Sunday, May 31, 2020

A prayer on Sunday ~ May 31

Here's another of the prayers I've written while doing various studies from God's Word.  I believe that this one may have been written during a study of Ephesians.  Apparently I was to write a prayer expressing my thanks to God for the spiritual inheritance awaiting me in heaven.  You will note that this is a very simple prayer, but don't you also think that trying to thank God for all of the details of this inheritance would be an endless task?

Here is what I wrote:


I am so humbled by the prospect of the spiritual inheritance reserved in heaven for me.  Even going to heaven is so far above what I deserve!

You have given me so many blessings here in this life.  It's truly beyond what I could ask or think to have an inheritance awaiting me in heaven.  I am overwhelmed by Your goodness and generosity.  I thank and praise You for reserving this amazing inheritance for me!

In Jesus' Name,

I mentioned before that I like to copy these prayers on pretty stationery and file them in the front of my prayer journal, where I have often prayed through them on a rotating basis.

The stationery I used for this simple prayer is one of my favorite designs, now long gone.  The artwork is by the incomparable Shelly Reeves Smith and depicts blue flowers, a mini greenhouse, and lots of lovely greenery.  It has a refreshing yet comforting look.  The saying lettered around the edge reads:
"The seeds of discouragement will not grow in the thankful heart."

And isn't that so true?  I find that sometimes I do feel a bit discouraged, especially during this difficult time we are all coping with.  Yet if I can pause and realize how very much I still have to be thankful for, the seeds of discouragement will not germinate and grow.

I have a quote in my prayer journal that goes something like this: "O Thou who hast given us so much, mercifully grant us one thing more — a grateful heart."   The source I copied it from says the quote is by Thomas Merton.  I  have seen this quote, or words very similar,  attributed to George Herbert,  Author Unknown, and I think maybe even to George Washington, if I'm remembering correctly.  Regardless of who said it, it's a good prayer and one that's important to keep in the forefront of our thinking.

God helping us, let's be sure that we are cultivating a thankful, grateful heart -- one in which the seeds of discouragement cannot get a foothold and take root.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Friday five ~ May 29

Here goes with another Friday five!  (Isn't the illustration above simply the sweetest?  It came from a 1980s calendar my girls loved as children.)

1.  Days and days of beautiful, sunny weather.  Wednesday felt far too warm for May; we had 94ยบ here.  But it has been lovely to have such beautiful spring days to enjoy in the midst of the difficulties.  It really seems that God has given us this spring beauty and warmth to encourage us and to point us to Him.  Every season is in His control, and this one is no exception.

2.  Eating out on Friday night.  Not takeout -- a real restaurant where we sat down and ordered and had our food brought to us, and everything!  Yes, the dining was outdoors, but it was such fun.  Fried haddock has never, ever tasted so delicious.

3.  Getting the process started for several important tasks that need to be accomplished.  It's a blessing to see how God blesses and prospers our way as we look to Him.
Gorgeous graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
4.  Time this week to list some new things in my Etsy shop (link in sidebar), plus the fun of finding several unique items I'll be listing this summer.  Below is a sweet notecard I hope to list this evening.  So seasonal ... lily of the valley is blooming right now in our gardens!

5.  An ice cream date with my hubby on Tuesday evening.  Ice cream season has begun!

And there is my simple Friday five for this week.  Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! ๐Ÿ˜€

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Hodgepodge for May 27

How can this be?  It's Wednesday, May 27 -- the very last Wednesday in May --  and time again for the Wednesday Hodgepodge.  To join in, head over to From This Side of the Pond and get the questions from Joyce, then answer them on your own blog.  Here are the questions for this week, which thankfully took a lot less thought than last week:

1. The US of A celebrated Memorial Day this past Monday. Does your family have any military ties? If so, tell us about them.

My dad served in the Navy during World War ll, and two of my uncles served in the Army during the same time period.  Other extended family members did, as well.  I recently came upon some real treasures -- letters my dad had written to his mother while serving aboard ship.  On one of them, I was astounded to find that the censor -- my dad's boat officer -- had taken the liberty of adding a p.s. -- a note to tell this dear lady what a fine son she had!  Censors were not supposed to add to letters, but this one did and I'm glad.  What a treasure for posterity!

