10 Things I Would Rescue From My House – Friday Favorites

For this week’s Friday Favorites I walked around my house and asked myself, “What would I rescue from my house if I knew ahead of time that there was an oncoming flood or fire and I could only bring 10 things?” Of course, I would bring my husband, children and most of my pets (just kidding, the cat can come too).

So here goes:

1. I love this piece of furniture, the way the sun glints off of the antique patina.  The way that it came to me is pretty great as well. I was praying and feeling quite low, when a friend called and said that she had been praying and that God wanted me to have this lovely wardrobe. Isn’t He marvelous? And isn’t my friend grand for being obedient?  I like to pretend that it’s Lucy’s Wardrobe from C.S. Lewis’ Chronicle of Narnia.

2. This mirror has been in my family as long as I can remember. My mother got it from a garage sale when I was about four. Some of the plaster is falling off, but I don’t care, it hangs proudly in my living room just the same. By the way, it weighs a ton!

3. I don’t know what this is. A 90 year old woman gave it to me in the mid 1980’s. I love the oak wood, the numbers stamped on the side and I have all sorts of imaginations as to what the holes were for.

4. I call this my Benjamin Franklin desk. I bought it at a garage sale for $50. Can you tell I like golden oak? I like to pretend that the ink stain is from the inkwell spilled while writing the Declaration of Independence. Far fetched since the owner told me that it is a library desk from Indiana…but oh well.

5. I haven’t been baking much lately, as we have been on a sugar fast, so I had to find somewhere to display my cannisters other than on the counter. I love glassware. It took forever to find all three of these pieces, I wouldn’t have to start over just because of a dumb fire or flood…

6. Although this is a new addition to my house, it is one of my favorite things. It fits perfectly in my tiny eat-in kitchen, and I love the fact that it is a drop leaf table so that we can entertain.

7. Out of all the gifts that I’ve received over the years, I don’t think I’ve gotten more use out of anything as much as my kitchenaide. For anyone who hasn’t bought one yet, do it! It’s worth the investment.

8. This is one of the most extravagant gifts I have ever received! I love getting this out every Christmas, and I love that it tells the lovely Christmas story with the figurines.

9. Just after Christmas this year, I received a pack from the descendents of the protagonist of my YA historical fiction book. I treasure these papers! They confirmed everything I knew in my heart about my heroine. I wept when I read them.

10. My life’s work is encased in that white plastic with a half-eaten apple on it. I hope to finish my novel soon, so you can see why it is so special to me…

Now that you’ve seen a tiny corner of my world, tell me what you would rescue from your house if you have a 24 hour advance notice of calamity and you could only take 10 items.

Linking with Starla at Friday Facts.

Why Every Girl Wants To Be Elizabeth Bennett – Friday Favorites (A Guest Post By My Daughter)

Recently, my daughter achieved a life long goal (even though her life has only spanned 17 short years). She is playing the part of Elizabeth Bennett in a local youth theater. Shortly before her audition, I asked her which of the P & P characters she thought I was. Her answer? She said that I was Charlotte. I was insulted. She said that I shouldn’t be, saying how she admires my good common sense and practicability and the fact that I’m able to make decisions without being swayed by emotion. I was still insulted.  After all,  I wanted to be Elizabeth! It was then that I realized that every girl wants to be Elizabeth Bennett.  So for this Friday Favorites, I’ve asked my daughter to write an essay on the matter. Continue reading

Making Pillars: Testifying to God’s Goodness

Jacob was not a nice person. Taking advantage of his brother’s hunger, he tricked his brother out of his birthright. He was a deceiver. That is what his name means. He willingly fulfilled his mother’s instructions to deceive his father so that he received the blessing that was rightfully Esau’s. Jacob was a swindler. He made deals with Laban, and then tried to influence nature against Laban, for his own prosperity. The only thing really endearing about the youth of this biblical character is his love for Rachel. Continue reading

Friends in Cyber Places

This blogging thing? It’s given me something I never dreamed of. I tend to be kind of old-fashioned progressive. You know the type, I realize that cursive is becoming obsolete, but I grieve it’s death, kicking and screaming the whole way…bordering on denial.

