Monday, October 31, 2011

He Knows My Path

This past weekend Peter and I drove to Indianapolis to attend the annual Harvest Fest at Verity. What a special time catching up with dozens of old friends! On Saturday afternoon I slipped away from the festivities on campus to go for a private prayer-walk/photo-shoot at one of my favorite places, the nearby South-Eastway Park. I just needed some quiet time to process, reflect, seek perspective about a lot of things. How assuring it is to know that God knows my path (see Psalm 142:3 and Job 23:10).

Friday, October 28, 2011

New Every Morning

This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”
The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the LORD.
(Lamentations 3:21-26)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Introducing Thankful Thursday!

Thanksgiving is supposed to be not just an annual holiday, but a daily attitude. As the Psalmist declares, "It is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night" (Psalm 92:1-2). So, today I'm introducing Thankful Thursday! Starting today, every Thursday I plan to blog highlights from my week of things for which I'm grateful. This Thursday I am especially thankful for . . . 

1. Family Dinners. What a blessing it is for my family and me to be a complete family unit living under the same roof this year. We're loving our nightly family dinner times.

2. Third-Grade Hugs. One of the many things I love about being a teacher's assistant in third grade is all the affection and hugs I receive from the children throughout the day. =)

3. Tennis Class. My brother found out about a free promotional "Learn Tennis Fast" class at the Tennis club. The two of us signed up for it as a "brother-sister date" and had a blast earlier this evening! We've signed up for a session of classes, and I'm so excited about the chance to improve my tennis skills, get great exercise, and make more fun memories with my brother!

4. Two more courses completed toward my master's degree. Getting closer to that finish line . . .

5. Blogging. I'm thankful to live in a country that values freedom of speech and to live in a time of history when we have the technology that makes such communication possible. Through blogging, I love gleaning so many wonderful ideas from other people, and I enjoy being able to express my own musings and creative outlets.  

"Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! His mercy endures forever" (Psalm 107:1).

Reading Corner: Nature's Paintbox

Nature's Paintbox: A Seasonal Gallery of Art and Verse by Patricia Thomas, illustrated by Craig Orback is a new favorite of mine.

"How would you capture winter's crispness, spring's softness, summer's freshness, and autumn's richness? In this inspiring picture book, poet Patricia Thomas imagines each season rendered in a different art medium. Pen and ink, with spots of color, capture winter's mood, while pastel chalks make spring flowers bloom into life. The see-through hues of watercolors celebrate summer's warmth, while vibrant oils perfectly pain fall's majestic scenes. Artist Craig Orback takes up the poem's challenge in his marvelous illustrations, using each of the mediums described. Just as the seasons move seamlessly into one another, so too do the art styles blend together, then emerge in full splendor, and blend again as the next season approaches" (from the inside jacket).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Butterfly Time

I took this picture in August 2010, on the Verity campus in Indianapolis, Indiana. Needing a quiet moment at the tail end of a whirlwind weekend, I stepped outside to one of my favorite spots on campus--the patch of wildflowers behind the barn. Ahh, my weary soul was nourished observing the beauty and life in God's creation. 

I am challenged by the brief lifespan of a butterfly. In its short life it is and it does what God designed. Its life is so fleeting as to be measured in moments—what beautiful moments they are, basking in the fullness of God's eternal goodness.

Quote Garden: Faith

My favorite quotations about faith . . . 

Faith does not eliminate questions. But faith knows where to take them. (Elisabeth Elliot)

Hope prevents us from clinging to what we have and frees us to move away from a safe place and enter unknown and fearful territory. (Henri J. M. Nouwen)

Lean upon His Words, and rest in the hope that He will confirm that which He has wrought in you so far. (Francois de Salignac de la Moth Fenelon)

Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe. (St. Augustine)

Faith is seeing the pattern of God’s character in my life and expecting Him to continue it in my present circumstances. (Cameron Houser)

When we walk to the edge of all the light we have and take that step into the darkness of the unknown, we must believe one of two things will happen: there will be something solid for us to stand on, or God will teach us to fly. (unknown)

Today is not going to be the first day that God lets me down.