2. Cole slaw, potato salad, baked beans, potato chips, mac and cheese, macaroni salad...your favorite BBQ side? How many of these do you make from scratch vs. buying from the deli?

That's a difficult choice as far as which is my favorite BBQ side.  I think if I had to pick just one of these it would be potato salad.  Here is my favorite recipe: Bacon Chive Potato Salad.  I usually peel and cube the potatoes before cooking, if I am using regular white or russet potatoes as I often do.  With red or yellow potatoes, I am more apt not to peel them, but I do cube them rather than cutting into wedges as the picture shows.

As far as how many of these sides I make from scratch: all of them except for potato chips.

3.  I enjoyed asking this question back when the Hodgepodge was a regular thing...Lake Superior State University posts a list each year of words they think should be banished from the Queen's English for misuse, overuse, and/or general uselessness. The 2020 list includes-quid pro quo, artisanal, curated, influencer, literally, I mean, living my best life, mouthfeel (word used by foodies to describe texture of food in their mouth), chirp (basically an insult, you can read more on the website), jelly (short for jealous), totes (short for totally), vibe, and OK Boomer (internet response from millennial to older generation).

Of the words/phrases listed which would you most like to see 'banned'?

I don't know.  Never heard "totes" or "jelly" in these contexts before.   I've never really liked the word "mouthfeel" and -- although I think "literally" is a fine word -- these days it often gets used incorrectly, as mentioned on the LSSU site.
I like lemon curd better than jelly, anyway.
4. I'm sure next year's list will be filled with words springing out of this weird season we're all in currently. What word or phrase associated with the Corona would you be happy to hear less often?

All of them!  I find "virus shedding" to be particularly disgusting, but I detest "social distancing", "masking up", and all the rest of them.

I also object to the use of the word below as a noun.  Quarantine is for sick people.  Not to mention this has been going on a lot longer than 40 days.  However, to be fair, I guess the verb form definition below could work in this context.  Isolation has definitely been imposed on us.  Thankful things are beginning to open up here.

5.  The month of May wraps up in just a few days. Bid her adieu in ten words or less.

May you leave quietly and take the virus with you.
The trees are Spring Green right now.
6. Insert your own random thought here. 

I do think my hubby may be addicted to ice cream.  We've only been 5 times since the ice cream places began to open ...

Frosty Scoops, as recently as last evening
Me?  I'm just along for the ride.  I can take or leave ice cream at home, but if he's buying, I'll eat a small serving.

Happy Wednesday, everyone! 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Poem for a Tuesday in May

 I scanned the cover of this May 1950 New Hampshire Troubadour several years ago and have often used it in May blog posts.  Recently I was dusting the table where my small personal collection of New Hampshire Troubadours is displayed.  I like to keep the current month's issue on top, and when I picked up May 1950 to move it into place,  I smiled, thinking about the apple blossoms that are again filling up the view from our bedroom's dormer window.  I wondered if perhaps I might post something else from this little magazine.

  I  turned the issue over and this is the back cover:

I thought I would share the poem from the back cover today, though I vaguely recalled having written about it before.  Upon searching my blog, I found that indeed I had posted this poem previously, in 2015.  But I'm not even sure anyone read it, as there were no comments.  I decided to share it again, and I hope no one minds.  

It is a short poem titled "Voyager Returned" and the poet is Barbara Terry Grimes.

Voyager Returned

The stillness of Spring Twilight in New Hampshire
awakes emotion deep within my heart.
Though other Springs in other lands held beauty,
still here I have my roots and knew my start.

