New Desires

I no longer have any desire to settle.  I no longer want to retain what I once considered so precious.  You changed my desires.  I am proud and I am stubborn, but You made it beautiful to surrender.  Whether I am humiliated or not I lay down my arms. Whether others mock me or not I am Yours.  I am nothing…You are everything.  I must decrease, You must increase.  So show Yourself glorious through me.  Because here I am, Lord.  All Yours.

 

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The Simple Life.

June is here and I’m loving the sweet and simple summer life.  Here are a bunch of links and resources for you to check out…some of them are convicting, some encouraging, some just fun.  But they’re all great lazy day reading or perusing…so read and peruse to your heart’s content!  Happy summer.

♥ ♥ ♥

Awww, I like this pretty post over at the Wide Open Spaces blog; and I love this Audrey Hepburn quote.

With Father’s Day coming up, you may be looking for a special gift for your Daddy.  Albert Mohler’s summer reading list is geared specifically towards men, and includes a lot of fascinating titles.  Check it out to see if you can find something your Dad would enjoy.

Natalie Nyquist is giving away a free book for the month of June at her blog, HeartThoughts.  Just in time for those lazy summer afternoons of reading!  Comment or link for a chance to win Look to the East by Maureen Lang.

This blog, Musings from Montana, is written by an innkeeper who shares her experiences of life in the Big Sky State.  Lots of yummy recipes and horse posts for equine lovers. 

I like the beautiful photography on this ranching blog: Just Another Day on the Prairie.  These posts remind me of the ranches I love.

Sometimes we all need to escape…here are six tips for sweet escapes to try this summer.  From unplugging the computer to creating your dreams, the author gives inspiration for finding joy in the little things and embracing the simple life.

Do you catch yourself doodling dresses in the margins?  Then you should see Christa Taylor’s Design Your Dream Dress Contest for a chance to see one of your creations come to life!

If the weather where you live is a little rainy right now (what happened to the summer sunshine??), you might be encouraged (as I was) by this inspiration to sing in the rain.

If you are going on a missions trips this summer, read this post about Angie Smith’s experience in India with Compassion and how she saw God working in the lives of people there firsthand.

Read this encouraging article on the girltalk blog about how Christ is our burden bearer in things both big and small.

The Egg and the Sponge by Jeannie Castleberry on the YLCF blog.  Sound like an interesting article?  It might be more convicting than you’d think…

We all need an excuse to go to the theater sometime!  Read Plugged In Online’s review of Disney/Pixar’s new movie Up for just such an excuse.  Or if you’re lucky enough to have a drive-in nearby, pack your car full of friends and fold-out chairs and paper bags full of popcorn and enjoy a movie under the stars!  Mmm…

I was trying to pick one post to link to on the Actually Laura blog, but I changed my mind because the whole thing is just so darn cute!  So check it out.  Laura is a friend of mine and her blog is adorable!

Show me how far the east is from the west…

I know You’ve cast my sins as far
As the East is from the West
And I stand before You now
As though I’ve never sinned, but today
I feel like I’m just one mistake away
From You leaving me this way.

Why, Lord?  Why do you put up with me?  My miserable failings and hardened heart?  I long to be close to You and I long to love You as You love me and I long to worship You as You deserve.  And yet I am so distracted, so self-centered.  I want to hunger and thirst for You, and yet I am so callused, so disinterested.  How it must break Your heart.  I sin over and over and over again.  I fall, I fail, I turn away, I stumble.  I curse, I cry, I am angry towards the One who loves me.  How do You keep holding me?  How do You keep loving me?  Why don’t You give up on me?

I know You’ve washed me white
Turned my darkness into light
I need Your peace to get me through
To get me through this night
I can’t live by what I feel
But by the truth Your Word reveals
I’m not holding on to You
But You’re holding on to me
You’re holding on to me

Is it true that nothing I do keeps me?  Is it true that You could not love me any more, and will not love me any less?  You promise me that no one will snatch me from Your hand (John 10:29), and I guess that includes me.  Even I don’t have the power to pull myself away; no matter what I do, You will find me, You will draw me back.  Because You are faithful, because You are good.  I’m overwhelmed by my sin; You remind me of the cross.  Paid in full, You whisper to my soul, and I am washed with peace.

