Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"Figuring Life Out" - One Thousand Gifts

Hello everyone! It's a busy week for me, so this will be a short post, but I wanted to list my gifts of His blessings in my life. I'm so excited! I am VERY close to listing 1,000 gifts/blessings! I recently watched this video again.....it's such a great reminder that we need to slow down and pay attention to even the simple moments we live!!! So I wanted to share it with you again, too! Enjoy!(It's best, when seen in full screen, go to the small square next to the YouTube words.)

Have a wonderful week!

Counting my gifts with the September Joy Dare:
The joys of lake life:

3 gifts ugly-beautiful
961. Raw emotions can be so painful, but also help me experience life to it's fullest!
962. When I'm too busy, God slows me down by allowing obstacles to come into my life, often obstacles I don't like.
963. It seems like life speeds up when I'm doing fun things and slows down when I'm doing something I dislike doing!

A gift fixed, folded, freckled
964. Fixed - Got my internet problems fixed - got a new provider!! :)
965. Folded - A stack of freshly cleaned clothes, ready to be put away.
966. Freckled - The freckled look, when I look up at the maple trees, slowing turning their colorful fall hues.

3 gifts in conversation
967. Time spent conversing with a friend and having lunch together.
968. Online conversations - sharing with friends who don't live close on Facebook and my blog.
969. Conversing with another friend with texts on my phone.(What would we do without modern technology? Probably do more of #967.)

3 gifts in salvation
970. Eternal life with Christ!
971. Living for Christ, instead myself.
972. The leading of the Holy Spirit in my life.

3 gifts in information
973. Instructions, telling how to decoupage pumpkins. What a fun project!
974. Also love all the other cute 'crafty' ideas I have gotten from the internet! Like making bunting to hang.
975. Growing in knowledge and wisdom in Christ! So glad God gave us minds to learn about so many things!

A gift rattling, receding, reclaiming
976. Rattling - The rattling of clothes in the dryer (laundry day!)
977. Receding - Summer is officially over and daylight hours are receding, as Autumn begins.
978. Reclaiming - my time, studying God's word and in prayer.

3 gifts quiet
979. The quiet, when I get up early and walk out by the lake. (Rare occasion.)
980. The quietness when I'm home by myself. Sometimes it feels too quiet during the day. Other times, I welcome it!
981. The quiet after everyone else goes to bed and I'm up reading.

 Linking over at these blog parties:
Word Filled Wednesday(Internet Cafe')   
Soli Deo Gloria (Finding Heaven)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Don't Lie to yourself, O My Soul!

From early childhood we are taught that it is wrong, that we need to tell the truth to our parents.

Then, as we got older, we were taught that little white lies were okay, so as not to hurt someone's feelings or if it could get you into a bad situation.

“A lie that is half-truth is the darkest of all lies.”Alfred Tennyson

So often we believe our own lies. To ourselves and to others.

“The worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves. We live in denial of what we do, even what we think. We do this because we're afraid. We fear we will not find love, and when we find it we fear we'll lose it. We fear that if we do not have love we will be unhappy.” Richard Bach

Our Common Self-Lies
—God only helps those who help themselves
—God’s love must be earned
—God understands that’s just the way I am. After all, He made me this way.(Living in sin)
—God does not know or see what I’m doing
—God sees things the way I do
—God is appeased by my giving
—God doesn’t believe in me   

 “Oh, what a tangled web we weave...when first we practice to deceive.” ― Walter Scott

Satan is known as the father of lies.
"You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." John 8:44

"As Christ has a Gospel, Satan has a gospel too; the latter being a clever counterfeit of the former. So closely does the gospel of Satan resemble that which it parades, multitudes of the unsaved are deceived by it." A.W. Pink

 "Any time we open ourselves up to fear, we fall prey to his deceptions and intimidations. Yet, if we submit our hearts to God and stand in faith, we can resist those first fearful thoughts. As we yield to God we can master our reactions to fear and the enemy will soon flee. " Francis Frangipane

I love many songs sung by Audrey Assad. If you haven't ever heard her beautiful Christian music, I encourage you to check her music out on the internet or even buy her CDs. The song below talks about what lies we tell ourselves, how our souls long for Truth! Lyrics are also printed below.

