I often think of my life as a garden. Sometimes certain blooms pass away as their season of beauty and life have ended. And then there are times of weariness when I do not even have time to weed my garden. But the blooms are still hidden there. This kind of describes my friendships in this phase of my life. I look around my garden and see where friends who were at one time blooms in my life have just faded away. It is not that they were not a blessing to me in the appointed season, but the blossoms of their presence are no longer there. I recall the beauty of their company and will always be grateful for the joy they brought into my life.
On the other hand, my garden at times has become full of weeds making it more difficult to recognize the vibrant blooms hidden within. The weeds are friendships that were never really healthy or unconditional. However, with time the Master Gardener,my Heavenly Father and best friend of all, is faithful to slip on His gardening gloves and go to work Himself in cleaning up and beautifying my garden in a season in which He has told me to rest.
This is exactly where I am. Much weeding has been completed. And left behind are a few blooms in my garden who are full of color, gentleness, love, and grace. These represent new friends as well as old friends. The new ones I have discovered in the recent desert places of my life. The old friends are some I have had for years . They were always there. They were just hidden for a time.
Today, I want to honor a new friend I met here in Arizona. Her name is Meri. When we first moved to Arizona it took many months to start meeting people. This was frustrating to me and I was trying to cook up all kinds of ways to meet new friends.I even tried some of them, but they did not seem to work. You know we are always told in the world that if you want something to go out and get it. And I still believe this is a wise suggestion in certain situations. However, I continued to sense the Lord say, "Just rest, wait, and stop trying to make things happen on your own."
Therefore over the last year, I have watched my master Gardener weed my garden and plant new blooms. And the new ones seem to be popping up here and there in His timing and in His way. I kind of like it that way. In addition, I have mentioned in some of my other posts about my new found interest and passion of art. One day I was in the book store and picked up two copies of Somerset Studios, a publication of mixed media art. I sent one copy to my artist and childhood friend in San Francisco. About a week later, she contacted me and told me to look on page 3.
This is the copy of the publication I picked up at Barnes and Nobles.
Here is one of Meri's pieces of art within the publication.
So I did as my friend said and looked on page 3. Under the lovely art piece was the name, Meri Wiley of Gilbert, Arizona.I googled her and came across her lovely blog and decided to leave her a comment. She graciously extended an invitation to come over to her in-home art studio for a tour. Needless to say, I was tremendously inspired by all of her creative abilities.
Soon after, my daughter Sara and I took two classes from Meri which just further prompted and motivated me to try new techniques in creating art. Not only has Meri been a tremendous inspiration but she has been a mentor as well as an encouraging friend and support.
I really just wanted to honor her today. This precious lady has endured many hardships along the way, especially in her health. However, I am amazed by her tenacity as well as her perseverance to continue to do the things she loves. She is a successful artist as well as leader because she sows seeds that multiply wherever she is present.
To me, a successful person is one who values the most important things in life, people and relationships, and takes time to invest in those lives in order that they may succeed. Fruitfulness is the badge of this invigorating lady whom I am blessed to know.
I encourage you to check out her blog at www.imagimeris.blogspot.com and check out some of her original arts and crafts. She has invented some of the most precious dolls and mixed media art. To visit her blog and her etsy shop click on the links in the right column. She also has many of her items on sale.
The first time I visited Meri's studio I saw this lovely piece and wanted to buy it. I recently noticed she had it on sale, so I immediately emailed her and asked it she would save it for me until I could get over there to pick it up. Now this lovely mixed media art piece is displayed in my living room! These are some close up shots of her lovely detailed work. The "JOY" plaque is supposed to be a Christmas decoration. However, I will probably be leaving it out year round!
Meri's work has also been published in Somerset Studio Gallery. This is another lovely art publication. This is a photo of one of her many beautiful mixed media art works!
I am so thankful for the precious people the Lord has brought into my life this past year. These are wonderful individuals whom He has handpicked to be a part of my life. Most of my friendships used to be mainly people I went to church with. However, it is exciting to watch God connect me with special individuals from different walks and different places. And I appreciate them as rare blooms in my life.
I have a sweet friend, Tausha, who lives in Georgia. I have not known her very long, but she is always such an encourager. This week she keeps surprising me with these precious photos of twin girls. This week has been exhausting physically and emotionally. So just little things like this are like little messages from God to my heart. I cannot imagine my belly stretching any more than it is stretched. I still have about 8 1/2 weeks to go for the girls to be considered full term. Wow, my belly really itches from all the stretching! I am NOT complaining though...stretch belly stretch! And I cannot imagine what giving birth to two babies will be like. It boggles my mind to even think of it. Lord, please continue to give me strength for these next weeks. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Thank you for giving me little messages of hope especially on the days when I feel so weary. Your grace truly is sufficient!
There are those days when we are down and feel alone. Then we may feel guilty and accuse our own heart of having a pity party and being self focused. Honestly though I do feel alone today. I am grateful, but discouraged...can both exist at the same time? I guess so because I am experiencing it. And yes, maybe I am having a pity party...but I am human.
Sometimes I feel like people watch because secretly they really want to see you fall so they can say, "AHA...I told you so." You really do not sense that others want to see you succeed and have a fruitful life especially when your life is a bit different from theirs. That is enough to sometimes make me want to shut my heart to all people.
There are really not many cheerleaders on your team when you are a bit different from them. Do people forget that all people have feelings? Others can be so aloof and cold and hurtful.
