Saturday, June 30, 2012

Summer Fun! Renegades Baseball

     On Thursday evening our family went to a minor league baseball game.  We saw the Renegades vs. the Staten Island Yankees.  Anthony had been given tickets for doing well in school by the local PTA.  My brother, John, and his two girls joined us.
     The first pitch was thrown by the young man who parachuted onto the field after jumping out of  a helicopter.  
    At the Dutch there is not a bad seat in the house.  We were seated along the third base line.
Rene the Raccoon

     Anthony loved the game.  He didn't stop smiling the whole night.  He is usually the kid who never smiles in pictures.
     Patty and my niece were also all smiles.
     Connor, who later removed the headset,  and his cousin enjoyed everything about the game.  Especially the sno-cones.  Glad I took these pictures before the sno-cones!

God, George Washington, and Me

     When I was six years old my parents entered me in religious instruction classes.  The classes took place on Saturday morning, prime cartoon viewing time even then.  I remember the teacher standing at the front of the room telling us that we were going to learn about Jesus, who sits at God's  right hand and God the Father.
     There were two portraits conveniently placed above the blackboard behind her.  The portrait on the right was of Jesus blessing the children.  
     While this is not the same picture from my childhood, it conveys the same warm feeling.  There were more children gathered around and touching Jesus.   Jesus was wearing a favorite bathrobe and slippers.   Jesus obviously liked children and they, Him.  He did not look like He minded their sticky fingers.  Jesus looked kind and caring.  In the picture I remember, Jesus even had a little pet lamb.  Jesus looked like the kind of adult a child would want to know.
     On the left side was what I thought was a picture of God.  It was a copy of a well known portrait of George Washington.
     The picture of God was not friendly at all.  God looked very stern and unapproachable.  He had long white hair and a fierce hooked nose.  His clothes were long and dark.  God wore funny looking shoes, and from the expression on his face, they appeared to be pinching his toes.  He looked like the kind of man who might be a principal - someone who held people to rules and handed out punishments.  I was pretty sure that I would get in trouble with him.
     It was years before this case of mistaken identity was cleared up.  In fact, when I saw filmstrips with George Washington on them, I thought he had become President because of his resemblance to God.  George Washington may have been the Father of Our Country, but he was not God the Father.  
     My husband, Pat, will tell you that I do sometimes get in trouble with George Washington.  His picture is on the dollar bill.
     My son, Anthony, was so much smarter than me.  When he was six he told me, "Mommy.  I have God's face."  
     I must have looked a little skeptical.
     "Yes.  My Sunday School Teacher told me so."
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him,
male and female he created them.  ~Genesis 1:26-27
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’  “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?   When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’   “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’  Matthew 25:34-40 
     Look gently into the faces of those around you.  We are not God, but we are His hands, His feet, and His Face to the people we meet everyday.
     When you pictured God as a child, what did He look like?

Linking to:  Think on These Things.

Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

I wish I were a food photographer.  These were soooo good.  Much better than my picture!
     Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes!  Need I say more?  These were amazing!  My cooking is not usually blog worthy - until today.  I was inspired by this wonderful recipe at Nutmeg Nanny.
      I met Brandy of Nutmeg Nanny at our local CSA.  Brandy saw me taking a picture of the list of goodies we were picking up that week.  Brandy mentioned that she had a blog and then I said, "I have a blog," and well you get the idea.  When I looked her up at home I realized that I had visited her yummy blog before.   Her recipes are just that good.
     Not sure what to make?  Brandy also lists recipes by ingredient.
    Brandy's recipe is "Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce."   I used Brandy's recipe for the pancakes (plus one tablespoon of lemon juice) and then instead of making the sauce I folded the blueberries into the batter.
     My children loved it.  Definitely a "Do over."
     Blueberries grow on lovely bushes.  They do not ripen all at once, so you can see green, red, and then delicious purply-blue berries in one cluster.  
  Blessed of the Lord is his land,
With the precious things of heaven, with the dew,
And the deep lying beneath,
 With the precious fruits of the sun,
With the precious produce of the months,
 With the best things of the ancient mountains,
With the precious things of the everlasting hills,                                                 ~Deuteronomy 33: 13-15 
     Aren't they beautiful?  Go visit Nutmeg Nanny for more delicious recipes.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hide-and-Seek: Grace For the Good Girl Week 4

