Friday, August 28, 2015

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

Parting is such sweet sorrow. If you have been visiting my little corner of the blogosphere for any amount of time first, I thank you.  Truly.  I know there are literally millions of other blogs you could be spending your time at and I am honored that you are spending your valuable time visiting with me. Secondly, you must surely know my love all things summer and of my fight with change that occurs every August. This year is no different.

My home has spent the latter part of spring and the entire summer dressed in beach attire. Each trip to the ocean unearths new treasures to fill jars and baskets or to stack up, line up, or spill casually onto a shelf or table top In my home. I still have a shell I picked up while dating Mr. I wrote the date and the name of the beach he took me to on the underside and every time I see it I am reminded of that date and a love that was just beginning to bud.  And then it dawned on me that I never did get around to posting anything inside our home! So, come on in before it changes again.

Doesn't that drift wood remind you of a dolphin in the waves? Or is it just me?

I made the garland from a used paper towel tube and jute twine.

Always looking for beach glass-like precious jewels on the shore.

I have yet to find something to pot in cute pottery from Anthropolgie. The rocks are from a visit with Mr. to Block Island.

Heart stone and Grandmother's ginger jar.

A painting purchased on Cape Cod on a summer vacation 5 years ago.

Shells from the beach in Galveston, Texas a few years ago.

All our treasures remind me of carefree summers, walks on the beach, my silly girls chasing seagulls as little ones, and the one and a half hour rides in the car with the windows down as we sang old Journey songs at the tops of our lungs-totally worth every minute. They are all good memories dancing casually into my conscience as I look around at our home.

Gallery wall in the living room features pictures of two of our girls at the beach in days gone by.

A starfish tethered to the serving caddy works the theme into the dining room.

A little burlap and a hot glue gun for instant art. I did brush the starfish with glue and dipped it into glitter first.
A painting from Brimfield from many years ago gets some company from this sea star.

An aqua colored glass jar brings the ocean into the bathroom.

Yes, those are shells on the bottom of my bathroom curtains.

The weather is beautiful here and the beach is calling but I must not listen to its siren calls and press on into the new school year. The thought of Autumn has skirted around in the corners of my unyielding brain. Ideas for Fall decorating have waited patiently as I make my peace with the end of lazy summer days, swimming with friends and cookouts. I am prepared (at least outwardly) to embark on what  will be my middle child’s senior year of high school. Another reminder that things can't stay the same- seasons come and seasons go.

Sweaters and tall boots can’t be too far behind. And, I think I feel a twinge of excitement about that.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

19 and Counting.....

Nope, not another reality tv show-just a declaration of how God blessed me 19 years ago with a friendship that has far exceeded my expectations and with a love that is truer and sweeter than anything Hollywood could think up. I am talking about the man I am married to. I praise God for the gift of my man's affection for me and the continual blessings I experience as his wife.

Don't get me wrong here. It is important to me that you understand that I do not and could not deserve the favor of God. Against my husband, my children and my God I sin daily. I loose my temper and I push my desires ahead of theirs. I can be selfish, choosing to serve myself before I serve them. I challenge my husband's authority over our children and over me, BUT GOD!.......Oh, how beautiful are those words!?! But God, for the sake of his Son, loves me with an eternal love and for the sake of his Son he also loves my husband. God first loved me without any action on my part-other than my rebellion. I know he will never stop loving me because of the finished work of Jesus.

I do not deserve nor have I earned the lasting love of my husband and yet I am treasured, loved and cherished beyond my wildest hopes and dreams. I would love to say that I am the center of his world- who wouldn't love to think they are someone's whole world? Thankfully, I am not. Christ is. So, when I am not being so lovely or lovable my husband still loves me. I don't worry that one day he may decide I am not worth it because I know he does not love me just for my sake. That takes a ton of weight off me! He doesn't love me for how much I weigh, how I look or dress, or because I can cook (or make him blueberry pies)....or any of the other things we read about in magazines that give us "the perfect formula" for a happy marriage.

In our marriage Mr. and I are to be Christ-like; forgiving, loving selflessly, extending grace and mercy. As I previously said, I don't always do a good job of that. That is where my husband's work is so important to me. He takes God's charge to him seriously as he leads me in righteousness, calls me to repentance and encourages me in the faith, and tells me the truth-even if it hurts. Why? Because God is most glorified when his children are satisfied in him. When I am acting unlovely it is ultimately because I am not satisfied with God has given.

We are like other marriages- we occasionally argue or have differences (menopause has not done much for me in the area of congeniality) but we don't give up on each other just like God doesn't give up on us when we disobey. Sometimes marriage is messy, and rough around the edges like this stone we found this summer on the beach.

When our hearts are stubborn and more hard than this rock we don't "fall out of love" because love is not just about how we feel. With the Father and Christ Jesus as our example we have learned that love is an intentional act of the will. Each day we choose to love each other. This is not just for our sake but also for the sake of the gospel. We believe, as Scripture teaches, that marriage is a shadow of the relationship between Christ and his bride, the Church.

There has been only one other special ingredient in our marriage- laughter.

Not our most flattering photo-Mr was laughing so hard he had tears!

All this is not one sided as neither of us are perfect (I do believe Mr. has the harder part). Ephesians 5:21 is something we try to practice: "submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ." I know this probably sounds archaic to many of you reading this but this is who I am. I am a Christian-by God's grace and for the glory of God. That is what motivates me. Truly, I am a work in progress.

Marriage is a gift. When rightly displayed it is beautiful and meant to be a testimony to the world. We don't always get it right and when we blow it we find forgiveness in each other and in our Father in heaven. Because God first loved us we are free to fearlessly and truly love each other with abandon. Whether God blesses us with one more day, 5 years, or decades I pray that my heart remains thankful for this gift and that the praise of his name would constantly be on my lips....while i linger.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Strawberry-Banana Smoothies

What do you do with fruit that is going to go bad before you eat it? I freeze it to use in smoothies. I have a go-to recipe that came from trial and error. Today, I will share the recipe with you.

Often, I will peel bananas that are getting too squishy to eat, put them in a zip lock and toss them in the freezer. In the winter I will make banana bread but in warmer weather they are destined for a frozen treat! No worries if you don't have mushy bananas to freeze, fresh will do. I also freeze strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries if we don't eat them in time. The berries do need to be frozen to make the smoothie work.

This recipe is one of our favorite treats and it is full of good stuff! Sometimes it is enough to cover us for lunch or a late breakfast. This is also a delicious way to cool off!

Strawberry-Banana Smoothies

2 Cups citrus fruit juice (sometimes I use orange juice, pineapple-orange-banana, whatever is on sale)
2 bananas
1 ½ cups vanilla yogurt (I use low-fat and non-fat interchangably)
2 cups frozen strawberries ( I also use frozen blueberries and/or raspberries at times)
2 tbsp honey

(For this batch I had about 1/2 cup fresh blueberries that needed to be used so I threw them in, as well.) This recipe will make four servings.

Put all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth. You can add more juice if it is too thick for you or more frozen fruit if it is not thick enough. Adjust to your liking.

Add a straw and a hammock and enjoy the rest of summer!