hurry up and wait

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hurry up and 

wait- 

what’s the rush? 

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lay down a while 

and feel the lush 

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fresh dewy grass 

beneath my feet 

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a  morning’s walk 

nearly complete

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perched under a kelly-green

foliage canopy

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that’s where you’ll 

be finding me! 

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I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.  Psalm 27:13 

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Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.  Psalm 27:14

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born to fly

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You can’t

keep a butterfly 

down

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born to fly- 

won’t stay 

on the ground 

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flitting and floating 

you’d think it was gloating

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that her post-cocoon

freedom 

was found! 

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“Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest”-  Psalm 55:6

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My girls went back to school this past week.  It spiraled me into a mini- midlife crisis, realizing that BOTH of my daughters are now in high school!   I started thinking about how few years they have left before they will one day “fly”.

That morning, I went to sit up at the cross on the hill behind our church.  It was a beautiful day, despite the extreme heat and humidity.  As soon as I got to the top of the hill, I noticed there were an unusual amount of butterflies flying around me.  One in particular was HUGE!  Bigger than my hand!  It was bright blue and reminded me of a peacock.  Every time it landed, I tried to get a picture of it- and as soon as I took a step forward, off it went again.  It stayed right near me the whole time I was at the cross, never staying in one place long enough for me to get a picture.

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The funny thing is that my girls have become like that, too!  I asked to take a picture of them on the morning before they went off for their first day of school-   “Mommmm…. PLEASE don’t “post” a picture of us anywhere!”

Gone are the days of making them pose for sweet smiley school pictures and waiting with them for the bus at our bus stop… gone are the days of controlling their every move!

They are preparing for take off, shedding layers of their childhood cocoons one day at a time.  And as the days fly by- they are needing me less and less.

It is a juxtaposition of feelings-

both bittersweet and overflowing joy.

“You may outgrow my lap, but never my heart”

– author unknown 

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but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.  

Isaiah 40:31

he who began a good work in you…

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I am excited to share with you something awesome that happened to me recently!

After taking ministry prep classes for over 8 years, this past Friday I was ordained as an elder in the Church of the Nazarene!  Aside from my wedding day and the birth of my two daughters, it was absolutely the most joyous night of my life!

I told my husband I felt like I was getting married all over again- married to the church!  There was a special Ordination Service held this past Friday evening, and there were 8 other ministers from Virginia that also got ordained.

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My husband and daughters were there, and several other family members, and lots of people from my church made the trip to come to the service.  Then during our fellowship time at church yesterday, they had a lovely reception to celebrate.

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As I listened to the sermon during the Ordination Service, the Lord confirmed in my spirit once again that His timing is perfect and I am exactly where He wants me to be. The pastor made many references to the word “green” and “green grass” in his message that night.  I know it sounds a little strange- but the Lord used the word “green” to spark something in me about 10 years ago…

 I hid it well from people, but inside I was miserable- desperate for something to change.  I made every excuse I could why I wasn’t happy… but what really needed to change was ME!

I wasn’t very involved in church back then- I didn’t even sing during the services. But there was this one song that one of the college students would occasionally lead us to sing during worship that I liked.  It had a melancholy tune, vaguely reminiscent of a Simon and Garfunkel song.

As the months passed, I had forgotten about that song.  But the Lord brought it to my mind one Sunday afternoon.  I couldn’t remember the tune or any of the words to save my life!  It was driving me nuts!

And then out of the blue- I remembered one word-

green

I called my husband, who happened to be working that afternoon- and I asked him if he could remember “the song”… you know it, babe- it’s the one that sounds like a Simon and Garfunkel song?  It’s got the word green in it somewhere!  It’s THAT song! 

Yes, he remembered it, but like me- he could not remember the tune or any lyrics.  But sure enough, that evening,  he remembered some of the lyrics- enough to google them,  and find out what the song was.  He emailed me the words and immediately the tune came to mind.

I can’t explain it any other way- I was COMPELLED to sit at my piano and play that song.  Over and over.  Every time I walked past the piano, I’d sit and play and sing it.  In fact, that “green” song was the first worship song I ever played without having any sheet music to go by.

And then one morning, I sat on my old piano bench, and  I remember my youngest daughter was crawling around on the floor in the next room.  I began to play this song that I had been compelled to play for weeks on end… and for the first time, I tried to sing and nothing came out.  Tears flowed down my face as I realized all this time I had spent searching for the words of this song- I had been searching for Him.  And these words I was compelled to sing- He was doing that for me all along, and had already done this for me… He was simply waiting for me to see it.  You know that saying “fake it ’till you make it”?  After all that time of singing praises- finally in that instant, empty words were brought to life in my heart, and His presence was so real.

