Monday, February 28, 2011

A Great Conversation in a Penske Truck

Forty hours of driving time from Seattle to Chicago can lead to some great conversations. My sister, Sue, was one of our travelling companions, and somewhere along I-94, we had plenty of time to process some thoughts that had long been milling in my head.

As a follower of Christ, I have often used the phrase, "God is so good," and this is a true statement. This same statement was showing up in facebook status' a lot. It often looked like this:

I have a husband who loves me . . . God is so good.
We got sunshine on our vacation . . . God is so good.
I do not have cancer . . . God is so good.

Something was bothering me, when I read these. They were indeed true statements, but perhaps unbalanced. It is equally true, that God is good, when we do not get the cherished outcome we desire.

I lost my job . . . God is so good.
I have cancer . . . God is so good.
We are struggling financially . . . God is so good.

The person who experienced both the best of times and the worst of times and got this balance right was Job. In Job 1:21, he said, " . . . the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord."

I was looking forward to having this discussion with Sue because I knew she would have something to add. I had been watching her very real faith sustain her during her very real battle with non-hodgkins lymphoma. She had a lot to say.

I have asked Sue to share her cancer story with you. She is working on it now . . . and it will be featured soon at a blog near you. I cannot wait.

This is a bad cell phone picture . . . but Sue and I did survive the long drive, unpacking and still had time for some delicious Chicago Metropolis coffee.

What is going on in your life these days? I would love to know how you are reconciling the giving and the taking?

I am linking up with the sweet girls at Jens.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My Husband, the Speaker

My husband, has spoken to thousands of groups of high school and college students over the years. And he has funny funny stories of things that have happened to him. We always think we have seen everything, but last week when he was speaking at Ecola Bible School in Cannon Beach, Oregon . . . well, I will let you see what happened ~

Note to self: never schedule a speaking engagement at Ecola two weeks after your pastor has been there. :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Other Side of the Coin and Sweet Blog Awards

Sweet Maria of  Life Lessons, a beautiful inspirational blog, has awarded me The Ten Bloggers That Make Me Happy Award.

Sweet Kimberly of Mining for Diamonds, where she is telling her amazing story, has awarded me The Versatile Blogger award.

Thank you, Maria and Kimberly. These blog awards come with some "fun strings attached."

Fun String #1  ~ For The Versatile Blogger, I am to tell you seven things about myself. I have been thinking about blogging and how easy it is to write from my strengths, my unique life experience, places I have visited etc. So, I am calling this list of seven things about myself, "The Other Side of the Coin" ie. some of my weaknesses, quirks and things I struggle with. Enjoy. *smile*

1.  I am one of the most unadventurous people I know. My natural response to an adventuresome idea is always resistance. Of course, I am married to Mr. Adventure himself . . . or I would probably never leave the house.

2. I am externally organized (bed made, dishes done type), but am internally disorganized (messy drawers, cannot find my passport or an important receipt type.)

3. I grew up in a home that expressed positive emotions well (I love you and am proud of you.) But was not as good at expressing or containing negative emotions (I am sad, afraid, angry.) I still struggle with emotional honesty, especially telling someone I love that they made me angry.

4. My go-to coping mechanism is often food. And yes, the wonderful book, Made to Crave, is on its way to my home and bedside table. I won it in a generous giveaway from sweet Tyler, of  Titus 2:3-5. Tyler's blog has a lovely teaching style that you will enjoy.

5. I am a driver that sticks pretty close to home. Whenever my husband complains about a driver (they are too slow, should be in the other lane etc.), I always say, "That is just how I drive." He always smiles and says, "I know."

6. I have a very practical mind and in many situations I can instantly think of a way something could be done in a more efficient or beautiful manner. I have to force myself to shut that practical button off and enjoy the moment.

7. I get teary whenever I see someone cry, even if I do not know them. And when I cry, I cannot talk. (you just have to wait.)

Fun String #2: For both awards, I am to recommend some of by favorite blogs. This is hard, because I enjoy a lot of blogs and I only read blogs that I love. I will combine the two awards and happily pass both awards on to the following blogs (in no particular order):

1.  One Perfect Bite ~ Mary shares great recipes, beautiful food photographs, the history of food and often a funny story from her family.

