Summer Special Tag

We’ve been tagged, y’all!

Grace, who blogs at “Don’t You Know that I’m Singing,” tagged me in this summer blog party. Thank you, Grace! 😃

The Questions:

1) What is a nickname only your family calls you?

My family is big into nicknames. One nickname would be Dove.

2) What’s a weird habit of yours?

I partially stick my tongue out sometimes when I’m concentrating (I didn’t realize that I do this until my siblings told me! 😆)

3) Do you have any strange phobias?

I somewhat have a fear of birds. If they’re nearby me, I feel a little creeped out sometimes.

4) What’s a song that you secretly like to blast and belt out when you’re alone?

I love music–and blasting it out!–so it’s hard to pick just one. I really love blasting out TobyMac music (especially his “This is Not a Test” album) or Hillsong United.

5) What’s one of your pet peeves?

When my piano students play random notes or songs during the lesson while I’m talking with them. (I can’t concentrate when this happens.)

6) What’s one of your nervous habits?

Hmm….I think it would be crossing my arms, or being quiet.

7) What’s a YouTuber that almost always makes you laugh?

Definitely Blimey Cow. They’re hilarious! 😂

8) What was your first stuffed animal and what was its name?

I can’t remember my first stuffed animal’s name, but I have always loved stuffed animals.

9) What’s the drink you always order at Starbucks?

I’ve actually never been to Starbucks. 😆

10) Do you have any weird body skills?

Yes! I can wrap my right arm around my head and touch my right ear. (I can also do it with my left arm.)

11) What’s your favorite comfort food that’s bad but you eat it anyways?

Occasionally I have ice cream. I also love Ritz crackers when I find them. (They’re not in our home😆).

12) What’s a phrase or exclamation you always say?

“Oh my goodness!”

13) What did you use to wear that you would never wear now?

Those feathery sweaters that my brothers always called “bird costumes.” 😂

14) What did you want to be when you were young?

A wife and mother. 😊 And I also wondered about overseas missionary service.

15) How tall are you?

5′ 4″

And now…for my blogger nominees….

My sister @ In Sun or Rain

Sarah @ Agulha No Palheiro

Lessons in the Woods

I love to spend time in the small patch of woods bordering my yard. In the distance there are rolling hills and silos. Birds sing in the treetops or skip along the pine-needle-covered earth, scavenging for food. Rabbits hop past or peer at me with their big brown eyes.

The other day, as I was sitting there enjoying the fresh air and warmth of spring, I caught sight of a tiny leaf on the ground. The intricacy of it caught my attention, and as I bent down to observe it I was touched by the detail and creativity of our Creator.

Our Creator pays attention to detail. Nothing escapes His view. He cares about the little things in our lives as well. He intervenes in the details we can’t see, weaving our lives together into a tapestry of His glory and grace.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrew 4:13-16)

Will we wrestle with Yahweh, or will we allow Him to work out the details of our lives as we seek His face in prayer and action?

He sees the full picture, when we just see a glimpse.

“The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men; From His dwelling place He looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, He who fashions the hearts of them all, He who understands all their works.” (Psalm 33:13-15)

“It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him. (Daniel 2:22)

“He provides them with security, and they are supported; And His eyes are on their ways.  (Job 24:23)

What a privilege to be a child of God, knowing that  He is faithful down to the last detail.

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
    How unsearchable his judgments,
    and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Or who has been his counselor?
“Who has ever given to God,
    that God should repay them?”
For from him and through him and for him are all things.
    To him be the glory forever! Amen.”
 (Romans 11:33-36)

Hosting a Jane Austen Party (inspiration and pictures)

Hosting a Jane Austen Party

This party was a blast!

Quite a few people were interested in coming (even friends who weren’t familiar with the books). We searched the internet and found some great ideas, and then added some of our own to create this one-of-a-kind evening.

JaneAustenParty2016-1-4

Upon arrival, guests were greeted by the lilting melody of “Meryton Townhall” from the Pride & Prejudice soundtrack as they stepped out of their vehicles, I mean, “horseless carriages”. :) We requested that each guest bring a name card for their introduction from the vestibule. Two of our guests came as nobility (a duke and a duchess), and both were introduced with a “red carpet” for them to enter upon.

Costumes

JaneAustenParty2016-30

Everyone attending the party was required to wear a Regency Era costume. Of course, we weren’t strict on how authentic the costumes were. One of my sisters wore a dress that had previously been used for a German costume, and one of the men came as an American patriot (saying he was traveling from America. ha ha!). Some of our guests had homemade costumes, while others pieced together clothes from home or from thrift stores.

