Sep 28, 2013

enchanting windsor

Windsor, how we loved you! We almost skipped on this enchanting, historical town due to the rainy forecast for the day, but aside from morning clouds we were greeted with sunny skies! 
The castle itself was beautiful and the little town was adorable to explore during lunch. 
We loved strolling down the Long Walk,  smelling the roses of the Moat Garden, and imagining the royal steps that trod where we stood. 

Sep 25, 2013

lessons of the blackberry: guest post sneak peak

"Nature is God's greatest evangelist"
{Jonathon Edwards, 1703-1758}

I am often amazed at how nature teaches me many lessons of God's faithfulness and love. The Bible is also full of nature-related analogies such as the parable of the sower's seeds.

Several years ago, while taking a relaxing walk down a rural walking path, I came across some delicious blackberries. I filled my palms full of the delectable fruit and the Holy Spirit put a few lessons on my heart concerning the blackberries. 

Here is a snippet of what I endearingly call the Lessons of the Blackberry. The full post will be featured Friday, September 29th on Blogs By Christian Women where I am a guest blogger for the day! I love that the hosts of the blog aim at bringing women of faith together to encourage one anotherMake yourself a cup of tea + stay awhile to read posts by women pursuing a life that glorifies Jesus. 

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Lessons of the Blackberry

The most plump, delicious blackberries are the ones hidden and protected amidst a thorny collection of brambles. Keep persevering through whatever "brambles" you are currently facing in your life, even if you get poked every once in awhile. The reward is worth the pain.
Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. {Galations 6:9}
There is a season for everything, including ripe, sweet blackberries. Try to pick them too early, however, and you'll get a rather sour surprise. Wait. Be patient. For it is usually after days of uneventful, "boring" weather that the best blackberries ripen. Don't underestimate the days of seemingly uneventful waiting. God is behind the scenes working all things for the good of those who obey Him.
But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up their wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not be faint. {Isaiah 40:31}
As I tried to avoid getting poked and scratched by the thorny vines of the blackberry bramble, I remembered an important thing: I need to be thankful for both the blackberry and the thorns, for they both come from the same plant.   When we have a heart of thanksgiving, even in the hard and painful times [when it seems we are walking through miles of thorny vines], we remember His faithfulness and are encouraged by the hope that comes from our Redeemer.
Oh what a happy soul am I although I cannot see,
I am resolved that in this world contented I shall be.

How many blessings I enjoy that other people don't.

To weep and sigh, because I'm blind? I cannot and I won't.
{Fanny Crosby}
 A mere glance away from picking blackberries left me with deep pokes because my hand moved a few centimeters -- straight into a thorny vine. Ouch.  Isn't that how life is? When we take our gaze off of Christ, we end up getting hurt. We end up veering off the path and ending up poked and scratched by thorny vines of discouragement, bitterness, self-pity.
With my eyes fixed on the goal I push on to secure the prize of God's heavenward call in Christ Jesus. {Phil. 3:14 WNT}
A novice blackberry-picker as myself has learned to bring along a bucket in my car in case I find a jackpot of blackberries somewhere. You also can learn to "bring along a bucket" just in case you get a downpour of blessings that you cannot hold in your two hands!

O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness You have done marvelous things, things planned long ago. {Isaiah 25:1}
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Go a little deeper in these lessons this Friday on Blogs by Christian Women
See you there!

Sep 24, 2013

tuesdays with elle

It's Tuesday night, which is my favorite night of the week. Mondays and Tuesdays are the busiest days at work and then there's Wednesday, my Sabbath day of the week! I love having a day off from work right smack-dab in the middle of the week! It's a great way to rest after a busy two days at work and prepare myself for two more. It's also a great time to do things I love, such as Tuesday night blogging, Wednesday morning neighborhood jogging/gym (depending on the weather), coffee dates with friends, and community group. And it all starts on Tuesday nights!

I love Anchored in Love's post about the current things she's doing, and it inspired me to follow suit and share a bit about what's going on this week in the life of this four-eyed nerd.

. . . #SheReadsTruth's Daniel study (I finish it tonight!); Desiring God (John Piper); Lottie Moon: Giving Her All To China (Janet & Geoff Benge); Keep a Quiet Heart (Elisabeth Elliot); and 10 Commandments: Set Free to Live Free (devotional for Mars Hill Church's current series)

. . .  I was watching Everybody Loves Raymond an hour ago. I literally laugh out loud to the point I am sure that my neighbors can hear me.

. . . my dried flowers that have kept their vibrant purple hues. Now that the farmer's markets are ending,  I can't bring fresh flowers home to brighten my flat, so it's really nice to see the pretty blooms welcome me home.

. . .  I had some of my vegetarian chili a little while ago. I changed it up by adding some sweet potato and it is amazing. Chili is my go-to staple because I can always change it up for variety and it's easy to bring to work or freeze for a night when I don't want to cook (like tonight!)

. . .  to seattle in a month! So excited to spend 5 days in a city that is so very dear to my heart and spend some much-needed catch-up time with my favorite Seattleites! 

. . .  to Ghost Ship's new cd, The Good King! My favorites are Mediator, Jude Doxology, Holy, Holy, Holy (one of my favorite hymns). It's currently playing and brings so much joy to my heart tonight to hear Truth-filled lyrics. Check 'em out!

. . .  getting to know bloggers! It's so fun to grow closer to blogging buddies through emails, comments, and non-creepy blog-stalking :)

. . . "I should probably go to sleep soon or I'll never wake up for the gym tomorrow morning. Oh well."

. . . relieved that it's Tuesday night! It's Tuesday! It's Tuesday! Gotta get down on Tuesday!
haha, that just happened. I am a bit embarrassed. Sike. 

. . . I stay productive tomorrow and get some things crossed off my to-do list.

. . . to think about all the exciting things that are coming up in October to December. I love this time of the year!!

beautiful rainy day in kensington

It was a rainy day, so we made the best of it and turned the day into a museum day! 

We started off walking through Kensington Gardens and towards the beautiful Kensington Palace, Princess Diana's home from 1981 until she passed away in 1997. Once renovated, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will move in as well as Prince Harry. It was fun imagining what famous feet tread the same steps we were treading.

Has anyone seen The Young Victoria, staring Emily Blunt? There was a scene in the green archway below!

We had fun hanging out in the Kensington Palace gift shop while it was pouring outside.

We then went walking in the adorable Kensington neighborhood.

 We caught bride on her way to the chapel!


We enjoyed seeing dinosaurs at the (free!) Natural History Museum in Kensington! 

It rained only one out of the 5.5 days we spent in London, so I can't complain for a bit! 
Afterall, I am from the Pacific NW, land of the evergreen and rainy days, so we made the best out of the situation!

Up next: More royalty sightseeing at the beautiful Windsor Castle! Stay tuned, friends!