1 Thessalonians 5:18 - In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Thankfulness. There are countless Scriptures instructing us to give thanks to God in all things. In our society, it seems there is a bent toward complaining, and comparing ourselves with others. I've been guilty of comparing my life with the lives of those on Facebook, or with co-workers. I forget God has a unique plan and purpose for each one of our lives, and comparing doesn't do anyone any good.
I have been attempting to make a more conscious effort to express thankfulness toward God. Even if everything is going wrong, we can always be thankful for the precious gift of eternal life through Jesus our Lord. I read the other day we should keep a journal of all the wonderful things God has done for us. I like that, of course, being a writer :) So, I am keeping track of all the amazing ways God is working in my life, even if it's small, like a kind word I needed at just the right time. I encourage you to do the same.
Have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving :)
I started reading a new book the other day, "Unexpected" by Christine Caine. I'm about halfway through, but I am really learning a lot already. In the latest chapter, she talks about the battlefield of the mind and taking captive every hopeless thought before it takes us captive.
In Matthew 6:31 Jesus said "Do not be anxious." In her book, Christine says "We don't have to magnify our anxious thoughts with our words. Instead, we can choose thoughts full of hope and faith and peace and speak those."
She also says, "I know that taking captive every thought often requires a ruthless fight, and that sometimes it's a minute-by-minute battle. I have often said I am only one thought away from being overtaken by all I have been freed from. But I daily choose to be a prisoner of hope. I do this by giving hope a voice - in what I think and in what I say."
This resonated with me. It's easy to fall down the rabbit hole of negative thinking and pessimism. A lot harder to stay positive and hope, even when everything looks hopeless. I have found sometimes that means not going on any social media, although, truth be told, I have a lot of positive people on Twitter and Facebook. It does mean getting into God's Word each day, and letting our minds be refreshed by His truth.
Enjoy the wonderful month of October! It's full of fall fun, from picking pumpkins to fall strolls in the woods and baking wonderful comfort foods! I'm already making soups and sweet breads. My pumpkin seed recipe is below 😊
Rinse and salt pumpkin seeds
Saute seeds over medium heat in olive oil for 5 minutes
Bake in a pre-heated 325 degree oven for 15 minutes.
I love fall in the Midwest. I'm excited about the cooler days, trees changing color, pumpkin spice and football coming back (I am a Green Bay Packer fan, I live about twenty minutes away from the stadium). The holidays are right around the corner and, honestly, I have already started to decorate corners of my house for Christmas!
I saw a quote the other day, "Writing is a form of worship. It's taking the talent God has given us and creating with Him". I love this, and need to remind myself of it when I'm writing. Sometimes I get distracted with writing "rules" and forget to pray before I write. The words flow from Him, He is the One Who is ultimately the author. He did write the greatest bestseller of all, the Holy Bible!
As the fall season settles in, and I start attending my Bible study again, I want to keep the Lord Jesus ever before me. Falling in love with Jesus is a process we as believers are continually going through until we meet Him face to face. He is a wonderful Savior, and as the song says, "Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before".
I had to glance at the calendar twice today to remind myself it's already August! July flew by. I had a fun day trip to Door County, the picture in this post is from Whitefish Dunes state park.
I was hopeful about my garden this past month, checking it every day. The good news - my tomatoes are doing quite well, the garlic did fine and I believe the carrots will be great. The bad news - someone ate my pepper plant, the cucumber disappeared and my zucchini keeps producing flowers, but no fruit.
Mixed blessings, I guess :) It brought to mind something I read the other day, when God doesn't give you the desire of your heart trust and see if He ends up giving you the heart of your desire. I love that. The Lord loves us and knows what is good for us and what isn't.
Speaking of good, below is a great recipe I found for chocolate zucchini bread. I ended up using zucchinis from the farmer's market :)
CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI BREAD (makes 2 loaves, I usually half the recipe)
2 C sugar
2 C shredded zucchini
1 C canola or vegetable oil
3 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 C flour
1/2 C cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together and pour into two greased loaf pans. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes.