It is difficult not to become like one of them when I mostly try to be the opposite. I am not one to withhold encouragement. I am not one to judge others for difficulties they are going through. And I try to show kindness to all. No, I am not saying I am perfect, but I do attempt to treat others as I would like to be treated.
Sometimes I feel like people who are supposed to be there for you really have never been. And I have to forgive them over and over. And when I feel alone, I feel so bad for feeling that way. Most people would say, "Suck it up!"
Well all I have to say to that is, "I am a human being with a heart that sometimes hurts." So if someone is telling me to suck it up, then they are not a good friend.
I am learning more and more that people do not want counsel, they want understanding. So I am learning more and more to keep my mouth shut and to listen to the cries of their hearts.
And I have to continue to give....without strings attached, because that is what the Lord does. The world mostly wants to get something from someone. And so many give because they hope to get something back. I do not want to be that way...
So folks there you have it...a heart at home...not always up to par! Sometimes weak, sometimes discouraged and weary, sometimes lonely. I am real....I am me with weaknesses and strengths. To pretend to be otherwise would be a life of lies.
When I am weak, He is strong. So I know my Lord is on stand by. I have called for Him. He will show up soon.
Now on a lighter note! I am such a noodler! Jumping in my thoughts...from here to there....Here is my autumn table! I am such a frugal freak. I bought a 6 dollar silk mum on sale at Michael's. And everything else I pretty much had already! I stuck the little scarecrow in the flower myself. Everything else on the table came from the infamous DOLLAR TREE!!! I love the fall, even though we are still having 100 degree weather here in Arizona, the evenings are cooling down nicely! John and the boys cleaned up the spa this past weekend, so the kids are enjoying getting in at night! And I do not have to give as many baths!!! Oh the terrible Mom I am...smile!
Thanks for stopping by and sharing in my life today! Thanks for letting me be me...simple me!
For about 8 months now I have been writing for a new website called Stage of Life www.stageoflife.com I believe the founder of the project found by blog by google searches or something similar. I have enjoyed being a part of this team so far and have also enjoyed watching it grow.
However, this week, I was having some doubts about whether I should continue to contribute to the site. I wrote to the CEO and expressed my concerns that many of my articles are seemingly "unrelatable" in that our family dynamic is not of the norm and many may not be able to relate to our life style and views about family.
However, I was blessed by his response in that my faith is something that people seek out. The world is looking for answers. And if I can be one who only stands and points my finger to the WAY (Jesus Christ) through my piddly little blogs, then I will gladly continue on. This is my latest post. You can also visit the site at www.stageoflife.com to read many articles about the various stages of life we all find ourselves encountering in different seasons of our life's journey. This week the writers were asked to choose something from the news headlines and relate it to our stage of life. So here it is. Hope you are refreshed!
FLOODS OF RAIN, WATERFALLS OF GRACE
Yesterday's headline news, Southeast Floods Block Highways: Toll Rises to 8. I never really saw any headlines as I am not a big news freak. Okay. I hear your thoughts out there is cyberspace.! Yes, it is important to keep up with what is going on in the nation and the world. However, I try not to focus too much on the negative news which continues to flood our media. It is too distracting, at least for me.
However, when my 19 year old son, who lives 1900 hundred miles away in Atlanta, sent me a text saying that some areas there were under as much as 5 feet of water, this mom went running straight to the weather channel to see what was going on . And of course my prayer line became really busy as well. It is amazing how your imagination can so easily switch gears and you are picturing terrible scenarios with your child smack in the middle of the scenes. Bradley was at work when he texted and all I could see was this small statured young man in his car floating to Lord knows where in that huge, crazy city. And I find myself sending him texts back, "Son I am worried about you! Where are you now? And do not get in that car! Stay where you are! Did you know that it only takes about one foot of water to make your car float?" On and on I go. And he continually responds, " I am fine Mom. I am fine."
I find myself doing this too often. For example, when I do watch the news or look at the paper it seems all I hear and read about is the Swine Flu. So I have to continually battle my thoughts of what could be. Instead of imagining a house full of kids vomiting every where or having to rush them to the hospital, I intentionally have to take those disturbing pictures in my head and discard them like a piece of trash. Also, I have to purposefully remember that there is One who guards my life and the lives of my loved ones. Is He not big enough? Is He not great enough? So why do we make God so small in our minds, in our hearts, in our lives? Why? It seems that we enjoy worshipping our puny mindsets of worry rather than choosing to believe that there are unending waterfalls of grace made available to us each day. We are always so bombarded by negativity in our world that we struggle to trust anyone or anything beyond our own anxieties and worries.
So yes, we face many unknowns and dangers in this life. And they seem at times as violent floods that seem to sweep over our hearts. However, when we choose to believe there are waterfalls of grace, the floods of this life are divided by its graceful force .
So what does the news of the flooding in Atlanta have to do with my stage of life? Probably too much to elaborate upon here. However, I will share a few thoughts. Maybe you can relate..
1. When I find myself wondering too much about the future, I open the door to fear. I do not want to live in fear. My desire is to walk and function in faith.... faith in One who is much more capable than me to look after my children.
2.When I carry burdens of worry such as "what ifs" and dread, the joy meant for me today is stolen. There is a thief who wants us to walk in misery and torment. So I have to intentionally choose to walk in boldness in the face of fear.
