Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Snapshots from Saturday

This photo captures the essence of summer in New Hampshire
We are thoroughly enjoying our time with our daughter, son-in-law and five children, who are here visiting us from Nevada.  It has been nearly three years since they were out here last, so it's been great for all of us to have them here in New England again.  Several of the local cousins have been with us for much of the time, too.

To our shame, Mr. T and I have taken very few pictures so far.  This is not to say photos are not being taken.  Both of our daughters and their husbands enjoy photography and have nice cameras, so plenty of pictures are being taken by them.

On Saturday, we took a short hike which leads to a lake.  This is one of the loveliest little lakes in our area, and we are so thankful for this public access area to enjoy it.  The hike is on a nearly level path; there's just enough of a challenge from roots and rocks to help little kids feel they are really hiking.  And then at the end, this lovely small swimming area.  Boats will often come in and anchor outside the swimming area, and that was the case on Saturday, but it was still a nice time.  Later, we moved on to a second beach area and had a wonderful time there as well.  The kids had come prepared to wade, but had not brought any swimming stuff.  My hubby and I had been here before but had not remembered how nice the beach area was.  However, lack of swim gear did not hold the kids back from getting thoroughly wet!
Our littlest granddaughter, Arielle, tests the lake water
Cousins enjoying the lake
These flowers were growing near the water
Hope you have enjoyed these few snapshots from our Saturday!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A vintage Father's Day card

Today's the day we honor our dads!  I thought it would be fun to show a cute little vintage Father's Day card -- in fact, it is one that I sent my dad, many years ago.  It surfaced when I did some cleaning at his  house, and of course I scanned and saved it.

As a very little child, my hair was very curly, and as I got a bit older I really enjoyed baking -- so it's easy to see why this particular card got picked!

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Daisy, daisy ...

The lovely daisy graphic is by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
I am entirely delinquent in putting up this post.  For weeks, I have been wanting to share these gorgeous things which my dear friend J. created and sent to me.  She was inspired to make these lovely crafts with a daisy theme, then packaged them up and surprised me with a little parcel in the mail.

These items have been on my desk for longer than I care to admit, waiting for me to get photos of them.  I finally gave up and simply scanned them!  The scans really don't do these lovely items justice,  but it is better than not sharing them at all.  She only sent the one coaster, but it is in both pictures so it looks like there are two.  I believe she said this was made from apron fabric.  It is a gorgeous print!  I had seen the teacup coasters on a blog and really hope to make some. 

I apologize for the little card at lower right being sideways.  I didn't pay attention when I did the scan.  The daisy on the gift enclosure card is a vintage white button with a teensy yellow pompom glued to the center.  So creative!
J. made the bookmark and the little gift enclosure by scanning the daisy fabric and printing on cardstock.
The coaster again, plus J. found a sweet poem about daisies and shared that as well.
Hope you have enjoyed seeing J's creativity!  I'm inspired to do something similar with other themes -- other flowers, fruits, etc. -- or even a Christmas or valentine theme! -- as surprise gifts for some of my other friends.  Creativity can be contagious!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

An encouraging thought for today

This pretty graphic is from Baptist Bible Hour
Life is pretty crazy right now.  There's just a lot going on, on a number of fronts.  Suffice it to say that some days (and this is one of them) I feel weighted down with concerns and responsibilities.  It's such a wonderful truth, though, that God knows all about the things that weigh us down and burden us.  And His Word has the antidote: His strength.  His encouragement.

Last week I started a study of Psalm 119.   It's basically following the reading plan from Love God Greatly, but I actually started the study a week early because I just wanted to take my time and do it on my own, plus I had just finished up the verses I'd been working on (a study on planning and priorities) and I was ready to start then.

All that to say, that yesterday morning one of the verses I chose to meditate on using the SOAP method (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) was Psalm 119:28 :

S= "My soul melteth for heaviness; strengthen Thou me according unto Thy Word."