JaneAustenParty2016-33

-Notable Characters-

  • Mr. Collins (above far left)
  • Jane, Elizabeth, and Mrs. Bennet (below)

JaneAustenParty2016-10

  • Mr. Darcy & Miss Georgiana Darcy

JaneAustenParty2016-14

  • Margaret, Elinor, and Marianne Dashwood

JaneAustenParty2016-13

  • Mr. Palmer–He had his phone hidden behind the newspaper so he could check the football scores. (We’re still in the twenty-first century, y’all!)

JaneAustenParty2016-25

  • Miss Catherine Morland

JaneAustenParty2016-4

  • Miss Jane Austen

JaneAustenParty2016-5

Entertainment

We had several activities for our guests–some planned and some not! :)

JaneAustenParty2016-9-2

-The “Did You Know?” Game-

Each guest wrote down on index cards at least one unique fact about themselves. My mom (the hostess) mixed the cards and read them one at a time to us all. Everyone would then guess who wrote down each fact.

Here are some examples from the party:

  • “Did you know…I did karate in a frozen waterfall?”
  • “Did you know…I weighed 2 lbs. 6 oz. when I was born?”
  • “Did you know…I can do push ups on my thumbs?”
  • “Did you know…I played Beethoven on the piano in Paris?”
  • “Did you know…I have never tasted soda?”
  • “Did you know…I drove an army truck into the corner of a roof?”

It was quite amusing and surprising, especially because most of our guests had never met before.

JaneAustenParty2016-7-3

JaneAustenParty2016-5-4

-Musical Chairs-

Lively dance music from the Pride & Prejudice soundtrack was playing for this game.

JaneAustenParty2016-1-6

JaneAustenParty2016-2-5

The men had their own round of Musical Chairs, since many had such well-bred manners and dare not steal chairs from the ladies.

JaneAustenParty2016-3-5

-Regency Era Trivia-

We found some interesting facts to share about Jane Austen and the time she lived in.

  • Jane Austen lived to be 41 years old. She published Pride and Prejudice at age 37.
  • The Regency Era was from 1811 to 1820. England was at war with the United States from 1812 to 1817 (the War of 1812).
  • Parmesan cheese-flavored ice cream was a favorite!
  • “Pineapples were very exotic and so expensive that hostesses used them as centerpieces on their dinner tables to show their wealth. They were hardly ever eaten as they were too precious and were often passed from hostess to hostess to use as decoration until they rotted.” (source)
  • “It cost at least £15 – an average working man’s yearly wage – to light a ballroom with wax candles for one night. Candles were sold in four-hour or six-hour burn lengths, and they dictated the length of the ball.” (source)

JaneAustenParty2016-4-4

-Pianoforte Performances & Singing-

We requested that whoever so desired would grace us by playing the pianoforte. What talent!

JaneAustenParty2016-8-3

My sister who came as Marianne Dashwood played “Georgiana” from the Pride & Prejudice Songbook.

Since only one young man played the pianoforte, I requested that the gentlemen sing a song for us all.

JaneAustenParty2016-3-4

-English Country Dancing-

JaneAustenParty2016-5-3

Lady Katherine de Ross so kindly led us in an impromptu dance.

-By Candlelight-

Not to be outdone, Mr. Darcy surprised us by procuring an inkwell and quill later in the evening.

Mr. Darcy

Prizes

Several prizes were awarded to our guests (character names used below). There was also a prize for our photographer and for our guest who traveled the furthest.

Best Costume (Female) went to Miss Elizabeth Bennett, with her homemade linen dress.

JaneAustenParty2016-9

Best Hairstyle (Female) went to Miss Catherine Morland (below, on the right).

JaneAustenParty2016-2-3

Best Actress went to Her Grace the Duchess of Lambshire (below, second from the right).

JaneAustenParty2016-7

Best Costume (Male) went to Mr. Quincy (above, far right).

Best Hair (Male)–a spur of the moment request from the ladies–went to the American Patriot (below, on the left).

Patriot

JaneAustenParty2016-1

Best Actor went to Mr. Collins (above, left) and Mr. Darcy (below).

JaneAustenParty2016-8-2

Food & Beverage

JaneAustenParty2016-2-2

For refreshments we served Queen CakesEnglish Tea Cakes, Jam Tartlets, grapes, and crackers with cheese.

JaneAustenParty2016-1-3

The day before the party, we ladies of the household (including a dear friend who was visiting) made the pastries. The leaf details on the jam tartlets brought a seasonal flair to the array (picture taken before the tartlets were baked).

Jam Tartlets

For drinks, we served tea and apple cider (hot or cold). Most everyone requested apple cider.

 

I’ve also saved additional ideas on a Jane Austen Party Pinterest board.

It was truly an honor to host this party for so many lovely young ladies and gentlemen. Everyone enjoyed it, and one guest said it was the most fun they’d had in a long time. Knowing that it brought so much joy to their hearts was a gift to us.