2. Life on the Wild Side ~ Shelly's blog has a wonderful balance of serious thought provoking topics and great funny posts. She asks good questions for me to think about. And Shelly has made me feel welcomed to Chicago.

3. Zachary Michael ~ Courtney, who is a dear friend, blogs with such beauty, grace and honesty about a very difficult time in their lives, the stillborn delivery of their son, almost two years ago. This is a great site to recommend when needed.

4. La Famille ~ Alicia is a darling young mom with a fun and practical blog. She is a wonderful wordsmith.

5. Jelly Shane ~ Martha writes a creative blog about her life and family who live in Australia.

6. City of Dionne ~ I enjoy Dionne's sweet and thoughtful words and every post includes a beautiful original art piece and amazing photography.

7. Blondie's Journals ~ Jane has a lovely lifestyle blog, with recipes, stories and her thoughts along with beautiful photographs. We often comment on the same blogs, but she always beats me there. :) 

8. Bread on the Water ~ Jeannette is an amazing photographer who loves the Creators' creations in Carmel, California. She has a charming way with words, too.

9. Amy Sullivan ~ Amy writes with great passion about leading her family toward generous living. Her posts often make leave me really thinking.

10. Abbey Style Home ~ I have so enjoyed meeting Becky in the blogging world. Her blog's tag line says it all - everyday wonders + simple enchantments of daily life + good things to do + adapting a bit of the serene life of ancient abbeys to modern life at home. She is a designer dedicated to simplicity and serenity.

11. Collage of Life ~ Jeanne has an adventuresome spirit and lovely sense of humor, as she shares about her life as an expat in England. She is an amazing photographer, as she takes us along on her journeys.

12. Like Mother, Like Daughter ~ Leila blogs with her daughters and her mother. (How cool is that.) Leila is the "older woman" you always wished lived next door. She blogs with great humor and bold frankness. You can learn to cook, raise kids or patch jeans.

13. Finding Heaven ~ Jen write a beautiful, honest and thoughtful blog. She has great passion for spiritual community and hosts a link on Tuesdays called "Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood." I enjoy participating and have met some lovely sisters.

14. Aspiring Mom 2 Three ~ I began reading Lynnet's blog when she was sharing her amazing life story, bit by bit, and I have not stopped since then. Lynnet is a busy lady with a great big servants heart.

15. Fun Fahn Times ~ Doris enjoys life with a big family, caring for grand babies, fixing big families meals when her large family comes home, as well as quiet moments at home. Her blog is warm and cozy.

Wow, we made it through the list and I feel like I need another award, for getting all those links right. :) I have mentioned other favorite blogs in the past and will mention more in the future.

***To these 15 winners of The Ten Bloggers That Make Me Happy Award and The Versatile Blogger award, I want to say . . . I know that life is busy, if you want to recommend only a few blogs, that is OK with me.  


Monday, February 21, 2011

Swimming in "One Thousand Gifts." (a book review)

Since my introduction to Fun with Dick and Jane by Miss Isaac, my first grade teacher, I have loved reading. And I am a very fast reader.

A few weeks ago, my long anticipated copy of Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts: A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are, arrived on my doorstep. I began it a week ago and I cannot make it past chapter two. Is this because I forgot how to read fast? NO!  I am remembering how to read slow. There is so much truth and I want to really process it and learn it . . . from my heart.

My friend, Gene, sometimes reads a chapter seven times, before going on to the next chapter. This is that kind of book for me.

I cannot stop reading these first two chapters over and over and cannot stop talking about them. I have never recommended a book that I have not even finished reading, UNTIL TODAY.

Here are just a few bits and pieces:

* "I wake and put the feet to the plank floors, and I believe the Serpent's hissing lie, the repeating refrain of his campaign through the ages: God isn't good. It's the cornerstone of his movement. That God withholds good from His children, that God does not genuinely, fully, love us."

* "Satan's sin becomes the first sin of all humanity: the sin of ingratitude. Adam and Eve are, simply, painfully, ungrateful for what God has done."

