Welcome

Welcome! I'm so glad you stopped by today! If you're inspired by what you see, I invite you to follow along via one (or more) of the options on the side bar below.

Exciting News

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 35:52

Friends, I'm up to my eyeballs this week, but I had just had to post. It's not always appropriate or necessary to share all of what we may be going through. 

Suffice to say, my Dreamer and I are dealing with a lot right now - - just like many of you.

So here's a reminder that God is faithful.

This week . . . 


God gave me a frog.


Honestly? I could not contain my JOY. A frog in my fountain! Delight! And then I remembered something from a conference long, long ago:

F ully
R ely
O n
G od

Southern Leopard Frog
Do you see? God knew I'd be excited about the frog. He knew seeing this little guy make a home in my fountain would bring me incredible JOY. And that would have been enough.

But God . . .
Now to Hiim who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Eph 3:20-21)
Because of Who He is, He wanted to give me more than JOY. He wanted to remind me of Himself. That He is enough. That I can Fully Rely On {God} Him.

No matter what you're facing right now, you can too.

Shalom,



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
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, 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

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Inspired by . . .  Marana tha!

Last night I sat on the porch and watched as the sun drew the covers up over her head. Just before the stars tucked her in the clouds in the eastern sky lit with a soft glow. The earth held its breath and for just a moment I wondered if it were He.
And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. (Mar 13:26)



There was no fear or hesitation, which surprised me. Rather I was hopeful, expectant. I leaned into the moment and wished it were so! Maybe truly wished it for the first time.

We say, "Come, Lord Jesus." But do we really mean it? deep in our heart. Are we really ready to let go of everything we hold dear in this life? For Him.

His coming will change the world. Again. Just as it did the first time.

Are we really ready for that to happen?

Whatever your answer is, don't be ashamed. Your loving Heavenly Father understands your heart. He knows where you're at, (as they say in TX!) and He knows where He's taking you.

Not all of us are ready. And that's okay. 

Do the work of seeking Him. Obey His word and the Holy Spirit will do the work of changing you. Sanctifying you. Making you whole and holy. Making you ready.

For Him.




Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus. We wait expectantly for You - our lamps burning brightly with the oil of obedient love.


The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.
My love be with you all in Christ Jesus.

Amen,







Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, 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

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 34:52

Life's feeling a bit more out-of-control this week as we're realizing that {gulp} this Sunday is the date we've set for moving out of the cottage. The rain this past week, though much needed here in south Texas, set us back a bit.

However, it didn't seem to stop the locals any, as this week's images will attest.


Not sure of the id, maybe a Nicippe

Juvenile Scrub Jay

Raindrops on Roses

More raindrops on roses and a surprise

White-tailed doe and fawn

Eastern Phoebe shot through the crepe myrtle tree

Female Hummingbird - we've had both black-chinned and ruby-throats around so not sure which - they are nearly identical

A very wet Mockingbird

Queen Butterfly laying eggs

Taking the time to capture moments like these will be less likely in the days ahead. 
But I'll have my camera close at hand . . . just in case.


What are you seeing through 
your lens this week?

Blessings,



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

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Inspired by . . . {un} answered prayer

The snow-on-the-mountain bobbed in the late summer breeze, beckoning me to come over and savor their glory. 



Looking down, I was surprised to see that they were growing out of the dry, cracked earth. Large 2-inch fissures wound their way beneath the sparse grasses. The side yard lay in stark contrast to the lush St Augustine grass adorning the front yard. Grass we had faithfully watered through the last two months of drought.

Blessed and prospering. Scorned and dying.

My friend's son was recently in ICU for eighteen days. When he first went into the hospital she asked for prayer. 

We prayed. 

God answered. 

He's not out of the woods yet, but yesterday they moved him out of ICU. Prayers for healing, strength, patience, comfort and a myriad of other things for him and my friend - answered. PTL!

But we all know that God does not always answer our prayers the way we would wish. Sometimes He says, not yet. Sometimes just plain, no. And sometimes, like Jonah, God asks us to do things we simply do not want to do. To go places and into situations, we don't want to face.

These answers and challenges can test our faith and our trust in God. 

It's important to remember that, as Believers, our transformation is not yet complete.

When we receive Christ as our Savior we are immediately justified. And, too, we have a change of identity. We are now in Christ Jesus. But the process of sanctification has only just begun. And it is a life-long process. Every trial and experience that comes into our life are used by God to shape us into His image. 
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2Co 5:17)
When I'm tempted to feel cynical, hurt or self-pity over my unanswered prayer, I remember another prayer that wasn't answered and fall to my knees in humility and praise.
And He withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, "Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done." (Luk 22:41-42)
Who am I to say how my situation should end? It may be happening to me, but what if it's not really about me at all? Only God knows the truth of all things. He promises our good. Do we believe Him?
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. (Php 1:6)
I've learned to pray as Jesus did; stating my need and requesting that His will be done. But it's not enough to say the words. My heart needs to be in line with my spoken request. 