3.When I exercise self control, I become, in time and with practice, stronger and better at shedding those flooding thoughts that only drain and exhaust me, making me less than my best.
4. When I choose to trust the One who is able and greater than all others and all circumstances, then I position myself to walk in confidence which makes me an over comer in this life.
So, maybe the headline news stories have a hidden lesson for all of us. They will affect us one way or another. However for me, I find that when I make a decision to face my fears of the unknown and place them in the hands of faith, I can walk in confidence, peace and joy each day of my life. My children need to see me living this way. They mature and grow more by the impartation of how I live and think more so than the words I speak. And I too need it for me, for my own well being because God wants me to receive the fullness of all His blessings every day of my life!
So to sum it all up, there will always be floods of many sorts that threaten to carry us away and even drown our hearts. However, there is a more powerful source that continually flows and is always available. All we have to do it choose to stand under the waterfalls of Grace. May this be the most noticeable headline of each day!
There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. 1 John 4:18 the Message Bible
We had another birthday in our family this past week. Our son Jamie turned 10!! I wanted to post this earlier. However, we have had sickness going through our house for about 12 days now. I think I was hit the hardest and am just trying to ride this thing out. All of our little boys need haircuts as you can tell by the photo! I am the family barber so...well....it just hasn't happened!
Monday was a rough day because we were trying to be cheerful and to celebrate Jamie's special day! The children all pulled together and helped with the busy work. Jamie and Daniel made the ice cream cake together and they really did a great job! They used sharp knives to cut up all the candy pieces for the ice cream while I rested on the couch! Sigh! I just had to let go and let them do it that day! Thankfully there were no injuries! And they even did a great job cleaning up afterwards! Great job Jamie and Daniel!
Jamie had a great birthday regardless of all the yuckies going through the family. This week I have been reflecting so much on this little guy's life. He is our 5th child. It seems like a lot of people thought we were through having children as our 4th child was a girl after 3 boys. Some people thought, "Well, they finally got their girl!" Needless to say little Jamie was in the plan! How very blessed we are by his sweet, quiet (most of the time) nature! However, he is full of creative juices!
This past year I have been delighted beyond words to watch him grow in his love for reading and writing! Just in the past three weeks, he read the entire Chronicles of Narnia Series and is now working on the Series of Unfortunate Events collection. We bought him the first two of the set and he has already finished them both.
This past summer, he really wanted to write. So I set him up at the computer and let him go with it! It was such a blessing seeing him typing away at 9 years old. I was having so much morning sickness. However,as I have not been up to par, I watch the Lord still training and teaching my children to grow and excel in their creative abilities. I am constantly reminded of Isaiah 54:13. "ALL YOUR CHILDREN SHALL BE TAUGHT BY THE LORD AND GREAT SHALL BE THE PEACE OF YOUR CHILDREN." The Lord showed me this verse when our two oldest children were only 5 and 3!
Jamie has written several wonderful stories. I wonder how he thought of these ideas. He even has his own signature called, "Jamie's Books Incorporated". Since he has been having such a great time writing, this is what I allow him to do.I do not check the grammar because I want him to just let those story ideas flow without interruption. The grammar will come as we continue to do English classes!
I would like to share one of his many stories. It is in raw form so please over look the mistakes to see the imagination peering through! Also, I was thinking it would be neat for Jamie to have his own little blog in which to publish his stories as he writes! Hmmmm!!
Jamie, you are a gift full of gifts. Dad and I are so happy God chose to place you in our family! You are a blessing and will continue to bless others through your writing and creativity as time passes along! Keep it up son! You shine and others will see!
P.S. Jamie put his email address in his story. I am sure he would love to hear from you if you would like to encourage a future crafter growing in the art of story telling.
THE EGG THAT WAS LOST By jamie cogburn
Once upon a time there was an egg named Egg. It was either that or he was crazy. now egg was inside a little kids bedroom. His name was Harold and he was six years old. He promised to never let him crack .He hugged him softly so he wouldn’t break.And he would hug him everyday. Now this story was about him. this story will be the greatest story ever. Now sit back eat some popcorn and and enjoy THE EGG THAT WAS LOST. If your confused with this story please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org thank you.
Harold time for breakfast! Okay!
He ran down the stairs, grabbed a bowl and some cereal and he ate.
Wait! He said as he was going up the stairs. he grabbed Egg gently and ate with the egg. When he was done he asked his mom if he could have some toast. Why sure she said.
Oh breakfast! The dad said, running down the stairs. "Oh eggs" He grabbed Egg and said, "Lets cook this up!"
" Daddy no! that’s my egg!"
"Oh yeah, sorry." He handed Egg back down to him and Harold cried, "Never do that again!"
As Harold ate his toast, Egg was just thinking about himself. maybe some day ill be famous and hot! He thought to himself .
3 TIME TO GO TO THE PARK!
Ok guys time to go to the park!, Mom and Dad said. And they said YAY! And they got in the car and Harold got his egg. daddy drove slowly and Harold put Egg in his egg case so he wouldn’t crack.
When they got there they ate first.
"May I have some grapes?"
"Sure!" she said handing him some. When they were done they went to go play on the playground. " Come on egg!" Harold said. Mom was reading How to Lose 100 Pounds in One Day when Harold met a boy named Howga.
"What a weird name!" he said! "Lets play!"
Poor Egg was all alone a few hours as the family had left and the boy forgot all about him. suddenly Howga picked him up.