O= The word translated "melteth", according to a marginal note in my Bible, literally means "droppeth."  So we could read the phrase, "My soul droppeth for heaviness."  And that soul-dropping feeling is a familiar one.  The psalmist then asks God to strengthen him according to His Word.  A cross-reference is given of 1 Peter 5:10:
"But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you."  Wow!

A=  I have been in the place where my soul melts, or drops, in heaviness -- where the weight of trials seems too much to bear.  What a blessing to know that God will strengthen us according to His Word!  I Peter 5:10 is the perfect cross-reference for this.  It's the God of all grace, the same One who has called us to eternal glory by Christ Jesus, who will establish us, strengthen us and settle us as we undergo trials.  What an encouragement!

P= Lord, I thank and praise You so much for Your Word today!  I pray that You will help me to grow in my knowledge of Your Word each day and to get serious about applying it to my life.  I thank You so much that when my spirit melts and my burdens seem just too heavy, that I can trust You to strengthen me according to Your Word.  I praise You that You are the God of grace and that my difficulties are overseen by You, with my good in mind.  I thank You for how You will establish, strengthen, and settle me as I continue to choose Your ways.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

I hope that this little verse encourages someone else today as it did me!

Monday, June 15, 2015

One last "little thing" from Pine Cone Lodge

Taken in Great Basin National Park last spring
 Today I will share the last of the "little things" from Proverbs 30 as I wrote about them in Pine Cone Lodge, this year's update of one of my devotional books for kids.  Tori had wanted to read the rest of these, and I hope she will enjoy them!

“The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks.” 
 (Proverbs 30:26)

     Today’s verse tells us about more “little things” that God says are “exceeding wise”.  Today we learn about another animal that is a good object lesson for us.  Our verse talks about the conies.  If you look the word “cony” or “coney” up in a dictionary, you will find that it means “rabbit.”  But in this proverb, the word translated “conies” really means “rock badgers.”
 A rock badger is about the size of a rabbit, but it really looks more like an oversized guinea pig.  It has short ears, sharp teeth, and eyes that look like black buttons.  Although the rock badger is small and doesn’t seem as if it would be safe from its enemies, God has given this animal ways to be safer.  Rock badgers find safety in steep, rocky places.  God has made their feet in a special way.  Their feet have a special grip like a suction cup.  The rock badger can easily scamper over rocky cliffs because of its feet that grip the rocks so well.  Rock badgers can hide from their enemies among the rocks.  Even if a rock badger is sleeping or resting, stretched out on a sunny rock, it may be safe because its enemies will think it is part of the rock and will not notice it.  Isn’t it amazing how God has designed even the smallest of animals so carefully?
The rock badger finds safety in rocks.  We could say that God’s people also find safety in a Rock, because the Bible tells us that our Rock is God.  Psalm 18:2 says, “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer: my God, my strength, in whom I will trust: my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”  David wrote these words in Psalm 18.  We know that there were many times when King Saul was hunting for David to try and kill him.  Often, David and his men hid among rocks and caves, and God kept them safe.  When we have hard times in our lives, we can go to God and tell Him all about it.  He is our strong Rock, and He will keep us safe just as He did David.  God will never change.  He is just the same today as He was in David’s time.  He is our Rock!
*  Thank God that He is our Rock.  Thank Him that we can trust Him to keep us safe.  Thank God that He never changes.  If you are going through a hard time in your life, tell God all about it.  *

Hope you've enjoyed these simple posts about little things in nature that teach big lessons!  One year,  I was blessed to hear Beneth Jones speak at a ladies' retreat at The Wilds of New England.  She taught sessions based on these very "little things" from Proverbs 30.  At the time I heard her, I had already written these devotional pages.  I was amazed and so blessed by all of the meaning that she extracted from these verses!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

More from Pine Cone Lodge: Locusts

Maybe a grasshopper in here somewhere?
Here is another page from Pine Cone Lodge, the devotional book I published this year for the kids in our church's Patch the Pirate Club.  This is another page concerning "little things" that teach us important lessons.  I should note also that in the actual devotional pages, the kids have blanks to fill in for some of the words in the Bible verses.  For the blog, I am just using the entire verse.

