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Which saying best describes your marriage?
My spouse brings out the best in me.
My spouse brings out the worst in me.

If you’re human, and I bet you are, both have been true from time to time.
We have such unreasonable expectations at the beginning of marriage.  Perpetual happiness and deep fulfillment, a whole life ahead with a ‘you complete me’ partner.

Then we discover, as my husband did one Saturday when I made a sandwich for myself and didn’t make one for him, that said spouse not only can’t read our mind, but they aren’t always thinking of us—sometimes they just think of themselves.

My bad  :oops:

That fateful Saturday was 31 years ago.
We survived it and lots of other episodes since.

While going through the photos from a recent Anniversary trip to the Grand Canyon,   I found myself thinking that the Canyon is a metaphor for marriage.
Two forces that act on each other in ways that both alter and define both.
Looking at the picture of us with the canyon and the river in the background three truths, lessons in geology and marriage, occurred to me.

(1)  The Grand Canyon is carved by the Colorado River, but the river is defined by the canyon.
There’s a symbiotic relationship between the two.  Each one has an influence, an affect on the other.   There’s no way to know what one would have been like without the other.  Each is, in some measure, a creation of the other.

(2)  The change is slow.
We saw a film from the National Park Service  while we were there.  Did you know that The Grand Canyon gets deeper each year by about the thickness of a piece of paper?  Think of that in terms of your own marriage.  Change is incremental, but constant.  For good or bad, the way we are with each other has a slow but ongoing influence.

(3)  In the end, the canyon and the river are each more beautiful because of the other.
Aristotle was right; the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
The various deep layers of sediment so vivid in the golden light of sunset are only visible because the river has revealed them.  And the river’s course is shaped by the varying density and porosity of the canyon’s geological composition.

The canyon wouldn’t be grand without the river.

The river would lose its dramatic setting without the canyon walls to serve as a scenic backdrop.

 

The Grand Canyon

 

 

I want to have the best possible influence on my husband.
I hope he aspires to the same thing where I’m concerned.

The potential is there for us each to be better because of the other.
I think that’s what God intended🙂

I recently taught on grace for a Women’s study.
God’s grace came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ.
When Jesus is at the heart of a marriage that grace infuses the relationship with love and a desire for God’s best in each other’s life.

My husband’s influence has tempered my ‘hot’ reactions.
His good humor and steady cheerfulness have had a cooling effect on me.  When we traveled in France we stayed in a boutique hotel run by a charming Vietnamese gentleman.  When my husband asked if we could get some glasses for wine in our room he replied, “Why Not?”  Anything we asked he would smile and say, “Of course, why not?”  In a way, that’s my husband’s outlook on life.  Genial, optimistic, and ‘why not’.  It’s hard to resist that kind of force for good.

I think I’ve helped him find the light again when he’s been deeply wounded by others.
Even just being a sounding board when he’s been working through the hurt and confusion.  I confess I think I’ve received more than I’ve given, but then I’m clearly the more needy in the character department🙂

How would you say you’ve been a good influence on your partner?  
In what ways have you been ‘changed for the better’ because of your relationship with your spouse?

woman in leather jacket

 

I’m packing impaired!

 

Actually I’m fashion impaired so traveling means I have to deal with making good choices before I leave home.  I hate that!!!  But this time, for the first time, I may have accidentally gotten it right.

I’ve liked every single outfit I’ve worn and we’re at day 7 of an 11 day Anniversary trip.
That’s unheard of for me.
Usually I stand in front of the hotel closet bemoaning the jeans or top I left at home😉
Or realizing I forgot to throw in a slip for the dress I brought to wear or a cover-up for the walk through the lobby to the pool.

Not this time.
Here’s what I did differently.

I started packing early.  
For me that was 2 days before we left.  I made sure anything I might want to take was laundered and pressed.  I even took a new maxi-dress in to my Dry Cleaners to be hemmed so I could bring it along.

I listened to the experts.
I finally did what every How-to-Pack article has always urged me to do.  I chose the most versatile comfortable pieces I owned and then edited them to include only the ones that co-ordinated with everything else.
No outliers allowed.

I did my homework.
I actually checked the weather and looked at the places we were planning to visit so I could factor in daytime temperatures of 100℉ or cool evenings and air-conditioned restaurants.

My  Top Arizona Trip Picks

Here are the 7 items that I’m ‘super’ glad I brought along.

(1) My Helen Kaminski hat.
If I’d known how much these were gonna go up in price I’d have bought a warehouse full of ’em!  But, they are worth it for the sun protection and glamour effect.  Mine is about 15 years old and was $100.00 less than they are now.