I find no secure place for my soul except in You, and I pray that what is scattered in me may be brought together, so that no part may be separate from You. (St. Augustine)

In everything by prayer . . . (Apostle Paul)

I’ve learned that my strength is not found in how intensely I struggle . . . but in how completely I surrender. (Ken Gire)

Life works better when we learn to glance at things and gaze at God. (Selwyn Hughes)

LORD, Help me be who you created me to be, because I see You as You are. (Kristina Kroon)

See life as Christ sees it.

Fretting magnifies the problem, but prayer magnifies God. (Joanna Weaver)

Jesus knew the answer to greater needs is greater prayer, not harder work. (Lauren Bell)

God has my address and phone number. (Rebecca Sauer)

When God is about to do something great, He starts out with a difficulty. When He is about to do something truly magnificent, He starts with an impossibility. (Armin Gosswein)

The very essence of the Christian faith is to say Jesus is good enough and I am in Him. (Martyn Lloyd-Jones)

I can choose to have my best, or I can choose to have God’s best. (unknown)

Treat God like He is real and that His promises are true. (unknown)

See fears and anxieties as God’s tap on my shoulder to seek His face. (Bill Thrasher)

My potential for success is directly proportional to my willingness to let God work in my life. (unknown)

Don’t seek after ministry, but anticipate the fruit of a disciplined life.  (John Wesley)

What God commands us to do He enables us to do. (Bill Gothard)

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. (Corrie ten Boom)

As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that things will flow as they will, and that you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit. (Emmanuel Teney)

Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith. (Henry Ward Beecher)

Faith has to do with things that are not seen and hope with things that are not at hand. (Thomas Aquinas)

Faith indeed tells what the senses do not tell, but not the contrary of what they see. It is above them and not contrary to them. (Blaise Pascal)

As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that things will flow as they will, and that you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit. (Emmanuel Teney)

Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof. (Khalil Gibran)

Faith is a passionate intuition. (William Wordsworth)

Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation. (D. Elton Trueblood)

Faith is spiritualized imagination. (Henry Ward Beecher)

Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.
(Saint Augustine)

Faith is like radar that sees through the fog.  (Corrie Ten Boom)

Fear knocked at the door.  Faith answered.  And lo, no one was there. (unknown)

He who has faith has... an inward reservoir of courage, hope, confidence, calmness, and assuring trust that all will come out well - even though to the world it may appear to come out most badly.  (B.C. Forbes)

Faith makes things possible, not easy. (unknown)

In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don’t.  (Blaise Pascal)

Faith enables persons to be persons because it lets God be God.  (Carter Lindberg)

A little faith will bring your soul to heaven, but a lot of faith will bring heaven to your soul. (unknown)

Faith is believing that the outcome will be what it should be, no matter what it is.  (Colette Baron-Reid)

Faith can move mountains, but don't be surprised if God hands you a shovel. (unknown)

Faith makes the discords of the present the harmonies of the future.  (Robert Collyer)

Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death.  (unknown)

Faith means believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse. (Philip Yancy)

Faith is the deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time. (Oswald Chambers)

* The above quotations were collected from various sources. I have done my best to quote and credit them correctly. Please inform me if you notice an error.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Quote Garden: Perspective

My favorite quotations about perspective . . .

The true voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new horizons, but in having new eyes. (Marcel Proust)

See life as Christ sees it.

