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.

Many Things to Ponder…

Sunshine Through Leaves

Sometimes the Father shows us how fragile we humans are–how completely dependennt we are upon Him. We don’t generally like to be reminded of that truth. We’d much rather be tough and strong, and perfect in every way. But that’s not me, and I’m pretty certain that’s not you either, dear reader.

If my guess is correct, you’re a lot like me. Desperately in need of a Savior. Continually needing reminded of His goodness, His faithfulness, His truth, His Word, His peace that passes all understanding and shatters fear and doubt.

This past month, I’ve been pondering many things. I suppose that’s nothing new for me, but normally I’m more talkative on this lil’ blog. Sometimes though, words don’t seem to be the right thing to say.

Life is amazing, y’all.

We serve an awesome God.

And yet there’s some heartbreaking things that happen in this fallen world. There’s tears that we don’t plan on crying. There’s news reports that we don’t want to hear. There’s battles in our souls that we feel worn out from fighting.

And yet, there’s joy that overtakes our hearts in unspeakable ways.

There’s healing.

There’s friends and family and fellowship that makes the meaning of life deeper.

And there’s hope that can’t be taken away from us.

No matter what.

Because there’s Yeshua.

And He is always near.

Waiting for us to pour our hearts out to Him. Longing to embrace us when we’re crying. Wanting to encourage us when we’re down.

There’s the countless ways that He speaks to our hearts.

There’s the endless miracle of eternal life.

There’s the greatest blessing of knowing Him.

There’s His joy in the sorrow.

His comfort in the pain.

  It seems that every day I grow more amazed at what a blessing it is to breathe the autumn air, to hear the wind howling through the empty treetops, to live in a home surrounded by the ones I love.

Life is a gift.

Life is a mystery.

I’m still pondering that. And I’m pretty certain I always will.

There will always be much to ponder, because I can’t figure Yahweh out. I can’t wrap my mind around His ways. I can’t understand the story He’s writing sometimes.

But I do know Him to be true. I know Him to be faithful. I know Him to be the best at orchestrating lives. The best at healing hearts. The best at anything and everything. Because He is the Master of all.

His Word is final.

His truth is eternal.

And His love is never ending.

In this I have rest.

In this I have peace.

In this I have joy.

What an awesome God we serve.

Life is a Gift

Life is a Gift

Life is a gift, y’all.

Sometimes it takes tears to realize that. Sometimes it takes sorrow to see the joy. Sometimes I don’t have the words to capture what I feel, but I do have a bit to share, and that is….

Today
Hug a little tighter
Breathe the air in deeper
Pray harder
Listen closer
Cherish
Life
Don’t fear death
or separation
or the future
or the past
Look at the faces
Of the ones you love
And realize how
Blessed
You are
To have them
Today

**************

Life is a gift.

Live it.

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?

My Dear Piano (a silly post)

Sometimes you’ve just gotta laugh.

When I hear a piano that sounds like this….

It’s hard not to cringe, even if it is my very first piano ever. {awwww….}

Now….before you judge my dear piano too much, I’m gonna defend it.

Sure it’s almost an antique, and it might sound like a steel drum, but it’s not that bad. Personally, I think the scuffed wood, peeling felt, and missing knob, etc., adds to its charming personality. And all pianos should have plenty of personalty (just saying).

Alrighty, so yes, I’m in a silly mood.

But in all seriousness, I have hope for this piano. All it needs is a piano tuning (or two) and some tender loving care.

Maybe.

Time will tell, and I’ll keep you posted with future songs if I’m correct.

Regardless, I’m thankful for it. And I’m thankful for my dad and brother who courageously moved it in all its awkward glory.  I’m also thankful for my oldest brother who cleaned all the keys, and for our friend who scoured the Internet to find out how old it is. (It was born in ’67, just so ya know.)

Everyone has been so helpful.

It’s already getting the tender loving care it so deserves.

Welcome to your new home, dear piano. I like you already.

My New Piano

Unbroken

photo from www.awardcircuit.com

Last week I watched the movie Unbroken with my  family.

I suddenly felt selfish for every time I’d ever complained about my little troubles in life.

I’ve never floated on a raft on the Pacific Ocean for 47 days, battling starvation, storms, and sharks.

I’ve never been that close to death or been through the horrors of war.

Louis Zamperini’s story is dark. It’s real. But it’s also beautiful in a heartbreaking way.

It’s the ending that touched me the most (although the movie doesn’t highlight it much).

After all the darkness and nightmares and scars,  Loius Zamperini found God.

He felt the redeeming power of forgiveness and shared it with others.

He visited Japan and forgave his prison guards in the POW camp.

He lived to the bold age of 97 and  died with peace in his heart.

This is the type of story that knocks me off my feet and shoves my selfishness in my face.

Today I don’t want to complain, y’all.

I just want to be thankful for life. For the endless blue sky above. For the birds chirping in the treetops. For the songs my siblings sing together. For the breeze kissing my face.

Today is for living, not complaining.

Today is for thankfulness.

Today is unbroken.

Full song here: This is Just So Beautiful

How about you…What are you thankful for today?