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.

Did you know?

Did you know?

Friday, June 23, 2017

Inspired by . . . a common need


Black Swallowtail Butterfly
Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water." (Joh 4:13-15)

I wonder how much the Samaritan woman really understood when she asked Jesus for, "this water." How much do any of us understand at the beginning of a relationship? We have a need, a desire and we seek fulfillment.

Whether it be a husband, wife, friend, casual acquaintance or an addiction. It all begins with a need. Most relationships leave us wanting more. I need my coffee every morning -sometimes even again in the afternoon - we grow tired of our husband or a friend lets us down.

The woman at the well understood all this. Husbands had failed her and she'd failed them. Friends shunned her and there was a constant thirst deep within her soul that water could not quench.

"Sir, give me this water."

In response Jesus addressed her sin. The woman neither denied His words nor ran away from them, so great was her need.


Until we come to the place where we are able to face our sin and own it, we will never accept what Jesus gives. [click to tweet]

The woman received what Jesus offered her.  So changed was she that she left her water jar and sought out the people of her village to tell them the Good News.

She no longer needed water for bathing - His love cleanses us

She no longer felt ashamed - His love clothes us in righteousness

This woman's story is commonly known. A common story, about a common need. But Jesus' approach to this woman was decidedly uncommonFor Him to speak to a woman, and a Samaritan woman at that, shocked His disciples.

Perhaps you think that God wouldn't speak to someone like you. Or maybe you've come to the well so often that you no longer expect to find Him there.

He is there. 

He is waiting.

For each of us.

How will we respond when He says, "Give me a drink."



What do I have to offer Him today?

Only my heart.

Blessings,


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
#DanceWithJesus

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 24:52

Hello, friends!

I'm just barely making it for week 24! This week went by crazy fast. June is slipping through my fingers at an alarming rate.

Our son is getting married today - fun! and tomorrow is Father's Day.

I've been thinking a lot about my dad this week. Silly things, like breadcrumbs in the mayonnaise jar, remind me of him.

As with most of us, Dad's hearing was the first to go. I can remember him saying that as long as he could hear the birds, the rest didn't matter much. He could always hear the birds. 

So this week I'm sharing a series of flycatchers with you. These birds are some of the most entertaining visitors to my yard. And some of the most challenging to ID. 


Eastern Phoebe

Great-crested Flycatcher

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

ID ??? Eastern Wood-Pewee ??

Vermillion Flycatcher
Happy Father's Day!

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, June 11, 2017

Inspired by . . . unprofitable servants



American Lady
We are often too severe with ourselves about the things that matter little and not severe enough about the things that matter most. [click to tweet]

 This was my thought the other night after reading the following scriptures:
So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'" (Luk 17:10)
Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. (Rom 3:27)
For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? (1Co 4:7)
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:8-10)
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. (1Co 15:10)
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen. (Rom 11:36)
"But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from You, and of Your own have we given You. (1Ch 29:14)
Enter not into judgment with Your servant, for no one living is righteous before You. (Psa 143:2)
Everything we are, everything we have, comes from His hand. How we must grieve our Father's heart when we look at her hair or her writing, her house, her family and wish that was us. Or when we look at ourselves and think, fat, plain, frumpy, too short, too tall, too skinny, boring. Not good enough.

Why does this line of thinking grieve our Father's heart?  Does God make mistakes? 

He formed you. Down to the very last freckle (or not), the very last curl (or not). Dark, light, blonde, brown, blue-eyed, He created you, perfectly, in His image. No mistakes.

He gave you certain gifts. He chose particular blessings to bestow. All according to His perfect purpose for your life. 


Yes, we are all called to love and serve Him. But there are many ways, and many paths we follow to fulfill the plan and purpose of our life. 

Envy and self-pity are two of the biggest boulders the enemy uses to block our path. [click to tweet] The dynamite that will blow those boulders sky high is our sacrifice of praise.
Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Heb 13:15-16)
When we fill our hearts with His love, by honoring Him with our lips and sharing the gifts we have been given, envy and pity have nowhere to grow. Rather WE grow in the things that really matter.




May we all walk worthy of our calling in Christ Jesus.

And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Eph 5:2)

Blessings,




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
#DanceWithJesus

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 23:52

I do love these early days of summer. 



The air still holds a hint of fragrance. The birds are still nesting and raising their young. The heat has not yet zapped us and made us lazy!

It's the beginning of a new season! The sun shimmers and we look forward with anticipation to all we have planned.  The weddings and parties and backyard BBQ's! Days at the lake or the shore. Early mornings and late evenings on the porch. Trips to places known and unknown. Memories to be made!

