Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Victorious Battle!

4 days and 20 hours later, I have defeated my 'enemy' (blackberry, ivy and bindweed) which has invaded our hillside as well as the side neighbors for a number of years.

How much overhang there was at our fence line when we purchased the house.

The ivy covered the fence in some areas.

In 2007, we hired a crew of guys from the neighborhood to do the initial clearing of the hill.

The house above us has not been maintained for a very long time and it is currently sitting empty (apparently abandoned by its owners this past January). Yet, someone must be making some type of payment on it, as it has not been foreclosed. But for those of us living here each day, the neglect (or sin) of one has an ongoing affect on everyone else. Neighbors on one side of this yard choose to spray RoundUp on it a couple times per season (kill it back off their property line) and the neighbor on the other side 'says' he really should do something about it, but doesn't... And then there is me. I don't use chemical pesticides (unless no other alternative - and yes, we have sprayed the blackberry a couple times), but I prefer to go after the root ~ it's source of life! And when there is nothing but chaos all around ~ I not only see what is, but also what can be. I see the potential beauty in people and places. I'm not easily dissuaded when something seems impossible or a task seems bigger than what we can personally overcome... And, for the past 4 days, I battled my enemy.

However, this wasn't just a physical battle with invasive weeds and human neglect of the land that isn't properly stewarded ~ but it was also a battle in the spiritual realm against that which desires to overcome my life and steal life and God's calling and love from others.

This past Friday evening, Blaine and I were blessed beyond measure to spend time with dear, faithful, spirit-filled friends that have taught us, encouraged us and been used greatly by God in our lives and along our journey. We arrived Friday quite discouraged, down-trodden and nearly defeated ~ but when we left our spirits were renewed, refreshed, refilled AND ready to be back in action for God's purposes!

Physically, there is no way I could have accomplished this major yard 'battle' on my own. Chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia cause a person to have only so much energy and muscles that become worn out quickly. As I cut, chopped, gathered, filled buckets, dumped materials into yard waste cans, stacked large limbs to be cut up at a later time, carefully cut and removed blackberry vines and cleared the ground of debris ~ hour upon hour ~ I prayed and prayed and prayed some more AND praised God even more still; something amazing happened and my energy level was sustained and my muscles continued to function. One day is great, but this happened day after day AND on this final day as I neared the end of this yard battle, I declared victory over the invasive issues (physical and spiritual) and my energy soared and there was a spring in my step and hope in my spirit and great joy in my heart! You see, this wasn't my battle - but God's. He was the one who was at work in the heavenlies as I prayed and praised and physically labored... And, my faith has grown stronger in the past few days than it has in the past 3 years! I'm so excited for what is ahead!

In addition, God strengthened my faith in a very special way. Our dear friend prays about the weather and God listens... This morning, I still had 3 hours of work to finish on the hill. The weather forecast was for rain today and it had rained overnight. When I got up this morning (and later than I desired), the clouds looked threatening and I worried that I wouldn't be able to finish today. I remembered what Dan shared with me and I prayed. Please Lord, push back the rain or contain it in the clouds that I may finish today. Please just don't let it rain until after 4:00 pm this afternoon. Well, not only did it NOT rain ~ the sun was shining gloriously for the majority of the time I worked and the wind blew and kept me company as I worked and prayed and praised our wonderful Heavenly Father. He is amazing! And yes, it finally rained here around 7:00 pm tonight... He is so good!

I have declared that the blackberry vines, the ivy and the bindweed cannot trespass on our property, but I have also declared that the 'darkness' at work in this world and in our lives SHALL NOT PASS! I will continue to maintain the upper fence line, so the weeds do not reclaim what they had taken before, but I'm thankful our precious and mighty Lord will continue to battle with the darkness that seeks to destroy. However, the darkness we battle now shall not penetrate the Light of Christ in our lives! He is able!