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.  But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”  ~ Genesis 3:6-9
     Adam and Eve mistakenly thought that they could hide their nakedness and shame behind a couple of fig leaves.  Even as a child I guessed that God would notice something wasn’t quite right.  There wouldn’t be any fooling Him no matter how pretty those fig leaves may have looked.
     People still hide behind things as insubstantial as fig leaves today.  We try to make those fig leaves distractingly large and attractive.  Some of us cover ourselves with being “nice.”   We think if we appear good, good to God and those around us, no one will ever know our shame.  In truth, I am far more like the self righteous older brother than the prodigal son.
     We are trained to “be good” all of our lives.  There are rewards. We are given gold stars at school and more money for good performance at work.  Santa brings presents to the good little boys and girls.  We forget that Christmas isn’t for those of us who can meet some standard of goodness.  Christmas is for those of us who can’t.
     Jesus welcomed the sinners, the tax collectors, the adulterers, the broken.  The people who knew they needed a savior.  Jesus restored their wrecked lives with love and compassion.  The ones Jesus had difficulty with were the religious people, the good people, the people like me.
     But behind my fig leaves and before God I am broken, sinful and naked.  I am not okay.  I certainly am not good.  I am simply a sinner saved by grace.  It is the work Jesus completed on the cross that saves me.  It is a gift.  And I know it.
     We sing this song in church:
     How deep the Father’s love for us.
     How vast beyond all measure.
     That He would give His only Son
     To make a wretch His treasure
     I will not boast in anything.
     No gifts, no powers, no wisdom
     But I will boast in Jesus Christ
     His death and resurrection
     Why should I gain from His reward?
     I cannot give an answer
     But this I know with all my heart
     His wounds have paid my ransom ~ Stuart Townsend
     There is grace upon grace for every sinner.
 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. ~ Colossians 3:2-3
     Where are you hiding?

Linking:  Blessed and Be Blessed

Liebster Award

     Regina over at Teach Me the Ancient Paths has nominated me for this award. Liebster means 'beloved' or 'dearest'. Regina is faithful to encourage me in my journey with blogging.  She visits me regularly and always leaves a kind comment.  Regina actively encourages women to dig into God's Word and pursue His calling on their lives.
Here are the rules that accompany this award:
1. If you are nominated and accept it, then you have won!
2. Thank the person who nominated you by linking back to their blog.
3. Nominate 5 blogs with less than 200 Followers.
4. Let the nominees know by leaving a comment on their blog.
5. Add the award image to your site.
      I would like to pass the Liebster Award to these Beloved Friends:
  1. Ann at Harvest Moon by Hand.  Ann has been leaving encouraging comments for me since I began this blog last fall.  She is a photographer, a writer, and a crafter.  I am always inspired when I visit her.  For the year 2012 her family is committed to completing twelve activities that help people who are in need, animals, or the environment.
  2. Jody Lee Collins at Three Way Light.   Jody and I have discovered we have some things in common. Jody is a special education teacher.   She is also new to blogging.  Jody and I both chose the word "Dwell" as our word for the year.  
  3. Foursons Very funny.  Just reading the Everybody Loves Rocco series is hysterical.  Plus this talented lady has four sons.  Foursons gets boy humor.  Foursons was one of my very first visitors.  I appreciate her. 
  4. Wendy at Each Card Tells a Story.  Wendy hosts Scripture Sunday Link Up.  A link up to encourage one another in our faith.  She is faithful and kind.  Her love for the Lord is apparent in her blog and I enjoy visiting her.
  5. Sandy at Sandra Heska King.   This post alone would make a person follow her!  Sandy has great photography and a heart toward God.
Because every award needs a bouquet of flowers!
     Who blesses you?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


     As a parent and a teacher in an elementary school I am fortunate to get to read books with children.  Sometimes I even decide to read them with adults.  I shared Peepsqueak by Leslie Ann Clark with our church family on Sunday morning, assigning parts to audience sections.  
Audience Parts:  Right:  up, Up, UP 
                           Left:  down, Down, DOWN  
                          Middle:  into the soft green grass  
                          Because WHY?  All: He was on the move!
     If you are reading this book as a family or as a class you may wish to assign parts as well. 