"And the angel said to them, 'Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.'" - Luke 2:10
It's July already, and that brings me great joy! It means summer is in full swing with grill-outs, farmer's markets, a flourishing garden and - my favorite part of July- Christmas in July!
Last Christmas I bought the dress you see in the picture (I did a selfie in front of my foyer mirror with my 20 year old camera. I still haven't bought a phone that can take pics!). Just a spoiler, I am working on a Christmas book that the dress shows up in :)
I love it when QVC air their Christmas in July shows. I love it when the packages start arriving on my doorstep and I tear them open and start anticipating the wonderful season. Last year I stocked up on holiday throws, mercury glass peppermints and wax trees. This year I'm on the hunt for new garland for the fireplace and perhaps a gingerbread house. Hallmark Channel contributes as well with airing Christmas movies for weeks on end. I'm always scanning the decor of those over-the-top decorated houses they feature on the holiday films to get ideas. Truth be told, there is always some sort of Christmas decor up year-round in my house. Right now it's a illuminated bell and a lantern with a snowy scene.
I love to celebrate some of the fun of the Christmas season knowing I still have six months to prepare. Sometimes, when December hits the rush of getting everything done and the pressure to do all the excursions and attend the holiday happenings puts a bit of a damper on enjoying it. Trying to stay focused on the true reason of the season, the gift of salvation through Jesus, gets lost.
Hope you enjoy your July! I am off to bake some Christmas cookie-cuts outs. I bought 3-D cookie cutters this year! Can't wait!
After a long winter and a two-week spring, summer has finally arrived in Wisconsin! We had our first heat wave this weekend, temps in the 90s! My tomato plants will be ever-so happy.
Summer evokes images in my mind of a slowed-down pace and sipping lemonade on the porch. I find the season to be a bit more hectic, though. I'm planning much more road trips than normal (the northwoods in summer is exceptional as long as you have tick spray, anyway), tending to the garden and the never-ending weeds in the yard.
This summer I'm starting a Beth Moore study, The Quest that delves into greater intimacy with God. Isn't that what we all desire? To know God more. It's a never-ending quest, really. It will carry us all through our lives and we still will only know a fraction of His greatness. But with each passing year or season He fills us more. He fills us with the fruits of the Spirit, with His love, His wisdom. It's a glorious journey.
Hoping your summer is filled with God's goodness and blessed times of relaxation :)
Galatians 5:22 "But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
Last week my sister and I went shopping at a small community that boasted a lot of greenhouses. Her and I both love plants and gardening. We were sitting in her mini-van in the parking lot of one of the greenhouses eating our lunch when I noticed in front of us were a row of fruit trees. There were all sorts of varieties, peaches, plums, apples, cherries and I don't know what else.
I noticed the price tag flapping in the wind. I nudged my sister. "Those fruit trees are only $25." We both looked at each other with excitement in our eyes. Neither one of us were looking to buy a fruit tree, but who can resist such a bargain?
We jumped out of her van and began to peruse the trees. When we got to the cherries, I reminded her that our mom had a cherry tree in her backyard when we were growing up. It was heavenly to be able to walk outside and pick a handful. Cherries tend to get bad fast once they're picked. That fond memory was enough to cause both of us to purchase a Montmorency cherry tree.
. I want my cherry tree to produce ample fruit, enough to feed the birds and myself. That is part of the joy of having a fruit tree, the miracle of stepping outside the comfort of your home and picking fresh, amazing fruit.
The Lord wants the same from me. He has planted me in the fertile soil of His Word and has definitely been pruning me! I have had a lot of trials and tribulations the past couple years. I need to be producing the fruits of the spirit for Him. Planting the cherry tree caused me to look inwardly and take a good look at what kind of fruit I'm producing. Am I showing love to my neighbor? Am I patient when I'm stuck in traffic? Do I have an underlying joy even when my circumstances indicate otherwise?