Summer usually means more butterflies. Sadly, I haven't seen as many around this year. Which made it all the more exciting to find a pipevine swallowtail sampling the blooms this week. These beauties are difficult to capture because they rarely stop! I think this is the first time I've ever captured their dorsal side!



It was late afternoon so the flower beds were in the shade. Otherwise, you would have seen the iridescence in their wings. My friend, Kim, raises butterflies and you can see her beautiful images here



One of the reasons I'm seeing fewer butterflies may be because the deer have been eating my lantana blossoms this year. The little buggers. I will be happy when we get our fence up! In the meantime, I've started using the deer repellent spray again. It's a good thing, too, because there are plenty of babies around this year. I found another one "hidden" in the grass just the other day.




It's always fun to watch the babies. Here is a shot of the Mockingbird twins I introduced you to last week. They are learning to navigate the suet feeder.



The Woodhouse's Scrub Jay twins are learning, too! They haven't adapted to the swinging basket quite as well as the mockingbirds!



The pretty house finches don't mind the swinging basket and they're happy to share!



Such a pretty bird!



I've been going through so much suet that I buy it in bulk on Amazon! I can't blame the baby birds. The gold-fronted woodpeckers get more than their share.



And I'm currently fighting with four of these rascals!



Don't let that sweet face fool you! These guys can eat a hole in my sock feeder faster than I can get out the door to chase them away! 



We've had a lot of rain but no one seems to mind. The black-chinned hummingbirds continue to feed through all but the fiercest of storms. Small and mighty wins the day!





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

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Inspired by . . . the gold of His love

In her short story, The Two Caves, Elizabeth Goudge says of the man Jesus, "The child grew to be a man of great strength and vaster love and there was no experience known to men, joyous or appalling, peaceful or agonizing, through which he did not in some way pass, leaving the gold of his love at the heart of it to shine upon us as each in our turn we come to the happy or hard things of our life."

I love the thought of Jesus' love shining down on us with a golden light. 



Gold is mentioned over four hundred times in the Bible. The vast majority of those references are in the Old Testament, scriptures pertaining to the tabernacle and the temple. Gold was at the heart of God's dwelling place. 

Jesus is the heart of God. [click to tweet]

Gold is precious and pure. Incorruptible. 

Of course, the love of Jesus is all these things. But what did Goudge mean by the "gold of His love"? I can't know for sure, but here is what I think:

The very essence of His love is grace. [click to tweet]  Grace is what we need in every experience of life, whether joyous or appalling, peaceful or agonizing. 

His grace is sufficient. He is sufficient.

Christ alone.

I wonder, friend, are we allowing the gold of His love to shine on and through us as we face the hard things of life? the happy things?


Blessings,


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
#DanceWithJesus

Friday, June 2, 2017

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 22:52

Hello, friends!

I'm a little late posting this week due to my #ReadUpstream post from yesterday. If you're interested in what I'm reading this month, click through and have a look.

There has been a lot of activity around the cottage this week! Our cottonwood tree is in bloom. Which explains my runny nose and the intoxicating smell in our front yard!



Queen Butterfly


The Mockingbirds have been around with their babies the last few days. It's amazing how quickly they grow! They look just like mommy and daddy except for their speckled chests.

Here they are learning how to navigate the suet by themselves.




There have been a lot of cardinals around, too, with their families. This is a young female.



Items of interest can always be found if you're looking for them.



At least that's what this Carolina Wren tells me as he searches through the flower box for bugs to feed his mate. She is still sitting on a clutch of eggs.


Carolina Wren as taken through my living room window
Summer is here! Whoot-woot!

I hope you're staying cool like this male house finch!




What are you seeing through your lens this week?

Have a wonder-filled weekend, 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, June 1, 2017

Inspired by . . . a movement

I'm not usually at the forefront of a movement. In fact, I'm usually several years behind the latest fad. This may be the start of something new for me and for you . . .

My friend, Kimberlee Conway Ireton has a dream of gathering people together who love old books and the wisdom they contain. She quietly admitted in her April blog post that she has "shelved" this idea, for now.

True to her encouraging nature, our friend, Jody has taken the seedlings Kimberlee planted and coaxed them into bloom.

#ReadUpstream is that bloom. What writer isn't first a reader? and what reader, having read something that inspires them, doesn't want to share that inspiration? 

There are many blogs about "what I read last month" - the difference here is that the books in our "stream" may be a little older (perhaps wiser) or a little out of the ordinary. 


Won't you join us?



The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges (2014)
I've been working through this book for months, chapter by chapter, and discussing it with a dear friend. It's so good, I often re-read the chapter before moving on to the next.

The O'Malley Series by Dee Henderson (2001)
I'm reading this series for, probably, the 3rd or 4th time. I love Dee Henderson's writing style and the practical, biblical, truths that she shares. Each of the seven O'Malley's have a different obstacle to faith. An interesting read.

Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge (1944)
Kimberlee introduced me to Elizabeth Goudge through one of her "what I'm reading" blog posts last year. Since then I've been finding her, hard to find, books anywhere I can.

The Lost Angel by Elizabeth Goudge (1971)
A collection of short stories. A delight.



Other books in my Kindle queue include:

Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Collection by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1887)
Such a treat! I love having this on my phone where I can grab a quick read whenever I'm in the waiting room, waiting in line, waiting for someone to get ready . . .

Whose Body? by Dorothy Sayers (1968)
The first Lord Peter Wimsey novel. I'm going to have to come back and read this again when I have time to read it all at once, or at least in a matter of days. Reading it hodge-podge has me completely lost.

Chicken Scratch: Stories of Love, Risk & Poultry by Kelly Chripczuk
I'm enjoying these amusing and heartwarming short stories by my blogger friend, Kelly Chripczuk.

Well, that's my list.  Hopefully, by this time next month, I will have finished some of these have more to share with you. I'm always looking for new (old) and unusual reads, so please share what you're reading in the comments.

You can find more #ReadUpstream posts by searching the hashtag on Google. Enjoy!


Blessings,

Monday, May 29, 2017

Inspired by . . . sacrifice

Because I haven't found anything that says it better . . .


It is the Soldier

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer,
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protestor to burn the flag.


~Marine Chaplain Father Dennis Edward O'Brien

In Remembrance,

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Inspired by . . . a new wreath

While much of the population was hunting for Easter eggs and posing for pictures in their pretty spring dresses and Easter bonnets we were . . . ah, painting our front door?

Yes, just hours before our guests were to arrive my Dreamer and I were in our best-worst clothes painting the front door of the cottage.


We'd known for awhile that the front door needed a new coat so why the last minute rush to reshade the portal?

I had made a new spring wreath.

The blemishes had been easy to ignore until we hung the new wreath in place. The beautiful new wreath didn't cover up the ugliness - it just enhanced it!

I may be stretching the analogy a bit here but I think our Christian walk can sometimes look like my ugly door covered with a pretty new wreath.

We slap a few good deeds over our sin and hope that it makes a difference. While it may help us to feel better for a time, scripture is very clear that we are not saved by works.
yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.  (Gal 2:16)
Legalistic responses and halfhearted obedience are like putting new wine in old wineskins or trying to cover an ugly door with a pretty wreath. If you are a believer who has died with Christ then you are also raised with Christ. 


We can't expect to succeed in putting off our worldly desires if we don't replace them with virtues that suit God's chosen and beloved people.

As Jerry Bridges says, "It is not enough to pray that God will enable us to deal with a volatile temper; we must also ask Him to help us put on compassion and kindness."

Just as our door needed a new coat of paint to match the pretty new wreath, we must put on, "compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience," (Col 3:12) if we want to be like Christ in His character.

If you're thinking, "Easier said than done." That's true. But don't forget it's not by our power that we will succeed, it's by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. 
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)
Even so, we have a part to play. 

First, make a commitment (and tell someone about your particular struggle or commitment if you need accountability). Secondly, like we talked about last week, be aware of the motives behind your actions, and finally, most importantly, as Bridges suggests in the quote above, PRAY!


Above all, even as we work to clothe ourselves with the virtues of Christ, may we remember that it is His blood and His blood alone that covers and cleanses us from sin.


Blessings,








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
#DanceWithJesus

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 21:52

We had European visitors this week.

Large expanses of our fields were mowed earlier in the week. If Texas heat records hold this year, it will likely be the last time we have to mow the fields before fall. Mowing always attracts the seed and insect eaters. Last year, a flock of male great-tailed grackles took up residence for a few days, much to the chagrin of the scissor-tails and the mockingbirds.

This year a small flock of European Starlings showed up to indulge. 



I believe this is a juvenile.



Bambi is growing up fast.



He's interested in meeting our European visitors, too!


This isn't the best picture but I thought the image of the bee was fun. It's so good to see more of them coming around this year.



I don't know if this is my juvenile from last month, now in full plumage, or if it's another [adullt] male. Either way, I was thrilled to see this Summer Tanager! I wish I could have gotten a clear picture of him for you. This was taken through my window.



I've spotted a greenish-hued bird a couple of times in the last week but haven't yet captured her on film. I think she is a painted bunting. Hoping to have time this weekend to sit and observe!

It's hard to believe June begins next week! We've been blessed with cooler temps late into May this year. June is my favorite month and, although it's going to be busy, I intend to savor each and every day!


Are you ready for summer?

Have a wonder-filled week!





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