 “The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands.” 
 (Proverbs 30:27)

     Today’s verse tells us about another “little thing” that God’s Word says is “exceeding wise”.  Today’s verse talks about locusts.  A locust is a kind of grasshopper which is a very strong flyer. 
    Usually, locusts travel alone, but once in awhile they travel in big groups, called swarms.  When this happens, billions of locusts will suddenly appear out of nowhere.  The swarm of locusts looks just like a dark cloud.  There are so many of them and they are so closely packed together that it almost looks as if the sun has disappeared or the day has suddenly become night. 
 A swarm of locusts may travel up to 2000 miles!  When the locusts get to where they are going, they all swoop down at once.  Then they eat everything they can find -- grass, bushes, the leaves of trees, garden crops -- even wood.  They are very hungry because they don’t eat much at all while they are flying.  Our verse reminds us that the locusts don’t really have a king, or a leader, to tell them what to do.  But somehow they all know how to travel together, where to stop, and what to do when they get there.
One locust alone would not eat enough to do a lot of damage.  But when billions of them swarm together, they can eat as much grain as it would take to feed a whole city for one year. 
 One lesson we can learn from the locusts is how important it is to work together.  God wants us to work together with others in our families, our churches and in Patch the Pirate Club.  He doesn’t want each of us to go our own way.  He wants each Christian to grow in Him and to walk with Him each day.  But He also wants us to serve Him together in our families and churches and in Patch Club.  The monthly presentation of a song and skit would not go well if each sailor decided he or she did not need to work with others.  For a song or skit to go well, the sailors need to work together.  Christians can do much more for the Lord if they will work together cheerfully and do their best for Him.
*  Thank God for the object lessons about “little things” in Proverbs 30 and in other places in the Bible.  Ask Him to help you grow strong in Him.   Ask Him to help you work well with others as you serve Him together.  *

A good post for a Sunday, I think!

Friday, June 12, 2015

More little things from Pine Cone Lodge

 Here is another devotional page from Pine Cone Lodge concerning little things that teach big lessons.  This one is also from the "In the Great Outdoors" category.  [Warning: If you happen to be afraid of spiders, you may want to skip this one.]

    “The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in king’s palaces.” 
 (Proverbs 30:28)

    Did you guess we were going to learn something about spiders today? Maybe spiders are not your favorite creatures, even in the great outdoors.  Or maybe you don’t mind them as long as they stay outdoors!  But our verse reminds us that spiders can even be found in king’s palaces, so we shouldn’t be surprised when we find them in our homes.  Did you know that a spider is not a bug or an insect?  No, it is a kind of animal called an arachnid.  It is in the same class of animals as scorpions and ticks.  Insects have three body parts and six legs. But spiders have 2 body parts -- the abdomen and the thorax -- and eight legs.  There are more than 30,000 different species, or kinds, of spiders.
 Not all of these spiders spin webs, but most kinds of spiders do spend much of their time spinning webs.  They use these webs to trap insects for food.  Spiders have special silk-spinning glands, called spinnerets,  at the tip of their abdomens.  They use these spinnerets to spin their webs.  The threads are called “silk”.  The threads of the web are sticky,  and that is how insects get caught in them.  So if the threads are sticky, why doesn’t the spider get caught in its  own web?  Spiders have a special oil on their bodies that keeps them from sticking to their webs.   
 Every species of spider spins a special style of web, and they build their webs perfectly on the first try.  They don’t make mistakes and have to start over.  Some webs, in bright sunlight, look like flowers to insects that are looking for nectar.  They fly right into the web thinking they will find nectar.  Instead, they will be a meal for the spider!
 Next time you see a spider web, think about the great God who created the spider and planned for it to spin a special style of web.  The web is God’s way of helping the spider to find food.  What an amazing God we have, Who designed such unusual creatures and even planned how they would find food.  When we think about God’s care for these small creatures, we can’t help but think about how much He loves and cares for us!
 *  Thank God for His love and care for you.  Thank Him for how He provides your needs.  Praise Him for His great power in creating all things.  *

