Investing Time

camera

Do you own something that is old, possibly an heirloom or antique? There are just some things that are incredibly rare and never go out of style. We headed to the ocean when he yelled back to me, “Wait. I want to bring the camera.” I thought he was talking about either a digital camera or his phone. No; it was a Fuji Film 27 exposure 35mm One-Time-Use Camera. I can not tell you the last time I used a disposable camera.  I have to admit, it was fun snapping a few picture and using the old crank winder.  Now, I’ll have to send it in to be developed. Oh the waiting!

As I played around with the old camera I thought about old relationships. I have had the privilege of taking part of rare relationships. I’ve also lost relationships that I thought were priceless but found out differently. I have also been blessed to have long-lasting, precious relationships that I’m very thankful for.

When I  filled up the whole roll with 27 pictures taken, I knew I would have to take the camera to a developing center and get them printed. Unlike the modern digital camera that show the results right then and there, I will have to wait for the results with the Fuji 33mm camera. This is also true about long-lasting valuable relationships. We have to allow the proper amount of time to gain trust. We have to wait for the relationship to almost age in order to become priceless and precious.

I’ve relocated to a new state and am making new relationships. I’m investing time into them because I want them to last. I want them to be healthy precious relationships because we were not created to do life on our own.

“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

                                                                         Genesis 2:18 ESV

How much value do you place in your relationships? Do you take the time necessary to invest in them?

Join us today and we discuss the value of relationships on Livingbygracelivingbygracepic.jp

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Canning or Writing

tomatoes

I’ve had a wonderful day watching some tomato-canning being done. When it comes to being domestic, I prefer to buy a jar of sauce and use a hot glue gun instead of a sewing machine. I don’t know why either because my mom taught me better than that. She has always been domestic, making her own bread and sewing all of my clothes.

No matter how many times I’ve attempted to bake bread, it has always come out lumpy and dense. I’ve made more meals that have been suited for the trash than the plate. It took me many years to realize that I’m just not that domestic. As I age I find that it doesn’t matter because there are things that I can do and do them well.             tomato jars

“What am I then if I’m not domestic?” I would ask myself. Why did it take me so long to realize that I’m not good at some domestic things? Because I was too busy trying to covet other women’s gifts and not seeing my own.

I am loving and giving. I am a writer and organizer. My green thumb is with inside plants not an outside garden. I can entertain with the best of them because I can color coordinate my plates to the napkins. But, don’t ask me to fill the plates with anything too difficult to make. This weekend I couldn’t figure out all of the equations involved in canning tomatoes but I could wash the dishes; it worked!

Do we feel that others owe us validation to make us comfortable with our own talents? If so, we are way wrong. We don’t need anyone to tell us we’re good at anything. If we know that we are living out our lives the way that God intended, then we will be successful in creating our own happy memories.writing while waiting

Take the time to celebrate in who you are. Go do some canning; if that’s your thing. While you do what you’re good at, I’ll write about it.

Beth

Being Nourishing to Others

Food Saver Food Processor…How to Preserve Our Lives

dehydrated oranges

I’ve recently met someone who has taught me about what’s involved in vacuum packing food with a food saver. It’s very interesting stuff. He preserves all of his vegetables and fruits and even meats to keep them fresh and void of freezer burn.  He grazes off of these foods all winter long when fresh veggies and fruits are not available.

Of course, you know me; I can’t learn something new without it having some sort of impact on my heart, so I asked myself, how can I be nourishing towards others.

The first thing I do for others, is try not to judge them. I try to see people and things for what they truly are. God tells us that outward appearance is not what really matters.
Matthew 5:8…Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Another way I try to be nourishing towards others is taking a prayer request seriously. I never shoulder a prayer request and turn it into an opportunity to gossip or create drama. When someone confides in me, I keep it that way. I protect the request and continue to pray in my own time with God.

Leviticus 19:16 You shall not go around as a slanderer among people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD.

I am nourishing to others by being there for them. Because all things are inherently connected, no-one-being can exist on its own, isolated and apart from the rest of creation.

Colossians 2: 6-7 … So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught.and overflowing with thankfulness.

