.

#monthofthanks

#TellHisStory

 

Sharing inspiration here:

Thought-Provoking-Thursday-Button

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Inspired by . . . giving thanks

 

Focusing on Thanksgiving as a Lifestyle, not just a holiday.

 

Grasses

 

We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers 1 Thes 1:2

 

Trying to practice what I preach today. . . . I’m thankful for . . .

 

. . .  Kim Klassen and all the beautiful people that link up over at her cafĂ© every week. Kim’s generosity with both her textures and her knowledge has had a big part in developing my love for photography and photo art. Thank you, Kim, you are a true artist.

 

Tractor_kk_sunday

kk_sunday

 

. . .  the amazing Jen and Amy, and all the others who made the SDG Retreat possible. I know what it takes to pull off an event like this, and they did an incredible job. Thank you, Jen and Amy {et al} for giving so much of yourselves this past weekend.

 

We didn’t have the best weather, but these images were taken around the beautiful retreat center in Elgin, Texas . . . between the raindrops.

 

Beautyberry

American Beautyberry

 

 

Acorns

 

 

Beautyberry_kk_thursday

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What or who are you thankful for today?

 

Blessings,

Blog_Signature

 

 

PS Don’t forget to check out my Facebook page for daily inspirations on cultivating a grateful heart! I would love for you to join the discussion!

#monthofthanks

 

 

Sharing inspiration here:

Kim Klassen {dot com} P52 Sweet Shot Tuesday with Kent Weakley

Monday, November 17, 2014

Inspired by . . . the secret of contentment.

 

 

Focusing on Thanksgiving as a Lifestyle, not just a holiday.

 

Secret_Contentment

 

 

Learning to be thankful in all circumstances is not the same as giving God thanks

for cancer or some other terrible event.

God uses tragedies,

but His purposes are always for healing and wholeness, not for disease or destruction.

So being content and thankful in all circumstances means

seeing God's hand and provision even, or especially, in the midst of hard, or even terrible, situations.

The "secret" of contentment therefore is to focus on our faithful, merciful God

and the way He redeems the worst situations in our lives.

Excerpt from Today in the Word

 

Blessings,

Blog_Signature

 

PS Don’t forget to check out my Facebook page for daily inspirations on cultivating a grateful heart! I would love for you to join the discussion!

Note: My inspiration for this series comes from the November 2009 issue of Today in the Word. A ministry of Moody Bible Institute.

#monthofthanks

 

 

Sharing inspiration here:

SDG-Gathering-150x150

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Inspired by . . . God’s enduring love

 

 

Focusing on Thanksgiving as a Lifestyle, not just a holiday.

 

Godmeetsourneeds

 

Author and breast-cancer survivor Erma Bombeck once shared about a little girl named Christina who was living with cancer of the nervous system.When asked what she wanted for her birthday, she thought long and hard and finally said, 'I don't know. I have two sticker books and a Cabbage Patch doll. I have everything!'

Indeed.

Christina’s response was a great inspiration to Erma when she was tempted to feel ungrateful for her own circumstances. The little girl’s attitude is a good reminder to all of us to be thankful for what we already have, rather than focus on what we want.

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.2 Chronicles 20:21

 

Psychologists have found a link between gratitude and dependency upon one another. Those who are ungrateful don’t acknowledge that dependency or feel the need to be helped by others. The same is true with our relationship with God. When we're ungrateful to God, it's because we have failed to see how dependent we are upon Him.

David’s prayers recorded in 2 Samuel 7:18-22 and 1 Chronicles 29:10-19 clearly show a connection between dependency on God and gratitude. It’s easy for us to miss this link in a culture that emphasizes self-sufficiency.

 

Crushed_leaf

 

In reality we are all dependent on God for everything - - beginning with the very air we breathe!

Acknowledging this dependency opens the way for praise and thanksgiving!

 

Blessings,

Blog_Signature

 

 

PS Don’t forget to check out my Facebook page for daily inspirations on cultivating a grateful heart! I would love for you to join the discussion!

Note: My inspiration for this series comes from the November 2009 issue of Today in the Word. A ministry of Moody Bible Institute.

#monthofthanks

 

Sharing inspiration here:

Thought-Provoking-Thursday-Button

Monday, November 10, 2014

Inspired by . . . spontaneous praise

 

Focusing on Thanksgiving as a Lifestyle, not just a holiday.

 

I will give thanks to Him in song. Psalm 28:7

Gravestones_kk_Monday

kk_Monday

 

German pastor Martin Rinckart lived in Eilenburg, in Saxony during the Thirty Years’ War. During that time the city was overrun by the opposing army three times. The villagers were subject to overcrowding, disease, and famine among other horrors. In 1637 a severe plague hit the city. Rinckart was the only surviving pastor and performed more than 5000 funerals that year, including that of his wife.

Most of us are so far removed from anything remotely like the suffering Rinckart witnessed and endured. Some of us can relate to some of it, disease, loss, but the total package? Probably not. But try. Try to imagine being under the constant threat of war. Sickness, the gnawing of hunger in your belly. Loss, such great loss. For decades.

How would you think? how would you feel? about God?

In 1648 a series of peace treaties were signed that ended the war.

By then, this hymn was already being widely sung throughout the region, “Nun danket alle Gott,” Now Thank We All Our God:

 

Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

 

This beautiful song of praise and thanksgiving was written by none other than Martin Rinckart.

 

Angel_kk_restmagic

kk_restmagic

 

A similar expression of gratitude is found in Exodus 15 when Moses bursts into a spontaneous song of praise after God delivered them from the hands of Pharaoh. We noted in a previous post that failing to thank God went hand in hand with forgetting God and worshiping idols. Here we see just the opposite. Focusing on what God has done and praising Him leads naturally to worshiping Him. This passage also shows that there's a strong connection between praising and thanking God.

 

Gratitude is a characteristic of those who love God.

As believer’s we have the opportunity to bear witness to a loving and faithful God.

An “attitude of gratitude” can be a powerful witness for Christ in an increasing ungrateful world.

 

Blessings,

Blog_Signature

 

PS Don’t forget to check out my Facebook page for daily inspirations on cultivating a grateful heart! I would love for you to join the discussion!

Note: My inspiration for this series comes from the November 2009 issue of Today in the Word. A ministry of Moody Bible Institute.

#monthofthanks

 

Sharing inspiration here:

TestimonyTuesdayLinkUp   PlayDatesGod