Rivers and stones and the trees of the field, they sing in the night
And a thousand tongues lay deep in your lungs to raise to the sky

Don't lie to yourself, O my soul - love your God.
Don't lie to yourself, O my soul - love your God.

Deep in your heart you feather and tar your folly and fear:
Expose them all for the fools they are, and the world becomes clear.

Don't lie to yourself, O my soul, just love your God.
Don't lie to yourself, O my soul, just love your God.
Love your God.

Your worries will never love you
They'll leave you all alone
But your God will not forsake you
O my soul, my soul.

Don't lie to yourself, O my soul - love your God.
Don't lie to yourself, O my soul

 How can we know a deception or lie from the truth?

Sin will not come to you, saying, "I am sin." It would do little harm if it did. Sin always seems "good, and pleasant, and desirable," at the time of commission.

We need to realize that the Bible says to "test the spirits" and warns very strongly that the Last Days will be a time of "seducing spirits" and great deception.
 Two things we have to do:
1. Seek to know God with all your heart, soul, and might.

2. Study the Word.

  1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.

 13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be 
complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.   
2 Timothy 3 (New King James Version)

Here is a detailed article on knowing more about learning to tell the difference between ties and truth.

Then you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free!! (John 8:32)
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 Counting my gifts with the September Joy Dare:
3 Hard Eucharisteo
946. Unloading boxes, after moving.
947. Preparing for construction to be done on our house.
948. Missing a friend who has moved on in her life.

3 Gifts in His Word
949. "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15(NIV)
950. "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come." John 16:13 (NIV)
951. "...speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the head, that is, Christ." Ephesians 4:15 (NIV)

3 Gifts scented, scrawled, started
952. My scented wax burner.
953. Boxes with contents scrawled and re-scrawled on them
954. Started - Trying my hand at knitting, I recently learned how.

3 Gifts paired
955. A pair of sweet canine-friends to keep me company during the day.
956. A pair of ducks, feeding out in front of our lakehouse.(A rare occasion)

957. A new pair of boots, I got on sale at T.J. Maxx

3 Gifts shared
958. Time spent with my mother, especially since we have not been as close the last few years.
959. The moments, fishing with my hubby. No stress. No pressures.
960. The love of Christ, shared with others. Experiencing a shared faith with other believers.

 Linking over at these blog parties:
Word Filled Wednesday(Internet Cafe') 
Soli Deo Gloria (Finding Heaven)
Gathering at the Grace Cafe'(Reflections of His Grace) 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Spelling Out Friendship

 The Oxford Dictionary defines a friend as : a person who feels mutual affection and regard for another; a helper; a person who is not an enemy.(source)

I have lots of friends, but only a few "good" friends, and only one "best" friend. What's the difference? There are many different kinds of friends. In fact when I Googled "kinds of friends" there were so many different lists and categories, if I listed them all, I'd have to write a short book on that subject alone. So I just cut it down to 3 catagories:
1: Acquaintances, friends of friends, co-workers, etc. The one thing that separates this kind of friend from a good friend is the lack of being totally transparent with each other. We tend to put on a happy face for these kind of friends or at least hold back our true feelings and/or don't share our personal life experiences. We may enjoy doing things with them or just a brief conversation at the store or church events. These friends come and go and we may have many of them at one time. Loss of this kind of friendship causes very little to no disruption in one's life.
2: Good friends. These friends we love spending time with. We may talk to them online or text them, maybe go out to lunch or shopping now and then. Good friends often turn into best friends. The more time we spend with these friends, the more we share personal things in our lives. There is often a time where we test the trust-ability and honesty of this friendship. If this friend appears really interested in you and you in her, the relationship can grow dramatically. Sometimes a good friendship lasts only for a brief time, especially if one friend moves away, changes jobs, starts a family, etc. or anything that may require more of their time This kind of friendship, when lost, can be sometimes upsetting for one or both of the friends. This kind of a friend is missed, especially when there is an abrupt separation from each other. Eventually new "good" friends can be found, but it does take time.
3: Best friends. These kind of friends are rare and usually long-lasting (often life-long). This friendship is not based on distance, situations, or life experiences. She will be by your side, no matter what happens, and if needed, meet in a moment's notice. A best friend is one who understands you better than anyone else.  She may even have a premonition or predict what her friend's thoughts or actions will be. Best friendships do sometimes end, but if they do, it is usually devastating for one or both. Because these friends have been so transparent with each other and for so long, there is a history of many memories and experiences with this friend that no other friends share with each other.