     As soon as little Peepsqueak popped out of his shell, he was on the move.  He was determined to fly way up high.  Peepsqueak persisted despite other barnyard animals discouraging remarks.  Eventually with the help of a friend, Peepsqueak succeeds. 
The big stone wall looked like the perfect place to take off.  Peepsqueak jumped up, up, up!  And then he fell down, down, down  into the soft green grass.  My oh my! bleated Big Sheep.  You can’t fly high!
But Peepsqueak did not listen.
Because why?  He was on the move!    From Peepsqueak
     Have you ever wondered like Peepsqueak what it would be like to fly?  Wouldn’t it be cool to soar above the earth, bank over a forest, skim over rivers, dance through the clouds or dart through canyons effortlessly?  
Unfortunately, for us like Peepsqueak we have to deal with gravity.  We climb up and we fall down.  We have things that weigh us down.  There are problems and tests, bullies and people who say that we can’t, sickness and worries, pain and loss.  
 "To whom will you compare me?  Of who is my equal?" says the Holy One.  Who created all these?  He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name.  Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.  Do you not know?  Have you not heard?   The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;  but hose who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles;   ~Isaiah 40:25-31
     God wants us to soar on wings like eagles, or like Peepsqueak on Old Gray Goose.  When we entrust our lives to Jesus everything is changed.  God is bigger than any problem that weighs us down.  He draws us upward in faith and grace.  We no longer face our problems alone.  We no longer fall down, down, down.  He is with us and that gives us the strength to continue.  We will soar on wings like an eagle when we find our hope in Christ.  And maybe we’ll walk on the waves of pond water to His outstretched hand.  Because why?  He is on the move!

     How will you soar today?
     Leslie Ann Clark, and for that matter, Amazon, do not know me at all.  I am not being paid to mention this adorable book.  All opinions expressed are my own.

What Not to Wear

     When I was younger I used to buy a fashion magazine that had a page in it of women dressed in some unflattering outfit.  The pictures were taken surreptitiously.  The faces of these women would be blocked by a large black rectangle, as though that would make them completely unrecognizable.  Next to the picture of their fashion faux-pas would be captions like, “Did she escape from the circus?”   “Those yellow pants make her look like a taxi.”  or something else equally horrible.  I was always relieved not to be featured on that page.
     Recently, I saw a commercial for the TV show What Not to Wear.  I had to watch the show because the woman was wearing a sweater vest that I OWNED!  The vest was a fall/Halloween sweater with a tree, pumpkins, scarecrow, black cat, and picket fence.  Until that moment I had thought it was kind of cute.
     The premise of the show is that a person's friends and relatives turn the victim in for a make-over.  The two fashion divas arrive in a very public place, camera's rolling and completely embarrass victim about the outfit they are currently wearing and offer them $5,000.  toward a new wardrobe.  She is also shown secret videotapes of her wearing unflattering clothing taken by her friends.  Ouch!  Only the worst outfits and poses are shown.

     The poor woman on this particular show had all kinds of seasonal clothing.  She had sweaters with bunnies, snowmen, shamrocks, summer flowers, and Christmas trees.  It didn’t stop there, she even had bathrobes and dresses that continued the theme.  Elementary teachers (like myself) as a group tend to purchase just such lovely clothing items and I did have the afore mentioned vest, this woman however, worked in an office building with no children in sight.
     The misguided lady put on the fall vest for the fashion consultants to criticize.  Well!  I think the worst comment was, “When you put a picket fence around your hips it emphasizes the acreage.”  Yikes!  I vowed to get rid of my vest before the season changed.  By the time the lady had a whole new wardrobe, hair color and cut, and make-up, she looked wonderful.  Even she could see that her previous clothes were dowdy and dull compared to her new style.   The woman claimed that although the experience had been emotionally difficult,  that it had also been worth it.
     Most of the "improvements" made on this lady were to reveal her personality and true beauty.  As a woman of God, our outward beauty should reflect our inward beauty.
     Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of  gold jewelry and fine clothes.  Instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.             ~1 Peter 3:3
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” ~1 Cor 5:17 
You are altogether beautiful, MY darling, and there is no blemish in you ~Song of Solomon 4:7 
      So far, I have managed to avoid being in a magazine with a black rectangle over my face, but I think it may have been a near miss with a certain little sweater vest.
     Do you have a funny fashion story?  What outfit could have gotten you nominated for a TV show?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Planted by the River

 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, 
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.  ~Psalm 1:3

West Canada Creek, Herkimer Campground, NY

They will be like a tree planted by the water
    that sends out its roots by the stream. 

