Give us THIS day

This is the day the Lord has made.  We will rejoice and be glad in it!  Psalm 118:24

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I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys. Song of Solomon 2:1

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“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  Luke 12:27

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Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he has made crooked?  Ecclesiastes 7:13

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“And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things.  Luke 12:29

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A beautiful moth with a cross when his wings are closed

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For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.  Colossians 1:16

Mint Jelly

Today was a beautiful day of cutting the grass (yes it takes us two days) and trimming branches.  My husband asked me to “tend to the mint”–he seriously sounded like Pa on Little House on the Prairie.  I smiled.  What to do with so much mint?

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  • Prep: 15 min. + standing Process: 10 min.
  • Yield: 88 Servings

Taken from: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/mint-jelly-2

Ingredients

  • 4-1/2 cups water
  • 3 cups packed fresh mint, crushed
  • 7 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 to 4 drops green food coloring
  • 2 pouches (3 ounces each) liquid pectin

Directions

  • In a large saucepan, bring water and mint to a boil. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Strain, reserving 3-1/3 cups liquid (discard remaining liquid).
  • In a Dutch oven, combine the sugar, lemon juice, food coloring and reserved liquid. Bring to a boil; cover and stir for 1 minute. Add pectin; return to a boil. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Skim off foam. Pour hot liquid into hot sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-in. headspace. Adjust caps. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner. Yield: 11 half-pints.
Sterilizing jars in 275 degree oven for 20 minutes
Adding 4 drops of green food coloring
Processing the jars

Watch the video for a special surprise–wait for it!  Listen for the “pop!” and seal!  (top, right jar in video)

YUMMY MINT JELLY!

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As the deer…

Shortly after writing the post, “Wholehearted Parenting” my teenager and husband joined me in the living room for a morning chat before the busy day of VBS and cutting grass.

Looking out the window, for the first time, we saw a mommy and baby deer in our front yard!  God you are faithful to confirm what You are teaching.  No matter where that mother deer scampered or ran the baby deer was right behind her–looking for guidance and safety.  The mother deer felt our presence and stared right at us as if to say–“This is my child! Stay back!”

Thank you Jesus.  What a tender moment for our family.  Of course I teared up and began to sing one of my favorite praise and worship songs–“As the Deer”.  To you alone Lord may my spirit yield.  I long to worship you, Lord!  The song shares that God, alone, is our strength and shield.  He is our defender–“This is my child! Stay back!”  Oh, Jesus, I love you so much.  So much….

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A beautiful worship song–take the time to play and worship!

Wholehearted Parenting

Brene’ Brown in Daring Greatly shared advice that she received years ago and has wholeheartedly applied to her parenting.

…a beautiful thing about the messages that we get about who we are is when a child first walks into a room…..It’s interesting to watch what happens when a child walks into a room.  Does your face light up?  The person sharing the advice noted that when her children first walked into the room she would make sure they looked appropriate.  She went on to share that you think you are showing affection and your deep love is on display because you’re caring for them.  It’s not.  When they see you, they see the critical face, and “what’s wrong now?”  The advice was simple: Let your face speak what’s in your heart.  When they walk in the room let your face say ‘I’m glad to see you’. (p. 223)

There are so many barriers to this simple advice–being at odds with your child, your own depression and troubles, stress, exhaustion, and perhaps a relationship that is not reciprocated.

What I personally enjoyed about this simple advice was the fact that it’s sincerely easy.  Maybe at some point I’ve experienced the list above in some fashion, but if I remove the layers in my mind and remember the tender mind and soul of my child, I realize the importance and power I have to show love and affection in a single moment.  It’s not a long gushing, over-the-top action but a simple pause that says I recognize you as a human soul that needs love and acceptance.

Think of the last time you showed up to an event without someone to walk into the room with you.  The person who reached out with a smile, a hug, and a “glad you are here!” made all the difference in the world in that moment.

Yesterday I walked into an unfamiliar setting with my job.  Due to various events and actions, I had to work at my “leadership presence”.  I left feeling good about advocating, but I was exhausted and questioned why these actions and attitudes had to take place.  Not only can we make a difference in our family with this simple action, but we can make a difference in our place of employment.  Be the person who is kind and reaches out even if it’s not given in return.  My greatest earthly hero in unconditional love is Mother Teresa.

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Our ultimate perfect hero is Jesus—

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.

Luke 23:34

All You Need is Love–His Love!