4 NEW OWNER
Hogwa brought Egg home and gave him a bath. ? he said, "you will be mine forever!" WHAA WHAA WHAA! Egg felt a cold rush go threw his body. He was kind of scared! What would he do to Egg?
Suddenly Hogwa started to scream, "I have a egg!!! I have a egg!! Yes!!! Yes!!".
after that a dog picked Egg up and he cracked and passed out! Howga just laughed ha ha ha ha ha ha!
Strangely enough, Egg woke up inside another egg. It was an empty body egg. Egg thought," I guess I ended up in a different body!
Then Egg noticed someone was holding him up. It was a kid about 7 years old.
"I don’t think I should crack this." he said smiling.
5 TRYING TO FIND THE REAL OWNER
"I feel something inside telling me that you have an owner." the boy said. "I should put signs up.
So he picked up Egg inside the egg and walked to the window. " Is this where you live?" He asked Egg. Egg shook around back and fourth as if to say yes.
"I'll take that as a yes!"
Once he put up the posters no one found him but the boy would never give up. He would just wait and wait and wait.
WHERE HAROLD WAS
as you already know,Harold was at the beach and he forgot all about Egg. As he went for breakfast the next morning and saw the eggs his mom had cooked, it reminded him about Egg. Harold stood still in shock.
"EGG IS GONE!" He screamed. "HES GONE! HES GONE!" The parents tried to calm him down.
"Don’t worry! Its just an egg. It is probably cracked by now anyway."
"This made Harold scream more and really hard!
" CRACKED! HHES CRACKED!" This thought made him scream in terror. He was about to explode and crack himself. So Harold's parents put him outside. Slowly, he picked up a rock and asked, " you’re my friend right?"
Harold didn’t like the rock so he put it down and sighed TO BE CONTINUED DON’T MISS THE OTHER BOOKS BY JAMIE COGBURN THERE REALLY GOOD MAYBE
THE LIFE OF A BOY NAMED GLOW IN THE NEW LIFE. COMING SOON
When our family moved to Arizona about a year ago we were depleted, stressed out, and tired. My husband, John had been unemployed for nine months with no severance pay. Two weeks before he was let go, I had endured my second miscarriage in 4 months. We were out of money and almost out of hope. However, it was miraculous how the Lord showed up and brought us through that time.
After the move, I resolved to make life simpler. I felt the Lord said, " Rest and let me recover who you are in Me." I enjoyed just fixing up my house, playing with my children, as well as writing and dreaming. Life became simple again.
In the meantime, something new was happening to me. I pulled out a sketch pad and just started drawing out visions of things I felt and saw within my heart. And after much encouragement from a couple of my artsy friends, I began to experiment with mixed media art which consists of combining a little bit of everything and creating something lovely!
Through this season of growing and discovering something new that I love to do, God has met me and healed me of many hurts. It does sound crazy. However, through sketching and creating, resting and taking better care of my own heart, I have found healing that I really did not realize I needed.. It is amazing that our God is not limited in the way He touches and restores our lives.
Just about a month ago, I felt that I wanted to share my new discoveries by opening up a little blog shop for the upcoming holidays (link is in right hand column). The shop is called, "Home and Heart Art Blog Shop". If you have not seen it, I invite you to check it out as I am giving away a few of my items for free. Please visit me there to find out how you can win free gifts.
It is not always easy to display things to the outside world...especially things that truly came from your heart.It can be disappointing when others do not respond. However, I have decided that if I enjoy doing something, I will move forward with it regardless. God gives all us gifts to share with the world. There is so much ugliness in the age we live and we all need to find that splash of beauty which we all possess and share it with the world. It may not seem like much, but you never know how far a tiny gesture, gift, favor, or craft from the making of your own hands and heart will go.
Thank you for allowing me to share a little bit of my own heart with you.
Sending blessings of hope and encouragement to you all!
What I am learning and loving more and more about a loving God is that He cares so much for every detail of our lives. When we moved to Arizona our lives changed drastically. For months it was really difficult as it took so long to meet people. You hardly even see the neighbors in our neighborhood. Today, a precious new friend, Pam, brought these hand crocheted afghans for the girls. Aren't they adorable? What a gifted woman! A little less than 2 weeks ago, she came to my house, picked me up and we went to Michael's to pick out the yarn. Never did I dream how lovely they would be! And I am amazed that Pam made both of these in just a little over a week. Thank you Pam for such a sweet labor of love! These afghans will be treasured forever! I am blessed beyond my words. You are such a loving precious friend and woman of God.
Clink, clink, clink! Most of us have heard the familiar ringing sound of something sharp or metal being tapped against the side of a glass. For example, you have probably attended a wedding in which the best man is going to make a special announcement or a toast to the bride and groom. The clinking is to say, "Listen up, I have something to speak of which is of great importance! Now quiet! And give of your full attention!"
Then there are the seemingly internal clinks that ring in our hearts and thoughts throughout the day should we choose to take notice of them. Over the last couple of days, there have been several of these little clinking, ringing alarms calling to me.They have been profound yet gentle. And I wonder, "Why?" Maybe I need to be reminded of something? Maybe God is speaking a message for my own life? Well, the clinks that have been beckoning to my heart are drawing my attention to some hindering chinks that are not God's best for me.