You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses. (Ziggy)

Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect. It means you have decided to look beyond the imperfections. (unknown)

God won’t always change our circumstances, but if we ask Him, He will often step in to change our perspective. (Joni Earikson Tada)

Quit whining about what you can’t do—be faithful to do what you can. Use what you have for Jesus. (John Ray)

Rather than telling people No, offer them a better alternative. (Kevin McCray)

Don’t waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well- assured that the right performance of this hour’s duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that follow it. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

It is Christ in me that makes the difference—not me in a different set of circumstances. (Elisabeth Elliot)

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. (Winston Churchill)

Let’s not concentrate on disabilities, let’s focus on abilities. (Rick Hansen)

We see things as they appear; God sees things as they are. (Mike Pellascio)
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered. (G. K. Chesterton)

I know how to change “unchangeables” . . . I can change my perspective. (David Rees)

Anything that comes into my life that causes me to realize that I need God more, is good. (Pastor Fraley)
* The above quotations were collected from various sources. I have done my best to quote and credit them correctly. Please inform me if you notice an error.

Dream Big, but be Faithful in the Little Things

"Dream big but be faithful in the little things" is a favorite motto of mine. In my mind I visualized a picture to illustrate the motto, by contrasting full-grown trees with acorns. Standing tall, clothed in their autumn finery, the magnificent trees in the background of this picture inspire me to "dream big." The acorns and leaf in the foreground remind me, however, that it is not enough to have big dreams. It is "faithful[ness] in the little things" that makes those big dreams possible. Big things grow from little things—every giant oak was once a tiny acorn. And big things are comprised of little things—the radiant canopy of a forest is made of countless colorful leaves. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall Traditions

Autumn is such a beautiful time of year in the Midwest. I just can't get enough of the mild weather and vibrant colors! To celebrate the delightful season, there are several fall traditions I like to keep each year, one of which is a sibling photo-shoot with my brother Peter. Yesterday afternoon the two of us walked around the corner from home to the nearby Barstow Woods for our fourth annual fall, brother-sister photo-shoot. =)

For memory's sake, a glimpse from past years . . .

2010 (Indianapolis, Indiana)

2009 (Indianapolis, Indiana)

 2008 (Indianapolis, Indiana)

And a few favorites from our growing-up years . . .
 1998 (Maumee, Ohio)

 1992 (Rockville, Maryland)
 1990 (Rockville, Maryland)

Here's to many more happy years as siblings! 

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity! (Psalm 133:1)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Along the Way

After several chilly, rainy days last week, what a treat it was to go bike riding again this weekend. Usually I just bike my favorite route straight to the Chippewa Nature Center and back, but this time I brought my camera  and stopped to explore more of the scenery along the way. . . .

Roses and Thorns

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Quote Garden: Nature

My favorite quotations about nature . . .

I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.  (George Washington Carver)

God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars.  (Author unknown, commonly attributed to Martin Luther)

Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another.  (Juvenal)

There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks.  Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough to pay attention to the story.  (Linda Hogan)

Nature is the art of God.  (Thomas Browne)

* The above quotations were collected from various sources. I have done my best to quote and credit them correctly. Please inform me if you notice an error.

Quote Garden: Priorities

My favorite quotations about priorities . . .

Anything less than a conscious commitment to the important is an unconscious commitment to the unimportant. (Stephen Covey)

Do not let trifles disturb your tranquility of mind . . . Life is too precious to be sacrificed for the nonessential and transient. (Grenville Kleiser)

Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss going too fast—you also miss the sense of where you are going and why. (Eddie Cantor)

God has not called me to an easy life—He has called me to a purposeful life. 

Our life is frittered away by detail ... Simplify, Simplify. (Henry Thoreau)

My fear for you is not failure, but success in the things that do not matter. (Howard Hendricks)

Getting more done doesn’t ensure that you will be happier; it just means that you get more done. (Lee Silber) 

It is not enough if you are busy. The question is, What are you busy about? (Henry David Thoreau)

Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together. (Vincent van Gogh)
Sometimes it is hard to admit that overwork is sin, but it is. Overwork is destructive of the Holy Spirit. It dims the vision, sharpens the temper, kills creativity, and deadens spiritual sensitivity. (Hellene Pollock)

Sometimes, we gain more by doing less. (unknown)
What is asked of us is not necessarily a great deal of time devoted to what we regard as spiritual things, but the constant offering of our wills to God, so that the practical duties which fill most of our days can become part of His order and be given spiritual worth. (Evelyn Underhill)

