Tuesday, March 21, 2017

New Old Chairs

If you see my posts on Facebook, you probably know that I have been looking for fabric to recover a couple of chairs for several months now.

I got a matching set of these chairs from Ken's grandmother's home after she passed away back in 2014.  I do not know for sure when she bought these chairs but I can tell you that the fabric you see here was actually a green hounds-tooth rather than the mustard color you see here.

I loved the shape of the chairs and knew that I would really like to recover them to use in our home.  
I slowly started looking at fabrics and prices of having chairs recovered.

It took a while to get over the sticker shock of how expensive fabric is as well as the cost of having furniture recovered and the chairs sat in our basement den area as is for a couple of years.

This December, I told Ken that all I wanted for Christmas was to get these chairs recovered.
He agreed and I started looking more intently for fabrics.

I ordered samples from several places and laid them all out on the chairs to see which ones I liked best.  

I ended up with a lot of samples.
I learned a big lesson from these chairs.
I had such a hard time picking a fabric that I know that building a house would be the death of me.

I had loads of fabric samples and but none of them were right.  Some were way too expensive, some I liked but couldn't figure out how it would fit.
Then I came across this fabric and I could instantly see the big picture.

We were finally able to get the fabric and take the chairs to be done.
I absolutely LOVE how they turned out. 

They now reside in my den.  I don't know if this will be their final space, but for now, I am loving just looking at them.
I love how they turned out!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Lenten Lessons - Saturday, March 4, 2017

Notes from my Lenten readings today......

Lenten Devotions for Everyone by NT Wright  (on my bible app)

Jesus being tempted.  "His temptations in this famous story are not just an example, showing us how to resist, though of course they are that too.  (Notice how his mind, well stocked with scripture, comes back again and again with the right response.)  They are part of the larger story of how 'heaven's rule' came to earth.

The present power was to be defeated by Jesus. The three temptations here are good things that are being distorted.  Part of the discipline of Lent is about learning to recognize the little voices for what they are and to have the scripture filled courage to resist.

Matthew 4

Psalm  32 ----

A "sigh of relief" psalm.  It's a great celebration -- I've confessed it all -- it's gone!

First lines of this psalm list 4 types of problems (that need confession) --
1.'offence' or 'transgression' -- breaking of a known command
2. 'sin' - missing the mark of genuine humanness
3. 'guilt' or 'iniquity' - the murky stuff inside me where there should be clarity and openness
4. "deceit' - the vain attempt to pretend all is well

40 Days of Decrease  by Alicia Britt Chole (Day 4)

At the end of John's ministry, he beings to decrease in confidence -- harder than decreasing in attention.
He refuses to compete with Jesus.
Jesus wasn't exactly being who John thought he was going to be so he sent his disciples to ask Jesus if he was the Messiah.  Jesus said "Blessed is he who does not stumble because of me.".

We have to be honest about our uncertainties.

John 12:29-36

Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow

 1 Timothy 6:15 ......He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of [k]kings and Lord of [l]lords,

Sovereign ---  He is the supreme power, Royal power, supreme authority.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Lenten Lessons - Friday, March 3

Lent For Everyone Devotional - NT Wright

When Jesus came to  earth he picked people "from the stands" to play on his team.  Not the coached and trained....

"It's very easy for people to imagine that they can be 'religious' -- that can say their prayers, they can go to church they can read the Bible - but basically they are longing on, spectating, while GOD does what-ever God is going to do. " God doesn't need humans to be ready -- coached and trained to do what he wants to do.  He's God after all.

But he wants people to be part of the action, not just spectators.

"What should the church be doing today that would make people realize that 'heaven' is actually in charge here and now? "

Matthew 4 - Jesus tempted by Satan, Jesus called first disciples and Jesus healed.

40 Days of Decrease by Alicia Britt Chole - Day 3

"He must become greater; I must become less."  John 3:30

Decrease is a spiritual necessity.

Decrease for John the Baptist was less about assets and more about attention.   He longed to draw his generations' attention to Jesus.

"Those who steward attention as means and not end stand tall and serve strong, knowing that all gifts come from GOd and can therefore draw attention to God."