The stillness of Spring Twilight in New Hampshire
awakes remembrance known and loved before.
My travels never could too firmly hold me; 
This is my home, my own familiar shore.
 ~ Barbara Terry Grimes

I thought this was such a lovely poem, though realistically, twilight in spring here is not particularly still.  One may hear the whining of mosquitoes and black flies along with the peeping and croaking of frogs, and the sound of rushing water as snowmelt tumbles down seasonal waterfalls and into little rapidly-moving brooks.  However, the poem and the thought behind it are both beautiful!

Monday, May 25, 2020

Happy Memorial Day!

I hope that all of you have been enjoying a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, even though it surely looks a little different this year.  In some states we may be restricted as to how large our get-togethers may be, so our enjoyment of the holiday with family and friends will not be quite the same.  In many places parades may be cancelled.   Hopefully we can manage a picnic, a small cookout, or a trip to the cemetery sometime before day's end.

Whatever we do, let's be sure we take some time to remember those who have given their lives that we might live in freedom.  If we will be with young children or grandchildren, let's be sure to try and convey to them just what this holiday is really all about.  And let's take a moment, too, to pray for those brave men and women who are currently serving our country, some in very hard and dangerous places.  We owe them much gratitude for their service to America.

Today let's be sure we are also praying for those on the front lines of this pandemic, and for the families of those who have died during it -- for many are suffering today and this is exacerbated by the sadness of not being able to be with the dying or even to properly grieve the loss.  We must pray for wisdom for our leaders and for courage to do the right thing.  Let us praise God, too, that the loss of life has not been as great as originally predicted.  Let's remember that neither we, nor our leaders, nor even the front line workers, have somehow kept this from being worse.  It is God and God only who is the Giver and Preserver of life.

I have shared this quote before.  Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said,

 "Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them." 

This seems as if it has never been more true.   The men and women who gave up so much, and in many cases, their very lives, for the cause of freedom, are such an inspiration,  and we owe them much.  We should never take our freedom for granted, though many have, and right at this moment in time it feels as if we have never been closer to losing those freedoms.  Let's not ever forget that people paid for our liberty with their lives.  This way of life that we have so long enjoyed -- this privilege of living "a quiet and peaceable life" -- is due to their sacrifice and God's grace.   Let's be sure that we are showing our appreciation to our veterans,  thanking God for the freedoms we still enjoy, exercising the liberties that remain, and praying faithfully for our nation and leaders.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

A prayer on Sunday

I mentioned last week that I might try posting more of the prayers I've penned over the past few years in conjunction with various Bible studies I've completed.  Sunday seems like a good day for that. 

So today I'm sharing a prayer I wrote several years ago during a study of Psalm 23:


"I praise You so much for Your goodness and care!  You care for me as tenderly as a shepherd cares for his sheep.  Over my lifetime, I have tasted and seen Your goodness, and I know that it will pursue me all the days of my life.  I will not ever want for any good thing, for every good gift comes from Your hand.  You have satisfied my longing soul and filled my hungry soul with Your goodness.

"You work all things together for good in my life.  I can trust that You will always continue to do that, because You never change.  You are good, and You will always be good -- all the time.

"I love You, Lord!
"In Jesus' name, Amen."

As I prayed this during my quiet time this past week, I was so blessed to think about how God cares for us so tenderly and how He never changes.  On Wednesday I was chatting with my faraway daughter and she brought up the fact that although things have turned upside down in our lives and in our world, the God whom we love and serve has not changed and never will change.  Now that was encouraging!

If others are interested, this is the study I was doing when I wrote this prayer:  Quiet Confidence for a Woman's Heart.  The older version of this book is also excellent:  The Lord is My Shepherd.

Friday, May 22, 2020

This week's Friday five

Time for another Friday five!  Here are five blessings from my week:

1.  The fun of making some free Scripture graphics using Canva (see graphic at top for one example).  I find this helps me fix the verses in my mind even better as I work at memorizing them.

2.  A glorious sunrise one morning this week.  We don't often get sunrises this nice here.

3.  A drive around the big lake for an errand on Saturday.  We got ice cream too!

Same lake on a summer day some years ago.
4.  The many wonderful Bible studies and devotionals that people like Rand Hummel and Reba Bowman are making available online, and the wonderful podcasts out there too.  Even if we can't get to church, there is no excuse for becoming spiritually stagnant during this time.