Honestly, I'm not always ready to accept His will.  So what do I do then? I keep praying, asking Him to change my heart until I am.

Remember, He is in the process of transforming us. Day by day, He making us more like His Son.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2Co 3:18)
When we pray, asking for His will, the Holy Spirit works within us to bring our desires in line with the will of God. 

We've had a week of much-needed rain. The snow-on-the-mountain is bowing low, heavy with thanks. The fissures are gone, reduced to mere squiggle lines running along the ground.




Rain.
Prayers answered for some, prayers denied for others.
A constant example of God's sovereign will.

How have you witnessed God's sovereignty
in your prayer life?

Blessings,



Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, 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

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 33:52

Around here, bright yellow buses coincide with tall stalks of Snow-on-the-mountain to herald the end of the dog days of summer.


Euphorbia (Snow-on-the-mountain) 

August has been a blaze of sunshine but the recent rain and cooler temperatures have helped to set our minds toward Fall. This month, tucked in the middle of the year's third quarter, has always felt more like an ending than a middle. This year, as we pack our belongings with dreams of where we might be when we unearth them again, the ending is sharper - more pronounced. September holds hope. August is a frail goodbye.

In the midst of all of this, God gently reminds me what He is all about and what He wants for my life.


Mockingbird babies with their mother.
He is about Life.

New beginnings.

Normally, when you think about babies you think Spring. But God has orchestrated these late bloomers just for me. Maybe for you, too?


Mockingbird babies

To remind us that every ending births a new beginning. The baby birds leave their nest behind . . . and learn to fly. It can be scary. Especially when you're the last one in the nest.


Mockingbird baby - the last one to fledge!
But like the mamma Cardinal, who continues to care for her young long after they've flown, God doesn't abandon us when we spread our wings.


Female Northern Cardinal (left) and first year male Cardinal (right)




Female Northern Cardinal
Rather, He is the wind beneath our wings as we fly.



Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isa 40:30-31)
***

What are you seeing
through your lens this week?

Blessings,



Saturday, August 13, 2016

Inspired by . . . team USA


Source

Have you been watching the Olympic games in Rio? 

I confess, I don't usually make it a point to watch the games. But this year, well, it's been nice, hasn't it?

To tune in and see, night after night, stories about men and woman who have worked hard, sometimes against terrific odds, and achieved their dreams. Just making it to the Olympics is a huge accomplishment. Actually winning a medal is the icing on the cake.

Okay, yes, I realize that people are still dying, refugees are still fleeing, and don't even get me started on the circus that is our political situation right now. But the focus has been on what, in my opinion, the focus should always be on:

The good left in this world that is worth fighting for.

The 2016 Olympians have restored my hope in humanity.

Simone Biles and Aly Raisman cemented it for me Thursday night. 


Source

The JOY that these two women take in each other's accomplishments isn't fakery. By their own admission, they are complete opposites when they step outside of the gymnasium. But their love for each other is genuine. They are true BFF's.

Simone and Aly are just one example. We can learn a lot from athletes like them and the USA Olympic teams in general. Each member has their own strengths and weaknesses. They each shine brightly in a particular area. But when they work together their radiance is positively blinding! 

The reality is we're all on the same team. Human beings created equal in the image of our Creator.

Each of us has a choice: We can let our differences divide and destroy us; both individually and, ultimately, corporately. Or we can let our differences unite us into a winning team.

From infancy, society teaches us to compare and judge differences. This is a cycle of behavior that needs to change. Rather than comparing and judging we should seek to understand and celebrate our differences.

God made us different for a reason. We all have a part to play. 
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. (Rom 12:4-9)
The Apostle Paul teaches us this truth with regard to the spiritual life, but I believe it applies to everyone as part of humanity.

The tensions in our nation and around the world may seem overwhelming and insurmountable. If you think you can't make a difference then you've bought into one of the enemy's biggest lies. He delights in chaos and disunity. 

Every time we choose to love, every time we take a step toward our fellow man rather than turning away we cause a ripple in the pool for the good of this world.


Source


Our actions do matter. 
Our choices have consequences. 
Our differences DO NOT have to divide us.

What about you?
Are you on the team?



