Sunday, June 28, 2020

A prayer on Sunday ~ June 28

Here's another prayer I've written in the past.  I'm attempting to blog from my tablet, so it's slow going, but I hope that this prayer will be a blessing to someone else today.

"Dear Heavenly Father,

I am so thankful for Your loving-kindness, mercy, and grace.  I am thankful for Your sovereignty, for Your omniscience and omnipotence.  I thank and praise You that You have a good plan for my life, and that You will work all things together for good.  Help me, Lord, to accept my trials as part of Your good plan, and to be joyful even when life is not joyful, for Your sake.  Help me grow to the utmost point of usefulness to You and others.  Thank You, Lord, for the good work You have begun in my life and the work You continue to do ... even through trials.

I love You, Lord.
In Jesus' name,

I hope this simple prayer is a blessing to someone today.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Encouragement from Psalm 108

I've been working through a study of Psalms 101-150 with Women Living Well.
Recently I was meditating a bit on Psalm 108.  The verses I was looking at in particular were verses 3-5 and 12-13:

"I will praise Thee, O LORD, among the people; and I will sing praises into Thee among the nations.  For Thy mercy is great above the heavens; and Thy truth reacheth into the clouds.  Be Thou exalted, O LORD, above the heavens, and Thy glory above all the earth ... Give us help from trouble; for vain is the help of man.  Through God we shall do valiantly; for He it is that shall tread down our enemies."
And here's what I observed about these verses:

David begins the psalm with praise to God for His mercy, His truth, and His holiness.  His prayer is for God to be exalted.  He goes on to rehearse what God has said concerning His own people and some of the heathen nations.  He asks that God will go with him and his armies as they go forth to battle.  He knows that only God can give them victory over their enemies.

And here's my application of this verse:

This psalm is a wonderful encouragement to me today!  I need to begin today and every day with the recognition that God is holy and merciful and entirely praiseworthy -- that all of life is to be done into His glory.  As I do this, and as I rehearse all that God has said in His Word and all that I have seen Him do in the past, I am strengthened to move forward in faith, knowing that God will help me to "do valiantly" as He gives victory over my enemies.

And lastly, my prayer after studying these verses: 
"Oh Lord, what a blessing it is to look at this psalm today!  I do praise You for Your mercy, truth, and holiness, for the truths of Your Word and for Your dealings with Your people in the past that are such examples to us.  I am so thankful that You are with us and will tread down our enemies -- both the enemy of our souls and the enemies of Your people.  I praise You for how You will work!  In Jesus' name, Amen."

I found these verses a special encouragement in these crazy times we are living in.  Hope they're a blessing to others as well.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

A prayer on Sunday ~ June 21

Today's prayer was written during my study of Finding God's Path Through Your Trials.  This book by Elizabeth George is life-changing.  I have worked through the study three times -- twice on my own, and once with my ladies' Sunday School class.  As you can see, even the cover of my copy is looking a bit dog-eared.  If you never read this book, you need to.  I've heard it said that every believer is either going through a trial, just coming out of a trial, or getting ready to go into a trial.  Not to mention, our whole world is experiencing some major trials right now.

Here's one of the prayers I wrote during my studies of this book:


I do thank You for how You work in our lives through trials.  I thank You for the lessons You are teaching me through my current trials.  Thank You for helping me to understand that trials are a part of life and that I can count them as joy because You have a good purpose in them.

Lord, I know that You allow trials in our lives to test the reality of our faith, and I praise You that my faith is passing the test.  Help me, Lord, to develop staying power, as this is an area where I really need to grow.  Help me to continue steadfast in my trials and to cooperate with Your good plan, no matter how long the trials last.

I praise You, Lord, that Your strength is made perfect in my weakness.  Help me to count on Your power and draw on Your might, through every moment of each trial.

Lord, I pray that You will help me to stay in my trials, walking through them in Your strength while I wait for You to work.  I praise You for all that You are doing in my life!

In Jesus' name,

It's interesting to me, as I look back on some of the hardest times in my life, to see how God did just what I was asking for in the second paragraph: He helped me to develop staying power.  Not that I've "arrived" in this, or in any other area, but my staying power has definitely increased over what it was.  There were times when I thought particular trials would never pass -- and indeed they have not gone away completely -- yet by God's grace (and only by God's grace) I was able to remain in them.  Now I can look back and say that part of the purpose for those trials was surely to help me gain staying power and to grow in emotional stability.

