Monday, January 31, 2011

Counting Them One By One

My counting of gifts continues and there is a change that is taking place deep within my heart.

29.) reading the last words in a book and praying that the words I've read impact me and linger for a long, long time.
30.) having the day off from work so that I could stay home and take care of my son who came down with the flu last night.
31.) a daughter's determination.
32.) a gracious and understanding boss.
33.) beautiful and holy inspired words.
34.) truth that moves my heart.
35.) overripe bananas that make the perfect banana bread for an after school snack.
36.) rest
37.) an afternoon spent with my daughter doing what girls do best - shopping, eating, talking, and laughing. 
38.) the way that my husband and I can make grocery shopping fun.
39.) a friend that made time for me.
40.) 6 days later... a son is well.
41.) a husband that prays with me for God's direction and leading in our life. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cookie Jar

I am always a little cautious when it comes to trying new cookie recipes because I have this thing about knowing in advance that they are going to be good. And how do I define good? It would most certainly have to be soft, chewy and one that I hear things like, "these are so good!" Pretty much every cookie that I make time and time again is because I know they are a tried and true recipe. 

It was late last night, I was tired, but I was also wanting to do a little baking. Our daughter, Jessica was on her way home from work with the news some friends were coming over, so I also thought I would surprise her with something sweet. One way to that girl's heart is cookies!  

And I think I was feeling somewhat brave last night, a little adventurous in wanting to break out from the norm.  I am a chocolate chip cookie kind of girl, and chocolate chocolate chip is even better.  You might think that I am taking this whole cookie thing too seriously, but hey, when it comes to cookies, this is serious business. 

Because I had the ingredients for another cookie I was going to try, but got a big thumbs down on them when my sister made them, I began looking up recipes and found that I had everything I needed for White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies. This was the very first time I have made them, and probably only the second time I've ever even eaten this kind of cookie. Remember, I always go for the chocolate.

I am happy to report that these cookies were a winner and met all my requirements for a good cookie!

They were so good, that my husband is sitting here having them with his coffee for breakfast and I am trying really, really hard to keep my hand out of the cookie jar!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Every Picture Has A Story

The header on my blog has changed many times over the last couple of years and I finally think I have made one that can stay awhile. 

Each of these pictures really do hold a moment in time for me. And has the saying goes, every picture really does tell a story.

So, come and sit awhile and let me tell you some stories. 

I took this picture in the summer of 2007. While visiting my sister and brother-in-law in Nashville, we made a trip to the Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee. Not only is this a beautiful plantation but it is so rich in history. The battle that took place on the grounds of this plantation was one of the bloodiest of the Civil War. Nearly 10,000 soldiers were either killed, wounded or went missing. Four generals lost their lives here which were laid out upon the back porch. Carnton Plantation served as the largest field hospital in the area and within the rooms, you will still see blood stained floors from wounded and fallen soldiers. Following the war, a piece of the property was designated as a cemetery in which 1,500 Confederate soldiers were laid to rest. 

The book Widow of the South by Robert Hicks has forever immortalized the events that took place in just five hours on November 30, 1864.

gate leading to the garden

hydrangeas... my most favorite of all.

This picture was taken the summer of 2009 on our family vacation to Virginia. My parents had just made a recent move there, so not only did we have time with them, but it was a  chance to visit places we may never had thought of visiting before.  One day, we made the drive to Harper's Ferry and once we got off the bus that took us down into the town, this fence was one of the first things that caught my eye. Give me a door, gate, fence, or flower and I could take pictures all day long. 

This was such a fun day walking through the town and imagining what life would have been like so long ago. 

Isn't there also a saying about the longer you are married, the more you begin to look like your spouse? Funny thing is, I don't think we noticed that we were wearing the same colors until we saw the picture!

Last summer, we found ourselves back in Virginia again. This time it was a list of battlefields and the historic Mount Vernon we set out to see.

Walking through the gardens of Mount Vernon, we gazed upon the beautiful flowers, butterflies and once again, we were just enamored with the history that took place there.

