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?

Spring is a Beautiful Thing

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I feel like I’m enjoying the beauty of spring this year more than ever. I’ve been especially enjoying taking walks around the neighborhood. There’s so many beautiful things to discover.

Voyage Discovery New Eyes Travel Quote by Marcel Proust Hand Drawn Mini Moleskine Cahier Kraft Pocket Journal in Indian Ink (3.5" X 5.5"):
photo from etsy.com

Here’s some beautiful things:

bradford pear

Bradford pear trees in full bloom

fragile little purple flowers that shiver in the wind

so many daffodils in the neighbor’s yard

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fuzzy feeling clover

standing still and soaking up life for a moment

heart-shaped leaves on the purple tree

purple blossoms

open windows again

rain on a metal roof

warmth of sunshine on my arms

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praise in Hebrew

the cherry tree starting to blossom

duets with Kiley

stargazing with my brother

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sharing Scriptures with friends

peace that comes from reading the Words of life

“For just as the sufferings of Messiah flow over in our lives, so also through Messiah our comfort overflows.” 
{2 Corinthians 1:5}

My Soul Finds Rest in God Alone:
photo from pinterest.com

What are you loving about spring this year?

Winter’s Beautiful Things

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This blog has been quiet, so I’ll give you a lil’ recap. :) I’m excited about a trip to Israel planned for this spring! (Yes!!! I have a ticket!!!! I’m amazed at how the Father has brought this about! :D) I’m also still loving being a babysitter, spending time with family & friends, and simply living life day by day.

I continue to be amazed by the beautiful things around me.

Yeshua is so good.

Here’s a little of winter’s beauty:

one of those random moments when you’re standing in the kitchen and you discover a piece of art:

Red Carnation

colorful pens & pencils in a jar

bundling up to write poetry in the cold

thrift store shopping

Saturday night game nights

bright yellow yarn (‘cuz it brings sunshine to my winter)

crocheting & listening to Audrey Assad music

my sister restoring our great-grandma’s quilt:

AG's Quilt

fluffy snowflakes falling (those are special ’round here ;)

late-night baking

late-night snacks

laughs with Uncle Dave & Aunt Debbie

“Visit many books, but live in the Bible” C. H. Spurgeon

my dad who volunteers to do dishes

starting off Sabbath with a steamy mug of tea

a walk through the woods on Sabbath morning:

IMG_3541-001people that live life passionately

family hugs

♫ can’t live a day with out you ♫

prayers that are already being answered

when the sun comes out

new blue walls

praise in Romanian:
(do you recognize the tune? :)

What are some beautiful things that you’ve enjoyed this winter?

Autumn’s Beauty

So many things have made this autumn beautiful. I’ve been filling my Beautiful Things journal more than ever before. It’s such a happy lil’ book that reminds me of Yahweh’s goodness in my life.

November Morning
photo by Jay (dview.us)

Here’s some of those beautiful things:

road trips & staring out the window
(We spent Thanksgiving week with my grandparents in Florida.)

Driving West

shades of autumn along the highway

a bright orange, chert path cutting through a field and into the woods

a chilly day at the beach
(and how peaceful it is)

Sun Setting at the Beach

endless waves

singing and collecting seashells along the beach

the moon rising in the clear, blue sky

♫ Somebody Else’s Story ♫

sibling laughter

Grandpa’s jokes

a triple-long Thanksgiving table

Thanksgiving

giving thanks together

Shining Stars Magazine

Amy Grace surprising me with a random sticky note in Spanish

nicknames

a world map on my wall

World Map

Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot

old hymns

sharing music with friends

♡ sisters by heart ♡

Sweet Home Alabama
(It really is a beautiful state.)

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beautiful weather in December

sunset on Erev Shabbat with Garrels’ music

a dreamy green pasture

starry nights

praying in the rain

“Let Your kindness and Your truth always watch over me.” 
Amen.

Grateful Heart

What are some beautiful things that you’re grateful for today?

P.S. I’ve been enjoying this artist’s music lately. I love how he sings so passionately about Yeshua Messiah and the land of Israel. (Plus, he has the chords for all his songs on his website.) This song is a wonderful reminder to trust Yeshua and follow Him.

Beauty in the Land

I admired all the beautiful flowers! :)

“For יהוה your God is bringing you into a good land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise יהוה your God for the good land He has given you.” (Deuteronomy 8:7-10).

I am so thankful to Yahweh for the opportunity to visit that good land.

Here’s some of the beautiful things:

Sabbath in Jerusalem
Jerusalem honors the Sabbath unlike any other big city in the world, and that’s an amazing thing to be a part of.