Hope you have enjoyed this little devotional concerning another of God's "little things".  There are two more to go!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

From Pine Cone Lodge

Think there are any ants under these picnic tables?  This photo was taken at an ice-cream place, so ants are pretty likely!
Here is one of the posts concerning "little things" from Proverbs 30, from the kids' devotional book Pine Cone Lodge.  I know Tori is looking forward to these, so here is the first one.  It's from the category

IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS  and is the devotional page for May 27.

 “The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer.” 
 (Proverbs 30:25)

     Today’s verse talks about one of the “little things” God has made that is very wise.  The little things in this verse are little insects called ants.  Everyone has seen ants and knows what they look like.  Sometimes in summer, ants come into our houses and try to find food in our kitchens.  We don’t like it when ants swarm all over our kitchen counters or decide to help themselves to the sugar in our sugar bowls!  We really wish they would stay outside in the great outdoors and find their food there,  not in our houses.
There are many different species, or kinds, of ants.  The different species of ants have different favorite foods.  Some ants like to eat other insects, or small creatures such as spiders and caterpillars.  Other ants like to eat seeds.  Some ants, especially the ones that come into our kitchens, like to eat grease or sweet foods.  Most ants do like sweet foods, and sweets are very important for ants.  They give the ants the energy they need to work hard.  Ants are sensitive to the smell of sweet foods, so they can easily find what they need.  Sweet foods that ants eat include things like sugar and honey in our kitchens.  But other sweet foods that ants eat outdoors include fruits, the nectar of flowers, and also the body fluids of caterpillars!

 Ants work very hard to find food and bring it back to the nest.  If an ant finds a piece of food that is too big for it to carry alone, it goes back to the nest and gets some other ants to help carry the food.  On the way to the nest, the first ant leaves a trail of scents as landmarks so it will be able to return to the place where it found the food.
Ants work hard to gather and store their food, don’t they?  And our verse reminds us that if tiny creatures like ants can work so hard and so wisely, we should be able to do the same.  God wants us to work hard.  Whatever our work is, whether it is schoolwork or chores around the house or even a part-time job, God wants us to do that work in the very best way that we can.  He wants us to use our time wisely, too, just as the ants do!
*  Thank God for good object lessons in the Bible that remind us of how He wants us to live.  Ask God to help you do your very best work every day and to use your time wisely.  *

Hope you have enjoyed learning a little lesson from ants today!  And, if ants inside your house happen to be an issue, check out this Homemade Peppermint Ant Spray from Mom4Real!  I haven't had a chance to try it yet, but I sure intend to!

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Another page from Pine Cone Lodge

Here is another page from the summer devotional book called Pine Cone Lodge.  This page is for May 26 and is from the category

IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS:                     
“There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise.” 
 (Proverbs 30:24)

  Have you ever thought about how many “little things” there are on the earth?  Many people have never thought about this.  Even if they happen to be out in the woods on a hiking trail, they are usually in such a hurry to get where they’re going that they don’t think about the dirt under their feet.  If they were to go to the side of the trail and dig around a bit in the dirt there, they would be very surprised at all the “little things” they would see.
    It’s not a good idea to scoop up dirt from the edge of a hiking trail.  But you can go out in your own back yard and scoop up a cup of loose soil to try this activity.  Find a flat rock or an old board to spread the dirt out on.  Then take a magnifying glass and look at the dirt through it.  You will be surprised at everything you can see!  There may be tiny crystals of different colors.  There will surely be spongy decayed leaves.  There can be all kinds of living creatures -- ants, grubs, mites, insect eggs, and earthworms.  What a lot of “little things” you will find in just one cupful of dirt from your back yard!  In that cupful of dirt you will see many little things God has made.
    Our verse tells us about four “little things” which God has made.  It says that although those four things are little, they are very wise. Over the next few days, we will learn more about these four little things.  God wants us to pay attention to little things.  Little things can teach us big lessons sometimes.  That’s why we can learn a lot from object lessons.  Another important thing to remember about little things is that God is the One who made them.  The little things God has made show us His wisdom and power just as much as big things, like elephants or the Grand Canyon, do.

