Friday, August 26, 2011

My Garden

One of the great joys at our new Irish house is the amazing garden. For someone who has the brownest of fingers (or thumbs depending on what country the saying comes from), a beautiful garden is a wondrous thing. Thought I'd give a quick tour.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

An Very Delayed Update (photo heavy)

So what have we been doing the last six months?

Making some dreams come true at Disneyland Paris:
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And then exploring Paris as well....
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Packing, saying good-byes and seeing a little more of the English countryside.

Jewel went to her first weekend away with the church. She showed all the boys (but one) who was the best at archery! Made the girls proud. (of course she didn't have any pictures).

Had some of my own dreams come true with a trip to:
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Saw an awesome Ladies quarterfinal on centre court:
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Forgot to take pictures of the strawberries and cream...but definitely ate my fill!

Unpacked a few boxes:
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Explored the area near our house:
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Marveled at how quickly time flies as Jewel turned 9!
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A little of what we've been up to.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

In Other Words: Using My Own Voice

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Welcome to In Other Words! I pray today in the words of one of the participating blogs you will find a note of encouragement.

“Don’t sing with a borrowed voice. The one he gave you is the one he wants to hear.”
by Jennifer Rothschild
via Twitter 17 Nov 2010
 It is so easy to get caught up in what we think we should be, rather than what we are created to be.  We listen to voices around us telling us to try this or be this or do this. But, often they are not the things that are designated for us. Or, we watch others excel in their gifts and we wish (covet) that gifting. We measure ourselves against another’s standard and we never seem to measure up. The problem is that we are not supposed to be measuring ourselves against others’standards. Our only measure should be God’s standard that he has given us.
I love to lead ladies’ Bible Studies. There is nothing that gives me more of a buzz than to see a group of ladies sharing their hearts around Scripture. As much as I might aspire for something bigger, my calling has always been small groups. I will never be a Beth Moore or a Priscilla Shirer or a Jennifer Rothschild. That’s okay. My goal should not be to emulate their voice, but to use my own.

Writing and blogging can be a huge trap for us in regards to losing our voice. We can read Pioneer Woman or BooMama or  Big Mama and believe that is how we are supposed to do this blogging thing. We can lose our own voice trying to imitate others that are out there in the blogsphere. Nevertheless, the truth of the matter is that God has given them their voice for their audience. He has given us our voices for our own audiences. We may not know the reasons why one has an audience of thousands and another has an audience of a dozen. We don’t need to know the reason; He does.

Over the last few months, I have experienced God changing my vision of what my voice should be. I have grand plans for writing and ministry and home education and so many things. Yet he has reminded me over and over “the plans are fine, they just aren’t your calling in this moment.” When I chose the theme words of “ponder” and “treasure” at the beginning of the year, I had plans to be consistently writing of the things he would have me ponder. So many times, I’ve sat down to write about something I’ve been learning only to hear a quiet voice encourage me to “just treasure it.” I’m learning this year to use the voice he has given me—and sometimes that means to remain silent. I do not believe that I am called to go totally silent on the blog, but to listen more intently to when to write. I have found in the past that periods of silence often give birth to some of my most prolific writing. I will wait and see what God has planned.

May I encourage you today to listen to his prompting regarding your voice. Don’t try to be someone you are not called to be—you will only find yourself frustrated trying to speak with someone else’s voice. Follow his lead. Trust his gifting of personality and gifts in your life. Use those gifts and you cannot go wrong.

Praying you have a blessed day. Please visit the other ladies who participate in In Other Words. Leave comments and encourage them. And, please, use your voice to join the conversation!

Friday, August 05, 2011

Hosting In Other Words

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Next Tuesday, I have the privilege of hosting "In Other Words" writing prompt. I have chosen something that one of my favourite authors tweeted recently. Please come and visit on Tuesday! I would be honoured if you would write your own thoughts on the quote and link up with us at that time.

“Don’t sing with a borrowed voice. The one he gave you is the one he wants to hear.”
by Jennifer Rothschild
via Twitter 17 Nov 2010

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

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But this disappointment, those tears,
this heartbreak is God’s gift.
In this quiet empty ache, He enlightens.
By it, He plants and grows within me a certainty
that there must be more.
And that He is the More.”

by Jo at Mylestones

I can remember as a child, one time, my daddy stating his dreams. They were the dreams of what he wanted to accomplish on the farm. (I don't know how the subject came up, but I remember clearly the goals). Not long after that, there was one of those "perfect" farming years where everywhere you drove there were miles and miles of gorgeous cotton. Daddy met his "big" goals. In fact, he exceeded them! And yet....he wasn't really happy. Late one night I eavesdropped overheard a conversation where he said something to the effect of "I met my goals, where do I go from here?" It was the first time in my young life I remember thinking that there "needed to be something more."

We've all been there. We have reached the mountaintop only to discover that what creates the dramatic heights of the mountain is the valley floor below. So many of the climaxes of my dreams have found me wondering soon after, "is that all?" It isn't all, we are made for more.

The author of today's quote captures this feeling beautifully in her post (linked above). We are created for more.

There is a deeper hunger than that which we can satiate ourselves. There are more awesome wonders to explore. But they are not in the tangible of this world. They are found in the person of Jesus. He is the More. He is that which we continue to crave even when we achieve all we desire.

Feeling let down by your dreams? Feeling overwhelmed by life in general? Too many disappointments in succession? Know that this is not all there is! There is more. In Jesus, we will find the completeness that we crave.

If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
John 15:10-11.

Loni is hosting today at Writing Canvas. Please join the conversation!

Monday, August 01, 2011

May....ugh August Goals

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In April I wrote:
1. Lose another 5 pounds (slowly but surely)  no
2. Empty another box of genealogy info done
3. Finish another page of Name of God cross stitch (3 1/2 to go) not sure if it was done in April but project completed in June
4. Complete a secret stitching project done
5. Continue using camera in Manual Mode at least once a week not as much as I'd like
6. Investigate things I need to know for the "next big thing" in our life ....

Then, the "next big thing" happened in our life and I spent May and June prepping for and moving and July unpacking. So now, I think, I am back to goal setting mode. We'll see how long it lasts ;-)

August Goals:
1. Write an update post for April-July and then write 2-3 blog posts a week
2. Finish getting school things ready for Sept-Oct
3. Download pictures off the camera in order to accomplish #1
4. Complete 2 Bride's Tree ornaments
5. Complete 4 blocks on big cross stitch project
6. Read one non-school book
7. Enjoy a beach holiday

What are your goals this month?