There were many wrought iron benches in the garden and along the pathways and I suppose, it's just another one of those things my eye is drawn to.

Sam sitting on the back porch looking out onto the Potomac River. It was very easy to see why this was General Washington's favorite place to be. 

front view of Mt. Vernon

On that same vacation, we also visited the home that served as Stonewall Jackson's headquarters during the Civil War. I think this was one of Sam's (our history buff) most favorite stops. What makes it really neat is that it is even located in my parent's hometown of Winchester, Virginia.

We walked through the rooms of the house, each one telling a story of it's own. Personal keepsakes, photos, and furniture were all on display and again, we wrapped our minds around such a significant time in our country's history.

I suppose it's not only doors, gates, flowers, and anything wrought iron that I am drawn to but steps, and old ones at that.

Sam in the front yard of Stonewall Jackson's headquarters 

Remember what I said about taking pictures of flowers? We have a local flower shop that I love to visit and buy flowers from. This really is my go to place for anytime I need flowers for a special occasion or just to add a little bit of loveliness to our home. 

I came home with several bunches of flowers in my favorite color... white. I sat them out upon the picnic table and not only did I arrange and fill vases, but I took picture upon picture.

 So, there it is, a picture that really is worth so much because I have a story to tell behind each and every one.

The end.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Making Time For Him

These last couple of weeks were going to be "the" week. You know the one. The one in which determination and resolve set in to really, truly accomplish something you long to do. 

For me, it's wanting to get up early and spend time with the Lord. Rising before the sun is up, alarms going off telling it's time to get ready for school and work, demands and responsibilities of the day are still waiting to unfold, and all is silent and still. 

In all honesty, I am really struggling to make it happen. I feel like it's this constant struggle of wanting to, but when the early morning comes, laziness or selfishness always wins. 

As my day continues, I do have times of prayer, reading Scripture, or working on a Bible study. It's just that I know deep in my soul, that I am "fitting" this time in instead of giving Him my best- the time He deserves and the time my soul needs. 

While I know that He is not a taskmaster, and one that demands a certain time of the day in which I give to Him, I do know that He longs for the sweet fellowship with me even more than I do with Him.

I can be my own worst enemy and easily let guilt have it's way. This isn't the way that He wants me to live, I know that. It's just why do I struggle so? 

Maybe it's about establishing steps of obedience that require action on my part, knowing that my heart will follow. 

My word for the year is DISCIPLINE and this is just one area in particular that I desperately want to see fruit in. 

My heart is stirring and I believe that He is showing me how to move forward. How thankful I am once again for His grace and guidance. Most of all, that He loves me still.

Today, from Jesus Calling, I read...

"Let my love enfold you in the radiance of My Glory. Sit still in the Light of my Presence, and receive My Peace. These quiet moments with Me transcend time, accomplishing far more than you can imagine. Bring Me the sacrifice of your time, and watch to see how abundantly I bless you and your loved ones."

Monday, January 24, 2011

Counting Them One By One

And my list continues from this past week...

11. a surprise lunch with my daughter.
12. time spent with friends.
13. chicken noodle soup
14. a hug from my oldest son.
15. my husband's leadership.
16. a changing perspective of what interruptions really are... an opportunity for something significant and holy. 
17. a brother singing and playing guitar for his sister.
18. my husband shoveling a way up to the house for me.
19. abandoning myself to what the Lord wants.
20. snow storms that cause school to be closed.
21. "One Thousand Gifts" finally arriving in the mail.
22. in-laws that come for a visit with homemade vegetable soup, corn muffins, and brownies.
23. a husband watching what I want to on t.v. 
24. sleepy-eyed teenage boys.
25. moonlight that brightens the room.
26. popsicles when you are sick.
27. prayers spoken in the middle of the night.
28. an encouraging email.

Friday, January 21, 2011


We are snowed in today which is perfectly fine with me. As much as I don't care for cold, wintry days, there is something I do love about being snowed in. Perhaps it's the fact that I am a homebody at heart, and the weather today has given me the opportunity to be where I love.