Before I expound on what I mean by "chinks", I would like to share a couple of stories. Just yesterday I heard a true account of an elderly man and several teenage boys. These young guys were following behind the man in their car and became frustrated as well as down right angry because they thought the elderly man was driving too slowly. They decided to follow him to his destination. As they aggresively plunged out of the car, they attacked the innocent citizen. They beat him so badly that he lost 10 of his teeth and ended up with over 40,000 dollars of needed dental repair.
Of course, the teen boys were arrested for the crime. As they sat in court with their parents facing the judge and the battered old man, the boys were ordered that they would be responsible for paying the full cost of the dental work. However, the elderly man in his grace and forgiveness chose to give the 40,000 dollars back to the boys and their parents to be placed in a college fund for each of them.
As I listened to this powerful story of forgiveness and mercy, I wondered if I would be so gracious in that situation. This man did not even know these teenagers. And I began to think of how often we all hold unforgiveness and refuse to extend grace to those who have injured us in some way. Sometimes we hold things against others and they do not even know they did something to hurt us. There was no malicious intention to begin with.
Another story that hits closer to home are of my own bouts with unforgiveness. Early in my marriage, my husband did some things that hurt me. We were in divorce court twice in one year and were separated during that time. I had so much unforgiveness toward him that I had resolved in my mind that I no longer loved him. However, through a series of events and difficult choices, we came together and found healing in our marriage. In God's grace we have been married now for 25 years and we love each other more than ever. However, we both had to choose to move forward and forgive one another.
Then there is the story of my only sibling. My brother and I were close in our childhood. However, we both were married and drifted apart. There have been many times over the years when I held unforgiveness toward him because to me it seemed he did not care any longer about our relationship. Just over the past year or so, I began to have these "clinks" or reminders that I could have lost my brother to death many years ago. He was shot with a pistol when he was 12 years old as he and a friend were playing with the loaded weapon. My brother almost died.
Just recently, he had to have surgery on his shoulder. It was not a serious surgery, but I knew he would be put to sleep. "Clink". There went the bell again. I knew I needed to and wanted to call him to say, "I love you!" And we talked as if we were kids again.
Now what about the "chinks" I formerly mentioned? What does this have to do with unforgiveness? Many times when we are startled or awakened by these awakening clinks, the little "ding ding" in our souls, God kindly brings a clear awareness of our "chinks". A chink is a fissure or a crack. When we are hurt or offended especially by those closest to us we take on some of the most painful blows and wounds. The unhealed fractures and punctures are the very "chinks" which hinder us from all the blessings God wants to bestow upon our lives. However, God in His mercy provides the very cement needed to fill those fissures and make us whole again.
As we meditate and recall the excruciating event of the terrorist attacks of 9/11,may we be reminded once again of the frailty of life. I wonder how many people in those buildings left this world with unforgiveness in their hearts? And I ponder and question how many loved ones who lost a loved one that day had unfilled chinks caused by unforgiveness? There may still be many regrets to this day.
As the Lord has been bringing some of my own chinks to the surface so that I may face them, He is being faithful to fill them with the paste of His grace. However, I have been going through the process of acknowledging that "Yes, I do have some fractures of unforgiveness". And I have realized the importance of relinquishing those to the Lord rather than trying to nurse my own brokenness in my fickle and futile strength.
What about you? Have you been hearing any soft or maybe alarming "clinks" lately? Is God gently exposing unforgiveness in your heart? Here are a few questions that may help you to see if God needs to fill your fissures of unforgiveness.
Do you generally feel "okay" about people who have hurt you with no sense of lingering hurt or bitterness?
Do you feel a loving warmth and desire for their success and happiness?
Do you feel an empathetic hurt for their hurts without a private sense of pleasure that perhaps they are getting what they deserve?
Do you miss having fellowship with them and wish you could restore relationships (even if wisdom says you can't)?
If you happened to see them walking down the sidewalk toward you, would you be happy for the encounter, or would you want to cross the street to the other side, or duck into a store to avoid having to meet them?
Are you able to feel comfortable about opportunities of being around them? If invited to a meeting or a party which they are likely to attend, would that spark a joy in your heart for the opportunity to see them, or would you decline to attend?
These are just a few questions to maybe ponder. However, I have to constantly be reminded that wounds will come and once again I will have to choose forgiveness if I want my life to be filled with peace and abundance. Forgiveness is a daily choice and a process we work through as we walk hand in hand with the only ONE who can truly bring healing. So Beloved ones, I am overjoyed that God loves us completely with chinks and all. And that He would even take time to ring out those little "clinks" to remind us of our need of merciful Father who is faithful to fill the fissures of unforgiveness. so I leave you with this question.... Is there someone you need to call today?
Wow, I cannot believe this precious little one has been with us for three whole years. Time has gone so quickly. Here is Timmy. He has been playing in the sprinklers this afternoon. Also the older ones have been pushing him around on their bikes. Timmy has brought our family so much joy! Today we are just hanging around the house. Tommy, our wonderful 17 year old is making chocolate cupcakes for his little brother. Tonight we are going to eat pizza, watch Timmy open gifts, and eat cupcakes and ice cream. I love the simple days and the simple ways. I just love my life. Thank you Lord for your many blessings!
I think my body must be starting to prepare for middle of the night feedings when the babies are here. I know because I am starting to have trouble getting to sleep. I also wake up numerous times in the night.