As a regular scoffer of online relationships, I never dreamed that I would make REAL, lasting friendships in the blogosphere. I called them “virtual” friendships. And the “virtual” Free Dictionary defines this word: Existing in the mind, especially as a product of the imagination.

But these friendships have moved beyond imagination, and to reality. Comments have led to e-mails, e-mails to phone calls and now I even have a few meet-ups and visits on my agenda with these evermore becoming “Real” friends. They have encouraged my writing, picked me up when I was down, called just to chat, checked on me when I announced that my husband lost his job…and one of them even offered to help financially so that my children could receive Christmas presents. Though it wasn’t necessary in the physical, the offer was essential to the healing of my worried mind, assuring me that all would be well.

How I have loved getting to know these dear hearts. Each one is so different. Adela was the first to contact me. She sent me an unexpected e-mail declaring, “Let’s be blogging BFF’s.” Her wonderful blog Once A Little Girl never fails to fill me with wonder as she remembers things from her childhood in the voice of her younger self.

Jennifer Ferguson’s sweet spirit reaches through the screen to give you a warm embrace. Shortly after arriving on the blogging scene she invited me to be a part of Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood, a blogging community sharing blog links on Tuesdays. Our friendship has grown like a rising loaf of yeasty bread…Yum (Can you tell I’m fasting bread?)

I started reading and commenting on Renee’s blog Lessons From Teacher’s and Twits and stalked her like a rock star. Her posts were filled with wittiness and humor and occasionally a little heartbreak. It wasn’t until I wrote a post about quitting blogging that I realized that I was even a blip on her radar. She held up my arms as in the story of Moses, and stirred up the blogging community to do the same when I considered a permanent break from blogging.

And then there’s sweet Emily. Emily who is in every way an artist, who feels every emotion deeply and dishes out compassion and gooey love straight from the heart of Christ. Her paintings and her prose are full of the pain of beauty found in heartbreak; the love that binds together a man and woman as well as the product of their love; and the joy of life walking with Him. What can I say about her other than that to know her is to love her?

And there are others, too many of you to mention. But know that you are all an unexpected treasures to me.

I recently had a conversation with my son about how surprised I was at the sincerity and depth of friendship I had been experiencing through this blogging experiment. He chastised my old soul with the wisdom that often defies his eighteen years. “What’s the difference between blogging friends and pen pals? Would you say that a pen pal wasn’t a “real” friend?” So there you have it. Wisdom from an eighteen year old boy, living in a 21st century world, redefining the word “friend”.

Sharing with my good friend Michelle:

and budding friendship with L. L. Barkat: On In Around button

and with Lovely Laura:

and I have shared 4 people I am thankful for with Ann:

my beautiful friend Emily:

Big News!! I’m Expecting!!!

But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.
Isaiah 40:30-31

I know, I know it sounded like I was expecting a baby, but in a way I am. I am pregnant with expectations! Remember Narnia? Aslan is on the move? The Holy Spirit is on the move and He hovers over my life just like He hovered over the face of the deep.

What will He do today? Will He show me a hidden treasure? Will He whisper sweet somethings in my ear? Will He caress my cheek with a breeze? I’m expecting Simple Pleasures and Hidden Treasures with Him today. What an adventure!

As I’ve written previously EXPECT is my word for the year….Are you interested in finding out more about the one word movement? Check it out here.

One Word: Expect!

The New Year brings a clutter of new habits I’d like to enforce. After all, Erasmus said, “Habit is overcome by habit.” Already I’ve found myself embracing four spiritual tracks, and this is after I’ve sworn to KISS, keep it simple stupid. This is why I love the One Word 365 movement. This project encourages others to choose one word to concentrate on for the year. If I can’t focus on one word, then I have a real problem! So my choice you wonder? EXPECT!!

I have been expecting all along, but I’ve been expecting the wrong things. Have you ever noticed that when you expect the worst, the worst you get? So I’m expecting amazing things this year! I’m expecting to see God’s promises as true. I’m expecting to finish my novel, and dare I publicly announce, I’m expecting to sell it? I’m expecting great things here at this site. I’m expecting better health, and relationships…but most of all, I’m expecting to know Him better.

