September Photo A Day and a Giveaway

September Photo A Day and a Giveaway

giveawayCan you believe it’s September already? Fall is upon us…a brand new season of beauty. Today also begins a brand new month of the Mark 4:30 Photo A Day challenge.  After completing this month’s inspiration list weeks ago, I afterwards had a different thought begin to gently nudge, so at the last minute I made a change. Following this inspiration I created this new list prompted by something I’ve been focusing on a lot lately….rest.

One resource that’s proven helpful in this journey to realize sustaining soul rest is Bonnie Gray’s moving book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest . In honor of her heartfelt, inspirational words I’ve drawn September’s photo prompts from scriptures that speak of stillness, silence, quiet, and calm. They’ll be daily reminders to just breathe…inhaling peace, tranquility and rest so we can exhale stress, anxiety and restlessness…scriptures that teach and hopefully help us reach…rest.

To make things more fun and to help you stay focused on finding whitespace every single day, at the end of the month I’ll give away a copy of  Finding Spiritual Whitespace to one participant who posts their own unique photos (no images from the web please) during September. I’ve found taking a photo each day in itself slows me down, helping me notice and take in the beauty that surrounds me.

As always there are no rules when it comes to what we “picture“. Use the highlighted word(s) within the Word as inspiration or take a photo depicting the essence of the entire verse, which could make for some really beautiful photography this month! Grab a friend to play along too. It’s fun to see what others come up with. If you’re new to Mark 4:30 Photo A Day everything you need to know to participate can be found here.

Here’s the “new inspiration” list followed by some suggestions to help you interpret the prompts in case you get stuck. Let’s use our cameras to help us realize a restful September.

SeptPromptsFinal

SeptSugg2014

If you’ll be posting your pictures somewhere besides Instagram let me know by leaving a comment or emailing me at lisa at mywordstudy dot com so you’ll be sure to be in the running to win a copy of this terrific book. 

giveaway

To learn more about the book go to faithbarista.com/finding-spiritual-whitespace/.com.

 

I linked this with the writers over at katemotaung.com, the new home of Five Minute Friday.
This post contains my affiliate links.

 

Golden Silence

Golden Silence

DSC00144e21©I’m not sure if it’s the down side of a zeal for organization, but I tend to have a meltdown when I can’t find things. I know they’re not lost, they’re here somewhere…but where? I cannot give up the search, I seek until I find.

They’re some of my most favorite things, yet lately…I just can’t find them. They’ve been missing for a while now. Honestly, I’m wearying myself with the search. Frantic, determined, panicked, longing, I keep hunting, seeking, grasping, but still…I come up empty. How long will they elude me…

how long will words elude me?

I’m navigating a new season of life and many things are different. I don’t fully know how to live in this unfamiliar pace and space, and I’m finding more and more that…

there are no words

I’m reminded of a stagnant screen with no new content… nagging, condemning, harassing, making me wonder, in yet another way, about my state…about myself. But how can I tell a story when…

there are no words

I watch others live…energized, focused, full of vision and direction, and I puzzle at my lack thereof.  I search, and read, and ask, and worry…that time is slipping by and I don’t want to miss it…whatever “it” is….

but even in this…there are no words

I try to stay calm, try to pray in spite of restlessness, scattered thoughts, wondering, wandering…the sense of nothingness near, accomplishment absent, direction distant…

but yet again…there are no words

I read a book, a chapter in a book, an idea expressed on a page, and I feel something welling up from deep within…Providence, permission, peace…

and…there are no words

only a soft surge, a gentle wave of weeping, creeping up from a tired soul…tired of looking for words to say, words to pray.

My heart breathes an exhale, long overdue, as I consider…maybe words aren’t necessary. Maybe it’s okay when…

there are no words

…for the Spirit helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings

too deep for words…

So now I’ve begun a different search. It’s a search for something I wasn’t aware was lost, something I didn’t recognize the incredible value or benefit of, but am beginning to like the sound of….

the sound…of silence.

You see, I’m starting to realize, am being set free by the notion that maybe the best prayers, the deepest, most heart-felt, honest prayers are prayed when

there are no words…

in the unutterable longings and deep gratitude offered in the solemn sincerity of silence. Maybe heaven hears cries uttered in silence.