Last night the house was so quiet but I was wide awake. So I just had a good time making these new vintage ornaments (photo above). I really had a blast with these! Anyway, I just wanted to share them with you. To see more detailed pictures you can click on my blog shop link on the right. Enjoy.
Well I took the plunge on September 1st and opened up my little blog shop. I have been experimenting and working for several months with different art techniques. So I decided to put my self out there and try selling my items. A few of my friends and family members were kind enough to respond to the launching of my holiday blog shop and I want to say, THANK YOU! Thank you for taking time to let me know you took a look and for your words of encouragement.The second day after opening, I sold several of my items. The ornaments seem to be going the quickest. Here is one of the sets of ornaments I have sold. This Distressed Vintage Gift Set went quickly too. It is one of my favorites! So I will continue to add items to the shop. Currently I am making more ornaments. So if you need gifts for teachers, friends, secret sisters, or coworkers, keep a look out.Thanks to all of you who have freely given words of support during this new venture. I really appreciate it more than you know. To visit Home and Heart Art Blog Shop simply click on the link on the side bar.
"ALL OF LIFE'S HIDDEN TREASURES ARE FOUND AT THE END OF OURSELVES AND IN THE RAINBOW OF HIS GENTLE PRESENCE" Ange Cogburn
This lovely photo was taken several weeks ago by my parents at their home on Lake Greenwood, S.C. That is about 1900 miles away from here. However, this past year I have probably seen more rainbows here in Arizona than I have in my entire lifetime. This seems strange as we do not have much rain here. However, every time we have had a storm, I have seen a rainbow reaching across the heavens.
This brings me to the thought of weariness. What does weariness have to do with rainbows? Well, I think they have much to do with the promises of God. Have you ever felt so weary that you just kind of go limp as if some invisible weight is taking over your entire being? Have you ever felt so exhausted that tears take over uncontrollably and you wonder where the weeping is coming from?
To me, weariness is a sign that one, we need some much needed rest. And two, weariness is a posture of leaning into God to recall and receive His promises. It is often after a storm that we fully realize the toll that the winds and rains have taken upon us. We are disheveled from the torrents and weighed down by the heavy downpours that life sometimes brings.
As a mother of a large family, I often have moments of weariness. There may not be any major storms, but the day to day sometimes can wear me down and bring me to tears. Is this such a bad thing? No. I see it as a good thing because it is a signal that I need to rest more not only in my body, but in my mind and heart. My tears are a reminder that I need to lean more on my Father and less on myself. And in that posture I am reminded of His promises.
Many times the responsibilities of this life drives us to depend mostly on our own strength and we become overworked. But when we learn over time to lean on the everlasting and long reaching arms of God's all sufficiency, the accomplishments we attain are birthed through an overflow of sweet rest rather than toiling and striving of overworking.
So today, I choose rest within and without. May my life be the result of overflowing grace rather than an overworking craze!!
Through the tossing storm, One of two things form. Either a push against the wind, Or a gentle giving in.
Either way there may be tearful flows, But in Divine rest His beauty grows. As the streams of weeping emerge, His strength takes over as a gentle surge.
I am washed of striving and leaning on me; Ceasing of all doing and learning to just be. The sunshine of His presence breaks through and I know That a promise is a promise when I see His rainbow. Ange Cogburn
A PROMISE FOR TODAY!
ARE YOU TIRED? WORN OUT? BURNED OUT ON RELIGION? COME TO ME. GET AWAY WITH ME AND YOU WILL RECOVER YOUR LIFE. I'LL SHOW YOU HOW TO TAKE A REAL REST. WALK WITH ME AND WORK WITH ME. WATCH HOW I DO IT! LEARN THE UNFORCED RHYTHMS OF GRACE. I WON'T LAY ANYTHING HEAVY OR ILL FITTING ON YOU. KEEP COMPANY WITH ME, AND YOU WILL LEARN TO LIVE FREELY AND LIGHTLY!
I was pleasantly surprised to receive this precious blog award from my friend Karen @onhavingfaith.blogspot.com. I did not even know there was such a thing as a blog award! You can click on her blog link on the side bar of my blog. What was most surprising is that she is the one who is always leaving me comments and encouraging me! I love the way God spreads His love even through blog land. Thank you Karen for thinking of me and for lifting my heart in this way. You are amazing!
"This award is bestowed on to blogs that are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to six bloggers who must choose six more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."
So, I am blessing 6 lovely blogger friends with this award:
BETSY @www.thravestalk.blogspot.com THE PEN AND SWORD
BECKY @blog.successnotsabotage.com SUCCESS NOT SABOTAGE
All of these amazing women are old friends and new. They have touched my life with their love, care, encouragement, and steadfastness. They all come from different states from all over the country. I love them all and I want them to know that I honor them today!!
This my friend Karen's beautiful blog. Her husband just redesigned it and it is so pretty. I met Karen through the blogging community and she has been such a great friend. Bless you Karen! Check out her precious blog.
If you have a dream bigger than you, then God probably gave it to you. Dream it, write it out, and take small steps. Before you know it , you will see the invisible become visible and the impossible become possible.
Welcome to a Heart at Home
Click. Click. Click. Hello! Is that you clicking on the door of my little nook on the net? Welcome. Come on in and let me share my life with you. My life and heart are open and may you find something of value here that will lift your heart, inspire you or just give you a little break from the demands of your busy day. The coffee is ready and the pumpkin muffins are fresh and hot. Have a seat and relax!