May MY decrease do the same, May people see God instead of me!

John 12:20-28

Calm My Anxious Heart  by Linda Dillow (chapter 1 - #5)

How was Ella able to keep a "holy habit" of contentment?

I think she chose it by making the decision to not allow herself to wish for anything more or anything less than what she had or was doing at the moment. And by knowing God was always leading and guiding her.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Lenten Lessons - Thursday, March 2

These are my notes from my Lenten readings today.  I am going to type them up here, when I can so that when Easter comes, I can come back and really see what God is trying to teach me in this season.  Because I know he has something for me to learn.

Lent for Everyone - NT Wright  - Devotional on Bible App
Matthew 3
John the Baptist fulfilled one of the most famous OT prophesies of all time.
The God in heaven will come back and be king of the earth......what the Jewish people of the time were waiting for.

John the Baptist shows up saying that heaven is going to take charge of the earth again,
He is the Voice in the wilderness -- preparing the way

Not to take God for granted -- God is reshaping Abraham's family

"Produce fruit in keeping with repentance" Matthew 3:8

40 Days of Decrease by Alicia Britt Chloe

"Christian spirituality, the contemplative life, is not about us.  It is about God. The great weakness of American spirituality is that it is all about us: fulfilling our potential, getting the blessings of God, expanding our influence, finding our gifts, getting a handle on principles by which we can get an edge over the competition.  THe more there is of us, the less there is of GOD." --- Eugene Peterson

Insatiable narcissism.   " Lent invites us to walk with Jesus through our darker seasons that we want to avoid -- grief, conflict, betrayal, misunderstanding, rejection, pain, etc....

The disciples are disillusioned by the things Jesus is now doing.  They had seen his power.  He had raised the dead, healed the sick, calmed the waves and silenced the Pharisees.  He now allows himself to be arrested and refuses to defend himself to the same Pharisees.  He refuses to save himself.

John 12:12-19 -- The crowd waves palm branches and waves them, shouting "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!  Jesus rides in on a donkey,  The disciples are confused.

Calm My Anxious Heart  by Linda Dillow - Chapter 1 (My Journey To Contentment)  - Day 4  --

Ella was a missionary with pygmies in Africa for 52 years.   She had a "holy habit" of contentment.
She wrote her prescription for contentment in her journal:

*Never allow yourself to complain about anything - not even the weather.
*Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else.
*Never compare your lot with another's.
*Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
*Never dwell on tomorrow - remember that (tomorrow) is God's, not ours.

Can't wait to see where all of this goes!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Ash Wednesday 2017

Image result for Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the season of Lent on the Christian Calendar.  Lent is the 40 days, not including Sundays, before Easter.

On Ash Wednesday in my church, we have a special service.  In tonight's service, Ken spoke of getting rid of the garbage that stands between us and Jesus. What is it, in our lives, that is keeping us from letting His Light shine through us?

We wrote those things on slips of paper and nailed them to a cross. By nailing them to the cross, we are giving those things to him.  Spending time in prayer at the altar, asking forgiveness for allowing these things to come between us and our Savior.    We then had ashes imposed on our foreheads to symbolize the Old Testament practice of someone putting ashes on their heads when they were sorrowful about something.  Just as we are sorrowful for the things that stand between us and Jesus.

It is a beautiful, and very powerful service for me each year.  I shared earlier the call I feel God has for me this Lenten season.  In addition to reading the book about contentment, I also have two other devotions that I plan to read during this season.

One is on my Holy Bible App and is called "Lent for Everyone". It is created and written by NT Wright, a New Testament Scholar and one of my favorite authors. I also love to listen to him speak.

I will also be doing 40 Days of Decrease  by Alicia Britt Chole.  This book has a devotion, scripture reading, something to fast from each day, and a place for journaling.  

I can already tell that each of these difference Lenten disciplines is going to challenge me, which is the point. This quote about the purpose of Lent was in the 40 Days book tonight.

"The purpose of Lent is not to force on us a few formal obligations, but to 'soften' our hearts so that it may open itself to the realities of the spirit, to experience the hidden 'thirst and hunger' for communion with God."  --- Reverend Alexander Schmemann

 I think that  says very well what Lent is to be all about.  Not adding rules for the sake of rules. But to help us to get rid of the garbage that is standing in the way of communion with God.   Decrease in self  so HE can increase.  Because that is the only way His Light can shine through me.