What one word do you plan on embracing for 2012? Are what are your expectations for the year?

I’m sharing this here. On In Around button

and here.

Epiphany Quest! – A Blogging Neighborhood Bible Study – Week 1

After praying and fasting I feel that the Holy Spirit has directed me towards a theme for the Blogging Neighborhood Bible Study in 2012. I take this task with trembling and trepidation, for I recognize the weight of responsibility I carry in sharing God’s Word with others…but o that I would cause a hunger and thirst for a desire in you, dear reader, for your own personal quest. O that you would desire to journey towards the epiphanies He holds for you and you alone, your own Pilgrim’s Progress of sorts.

So, as simple as it may seem, the theme for this year’s Bible Study is found in the name of this blog. Journey Towards Epiphany. And its name is so appropriate this week, in that January 6th is the ancient Christian celebration of Epiphany. The celebration that marks the first Gentiles to find Him as Christ the King.

I am overwhelmed by the mystery of it. Who were these men? How far did they travel? What does it all mean to me? And the first thing that I am struck by is their willingness to listen to their hearts. These men were more than likely Zoroastrians, but more importantly they were Truth seekers. They went beyond the common knowledge of those around them to find what they knew to be true.

You see, the Gospel had been prophesied to the Magi in the book of Daniel during the time of King Nebuchadnezzar, and the Magi of the New Testament likely studied what Daniel and his friends predicted. Just as Abram was called from pagan moon worship to follow a personal God, a Father, these men were called from earthy magic and from astrology to Astronomy. For the Heavens delcare His Glory (Psalm 19)…and they saw it. They had heard about the Truth, and they recognized it.

We only see what we seek for. Many things go unnoticed simply because we have not determined to notice. Days go by without really living; errands and laundry, and work lived without intentional seeking. Ann has inspired me to notice gifts…and my life is richer for it. Now, I hope to inspire you to notice the leading of the Magi in you.

There is a wise man in all of us. One that has seen or heard some “Truth”, something that causes our spirit to cry out “Yes!” I encourage you to take a moment to remember. What was that last morsel upon which your spirit fed? The last bit of Truth that sparked a flame? Now fan the flame.

For the Magi, that bit of Truth was what they heard from previous generations about a coming King. And the more they sought the Truth, the more they found Him. For when we seek Him we will find Him when we seek Him with our whole heart. (Jeremiah 29:13) Friend, what can I say to implore you and I to seek Him with our whole beings? For when we seek Him, we will find Him. Seek and you will find. Knock….pound on the door…until it is opened. (Matt. 7:7-8) For our determined purpose is that we may know Him. (Phil 3:10)

Do you know Him? Do you want to know Him more? Quest for Him. Live from epiphany to epiphany. Feed on Him as He is the Bread of Life. Thirst for Him as He is Living water, and you’ll never thirst for anything else again.

Seeking scriptures:
Deut. 4:29
Pro. 8:17
Isaiah 55:6
Jer. 29:13
Matt. 7:7-8

Luke 11:8-10
Luke 15:7-9
Acts 17:26-28

If you care to share, what was your most recent epiphany?

Sharing with Ann and Jen and Shanda

Hear Those Bells? – Day 9 Christmas Photo Scavenger Hunt

Salvation Army worker
Today’s prompt is a Salvation Army Bell Ringer. There’s nothing more “Christmasy” than hearing a Salvation Army bell ringer. I wonder if you’ll take a look at my past with me? A stroll down memory lane if you will…

I had the most beautiful upbringing in the whole world. Part of this heritage includes a family with its roots entrenched in the Salvation Army. My father, the eldest son of Salvation Army officers started his young family where his foundation lay…at the SA. My mother had her life changed when at 15, after a Billy Graham crusade, she filled out her followup paper work with SA for Saint Ann’s Catholic Church, and the Salvation Army showed up at her door. I have a plethora of family members that has served as officers of the Army and are now retired. As someone who has had the pleasure of watching their lives from the inside, let me tell you, they do the most good.