The market on the Sabbath
The market on the Sabbath

Visiting a Messianic Synagogue
The congregation was overflowing with believers form all over the world. There was such diversity, and yet so much unity. The teacher talked in Hebrew. Someone in the congregation translated into English (for which I am very thankful!). A lady sitting in front of me took notes in Chinese,  and a lady behind me quietly translated the teaching into Norwegian for her friends. His message was themed on Joshua 1:7–“be strong and courageous”–and how we should not fear death. It was especially powerful considering that it was preached at the  start of this recent wave of hostilities in the Land. There was such peace in all of our hearts as we sang familiar hymns and Hebrew songs together, including some of my favorites: Ram Venisa, Come Thou Fount, and Blessed Assurance

The sandy hills of the Judean Dessert
Not only was the desert picturesque, it was also fascinating to see Bedouin dwellings, camels, and shepherds leading their flocks of sheep, as we drove along the highway. It reminded me of Yeshua calling Himself the Great Shepherd, and explaining that we are the sheep of His pasture. Suddenly 2,000 years seemed so much closer.

Judean Desert

Washing clothes by hand
Okay, so this might sound like an odd “beautiful thing,” but I felt like a real Israeli as I washed my clothes by hand in the apartment where we were staying. The kitchen window was open and I could hear Jerusalem outside and breathe its dry air. (Any time that I get to feel like a native, it’s a beautiful thing.)

The worker who loved his work
He was an older man, with a gentle smile, kind eyes,  and a peaceful countenance that defied the noise and hustle of the open-air market. I could tell that he delighted in his job as he slowly selected the carrots, oranges, apples, or pomegranates–whatever we requested–to press into juice. He told us how it was good for our health, and seemed to get as much pleasure in serving us and as we did in sipping that delicious fresh-pressed juice.

Israeli flowers
I love how many beautiful flowers there are in Israel, especially considering that it’s in a desert climate.

“The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.” (Isaiah 35:1a)Flowers

Reading Hebrew
This was my first trip to Israel since learning how to read Hebrew. It was exciting to read the signs and labels and be immersed in a culture where Hebrew is the native language. Note to self: I should have learned to read a long time ago! (It’s actually quite easy.)

Fellowshipping in the park with friends
When family in Messiah from all over the world gathers in His city at His festival to worship Him, it’s the most beautiful thing of all! Here’s one of the songs we sang together (led my James Block).

P.S. If you’ve never heard James Block’s music, I’d highly recommend you do. He mostly sings the Psalms and returns God’s Hebrew names to the text.

Ohio’s Beautiful Things

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Last week my family traveled to Ohio for our annual family reunion. We have been going to the Hudson family reunions (my mom’s side of the family) for as long as I can remember, though we missed some years. It’s a familiar drive, through the Tennessee mountains, past the picket fences in Kentucky, and along the flat highway lined with cornfields in Ohio. It’s a long drive, but a good one, because there are always memories to be made and lots of  laughter and fun awaiting us.

Along the way,  there were  many beautiful things to add to my journal.
Here’s a few:

Pillow fights!
(This  is what happens when three teen-age siblings share a hotel room, and I happen to be the eldest.) :)

A lady on the elevator who smiled at Faith and me and said, “It’s so nice to see happy faces.”

This book, that made a lovely travel companion

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A sign that a farmer put next to his field that said, “Choose life. Your mother did.”

Dad giving random historical trivia

Visiting Uncle Dan & Aunt Rose’s Victorian home in Michigan
(It was built in 1876.)

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There were many beautiful things at the reunion too:

Aunt Debbie’s vibrant plants and flowers

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This praying mantis must have thought her flowers beautiful too :)
(Thanks, Dad, for spotting it!)

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Splashing in the cold water on such a warm weekend

Swimming

Friendly neighbors across the street sharing their pond with us

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More beautiful flowers :)

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Taking a walk down the street together and enjoying the country scenery,
including blue spruce trees

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Picking off a couple of the needles and smelling the woodsy scent

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It was a wonderful weekend

with lots of laughs

adorable babies and toddlers to snuggle

games to play

and memories made

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I’m thankful for Uncle Dave and Aunt Debbie who host the reunion each year to bring our family together

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I’m thankful for everyone who comes and makes it a celebration

And I’m thankful to Yahweh for family

traveling grace

and Ohio’s beautiful things

“For יהוה  is good; His kindness is everlasting, And His truth, to all generations.”
Psalm 100:5

Florida’s Beautiful Things

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This past week my family went on a vacation to  Florida for my grandparents’ 60th anniversary party. It was truly a wonderful celebration and such a blessing to spend time with family (some of whom I hadn’t seen in many years). Now that I’m back in Sweet Home Alabama, I’m realizing some of the beautiful things that Florida taught me. Here’s a few:

Home changes.

I was born in Florida, and for years after moving to Alabama, Florida still felt like home when I visited there. Now it no longer does. Florida feels like memories, but those memories don’t make me sad anymore, because I’m happy to be living somewhere else.  It’s a strange feeling when your heart settles in a new location, but it finally happened. Alabama feels more like home.

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Cheaha State Park, the highest point in Alabama

Who you’re with matters more than where you are.