Jeremiah 17:8

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Grace for the Good Girl: Week 3 or A Tale of 2 Rocks


 Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, "What?! You too? I thought I was the only one!" ~C.S. Lewis
     Emily Freeman from Chatting at the Sky is hosting a book club this summer to discuss her book, Grace for the Good Girl.  We are not in this alone.  Many women recognize themselves in it’s pages.  Chapters 7-9 reminded me of a time in my life when God asked me to pick up a couple of rocks.     
     Rock One:  Fifteen years ago at a Women’s Retreat I took a walk around a beautiful lake at the conference center on a damp and misty morning.  I was tearfully pouring my heart out to God.  I was having problems at work.  I was worried for our families finances because my income was necessary.  My husband and I had three children and the resulting demands that go with it.  I had recently injured my back and was in almost constant pain.  It was  one of the lowest points of my life.  On the side of the path was a small pile of rocks.  I felt God lead me to pick up a large muddy rock.  I thought, “Yeah, right.  With my bad back I’m going to pick up rocks.”  I chose a smaller, cleaner rock, so that I could be at least partially obedient to God and I continued on the path.  I hadn’t gotten far, when I knew that I had to go back.  God had told me to pick up a specific rock and I knew that it was the rock I was to carry even if I did not understand why.       
     Eventually, I sat under some trees to pray.  I opened my Bible.  I questioned God, “Why?”  Why the job?  Why the back?  Why the problems?  Why the rock?  What was I doing wrong?  I wanted to learn the lesson quick so the pain would go away.  
     This is what God showed me.  I would always want to carry a smaller, cleaner burden then the one He requires, but it’s not my burden.  The burden He has for me may be larger and somewhat muddier, but it is the one necessary for me.  It’s also a burden that I don’t bear alone.  My Heavenly Father carries me and my burden.  He would go with me through this pain, future times of difficulty, and the good times that were sure to come.  
So do not fear, for I am with you:  do not be dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you:  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~Isaiah 41:10
      I just had to trust God.  And trust Him I did.  There was nothing else I could  do.  Things got worse before they got better.  Yet through it all I was aware of God’s presence and leading.  I learned that my hope is not based on the fact that I hold on to God, but rather that he holds on to me.  In the years since that painful time I have had bumps and obstacles, illness, loss, and three additional children.  But I know who I belong to.  
Rock Two:  Eight years later, I was on the same path spending time in prayer.  It was a glorious day.  The sky was a clear blue and the air crisp.  There had been some heavy rains during the week before and the runoff was cascading down a hill and into the lake.  There were places where the trail was covered by water and I had to pick my way across cinder blocks placed in the water as a path.  At one of the water crossings I noticed a small round egg shaped stone.  I felt led to pick it up.  Obedient this time, I placed the cold, icy rock in my jacket pocket and continued on.  The rock soon warmed up from the warmth of my hands and wasn’t icy anymore. Over the weeks and days that followed I forgot about the rock in my pocket.  In fact, when I noticed it, which wasn’t often, it was smooth and felt good when I ran my fingers over it.  I continued to carry it without giving it any real thought.  Occasionally it clunked into things.  I carried the rock to school, to church, shopping, to friends houses, pretty much everywhere I went.  Finally, God brought the rock to mind when it bumped into a chair with a loud thunk as I took off my jacket.  I had become quite comfortable carrying my rock.
   “Jesus says in Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”  Rest from carrying heavy loads, heavy burdens, and unrealistic responsibilities.  We can go to Jesus with those worries, because only He can handle them anyway.” ~ Grace for the Good Girl,  Emily Freeman
     So I ask you, is there a rock that you are comfortable carrying?  Sometimes we carry a burden for so long that we only notice it from time to time.  It goes everywhere with us.  Burdens can be self imposed like my rock.  Burdens can be trying to do things, even good things, under our own strength.  Do you have a burden that God wants to take from you?  Sure it may be larger and muddier than you want it to be, or it can be clean, round and almost comfortable, but God wants you to trust Him with it.  Leave your burden with God who is strong enough, capable enough, and loving enough to take it from you.
Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.  ~Psalm 68:19
grace for the good girl by emily p. freeman
    My other Grace for the Good Girl posts are:
                 Grace for the Good Girl
                 Grace for the Good Girl: Week 2