Shalom,




Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, 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

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 32:52

The Mockingbirds have built another nest. They built in the same tree last year, but the nest was destroyed during a storm. I was excited to see the second nest because I'd missed fledge day from their previous nest in the cottonwood tree. So I've been keeping an eye out, checking the nest a couple of times a day, from the ground.

Once I started to hear little peeps, I decided to climb up and get a closer look. Following correct nest-watching procedure, I waited until momma had flown away. Unlike other species who don't seem too interested, Mockingbirds do not like you messing with their babies!

Momma was back in a flash and let me know, in no uncertain terms, that I had gotten too close.



Note the motion in this picture, yeah, she is talking to me! I retreated and she calmed down.



We both decided to call it a night.



But I was back the next day, with my zoom. See the little orange beak on the left, under the leaf?



Now they're getting excited about dinner!




I think there are at least three, but I haven't been able to get close enough to confirm.



These were taken late last week and I noticed this morning that they are getting their feathers already. So I need to take more pictures for you! Last year only one chick fledged from the nest in my front yard. So I'm really pleased to see at least three of these little guys this year! Stay tuned!

We had a new visitor to the yard this week! I've had three sightings so far. But the elusive Painted Bunting has been a bit camera shy. This photo was taken through my kitchen window and he was pretty far away. Not the best shot, but you can still get a glimpse at their amazing coloring! This bird is aptly named!



In honor of the stellar Olympic performances this week by Team USA, I leave you with some bathing beauties! {Go USA!}


Lesser Goldfinch
What are you seeing
through your lens this week?

Blessings,

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

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Inspired by . . . 3 G's and a J

It's been a while since I've talked about JOY here on the blog. Some of you may remember back in October of 2014, I actually wrote about JOY for 31 days as part of the #write31days challenge. What an amazing time that was! It's worth going back to have a look!

Who knew there was so much to say about this little 3-letter word! As it turns out, there is more to say and these truths are more relevant today than ever before.


The harvest of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, fidelity, gentleness, and self-control.

As most of you know JOY is not the same thing as happiness. The word happiness comes from the Latin "hap" meaning chance or temporary pleasures. Whereas JOY is not tied to a sense of wellbeing. Rather it is a spiritual response to receiving the Gospel.

JOY is based upon an objective reality, not subjective emotions. 

Non-believers can and do experience JOY. When their values are in harmony with their behavior a sense of JOY is experienced. But true, Christian JOY, at its heart, is the JOY of salvation. The power of the Holy Spirit invades and transforms us and we experience true and lasting JOY.

The process of transformation often looks something like this:

GUILT - Guilt is something that is taboo in our world today. We don't talk about it, and we sure don't ever admit it! But the truth is, we are all in the same condition. Sin is our condition, the state of our souls. And it's terminal. Part of the misery is not acknowledging this truth.

GRACE - Grace is the answer to guilt. We receive all of God's riches at Christ's expense. God's love has no regard for our merits.

GRATITUDE - Gratitude is the only right response to grace.

JOY - Joy is the child birthed in the fullness of gratitude.

There are three things that hinder true JOY:

Foolishness - Being half-hearted creatures as described by C.S. Lewis in the following quote from The Weight of Glory:
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Forgetfulness - Just like the Israelites in the desert, we forget God's great acts of deliverance. We forget His benefits and promises.

All of this leads to Faintheartedness - we begin to listen to the evil one.

Don't allow these things to cause you to stumble. 
You were running well; who hindered you from following the truth? Gal 5:7 
Preach the Gospel to yourself daily. Work out your salvation. Remember that gratitude and thankfulness give birth to JOY.

The JOY of a believer is one of the most effective tools to disarm the devil.



The world is dark.
JOY is Light.
The Light has overcome.

Be an overcomer!

Blessings,





Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, 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

Monday, August 1, 2016

Inspired by . . . July - A look back

July, I have to say, I'm not sorry to see the back of you.

It's been a difficult, tragic month on many levels. I've been preaching the Gospel to myself on a daily basis.

GRACE

It's how God deals with us and it's how we should deal with others . . .

. . .and ourselves.

Restore us to Yourself, O LORD, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old— (Lam 5:21)


I've been extremely thankful for the peace of my front porch. God speaks through His creation to center me and remind me of the things that truly matter. I pray that you are listening and hearing His voice, too.

What was July like for you?
When you look back, what do you see?

Blessings,



Sharing inspiration here:
Nature Notes, Through My Lens, Little Things Thursdays,
Bird D’pot, Saturday’s Critters, Life thru the Lens, Wild Bird Wednesday,
Our World Tuesday, Community Global, Photo Friday, Mona's Picturesque