Fellow believers ~ it's time. It's time to accept the mundane way of living in this world is not okay for any more of our days here on earth. There are weeds of darkness that have crept into our lives and we often haven't been aware of how it slowly slithered in and wrapped itself around us or perhaps it came in as a wolf in sheep's clothing and we were tricked into believing it was what it was not. Now is the time to reclaim! Not in our own strength, but by Jesus. It's time to fall to our knees and pray! Pray like never before! And remember, no matter what is happening around you ~ praise His Holy and wonderful name! Don't give up for He has already won the battle!

"Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit," says the Lord Almighty." Zechariah 4:6b

Take Time Tuesdays

Just checking in with everyone... Got your book? Ordered your book? Still waiting? Has it arrived?

Laurie - yes!
Rebecca - ?
Denise - on order
Sharon - ?

Anyone else who might be joining us?

As I prepare for this study, Becoming a Woman of Simplicity, I'm finding that my life is very full preparing to slow down and sit at His feet... Seems a bit strange that I'm overly busy right now when my desire is toward simplicity. But in the midst of it all, God is doing some amazing things in my life and I'm getting really excited for what's ahead! Anyone else experiencing something similar?

Abundant blessings!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

God Will Take Care of You

About this song: I, Civilla, was con­fined to a sick bed in a Bi­ble school in Les­ter­shire, New York. My hus­band was spend­ing sev­er­al weeks at the school, mak­ing a song­book for the pres­i­dent of the school. “God Will Take Care of You” was writ­ten one Sun­day af­ter­noon while my hus­band went to a preach­ing ap­point­ment. When he re­turned I gave the words to him. He im­me­di­ate­ly sat down to his lit­tle bio Billhorn or­gan and wrote the music. That even­ing he and two of the teach­ers sang the com­plet­ed song. It was then print­ed in the song­book he was com­pil­ing for the school.

Civilla D. Martin (words), 1904; first appeared in Songs of Redemption and Praise, by John A. Davis, 1905. Walter S. Martin (music)

Shared with us (for us) by dear, faith-filled friends last evening ~

Be not dismayed whate’er betide,
God will take care of you;
Beneath His wings of love abide,
God will take care of you.


God will take care of you,
Through every day, over all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.

Through days of toil when heart doth fail,
God will take care of you;
When dangers fierce your path assail,
God will take care of you.


All you may need He will provide,
God will take care of you;
Nothing you ask will be denied,
God will take care of you.


No matter what may be the test,
God will take care of you;
Lean, weary one, upon His breast,
God will take care of you.


Thank You, precious Lord, for these words written so long ago that have encouraged our hearts, minds, and spirits today!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Coconut Sugar Apple Crisp!

Doesn't this look so YUMMY?!

Check out Whole Life Nutrition for the recipe... Plus ~ you could be their giveaway winner! Don't delay, go now.

I can't wait to make this!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Take Time Tuesdays

This evening, I took time to go to Golden Gardens park and spend some time journaling and allowing the world to fall away for a time... I opened myself to breathe in the beauty of God's Creation all around me and be filled with praise and thankfulness for all He has blessed us with...

Looking forward to starting our study as soon as everyone has their books!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Take Time Tuesdays

Are you getting ready? Are you preparing yourself? Did you get your book yet?

Mine arrived today in the mail! Yippee!

I can hardly wait to quiet myself and sit at the feet of Jesus and take it all in...

"I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotions to Christ." 2 Corinthians 11:3

Two weeks from today, I will begin this study with Chapter 1 ~ Profound Simplicity. I will have worked through the first chapter and I'll be sharing the insights our wonderful Lord has given me, as well as anything else that my heart is speaking to me. It will be a great adventure, because the Holy Spirit will be leading us and Jesus will be our Teacher...

I'll be praying for myself ~ to be quiet and open and available to His Word. I'll be praying for you ~ that God will orchestrate your lives to be available to Him. I'll be praying for those who aren't able to participate in this study ~ that God will minister to their lives too.

I'm so excited to begin this journey that I may Become a Woman of Simplicity!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Spontaneous date with Blaine...