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Great RingDing Caper

     Have you ever had a RingDing?  The RingDings from my childhood were delicious chocolate confections.  Gooey white cream filling inside chocolate cake, covered with milk chocolate.  These irresistible little snacks were wrapped in crinkly foil that was fun to make into coins or pirates treasure.  My mom brought them in for my two brothers and me and parceled them out for snacks, dessert, and good behavior.  We loved them.
     One summer afternoon when I was about 9, my brother, Don was 8, and my brother John was about 6, there was a RingDing mystery at our house.  Mom called the three of us in for questioning.  Someone had taken the last four RingDings from the box.  Mom shook the empty box as evidence.  Each of us solemnly declared our innocence of the crime and denied knowing who could have done such a thing.  Obviously, Dad must have eaten them and not told her about it.  Not getting the desired confession Mom gave up and sent us back out to play.
     Later that day we had dinner outside on the porch.  The RingDing theft was discussed but remained unsolved.  The three of us kids left the table to play on the lawn.  My parents sat watching us.
     We were catching the first fireflies of the evening and putting them in a jar.  Don caught more bugs than John or I.  He was faster ad not squeamish about touching them.  I was afraid of squishing them in my hand so I always held them too loosely.  John was nervous that they would bite, so he was more action than accomplishment.  He did a lot of chasing, but not much catching.
     Several events came together in one fateful moment.  Don was putting his latest firefly in the jar that I was holding.  John came in close to watch.  A single firefly managed to escape and landed on John's front pants pocket.  John had been leaning in but now he straightened up with a yelp.  A funny scratching sound came from the direction of the pocket.  Don, thinking the sound was the bug yelled, "The bug's in your pocket!"  
     Panic ensued.  John began screaming and running about flailing his arms.  Don started chasing him, smacking frantically at John's pocket.  John however, was fueled by fear and ran even faster.  He screamed, "It's biting me!"
     I screamed and joined the fray.  I didn't want to touch a bug, but I wouldn't have minded holding John down.  My Mom leapt up from her chair knocking it down and yelled for John to hold still.  
     Dad got into the chase.  He grabbed John on the fly in a tackle, both of them fell to the ground.  Dad cradled John so that even in the fall, John would not get hurt.  Dad swiftly reached into John's pocket to pull out the bug.  Out of the pocket came a handful of RingDing wrappers.
     The great RingDing caper had been solved with the help of a tiny firefly.
     As children of our heavenly Father we sometimes carry our guilt around in our pockets.  We keep our guilt close.  We get depressed, sick, and anxious.  I am not referring to those areas in our life in which we willfully continue to sin.  If we need to bring an attitude or sin to God so that we have the grace not to continue in it then we should do so.  I am referring here to regretful circumstances in our past.  We know the things that we have done, that we wish we could undo, take back, or erase.  We may have asked God to forgive us for our past sins, and He has.  Yet sometimes we continue to hold on to the wrappers of our sin.
Romans 8:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose
If God is for us, who can  be against us?  Who will bring any charge against those who God has chosen?  It is God who justifies.  Who is he that condemns?  Christ Jesus who died, more than that, who was raised to life.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  No, in  all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 
     Our heavenly Father knocks us off of our feet with the power of His love.  He wraps His arms around us and takes our pain as His.  He reaches into our hidden places and takes away our sin.  What God forgives, He forgets.  If you give your regrets and sins to Jesus, He will give you grace and forgiveness.
    Did you call them RingDings or DingDongs?

Write it girl

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

31 Things: Outside My Window

Outside my window when I was just a tiny baby was the Long Island Sound.  The smell of salt water drifted in the windows.  When the tide was high I could hear the waves rhythmic  as a heartbeat.  My grandparents voices drifted in the window.  I could hear my parents laughing.

Outside my window when I was a girl was the green grass and tall trees of our home.  I feel asleep listening to the crickets singing.  I watched the summer fireflies dancing through the trees.  The stars were bright in the dark sky.  The seasons changed and I could see the cold snow drifting in the yard.  My brothers and I rode our sleds merrily down the hill.

Outside the window of our first home as a married couple was a highway.  There was a crease in the road that the trucks hit with a bump-bump throughout the night.  We looked through the window and dreamt of the years to come.