Friends do have such a great influence on our lives. I can truly say that without my girlfriends, life would not be bearable on many days. 

Friends have gotten me through so many hard times. They have encouraged me, made me laugh when I was down, and shared some fun times with me. I have spent some good times with some of my "good" friends recently. It has been good for my heart and my mind and I hope they feel the same. I appreciate these friends SO much, especially lately!

Some of my "good" friends have recently changed status'. One of those friends got a new job and didn't need my friendship any longer, so the time we spent together abruptly came to an end. This was a sad event for me, as I had enjoyed spending time with her. But, I have come to realize that, just as she has moved on, so must I, knowing that because I got to know her, my life was brightened, if only for a time. 

Another "good" friend has recently become more dear to me. We meet just about every week for lunch, shopping, or church events. We have been friends for nearly a year and have grown deeper in  sharing personal life experiences with each other. Because of these experiences and close sharing, I could see this friend turning into a best friend one day. Only time will tell.

Unfortunately, my "best" friend lives a few hours away from me and works full-time, so we don't get to see each other real often. That doesn't affect our friendship, though. We have been friends for almost 30 years! When we get together, it's like time stood still from the last time we met. God has always provided, though. When I can't see my best friend, a good friend almost always is there to encourage and support me! 

I hope I can be as good of a friend to these women in my life as they have been to me!  
That's the great thing about good or best friendships! They're almost always reciprocated!

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A wonderful example of friendship in the Bible is that of David and Jonathan. Jonathan's father Saul was David's enemy (although David was not his) but this did not stop Jonathan from being a loyal friend. The Bible says that their souls were knit together and that all that Jonathan had to protect himself he took off and gave to David. He was there for David until the end and David was there for his friend even after Jonathan died. He made certain that Jonathan's children were provided for. (See 1 Samuel Chapter 18)

Another friendship that comes to mind is that of Ruth and Naomi. Ruth was Naomi's daughter-in- law but she was her friend as well. Why else would she say that she would go wherever Naomi would go and that Naomi's God would be her God? Ruth was willing to forsake everything she knew in order to be with her friend. (See The Book of Ruth Chapter 1)

The person who is recorded to be the greatest friend of all time is of course Jesus Christ. He gave His life for His friends and He advised that no greater love hath any man than that he lay down his life for his friends (John Chapter 15 verses 12-14)


 Spelling out Friendship:  Copied from "Franspiration"


“F” is for forgiveness. I believe that when you are truly friends with someone, you are free to make the occasional mistake. With mistakes, there is sometimes anger, sadness, hurt and, hopefully, discussion. After the discussion, if the friendship is true, there should be Forgiveness.


“R” is for respect. Friends are really important to me! They Love you for who you are, they trust you with their deepest secrets . Everyone needs somebody to respect and trust.


“I” is for inspiration. My friends always inspire me to do more and to try hard. I hope I do the same for them.


“E” is for encouragement. My friends always encourage me to be a better person. They also encourage me to keep spreading Love and Gratitude! There is a beautiful quote that fully explains this point. This quote says: ”Keep your face to the sunshine and you can never see the shadow.” - Helen Keller


“N” is for nice. Your friends will treat you with kindness. There is no need for excessive drama or for being mean. Friends should treat each other nicely.