Nourishment is central  wellbeing of others and to our wellbeing. When we are able to nourish someones heart and soul, we too receive nourishment.

WHEN YOU FIND YOURSELF IN NEED OF SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT, IT IS IN THE OPPORTUNITIES TO SERVE OTHERS THAT YOU WILL FIND THE ABUNDANCE YOU SEEK. (Steve Maraboli)

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A Kiss is Worth a Thousand Words…Beth

A Kiss is Worth a Thousand Words…

dog getting kisses

Luke 22:47-48
“While he was still speaking, a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

What is it with a kiss? Have you ever kissed some baby toes or a child’s boo-boo? Have you ever kissed your parent or grandparent’s forehead or kissed the lips of your lover? Behind each kiss holds different emotions. With a kiss, we can feel joy, sadness, and passion.

When I ponder the thought of the kiss that Judas gave to Jesus, I become angry. How could he do that? How could Jesus have known He was going to do that and yet, let it happen? He had to let it happen because it was the will of his heavenly father.

An outward show of loyalty to Jesus is meaningless unless we also follow Christ in our heart. Satan and the world will try to get us to become betrayers of God, so we must be on guard. Satan is always lurking around each corner trying to trip us up in whatever shape or form. (II Thessalonians 2: 9) Are we going to make mistakes? Yes; but the important thing is that we stay grounded in the Word of God and always humble ourselves before Jesus and ask for forgiveness.

We may not betray Jesus with a kiss, but there are plenty of other ways we will betray him. We may gossip, cuss, harbor angry feelings for way too long and possibly even abuse drugs or alcohol. We may shop when we really don’t have the money, take things that don’t belong to us or cheat on a spouse. These are just as bad as betraying Jesus with a kiss.

Are you a Judas? Are you betraying God? If so, take some time to visit with Him. He’s always right there waiting to hear from you.20150717_185259-2

Psalm 25:6…Remember, me O LORD your unfailing love and compassion which you have shown from long ages past.

A Gift

ring 3

Have you ever received a gift that was very special to you? Maybe it was not necessarily because of the price tag, but more the thought that was put into giving the gift.

Recently I’ve received a very precious gift; a gift that has cost me a lot of patience and faith! It’s a very different kind of gift; it’s pure and tender; a gift I’ve been praying for well over a year.

When I was a young girl, my grandfather found a little silver ring. He had it polished up and had my initials engraved inside. I wore that ring everywhere and I was forever loosing it. Once the neighbor boy had it on his pinky finger. He kept telling me that it was his. I instructed him to look inside the band and it would show my initials. Sure enough, they realized it was mine and returned it. This ring has been through marriages, births, miscarriages, divorces, deaths, moves, job changes and all other crazy life events. No matter how many times I’ve lost this precious ring, it has alway shown up. I now wear it on my pinky finger.ring

Like my love for God; He is always with me through my up’s and down’s and even when I feel like I’ve lost Him, He always shows up. With a little prayer and faith, things can change.

As I’ve been praying for this new precious gift to finally arrive in my life, I’ve had to make some discerning choices. I no longer experience my life as a doubtful woman but rather a woman of faith and orderly direction. This new gift is so much better than a piece of jewelry; it’s the gift of love and acceptance for who I am. Thank you God.

If you could receive a gift, what kind of gift would it be?

If you could be a gift to someone, what would that gift be?

Psalm 71:8, “My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.”livingbygracepic.jpCome join us on livingbygrace.

Lessons Learned From The Ole Sea Nymph

In-Between Emotions

boat on dock

While I was waiting on God to show me where I was needing to be heading, little did I know that I was being filled with His presence during my in-between juncture.

One of the hardest parts of waiting on God to heal our hearts is allowing Him to shows us how to let go of what is old and familiar and be willing for Him to fill our empty hands once we let it go.

I was so used to being filled with anger and hurt; they became comforting and familiar emotions. They were my safe zone? Been there?