I’m also beginning to believe this sound of silence might relieve the frustration felt when, no matter how hard I strain to hear from heaven…

there are no words

That maybe, now, I’ll hear something in the silence, for

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the expanse sheweth the work of his hands. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech and

there are no words,

yet their voice is heard.

It may be that words, a wealth of words, can be found in the sound of silence.

 

Martin_Luther_Fewer_Words_Better_Prayer

This post contains my affiliate link

I captured the ‘bench’ photo in Jocotepec, Mexico.

Posting as part of Five Minute FridayFaith Barista and No Words are Needed

August Photo A Day

August Photo A Day

rose thornHello August! Hello to a new month of photo challenges. This month I’ve decided to do something a little different for the Mark 4:30 Photo a Day challenge, and it will be a challenge in the truest sense of the word. We’re going to be concentrating our focus by using one theme for the entire month of photo prompts. It’s a theme that will serve as a daily reminder, ensuring we don’t forget something that’s often entirely overlooked but of utmost importance…the power of our words!

Proverbs proclaims that death and life are in the power of the tongue. Would it be safe to say then that our attending to this topic could be a matter of life and death? This month we’ll let scripture itself answer the question. Each and every day of August we’ll be challenged by a verse from God’s word that addresses the importance and the impact of words.

If you’ve ever even remotely considered participating in the Mark 4:30 Photo A Day challenge, this might be the month to do it. Everything you need to know to participate can be found here. Your life could change drastically as a result of what you begin to realize or are stirred to remember during these 31 days of August. Here’s the inspiration list we’ll be using for this very special month along with some suggestions for interpreting the prompts in case you get stuck. Would you help me spread the word by pinning (hover over the top left corner of the inspiration list for the PinIt button) or posting the list on your favorite social media? Please and thank you.

Life is good, so together…let’s choose life by choosing our words rightly!

August Photo a Day

AugustSugg

Meeting in the Middle

Meeting in the Middle

centerSDid you know that today, July 2nd, marks the exact middle of the year?  Yes, as of last night we’ve lived 182 days of 2014 and beginning tomorrow, God willing, we’ll live the remaining 182. But today? Well, today we’re right in the middle.

For a girl like me, today seems kind of special. Why? Because I have this weird thing about symmetry. I don’t know why, but I love it. Things symmetrical are made of exactly similar parts facing each other around an axis. So today, the day smack dab in the middle of two 182 day parts, this day feels kind of like a free day…the axis around which these two parts of the year face. And to me, the axis doesn’t really count. So I’m taking this day, this axis day, and using it to make sense of what surrounds it.  Yes, I’ve decided to have a meeting with myself this mid-day to look back and to look forward, to deliberate and to determine (to the extent that any of us can) where I’ve been and where it is I want to go for this second half of the year.

I have no particular wisdom to share with you today, nothing profound to pass along, just a desire to make you aware of the point we’ve reached. Might I encourage you, right here in the middle of this thing we call time, measured by mortals in days and years, to pause and to ponder, to reflect and review, and possibly recalculate?  I, for one, don’t want to one day look back on this middle day only to find I was actually in the middle…of nowhere.

 

Here’s a couple of super great resources from Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz, that might prove useful as you ponder and plan.

His book, Storyline, leads you step by step to understanding and living your part in God’s story

On his blog: A Free Week of Life Coaching

 

 

This post contains my affiliate links 
Photo by dynamosquito available through a Creative Commons License 

July Photo a Day

July Photo a Day

handoftimeJuly has arrived and here we are, halfway through 2014!  Hard to believe, isn’t it? Are you out there enjoying these wonderful days of summer, doing things that matter most to you? We have to be intentional about these things of life, you know…or time just gets by us. Life gets by us.

This month we’ll be celebrating Independence Day here in the USA. I can’t think of too many things more worth celebrating than freedom! The dictionary defines freedom as “the power of self-determination”, and that is precisely what we have to do…be determined in order to prevent life from slipping by as though time were ruling us instead of us ruling time.

I encourage you to do whatever it takes to make intentional choices about how this second half of 2014 plays out. Let us, not time, determine and decide how we’ll live this wonderful life we’ve been given. As I’ve said before, one of the ways I’ve been able to slow down and be present in the now of life is with photography. The Mark 4:30 Photo a Day challenge has helped me so much in this.

Here’s the inspiration list we’ll be using for this month followed by some suggestions for how to interpret the prompts in case you get stuck. Help spread the Word by posting the list on your favorite social media (hover over the top left corner for the PinIt button). I’d love for you to join the challenge this month. All the details on how to participate can be found here.