Blaine and I have been working really hard around the house (and I tried to get some more work done this afternoon, but I am just so tired). We decided to grab some dinner and head to the beach and relax together...

Stopped at PCC Fremont and picked up dinner from the deli before heading to Golden Gardens park...

It's us!

As the sun begins to set, the sailboats head home...

Such amazing beauty ~ the sun, the mountains and the water...

Me ~ reclining in the car as we tried to get warm following dinner. It was pretty breezy!

I had wanted wheat-free chocolate chip cookies from PCC, but they were sold out. Thankfully, they had orange date muffins ~ a good second choice!

Standing in awe...

The wind blowing straight at us...

Walking on the logs...

Woman of great balance!

The wind was blowing behind us now ~ and when Blaine took the picture, it surprised him that the flash went off (as we'd been manually turning it off the whole time).

The view out the front windshield ~ getting warm again and just relaxing...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Growing up...

My Little Buddy, Nicholas, driving himself to work...

Wow ~ our youngest son is driving and starting his senior year and will graduate next June! I can't believe Nicholas is nearly all grown up and is beginning to spread his wings... I do love having more freedom, but I miss having everyone around regularly. Because Nicholas has been working evenings lately (as well as Benjamin), it's often just Blaine and I for dinner. Some days we just look at each other and wish we had the cash flow to eat out more often, but we don't so we're relearning how to plan meals, etc.

A new season of life is just around the corner...

September garden...

Aren't these the cutiest 'little birds' you've seen... I can imagine their lovely conversation!

The crookneck squash is one of my favorite things to grow in the garden and eat...

The squash patch is dying back, but thankfully the crookneck squash is still producing (lower left corner)

My raspberry experiment (on the deck in a container). The plant is healthy, but no berries...

Lots of red raspberry jewels in the garden!

Brussel sprouts!

The queen broccoli plant is still producing ~ 2 very small heads...

We're getting a 'second wave' of green beans (and wax beans) ~ yummy!

Tuesday evenings' harvest ~ raspberries, a single blueberry and huckleberries!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Take Time Tuesdays

I'm excited about starting this study on September 29th. I've ordered my book and it should be here in plenty of time to read and reflect on the first chapter of Cynthia Heald's Becoming a Woman of Simplicity. Each Tuesday, I will share my personal insights and reflections on that week's chapter. I encourage others who are participating to leave comments regarding what I've shared or to even open a discussion about a specific topic that may arise. I will also be adding a Mr. Linky option each week where you can leave a link to your blog if you've posted an entry about the study; enabling you to personally share more in-depth. I've appreciated other bloggers who have utilized this with a regular weekly feature. God has given the orginal blogger insight and additional insight is shared through others... I've been really blessed!

I'm still figuring out how to turn my photo into a button. Determined to have it ready by the 29th.

Also, stop by on Wednesdays (beginning tomorrow) for "Weighing in" ~ my weightloss/get fit journey as well as sharing personal reflections about issues God is bringing to my attention. I'm looking forward to getting started!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day 2009 - Seattle Aquarium!

Blaine came to me last night and said, "How about if we go to the aquarium tomorrow?" And, you all know me so well that I said, "That's such a wonderful idea. I'd love to!" Well, no. I actually said, "Are you sure? I'm supposed to be painting the cabinets again tomorrow." Blaine assured me that the cabinets could wait and he really wanted to go to the aquarium with me. Well then ~ yes, yes, YES!

Pretty windy on the pier near the aquarium!

Us in front of the large octopus photo outside the aquarium. I love how you can see the street and the city skyline!

Playing with the starfish in the touch tidepool...

Blaine's turn!

Moon jellyfish with green light filter

Blaine watching the jellyfish pass the blue light filter

We got lucky and got to watch the sea otters receive their 4:30 afternoon feeding ~ crab today!

Afterwards ~ at the fountain outside the aquarium.
A fun afternoon! Thanks for the date, Blaine!