This has been a really good week. One that brought unexpected surprises, moments of taking in the gifts He is giving me and heartfelt conversations. I have set my heart on pursuing Jesus and through that, He is impressing on me what true abandonment really is.

"Abandonment is practiced by CONTINUALLY losing your own will in the will of God; by plunging your will into the depths of His will, there to be lost forever!

What is abandonment? It is forgetting your past; it is leaving the future in His hands; it is devoting the present fully and completely to your Lord. Abandonment is being satisfied with the present moment, no matter what that moment contains. You are satisfied because you know that whatever that moment has, it contains- in that instant- God's eternal plan for you." -Jeanne Guyon ("Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ")

I love that.

I want to go the depths of Jesus. Seeking to know Him and being utterly abandoned to Him.

image found here.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Counting Them One By One

My gratitude list is about the gifts God is giving just to me. They all around me and yet, I can let them slip so easily by. Do I really see Him in everything and everyone around me? Do I embrace, cherish and let them leave a mark on me?  Could my heart beat with His to see and know His handprint and activity throughout my day?

And so, I begin my list. Not just another ordinary list, but one that is going to matter. 1000 gifts I am going to begin jotting down that make an imprint upon my heart.  A list of the grace, love, and affection given to me from the One who was the greatest gift of all.  A list of finding Him in all things...

1. cold, winter breezes that take your breath away
2. a text from my youngest son saying, "I love you, Momma."
3. new opportunities
4. glimpses of the young woman my daughter is becoming
5. the gentle touch of my husband's hand upon my back as he walks by me as I sit at the computer.
6. Sunday afternoon naps
7. days off from school
8. football games, pizza, and playing cards with friends
9. beginning a new bible study (Jonah - Navigating A Life Interrupted)
10. the peace that comes in waiting

I am only one of many, many others who are counting their gifts one-by-one. 
Would you care to join me?  You will be so thankful you did. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Psalm 86:11

In wanting to be more disciplined to memorize Scripture this year, I am participating in the Siesta Scripture Memorization Team over on Beth Moore's blog. This morning when I left a comment on her blog leaving my verse, I read that there are over 9000 women participating. How exciting is that knowing there are so many women out there desiring His word and committing it to memory. I know for me personally, I want His holy words to change me and be everything to me.

I am going to be posting my verse here on the 1st and 15th of every month. So, here is my 2nd verse that I am memorizing...

"Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name." 
Psalm 86:11 (ESV)

My Siesta Scripture Memory Team spiral notebook came in the mail last week and I am so excited to record my verses in it. You can order these through Living Proof ($3 + shipping) and as of yesterday, there is now an app (search for Beth Moore SMT) that you can download for FREE . How fun is that? 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Word For The Year

I figured it was about time to do some catching up here on my blog. For whatever reason, I just have felt like I haven't had anything much to say and every time I would sit down to write, my mind would just go blank. The months of November and December were more busy than usual for our family, but things have finally slowed down, and our familiar routine is here once again. Thank goodness!

This new year began with such a great anticipation of thinking, dreaming, and hoping for all the things God has in store for me personally as well as our family. There is a stirring in my heart of knowing that this is going to be a year marked with adventure, new opportunities, and the desire for some deep spiritual growth.

I've never been one to make resolutions, but there are some goals that I have laid out for myself this year. As I was going back over my list of goals and praying through each of them, there seemed to be a word that kept coming to my mind. A word that would be very much needed for me to see these goals through ... DISCIPLINE.

The goals that I have listed are very important to me at this season in my life. Whether they are spiritual goals or the goal to diet and exercise, there is a resolve in me to get serious and be disciplined. For me, it's taking little steps that hopefully will produce significant growth and change in my life.

One thing that I am committing to doing this year is memorizing Scripture. This was a discipline that I  started doing this Fall and it truly gave me a new love for His word and the power it can have in my life. I began this year with a very familiar verse, but one in which I wanted to set the tone for this upcoming year.

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all of your heart. 
Jeremiah 29:13