July Photo A Day

Continue reading

Translation for Transformation

Translation for Transformation

rescuedHappy Friday!  I’m taking some time today to participate in another link up with the writing flash mob over at Lisa Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday for this week’s writing prompt…

LOST

 

translation (noun): the process of moving something from one place to another

A painless translation. No boxes to pack, no movers to call, spared everything that makes moving a task. No effort on our part, entirely His doing. Like Philip the evangelist who suddenly found himself in an entirely different place after baptizing the Ethiopian eunuch, we too have been miraculously translated.

(He) has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his beloved Son ~ Colossians 1:13

Yes, a miraculous translation has occured. We’ve been delivered from the domain of darkness

by the will of the Father,

through the cross of the Son,

and the power of the Spirit…

the ultimate S.W.A.T. team rescuing humanity held hostage and translating us back to safety, the safety of the kingdom of His Beloved.

And what’s more….everything is different in this kingdom. Most importantly, I am different. I am new. Old things have passed away.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new ~ II Corinthians 5:17

How wonderful to discover the new things…

but what really transformed my life, delivering me from the power of sin, was finally realizing not just the new things found as a result of this miraculous translation,

but in knowing the things that had been lost…

lost in translation.

 

…knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin ~ Romans 6:6

 

If you’d like to read more on this topic go here and keep following the links to freedom! 

Also, July’s Mark 4:30 Photo a Day challenge begins in 3 days! Have Instagram? Come play along! Go here to check out this unique photo-a-day challenge like no other…one that puts the focus on God’s Word.

 

What I Learned in May

What I Learned in May

three_red_applesFIt’s that time again. I’m joining the fun over at Chatting at the Sky where once a month a great group of bloggers share some things they’ve learned during the calendar month. From the paltry to the profound, this month, as in every month, there’s an abundance of terrific tidbits to be enjoyed as each one of us share…

 

What I Learned in May

 

proust….of Alain de Botton, a simply superb writer ~ I really love this guy’s writing. I began the month of May reading The Art of Travel, a treatise on travel which explores the reasons we do it and why at times it delights yet other times disappoints. Each keen observation also showcases a notable historic figure who exemplifies the subject de Botton expounds. History, humor and helpful insight all in one terrific read.

There’s nothing like a great author to leave you yearning for more so I next chose How Proust Can Change Your Life, de Botton’s profound commentary on lessons to be learned from what may have contributed to Marcel Proust’s one-of-a-kind writing style. The chapter How To Take Your Time rivaled two of my favorite reads this year, Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts and Shauna Neiquist’s Cold Tangerinesby encouraging the practice of finding the extraordinary right in the middle of ordinary, albeit from a very different perspective. I don’t agree with his theology (he doesn’t believe in the God who has obviously gifted him), but his writing is rife with truth and, as I learned in March from Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art,”There is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred.” Yes, this month of May, I learned de Botton is de-lightful!

pie….something I never knew about my husband ~ Over 35 years of marriage and I just learned that cream pie is my husband’s favorite dessert. Know this…I’ve made a lot of pies over the years. Within the first months of marriage, having moved from the city life of my home state of sunny Florida and finding myself isolated for eight hours a day five miles up a remote mountain in upstate New York during a winter that boasted record-breaking temperatures, with no car, no cable and no company, I found one way to occupy myself…by trying my hand at making homemade pies from recipes found in the one wedding present we hadn’t returned as a result of needing money more than Melmac…a Betty Crocker cookbook. (Whew…Proust is rubbing off on me)  Apple pies, blueberry pies, pumpkin and pecan pies. I made them all..all except cream pies. I got pretty good at it too, becoming the one assigned the task of making the pies for three decades worth of family Thanksgivings. Yep, I do pies. But never, ever, not even once did I make a single, solitary cream pie.

So how, after nearly 36 years with this man, did I come to realize it was his favorite dessert? Finally, I asked. But only because our wonderful neighbors wanted to surprise him on his birthday by making him his favorite dessert, asking me what it was. And then I realized…I had no idea. And since it was, after all, to be a surprise…I couldn’t ask him. So they made what they made without asking…like I had for all these years. Birthday night arrives and it was a surprise, but not as much of one as I got when a week or so later I finally asked my husband, “By the way… what’s your favorite dessert?