(2) Aviator sunglasses.
I like my wrap-arounds for sunbathing, but they’re showing the wear from Africa trips, so when I bought a new pair I gave in to the current trend🙂

(3)  Burt’s Bees After Sun Soother.
It feels and smells great.

(4)  My old orange fringed pareo.
That’s Tahitian for a wraparound skirt that I use for a swim cover-up or a shawl.  Wish I had another in green or blue.

(5)  My boyfriend jeans.
Love these and could happily wear them every day.  Citizens of Humanity.  Again, worth the cost.

(6)  A new green blouse.
I wore it for our Anniversary dinner last night.  Love the feel ~ feminine and chic.  It looks better the more tan I get🙂

(7)  The little sleeveless stripe dress I bought in BP at Nordstrom.
It has pockets and a swingy hem.  I also wear it over the jeans or leggings.

Wherever I travel, my Nikon D3200 comes along.
Yesterday it captured some amazing shots of cactus that converted me from hater to fan.
My second favorite camera is my iPhone:)

Tomorrow we leave Scottsdale and travel up to the Grand Canyon where I’m sure I’ll use up most of the 2000 photos left on my camera’s SD card.

I’ve always hated, even dreaded packing, but this trip has helped me gain a little expertise and feel more confident that I can do it again.

What’s your best travel packing tip?
How did you learn to pack?
Is there one thing you seem to pack for every trip?

Hush Little Baby


How do you quiet a crying baby?

You sway and whisper sshhhh as you cradle that precious head and press your cheek close to baby’s.
I discovered it’s like riding a bike.
You remember it from before.  From your own kids and then their kids and now their kid’s kids.

Can you tell we just visited our new twin great-grandsons???
I have baby-brain🙂

And this morning God whispered sshhhh to me.
It came as I closed my eyes to pray.
All quiet on the outside but squirming and crying on the inside, sitting with the patio door open, I heard that whisper from the tops of big conifer trees.

Sshhhh.  Hush.  Don’t say a word.  Be still.

I could feel my spirit relax in His arms and melt into His love for me.
Peace.
Comfort.
Security.
In Him.

It’s all in Him and only in Him.

Come to meall who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28

 

Whatever the day holds we know He holds us and our futures.
You can feel your life in His strong hands.
You can rest in those everlasting arms.

Close your eyes and feel His breath as He whispers sshhhh.

Once you’ve stilled and felt His grace cover you, then all that’s left to do is say thank you Father and get on with your day🙂

hands shape a heart

 

 

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16

The following diagram of John 3:16 was shared by James Montgomery Boice in a devotional called How Great Thou Art. It gives perspective to the simple and familiar words of the best known of all Bible verses.  It takes a black and white truth and paints it with vivid color.

You might want to read through it a few times over.

God ~ the greatest Lover
so loved ~ the greatest degree
the world ~ the greatest company
that He gave ~ the greatest act
His only begotten Son ~ the greatest gift
that whosoever ~ the greatest opportunity
believes ~ the greatest simplicity
in Him ~ the greatest attraction
should not perish ~ the greatest promise
but ~ the greatest difference
have ~ the greatest certainty
everlasting life ~ the greatest possession

Do you find yourself responding to one of the ‘greatest’ more than the others?  Why do you think that one resonates with you?

For you visual people—I tried, I really tried to make the ‘the’s line up, but like Ariel in The Little Mermaid it was hopeless, completely hopeless!!!

 

 

 

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This is a lazy Saturday morning!  
Saturday’s are different if you’re retired.

You don’t have to cram errands and household chores into a few hours of your free time.  You can go to the cleaners at 2:22 PM on Tuesday or hit Trader Joe’s Thursday at 3:07 PM before the moms arrive with kids and the aisles fill with little people driving little carts right into your shins🙂

When you’re retired every day becomes Saturday.  

So what are you gonna do with all that time?  All that freedom?

Pastor John Piper shares about stoking our zeal and making sure we write some stellar final chapters to the later years of life.

Please, please, please click this link and read this.  It’s not political, it’s deeply spiritual and empowering.

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/hillary-bernie-donald-and-me

 

Break free from the spirit of this age. See the world — see your life — the way God sees it.
John Piper

 

That was the take home point for me.
See your life the way God sees it.
It’s a challenge to ignore the world’s message.  It’s not easy because that message plays into our own desires and even our inner dialogue that says we’ve earned our time on the bench.

But is that really where we want to be, on the bench?  
Sidelined from our calling.  Wasting the years of hard-gleaned wisdom and hard-earned experience?  Squandering a prime opportunity to be a doer in the kingdom of God.

