Category: Inspiration

A Fresh Look…

I keep a notebook of quotations that I’ve read and liked for how they speak to my heart, or challenge my thinking. If I read something that really resonates with me, I write it down in my little collection. Occasionally I go back through and read some of the quotes; the following is one I rediscovered this morning. It was good to take a fresh look…A Fresh Look...

“In one of William J. Locke’s novels there is a picture of a woman who has a large amount of money, and who has spent half a lifetime on a tour of the sights and picture galleries of the world. She is weary and bored. Then she meets a Frenchman who has little of this world’s goods, but who has a wide knowledge and a great love of beauty.

He comes with her, and in his company things are completely different. ‘I never knew what things were like’, she said to him, ‘until you taught me how to look at them.’  Life is quite different when Jesus teaches us how to look at things. When Jesus comes into our hearts, he opens our eyes to see things truly.” – (William Barclay – Commentary on Matthew 1).

My Limited Understanding

I don’t know about you, but I get weary at times trying to figure out, or make sense of things or events that happen in this amazing, beautiful, yet crazy world. My knowledge, focus, and understanding is so incredibly finite and limited (understatement of the century), and that impedes my perspective on things.

I am so grateful that the God who created all things is a part of my life (the beautiful AND the messy parts) and invites me daily to join him (the ultimate travel guide) as he reveals parts of His incomprehensible knowledge, love, beauty, and purpose to my little brain and heart. He helps and enables me to see things differently… a fresh look, a different perspective…through His eyes.

A Fresh Look... / The Grateful Girl Cooks!♥♥♥♥

“‘To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?’ says the Holy One. ‘Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, none of them is missing. Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God?  Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.'” (Isaiah 40: 25-31, New International Version)

Just as the original painter can provide insight no one else can into their work of art, I know that my loving Creator is the one I want and trust to bring insight and perspective to the “things” I experience in my life. I don’t HAVE to completely understand everything. I have to TRUST the One who does. ♥ Just my thoughts… have a good day. ♥

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Musings On Seed Planting… and New Life

As I write this, it is the first week of Daylight Savings time. Spring is just around the corner; it’s that time again where I begin planning our backyard vegetable raised beds and container gardens for the year. Walk through our neighborhood and see daffodils and crocuses blooming, trees budding, and birds singing exuberantly,  I can’t help but feel excitement for the coming season of growth and new life! Spring is in the air!

Seeds are planted in our backyard raised bed garden.
I still am completely and utterly amazed that you can take a tiny little seed, stick it into the dark ground, and with the proper conditions, that little seed can produce a beautiful plant that we can nourish ourselves with. I actually get excited to see the growth of my veggies each year, and secretly cheer them on as they struggle up through the cold darkness of the dirt and aim towards the sunlight!

I love to watch them thrive, and I love working in my garden as they grow, to make sure they are not surrounded by or choked out by weeds, and keeping the plants at their best with good nourishment (water, sunlight, and fertilizer).

Garden growing.
Life can kinda sometimes seem like a big gardening experiment… at various times we may feel like we’ve been put into a dark place, alone (like a seed underground), because of circumstances, life choices, etc. That’s not always a bad thing… it’s just the way it is. Now, I may not know much, but what I DO know is that those times can also serve to bring about new growth in our lives.

More veggies growing.Musings on Seed Planting, and green beans growing
It all comes down to what we are surrounded by. If we take care to surround ourselves with things that bring about life (similar to sunlight, fertilizer, and water for a little seed), then we are most likely to come through the “winter, or barren times” into a surprising season of growth, new life, and great productivity.

Musings on Seed Planting... and a great harvest!
For me, my lifelong faith in God, the love of my family and close friends are the “ingredients” I need for maximum growth. Just like a newly planted seed needs the right conditions such as temperature, soil conditions, water and sunlight to really thrive and be the best they can be…so do I.  Occasionally I find it important to take a good, hard look at (and take stock of) the many “things” I invest my time in, the people I surround myself with, and the choices I make, to ensure they aren’t draining, corroding, or depleting me, but nourishing and helping me to be my best self!

I love the verses in the the Bible that illustrate this concept best for me. They’re always a good “self-check”. Colossians 2:7 (New Living Translation): “Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness”.  Psalm 1: 1-3 says “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers“. Yep. I want to be that kind of woman.