And so…I made him a belated birthday dessert. And now, back in sunny Florida after all these years and having procured my husband’s personal pie preference, I’ll be once again trying my hand at making homemade pies…cream pies, that is. Better late than never. And Honey…I’m sorry I never asked.

baking….that I will post content I never thought I would ~ You’ve never seen it before and might never, ever see it again, but I’ve finally found a reason to post a recipe here on my blog. (I know my sister-in-laws’ jaws just dropped). It was super simple and got great reviews, so I’m sharing the Coconut Cream Pie recipe I used when making that belated birthday dessert. I did make two changes to the recipe by using 1 can of coconut milk and then half and half to add up to three cups, and I used fresh whipped cream. Simply delicious! And by the way…this blog content will never happen here again. It’s more my style to hand out book recommendations so check out Teeny’s Tour of Pie: A Cookbook, a delightful, informative, inspirational kind of cookbook/find your passion/make you want to make pie must have for anyone even slightly interested in baking pies. And…for the month of June her ebook, Let Them Eat Pie is available for download free over at Noise Trade.

 

stain glass tsunami MGD©….that migraines are misunderstood ~ Who knew that migraines don’t always come with pain. New research has found that migraines present in a variety of ways. Having had an ENT doctor eliminate ear problems and an MRI eliminate any serious neurological problem as the cause of the dizziness I’ve been experiencing lately, my doctors are suggesting the cause might be migraines. There’s still testing being done, but based on the fact that things such as dizziness and vertigo, light, sound and motion sensitivity can be attributed to painless migraines, I suppose it’s a possibility. If not, at least I’ve learned something new.

 

Gao….of a simply a-mazing NYC-based photographer ~ I happened on Alice Gao via Instagram and I’ve been enjoying her feed immensely. Since I began my Bible-based photo a day challenge (you’ve never seen anything like this one so check it out here) I’ve taken notice of the talent required to produce a great photo and believe me when I tell  you…this gal’s got that talent. If you want inspiration for composing photographs or just want some beautiful images to peruse, Alice Gao is your girl. Find her here and here. Enjoy.

 

So long days of May and happy June to all! I’m planning on laying low for the coming month…traveling, spending time with family, and trying to relax. We’ll see how it goes.

“The way I relax is I think, ‘I haven’t got anything coming up.’ I like to know there are months ahead when I’ve got nothing.” ~ Julie Walters

 

This post contains my affiliate links.

 

 

June Photo A Day

June Photo A Day

sunflowersCan you believe it’s June already? Summer makes its arrival this month…the time for boating, barbecues and baseball, sun-soaked, blue sky days and beautiful, balmy nights. Yep, it’s time to get outdoors and make some memories. Don’t forget to take your camera of choice along so you can capture and preserve these moments with photos. Whether June finds you in the garden or on the go there’s sure to be lots of photo ops for you to capture and share with this month’s Mark 4:30 Photo A Day challenge.

Although we’re all in the same season as far as the calendar is concerned, it could be that, for you, this time of life holds more clouds than sun. Each of us are in different seasons of life, but whatever your summer holds, whether bright or bleak, there will be beauty to behold if we can but look for it. For me, I’ve found that taking daily photos helps me do just that (although I might not be participating this month)…to slow down, really see what surrounds me, and to truly…behold the beauty. Won’t you let it do the same for you?

Here’s this month’s Mark 4:30 Photo A Day inspiration list followed by some suggestions for interpreting the prompts just in case you get stuck. Help me spread the “Word” by pinning or posting the list on your favorite social media (hover over the top left for the PinIt button). Thanks so very much.

So what do you say…want to join in for June? All you need to know to participate (and to hear how it all began) can be found here.

June Photo a Day

Continue reading

Peaceful Waiting

Peaceful Waiting

sunsetLinking up with Five Minute Friday for this week’s writing prompt:

NOTHING

I have a new favorite verse. And I’m not just a hearer of this one, because life, as of late, has made me a diligent doer.

Why? Because lately I’ve been dealing with a frustrating physical symptom that, so far, the experts and their elaborate tests haven’t gotten to the bottom of.  So, while they’re looking for answers, I’ve been doing a little testing of my own.

I’ve been doing what I can to eliminate any activities that might be contributing to the problem. For one, I’ve been curbing the time I spend in front of computer and cell phone screens (which explains why it has been and might continue to be a bit quiet here).