 *  Thank God for everything He has made for us to use and enjoy.  Praise Him for His wisdom and power in making little things as well as big things.  *

I hope you will enjoy these occasional posts from Pine Cone Lodge.  I have fun writing these kids' devotionals, and I usually find that I learn a lot in the process!

Saturday, June 06, 2015

A page from Pine Cone Lodge

 I thought it might be fun to publish a few posts featuring pages from this summer's devotional book for kids, Pine Cone Lodge.  This one I'm sharing today is from May 24, the very beginning of the book.  The devotional pages are built around various themes involving the outdoors.

AT THE LODGE                               
    “And He said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest awhile: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.”  (Mark 6:31)
 Welcome to Pine Cone Lodge!  A lodge is a house or hotel where people stay for vacations sometimes.  In different parts of our country, there are many lodges people may stay at while spending time in the great outdoors.  This summer we are going to learn about some of these places.  We will pretend we are taking a refreshing summer vacation.  We will stay at a pretend place called Pine Cone Lodge, and we will also spend lots of time outdoors.  We will learn many object lessons from the birds, plants, animals, and fish God has created.
 In the late 1800s in the Adirondack Mountains of New York state, there were many hotels where people could go and spend time in the wilderness.  Some of these people wanted to stay in tents instead of hotels, because they wanted to feel more as if they were camping.  So at first there were tent camps at some of the hotels.  Then they put up platforms to set up the tents on.  Then cabins were built to replace the tents.  Many of these camps were owned by rich families, and the buildings became bigger and nicer as time went on.  Today we call these camps “lodges” or “Great Camps”.
Lodges and Great Camps began because people wanted to get away from their busy lives for awhile.  They wanted to get outdoors and spend time in the mountains and forests, enjoying the lakes, rivers, and other beautiful places God has made.  We still like to do those things today, don’t we?
In our verse today, Jesus and His disciples went to a quiet outdoor place to get some rest.  Jesus often went to quiet places in the wilderness to spend time alone with His heavenly Father.  In the summertime, it’s nice to take your Bible and devotional book and have your quiet time outdoors or on a porch or deck.  You can enjoy the nice fresh air and hear the songs of birds while you spend time with the Lord in Bible reading and prayer.  God wants us to take some quiet time every day, whether indoors or outdoors, to read His Word and pray!
 *  Thank God for the beauty of His creation and for the many interesting birds and animals He has made.  Ask God to help you be faithful in having a quiet time with Him at the start of every day.  *

Even though this book is for kids, I find that it has lessons for me and for all of us.  Hope you will enjoy these occasional posts -- I haven't decided yet how often I will do them.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

June 1953

Here is another page from the vintage Woman's Day calendar.  It has a Scripture verse on each month's page.  The illustrations are by Warren Chappell.

The red dirt road meanders out of sight through leafy trees.  Wouldn't it be fun to follow it?