I gazed upon the Ole Sea Nymph aluminum boat and looked at the Johnson 9.9 motor.  I can do this…I Lowered the boat towards the water while observing all of the steps involved in taking it out onto the lake. Situated and ready to start the process, I realized I not only had no gas tank in the boat, but the boat plugs were missing. Pretty important things to have if you want to get a boat out onto the water. Thank God I noticed it before I stepped into the boat; that could have been one huge sunken mess.

I was in-between emotions. My confidence quickly turned into fear with disappointment and deflation right behind.  

Sometimes we have to find other avenues in getting out of the in-between emotions. Sometimes we have to trudge through the anxiety and fear, even though these behaviors have protected us and served us well for a long time.

Not knowing where the gas can was or how to hook up the gas lines, I asked myself, “Am I going to sit here in-between feeling deflated and disappointed or am I going to get out in the water with this boat?” I firmly twisted the boat plugs in, lowered the boat once again, grabbed the oars and paddled out towards the middle of the lake.

Being stuck in-between stinks but, if we evaluate our possibilities we can row from here to there and learn from how we prevailed while being in-between.IMG_1158

2 Timothy 1:7

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity

but of power and love and discipline.

 

Singing Eagles

Do you ever take the time to listen to the birds singing?eagle

It’s the presence of light that stirs the birds to sing

Earlier this summer, we had a nest of baby eagles squawking non-stop. They were cute at first and reminded me that they are part of God’s creation; however, they became annoying because they were squawking morning after morning WAY too early. I just wanted them to fly away.

Birds wings grow and stretch then thy span patches of air. First tentatively they will try to fly, then with full confidence, they know their destination and soar. Unlike birds though, we confuse our time here on earth, with obsessions of where we live and where we’re going that we actually lose our ability to fly.

While observing the baby birds for a week,

I felt a humbling lesson tug at my heart.

When I first came to know Christ, I was cautious. My relationship with Him was new and unfamiliar but as time went by and 25 yeas later, I usually will soar with confidence and faith.

                                                             UNTIL….
I find myself not allowing love with all of it’s risks teach me to be just as confident. Here I am, over two years later, still hoarding my independence and not being dependent on the love God has for me. My mind has gathered places I’ve needed to go and persons I’ve needed to be. AND now, I am feeling differently about the ambition of my direction.

Now, how about you? Soar, collect some twigs of faith and build your nest of love.

beth 3

Writing While Waiting

 

writing while waiting

 

If you have any spare time, what do you do with it?

Proverbs 31:27…She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.

 It was a sunny day and unusually hot and humid. I was cruising along the highway when I saw red brake lights ahead. I thought it might be construction but to my dismay, it was an accident. I ended up being stuck in non-stop-traffic for over an hour. What did I do? I took out my laptop and began to write.

I am always looking for just a few extra moments to be able to write my thoughts down, but, I’m not always that proficient. There are times that I take my spare moments and become lazy. It’s okay to rest; for the Bible tells us to do so; (Genesis 2:3) but, have you had those moments where God has prompted you to do something else and you just didn’t feel like it? Guilty as charged; I am.

What do you do in your spare time?

This massive traffic jam made me think about the Proverbs 31 Woman who did so much with her spare time. She had faith. She respected her husband and marriage. She nurtured her children.  She was conscious enough to take care of her body. She was always helping friends and neighbors and her husband. She was careful of the finances. She was willingly wanting to work with her hands, praised God and did not grumble. She was creating an inviting atmosphere of warmth in her home and worked diligently to complete her daily tasks. She also obtained the inner beauty that only came from Christ.

Her ability to do so much always fascinates me. I have had a hard time during various seasons of my life achieving at least one of these attributes, not to mention all of these beautiful characteristics.  What about you?

Today, her character reminds me that I can keep on the course. Through God’s grace I can strive to be more of a noble woman; a woman filled with Godly character.

So, here I was watching the smoke in the distance, complaining about the heat and having my schedule messed with and yet, I was given an opportunity to write for God for an hour. I was given the opportunity to gaze upon Him and ponder my faith in Him. How am I acting towards my finances? How am I doing with my time of service? Am I paying close attention to my health?

I want to strive to serve God with every aspect of my life. I want to do all that I can to live my life for His purpose with diligence, forgiveness and repentance. This is not about being perfect but more about being mindful.