“God chooses to be helpless apart from cooperation with man.”
G. Campbell Morgan  (evangelist, preacher, and Bible scholar)

 

Why doesn’t God use angels, or writing in the sky?  
Why would He include us in His purposes?  We’re just dust.

We can ask why.
We can claim our lives and time as our own.
We can stay on the bench.

Or not.
Let’s choose not and see where God leads.

Photo:  Mikael Kristenson
unsplash.com

Are We Getting the Message?

 

 

Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message.
Malcolm Muggeridge

 

Sometimes when you sense a special moment you gotta stop and get out of the car!
Driving home one late afternoon I saw a huge gathering of birds flying in an amazing formation over the Apple campus.  It was an aerial ballet and I decided if I was gonna catch the show and fully enjoy the choreography, I better not do it while driving in rush hour traffic.  The spectacle only lasted a few minutes, but its beauty raised the hair on my arms, left me with a lump in my throat and a fresh shot of joy in my heart.

A friend mentioned later on Facebook that he’d seen the same phenomenon a few days before.

And then I saw this on Youtube and had to share it with you.  You have to get 30 seconds into this video to get to the good stuff🙂

 

 

 

The science behind how these birds do this is interesting, but the mystery of it and its deeper meaning are what fascinate me.

 

God is into abundance.

In the world He made we see it in the starry skies and teeming oceans.  When these birds get together in massive numbers it reminds me of that truth.  We are inching up on 7 billion people on earth, but there are very few identical twins🙂  We all share similar vessels, but with infinite variety in the details.  And each one of us matters.  We’re not interchangeable and substitutable.

God adds layers of perfection in everything He makes.

Tangerines are nourishing.  They also taste and smell delicious.  Bonus ~ they are beautiful shiny orange globes.  What does that say about God?  Why do we have taste buds and tangerines?  If you believe God made both, then take the escalator down another level and ask yourself why.  Why is there still so much beauty in a fallen world?  How can softly falling rain quiet our anxiousness?  Or a little lavender oil on the nightstand soothe us to sleep?  Why does a child’s laughter make us laugh, or birdsong illicit a smile?

God is constantly speaking to us.

I’ve never understood the theory of a far-removed maker who jump-started the world and took off for greener pastures.  There’s too much intrinsic design for that kind of detached abandonment.   He Is There and He Is Not Silent, she said while snagging a good line from Francis Schaeffer’s book title🙂

So what is He saying?  Here’s some of what I’ve been hearing.

No one is redundant, we’re each uniquely integral to His plan and purpose.  

  • Don’t believe Satan’s rumor that you don’t matter.

You do, we all do.  In our families, in our communities, at work, or just getting our nails done, God wants us to carry Him into all those relationships, all those one-on-one encounters.  The everyday, the mundane encounter contains the potential of a divine appointment.  Routine interactions become moments of destiny.

  • Don’t discount your value and intended contribution.

God has brought you this far.  Through all kinds of experiences, good and bad, uplifting and soul-crushing.  Don’t waste any of it.  What you have to share—only YOU have to share.  Be led by the Holy Spirit.  Look around and ask Him if there’s anybody you can smile at, talk with or gently encourage.

God is constantly inviting us to be more like Him.

  • When fruit matures it soaks up the sun and turns it into mouth-watering sweetness. 

As we walk through days with Jesus,  we soak up the Son and His character adds something that sweetens us.  I feel like He makes us ‘divinely appetizing’ to those He surrounds us with.   It’s the work of the Holy Spirit making each of us more like Jesus.

God’s fingers can touch nothing but to mold it into loveliness.
George Macdonald

 

God fits the mouthpiece to the message.  Working in us love and kindness, offering through us His grace and truth to hungry yearning hearts.  He makes us palatable🙂   We have this treasure in earthen vessels (2 Corinthians 4:7).

We have to keep the lines of communication open.  We have to learn to make listening a daily habit.

 

Tell me in the morning about your love, because I trust you. Show me what I should do, because my prayers go up to you.
Psalm 143:8 NCV

 

He is there and He is not silent.  

God wants to tell each of us how much He loves us and invite us to enjoy all He’s made and shared with us.  And I know He wants to include each of us in His plans and give us the joy of taking part in His purposes.
Nothing kicks boredom to the curb faster than realizing God is using you to touch someone’s life.

We all get lots of messages every day.  Full Inboxes, pinging text notifications, and vibrating phones.   If we’re not careful they’ll gobble up all of our attention.

God’s voice is the still small one.  
He has a pre-set volume.  We have to turn down all the other noise to hear Him🙂

I can’t tell you what His message to you personally is, but I know He has something to say to every one of us.
The question is, are we getting the message?