Monday, June 01, 2015

June goals

This gorgeous photo and graphic are by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings -- I chose this because our ladyslippers are in bloom right now.
 Amazingly, a new month has arrived!  We are gearing up for the arrival of loved ones from far away, later this month.  Here are my tentative goals for June:
*Meditate on a passage from God's Word each day.
* Memorize at least 4 Bible verses and review some older ones.
* Add 4 pages to my "What Do I Know About My God?" Scripture notebook
* Continue study for Sunday School -- Following God With All Your Heart
* Continue to re-read Say Goodbye to Survival Mode; continue to journal and implement what I learn
* Exercise or walk at least 20 times.
* Get to bed by 10 pm each night.  (I am upping this time because we'll have family visiting.)
* Limit sugar.
* Drink enough water each day.
* Keep up with Kelly's missions in homemaking zones of the week.
* Spend some serious time decluttering closets
* Post in both of my blogs as often as possible
* Continue writing blog posts for Christmas in July
* Make some handmade gifts for a June birthday
* Continue working on several UFO craft projects
* Decide on wall decals for our freshly painted bathroom wall
* Continue planning for visit from our Nevada family
* Enjoy our visit with loved ones, which will continue into July
* Reduce grocery bill by $5 per week consistently
* Spend several hours updating my A-store.
* Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family
* Help and encourage my local daughter as I'm able
* Clean church and set up for potluck meal
*  Continue trying to help and encourage my elderly dad
* Sort out and declutter my dad's basement
* Transfer important items to new computer
* Plan meals with a greater emphasis on healthy eating

JUNE'S HEALTHY HABITS:  Nurture creativity/drink enough water/exercise


And here is how May went:
* Follow Bible reading plan each day -- I have actually stopped doing this to focus more on Scripture meditation.
* Finish questions for You Are Loved summer Bible study  (just a few questions to go now) -- DONE!
* Memorize at least 4 Bible verses and review some older ones -- DONE!
* Add 4 pages to my "What Do I Know About My God?" Scripture notebook -- DONE!
* Continue study for Sunday School -- Following God With All Your Heart -- DONE!
* Continue to re-read Say Goodbye to Survival Mode; continue to journal and implement what I learn -- DONE!  (Haven't actually finished the book, but I've accomplished my goal of reading, journaling, and implementing.)
* Exercise or walk at least 20 times -- not done.  Maybe half that.
 * Get to bed by 9:45 pm each night -- probably managed this more than half the time.
 * Limit sugar -- not done
* Drink enough water each day -- have done fairly well with this
* Organize kids' summer devotional and get it printed -- DONE!
* Keep up with Kelly's missions in homemaking zones of the week -- not done consistently
 * Post in both of my blogs as often as possible -- -- DONE! but not as much as I'd hoped
* Continue writing blog posts for Christmas in July -- -- DONE! (not finished, but progress is made)
* Finish last handmade gift for April birthday -- DONE!
* Make a larger superhero cape for one or two grandkids -- DONE!
* Make some handmade gifts for May/June birthdays --May ones are -- DONE!
* Celebrate April/May birthdays -- DONE!
* Continue working on several UFO craft projects -- not done
* Decide on wall decals for our freshly painted bathroom wall -- not done
* Continue planning for visit from our Nevada family -- DONE! (Planning not finished yet,  though)
* Do some baking for events in May -- DONE!
* Reduce grocery bill by $5 per week consistently -- managed this about half the time
* Spend several hours updating my A-store -- spent an hour or so on this
* Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family -- DONE!
* Help and encourage my local daughter as I'm able -- DONE! (but not as much as I'd have liked)
* Clean church and set up for potluck meal -- DONE!
*  Continue trying to help and encourage my elderly dad -- DONE!
* Sort out and declutter my dad's attic -- not done
* Transfer important items to new computer -- not done; I'm seriously considering keeping both computers.
* Finish typing some family history for my mother-in-law -- DONE!
* Celebrate our pastor's retirement with our church family -- DONE!
* Plan meals with a greater emphasis on healthy eating -- am working toward this; have eliminated some unhealthy choices and am using a lot more vegetables and fruits.

MAY'S HEALTHY HABITS:  Nurture creativity/drink enough water/exercise -- not as much as I'd have liked in the water/exercise departments, but I've felt endlessly creative, happily!