What about you? 20150723_084756

Proverbs 31:26 She seeks His will for her life an follows His ways.

Please Put Down the Toilet Seat

toilet

Lessons from a Toilet Seat

Heading to the camp, I decided to stop along the way to use the restroom. Men…Please put the seat down. It’s so irritating when a woman has to go, especially in a public restroom. If I hadn’t had to go so badly, I would have skipped this process; but I couldn’t hold it.

BUT…the uplifted seat and yellow water got me to thinking about my own imperfections. I am so far from being perfect. I may not leave the seat up, but guess what? I forget to put the cap on the toothpaste and I cook with most of the cupboard doors open. He lined up all of his shoes, kept exact change in his pocket and constantly cleared his throat. Imperfections! That’s all they are. They don’t define us, they are just a part of us.

So, in our own imperfections, how can we learn not to judge or base our love on those idiosyncrasies?

I have not mastered this at all. I am a nit-picker and I can drive people crazy with so many quirky things. If I can forget about my own imperfections, why can’t I forget about his? Who am I to think I am any better than he? What can we do to cope and not judge the imperfections of others?

First of all, we can be deliberate in our choice of words. Our words can destroy or lift up others.

Accept that we are human and humans have flaws. I am forced to be humble when I see my own flaws and take time to accept the imperfections of others and love them anyway.

Be sure of your direction. Walk alongside those who need our strength and love. Walk the journey with them even when they scrape their plates or rake their forks along their teeth.

Make sure you laugh together. If I left the cupboard doors open, he laughed and shut them behind me. When I emptied his pockets and found the exact change, I laughed.

Having flaws, being vulnerable and being imperfect is just part of the cornerstone of being real. Some things we need to continue to work on and others we need to just let go of.

If the toilet seat is up, just put it down because hopefully he will find the cap off your toothpaste and put it back.

Have some pet peeves? Having trouble finding your own imperfections? How do you handle the habits of someone that rubs you wrong? Come and share with us as I host today’s discussion on livingbygracepic.jp

Hebrews:4:15

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

beth 2

Swimming With Loons

Loons

I did it! I finally got into the lake and swam. I’ve been waiting all summer long for this moment. Have you ever waited a long time for something and it finally unfolded right before your very eyes? I know I have and the wait has always been well worth it. But, there have also been times where I’ve waited and waited and waited for something that never came to be. Have you ever been there? Have you ever doubted the wait?

The Israelites waited 40 years for the Promise Land. They found fault in everything that Moses was relaying to them from God. “Why did we come out into this desert country? We will be killed and our children captured. We should have stayed in Egypt.” “Let’s go back to Egypt.” Have you ever felt so confused about the wait that you just wanted to turn back?

While wandering, the Israelites soon began to complain about their hardships. (Numbers 11:1) They complained about the food because it was not meat to eat. They compared their circumstance to when they lived in Egypt and had all of the fish they wanted to eat at no cost. They wanted more than mana. They grumbled and didn’t want to wait for the Promise Land.

In chapter 14 God instructed Moses to tell them that in the desert their bodies will fall, every one of them twenty years old or more…who has grumbled against Him. What did the Israelites do? They decided to enter the land anyway (14:41-42). They ended up being tackled and beaten by the Amalekites and Canaanites just as God had said. They didn’t wait on God.

If we decide to take matters into our own hands before God gives us the go ahead, we will probably suffer the consequences. The new Testament tells us that “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come” (1 Corinthians 10:11).

If you are having to continue to wait, how are you handling your wilderness? Don’t turn back when the road ahead looks too long and difficult. Waiting with faith will prevail. Humble yourself before the Lord, seek His direction and stay the course.

Today, my second day to swim in the fresh clear pond, I ventured out pretty far from the dock. I floated on my back and looked up at the sky. Magnificent! I was startled though when about 30 feet from me a loon popped up. I was startled at first but then watched as It began to sing it’s beautiful call. When it spotted me, It dashed back under not to be seen again. I waited for this moment to swim and I was hugely blessed.

Don’t forget to swim with the loons…wait for the right time…feel and enjoy the experience.20150730_135303