Blogs I've Discovered...

Oh, it is a beautiful world at my fingertips!

Time is of the essence for us all, so we all appreciate a good blog recommendation. There is a blog or two I've removed from my list, and stopped visiting in 2009 - I have not read a word in many months, and likely will never read again. (...and I know I'm not alone in that...I know you "get me", girlfriends...)

Why? Some blogs are boring. Some are intent on pushing an agenda that the writer herself - or himself - doesn't even thoroughly understand. Others try too hard to be profound or positive or inspiring, but instead come across as a little bit whacked or a whole lot insincere. Some are just plain depressing. Lots of talk about raindrops and quietude and wind or livestock and veiled stabs and breathing and deep thoughts and silence, when everyone knows a life lived in community is busy and funny and noisy and messy...and that fact is Genuinely Wonderful (as opposed to Simulated-ly Wonderful).

Ya'll know what I mean, don't you?

For every blog I have stopped reading, I have discovered at least two inspiring replacements. I have found some absolute treasures. I promise, you will find beauty and fun, authenticity and inspiration, without the not-so-hidden negative agenda.

Breath of fresh air, eh?


holy experience

I'll stop here, because on these few blogs, you will find enough fun, thought provoking, grace-or-beauty-filled links to keep you busy for a cozy evening or two.

By the way, be sure to visit the blogs of Harvest Church folks. You'll find some gems! And if you have or know of a blog that celebrates grace, the Christ-life, truth, and beauty, be sure to share the link with me. Who knows - I may love it so much, it becomes part of my routine, too! (You know they say blogs have replaced the "morning paper". We all wake up with our cuppa coffee, and our precious few favorite blogs...)

My love to all of you...

A Few Things That Matter (Sorta...)

Roll-on perfume. Viva La Juicy roll-on perfume. Quick. Inexpensive. Portable. Doesn't leave you in a cloud of cloying scent. Will not bother anyone's allergies, since the application is under your full control. You can literally just touch this to your pulse points, if you wish. (Is there anything...anything worse than cloying, sickly sweet, overpowering perfume?)

Where has this baby been all my life? Love it. It is the answer to one of the biggest fashion blunders I've seen (or rather smelled), which is to wear a bad perfume, or to wear a good perfume badly. Hint: don't wear a scent designed by an old lady. Hey. Faithful are the wounds of a girlfriend.

It is a new year - a great time to edit your closet. There is nothing unspiritual about wearing beautiful clothes. You're going to wear clothes anyway, aren't you? You will be spending a certain amount this year on your wardrobe, whether you shop retail, or like me you often shop resale. Might as well wear something stylish, even at home, when no one sees you but your husband and children. Especially when no one sees you but your husband and children.

While we're on the subject of fashion, I am eyeing a new addition to my stable of boots:

If you are at all familiar with quality boots, these look almost exactly like the classic Frye boots, don't they? I don't know about you, but you will not catch me paying $250 for a pair of the real things. Well. I am about to make your day.

Target carries these knock-offs for $49 and change! Yes, they are real leather. Yes, they are well made. I've checked. Can we say "cute"?

Here is a picture of the real thing:

Can you tell the difference? Neither can I. Give the two hundred dollars I've just saved you to your church's missions fund.

One last word: scarves. Find yourself one or three beautiful scarves to wear in your hair, with your layered long sleeved T's, with your winter coat or leather jacket. By all means, get something colorful. And while you are at it, no matter what you weigh, toss out some of the black stuff in your closet. Just do it. You'll be glad you did.

...says she who is, at this very moment, wearing a black wrap least it is over a jewel-toned T...

The Dominion Mandate

"The woman who rules her own spirit is better than she who takes a city." Prov. 25:28

Better. Some things are just better - Old Covenant and New, they are timelessly better. I don't know about you, but I was Created for Conquest, Destined for Dignity, Mandated to Mandate...and in the process, I am being a good steward of the manifold (read: many, many, many varied expressions) of the grace of God.

The greatest land, yet unconquered, is the terrain of the soul...the renewal of the mind...all things being brought into conformity to the nature of God. I've made great strides in the taking back of soul ground in recent years. I've reached that place where the target plot of self-soil was "tightly shut up...none came out, none went in." (Joshua 6:1)

I've even marched seven times around my obstacle/habit/old unrenewed, untransformed thinking/negativity/depression/unforgiveness/fill-in-the-blank. Had it well contained.

But I stopped short of, "Shout..."

...that sound of victory that must come before the walls crumble once and for all time.

Nothing falls without the shout. I can corral and contain, I can circle seven, and even seventy times seven, relishing in my obedient self discipline...and yes, the marching seven times around was part of The Plan.

But at some point, there has to be supernatural grace. My best human effort will not bring the obstacle down. There has to be a Final Falling of the walls of the stronghold. There has to be a shout of faith.

Take dominion, oh my soul!

"Shout! For God Has Given YOU The City!"