“D” is for Doesn’t give up on me (my friends). When I have a problem or a challenge to take, they are always by my side.They will never give up on me an vice versa.


“S” is for support. For me, this word is one of the keys of any friendship. It has happened to me a lot of times this year, that I needed the support of my friends and they were there for me… Sending me beautiful messages, phone calls, etc.


“H” is for happiness. Happiness is a great gift.  Enjoying happy times through Christian friends is one of the best things God provides for us, as friendship is immeasurable.


“I” is for ingredient. Friends are one of the most important ingredients in this recipe of life.


“P” is for platonic Love. Platonic Love is very much a part of any close friendship. But such a Love does not always stay platonic. In marriage it turns into passionate Love. Crossing that line, between friendship and Love, can be both beautiful and extremely difficult.

Today, I'm so thankful for my friends!
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Counting my gifts with the September Joy Dare:
3 Gifts Autumn
928. Mums!! Colorful mums!
929. Warm, breezy days.
930. Cool evenings.

3 Gifts Growing
931. Growing close friendships
932. Life-long memories
933. Continuing to grow in Christ, even when it's not easy

3 Gifts Given
934. A new journal book, given to me by my friend.
935. A beautiful mug, given as a gift for my birthday.
936. The dear friendships I have made throughout my life.

A gift made, masked, marveled:
937. Made - A net window decor, filled with seashells we've collected at different beaches through the years of vacations.
938. Masked - The masks can come down. We don’t have to pretend with Him. He knows everything, and He loves us anyway. How cool is that?(source)
939. Marveled - Psalm 71:17  "Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds."

3 Gifts Framed
940. My hope is built on nothing less
        Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
        I dare not trust the sweetest frame
        But wholly lean on Jesus’ Name
        – Verse 1 of The Solid Rock

941. Family photos!
942. A favorite picture, asking for God's blessing upon our home.

3 Gifts Moving
943. The movement of the water out my window...such beauty in the ripples made on the lake.

944. Leaves on the trees, rising and falling with the wind.
945. The sun, rising in the morning, ushering in a new day!

 Linking over at these blog parties:

Friday, September 7, 2012

Stand Still and Consider...

I was reading Job 37, as I watched a storm front come through my Indiana town. This chapter was so good, I couldn't pick just one verse, but the one above pretty much says it all! I also found a site with amazing storm photos. To see them all you can go to 

I decided to post all of the chapter with some of the intermittent pictures.

“At this my heart pounds
    and leaps from its place.
Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice,
    to the rumbling that comes from his mouth.
He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven
    and sends it to the ends of the earth.
 After that comes the sound of his roar;
    he thunders with his majestic voice.
When his voice resounds,
    he holds nothing back.
God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways;
    he does great things beyond our understanding.
He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’
    and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’
So that everyone he has made may know his work,
    he stops all people from their labor.[a]
The animals take cover;
    they remain in their dens.

The tempest comes out from its chamber,
    the cold from the driving winds.
10 The breath of God produces ice,
    and the broad waters become frozen.
11 He loads the clouds with moisture;
    he scatters his lightning through them.
12 At his direction they swirl around
    over the face of the whole earth
    to do whatever he commands them.
13 He brings the clouds to punish people,
    or to water his earth and show his love.

14 “Listen to this, Job;
    stop and consider God’s wonders.
15 Do you know how God controls the clouds
    and makes his lightning flash?
16 Do you know how the clouds hang poised,
    those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?
17 You who swelter in your clothes
when the land lies hushed under the south wind,
18 can you join him in spreading out the skies,
hard as a mirror of cast bronze?