Thanks to my tree that I have decided to plant in the backyard, I have a reminder every morning when I gaze at it out my kitchen window that I need to stay connected to Jesus to produce the fruits of the spirit. As a bonus, it's a very tasty reminder :)
Spring is my favorite season. The long, cold winter gives way to budding tulips, fragrant blossoms and gentle breezes. Right now my tulips have started to come up and I'm outside every day staring at them, as if they will miraculously bloom instantly. I saw my first robin a couple days ago, it's so thrilling to see those cute little birds hopping around the yard with their head cocked, ready to pull up a worm.
It's also the season for new beginnings and fresh starts. I'm wrapping up a Bible study on the book of Joshua, and ready for a new study on Philippians! I'm still editing and writing my books, but am keeping myself open for fresh ideas for my next novel. I'm hoping to be inspired as I start spending more time outdoors walking among the trees and flowers.
I'm even excited about spring cleaning! Not normally my favorite task, I was looking at the refrigerator the other day and decided I need to spend a day soaking the shelves and making it spic and span. The blinds in the living room are next!
Hope this spring season is a blessing to you and your family :)
I love mornings. The world is robed in silence save for the array of cardinals, chickadees and sparrows busily feeding at that hour outside my living room window. Sitting in my comfy chair with a tall glass of fruit smoothie reading God's Word is the perfect way to start the day.
I also like to write in the morning when I'm fresh. My Ragdoll kitty Jingles, however, seems to find the early morning hour perfect for zooming around the house and playing. I will be on a roll typing away when I find myself poked with a little paw accompanied with an insistent meow. Somebody wants to play. I set aside whatever I'm working on and indulge this spoiled little kitty with a rousing game of string or whatever suits her fancy at that hour.
I do learn a lot from Jingles, though. She is perpetually in a good mood. Every day I find her purring, playing and talking like crazy. Yes, she can give a grumpy meow if I am not feeding her fast enough or letting her steal my spot on the couch. But she is never depressed, she greets each day with joyful anticipation.
The Bible talks about keeping a positive attitude in Philippians 4:88 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
I tend to be a worrier, so I believe the good Lord put Jingles in my life to remind me to think on the bright side of life, and give my cares to Jesus. And maybe to give me a little comic relief too.
I just received my heirloom tomato and carrot seeds in the mail. It's exciting to see exotic varieties, St. Pierre tomato, Pierce's Pride tomato and St. Valery carrot and anticipate what they will turn out like.
Last year was the first year I really started gardening. I learned so much along the way. I planted pumpkins, tomatoes, carrots and a zucchini. I researched and researched what to put in the soil (eggshells for tomatoes) and when to fertilize (every eight weeks). I learned gardening was an exercise in faith. When I planted that tiny tomato seed into the soil, I had faith it would grow into a full-size tomato plant. I remember transplanting the tomato outside in May and being amazed at how the stem tripled in size in a matter of weeks. Same with our faith, Jesus tells us if we have faith as a grain of a mustard seed nothing shall be impossible. I'm finding myself trusting Jesus more and more in every area of my life. Believing, even though my faith is as tiny as that tomato seed is, that I can bless others and do great things for God's glory.
At the end of the gardening season last year, I had flourishing tomato plants and thoroughly enjoyed salsa, spaghetti and just a big old slice of tomato on a blt. The pumpkins didn't do quite as well, I ended up with one pumpkin out of six plants. But I did learn how to fight aphids, and also learned my little zucchini probably cross-pollinated and kept my pumpkins from producing fruit. The carrots were oh-so delicious and the zucchini did fairly well. I will take what I learned last season and apply it to this season. I'm already planning more tomatoes, garlic, carrots and zucchini again.
Just like in writing, and in my walk with the Lord, I'm ever learning and pressing on to higher ground with the garden as well. May you be blessed in all that you put your hand to as well!