Chalkboard Guestbook
We used our chalkboard as a guest book.

Thank you to our photographer, Miss Read, for bestowing her talent in capturing this memorable evening.

And thank you to my family and friends who made it happen.

It was a blessed time, for sure!

JaneAustenParty2016-6

Which is your favorite Jane Austen book? Have you ever attended a Jane Austen party?

Having Childlike Faith on Election Day

Leaves

This morning the 22-month-old little girl that I babysit came running up to my doorstep as cheerful as ever. As I swept her up in my arms and greeted her, I thought about how today is election day and how amazing it must be to be a toddler without a care in the world.

As we took a walk around the neighborhood, she swung her arms with her chin held high, exclaiming about the trees and the neighborhood dogs that she saw and singing a song.

I was reminded of Yeshua’s words about having faith like a child.

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)

Of course, as adults we have the responsibility to take action in our country, but as children of God we have to remember to trust in Him above all else.

We need childlike faith to trust that we are provided for, cherished, and protected by or heavenly Father.

I voted

Whatever the election holds, let’s not lose that childlike faith.

Let’s keep recognizing the beauty in the world, and trusting in our Father to supply all our needs.

Let’s learn from a toddler, and remember that…

“This is the day that Yahweh has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)

Time Flies {Give Thanks}

Times Flies. Give Thanks

Lately I’ve been pondering my past and my future. Perhaps it’s on my mind even more than usual since I’ll be turning twenty soon. It’s funny how it felt like I’d always be a teen. I’m a little sentimental as this stage slips away, but life isn’t going to feel any different, and I’m excited for whatever the future holds.

The other day an acquaintance shared some wisdom with me. “Time flies,” she said, as her sweet brown eyes smiled at me beneath her white hair, “Cherish each day. Take a moment in the morning just to soak it up and thank God.”

She’s right.

Time isn’t “flying” for me, but I know that one day it’ll feel that way.

I want to make a habit now of cherishing each day and living each year on purpose.

This month I’m joining Kings Blooming Rose in their Give Thanks x7 Challenge. It’s pretty easy. Simply write down seven things each day that you’re thankful for.

Psalm 119:164

Often we don’t realize how deeply we are blessed until we pause and recognize His goodness in our lives.

I haven’t lived long, but still I’ve seen His hand lead me year by year–sheltering my heart from what I thought I wanted, and giving me more than I could have dreamed.

He is a good, good Father.

How thankful I am for that.

Times Flies. Give Thanks

Psalm 103

Bless Yahweh, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
Bless the Yahweh, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Yahweh works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel.
Yahweh is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so Yahweh shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and wit is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of Yahweh is from everlasting to everlasting on
those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.
Yahweh has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.
Bless Yahweh, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word!
Bless Yahweh, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will!
Bless Yahweh, all his works, in all places of his dominion.
Bless Yahweh, O my soul!

What are seven things that you are thankful for today?

Remembering the Promised Land

The Wailing Wall
The Wailing Wall in Jerusalem

Yesterday I did something that I had gotten out of the practice of doing. I opened up the Intercessors for Israel prayer e-mail and prayed along.

Every time that I pray along with these weekly prayer prompts, I feel so strengthened and connected to the Father. It keeps me up to date on current events in Israel, and also fills me with hope that the Father is hearing our prayers.

If I want to be so committed to this, why don’t I pray along more often?

Any excuse I come up with isn’t good enough.

I’ve always struggled with praying consistently for Israel for years. I’m not proud of that, but it’s the truth.

When I came back from the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem last year, I told myself that I would pray for Israel more. And I did. Then I got distracted again.

Distraction is often zapping our time, efforts, and prayer life.

But if we open up the Word of Life, and quiet our soul to hear His still small voice, we will know His heart. We will know His will. We will know how to pray.

Sometimes there are many prayer requests on our hearts. We have family, friends, communities, and worldwide issues to pray for. And we need to focus on these important things. But we also need to remember to always “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6).

... from Israel::
photo from pinterest

That small strip of land, about the size of New Jersey, is unlike anywhere else in the world. All the earth is His, but Israel is His special treasure.

For the YHVH has chosen Zion,
    he has desired it for his dwelling, saying,
“This is my resting place for ever and ever;
   here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it.
I will bless her with abundant provisions;
   her poor I will satisfy with food.
I will clothe her priests with salvation,
and her faithful people will ever sing for joy.
“Here I will make a horn grow for David
   and set up a lamp for my anointed one.
I will clothe his enemies with shame,
   but his head will be adorned with a radiant crown.”
(Psalm 132:13-18)

Daily Bible Verse and Devotion on the Faithfulness of God:

 :

His heart is for Israel.

