Friday, July 31, 2009

Oooooooooh!!
Aaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!

Wooooooooooooowwww!!

No, your calendar is not wrong. It's not the 4th of July.
Nor is it Chinese New Year.
But, it IS a special day for me today...
It's the ONE YEAR anniversary of my blog!!
My blog's 1 year birthday!!
I am celebrating today, a year of (& 365 posts celebrating!) ...
  • God's amazing grace
  • opening our eyes to see God's hand and HEART in the details of daily life
  • learning to hear His whispers of love in the midst of a shouting world
  • encouraging words and heart-felt comments left on my blog
  • amazing people who have visited me here
  • new friendships with cool people from around the world
  • God's incredible faithfulness
  • His unbelievable unrelenting inexplicable love for you and me!
  • finding things in daily life for which to be grateful!

For all of this, and for all of you who have been here with me...

I am incredibly GRATEFUL!!

Thanks for joining me in this HEART ROCK LIFE!!


video

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. ~Ephesians 3:20-21

Thursday, July 30, 2009

a fun way to end a year...

Can you believe it? This is my 365th consecutive post! For those of you who have persevered and plodded along this journey with me, I am grateful!. For those of you who have dropped in along the way, I am so glad!

I thought I would wrap up the year of blogging with a fun "God has such a great sense of humor" post starring a few delightful food items which have crossed my path...

There's a great line in the movie "The Matrix" where they're all sitting at the table eating some highly nutritious runny grey glop that is their staple meal. One of the characters complains about it, and another character says something like "...vitamins, nutrients, everything a body needs." And yet, it's so very unappetizing in its greyness and goopy texture. It definitely doesn't look like something I'd want to eat every meal, day after day!

Isn't it wonderful that God has given us such a variety of foods to eat?! I mean, it could all just look the color and feel the texture of cooked oatmeal! Sort of blah and uninspiring! But, no! He gave us colors and shapes and textures... and even a few silly ones, too...

I present to you --for your enjoyment and entertainment and for God's glory--four of my favorite (non-heart-shaped) food discoveries...

a blue potato chip!!!

(courtesy of Jet Blue Airlines,

made from blue potatoes)

...on the table, next to and inside the 3rd box from the front--

SWAN GOURDS!!
(discovered at a farmer's market in Northern California)


RAINBOW CHARD!!

...and last, but most certainly NOT least--
what I like to call...

CUCUMBERS GONE WILD!!
(these crazy curly worm-looking cukes were grown
here in a front yard garden in southern CA!)

God truly is good at filling our days with delighful and fun things
if we can open our eyes to see...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Perhaps you remember that I love dandelions...

For some reason, these partial fluffs struck me as very artistic and beautiful...

...so perfectly designed...

...so intricately detailed...

...so lovely in form and design...

I give thanks to the Designer and Creator of such magnificence!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

accentuate the positive...

I don't know about you, but I seem to be in a constant battle to keep my thoughts on positive rather than negative things. God's Word tells me I need to be keep my thoughts focused on good things, on His perspective, on truth.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. ~Philippians 4:8

And it also instructs us to "take every thought captive to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5)

I don't think it's about being a Pollyanna but I do believe we are to be obedient in these things in order to develop hearts and lives of gratitude...and lives that bring joy to others and glory to God.

I was reminded of this song the other day, and I thought I'd share the words with you for fun...

Accentuate the Positive
Words and Music by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer

Gather 'round me, everybody
Gather 'round me while I'm preachin

'Feel a sermon comin' on me
The topic will be sin and that's what I'm ag'in'
If you wanna hear my story
The settle back and just sit tight
While I start reviewin'
The attitude of doin' right

You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium's
Liable to walk upon the scene

To illustrate my last remark
Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark
What did they do just when everything looked so dark?

(Man, they said "We'd better accentuate the positive")
("Eliminate the negative")
("And latch on to the affirmative")
Don't mess with Mister In-Between (No!)
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

(Ya got to spread joy up to the maximum)
(Bring gloom down to the minimum)
(Have faith or pandemonium's)
(Liable to walk upon the scene)

You got to ac (yes, yes) -cent-tchu-ate the positive
Eliminate (yes, yes) the negative
And latch (yes, yes) on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between
No, don't mess with Mister In-Between

That's it... accentuate the positive... eliminate the negative... and LATCH ONTO the affirmative! What wise words for living a grateful life!

Monday, July 27, 2009

from a foundation to a house to a home...

A bit about our Mexico house-build trip... and you can see the transformation from a cement foundation to a house...to a home!

When we arrived on the site, this was what greeted us: two small pieces of property each with a reinforced poured concrete foundation, and all of the framing and wall lumber, dry wall, and other materials needed to build two houses, and two eager and ready building project managers. (oh, and a wonderful view of all of Rojo Gomez, a border town "home" to thousands of poor families in shacks with no running water) Just add our two teams of eager builders (about 50 total)...and ...the building begins!

...10:45 am Friday...

(yes, that's me...not very flattering, I know!)
It was amazing to watch these two houses being built from the ground up and a privilege to be a part of it!

I helped build the frame of our house and then spent much of the rest of the day hammering on the outside wall boards... then hanging dry wall inside!
(all new skills for me!)

Windows and a door had to be cut and the roof put on.
This is Pablo, the project manager for House #1 (our house!).
He and Hector (HM for House #2) were AMAZING!
They knew how to do every needed task and how to teach us
unskilled labor how to do them as well....
all with cheerful attitudes and smiling faces!
Me hanging dry wall...
POWER TOOLS!!! COOL!!