Sure, there’s plenty about God we don’t understand or comprehend.  But I don’t want to miss the glimpses of glory, the moments of majesty, and the soft whispers.  If we look and if we listen we’ll see and hear ~ and know a little more of Him tomorrow than we do today.

 

Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways,
And how small a whisper we hear of Him!
But the thunder of His power who can understand?
Job 26:14

 

 

. . .the mere edges of His ways.
Ohhh, that’s the perfect description of the starling murmuration ~ the edges of His ways.

Let’s stop thinking that only people like Moses or Abraham heard from God.  He recorded plenty of truth about Himself in the world He made.

The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
 Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.
 There is no speech, nor are there words,
    whose voice is not heard.
 Their voice goes out through all the earth,
    and their words to the end of the world.
Psalm 19:1-6 ESV

 

 

And Jesus said His sheep hear His voice.
I’m working on my listening skills.
How about you?
What have you been hearing lately?

 

 

 

Slowdown Saturday

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Happy Saturday!

I luxuriated in Bible reading until 10:30 this morning. Aaahhhh:)
Got caught up with the drama happening when Joseph’s brother had to go to Egypt to buy grain and ‘ta da’ who was in charge of the local Whole Foods???
Yep, the brother they’d sold to the Ishmalites.

I’m using the YouVersion app that keeps track of everything for me.  They even sent me an email when I missed a couple of days.  ;)  But I know they weren’t judging me or anything like that—they just wanted me to stay blessed!

https://www.bible.com/app

 

I slid into thoughts on creativity while thinking about what kind of smoothie I wanted to make.
And that brought to mind all of my fellow bloggers at WP and how brave we have to be to hit publish and show others what we’ve been thinking.
Making breakfast is often an exercise in free association for me.
It’s probably low blood sugar.  I digress.  Back to the topic. . .

Glennon Doyle Melton is the bright smile and big heart behind Momastery  (http://momastery.com/blog).
I wanted to share with you what she wrote about being a ‘creative’ person, like all of us at WP.
There’s some wisdom in this that resonated with me.

Source: Three Rules for Surviving a Creative Life

Let me know if you felt a little “Amen” rising from your heart.

I shared a little weekend proverb on Twitter.
I’m gonna break the SM rules and cross pollinate between platforms.
Such a rebel!!

 

 

Unlike computers, human beings aren’t meant to operate continuously, at high speeds, for long periods of time.  Rather, we’re designed to move rhythmically between spending and renewing our energy.
Tony Schwartz in Manage Your Day-To-Day:  Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, & Sharpen Your Creative Mind

 

What fun, exciting, relaxing things are you doing this weekend???

Heading out for a stroll?
Hanging at the beach, planting your garden, eating out, taking the kids to the park, riding the carousel, or doing a little shopping?

 

 

 

Today You’re the Perfect Age

 

Last night trying to do downward facing dog I thought to myself, “You’re too old for this”!

 

But that just can’t be true.
I was reading through the early chapters of Genesis this morning, stiff muscles and all, and I saw that Noah was like 500 years old when he started building the ark and 600 when he finished it and the rain began.

What if Noah had thought, “I’m too old for this”?
Where would we all be?
Well, we wouldn’t be at all, or ever, but that’s not the point.

Grandma Moses started ‘painting in earnest at 78’ when her arthritis made embroidery too painful.   1500 canvases according to Wikipedia.

I have two friends who both got their PhD’s at 60.  Freaky overachievers🙂

Today we are the perfect age for whatever God has for us to do.

How do I know that?
Because we’ve reached today.
You can’t argue with that logic.
And why would you want to?  With a whole world out there of stuff to do we’ll find plenty of nay-sayers and plenty of adversity.

I’m just saying, let’s not let something as meaningless as the number of candles on a cake limit us.

Life is a great big canvas; throw all the paint on it you can.
Danny Kaye

Happy Weekend!

 

 

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My latest Instagram post of a painting I’m working on.

I keep finding great Instagrams to follow.

They inspire me.  By a Show ‘n Tell process they’re teaching me how to do it better.  They kick open the rusty-hinged doors of creativity and cause my synapses to start firing with possibilities.
Where’s my phone and a cool urban mural???  a cute puppy???  a panini???  a cat jumping into a box???

I recently followed The New York Public Library’s Instagram.
https://www.instagram.com/nypl/

Then by accident I came across a mention on Twitter that led me to a very short presentation by Morgan Holzer, the young and very passionate woman behind the NYPL’s wildly popular and totally engaging Instagram account.