5.  The amazing weather we've been having lately.  Flowers, bushes and trees are beginning to bloom.  It's been warm and beautifully sunny with such gorgeous blue skies and sweet fresh breezes blowing.    It strikes me that God is exceptionally good to allow us this beauty to enjoy during a time that could be quite discouraging.  Below are just a few flower photos from around our yard.

Painted trillium
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge for May 20

How did we get 2/3 of the way through May?  Somehow it's Wednesday, May 20 -- and time for the third Hodgepodge in May.  To join in, head over to From This Side of the Pond and get the questions from Joyce, then answer them on your own blog.  Here are the questions for this week:

1. In a single sentence tell us something about your 40's. If you haven't reached that milestone yet tell us (in a single sentence) something about whatever decade you're in now.

My first thought was, "Oh boy.  Do I even want to admit what decade I've reached this year?"  Then I realized that second question is only for those who haven't reached 40 yet.  So all I have to do is in a single sentence tell something about my 40s.  Well, there's this: My kids were at boarding school and college while I was in my 40s, and that is when my spiritual growth really began to take off.  (For those interested, the book below can be found at Thriftbooks.
The book I decided to study when my nest was temporarily empty.  With it I began my road to greater spiritual growth.
2. Life begins at forty. Agree or disagree? Tell us why. And if not at forty, when?

I don't think life begins at forty; to be really technical, life begins at conception.  (You know, I believe that this is one of those "Joyce making us think" questions she is so good at.) I'm not even sure what "life begins at forty" means.  Some people, after all, never grow up.  And aren't children, teenagers, twenty-somethings and thirty-something living beings?  At forty many people are working their hardest and their homes are often filled with children and teens.   They may not feel as if "this is the life!"  I'm not any closer to a coherent answer to the question, so I'll quit trying.

3. Share a favorite book, song, or quote with a number featured in it somewhere. 

Easy one.  The hymn "The Ninety and Nine" has always been a favorite of mine.  The illustration on the book cover below -- a book I refer to often --  always makes me think of that beloved hymn. 

4. A picture's worth a thousand words, a stitch in time saves nine, back to square one, catch-22, on cloud nine, my two cents...pick a number phrase and tell us how it applies to your life currently.

Those are some good choices for phrases all right.  I think I'd better refrain from adding my 2¢.  Either "a stitch in time saves nine" or "back to square one" could work for my current crochet project.  This is a pretty throw crocheted in panels.  It is a UFO of several years' standing.  This year I was determined to finish it.  I  completed what was to be the last panel, sewed it to the rest, and found it was at least 6 inches too long.  So ... my first thought was to just throw the thing away.  However, my hubby was not having that.  ("You have too many years of work invested!")  He looked it over, determined where I needed to go back to, and helped me figure it out.  Understand that each panel has several border rows crocheted around it.  So those needed to come off, then I had to remove those extra 6 inches.  Thankfully, crochet is easy to pull out.  I did all that, then we both did careful measuring and counting before I replaced the border rows.  So, fast forward to last night when I sewed the panel to the others.  Inexplicably, it was now 6 inches too short!  Aaargh!  Our current thought is that I am going to leave it in place and just do the best I can to lengthen it to match the others.  Then it has more border rows crocheted around the whole thing.  It has all been much more work than I ever envisioned when I tackled the project, and is thicker and heavier than I anticipated.  I'm no longer sure the recipient is even going to like it.  I've learned lots of lessons from it, however.
Creativity: I'm going to need it to fix this crafting dilemma
5. Last time you drove more than 40 miles from home? More than 400 miles from home? Where were you going? Was it before or after this current season of social distancing?