The things that matter to God matter. (Emerson Eggerichs

Living by priorities and within boundaries is a lot smarter than living on adrenaline. (Kristina Kroon)

Embrace all but only the good things that God has intended for you. (Lauren Bell)

I cannot carry every load, but I can carry the load God has for me. (Joanna Weaver)

It’s a great release to know that the secret to “doing it all” is not necessarily doing it all, but rather discovering which part of the all He has given us to do and doing all of that. (Jill Briscoe)

When my relationship with God is in order, other things will be in order. And when my relationship with God is out of order, everything else in my life is going to be out of order, sooner or later. (Nancy Leigh deMoss)

It is better to be faithful than famous. (Theodore Roosevelt)

Live in light of eternity.

Eliminate and concentrate! (Ann Ortlund)

Live your life with purpose. If your life is about Christ, then everything you do should have a point—point to Christ. (Peter Kroon)

Making a living is only part of living. (Cecil Andrus)

How are your commitments lining up with your values?

Make your choices based on your priorities, not your feelings. (Kristina Kroon)

In everything by prayer . . . (Apostle Paul) 

In each day God gives us enough time and energy to fulfill all but only what He has called us to do for that day. (Nancy Leigh deMoss)

One reason we are so harried and hurried is that we make yesterday and tomorrow our business, when all that legitimately concerns us is today. If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there. Let us submit the list to Him and ask Him to indicate which items we must delete. There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy. (Elisabeth Elliot)

In the absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia. (unknown)

Don’t just do what you want to do; do what you were made to do! (unknown)

* The above quotations were collected from various sources. I have done my best to quote and credit them correctly. Please inform me if you notice an error.

Quote Garden: Life

My favorite quotations about life . . .

Today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. (from the Sanskrit)

Live for the glory of God and in the power of God. (Janet Kroon)

Live so that your memories will be part of your happiness. (unknown)

If you would live in victory over the circumstances great and small that come to you each day . . . and if you want God’s life and power to well up from inside the depths of your being . . . then you must refuse to be dominated by the seen and the felt. (Amy Carmichael)

Life is a voyage that’s homeward bound. (Herman Melville)

The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time. (James Taylor)

Life is so urgent it necessitates a slow and steady reverence. (Ann Voskamp)

Make your life a mission, not an intermission. (Arnold Glasgow)

Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help you create the fact. (William James)

Life is now.

God is the beyond in the midst of our lives. (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss going too fast—you also miss the sense of where you are going and why. (Eddie Cantor)

See God’s faithfulness and goodness in your life everyday. Pray hard, work hard, and watch God make it all happen. (Kristina Kroon)

In the race of life, you can’t run at a sprint pace for a marathon distance.

The balanced life consists of four Rs: relationships, responsibilities, rest, and reflection. (Kristina Kroon)

Life goes by too fast to not enjoy the people that surround you. (James Beeman)

The will of God is not something you add to your life. It is a course you choose. (Elizabeth Elliot)

Love generously. Praise loudly. Live fully. (Elias Porter)

Live intentionally, not accidentally! (unknown) 

Let your life speak well of Jesus every day. (unknown)

God’s will is a lifestyle. (Nancy Leigh DeMoss)

In my life, I do not want my life to be a milestone that people pass by and remember. I want to be a fork in the road that because of the clarity of my life men choose one way or another. (Jim Elliot)

Life is not too short but that there is always time enough for courtesy. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely. (Karen Kaiser Clark)

Our mission in life is to make people think that Jesus is wonderful. (Nancy Leigh DeMoss)

* The above quotations were collected from various sources. I have done my best to quote and credit them correctly. Please inform me if you notice an error.

Quote Garden: Love

My favorite quotations about love . . .