He was already with me…I had been blind, but praise God- that was the day that for the first time- I could see!

And my response? Total consecration of my life!  On that day, I promised Him I would do anything He asked of me.

My call to ministry began with the Lord giving me the word “green”…. and every time I heard the preacher during the Ordination Service Friday evening mention the word “green” over and over,  He reaffirmed in my heart once again that I am exactly where He wants me.

You turned my wailing into dancing;
    you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
    Lord my God, I will praise you forever.  Psalm 30 

And in case you are curious, here’s a link to the “green” song-“You Have Redeemed My Soul” by Waterdeep-

 https://soundcloud.com/julrayhar/you-have-redeemd-my-soul

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ-

  Philippians 1:6

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Starbucks ain’t got nothin’ on me

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Ok, I admit that I have been rolling through that Starbucks drive-thru a little too frequently.  They just so happen to offer something fabulous for those of us who follow the Trim Healthy Mama approach to food- bacon and gouda sous vide egg bites!  They are so so good that I literally crave them.  And you can’t go to SB without getting coffee, too…. so I had to act fast and do something to protect my financial well being!  I decided to find a copy-cat recipe for these miraculous egg concoctions… and this one is a WINNER!!!!

All you need to make these little bites of heaven are an

-instant pot (have I told you how much I love love love my instant pot!?!)

-a silicone insert that I bought on amazon pretty cheap

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*I did make a couple of changes to the above recipe- I didn’t have sun-dried tomatoes, so I left them out; and I also added shredded gouda cheese instead of cheddar cheese… and BACON!!  I cooked a few slices of bacon and crumbled up 1/4 a slice and put in the bottom of the silicone mold before I poured the egg mixture on top of it… it was perfection!

These egg bites are magical.  They are silky smooth, jiggly, and almost have a cheesecake- like texture.  And the most amazing part is that you can keep them in the fridge for several days, reheat them, and they are JUST AS GOOD as they are the moment you take them out of the instant pot!  These are so good that my whole family battles over who gets the last one!

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my very first batch… a SUCCESS!! 

And to finish my at-home Starbucks experience, my wonderful hubby got me a milk frother.  This thing has turned my morning cup of joe into HEAVEN!

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My favorite Starbucks drink is a breve flat-white.  This is espresso topped with steamed half and half.  It is so so good.  I made a strong cup of coffee and then poured my half and half into a tall glass.  I used the little hand frother and within seconds, the half and half began to thicken up. I poured it into my cup of coffee, added a little monk fruit, some cinnamon… and VOILA-

Starbucks ain’t got nothin’ on me!

Lord, You are my portion and my cup of blessing;

You hold my future-  Psalm 16:6

 

I almost missed it

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lost in wonder

we sat under 

a tree- pensively waiting

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thoughtfully gazing 

we were both praising 

the Lord- and anticipating

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the silent display 

a heavenly array 

we beheld a glorious sight 

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while the world kept on spinning 

the two of us grinning-  

we watched Him turn day into night 

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One evening last week, I got a phone call from my husband.  He had worked late most evenings that week, and he had called to let me know he was on his way home.  About five minutes later, the phone rang again- Babe- grab your shoes and your camera and meet me outside, he says to me.  So I did.  The moment I stepped outside, I saw the cotton candy pink striped clouds through the trees.  Quick! Get in the car!  We drove the short distance to our closest sunset spot, and with each turn we saw the colors fading away.  We parked and the once magnificent display had settled into a dull gray sky.  Oh well. Even though we missed it, it meant the world to me that my husband tried to get me there in time to see the sunset.

Then this past weekend, hubby and I had an evening to ourselves, and to be quite honest- I wanted to sit at home and do absolutely nothing.  But my loving hubby suggested otherwise.  You know how much you love watching the sunset- let’s go find a spot and have dinner.

I was tired.  And I hadn’t seen a good sunset in a while- mostly because I have gotten out of the habit of looking for it.  But how could I resist an evening out with my hubby, with the promise of a sunset view?  So we drove up to one of our favorite spots in town, at the edge of a shopping center.  We parked and sat on the grassy hill, overlooking the valley and it was a magnificent evening.