The inside of the house looking into the "loft" from the largest of the three rooms.

(Oops. This came before the drywall photo!)
Me demonstrating my awesome and well-honed hammering skills!
(Please pardon the lovely look...it was HOT!)
"Charlie's Angels" pose
Two of my life group buddies (Kristen and Anita) and me.
Powerful girls with tools (and toolbelts
!!)!
* * * * * *
...And this is what our house looked like 6 1/2 hrs later at quitting time...
I couldn't believe it.
House #2 was just as finished right behind our house.
* * * * * *
Day 2
full of dry wall hanging, mudding, putting in the windows and doors, trim on the outside, building a ladder for the loft, tar papering and shingling the roofs, sanding the inside walls to prep for painting, gathering tires and building a stairway into the hillside out of the tires, entertaining the neighborhood kids with games and fun, wiring the houses for electricity, working together with one another and with the families as they joined in the building of their houses
* * * * * *
Day 3
Because we had large teams, we were able to finish our houses mostly on Day 2. That allowed us some extra time to paint the interior of the houses as well.
This was the happy peach color in House #1 and the ladder to the loft:
And these are the finished products,
all ready for the dedication ceremony:
We dedicated each house to its family...
and prayed over the family...
There were tears of joy and excitement...

And very very big smiles!!
This was the family of House #1--
Flavio, Luz Maria, and their two little children...
a "mural" was created for each house, and this one says:
"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!"
~Joshua 29:15b
...and the house becomes a home...
To God be the Glory!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

celebrate the Sabbath... in Christ alone...

In Christ Alone
by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my all in all--
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid--
Here in the death of Christ I live.

Ther in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine--
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death--
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home--
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

unsatisfied...

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.
~C.S. Lewis, "The Weight of Glory"

Friday, July 24, 2009

curiosity...

I don't know about you, but I am the curious type. I like to know things... to investigate... to explore... to discover! I love to use my macro lens to see into the micro world. I love to look under rocks and logs and behind trees and into the center of flowers. I pick things up and put them in my pockets. I've always been that way. My mom said I was always curious as a child. I guess it's the way I was designed... with an extra measure of curiosity.

So... what does one do when one is created with a huge amount of curiosity and one finds a hole in the ground?? Questions fly faster than Mercury.... what made the hole? what lives in there? I must know!! I must investigate! I must find out!!

My nephews found this hole while I was visiting them in Georgia, and they were as curious as I. They patiently stone-still and waited by the hole... and waited ... and waited...

...and waited...
and then...
there it was....
...the inhabitant of the hole!
...so fuzzy...
...so leggy...
...so many eyes!!
...and curiosity satisfied...
{sigh of contentment}

God made the wild animals according to their kinds,
the livestock according to their kinds,
and all the creatures that move along the ground
according to their kinds.
And God saw that it was good.
~Genesis 1:25

Thursday, July 23, 2009

giving thanks...

Following my recent mission trip to Mexico to house-build, I decided it's time for another post focused solely on being grateful... we (I!) have so much and take so much for granted....
  • for running water
  • and indoor plumbing
  • for a toilet that flushes (and handles toilet paper!)
  • for electricity in my house
  • for fans to circulate the warm air in my apartment
  • and fresh air not full of pollution
  • for carpeting and linoleum rather than dirt floors
  • for a shower --with hot and cold water
  • for a kitchen with a refrigerator and stove
  • for food in my cupboards
  • and dirty dishes in my sink
  • for a roof that doesn't leak
  • and solid doors and windows
  • for a comfortable bed
  • and a closet full of clothes
  • for shoes to wear
  • and teeth to brush
  • for a car that runs
  • and money for gas to run it
  • for medicine when I'm sick
  • and good health most of the time
  • for friends who care
  • and kids in my life to play with
  • ...their peals of laughter
  • and eyes sparkling with mischief and joy
  • for sand and sea and splashing in waves
  • for making it to adulthood
  • but still being able to be a child
  • for a Father Who loves me beyond what I can imagine

...for these things and so many more, I am grateful...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

quote Matthias

Sometimes it seems like God is difficult to find and impossibly far away. We get so caught up in our small daily duties and irritations that they become the only things that we can focus on. What we forget is that God's love and beauty are all around us, every day, if only we would take the time to look up and see them.
~Matthias

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

a special treat while in Mexico...

While I was in Mexico last weekend, I was given a special treat! There are some cactus flowers that only bloom for one day--actually only a morning--and then the flower wilts and dies. One of my friends has one, and one must be there by at least 10am, or there will be no photographing it!

Well, the first morning I was there, I discovered the Ranch had a different kind of cactus with the same type of wilting flower. The cool thing was that I "just happened" to be there on the day it was in bloom!!! What a treat!! It was huge and so very beautiful!!

And, so I share it with you today...
A local honeybee was already hard at work gathering pollen from it!
Look at the amazing detail inside...


...and the gloriously white petals...


What a special treasure to behold!

Monday, July 20, 2009

God has a heart for Mexico...

While I was on our house-build mission trip in Mexico this past weekend, I was reminded of God's love for the people of Mexico.....

These hearts of love were in the fence around the pool at "The Ranch" where we stayed in Tecate--Rancho La Paloma.



And, for those of you who prefer to see non-man-made declarations of God's amazing love...

I discovered this one in the road at the work site where we were building the houses for the two families. What delight!


"...he sent the people to their homes,
joyful and glad in heart
for the good things the LORD had done..."
~2 Chronicles 7:10 (in part)