My own spiritual formation took a turn when I was 14. An uncle from my mother’s side started a non-denominational church and we began attending there. However, there have been key moments in my life when I have found myself right back where I started…at the Army. Two times stand out in particular. Once was the Thanksgiving when my father encouraged my family to help serve Thanksgiving dinner at the corps they were attending. My children were all tweens at the time, and at first they were a little annoyed that our family traditions were going to be “interrupted”. But, by the end of the dinner, I can honestly say that they were truly more grateful for things that previously they had taken for granted.

The other time that stands out in my mind was around the same time as the first. We went to church with my parents who were then attending a Salvation Army church in Janesville, Wisconsin. The Army has much more conservative services than my children were used to, and the congregation there was much more…shall we say ecclectic? First, a lady with a FULL BEARD, stood up and gave a testimony. I gave the “look” to my boys, more than once, and eventually they were so intrigued by her praise to God and to the love and acceptance that the rest of the congregation showed that her that they were okay on their own with my evil eye. Next, a lady with an oxygen tank got up and played the accordian for special music. I’ll never forget my daughter whispering very sincerely and innocently in my ear, “This is better than a circus!”

…and then I realized. How many churches would celebrate these dear ones? Would mine? Even more importantly, would I? I am reminded of an old song we used to sing when I was in the Army. “To love the unloved, in the service of the Lord.” It is service to the Lord when I love those the world calls unlovely. And the unlovable aren’t just those who look different than we do…or those who smell different than we do. Sometimes they are the co-worker in the cubical next to us, or dare I say it, the person we are living with…

Please consider giving to one of the most nobel causes on the planet. The Salvation Army has made the world a better place in so many ways. Won’t you help them do it? If you are interested in contributing to my virtual kettle, you can click here.

Ham barely beat out turkey for most popular Christmas Dinner meat. Today’s poll is for the best picture of a Christmas present.

I know that this week will be busy for all of us, so I’ve decided to post the week’s photo prompts:
Monday – A Gift
Tuesday – Salvation Army Bellringer
Wednesday – Advent Calendar
Thursday – Snowflake
Friday – Nativity

The linkup will be from now through Friday. I will go through the posts and gather the pics for the correct days. Thanks so much for your participation, this has been fun! Link up your post featuring a photo with a theme listed above. Include my blog button, and visit other “hunt” blogs. Stop by tomorrow to vote for your favorite “gift” picture. Have fun! (Blog links must be provided before 7:00 AM CST, in order to be voted on 🙂 ) I have no idea why the number of links doesn’t update…There are participants!

Light Up The World – Day 7 Photo Scavenger Hunt

This is a home down the street from me…The really neat thing is that they are doing a hunger drive by. (There’s a huge tub to put canned foods in, in front of the house.)

I was thinking about outdoor lights, and how merry they make a neighborhood…and it reminded me of the scripture that says we are not to hide our light under a bushel, but we are to be like a light on a tall hill in the city. That kind of sounds like the Hollywood hill. There’s no question where you are when you see those letters on that hill. There should be no question with Whom others are with when they are with us. We are God containers. What a mystery! That God would want to be contained in flesh. I’m so thankful He came here, live and in the flesh! So shine your light today and everyday. By doing so, you show others Whose you are!

Hollywood Fog

Today’s prompt is outdoor lights. You may include a photo or a video.

Congratulations Frances at Frances for her picture of the huge gold star on top of her tree!

Now for today’s poll…

1. I’ve included a picture that a friend of mine took of my snow angel. Her blog, To Tell You The Truth is a wonderful combination of word, and if you look way back she has some amazing photos as well. She is one of my most talented face-to-face real life, lifetime friends. Please visit her!

2. Kateri over from Dandelion Haven has made another fine entry called Angel’s Wings! Don’t you just love the name of her blog? Her writing is beautiful as well.

Link up your post with a picture of a home decorated with outdoor lights! Include my blog button, and visit other “light” blogs. Stop by tomorrow to vote for your favorite “outdoor lights” picture, and find out what tomorrow’s photo hunt will be! Have fun! (Blog links must be provided before 7:00 AM CST, in order to be voted on 🙂 ) I have no idea why the number of links doesn’t update…There are participants!

Linking with:

Sunday Snapshot