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On that hill, we sat together and took in all the beauty around us. I was so grateful for the quiet time together.  It made me infinitely thankful for my husband- who loves me enough to get me out of the house- and he always knows just what I need.  Cars were passing by, people were going in and out of the stores… the busy world kept on turning- all while He was painting a masterpiece in the sky.

And if the evening had gone as I had initially wanted it to-

I would have missed out, too.

He went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone. Matthew 14:23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

before the sun sets

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Before the sun sets 

waiting for the afterglow 

watching for nightfall 

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mountains like oceans 

undulating clouds like waves 

a twilight delight 

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playing hide and seek 

sunlight slips behind slivers 

of silver lined clouds 

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50 shades of blue 

the Blue Ridge Mountains aglow 

sun sings her swan song 

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not a single sound 

not a plane nor bird was heard 

just tranquillity 

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little did we know 

peacefulness would disappear 

panic would set in…

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We took these photos on our last evening of our mini-vacation.  My hubby surprised me and took me away for a belated anniversary/ birthday trip to Wintergreen and we had the most amazing weekend!  But our last evening almost didn’t go as planned.

One of the local people told us about this little overlook where there was a perfect view of the sunset.  The last evening, we were prepared to sit and watch until the last glimmer of light was gone.

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The sun had set and after we lingered a while, we decided to head back to our car. The lookout was back away from the road, and the trail was rugged- thick with trees and undergrowth. As we walked off of the trail and onto the street, I held up my keyring in utter disbelief. My car key was gone!  I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as I called ahead to my husband and told him that my key was missing.

I knew I had it when we parked, because I remembered locking the door and then hooking the carabiner onto my camera bag.  We just traded in my mini van for a new car, and I had put the new key on a simple ring and looped it through the carabiner.  Somehow the key had come loose and fallen off.

We were several miles away from where we were staying, it was getting dark fast, and I was beginning to panic.  We decided to walk back out to the overlook and I prayed the whole way.  I glanced from side to side as we walked the trail, and once we got onto the deck of the overlook, I frantically looked for the key.  The slats between the boards of the deck were large enough that the key could have easily fallen through and down onto the jagged rocks below us.  If that had happened, there was no way we’d ever see that key again.  We searched, but didn’t see the key anywhere.

Amazingly, my husband remained calm, cool, and collected… but I felt like I was going to hurl.  Of all the times I have lost my car keys, this was definitely the worst time for this to happen. I kept praying and took out my cell phone to shine some light on our path.  Soon we wouldn’t be able to see a thing! We stepped off of the wooden deck, and I frantically looked at the ground, shining the light from my phone from side to side as I shuffled my feet.

“Oh, God… please, PLEASE help us find this key!!” I repeated this same phrase over and over.

And then a miracle happened.  About halfway down the trail, the light from my phone reflected off of something shiny under a patch of grass. I bent down and couldn’t believe my eyes- I found my key!

I jumped up and down and thanked God!  Man was that a close call! And it was a an important lesson for me to NEVER hook my keys on the outside of my purse, camera bag, or ANYTHING else EVER again!

I will give You thanks, O LORD, with all my heart. I will tell about all the miracles you have done.  

Psalm 9:1

stayin’ alive

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I basked in their peak today

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rose petals unfurled

all the way

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oh how I wish

I could make them stay

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alive

for even just

one

more

day

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My hubby brought home these lovely peaches roses for me last week to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary.  They were the same color as the roses I held on our wedding day.  They were so lovely, and I wanted to take a few pics of them before they wilted…

ah, ha, ha, ha stayin’ alive!

I bet you’re singing that song now 😉

Which reminded me of something my youngest daughter showed me recently…

She came running in the room, snickering, to show me what she had pinned on Pinterest-

“Mom- this is TOTALLY you!”

Now, I could have been TOTALLY offended, but instead I laughed.  Both of my girls crack me up.  They are becoming more teenager-ish by the hour.

I actually did LOL at that one…because I do LOVE taking pictures!  Of practically everything!  

So, maybe I’m not a “professional” photographer- but while I may not make a single cent,  I am paid in full in the joy it brings me to capture beautiful things and moments on camera!  Just the other day I was looking at pictures on my phone and happened to scroll through over a year’s worth of pictures, and I was so grateful for every single moment I was reminded of.  Even my youngest daughter’s numerous crazy selfies brought a smile to my face!

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And you know what is so special about looking back at all the pictures we take?  It’s not about how we looked in them, or where they were… it’s about who we were with and how we felt during those moments.

