Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread - Proverbs 30:8

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Giving Thanks

taking a moment to find joy in the little things

We took the week off school and work and took an early Thanksgiving trip to central Oregon. We knew snow was a possibility, but we weren't expecting the 12+ inches that fell. It was beautiful and so much fun! (it doesn't snow much where we live). 


Before we left for our short trip, our church family put together shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. I was thrilled that when all was said and done, we exceeded our goal of 70 boxes and put together 101!

Back to the fell all day and all night so we had ample opportunities to enjoy it.


I don't know why, but we tried roasting potato chips. It didn't really add anything to their taste.


Advent is just around the corner...We have yet to find an Advent tradition that resonates with all of us. For my own sanity and follow-through capabilities, it has to be simple. We are a Narnia-loving family, so I'm hoping this will be a good fit for us. If not, then we'll carry on the tradition of trying something new every year. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Good, Random, Fun ~ Week 47

the GOOD
November sure does look good in my neighborhood!

playing the blues, hiking uphill, fallen leaves
stunning lights - sunshine and candles

the FUN
so many different kinds of fungi growing this time of year

I'm linking up with Good, Random, Fun and Life Through the Lens

Friday, November 20, 2015

Garden City by John Mark Comer / book review

This book was a bit different than most. The style of writing was hard to get used to. It’s written in a very ‘blog-ish’ style that gets a little melodramatic at times (frankly, it got annoying). The book is filled with one sentence paragraphs and no paragraph indentations. The page layout is more akin to a list of proverbs or bullet-points than a storyline. Yet there was a story, and a good one at that. The use of three word sentences and ellipses were excessive. I had to learn to ignore the fact that it read more like a cell phone texting conversation than a book. Yet, putting aside the stylistic issues, I found the content to be insightful and useful. In particular, I liked Comer’s description of Sabbath, how it can be observed from a practical point of view, and its spiritual implications. I found the new kingdom theology of the book refreshing. So few Christian leaders embrace and communicate the literal new heavens and new earth paradigm that Comer reminds us of. He explains that we were built for this planet, and that we have purpose and work to do here, now and in the eternal future. This vision of a new Earth and our vocation on it is an important message, and Comer explains it clearly and biblically.

I really liked the themes outlined in this book. However, I did struggle with the lack of complexity around the vocation topic. The book somewhat assumes that you know (or can know) your role or vocation and that you will be most content when you are doing it. Although that is likely true, I would venture to say that most of us don’t know our true vocation (God help me if my present job, which did feel like a calling, is also my eternal vocation). The notion that vocation, skills, and one’s ‘art’ can change over time or may even be ultimately elusive seemed absent from the discussion.

At times  the author seems to get a bit ‘Oprah-esk’ in his encouragement that we follow our dreams. He writes; “You’re a king, a queen. So Rule the world. Chase the sun over the horizon and drag the rest of us with you. I’m behind you all the way”. While I appreciate his sentiments and encouragement for Christians to seek out their potential and thrive rather than just exist or settle, a part of me kept wanting to rebut and say, ‘but Jesus didn’t call us to realize our dreams, or even be fulfilled in our work goals.’ There didn’t seem to be a real recognition that for most of us, our calling is simply endurance. It’s taking up our cross and sacrificing rather than finding contentment in our jobs or vocation. At times the call to chase our dreams or live out our potential just fell flat for me. Don’t misunderstand, Comer is no adherent to the prosperity gospel and early on he points out that the freedom to seek our purpose and vocation is a luxury that few but us spoiled Westerners have. Nevertheless, I would have liked more a deeper discussion of how we find our vocation and calling in conjunction with our other responsibilities.

Although I fully believe he has sound theology and sincere aims, it was hard not to think of this book as one written for wealthy hipsters who are simply bored. Ultimately I would recommend this book. Comer does a good job explaining the value of work and our role in developing and redeeming the Earth. I think his theology and hermeneutics are good and actually quite orthodox. If you’re looking for intellectual writing or graceful prose, pick up Dallas Willard or Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but if you’re looking for a quick read that recaptures the work ethic of Eden and our duty to creation then pick up this book.