We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

We should remember that while knowledge may make a man look big, it is only love that can make him grow to his full stature. For whatever a man may know, he still has a lot to learn, but if he loves God, he is opening his whole life to the spirit of God. (Jim Elliot)

To love a person is to see him as God intended him to be. (Fyoder Dostoyevysky)

Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction. (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

Love stops worrying about how others see me, and reaches with a heart to give. (Anna Lukachick)

Love is thoughtful and practical. (Anne Ortland)

It is a risk to love. What if it doesn't work out? Ah, but what if it does. (Peter McWilliams)

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. (C. S. Lewis)

You will find, as you look back upon your life, that the moments when you really lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love. (Henry Drummond)

Have a heart that never hardens, a temper that never tires, a touch that never hurts. (Charles Dickens)

Love is the most divine, when it loves according to needs, and not according to merit. (George MacDonald)

What, then, is the true way of loving one’s friends? It is to love them in God, to love God in them; to love what He has made them; and to bear for love of Him what He has not made. (Felelon)

Nothing beats love at first sight except love with insight. (Unknown)

* The above quotations were collected from various sources. I have done my best to quote and credit them correctly. Please inform me if you notice an error.

Quote Garden: Expectations

My favorite quotations about expectations . . . 

You might not always get what you want, but you will always get what you expect. (Charles Spurgeon)

Expectations destroy relationships. (Dan Dickerson)

* The above quotations were collected from various sources. I have done my best to quote and credit them correctly. Please inform me if you notice an error.

Chosen Course

Friday, October 21, 2011

Reading Corner: My Shadow

My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson illustrated by Ted Rand is one of my favorite picture books from my elementary school days. With its playful rhymes and vivid word pictures, Stevenson’s poetry is enchanting to young listeners and readers. Accompanied by Ted Rand’s vibrant water-color illustrations depicting children in various settings all over the world, this picture book is a delightful experience. This book could be used in science as an introduction to a lesson on light and shadow. It could also be used in a social studies unit celebrating differences and similarities between children from different cultures.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Beauty All Around

Today was one of those icky, chilly, rainy days—the kind that hints the impending gray, frigid days of winter. Nonetheless, I couldn't resist bundling up and taking a walk through the nearby Barstow Woods. Even on a drizzly afternoon, there was lots of beauty all around. . . .

Beside Still Waters

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Reading Corner: Our Enduring Spirit

Our Enduring Spirit: President Barack Obama's First Words to America, illustrated by Greg Ruth. This book is simply stunning. The text, adapted from President Obama's January 20, 2009 Inaugural Address, is brought to life by stirring illustrations.

I could see this book being used in a variety of content areas. It could be used as an example in a speech class of how to craft a speech for a specific occasion and audience, as well as how to choose vivid word pictures. Of course this could be an excellent book as part of a history study in American Presidents. The illustrator's note at the back of the book also makes an outstanding resource for an art class; as demonstrated in his illustrations and explained in his comments, artist Greg Ruth shows how art simultaneously records history, promotes ideas, and expresses feelings. I could even see this book being used in an undergraduate marketing class. As illustrator Greg Ruth explains in his illustrator's note, this book was created out of his and his publisher's mutual enthusiasm for Obama's presidential election. Their political agenda packaged in a beautiful picture book is a prime sample of marketing—winsome, disarming, persuasive, memorable.


I took this photograph in October 2010, at South-Eastway Park, in Indianapolis, Indiana. The trails in the woods there were some of my favorite places to walk and think and pray. During my years living in Indianapolis, I frequented these woods, doing my share of looking forward and backward. But always, trying to keep looking upward. “I lift up my eyes . . . from where comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2).

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dancing in the Breeze

Today was a brisk, breezy day here in Midland. This evening before dinner I donned my cozy wool sweater and suede clogs for a photo shoot around the Dow Gardens. The fall colors of blowing leaves and blooming flowers danced before me. Here are some pictures from my latest visit to my favorite gardens.

reflection in the pond
reflection in the pond

Nothing says autumn like squirrels collecting their nuts!

Aren't these flowers lovely? They're called Endless Summer Hydrangeas.
If only summer truly were endless . . .