In hopes that vigilant self-awareness will help in identifying the problem, I’ve been paying close attention to myself and to my physical state. As a result, I’m newly aware of something I’ve never recognized as a problem before. Maybe it wasn’t a problem previously, but I can’t deny its presence now. It’s not critical and it’s not constant…but it’s definitely there. It’s anxiety.

In actuality, what I’m feeling could best be described as “stress-surges”…little anxious thoughts about various things that come and go quickly, but I suspect are signs that there’s more under the surface than I’m aware of. Thus, my new favorite verse…

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

It’s increasing my prayer life. My thanksgiving is on the rise. Oh, I’m a doer all right.

Anxious for no thing…

prayerful in every thing…

yes…it’s my new thing.

And, the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, is guarding my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus,

until answers come…

and beyond.

 

Only one more day till the June photo a day challenge begins. Check it out here

 

What I Learned in April

What I Learned in April

The_Hart_One-Room_School_Circa__1860Linking up with others over at Emily Freeman’s site Chatting at the Sky for the always entertaining, enlightening monthly link up where we’re sharing What We Learned in April…

 

 

foil1…about a little piece of information that could have saved me lots of frustration.  Did you know there are tabs on the ends of boxes of aluminum foil and plastic wrap which when pushed in keep the roll from coming out of the box? Why didn’t anyone tell me?

 

 

HApp…about a handy little writing app.  Before you publish your writing you might want to run it through the Hemingway app. Among other things, this helpful app highlights weak adverbs, unnecessarily long or complex sentences, and identifies reading levels. It’s a great way to catch some things in our rough drafts we might otherwise miss.

whpeacock…that there’s such a thing as a totally white peacock.  Talk about beautiful! My sister-in-law shared this video with me on her recent visit.  Witnessing one of these gorgeous peacocks in full display is a sight to behold. While looking for the image I added to this post I found what to me might be even more beautiful….pigment and absence of pigment all in one amazing creature. Check it out here.

 

scrabble…that there is a National Scrabble Day.  I couldn’t agree more that there should be an entire day set aside to acknowledge this fantastic word game! Scrabble Day is celebrated on April 13 in honor of the birth of Alfred Mosher Butts who created the game in 1931. I got so excited when I discovered this that I made a huge blunder on the daily prompt list for my Bible-based photo-a-day challenge, bumping Palm Sunday to the completely wrong day. Oops. Fortunately, I discovered and fixed my mistake just in time, hopefully saving any participants from celebrating Palm Sunday on Saturday. (I’d love for you to join in the May Photo-a Day)

St.Pete…of one more reason to love my winter home.  Since I was born and raised in Florida I’ve always been aware that Florida is known as the Sunshine State, but I did not know that the city of St. Petersburg, where I now reside during the winter months, is known as the Sunshine City. St. Petersburg holds the  Guinness World Record for the most days of consecutive sunshine…768 straight days! It hails a reputation for averaging approximately 361 days of sunshine annually. Quite a contrast to my summer hometown which ranks #5 in the 48 contiguous states for least amount of sunshine annually. So, let’s see….if I continue to be privileged enough to live the blessed life of a snow bird then I am living in the truest definition of Sun-day funday….every day of the year.

bible…that indulging is better than abstaining.  I had never observed Lent before, but this year I decided to participate in a challenge to read through the New Testament during this 40 day religious observance. Modern day observers of Lent often give up an action considered to be a vice, but I know from years of experience that my efforts to abstain from any form of bad habit or behavior have failed miserably. What I have learned is the truth that the way to overcome evil is with good (Romans 12:21), that light dispels darkness (John 1:5), and that it is when we first “awake to righteousness“(that we’ve been made the righteousness of God in Him), that we can then go forth “and sin not” (I Corinthians 15:34 KJV). But instead we religiously choose abstinance, thinking we’ll benefit. Here’s the truth though…

If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why… do you submit yourself to decrees, such as,”Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!”…in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence. Colossians 2:20-23

Simply put…do not’s do not work! Why is it we’re always trying to clean up the outside instead of acknowledging that He has already cleaned us up on the inside? Reading the entire New Testament in just 40 days helped remind me to do just that.  Yes, for Lent, instead of abstaining I indulged…indulged myself in reading His Word…and let it do the work.

For the word of God is living and powerful… Hebrews 4:12a

What Did You Learn in April?