Outside my bedroom window is a tall fragrant pine tree.  When we bought our house I could look down and see its green needles reaching up.  Now I look out into its branches.  Often a bird’s nest is tucked in the limbs.  Outside the front bedroom window is our green lawn.   The lawn is the scene of water gun fights among the younger members of the family.  The dog barks excitedly in the middle of the chaos.  Our chickens wander about eating gourmet bugs.

Outside my kitchen sink window is the back yard.  A huge rock outcropping juts up in the middle.  We have plans for putting a small water fall and pond at it’s base.  Maybe this summer.  The pool and its deck rise up.  The pool is the most popular feature of the yard.  The kids are in it from dawn to dusk all summer long.  The bay window in the breakfast area contains the few house plants that have not yet died of neglect.  

Outside my classroom window is the school playground.  On the second floor I have a wonderful view of the children playing, running and climbing.  Recess is always accompanied by their happy shouts.

Outside my window in the future will be water.  Perhaps a lake large enough to kayak or launch a small motor boat.  Or maybe the water will be salty like I remember.  In the yard there will be a beautiful garden and a play area for the grandchildren that I hope will come.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Night Class

     I am so excited about winning a Night Photography class with Kent Weakley.   The contest was sponsored by Brooke McGlothlin at Surprised by Life.

Night Photography eClass by Kent Weakley
Source: Kent Weakley
     Kent Weakley hosts Project 52 each Saturday.  Project 52 is a 52-week photo challenge.  It is always fun to see what people come up with for the weekly themes.  He also has short video clips that provide wonderful photography pointers and tips in a way that even I can understand.
     The Night Photography Class is very exciting.  It covers Blue Hour, the Moon, Stars,  Fireworks, Light Painting, and Motion Night Photography.  I have always wanted to learn how to take a picture of the moon.  It's on my bucket list!  I'm am looking forward to a great class.
      The picture above is a campfire I snapped last October.  I'm looking forward to comparing it to one I take when we go camping this summer during the Night Photography class.
     The class starts on June 29, 2012.  I can't wait!

Grace for the Good Girl: Week 2

Source:  Emily Freeman
"I'm always the strong one, the one who helps.  I don't think people assume I'm struggling.  Ever."
~Deb, a recovering good girl

     In the wonderful book, Grace for the Good Girl, author Emily Freeman invites woman to let go of the try hard life and realize that in Christ we are free to receive from Him rather than to constantly try to achieve for Him.  As good girls we focus on doing the right thing, being the right person, and our determination to be nice.  Unfortunately, we fail to measure up to our impossible standards.  We feel ordinary and beneath His notice.  Emily writes:

    "I know God is big enough to redeem the unruly, the rejected, and the addict.  I know about the God who reaches way down into the pit and the One whose love stretches to the heavens.  But I fear he misses the details.  What about the girl in the middle?  I fear I fall through the cracks because my story draws no attention.  I lack intrigue, drama, and interest.  Can he see ordinary, unspectacular me?"

     We hide behind, "I'm sorry," when we haven't done anything wrong.  We hide behind, "I'm fine," when we are sick, lonely, grieving, and scared.  We hide behind our own competence and success, and how much we are needed because no one else does it quite as good as we do.
     I've always been more of a Martha then a Mary.  Which is not to say that my home is immaculate, just that I am quick to point out what is wrong or out of place at any moment.  I admire Martha.  And yet, I long to be a Mary resting at the feet of her Savior.
     But His grace is revealed in our frail weak form.  His relentless redeeming grace that loves even ordinary, unspectacular me.
     Come join the book club and discussion.  You'll be so glad that you did.
     Read previous Grace for the Good Girl post here.