My family was blessed to be able to stay at a resort in Orlando for a few days. It was a lovely resort, with pools and beautiful flowers (more on those later), but my favorite thing about our stay there was that my brother and his precious family stayed at the condo with us.  Family makes a place special, and we got to make many sweet memories, including a  day trip to the beach. Don’t you just love those smiles? :)

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Three of the five

Screened-in porches are a taste of heaven.

My sister and I slept on the screened-in back porch of the condo. This was a great arrangement since a) there were too many of us to all sleep inside and b) I was captivated by the idea of sleeping outside, regardless. It was a great place to have some quiet time, with the peaceful sound of the fountain bubbling in the nearby lake. Even when it was raining, I could still enjoy the outdoors.

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I truly love flowers.

My dad loves to tease me about my fascination with photographing flowers. I just can’t help it! They’re too beautiful. :)

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Childhood friends are something to cherish.

While in my hometown, I was able to spend the day with a friend that  I haven’t seen in years. Bethany and I have been friends since childhood, and it was wonderful to get caught up on each others’ lives and talk about great memories that we made.

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Going back to places that are dear to your heart is good.

But coming back home to where God has you now is even better.

Treasure the memories.

Continue the friendships.

And allow Him to lead you on this grand adventure called life.

How about you…What are some beautiful things that you’ve learned lately?

A Little of Summer’s Beauty

photo from www.imgfave.com
photo from www.imgfave.com

I’ll be honest…It feels like I haven’t written much in my beautiful things journal lately.  It’s not that there aren’t beautiful things to remember, it’s just that sometimes it’s hard to find words for them. Some beautiful things are best kept tucked away in my heart. And that, in itself, is a beautiful thing.

A Little of Summer’s Beauty

tickets to Israel
{a very beautiful thing!}

reading the beginning of Genesis in Hebrew

♫ The Power of Your Love ♫

a bright, cheery bedroom

teaching Sharon to knit

sticking flowers in friends’ hair

Amy Grace playing hymns

a bird perched on the bay window

soft, warm lighting

being a daughter at home

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What beautiful things are you thankful for today?

Fullness of Joy (and other beautiful things)

photo by my sister Sharon
photo courtesy of my sister Sharon

Sometimes I’m not joyful. Sometimes I’m ungrateful. I can come up with some pretty good excuses for being grumpy sometimes, but still I feel that longing of my soul to “snap out of it” and focus on all the beautiful things in life. Sometimes I need reminded of this verse:

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11)

Sometimes I have to ask myself hard questions.

Do I let Him lead me in the paths of life?

Do I find fullness of joy in His presence?

My heart longs for life to be perfect, for everyone to get along, and for every day to be showered in sunshine. But this doesn’t happen. At least, not everyday. And as long as I’m living in this broken world, life will never be “perfect.” There will always be a storm cloud looming in the distance, or a worry in my heart that I need to deal with. There will always be tears. And there will always be myself. And myself drives me crazy sometimes.

But you know what?

There will always be fullness of joy.

At His right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Only when I put Him in center view can I see this. Only then can I delight in the simple beauties of life, no matter how small they may seem.

Today I want to find fullness of joy in Him. Today I want to focus on the beautiful things. Today I want to be thankful.

So without further adieu, here are some beautiful things:

new friends that feel like old friends

the sweet scent of honeysuckle

♫ Morning Light ♫

muddy little hands and feet

looking at the world upside down

green leaves against blue sky

hands folded in prayer

shoes that can survive anything

♫ This Little Light of Mine ♫

seeing the bright, full moon through the kitchen window

handmade cards

wearing a jacket in May

French braids

Psalm 103

smiles that can’t be tamed

cold, damp grass beneath my feet

This song–especially this line:

♫ You are everything that is beautiful.
You are all that I long to see in me ♫

Now it’s your turn…What are some simple beauties of life?

Beautiful Things

Beautiful Things Diary

A dear friend of mine (who blogs over here) has inspired me to keep a diary of beautiful things.

I’m always finding a new excuse to start a journal, and this idea I knew I couldn’t resist. Keeping a diary of beautiful things could brighten my life and cause me to be more observant and appreciative of the beauty around me.

Beautiful things remind me of my Maker’s heart. I love beautiful things, because He loves beautiful things too. Creation testifies to that. He could have placed us on a dull planet, but He placed us on this earth where we have oceans and deserts and hills and meadows.

So often beautiful things are free, just waiting to be discovered. It can be the way sunlight slips through Venetian blinds in the morning, or the way that a baby’s cheeks dimple when he smiles so big.

I want to keep these things close to my heart. I want to capture the art that the Maker has created. I want to bring Him praise.

There’s so many beautiful things yet to be discovered, here are some so far:

♫ You make beautiful things out of the dust ♫

The many shades of spring green

Trees towering into the sky

♫ Heaven’s Knife ♫

People smiling

Hebrew

Windblown hair

The way that skirts make me feel pretty and feminine

“We love Him, because He first loved us.”

The crisp evening breeze blowing through the kitchen window

The way the moon makes me feel small

Some reflections on growing older

This song & video:

How about you…What is something beautiful that you’ve discovered lately?