There are some trials, of course, that we may not understand the purpose of in this life.  We may never comprehend just why God allows some things to happen.   Yet as the old Gospel song reminds us, "farther along we'll know all about it."  We can cling to the fact that God does have a purpose in all that He allows, and His purposes are always good.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

A prayer on Sunday ~ June 14

Today's prayer is one that I penned during one of my studies through Elizabeth George's life-changing book, Loving God with All Your Mind.  This is the first one of Elizabeth's books I ever read -- over 20 years ago now -- and it truly did change my life.   I have read through this book countless times and worked through the study guide several times, including once with my ladies' Sunday School class.  If you don't own this book, or if you have the book but not the study guide, I highly recommend getting both and working your way through the study.  It will truly help you to look at life in a very different and more biblical way.  Right now,  with the "pandemic" still very much a reality in our world, this study can be an incredible help to us.  You can find the book and study guide not only at the link I've shared, but also on Thriftbooks or Amazon as well.

Here is the prayer I wrote after my study of the chapter Accepting the Unacceptable:


I am so thankful for Your deep, unfathomable wisdom and knowledge!  Truly, I can take every inexplicable situation in my life and file it between the bookends of Your wisdom and knowledge.  Lord, Your judgments are unsearchable, and Your ways are untraceable.  They are so far above my ways!

Lord, You know all about the most unexplainable events in my life.  I can't understand them, and I have reached the conclusion that I will never understand them.  And that's okay -- I don't have to understand them and I don't need to understand them, because You do.  I have not asked 'Why?' and I don't feel that I need to know why.  I can let You be God, realizing that these hard situations are part of Your unsearchable judgments and Your untraceable ways.

I understand that the people in these situations are part of your plan, as well.  You can and do use even the most difficult and abrasive people to achieve Your purposes, and so I can thank You for them, although this does not come easily for me.

Lord, I thank and praise You for all You have taught me from Your Word, and how powerfully it has impacted my life.  I pray that You will continue to teach me to love You with all my mind, and that Your perfect will is accomplished in my life.  I love You, Lord.

In Jesus' Name,

If you are struggling with a difficult trial today, or if it's "just the pandemic" that's getting to you as it is to me, this study can surely help you.  I hope that even this simple prayer can encourage you today. 

Friday, June 12, 2020

A few blessings from this week

Graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
Here are a few blessings from my week:

1.  Being able to be back worshiping with our church family this past Sunday was a huge blessing.  Yes, things looked and felt different, but we are worshiping and serving the same changeless God!

2.  Another major project accomplished for my dad's trust.  One more big task (and a bunch of smaller ones) to go!

3.  Getting a lot of painting and cleaning done at the cottage; getting some furniture moved there.  Lots still to do, but it's looking good and smelling a lot less musty.
4.  Being able to hear our young friend Sam preach a message at his church on Sunday afternoon.  Such a joy to see our spiritual children walk in truth!
Another by Abby
5.  Seeing plans come together for some upcoming time with family.  Details to follow, but here's a hint ...

And those are some blessings from the week just past.   I hope that your week has held many blessings as well!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Wednesday once again

Yes, it's Wednesday once again.  How do they do that -- come around so quickly?  It's an unanswered question, so let's instead consider the Wednesday Hodgepodge, in which Joyce asks the questions and bloggers provide the answers.  It's a lot of fun, so if you'd like 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 this week's questions:

1. Last thing you said yes to? Did you regret it?

Making a gluten free chocolate cake layer to be served at a wedding, as the groom-to-be is gluten free.   The couple knows that I often bake gluten free and they think my gf creations come out well.  (The secret is really Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 gluten free baking flour.)  I haven't yet regretted saying yes, since the wedding isn't until August, but I did say I would try a few different recipes and let them sample before I settle on one.  Life has been so busy I haven't had time to bake -- and the weather has often been so hot that I haven't wanted to!
The secret ingredient to my successful gluten free baking
2. No big deal, no contest, no dice, no hard feelings, no ifs ands or buts, no kidding, no offense, no pain no gain, no way...choose one and tell us how it applies to your life currently.

Some of these are difficult phrases to apply right now, in this time of corona.   I guess I will go with "no pain, no gain" because we are working hard at a couple of projects currently: clearing out my childhood home, and trying to rehab the summer cottage of my childhood which is becoming a repository for some of the furnishings from the homestead.  It's all hard work and requires a lot of thought and planning.  But hopefully in the end it will all be worth it!

3. Thursday June 11th is National Making Life Beautiful this strange season how are you adding beauty to your days/life?

I am trying hard to notice the beauty around me every day.  Being aware every moment of God's power and might and wisdom and glory in all that He has created really helps me to keep my eyes on Him and keeps me mindful of all that He is able to do. Truly, nothing is impossible with Him!   Below are some beautiful things I'm seeing right now.
The soft greens of spring and early summer
Lily of the valley, both here and at the home place
Irises in the back yard
4. According to an article found here, these six foods taste better in June than at any other time of the year -- strawberries, asparagus, peas, peaches, beets, and garlic. How many of these have you tasted so far this month? Anything on the list you'd say 'no thank you' to trying? Rearrange the list starting with your favorite (1) to your least favorite (6).  