What are you to lay seige, circle as many times as it takes, and finally shout over? The restoration of broken relationships? Needed finances? Unhealthy extra weight? Habits of disorganization or ruts of negativity? Stolen joy? Ruling and reigning right where you are makes you a better woman than she who takes a city. Through your God, you CAN do valiantly, because He is the Valiant One! Christ in you...Christ as you...all things subject to His authority, all illegitimate rule under His beautiful feet.

Rockin' The New Year!

I have loved the holidays this year...and I love that they are over. There is something so fresh and shiny and hopeful about the New Year, and 2010 is no exception. This being the first Monday of this fresh decade, I found it fitting to get it going right.

Then, it got itself going right. Shortly after I awoke, it began to snow. Beautiful, delicate flurries that danced first one way, and then another, as the frigid breezes shifted outside my window. No accumulation - just loveliness. My youngest went to his educational cooperative classes, so I had the day to myself to work and plan. I selected an acoustical guitar CD for the Bose and put it on "repeat", creating a tranquil sound palette that blended perfectly with the day's mood and flurried-ambiance.

About half way through, I stood, taking a break and sipping hot coffee and looking out my kitchen window at a dozen sweet songbirds filling the bare branches of my tree. I couldn't have staged a better scene for my thoughts to gather around.

There we were today, Tim and I - just we two. We had been working separately, but together, in the same house all day long. Neither of us idle for a moment, neither of us bored in the least. (He worked from his home office today.) There were not many words exchanged, but not because we are distant. The house was full of a delicious quiet. We were both working on our own Vital Thing, each aware of the other's presence, each content with the other's presence. A full-some sense. A good day.

I thought of all of you, and how to communicate the sweetness of these I did what I usually do. I reached for my point and shoot digital, and began to frame the images and look for the words.

The dining room table became my desk for the day.

My Tim, at his desk.

Our lunch...(oh, if you knew how rare these
quiet afternoons are for us, you'd indulge me
even beyond this! For you, dear reader, are kind...)

I discovered the prettiest 3X5 spiral index cards with
decorative edges, upon which to write out the new
daily schedule...hopefully dividing up all my repeating work into six manageable units. I'll let you know how it goes. Every day has lots of purpose, shall we say?

A ten hour day, basically...and I still haven't gotten to my blog-tech research. I'll do that as soon as I hit...

...publish post.

I Do Aspire

To live content with small means....
To seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion....
To be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich....
To study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly....
To listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart....
To bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never....
In a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common...this is to be my symphony.

~written by William Henry Channing, but wholeheartedly embraced by yours truly.

Never has there been so much in my life to love. I have come closer in this season to living the life I've dreamed of, than ever before. Most importantly, the voice of God and the touch of God upon my life grows, "unbidden and unconcious", and radiates great joy into my so-called ordinary day. I find myself wild with joy while parking the car, singing God's praises, my heart full of creative ideas. This is all quite spiritual, yet largely unbidden - the Spirit just shows up, the presence of God manifests to my heart, heaven blows me a kiss, and an ordinary day becomes an encore of the miraculous.

"This is to be my Symphony..."

Creating Reality from Inspiration...

My youngest twin daughter gets married this March. We're in the planning stages. It is the barest of beginnings, but we've officially gone from abstract to concrete. We've looked at photograph after photograph, design after design (oh, the miracle of internet!), inspiration after inspiration...and now, we've actually picked up a few things to get us started.

the Color Story! "Soft metals", i.e. vintage golds, pewters, pops of merlot, the colors of mercury glass and pearls, combined with earthy brown woods and leathers.

A Theme. There isn't a lush profusion of blooms in mid-March, but there are bare branches, and there are birds. Birds hold a special place in the story of the new couple. They sort of fell in love, or more in love, more-or-less, because of a bluebird. Jonathan, and particularly his father, are serious bird watchers.

I can't believe it is January 2nd. Time's-a-wastin'. Daughter number two will be married in 11 short weeks.


Your God is up to a new thing. This means, it is time to change your mind!

When I say the word "repent", many conjure up images of sackcloth and ashes, and I don't discount that. But repentance is simply a change of thinking. You held to one opinion yesterday - and today, you change your mind to match what God's opinion is.

Psalm 55:19 says this: "...Because they do not change, Therefore they do not fear God."

I have known women who draw inaccurate conclusions, and proceed to stamp them in concrete. They refuse to examine a new conclusion. They are inflexible, and looking back, I don't remember a single time - not one - when they ever said a meaningful "I'm sorry" and I cannot recall them ever changing their mind once they'd formed a personal opinion.

Friends, we were born wrong. We are wrong so often, it is downright scary. To be a woman who rarely changes her mind is to be a woman who has no fear of God. That sends shivers down my spine.

Sure, it is unhealthy to be double minded. To put your trust in an unfaithful person ("given to change" the King James puts it) is unwise. But I hope to be found in Him as one who will change her mind quickly and easily. I want a tender heart. I've seen womanly hearts that should be pliable and sensitive be in reality as cold and unbending as old leather. I've been that way myself - and frankly nothing frightens me more.

New Things have inherent in them the seeds of change. Some of us need to yield to a radical change of thinking.Let this New Year be your time to embrace the New that God is always doing.