Must get off Social Media and defrost something for dinner.
Memo to Sloth Social Media Self from My Better Self

 

If you like Instagram and want to, oh I can’t believe I’m going to write this, but if you want to up your game, take it to the next level,  have more fun with Instagram, Morgan’s got the recipe for the secret sauce.
Be patient because it takes a minute for the video to get past the intro slides and actually show Morgan’s smiling face.

I love that they have Mad Lib Mondays.
Remember Mad Libs?
Morgan’s introduced imaginative ways to unleash the potential fun and engagement of Instagram.  They now run contests, post themed photos, and throw-down an array of challenges that let followers be part of what’s going on.

They’re a Library, right, so they ask questions that followers can answer, but with the caveat that answers must be in emojis.  I failed to decipher most, but then I’m over 30.
OK, a lot over 30.

Scrolling through their Instagram I realized I could do so much more with mine!
Maybe you could use a little inspiration too?


My Current Instagram Favs

@nypl
@harlowandsage
@benjaminhole
@thedogist
@PSIMADETHIS
@annvoskamp
@HUMANSOFNY
@lonnymag
@greatinteriordesign
@artsy
@lysaterkeurst
@itsalovelylife
@redbull
@thegoodquote
@abeautifulmess
@the_real_houses_of_ig
@natgeo
@thenester
@testkitchen
@eyemediaa
@muffytakesmanhatten

I don’t see every post from each of these,so, if you see something offensive—in the spirit of Campaign 2016:
My name is Kelly Grace and I DID NOT approve everything posted on the Internet.

You can follow my totally average Instagram @kellyjgrace
But, things are gonna be changin’ for the better because it’s 2016 people!

Are you on Instagram?
Share some of your favorite Instagrams with us, please.
And I’ll follow you to see if you have any good ideas I can steal🙂

WARNING:  BEFORE YOU CHANGE YOUR USERNAME
So on a whim I decided to change my old Instagram username.
It just takes one click.
That’s not necessarily a good thing.
I should have posted an announcement of my change in username, but didn’t know I wasn’t wearing a parachute until I’d already jumped out of the plane.
But, I landed in a Bouncy House.
I caught a break because Instagram made an upgrade to the app in September of 2015 that forwards from an old UN to a new one.
Gee, how lucky can you get!!!
Here’s an article I found that has the current  best practices for making changes in your Social Media profile.

http://www.itchban.com/blog/2015/3/23/how-to-change-usernames-on-instagram-social-media
Now grab your phone and show us your cat, or kids, or some snow, or your most recent latte. . .

 

 

Why You Need To Live Slowly

small alarm clock

 

We all have the same 24 hours in every single day.

That’s what I read in a lot of books and articles on productivity.
And I’ve let it drive me not motivate me.

At the heart of that statement is our fear of failure and our constant urge to measure ourselves against others.
As though what somebody else does has any bearing at all on my life, my path.  Seriously, it’s absurd and destructive.

The little clock pictured above is a travel souvenir.  I’ve loved it well, but it began slowing down.  It kept time erratically until one day it decided to be something other than a clock.  Lately it’s become a reminder “That life is so urgent it necessitates living slow”.  That’s a quote from Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, a book I can’t stop reading.

In a beautiful chapter called A Sanctuary of Time she pleads the case against hurry.
It’s a chronic condition for some of us.  A wasting disease that strips us of vitality and joy leaving us frustrated, irritable, and dissatisfied with life.  In our rush to fit more into every minute and hour, we lose the ability to simply be in any single moment.  In trying to stretch our time we lose it altogether.  Like the bubbles we blew with our little pink rectangle of Bazooka—we’ve over-reached and all the breath seeped out through the spot that could stretch no further.

 

The solution is to quit being amateurs. 

“On every level of life, from housework to heights of prayer, in all judgment and efforts to get things done, hurry and impatience are sure marks of the amateur.”

That’s from a woman named Evelyn Underhill that Voskamp quotes.  What an encouraging challenge that is to me at the beginning of a new year.

What will it take to quit living like an amateur? Hurrying from one thing to another, living life in a  mindless blur of activity.   I’m craving guidance from God and the clarity that comes from time spent with Him.  In my ‘mother years’ I didn’t think, I just did.  Now without those constant demands I can be easily diverted.  Lots of beginnings and fewer finishes.

Some days I feel like this Golden Retriever.

 

I want to savor the life God has given me, but I want to live it well.
To do the things that should be done in this—my life.  To work, to love, to share, to create, to give thanks, to worship God and seek Him with earnest focus.

 

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.  Eccles. 3:1

 

Now it’s your turn🙂
Who are you reading that inspires you?

 

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