A Heart at Home is one that gives, lives, loves, laughs,rests,heals,nurtures, and edifies other hearts that either dwell within our houses or enter in for a visit. This blog is my gift to you. Whether you are a stay home mother, newly married, a grandmother, a single mother, or single woman who desires to bring life and hope to others, there is plenty here for you.
A young single woman once told me she felt as though she was intruding when she read these blogs because she is not yet a mother or wife. However, if your dreams are to create places of life and love wherever you are or wherever you tread, I hope you will find encouragement, inspiration and useful tools here.
Imparting love, life and the gifts of home are limitless. Wherever your journey in life leads you, you have the opportunity to shed light and to be a living vessel that releases all the elements that make others feel at home.
You are meant to create and to take your life out to be shared. You are meant to be free to love and to open your heart to others who need a breath of refreshment . May we utilize the tools, gifts, and abilities God has given us and spread abundant life to those within our circles of influence.
In this little nook you will find various things. A collage of sorts from my personal life and journey. There will be insights, struggles, joy, frustration, stories, art, simple ideas for the home, photos, recipes and much more. Welcome to my little pad on the net! You are always welcome to my Heart at Home!
I am wife to John for 24 years and stay home mother of nine children, ages 19 to 2 years old. We homeschool 5 of our children. Our oldest lives in Canton, GA and our 16 year old is in public high school. We live in Gilbert, Arizona and are new residents here-learning the area and adjusting to the changes.
My heart is to create a loving and comfortable enviroment in my home for my husband, children and friends. I appreciate the privilege of being a stay home mother. I also love to read, write, create art, decorate, teach, and help lead other women to walk closely with the Lord and to be all He has called them to be. I believe the home is the best place to to be creative,to share hope and love. Home should be a haven of hope for those who dwell within and for those who enter in.
Contentment is knowing you own everything that cannot be bought. ACogburn
Caught on a Thought
Do not call me a Christian. There are too many Christians who do not believe.
Do not call me a believer. There are too many who believe but do not act on what they believe.
But please call me a disciple. A disciple is a learner. A disciple is one who takes what he learns and acts upon it. A disciple is one who is passionate about what he believes in and is not ashamed to let others know. A disciple spends himself for others regardless of the cost.
Call me a disciple. Call me crazy. But a disciple is what I want to be. A Cogburn
God takes the scraps of a shredded heart and creates wondrous beauty. Ange
The loveliness of home is simply the overflow of heavenly trinkets encased within the treasure chest called the human heart. Ange
Appreciate your present blessings called jewels of the moments. Ange
Our Christmas Eve tradition of homemade pizzas!
Sara and Heather team up to make a giant cheese pizza
Jamie is creating his deep dish pizza
Our Family Room on Christmas Eve
cookies for Santa
Christmas Eve in the spa
Happy 6th Birthday Joshua
Joshua, you are a gift . We thank the Lord for every moment of your life.
This recipe is made in a bread machine. However, if you do not have one, there are really delicious pizza crusts you can buy premade. Pillsbury makes a really good pizza crust in a can. It is sold in the refrigerated biscuit section in the grocery store.
Add all of these ingredients to the bread pan in the order given.
1-1/2 cup warm water 4 Tbl. olive oil 4-1/4 cup all purpose flour 2 tsp. salt 2 tsp. sugar 2 tsp. yeast
If your machine is equipped with a "dough only" feature, use this setting.
When dough is finished, remove to a floured board if using immediately. Or place the dough in a bowl greased with olive oil, turn dough over to coat it, cover with plastic wrap and refridgerate until ready to use.
We use pizza sauce in a jar. Use pizza cheese and your selection of toppings such as beef, pepperoni, onion, mushrooms, etc.
This 2 pound recipe makes 2, 12 inch pies. Bake pizzas at about 375 until crust is done.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. Psalm 31:19
God never promised this world would be free of trouble. In fact, He said in this world you shall have tribulation. He never said He would keep us from trials. However, He does promise that He will deliver us out of our afflictions. If you are suffering today through illness or sorrow, hardship or discouragement, be comforted that God is with You and He will bring you out. Do not lose heart.
Mountain in Mesa, AZ (near Phoenix)
Taken by Kerry
Phoenix landscape by Kerry
These photos were taken at Usary Park In Mesa, AZ.
John and Ange
A Fun Night Out!
Me and my friend Debbie
Mom, Kerry, and Timmy
These precious little angels cost about 4 cents to make. They can be used as ornaments or as a bow on a gift. We plan to make some to give to neighbors along with pumpkin muffins. Because they are so simple and inexpensive, you could give a dozen or so to a neighbor, friend or family member. They can then choose to use them as bows or ornaments. All of the materials were purchased at Walmart and the dollar store for under 8 dollars. This will make at least 50 angels.
1 package of white coffee filters 1 package of raffia silver or gold plastic wedding rings (in craft section of Walmart) your choice of narrow ribbon-gold, white or silver (purchased at Walmart for 45 cents for 5 yards. small styraphome balls or gold bells (purchased at dollar store) glue gun
Flatten out two coffee filters. Place small ball or bell in center. gather filter around the ball or bell and tie tightly with narrow ribbon. Tie ribbon into bow. Take several strands of raffia (about 3 to 4 inches) and tie into bow. Hot glue the bow to back of angel for the wings. Hot glue plastic ring to the angel's head. Use a single strand of raffia or gold thread to glue to the back of the angel's head if you want to make it into an ornament.