The last time we drove more than 40 miles from home was last Saturday.  My hubby was purchasing a small used sawmill to use in sawing out lumber from our property and our son-in-law's land as well. The owner happens to live in a very scenic corner of the Lakes Region.  We took the camera along but failed to take any photos.  We also (gasp!) stopped at a lakeside ice cream place and ate our ice cream sitting on the dock in an area "not maintained according to CDC guidelines" which we could "approach at our own risk".   So thankful that was an option.
Same lake, different day, month and year
I can't even remember the last time we drove more than 400 miles from home.  It must have been when our younger daughter (now in Nevada) lived in South Carolina.  I'm thinking it must have been 2004. 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Today has been a really gorgeous day here, blue sky, warm temps, a lovely breeze.  Just the perfect early spring day.  I got out for a nice long walk and it was so nice to see yellow forsythia and purple azaleas, among other flowering plants.
Photo is from Pixabay
So ends another Hodgepodge!  Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

A timely reminder

As regular readers here know, I'm continuing to sort through the contents of my childhood home on a near-daily basis.  One of my finds was the memo pad above.  It was evidently a freebie with an order from the Faith, Prayer and Tract League.   It was suggested that these memo pads, with "31 pages of wisdom" be used as gifts, favors, etc.  Above was what the front page looked like.  Below is the reverse side of the page:

Each page of the memo pad is mostly blank except for a sort of proverb on one side of the page (not from Scripture) and a Bible verse on the other side.

So all along I've been setting aside memo pads and similar sized pads of paper.  They make great labels for various boxes and pieces of furniture going to specific places or people, i.e., "DUMP"; "THRIFT"; "BOOK DROP", or a person's name.

I also use them to write notes to myself as in the one below.

For whatever reason, I then turned the page over.  It was blank, of course, except for the Scripture verse:

Wow.  It stopped me in my tracks.

Some days I do get weary.  Weary of the task of cleaning out the homestead.  Even wearier of the way life is in our world right now.

The full verse says,

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."

Better days are coming.  One day we will reap the rewards of patiently serving the Lord and seeking to do all to His glory, even in wearisome tasks amid wearisome circumstances.  What a timely reminder!

Sunday, May 17, 2020

A prayer on Sunday

Over the years, I have worked through many, many Bible studies for women.  Oftentimes, in the growth and study guides that go with the books, part of the assignment for any given chapter has been to write a prayer concerning what has been learned and seeking God's help to apply the knowledge going forward.

I've written a number of these prayers over time, and have copied many of them onto pieces of stationery which I then tucked into the front of my prayer journal.  For years, I prayed through these on a rotating basis as a regular part of my prayer time. (I am much more of an extemporaneous type of pray-er as a rule, but I think that a heartfelt prayer once written in response to God's Word can continue to have value.)  Recently, I've felt led to incorporate these written prayers into my quiet time again.  I'm thinking I will try to share one of them every Sunday for awhile.

The prayer above  (continued below) is one I wrote while studying Elizabeth George's book Finding God's Path Through Your Trials

"I thank You for leading me through the difficult, confusing trails of life.  Thank You that I can peacefully follow Your leading all along the way, knowing that You know best and that -- because of You -- everything will be all right.

"Help me, Lord, to become an ever more devoted follower.  Help me to follow You in obedience to Your Word.  Help me to saturate my soul with Your Word, and to faithfully memorize it and meditate on it.  May I always remain in an attitude of prayer, staying close to You throughout each day.

"Thank You for being my loving Shepherd!
"In Jesus' name, Amen."

Maybe this will encourage someone else today.  What a blessing to be reminded that we can safely follow the Savior through the difficult, confusing trails of life!

Friday, May 15, 2020

Friday five for May fifteenth

Here goes with another Friday five!

1.  Spring slowly coming to New Hampshire.  Yesterday we took a drive about 45 minutes south, and were surprised to see the leaves popping out and apple trees and flowering bushes  blossoming much more than our trees and shrubs up here.  (Photo below is from a previous springtime.)

2.  Our favorite local ice cream spot opening for the season.  The outdoor seating was not available yet (hopefully that is coming in the next few days) but the ice cream is as delicious as ever.   Photo below is from last year.

3.  Lovely phone conversations with our faraway daughter and with Jenn, my "daughter of the heart" this week.  A sweet card from our local daughter also blessed my heart beyond measure.