I’m amazed how God uses the smallest of details to reiterated and firm up His work in us.  Sharon Thomas from Established Footsteps has an amazing study on Romans 8.

http://www.establishedfootsteps.com/abiblestudy.html

If you click on the link above you’ll see to the right a link to hear a study from her on Romans 8 and a worksheet for your quiet time.

At lunch yesterday, I was chatting with my 9-year-old about the study. She interrupted me with an example of her choice.  “It’s like this mom–if you wake up in the morning and keep saying that something bad is going to happen today, you’ll never want to leave the house. You will be all chained up and bound up in fear.”  She had not heard the study, so I was completely amazed at her knowledge that she naturally had from God within her.  We took it a step further together and talked about what to do when bad things happen.

It’s something about your children confirming a truth.  It’s a God moment.

I’ve been a Christian for umpteen years but I feel like a baby in Christ when it comes to fear, worry, and feelings.  I feel completely bound up in these areas–no freedom.  I long for heaven to be free but struggle with an abundant life on earth.  The enemy comes in with condemnation of “you are the only one” or “you’ll never be healed”.  If he can isolate you he can keep you bound up.  Part of bondage is never confessing or acknowledging the struggle for fear that you are less than perfect.

What is freedom in Christ? God sets us free–He already did it through Jesus.  It’s done!

I’m not obligated to the thoughts and feelings of others or the thoughts and feelings about myself based on shame.

Obligated: Bind or compel (someone), esp. legally or morally.

It’s not about me.  God desires for me to be obligated to His freeing love.  His love reaches to the heavens!setfree

Parish and I went to a wedding last night.  In the middle of the marriage ceremony the pastor prayed a prayer that seemed out of context and directly related to my heart struggles.  I began to tear up.  He beseeched God to help us focus on the beauty of our world and the beauty He has for us to enjoy.  He acknowledged worry, fear, and bondage that keeps us from being free and joyful. He prayed a similar thought from Sharon’s message of choosing to focus on the goodness of God and His love.

His Word says we are not obligated to live by the flesh!  We can choose to think and act differently.  The Holy Spirit–the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead–is living in you as a Christian, and you have the power to overcome your flesh.   I don’t have to feel what bubbles up inside of me.  I can take what I know about God and His promises and be obligated to Him, not flesh.

I believe strongly what causes an obligation to our flesh and feelings is rooted in life events and choices that if we don’t obligate ourselves to the feelings and fear around the event or choice, we actually feel foolish or a sense of betrayal.  We owe it to the other person or ourselves to feel or think this way.  It’s justified.  Maybe.  But how many years can we live bound up? You will never control another person.  You can only produce change within you.

A wonderful coworker and friend had on her Facebook page “All You Need Is Love”–it was a note, I think from her sister to her.  I imagined how significant that small message was for her to be posted.   I concentrated on the line/song and thought about “all we need is love”–His love.  I smiled.

As the wedding party was marching out, the song they played was–yes– “All You Need Is Love” by the Beatles.  I laughed.  Parish said, “Good song!”  I smiled at him–“you’ll never know how good that song is for me right now”.

All we need to really know is His love………..

Within the power of His love, I am not obligated to my feelings, shame, or fears …..

Wrap me up in Your love Jesus–I am completely obligated to YOU!  FREEDOM!

Your laws are always right; help me to understand them so I may live. Psalm 119: 144

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I visited the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on two separate occasions.  I marvelled at the two different photo shots of the same building.  It reminded me of His faithfulness no matter the seasons!  He is always there.  His laws are always right–they help us LIVE!

Connecting and Worshiping a Faithful God

Past and present are intertwined and the future held by God alone.  All time is in His hands!

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Finding my way to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, I look to the left and see my past.  Parking in the deck and meandering to my little table to worship, reflect, and create, I sense my future–prayers are being answered.  Across from my table is an old, grey building that used to be a nursing home where I would visit my Aunt Kate.

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I was 9, she was probably 89–she was amazing in the eyes of a little girl. A tiny room housed all her possessions and her greatest gift to share was a candied mint.  I would sit on the bed and suck on the mint forever it seemed.  Even as a child I marveled at how perfectly content she was to be in this room and the twinkle in her eyes.

God’s glory was all around me in the beauty of the birds singing, the trees blooming and shedding their blooms like flowered rain.  I thought of myself at 16 years old at the intersection of Grove and Monument.  Did I know at 47 I would be here, today, with this wonderful life? God is faithful.

Oh Jesus thank you for your faithfulness, your beauty, and your hand in all things.

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I trust you Lord with all the days of my life….