Get the whole family involved so you will not cheat on them! A fun and easy project. ENJOY the simplicity!
As you are planning your Thanksgiving meal this year do not forget to add the cranberry sauce. As you are serving and enjoying this traditional side dish remember what it represents this Thanksgiving. Here are some neat facts you can copy and share on Thanksgiving Day with your family.
Cranberry is a small sour berry which grows in bogs or muddy areas. (Remember good things grow out of messy places. God is the Redeemer)
Indians used cranberries to heal infections. (May this Thanksgiving be a time of healing if you need it)
The dye in cranberries was used to color the Indian's rugs and blankets. (May you be covered in God's blessings this year)
Indians taught the settlers how to cook a sauce with cranberries, water, and sweetener. (May every bitter thing in your life be sweetened this Thanksgiving)
The colonists called cranberry "crane-berry" because the flowers bent the stalk over and it resembled the long neck bird called the crane. (May you remember that God teaches us humility (bends us) through hardship. He wants you to depend on Him.
Even today before the berries are sent out to the rest of the country from New England, each individual berry must bounce at least 4 inches high to make sure they are not too ripe. (May your heart bounce and leap in knowing God's heart for you.
My sister-in-law shared this recipe with me last week. Her pastor's wife had shared it with her. We tried it out last night and it is delicious. We made four of them for our family as one only serves two people. The children had a blast helping and we all enjoyed eating them. Craving chocolate? You must try this!! YUMMY!
Add dry ingredients to mug and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly Pour in milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips if using and vanilla flavoring. Mix again.
Place mug in microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. the cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed.
Allow to cool a little. Tip out onto a plate if desired or slice into individual pieces.
Tommy, our 16 year old had a great idea. Buy mugs at the dollar store. Place all dry ingredients inside a baggie. Place inside of mug. Write the recipe on a small card to tie onto the handle of the mug. Only the moist ingredients will need to be added. Wrap in colored clear wrap and tie with bow.
Makes great gift for friends, teachers, neighbors and family. Happy Holidays!
After the birth of my 9th child, two women from Taiwan came to stay with us to help care for our family. Every morning one of the precious women would bring me a special smoothie before breakfast. It relaxed me and gave me energy for the morning. Avocados have received a bad "rap" because of the fat content. However,health benefits outweigh the fat content.
Why are avocados good for you? 1.One avocado is filled with 30% more potassium than a banana. 2.One avocado provides 30% of the needed daily dosage of folate. This makes them especially good for pregnant women. 3.It is a seratonin food. They will boost your mood. Because they contain monosaturated fats, they help keep receptors in the brain sensitive to seratonin. 4.They help lower blood pressure. 5. They are loaded with good fats that boost your good cholesterol and help clean arteries.
In moderation, avocados have many benefits. Here is a simple recipe for women. Treat yourself and relax.
Blend together until creamy. Pour into a tall chilled glass. Sit in your favorite chair or enjoy as a "pick me up" while you are preparing lunch.
About once a week, our 14 year old son, Kerry, will create smoothies as a family treat. You can get as creative as you would like. These are less expensive than a night out for ice cream .However we still take the kids out periodically for Dairy Queen Sundays or cones.
Kerry's Strawberry Smoothie
1/2 lb of frozen strawberries 1 cup ice 1 to 1 1/2 cup of plain yogurt 1 cup of apple juice or Welches Cherry Burst Juice 1 cup sugar or 1/2 cup honey 1/2 to 1 cup lowfat milk
Add ingredients to blender. Blend until smooth. Add more milk or juice if needed.
Add graham crackers or Teddy Grahams for a yummy crunch.
Create a simple photo album of each family member. You can purchase small ones at the dollar store for single photos in each cover. Assemble album to keep by your special chair or quiet time retreat. During your prayer time, open your photo album. Place your hand on each loved one and pray individually for each person.
Hold Loosely, by Tommy
Life Matters, by Tommy
Freedom Awaits, by Tommy
Celebrate Life Always-Joshua
family-Jamie, Sara, Heather
"Whispering Prints", by Tommy
A Great Friend: Your Crock Pot
Enjoy more time with your family or friends this weekend. Try this as a meal or snack.
3 to 4 pound bag frozen meatballs (homestyle) 3 10 1/4 cans cream mushroom or celery soup 4 oz can button mushrooms 16 oz jar Cheese Whiz 1 meduim onion, diced
Combine ingredients in crock pot.Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours. Use as an appetizer or serve over rice as a main dish. Jasmine rice is delicious. Serve with salad.
The kids love this. Adults too! It can be served as a side dish for lunch or dinner and even as a dessert.
2 cans of tropical fruit mix (drained) 2 15 oz. cans mandarin oranges (drained) 1 banana peeled and sliced 1 8 oz. container of light cool whip
Mix all fruit together with light cool whip. Chill and serve when needed. Easy to double or add your own fruits. Add slivered almonds to give a crunch if desired. Loaded with vitamin C. Enjoy.
Take a Walk, by Tommy
Berries, by Tommy
Retreat your family with Easy Pumpkin Muffins
1 can of pumpkin
1 box of yellow moist cake mix
ground cinnamon to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
Mix all ingredients by hand. Place in greased muffin tins. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Yeilds about 3 dozen mini muffins.
Serve with coffee or tea
Melts in your mouth and comforts the weary.