19 “Tell us what we should say to him;
    we cannot draw up our case because of our darkness.
20 Should he be told that I want to speak?
    Would anyone ask to be swallowed up?
 21 Now no one can look at the sun,
    bright as it is in the skies
    after the wind has swept them clean.
22 Out of the north he comes in golden splendor;
    God comes in awesome majesty.
23 The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power;
    in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress.
24 Therefore, people revere him,
    for does he not have regard for all the wise in heart?[b]

Job 37 (New International Version)

photos source: http://triggerpit.com/2011/07/21/extreme-instability-scary-weather-incredible-shots/

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Beautiful Mess

How is it that I can be living in such beauty, yet feel so lost and alone? How can I look out my window and see a gorgeous sunrise almost every morning, find peace and quiet when sitting on my sun porch, 
and at the same time ache and hurt and feel sad? I walk from our breathtaking views of the lake into a messy living room and my outlook on life turns instantly from joy to downtrodden. 
Emotions can be so confusing sometimes. What I see with my eyes and hear with my ears can be so different from how I am feeling.

Aren't you glad that this isn't how God looks at each of us?....He sees such beauty, in each of us, in spite of the mess of our sinfulness and of the unwise choices we make. He takes all the ugliness we have, that is so evident every day of our lives, and turns it into something so beautiful. He sees the beauty He created in us, even though we know we have sinned and disappointed Him many times over.

I am so glad our Lord doesn't let emotions or circumstances affect how He looks at us! He not only forgives. He forgets our sin and ugliness that we so often can't seem to let go of. He wipes the slate clean!

I could learn a lot from looking at the ugly things in my life through color-tinted glasses. If I could see, instead of a messy room, an actual lakehouse of our own, where everything will find it's place, in time. If. instead of seeing my circumstances as negative and depressing, as I lately have, I could look at those things as opportunities to serve God. Oh, how my life would change! For some reason, that's not how I end up feeling, though. I take my eyes off of God for just a minute, and my mind wonders to the negative side of things. It's a constant battle of not letting our emotions and circumstances rule our outlook on life. 

I had been faithful for almost a year in writing down a gratitude list every week. Once we got busy with moving, I cut out writing things on my list, as well as staying up on my prayer life and I even spent less time in the Word. Of course, that's when things started to go downhill for me, emotionally. Not only did I strip those things out of my daily activities, but I began to get an attitude that I really didn't want to take the time to include them again in my life. I got stubborn and selfish in my thoughts. I wanted to feel good about life, but not put anything spiritually into it. I still struggle at times with trying to not let my stubbornness win over.  I am once again making an effort to make time for God and let Him work in my heart and my life each day. I am starting my gratitude list back up, too.

We really all are a "Beautiful Mess", aren't we? Truly, we're a work in progress. I am so thankful that God is so loving and forgiving!

I'm praying that throughout this week, you may see the beauty, in spite of the mess you may be seeing or experiencing.

Counting my gifts with the September Joy Dare:
3 gifts summer:
916. late evening sunsets
917. Fishing at dawn/sunset.
918. Fresh pan-fried bluegill!

3 gifts cut
919. A freshly cut lawn.
920. Fresh, cut-up vegetables from the garden.
921. Cutting up old cardboard moving boxes and putting things in their places.

3 gifts yellow
922. fresh corn on the cob
923. Yellow mum in full bloom
924. The sun's reflection on the water, as it rises in the sky.

A gift cool, warm, sun-soaked
925. Cool - the air after a rain storm.
926. Warm - the sun, shining through my porch windows.
927. Sun-soaked - early picked vegetables, ripening in the sun.

 Linking over at these blog parties:

Saturday, September 1, 2012

God Is So Good!!

Well, we're are finally all moved into our new lakehouse cottage! It was a rough few weeks, but we are settling in quite well, here....even the dogs are finding the views agreeable! :)

The sunrises are beautiful...
The evenings are peaceful...

And wildlife abundant...

I am truly thankful for all God has done in my life! 
God is So Good!

How great is Thy goodness, which Thou hast stored up for those who fear Thee, which Thou hast wrought for those who take refuge in Thee, before the sons of men! (Psalms 31:19).