Excellence — Who, Me?

Living Our Days

The wow-factor of my kids’ birthday parties?

The visibility of certain muscle groups in my arms, legs, and torso?

The ease and finesse with which I can entertain a party of twelve, self-publish a book, or create deck furniture from wooden palettes?

Are any of these a worthy means of measuring my excellence?

Not according to Cynthia Heald who challenges all of our preconceptions in the Thirtieth Anniversary Edition of Becoming a Woman of Excellence.  She examines a biblical concept of excellence like a finely cut gem, turning it to reveal each face and its sparkling qualities:

  • Discipline of the mind, will, emotions, body, and time.
  • Discretion, which is defined as “saying and doing the right thing in the right way at the right time.
  • A Gentle and Quiet Spirit:  an inner beauty that has nothing to do with appearance and everything to do with security in God’s loving…

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Abundance and Harvest – Still in the Garden

Living Our Days

Deep into the days of summer, I’m sharing a post that I wrote last year for my church’s website.  With an early spring snow, this year’s garden is behind schedule, but what a treasure it was to discover hearty, red-veined beet leaves during a just-before-dusk weeding session last night . . .

Once the dew dries today, I will amble up to the garden and pick enough tomatoes to fill my Maine Garden Hod.  There’s no stopping those plants now, and if I don’t hurry up and pick enough green tomatoes for our favorite relish —  well, there just won’t be any green tomatoes up there.

While I’m picking, I’ll take note of the dill’s progress.  Two days ago (when I last picked tomatoes, but who’s complaining?) the sprays of small yellow flowers were pale fireworks.  Poet, Luci Shaw would say, “They lift their lovely, loose exactness.”   Somehow,  in spite of their…

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A Theology of Happiness

Living Our Days

When I pause for a minute to ask my self what I really want in life, my unedited first response is . . . well, embarrassing.  I want to be happy, and my shallow definition of a “happy” life looks something like this:  a vehicle that never breaks down, children who behave well and experience a measure of success, a maintenance-free house, and a healthy body.  Now, truly, there is nothing wrong with any of these lovely things — or even with my desire for them.  However, life on a fallen planet makes their simultaneous fulfillment unlikely, at best.  This is why those of us who believingly follow Jesus Christ must find our way to A Different Kind of Happiness — one that does not depend upon a problem-free life.

Larry Crabb offers helpful clarification for my happiness-seeking heart by tying my understanding of happiness to the notion that happiness…

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The Virtue of Contentment / WK 4 / Day 1

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The Virtue of Contentment / WK 4 / Day 1/ Sue Carroll

Hello FRUIT!

Today we begin week 4 of our study The Virtue of Contentment.

If we go all the way back to our PRE-STUDY, we “dug into” the word ABIDE.

If you are investing in your relationship with the Lord each day (ABIDING), you are sure to experience His blessing as He develops the FRUIT (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness & self-control) in YOU.

As you experience fruit in your life, it becomes a natural response to want more! Instead of looking for love in all the wrong places, we are learning, through the EXPERIENCE of God’s presence, to go straight to the ONLY source.

Just as in Week 3, we have 2 sections of scripture to study.

Philippians 4:4-9

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be…

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The Holy Pursuit of Happiness

Living Our Days

For quite some time now I’ve had the urge to poll a room full of people with this question:  What words come to your mind when you think of God?

First impressions are what I’m looking for, and I have a feeling that very few responses would include the word “happy.”  In The Happiness Dare, Jennifer Dukes Lee is out to change the way we view happiness — and, along with that, our view of God.

With Scriptural evidence for a happy God (Psalm 68:3; Isaiah 65:18) who rejoices over us, His people (Zephaniah 3:17), Jennifer invites her readers (Double Dog Dares us!) to pursue happiness, to stalk joy,and to do it according to the unique way in which we have been created.

Contrary to popular perceptions of God (and of Christians!), the Gospel itself is a call to happiness which is not in any…

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Step Into My Kitchen

A Day of Small Things...

My kitchen…it is what it is. It is definitely the trade off for the roomy front porch I so enjoy. The footprint of the room is a smidgen bigger than the original kitchen in 1920….maybe…and what is life without a challenge. I’m not sure filling it with the many treasures of my past is the best solution, but it makes me happy…and that is a good thing.

A neat panaramic view my hero experimented with…yes, my wall and counters are straight…mostly

No pantry? I have really put my wrought iron baker’s rack from Italy to use…I still really want a pantry.

Another bit of strangeness …a full height cooking hearth. By 1920 most city folk did not cook over open flame but apparently the original owners also enjoyed a vintage touch.

Limited cabinet space?….I have to admit I could have all the storage in the world but I would still…

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