I received a free copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for this review.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Blessings Abound

taking a moment to find joy in the little things

Finally the trees in our yard are changing color and losing their leaves.

loved this pop of color peeking through the fence from my neighbor's yard

With all the rain/sun/rain, we've seen quite a few rainbows lately


Several months ago I found myself needing to rescue my laundry room from chaos and bring it into a state of calm.

Recently I took it one step further.... I found that clean and calm wasn't enough motivation for me to keep it from being a dumping space. I needed it to be beautiful. First I asked my daughter to create some original artwork. Next I asked my husband to build me a shelf, and finally I bought a few items to "decorate" the space. Now it's pretty enough and feels more like a room and less like a workspace - motivation enough to keep it looking pretty!

One of the ladies I follow on instagram posted a video of her young son (age 6ish) showing off the "cracker hat" he'd made. Basically it was a hat with a hole in the top, in which he'd stuck a cracker. He introduced the cracker hat, then proceeded to pull the cracker out. We thought it was hilarious and I might have mentioned wanting a chocolate dispensing hat. 

The next day my daughter worked diligently to produce the dragon chocolate hat...

On Monday I plugged my oldest daughter's Etsy shop where she is selling some original watercolor art. In case you missed it, you can find it HERE.

Today I'm plugging my husband's newish podcast...

The facebook page can be found HERE. If you like talking theology and eating donuts, you might like this podcast.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Black and White Wednesday

Our power went out the other day due to strong winds and inclement weather. It was just getting dark and about to be very dark, so we lit every candle we could find. I was hoping to read a bit, but instead was inspired to snap some photos.

This is blurry and imperfect in so many ways, yet I really like the contrast - both literally and symbolically.

Linking up with  Black and White Wednesday

Some Editing Fun...

I don't do a lot of editing to my photos - sometimes I adjust the brightness, but I've never used any program like Photoshop or Lightroom. It's not that I don't want to, but honestly I don't have the time or energy to spend figuring it out right now. 

Anyway, if I do major editing - enough to change the look of a photo completely, I do it on my phone with Snapseed. Here's an example of a photo I edited recently.



I added brightness and abmiance...used the healing tool to get rid of the extra clutter on the bottom and then opened it in Instagram. In IG, I added a bit of "lux" and also used a filter to make the colors pop. 

The best part about this photo?....I don't remember taking it. I think I accidentally took this while trying to position myself for a different shot. I'm glad I gave it a second chance and didn't just delete it. (this photo was taken with my iphone)

Here's another example where I just added brightness. I maxed out the brightness in instagram, but thought it could use some more. So I took a screen shot, then used the screen shot in IG to add a little more brightness. 



And, of course, I cropped it and placed the main subject a little off center. (this photo was taken with my dslr...Sony a77)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Good, Random, Fun ~ Week 46

the GOOD
I love capturing the beauty that surrounds us everyday...
I feel like every year I get a little more observant and aware of the details. 

I love how this green leaf looks like it's been dipped in red paint, and how theses gorgeous leaves are peeking through the fence from my neighbor's yard. I love how the veins of the "note" leaf are green and how many details there are in leaves you you look up close. Proof to me that there is a Creator.

As fall continues to fall, the trees reveal the beauty of their form through their branches.
Forest treasures include ferns, moss, mushrooms and water droplets.
Beauty and fun found in my backyard and neighborhood.

the FUN
Last Monday we took the day off school and work and spent the day hiking at the coast. 

more good, random, fun...
my 10 year old daughter has opened an Etsy store to sell some of her original work. Currently there are seven watercolors for sale - $5 each which include shipping. If you are interested, you can visit her store HERE.

I'm linking up with Good, Random, Fun and Life Through the Lens