Photography {Autumn In The Farmlands}

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The temperature stayed steady in the high 70’s and the air was still. The sky boasted the blue that only a fall morning can offer. Lazy clouds stretched across the sky as we traveled through the farmlands on the Midwestern country road. A few tractors shared the road, unsteady on their huge tires. One piece of machinery nearly took up both lanes, so massive was it’s frame.

There are fall leaves here, but the real showstoppers are the countless fields of soybeans, glorying in their golden coats. We learned that the fields rotate each year between corn and soybeans for soil health.

They are truly stunning, especially when a late afternoon sun nears the horizon casting its last rays across the landscape.

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Nothing Got Done Today…

It’s 4:14pm.

As often happens, the realization that no dinner plan is in the works strikes me. My colossal to-do list is startling close to the same size it was this morning. I began to lament about the unaccomplished, and felt frustration wrap around me.

Why can’t I just get things done?

Two reasons jump out at me:

1. My expectations and goals always, 100% of the time, far exceed my mortal capabilities. It would be more realistic to choose 3-4 thing per day, just for that day, and work towards them. I mean, who can get 47 tasks done a day (with joy?)

2. I was busy enjoying life. I didn’t work  on my book idea, plan out a month of blog posts, update my widgets, write a letter, return a phone call…or make dinner. Autumn hit in my part of the country. I delighted in it. I embraced it, savored it.

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She is more than neurofibromatosis (NF), her name is Teagan

My sister lives in Arizona. 1,800 miles keep us apart physically, but my heart is always with her and her daughters. Can I tell you about Teagan’s fight?

She has Neurofibromatosis (NF), and in her very short life she has packed a lot of living. She is a beautiful girl, deeply loved and even more? She is a fighter. Medical care, tests and even surgery has just been part of her world. This is where 1,800 miles really hurts. I have never been able to even hold her, finances didn’t allow for a trip. This year is looking promising though, hopefully in the next few months!

So listen, there is a walk in a few weeks to raise money and awareness to combat this illness. I can’t be there in person but I am hoping you will join me to be on Teagan’s team in another sense. If you feel led to donate financially, here is a link to her page. It’ll take you directly to the organization’s site and you can see her story. Thank you for helping me send some love in a tangible way…

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Photography {Doors Of India}

My friend Marsha had the opportunity to travel to India and thought of my appreciation for architecture. Doors, specifically.

She kindly snapped away and blessed me with all of these intriguing shots! The attention to detail is so special. I am delighted to share them with you here. The last picture is a bonus of her trip to the Taj Mahal!  Please join me in welcoming her to the blog today…

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Choosing Rest

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I’m learning to choose rest.

I’ve always thought if I move fast enough, I could outrun that fear of the voice that called me lazy.

Because if you are not moving, you must be lazy, right?

But the older I get, I’m able to look back with perspective on the live I’ve lived so far. It’s been a good life and a full life, but somehow…once again…I’d forgotten how to rest.

It becomes natural if we do lay down for rest to reach for a TV remote or check out Instagram one more time. And do we really need to check Facebook to see what someone had for dinner or where they are driving or what they are dismayed about? Over restoration?

It takes effort to lay here and rest, and as I do I’m aware of the sun shining through the window on my face.  I hear God in the church bells, in the children’s laughter of the schoolyard and even the cars going by. I hear Him in the life surrounding me.

And I sense His presence as the breeze blows my curtains and tickles my face.

Today I choose to lay here with my arms outstretched and just be aware and enjoy the moment and it felt good and right. Not a stitch of “lazy” in it.

Because I am desperate for rest.

Not the kind where I lay down and put my feet up, but where my soul rests with God. Where I can hear his voice and I’m not drowning it out with my to-do list, or my overactive brain images.

I want to rest with the purpose of spending time in his presence doing absolutely nothing but being aware that He is here with me.

Today, try to lay down long enough that you can doze for a few minutes in the sunlight. When you wake up? Stretch. I mean like a full and total fingertips to toes stretch. When was the last time you did that? It feels amazing.

There is no time for amazing in the rushed, in the frenzied.

It is found in moments of rest.

Decorate Your Mantel For Cheap Without Sacrificing Style

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Do you have a mantel or feature shelf that you enjoy decorating to coordinate with the seasons?

It can be done with very little cash and still look warm and stylish.

The key is to mix what you already own (with minor changes), a few cheap additions, and something personal to your family story. [Read more...]

God…Put Me Back Together Again {Psalm 41:4}

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You know those days when your smiles are hollow? When emotional rain feels heavy; it does not refresh.

Days when my actions are often inconsistent with my verbal declarations.

I demand respect, but don’t give it. I angle for the best for myself, while teaching generosity to my kids.  My moods are edgy and easy to inflame.

The good news is that God is gracious. Tonight I will carve a private place alone with God. No distractions.

Because, for me? Those distractions lead to sin.

Want to know what is funny about this? I used to be one of those who claimed I didn’t need a “savior”, I was a good person. Not a sinner. Once your eyes are opened, they stay that way. And for this, I am thankful.

For on this training ground, my spirit has groaned, laughed, learned.

God hears me. He hears you. He is in the business of putting people back  together, molding them into something more pure…beautiful.

I gladly embrace the cracks, that He will alter me into a  light that shines beautiful mosaic patterns into the darkness.

With that light I trust He will bring those whose cracks are similar. That His light in me may shine brighter to them.

That is my hope. My trust. My assurance.

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Photography {Vintage Dishware}

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There is a comfort that is found when I handle the dishes passed down through my family. Knowing that my great grandfather might have spooned his sugar from this dish into his coffee. Maybe he was reading the paper…

Or when I gently finger the teacups of my great aunt, and I wonder if she preferred a solitary cup or to join with friends.
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How To Find More Time

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Remember when the word fall used to be synonymous with happy things? Pumpkins, cool weather, the changing of leaves…

Now it seems to be connected more with an impending sense of busyness. The dreaded overbooked calendar. [Read more...]

A Few Of My Favorite Things {Books}

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I have a girlhood memory. It was dusk and my mom was in the kitchen cooking dinner. The living room was unlit, and Johnny Mathis was crooning My favorite things on the record player. It is funny how often that scene comes to mind. I loved singing about favorite things…the one’s that made  me not feel so bad.

Today kick’s off a new series. I’ll be easing into short videos each month highlighting random things that top my list of loves. Expect fun. Quirky. Well, random…

Let’s start with books. It was impossible to narrow down to a top ten, and aren’t those overdone anyway?  For more book ideas, check out my post about reading 52 books in a year here. Make sure to add YOUR favorites in the comments! [Read more...]