Welcome to my eclectic journey of my life and delights. This year my theme is surrendering my writing pen to the true author, Jesus Christ, while looking forward to the future, reflecting on the past and dancing through my journey.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Chihuly Day

The Lord smiled on Texas this summer and instead of our regular 100 plus degree days of August, a cold front blew through, leaving us with wonderful weather.  Maybe last years record 100 plus days gave us these wonderful two weeks, leaving us able to enjoy the summer with outdoor adventures.  The Chihuly Exhibit at Dallas Arboretum was on display, so off our adventures feet took us, to soak in the last of summer.  All of these were created out of blown glass. The large yellow glass tree took three weeks to assemble.

Dallas Arboretum gives an August special pricing 1/3 of the regular price...I am sure to bring in visitors on what would normally be too hot to attend.  We took advantage of both..the reduce price and the wonderful weather.

 I hope you enjoyed our walk through pictures.  Now I am not a photographer..and yes, I should probably take classes...but this is what my little point and shot captured.  I am sure this is magical at night.  It was even more magical for us since just  weeks before our son had proposed to his wife-to-be...blown glass never looked so beautiful.

If you come our way...take time to be inspired also.  We sure were.  It was a wonderful day in August.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Summer's Reflections

I begrudgingly put away my sand pail until next summer.  The summer of 2012 will go down in history as the summer I learned a new depth of "intentional" living.  This was my season for inspirational sand scoops placed into a fictional sand pail.  Where our budget doesn't allow for the "American-envisioned" vacation, I would instead fill my bucket with "inspiration" provided through sources around me...the library, nature, free events, exercise, Olympics, movies.....and time for pondering.

I began the summer with this quote and watched the quote unfold for me throughout our summer break.  As my two sons leave out the door for their first day of class, I will stop to reflect and recall what we did this past summer.

A great painting or symphony or play doesn't diminish us, but enlarges us, and we, too, want to make our own cry of affirmation to the power of creation behind the universe.  This surge of creativity has nothing to do with competition, or degree of talent.  Madeleine L'Engle - A Circle of Quiet

Art Inspirations

  • Five free outdoor concerts 
  • Shakespeare Play in the Park
  • Chihuly blown-glass Exhibit

standing in dinosaur tracks!!!

Nature Inspirations
  • camping trip under the stars to Mineral Wells State Park...just a few miles from home
  • camping trip allowing us to walk in dinosaur tracks - Dinosaur State Park...another park a few miles from home
  • multiple bike rides through trails near our home
  • picking grapes at our neighborhood park
  • picking blueberries at an East-Texas farm
Literature Inspiration
  • reading books with Benjamin and finishing the summer reading program at the library
  • multiple books read by me that challenged, nudged and inspired
Movie Inspiration and Enjoyment

  • dollar movies with Benjamin...and a bag of popcorn
  • two movies with Hubby
What is left after consumption and sharing jars of goodies with others

Kitchen/Cooking Inspiration

  • canning: 
  1. tomatoes
  2. salsa
  3. grape juice - provided from our grapes during our bike ride
  4. grape jam
  5. strawberry chipotle jam
  6. strawberry kiwi
  7. peach jam infused with lavender
  8. bags of frozen blueberries and blackberries from our visit to a farm

Finding the Silly in Myself
  • bought a bathing suit and wore it - it has been 15 years since I had a bathing suit and this was the first time for Benjamin to see me in one
  • went to the pool and swam with Benjamin - I even rode my bike to the pool while wearing that new suit with a long black skirt cover over it, flowing in the wind as I pedaled - that was daring
  • had a weekend with "Ethel" - my friend
  • had lunch and made time for friends here in my city - some I hadn't seen in a year
  • went to a grape stomp....and yes, stomped grapes

Creative Inspiration

  • sewed over a half dozen purses and gave them all away
  • sewed myself a fun top and bought more patterns and material for other clothes

Energized through Regular Exercise
  • went regularly to the gym...inspired by the athletes of the Olympics
  • didn't lose any weight, but feel more energized physically and mentally
  • walked/jogged through neighborhood trails outdoors
  • countless miles ridden on my bike...a huge milestone and Benjamin clocked miles with me
  • went roller skating
  • went bowling
I actually beat my son in the first game...he came back to smear me!!!

Son's Engagement!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pondering Inspiration
  • I took out time to stop and listen.  To sit under the trees...lay down on a bench..soak in the air..as Madeleine L'Engle describes it "to be"
  • I stopped and allowed myself the time to DREAM again.  To take that dream and write it down on paper.  To write out steps to pursue that dream.  Releasing the final results to Him, while taking the steps of obedience to bring the dream to fulfillment.
  • Telling the enemy to get off my back in so many areas where he taunts "failure" over me.  Reminding him that at age 51, God still hasn't finished his work in me.

At the end I really understood that what you make of life is your own choice.  I could continue to mourn our "have nots" in a constant "pity party" or take all the "haves" around us and fill my bucket.