Father's Day

My Dad likes to wave in pictures.
    One of my earliest memories is when my parents took me to the Bronx Zoo.   I think that I was between two and three.  My mom pushed my baby brother in a big coach carriage.  I remember watching the sea lions swimming in their circular tank.  I remember the giraffe’s and the zebras.  My favorite animals were the elephants.  I loved the way they flapped their ears and trumpeted.  To me they looked as big as a house.  Even the fuzzy baby elephant appeared huge to me.  My Dad lifted me up onto his shoulders for a better look at them.   I remember wrapping my fingers around his neck to hang on.  It was exciting and wonderful to sit safe and secure on my Daddy’s shoulders.
Isn't that cute?
     The Bible is the story of a Father’s love.  From the very first page through the very last, it speaks to us of God’s relentless redeeming passion for us.
     Jeremiah 31:3 says:  I have loved you with an everlasting love...and I have drawn you in loving-kindness.
     David shared in Psalms that God’s thoughts toward us are too numerous to count.  God our Father delights in us.  He knows the number of hairs on our heads.  He knows when we are sad, lost, alone, sick, or scared.  He knows us intimately and He loves us.  We have stolen His heart.
     I’d like to share a familiar poem.
One night a man had a dream.
He dreamed that he was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
He noticed two sets of footprints in the sand:
One belonging to him, the other to the Lord.
When the last of his life flashed before him,
He looked back at the footprints inthe sand.
He noticed that many times along the path there was only one set of footprints.
He recalled that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.
He questioned, “Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
Then why during the most troublesome times in my life
When I needed you most, would you leave me?
The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child,
I love you and would never leave you.
During your times of trials and suffering,
When you see only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”
~Mary Stevenson

     Moses blessed his son Benjamin with these words, “Let Benjamin, the beloved of the Lord rest secure in the Lord, for he shields him all day long, and Benjamin, the one the Lord loves, rests between his shoulders.”
     Moses told Benjamin that he can rest secure in the Lord who is watching over him, but he also added that God has securely placed him on His shoulders.  Even today our Heavenly Father lovingly carries us on His shoulders.
     What is your earliest memory of your Dad?

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory 
    in the heavens. 
 Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
    to silence the foe and the avenger.
 When I consider your heavens, 
    the work of your fingers, 
the moon and the stars, 
    which you have set in place,
 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?
 You have made them a little lower than the angels 
    and crowned them with glory and honor. 
 You made them rulers over the works of your hands; 
    you put everything under their feet: 
 all flocks and herds, 
    and the animals of the wild, 
 the birds in the sky,
    and the fish in the sea, 
    all that swim the paths of the seas.
 Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
~ Psalm 8

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Grace for the Good Girl

  grace for the good girl by emily p. freeman

   "I believe women need to talk about the ways we hide, the longing to be known, the fear in the knowing. I believe in the life-giving power of story, in the beauty of vulnerability, and in the strength that is found in weakness.
     In order to explore the truth ... we have to expose the invisible expectations and desires we know are there but may not have words for yet.
     Let me give you the words. Let me offer my stories and the stories of women close to me. Perhaps they are your stories as well."
~Introduction, Grace for the Good Girl

    For the next eight Thursdays, Emily Freeman, the author of Grace for the Good Girl will be hosting a Summer Book Club.  Join with us as we discuss and explore this powerful book.  Sign up is free. 

“For a long time, I believed I was searching for God and thought I had found him, this God who is order and control, distant and passive.  I knew he so loved the world, but I didn’t know his love for me.  As I gazed off into the foggy distance, hoping for a glimpse of the outline of his presence, I missed the One who stood beside me, casting his shadow over me as he showered me with his love.  While I thought I was searching for him, he graciously, miraculously, and intentionally found me.”  Grace for the Good Girl,  Chapter 1,  Emily Freeman  

     I remember as a child hearing John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  And I believed that He could and would save the world.  I believed he would save people in other countries, people in my community, and friends in my classroom.  I had no trouble believing that He would save my parents and even my brothers.  I just wasn’t so certain that I was valuable enough to save.  And so I set out to make myself valuable.  I wanted to be a good daughter, a good sister, a good friend, a good student, and a good girl.  I realized that I could never be good enough to get to heaven under my own power, but I did not want it to be inconvenient for Jesus to save me.  I wanted to plant myself along His path so Jesus wouldn’t have to go too far out of His way to love me.
    Of course, Jesus had already set aside His crown, took off His royal robes, and choose to be born in a barn as a tiny baby to a young mother.  To grow and walk this earth for a time.  To teach, to heal, to love, then to be betrayed by the kiss of a friend to a cruel death.  Jesus was inconvenienced.  
     Now I see that He stood beside me all along.  He graciously watched over me, protected me, healed me and raised me up when I was bowed down.  He poured out His love over me.  My rest is in Him.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.  
They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.  
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.” 
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;  
it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord. 
  ~Lamentations 3:  22- 26

     There are things in this life that have surprised me.  But they did not surprise God.  He is in control of every situation.  I can trust Him to protect me in the valley, in the fire, in the storm, and in the battle.  He does not require that I be good enough.  I can wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

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