Looking forward to the journey of Lent this year.
What does your Lenten call look like? What will your journey be?

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

It's Mardi Gras!!!!

Image result for shrove tuesday 2017
Did you know that today is Shrove Tuesday?  

The Christian Season of Lent begins tomorrow, on Ash Wednesday.  Lent is the 40 days before Easter and is a time for Christians to focus on Jesus and some sort of fasting in order to grow closer to God.  And as a way to prepare for the coming Easter.  I will share more about Ash Wednesday and Lent tomorrow.  

Now, for the significance of today...... The day before Ash Wednesday is known as Shrove Tuesday.  It's also called Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday as well as Pancake Tuesday.  A long time ago,  people were encouraged not to eat fats, butter and eggs during the season of Lent.  In order to use up all of those items, people who made pancakes and indulge in sweets and celebration on this day.    

We won't be eating pancakes for supper here tonight. But we will be eating them tomorrow night at church in celebration of Shrove Tuesday before our Ash Wednesday Service at church.

Will you be eating pancakes and preparing to fast for Lent tonight?  Or will you, like my family, be doing both tomorrow?

Monday, February 27, 2017

Lenten Calling

Image result for contentment

I awoke at about 5:15 this morning to the sound of the television being turned on.  I grumbled at Ken, the culprit of the noise and what I thought was the reason I woke.  After about  15 minutes I felt that God was calling me to get up and go spend time with him.  I'm reading through a chronological Bible in the evenings,  so I wasn't sure what I was going to do. I'm also not involved in a specific bible study at the moment which is what I usually do early in the mornings, so I  thought maybe God just wanted me to sit quietly with Him and hear from Him.

I turned up the heat, make a cup of coffee and sat down on the couch.  I sat quietly for a minute......  I glanced at the table beside the couch and saw peeking from underneath a book called Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow.  A friend loaned me this book so long ago, that I am sure she thinks I have lost it.  It has been in a stack for books for quite some time.  I knew this was what God wanted for me to pick up today.  He was going to have something to say to me through this book.  

I  picked it up and began reading the first chapter which discussed a lack of contentment being the reason for our anxiousness.  I have mentioned before about my anxiousness and about the words that I feel God leads me to each year.  I wrote about those back in early January.    This year's words are faith, love, and gratitude.  I knew immediately that I had a new word.  A word that fit in perfectly with the original words , and one that would help me in the pursuit of the goals that God has given me for 2017.  


Lately, I've been super aware of my own negativity and lack of contentment.  Linda Dillow says in this book that we can learn to be content.  Doing so is one step toward having more faith, more gratitude and more love.  Don't you agree?     In the first chapter of this book,  I was asked to write down Philippians 4:11-13

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

I was also reminded of verse 8 of the same chapter......

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

That is the web address of my blog and I have lately been so caught up in negativity that I couldn't look at the lovely or the good.  All I could see was the bad. That keeps me from being grateful, it keeps me at at a standstill in this part of my faith and it keeps me from loving people well.  

As the season of Lent begins on Wednesday, I've heard much talk around about what people are "giving up" for Lent.  I have been thinking some on what I would do for Lent.  I don't tend to give things up so much as I tend to try to grow in my walk with God in some way.  Sometimes, I do nothing at all because I don't feel that God is calling me to do anything.  

This morning, in the twenty minutes that read this chapter, I knew that this year, He had something for me to do during Lent.  He gave me something to give up  - complaining and negativity - and something to do -- learn to be content.  

I really do love when God shows himself this way.   It wasn't Ken turning on the TV this morning that woke me. It was God telling me that he wanted to talk to me.  This is my calling for Lent.  What is He calling you to do?  It will not be easy for me.  But it is worth doing.  I am looking forward to our Shrove Tuesday Celebration and Ash Wednesday Service this week. (Don't know what all that means? I will share more here this week.)

Take time today and tomorrow to consider what your Lenten calling might be.  I would love to hear all about it!  Share it with me here!!