And these flowers, well they are going in the trash soon…but when I see these rose pics I will remember the love I felt for my hubby as he ran up the stairs to surprise me that morning last week.  Priceless! 

So whatever hobbies bring you joy- even if you aren’t the greatest at it- keep on doing what you love!

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  Colossians 3:17

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You’ve captured my heart

 

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It’s a wonderful delight

in the absence of sunlight 

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to sit and gaze upon 

a yellow bloom 

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A flower big and bright

I smile at the sight

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a little bit of happy

fills the room

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We sang one of my favorite worship songs this past Sunday- Beautiful One.   I love how you can sing a song a hundred times, but God still makes it new in your heart!  I heard this line-

You’ve opened my eyes to Your wonders anew, You’ve captured my heart with this Love...

As we sang this song, I began to think of all the ways He has “captured” my heart over the past week… little things– like a random phone call, or a simple text message from a friend.  A compliment from a stranger, the perfect song on the radio at just the right time…

And yesterday He captured my heart again!

Last week, I had planned on going to pick sunflowers, but I ended up unable to go.  There’s just something special about sunflowers- I can’t stop smiling when I see them!  I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to go, but didn’t think much about it afterwards.

Well, just yesterday someone out of the blue brought me a bouquet of the longest, most beautiful sunflowers!  She knew how badly I wanted to go pick them last week, and wanted to brighten my day.  Such a simple gesture- but He captured my heart once again!

“You’ve opened my eyes to Your wonders anew, 

You’ve captured my heart with this Love, 

’cause nothing on earth is as beautiful 

as You”

…that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever.  Psalm 30:12

 

 

 

 

He has made me glad

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I had someone recently tell me they were looking for a sign from God.  I told them that He is always faithful and will give them exactly what they need -in His perfect timing!

I know this because He has been so faithful to me.

With no stream in sight, lately I’ve felt like I am walking through a desert.  As someone who wears her heart on her sleeve at all times, I’ve cried more in the last week than I have in ages.  I HATE to cry.  Especially in front of people.  It is humiliating, embarrassing, and makes me feel weak. But sometimes I just can’t stop the tears from flowing, and I have stopped fighting it.

I arrived at church Sunday morning, and was sitting at the piano- praying and getting ready to begin our worship practice.  As I sat there, I got a text from a friend saying they were praying for me.  I responded, letting them know how much their prayers meant to me and to share with them that I had been feeling very “down” this past week.

As soon as did I hit “send” on my response, I saw someone enter the sanctuary- all smiles, and holding a flower.  I got up from the piano as she came to the stage.

“God told me to give this to you today!”  She had cut the bloom from her yard that morning.

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I cried- yes, again, lol–  but this time they were tears of joy!  It was a gladiola bloom.

“He has made me GLAD,” I said as I hugged her, and in that instant the joy of the Lord flooded my heart.

He is with us, and He shows up in the most wonderful ways!

And always right on time.

For You, Lord, have made me glad through Your work;
I will triumph in the works of Your hands.  Psalm 92:4 

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Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  1 Peter 5:6-7

 

 

Get your business done

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One of the first things I do every morning is take my dog outside.  We don’t have a fenced- in yard, so one of us takes him out on a leash at least 3 times a day.  This morning was not unlike most others- I was hoping it would be a quick step out the door, that my boy would get his business done, and I’d be back in the comfy confines of my homestead within minutes.

Not so.

In fact, I put so much confidence in my dog’s ability to get ‘er done quickly that I didn’t even put my shoes on.  He sniffed, and then proceeded to lick the dew off of every blade of grass.  He looked into the air and inhaled the aromas of the morning.  He was completely savoring and enjoying every second we were outside.  Not me.

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I, on the other hand- stepped on every rock and stick that happened to be underfoot. Impatiently, I muttered under my breath…come on!!  go potty!!”  I did everything I could to hurry him up.

After he took me around the perimeter of the yard twice, he led me across the street before finally getting his business done.  Ouch! I muttered as I tiptoed my bare feet across the rocky asphalt.

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As he took the time to find the perfect spot to relieve himself, the Lord impressed on me the importance of being intentional about getting our own “business” done…the things we do and the things we say.  To be purposeful with our words and actions and not rush through things.   To breathe in the air around us and be thoughtful about what we are doing and where we are going.  To take the time to prepare for whatever business we are going to take care of.

And to never leave the house without my shoes on again!

Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not.  2 Timothy 4:2

*btw- if you need a laugh today, watch this…