I take such great care to plan my little garden each year, and try to plant my vegetable seeds in the best location, with the right soil, fertilizer, etc. It seems only natural and logical that I take even greater care of my own life (it’s the only one I’ve got) and make sure I am surrounding myself consistently with “things”, “choices”, or “people” that will encourage, prune occasionally (when necessary), nourish, and help bring about the most growth in my own life.

Musings on Seed Planting... and New Life!
Just my thoughts…  Now here’s to Spring… and new life! Have a great day.

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A Thankful Heart…

Having a thankful heart is my desire. Sometimes life doesn’t go exactly the way I “think” it should go… do YOU ever have days or weeks like that? I have… and so have many of my friends and family members, several of whom I’ve talked with recently about this very thing.A Thankful Heart... / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
If we’re being honest, we ALL have times in our lives like that. You know… times where you can’t see the forest for the trees…and our focus starts becoming “Out Of Focus”.. I love this quote by Henry Ward Beecher. It inspires me!

At times when life gets a bit out of focus, I hold on to my faith tightly and pray that God will give me eyes to see all the blessings around me that I tend to “forget” when I focus only on the challenges or troubles I am facing. This, in itself, can be a challenge, but I find it extremely helpful to pull back the magnifying glass a bit and take a look at the much bigger picture. It sure helps my perspective, attitude, etc. become much clearer.

I keep a Gratitude journal. It keeps me well-grounded, because it is a great discipline I’ve practiced for years to remind me to open my eyes, take a good, hard look around and realize just how truly blessed my life is. I try to write a few things I am thankful for in it each morning. My entire life I’ve always thought it was important to say “Thank You” to the people in my life who have blessed, inspired, challenged, and loved me. I feel it is just as important to tell the God who made me and blesses me with more than I deserve a big “Thank You” each day I have breath. It’s also  encouraging to look back at my journal over time and see a visual reminder of the many ways God has brought me through a tough time OR to be reminded how many things I have to be truly thankful for.

A Thankful Heart / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
If you don’t already keep a Gratitude Journal, I would humbly suggest you give it a try. You don’t need any fancy “stuff”… Seriously… I just use a spiral bound notebook for my gratitude journal. It’s not what you write it on, it’s what you write on it.

Discipline yourself to list out blessings daily, as they come to mind. Then thank God for bringing them into your life. “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” (Psalms 107:1) Blessings are all around, if we’ll just take the time to search them out and name them  It’s a great way to stay centered, and have a grateful, thankful heart for God’s many blessings. And that, in my humble opinion, is the best blessing to have!

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Taste And See…

I love this verse from the Bible, found in Psalm 34:8. A Psalm of David.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.”

Taste And See little fruit tarts.I’ve had this Bible verse on my mind a lot lately. I find it a helpful and motivational reminder to spend quality time with God, not just attending church services, church activities, or even reading “Christian” themed books, but really spending time in God’s Word, and taking His words into the depths of my very soul. It is only then that I can truly be satisfied and “see that the Lord is good”.

Imagine going to one of the greatest pastry shops in the world. Now just look at those gorgeous desserts set before you to enjoy…

Pastries on display.

Wouldn’t it be a shame to admire them, appreciate the creative artistry utilized to make them look so appealing, smell them, imagine biting into one of them, even drool a little over them because you know how amazingly delicious it would taste… but then simply turn and walk away and say “Wow, those sure were good”, without ever even tasting them?

Unfortunately, at times the busy-ness of life tends to crowd out the most important thing, and we (myself and other Christ-followers) easily settle for many various “inauthentic” delights or cheap substitutes for the real deal (growing closer to God).

I don’t want to be one who only casts an appreciative eye over the many ways God shows His love, creative artistry, beauty, and goodness in life (daily), but who fails to go further and be truly satisfied to the depths of my soul.

My sincere prayer is that you and I do whatever it takes to find the time to back away from being merely an onlooker at the display case and become a ravenous consumer. May we not just “look on” at all set before us in gratitude, appreciation and acknowledgement, but may we be insatiably hungry spiritually, and determined to sink our teeth into the real thing…to TASTE and SEE that He really is GOOD!

Taste And See verse in Bible.I know I can speak from personal experience and a life of walking with Jesus… He unconditionally loves me more than anyone ever has or ever will. He has my whole heart. He always satisfies. He is always GOOD. Thank you, God.

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