As I put my bucket back on the shelf I know God has more in store for this fall.  I look to Him to unveil His purpose for this new season of the year and also my life.

"Often we forget that He has a special gift for each one of us, because we tend to weigh and measure such gifts with the coin of the world's market place"  Madeleine L" Engle

(for all those with word verification...I am visiting and commenting on your blogs, however, my computer isn't showing me the picture for the word verification and, therefore, doesn't post my comments...sorry...I have come and visited)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Time to Ponder

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As our summer comes to an end...only 13 days left before school is in full swing...I stop to pick up my last scoop of inspirational sand to add to my overflowing sand pail.

This scoop takes me back to decades ago when I knew how to just stop and ponder.  My mind whisked me back to a tree on my grandparents' farm.  The tree held a very long, strong vine that drooped down the side of the tree, allowing you to climb on the vine and swing.  It was "nature's swing".  I would wander off from the farmhouse to quietly sit and swing among nature where I could ponder.  I have always had a very busy mind...one that can wear out my husband, but never my maker.  I would pour out all the questions and ponderings of my mind before my God.  There, in His creation, we would sort them out.

Later, it would be the swings in the schoolyard across from my teenage home.  As an adult, it was my porch rockers and walking among the pecan trees adjacent to our family home.  Today, I look for those places that allow me to ponder and and question...today's places don't have the sentimental heart's tie my past places have, but the familiar time with the Lord still energizes.

All that to say....my last scoop of sand is that...pondering and questioning.  The Lord has allowed these non-scheduled days of summer to bring scoops of  hours of reading... therefore, prompting a season to digest what He is saying.  These ponderings have been prompted by my sand scoops, as well as two books and a movie.  I am taking the pieces from each scoop and digesting them.

Almost Amish - Nancy Sleeth
Lioness Arising, Wake Up and Change Your World - Lisa Bevere
Movie - Hope Springs

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As I ponder, I feel I need to go find my tree...my swing...and listen. Therefore, I will be taking a blogging break in order to process.  I will also train for my small, part-time job....it is just keeping children at church for conferences and recovery classes.  I look forward to being able to minister to families as their parents grow in the Lord...it is still a change. The first conference is three days next week.  This allows me to remain at home with Benjamin, my heart's desire, while adding a small amount to our income.

So I leave this week with my sand pail in hand....scooping up the inspirational sand the Lord has for me as I ponder and question what He is saying for me in this season of life.

Cry out for insight and understanding.  Search for them as you would for lost money or hidden treasures.  Proverbs 2: 3-4

I pray you take the time needed to ponder under a wonderful tree, while swinging in the Lord's goodness.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

I AM REDEEMED - Sunday Singings

Last year I started posting songs that inspire me under the  title of "Sunday Singings".  They are all dedicated to my grandmother who is singing in heaven before the throne.  We would attend Sunday Singings in East Texas with my song-leading grandmother.  This week this song just penetrated to the inner part of my spirit.  Words first and then video if you have time...the music is beautiful.

I declare - I AM REDEEMED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me "son
Stop fighting a fight it's already been won"

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I'm redeemed

All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, "Child lift up your head"
I remember, oh God, You're not done with me yet

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be

Because I don't have to be the old man inside of me
'Cause his day is long dead and gone
Because I've got a new name, a new life, I'm not the same
And a hope that will carry me home

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, 'cause I'm not who I used to be

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe every stain, yeah, I'm not who I used to be
Oh, God, I'm not who I used to be
Jesus, I'm not who I used to be
'Cause I am redeemed
Thank God, redeemed

Friday, August 10, 2012

Laughter is Good for the Soul

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There are just times we need to laugh.  I think more times than not, we miss out on the benefits of laughter.  It just smooths the souls and lifts the spirit.  Even if that laughter is just shared by oneself, it still can produce the benefits God intended.  Can't you just see our Heavenly Father taking time to belly laugh?

So this week was a looooooooooonnnnnnngggggg week.  You know one of those weeks that you are sure more hours were added to your day and you find yourself exhausted, either emotionally or physically.  I was dragging my emotionally worn out body to the gym to release my stress while taking in good endorphins.  I have been exercising to competing Olympians, which is more than enough motivation to push your limits.

On my drive to the gym, my car radio was on a talk show, which means hubby had been in the car last.  Before I could change the channel, I became enticed by the story the host was sharing.

This is how he evaluates if he will continue to see a doctor or not.  When visiting a new doctor, he fills out all the forms we all have to fill out.  He is highly allergic to different medicines which could cause his death if administered to him.  So in order to tell if the doctor is going to pay attention to his list of "allergic" medicines, he checks the box on the form that should flag the doctor's attention.  When asked:

"ARE YOU OR COULD YOU BE PREGNANT?"... He checks the "yes" box in big marks!!!!!!!!

I am starting to laugh out loud in the car by myself.  He goes on to express in great concern that if the doctor doesn't stop and see that something is wrong for a MAN to be checking off he is pregnant, then he refuses to use that doctor again.