With so many people in the world standing against Israel today, we must stand up for this Promised Land.

Re-Pin to say AMEN:

.:
photo from pinterest.com

Let’s pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

As the Season Changes…

little terrapin creek

Here’s some beautiful things that “find me grateful”:

Endings, beginnings

The full moon shining through the silhouetted treetops

When people work hard together
{there’s something to be said about people from different backgrounds all coming together to serve}

My brother saying “I do” to his beautiful bride

A home overflowing with laughter and chatter with family and friends from out-of-town

This beautiful sunset one evening

stunning sunset

Prayer times with sisters in Messiah

♫ It is Well (Oh My Soul) ♫

Random “I love you’s”

Quiet morning walks with Kiley

Time spent alone outside with my Maker

Autumn breeze

Apple trees at sunset

john 1:5

Finding a sky full of stars while walking out to the tent at night

Hospitality

Precious souls sharing about adoption, how to outreach in a messy world, and redemption from the past

Conversations that stay nestled in my heart

A growing family

Smiles from the ones I love

So many hugs

This song

What are you thankful for during this season of life?

Prepare for the Rain

photo from thoughtcatalog.com
photo from thoughtcatalog.com

The other day a dear friend of mine reminded me of this conversation from the movie Facing the Giants:

Pray for Rain

Since I haven’t watched the movie in years, I had forgotten this little story.

It caused me to ask myself some questions.

Do I pray with faith?

 Do I take action, knowing that God will supply all my needs?

Faith is trust.

But it’s also the works that are done because of that trust. It’s stepping out on those waves because we see Him walking towards us with His hands outstretched, and that is enough to make us risk the impossible.

“So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
{James 2:17}

Big God Trust God Love God Godly Quotes Encourage Inspiration Blessings Motivation Jesus Christ Bible:

May His Words sink deep.

John 15: 5-17

I am the vine, you are the branches;
he who abides in Me and I in him,
he bears much fruit,
for apart from Me you can do nothing.
If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you,
ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
My Father is glorified by this,
that you bear much fruit,
and so prove to be My disciples.
Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.
If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love;
just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you
and that your joy may be made full.
This is My commandment,
that you love one another, just as I have loved you.
Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.
No longer do I call you slaves,
for the slave does not know what his master is doing;
but I have called you friends,
for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.
You did not choose Me but I chose you,
and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit,
and that your fruit would remain,
so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name
He may give to you.
This I command you, that you love one another.

Image result for hosea 10:12

Let’s prepare for the rain.

Making Room

 :
photo from teachingliteracy.tumblr.com

I want to make room for God in my life.

I want to open my heart and let His Word speak truth.

Psalm 139:1-18

  O יהוה, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O יהוה, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

Inline image 1

May this be our life’s prayer.

Let’s make room for Him.

Make room for Him to interrupt our schedule. Make room for Him to change our dreams for the future. Make room for Him to be our sweetest love.

Give God room to show Himself faithful:

Let’s not just “go through life,” let’s grow through it, becoming more dependent upon Him, more trusting of His goodness.

It’s a life-long journey–learning to say “Thy will be done.”

Learning to let go.

Learning to live.

Let Me Carry You

photo from pinterest.com
photo from pinterest.com

One of the greatest mysteries of life is that our Creator speaks to us in the simple things.

The other day I was touched by one of those little things. I spent the weekend with my brother and his wife and children. We spent the first day with dear friends of ours, and the next day we went on a shopping trip. My niece was tuckered out after such full and exciting days, and when we arrived back at their home, she was mostly asleep. She didn’t want to walk, she couldn’t keep her eyes open,  and she started to cry. That’s when her daddy reached out and said, “Let me carry you.”

And then it hit me.

My heavenly Father is longing to do the same thing for me. When I’m exhausted (physically or spiritually), he wants to carry me. When I’ve reached the end of my strength, he’s more than willing to be the shoulder to rest my weary, confused, aching head upon.

When I rest in that childlike faith, realizing that Yahweh is my Father, and I am his daughter, that’s when perfect love casts out fear.

My heart might try to convince me otherwise, yet there’s a sweet whisper of love and truth…

“Let me carry you.”

Me: But I’ve failed you again. I don’t deserve your love. I’m so flawed and frustrated at myself. Why would you love me?

 “Let me carry you.”

Me: But I’m afraid. I can’t let go.

“Let me carry you.”

Me: I want to know you for real. I want to let go of every fear, and walk in your perfect love. I want to be filled from the inside out with your living waters. I want to walk in the power of your resurrection. I want to glorify you with everything that I am. I need you every hour. I need your grace more than ever. I love you. I want to serve you. I offer my life to you.

He carries me

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” {Matthew 11:28}