* "How do we live fully so we are fully ready to die?"

* "As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible."

Yes, I could go on and on . . . but I want you to make the delicious discoveries for yourself. By the time you order a book and it comes, I might have made it to chapter three.

(AN IDEA FOR YOU ~ The first time I read through the chapter, I underlined what stood out to me with a blue colored pencil. The second time, an orange colored pencil etc. I am liking this system.)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Chicago Dibs

A little over three months ago, my husband and I left our beautiful Pacific Northwest and moved to Chicago. I know that I have blogged about Chicago quite a bit, and that is because I am so enjoying observing my new city.

You may remember my favorite picture that I took during the recent "Blizzard of 2011."

One of the worst parts of this type of storm, is digging out your car after the plow has come through. (I have to say that for my friends in Seattle.) Here is Jenny's car, after we had already done a little clearing.

This dilemma, has led to a very funny tradition in my new city called, "CHICAGO DIBS." Dibs refers to the practice of holding a shoveled-out parking place after a heavy snowfall, by placing an object in the spot that you spent so many hours shoveling.

Chicago Dibs has made for some very funny sites in my new city. I thought you might enjoy a few.

and my favorite

You can see many more pictures, each with funny titles here.

Any interesting or strange traditions going on in your city right now?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Glenda and Drenda

Meet my friend, Drenda Duff.

Dave and Drenda were our hosts last week, as my Dave was teaching at Ecola Bible School in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Thursday, we had our once a year breakfast covering our usual topics ~ kids, books, films, spiritual journey, life and as always, art . . .  because Drenda is an artist whose work I love.

I stopped by Drenda's beautiful home to snap a few photos of her work, that I thought you would enjoy.

on tables

on walls

on easels

Just what I would expect the home of an artist to look like. Here are a few of my favorites:

You can see more of Drenda's beautiful work at or follow her at Drenda Duff Fine Art/Facebook. Tell Drenda that Glenda sent you.

Which art piece is your favorite?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sesame and Lillies ~ Coastal Shopping at its Best

Following the "Chicago blizzard of 2011," I cannot think of a better place to escape to, than Cannon Beach, Oregon. Dave and I were there last week. (Read: no boots, no hats, no winter coats, no mittens, no scarves.) Dave was teaching a class on World Religions at Ecola Bible School. I was doing whatever I wanted.

Cannon Beach has the expected beach art galleries, bakeries, candy shops and kite stores. The beautiful Sesame and Lillies is totally unexpected and fun.

Come along and enjoy the store with me . . .

Beautiful dishes . . .

Great books

Dash and Albert rugs (I bought a baby blue and lime green one.)

Lovely pieces, too big to carry home on the plane.

beautiful soft blankets

Stunning displays

Here are a few of my favorite finds. (which sadly, I did not buy)

I loved this foot stool.

these numbered dining stools

this small covered pitcher

and, this pillow designed exclusively for Sesame and Lillies.

Of course, a cup of coffee with Dave is the perfect way to end a day of shopping.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Two Faithful Companions

When was the last time you had a season where you felt like your life was rather falling apart? Mine was six years ago and it was a season that lasted for much longer than I would have chosen.

My dear friend and all time favorite Bible teacher, Holly, sent me the devotional "Streams in the Desert," which became my daily companion. Almost every day, God would meet me in this tiny little devotional . . . it had just what I needed for that day.

Now, I am in a different season, and while things are basically going well for me, I have just made an across the States move and am adjusting to a new life. My dear friend, Anne, sent me the devotional, "Jesus Calling." Again, just what I needed and God has been meeting me everyday in this even tinier little devotional.

Here is a paragraph I recently read. (first person, Jesus speaking)

" Give up the illusion that you deserve a problem-free life. Part of you is still hungering for the resolution of all difficulties. This is a false hope. As I told my disciples, in the world you will have trouble. Link your hope not to problem solving in this life but to the promise of an eternity of problem-free life in heaven. Instead of seeking perfection in this fallen world, pour your energy into seeking Me: the Perfect One."

P.S. I love having godly, thoughtful and generous friends!

What are some of your favorite companions that help you on your journey?
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