4.  A wonderful Mother's Day service live streamed from Grace Baptist Church in Elko, NV.  They did a special parking lot service for this day, and what a blessing it was to see the familiar faces and cars of family and friends!  If you would like to hear the message we heard (it was a true blessing!), go here: When Mothers Come to Jesus.  I loved seeing how Pastor Jeremy related this not only to mothers, but also to the inexplicable situation we are all living in right now.

5.  Time this week for a bit of long-range planning.  I woke up on Monday and realized we are headed for Utah and a family vacation in far fewer weeks than I had thought.  The planning was necessary to help me figure out just what I need to accomplish between now and then.

And that's this week's Friday five!  Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge for May 13

Somehow, it's Wednesday again -- and time for the second Hodgepodge in May.  To join in, head over to From This Side of the Pond and get the questions from Joyce, then answer them on your own blog.  Here are the questions for this week:

1. Ever played the game Farkle? Are you a risk taker? In games only or also in life?

Nope, never played it.  I looked it up and I guess there are similarities to Yahtzee, which I hadn't played in years until we unearthed the vintage one from the old homestead.  I may occasionally take a risk in games, but I tend not to take risks in real life.   Some might say I am taking a risk in the old photo below ... I'm the girl at the right.  That thing in my hand is a gigantic leech, or bloodsucker as we called them.  I saw this pic and thought the object was a freshwater mussel (which always abounded in this particular pond) -- but when I sent this to my cousin (the girl at far left) she enlarged it and told me it was a leech.  No wonder everyone else looks a bit skeptical (except my cousin Wayne -- he looks fascinated!).

2. What's your favorite thing about your yard or whatever outdoor space you may have?

Hmmm ....  It may be the wildflower garden our daughter planted in her early teen years.  A corner of it forms the background for this graphic I made to share with a post about my quiet time, some years ago.

3. Tell us about the most interesting building you've seen or been in.

Drawing a blank on this one.  I'm thinking maybe a lighthouse, or Green Gables, or another of the Anne-related sites in PEI.  Or maybe a library.  In New England, the town libraries were often privately funded by some philanthropic wealthy family.  As a result, they were often one of the most ornate buildings in a small town.  In my hubby's hometown, there was a small gym in the basement of the library where the town kids could play basketball!  In my own hometown, the library was not ornate, but was a simple frame building that had once been a courthouse.  It's where Daniel Webster tried his first case, and is now the historical society building as a new library has been built.  In a nearby city, the library resembles a small castle.  The library in my daughter's town has this wonderful balcony where they place a Christmas tree every year.

  Below is the entrance to said library.  Even though I retouched the photo to remove that Instagram arrow, Blogger will not publish it that way.  So ...

4. In this current season of social distancing, what's something you've come to realize you take for granted in more ordinary times? Do you think you'll make a conscious effort to appreciate whatever that 'it' is once normal life resumes?

Being able to hug people.  I'm not necessarily a hugger, except with my own family (though my hubby absolutely is!), but there are a few other people in my life that I like to hug.  And I am missing being able to do that.  I may be a risk taker after all (see question 1) because I will likely hug them the next time I am able to see them.  And yes, I will make a conscious effort to appreciate that, knowing that it can quickly be snatched away.

5. Share a favorite song with a springtime flower in the lyrics somewhere.

(I'll Be With You) In Apple Blossom Time.  It's not a huge favorite, just a fun song that came to mind.  These apple blossoms here are from a previous year; they're not blooming yet here.

 I also just thought about the hymn The Lily of the Valley.  That was a top favorite of my late father-in-law.  It's a lovely Gospel song with a nice lilting tune to it.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Our weather has certainly been random.  Cold, heat, snow, rain --  it's definitely not our usual May weather.  We've had more snow this May than I ever remember having in May.  Only daffodils and forsythia are blooming as of yet, and a few wildflowers.  The scilla is back, and I am happy to see it!

So ends another Hodgepodge.  Happy Wednesday, all!