I have tasted strawberries and peaches so far this month.  Garlic too, but it wasn't fresh garlic so I suppose it wouldn't count.  There isn't anything on this list that I don't like.  My rearranged list would read: 1) Strawberries; 2) Asparagus; 3) Garlic; 4) Peaches; 5) Beets; 6) Peas.

5. Describe your current mood in three words.

Hmm ...  how about these three?  Simply trusting God.  If I was not doing that, my mood would involve fear and anger and many other emotions.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

I find it incredibly sad that because of draconian regulations on the part of our state, our local grandkids and hundreds of other New England kids will miss out on summer camp this year.  Our state is filled with iconic camps on the various lakes, some of which have been in operation for over a century.  It's hard to imagine any of them operating under these regulations -- and in fact, the ones I checked are not going to.  Although we know God knows the end from the beginning and is in complete control -- and even that He has a good purpose in this trial, our hearts can't help but hurt for our friends at The Wilds of New England.  It will be a blessing to see what good God brings out of this.

Happy Wednesday, all!

Sunday, June 07, 2020

A prayer on Sunday ~ June 7

Here is another of the prayers I had written in conjunction with one Bible study or another over the years.  This one focuses on God's incredible gift of salvation.  Here it is:


I thank and praise You for Your amazing grace and for Your gift of salvation to me.  How I thank You that You did not give up on me, but patiently drew me to Yourself with lovingkindness.

To me it is incredible that You would give Your only Son a sacrifice to pay for my sin.  It would be enough just to be saved from hell, but You are preparing a place for me in heaven!  Even more incredible, You desire to use me to serve You right now and to impact the lives of others.

Truly, your grace is amazing!  Thank You for all that You have done and are continuing to do in my life.

In Jesus' Name, 

In Jeremiah 31:3, God says, "Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee."

This morning in my quiet time I was focusing on prayer to live my life in a diligent way as I seek to fulfill God's purposes for me.  Isn't it amazing that He wants to use us as believers to reach others for Him and to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ?  I can't even grasp all of the implications of that.  I only know it's a privilege, and I will seek to live out His purposes to the best of my ability, in His strength of course, for I can do nothing in my own strength. 

How privileged we are to be God's children!

Saturday, June 06, 2020

A few blessings from the week

Photo by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
So I ran out of time for a Friday five, and I don't want to necessarily come up with six things for Saturday; hence the thought of a few blessings from the week.

1.  Some productive cleaning and rehabbing time at the cottage we're working on.  Below is an older photo, taken in the mid-1990s; a metal roof was added in the 2000s.  This is taken from the back of the cottage.  The large room at the end is living/sleeping space; in the middle is a bedroom and a small bit more living space; and the little area at the far end is the kitchen.  You can't see it, but a small screened porch is off the kitchen.

This newer photo (from 2018, I think) is taken from the kitchen end, so you can see the porch. 

2.  Another blessing is our work crew who helps out frequently, since they live next door: 
 The boys show up pretty much every time we are over there!  Always good spending time with these grandkids.

3. Time with our friend Terry on Tuesday.  To see our friend cooking and serving a meal, when last year at this time she was clinging to life, is a huge blessing.  After lunch we went over to the New Hampshire Veterans Cemetery where her husband is buried.  A lovely, tranquil place.
Photo from NH Veterans Cemetery photo gallery
4.  Lovely phone chats with my faraway daughter Joanna and my "daughter of the heart" Jennifer. 

5.  In-person chats with my local daughter Carrie as we work together at the cottage or in our comings and goings there.  (We are getting necessary hot water from her house!)  Another huge blessing for me this week is to see Carrie finding time to post in her blog, Life on a Back Road.  She is the one who got me started with blogging, so I'm happy she's back to posting herself.

There you have a few blessings from my week!

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Wednesday again!

Yes, it's Wednesday again!  Time 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 this week's questions, which Joyce has thoughtfully kept on the lighter side:

1. What's something you could do today to feel more peaceful?

Stay my mind on God.  "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee; because he trusteth in Thee."  (Isaiah 26:3)  One thing I will often do when I need to feel more peaceful is to look through my notebook of truths about God.  The book What Do I Know About My God? by Mardi Collier is a wonderful guide to making a notebook like this.  Or, you could just turn to Psalms and begin reading through, making note of what each one teaches you about God.  Even simpler, just read through Psalms and underline or highlight the verses that bring you comfort.