I am continuing to laugh as he goes to express how he chooses his hair dresser...now I must say he pays more for his hair than I do because I have never filled out a form.  He fills out the form asking him what he likes...etc and then he checks:

"Do You Want Extensions?"...He checks YES!!!

If the hair dresser doesn't notice or comment then so long new hair dresser.

Now I was just laughing, visualizing each of these (and let's be fair) in today's politically correct society, could either of these questions be addressed by either person without falling into a trap?


I was refraining from laughing out loud as I entered the gym. I got on my bike and pedaled as if competing in a race while watching synchronized swimming.

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NOW that one got me going!  I mean, come on...dancing in water.....underwater....and upside down!!!

May I just say....I came home having burned off some calories, seeing the world through new eyes, having been energized through laughter and exercise, while being inspired by anyone who can dance underwater upside down.  
May your looooooooonnnnngggg daaaaaaayyyyysssss be filled with laughter as the Father reaches down to encourage you!

Share your funny from this week...I know you have one!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Just Give Me the REAL!

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We heard it!  We stopped to quiet our talking and movement to intently listen.  We heard it again!  What an unusual sound to hear in the middle of the day, in the middle of a crowded place, which only made the sound more inviting.  Grasping Benjamin's arm, we were off on an adventure.  Looking up into the large trees our eyes were concentrating on finding the source of the unusual sound.  We scanned the trees for an owl at five in the afternoon in triple-digit weather.

It stopped.  We moved another direction to see if we could capture the sight of this owl that was hooting during the day.  We were unsuccessful. As we turned back to the pool area Benjamin voiced his frustration, "that was my first opportunity to see an owl and we didn't find it."

I was still trying to figure out why an owl was hooting when we walked out of the pool area my eyes caught  this..........

Yes! what we believed to be real was indeed fake.

How many times in life do I chase what I believe to be real to only find out it is fake?  How many times do I allow Satan to hand me a counterfeit?  The only way for me to know the real from the fake is to stay close to the real.  As you can tell from this post I do not know a real "hoot" from from a fake.  It was a "hoot" of an adventure.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Just Had to Do It - Thanks Lucy

As I entered my warm car, after my morning work-out, I heard the announcement, "Pick and Stomp Grapes" at a local vineyard.  Since endorphins from exercising were still pumping through my body I said, "Why Not?"  I ran into the house to get ready, trying to beat our up-coming 100 plus degree day with an early picking time.  Benjamin was grabbed as I ran out the door for our first experience in picking and stomping grapes.  What can I say...I just had to do a little Lucy dance!

Yes!!! I joined him!  It was just too much fun!  What else do you do in Texas in August?

Well this was a first for our family.  Benjamin and I are the only ones who have stomped grapes.  I am marking my calendar for next year.  We also went by a farm that will allow us to come pick cotton in October, so I am pulling out the calendar...why stop when summer is over?  

Isaiah 1:5 - Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Removing the Wall of Offense

Busting through the front door with his authoritarian, eight-year-old voice announcing to all within hearing distance, "We can't play at my house, my Mom needs quiet!"

I was within hearing distance and assumed this message was for me as much as my son.  This young man had been invited to our house to play, but somehow on his way to our home, he was sent with instructions.  I responded, "well, you were invited here and we will let your mother have quiet."

As I continued my house cleaning, the boys began to play and chatter.  In minutes, I stood at the threshold of making a mental choice.  Was the comment from my newly-found neighbor and friend going to offend me or not?
I could hear past exhortations, "If you CAN be offended, you WILL be offended."  I will not totally uncover myself with the immediate choice, but instead share the lesson God delivered.

I sent a light-hearted text to his mom and encouraged her to enjoy her quiet.  She texted back, "Oh, MY GOODNESS, I was afraid he would say that!"  She went on to explain her intent, which agreed with all that I had seen in her character.  We both laughed at the interpretations of her instructions by her eight-year-old son.  She did say she was NOT having NERF WARS in her house that day.

As I giggled through the text, I was so glad I had not allowed a wall to come between us.  My choice to not be Offended allowed our friendship to move forward without walls.

We each have a choice.  How many times is something said or done that  we are offended by and the "offender" never meant to offend?  If we know their character and their hearts, then why would we automatically assume they meant us harm?

What if we choose to NOT be offended...even if it was intended? Wouldn't that release us from harm?  Scripture talks about offenses coming in His name's sake...but is that usually the case?  It surely wasn't the case in this event....or in most cases where I see someone swell up like a stuffed toad.  You know it!  You have seen it! There you stand thinking, Oh my! did you just come for a fight? Then there are times that you try to dust off and just can't because you took the offense...intended or not.

I am praying that I will learn to extend more grace and refuse offense. I believe taking in an offense shortens life because you stop enjoying life.  I am also praying that others will trust what they know in me first and refuse to take offense, which would never be my heart's intent.  Like the old Coke commercial "What the World Needs Now".........let's say it this way, "Is Less Offended People,"  then maybe, just maybe we could show the Love of Christ to the World!

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