2. June 2nd is National Rotisserie Chicken day. Who knew? Are you a fan of rotisserie chicken? You've purchased one at your local market for tonite's dinner. Will you serve as is or make something else using the chicken?

Oh, I am a fan of rotisserie chicken, but we haven't purchased one in awhile.  I would serve it as is, and would also pick up a container of potato salad and maybe one of 3-bean salad or coleslaw to have with it.  If there were leftovers, I would make chicken salad.
Sometimes I like to sprinkle this homemade  rotisserie seasoning on chicken breasts and cook them in the crockpot.  It isn't quite as succulent as the purchased rotisserie chicken, but this seasoning gives the chicken a wonderful flavor, and the crockpot makes it tender.

3. I read a list recently (go here to read more) of 20 of the most beautiful places in America. How many of these have you seen up close and in person? Of the sites on this list that you haven't seen, which would you most like to see?

Antelope Canyon Arizona, Kenai Fjords Alaska, White Mountains New Hampshire, Crater Lake Oregon, The Palouse Washington and Idaho, Grand Prismatic Spring Wyoming, Multnomah Falls and Columbia River Gorge Oregon, Horsehoe Bend Arizona, Na Pali Coast Kauai Hawaii, Antelope Valley California, Lake Tahoe California, The Berkshires Massachussets, Maroon Bells Colorado, Angel Oak South Carolina, Acadia National Park Maine, Grand Teton National Park Wyoming, Turnip Rock Michigan, Central Park New York City, Niagara Falls New York, and Skagit Valley Tulip Fields Washington

I live near the White Mountains of New Hampshire, so I have been there many times.  I have also been to Acadia National Park in Maine.
In the White Mountains
 We hope to visit Grand Teton National Park at some point in the next year or two, as we were gifted money for a trip.  The Kenai Fjords sound amazing also.  In fact, I would be interested in visiting nearly every place on this list.

4. What's one pretty spot you'd add to the list in question #3? Are there travel plans of any kind on your calendar right now? Does that make you happy, anxious, excited, sad, or relieved?

I would add Lamoille Canyon in the Ruby Mountains of Nevada.  I am sure it's not quite as beautiful as it was, because of a devastating wildfire there in 2018, but without a doubt it is still gorgeous.

 We do have some travel on our agenda this summer and it really remains to be seen how it will all play out.  I'm excited and happy because it involves time with family, yet a bit apprehensive as well due to all of the unknowns.

5. Tell us one un-COVID related thing you're looking forward to in the month of June.

Hopefully getting the electricity hooked up to the cottage we're fixing up.  It will be nice to have light to be able to see what we're doing.
An early spring photo.
6. Insert your own random thought here. 

It's a blessing to think that this Sunday we will be able to regather with our church family.  It is going to look very different in this first phase, but  I trust that the fellowship will be a blessing even if we can't hug or shake hands.
Happy Wednesday, all!

Monday, June 01, 2020

Some goals for June

So it's a new month, and I'm going to step out on a limb here and set a few goals.  The last time I posted goals here at my kitchen table was back in March.  We're all aware that in that month, life as we knew it turned upside down.  Very few of the goals I had set got achieved, because life changed so radically.  So I'm not going to look back and see how I did in March, but instead just set some simple goals for June.  Here goes:

* Memorize at least 4 Bible verses and review some older ones
* Finish the Rand Hummel study from 2 Peter
* Begin a Bible study with Women Living Well on Psalms 101-150.
* Post in my blogs as often as possible, hopefully scheduling many posts for Christmas in July at my Christmas blog
* Continue our discipleship study with new believers
* Continue to help our widowed friend Terry with the challenges of life in general
* Get to bed by 9 pm each night  
* Have some very special times with extended family
* Pay much more attention to drinking enough water each day
* Read several books 
* Complete some estate responsibilities 
* Work on the cottage we are fixing up
 * Walk and/or exercise at least 4 times each week
* Keep up with Flylady's homemaking zones of the week (with some help from Clean Mama)
* Do something creative each day
* Continue planning for family birthday gifts and crafting any handmade ones
* Spend a little time on some UFO craft projects
* Continue stocking my Etsy shop and continue selling vintage items
* Work on Etsy and trust bookkeeping as necessary
* Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family
* Do some planning for retirement
* Help and encourage my local daughter as I'm able 
* Continue to encourage and support my hubby as he works through a pastoral search for our church
* Continue to sort out and declutter my dad's house, hopefully taking many loads to the dump and thrift store and consolidating the remaining items yet to dispose of
* Plan meals with a greater emphasis on healthy eating
HEALTHY HABITS FOR JUNE:  Drink more water/get more sleep/walk regularly
MY WORD FOR 2020: Diligence