Jesus, can you show me
Just how far the East is from the West
Cause I can’t bear to see the man I’ve been
Come rising up in me again
In the arms of your mercy I find rest
Cause you know just how far the East is from the West
From one scarred hand to the other.

Remind me, Jesus.  Remind me of the cross I beg You, Savior.  Show me that the pain and suffering You went through was not for nothing.  Show me that the blood You shed was not in vain.  It washed me clean.  I stand before Holy God on Your merits, as though I never sinned.  My sins are seperated, as far away as the east is from the west.  They are on the bottom of the sea, stricken from Your book, no longer charged against me.  I am free.  And it has nothing to do with me…it has everything to do with You.  You, and Your scarred hands.

 

-Lyrics from “East to West” by Casting Crowns, The Altar and The Door

You, Me and Two Cups of Tea

On Monday my little sisters invited their friends over for a tea party. They dressed up in skirts and dresses and heels and hats (most of which was much too big) and set a table with a purple flowered cloth, my grandma’s pink and white teacups, and a bud vase filled with roses and baby’s breath. They talked in elegant voices, saying how “lovely” everyone looked and how “delightful” everything tasted. It was very cute.

I remember having tea parties when I was little. My sister and I planned them for days. We wrote out menus and lists of ingredients we would need. Actually, my sister did. I wasn’t (and still am not) much of a cook. I usually handled the decorating. I’m not sure that I was especially good at that, either, but at least it was a little safer than entrusting me with the creation of a sponge cake. We wrote out invitations in our best handwriting and in the most elegant language we could muster, and sent them to our friends. In fact we all rotated our tea party hostessing duties. Every month or so there was a new tea party to get dressed up for at a friend’s house. It was a lot of fun.

Being little and carefree and innocent, with nothing more to worry about than the outcome of a plate of plum puffs, is a good thing to be. Sometimes, I miss those innocent days. Am I allowed to? I’m older now, getting ready for college, and I’m supposed to be all grown up. And yet sometimes, being grown up (or almost grown up anyway) is scary. All these funny expectations and lists of busy work. I can’t help it. I miss being little and having tea parties. Maybe I miss what even grown women miss when they celebrate the simple art of taking tea: a time when the pace of life was slower and human relationships were more cherished. When there was no media bombarding every waking moment with glittering images of sexualized pop culture. When ladies made visiting one another a priority in their daily lives, and hostesses took the time to sit on their front porches and just talk. When it was legitimate to take a break from the hectic, harried work day and merely spend time with others.

It is our way of longing for the innocent times of our lives, and the innocent times of our country. So that maybe, tea parties are about more than scones and full-skirted dresses. Maybe they are an appreciation for that which is simple and elegant and…innocent.

It was fun to watch those little girls gather around their teacups and saucers, jelly cookies and tea sandwiches and strawberries and cream, and just talk and be little girls. Even my little brother got in the act, helping my sister get all the treats ready (he was invited to the party, but politely declined!). It was a sweet thing to see, and it brought back memories. And it got me thinking. So maybe I’ll go out to coffee with a friend, or find that teapot of mine in the attic and make some tea for my sisters and me. And we could just talk. Just because I care about them. Just because we love one another. Just…because.

C.S. Lewis on Writing

C.S. Lewis's Drawing Room at The Kilns, his Oxford home

“What really matters is: —

  1. Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure y[ou]r. sentence couldn’t mean anything else.
  2. Always prefer the plain direct word to the long, vague one.  Don’t implement promises, but keep them.
  3. Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do.  If you mean ‘More people died’ don’t say ‘Mortality rose.’
  4. In writing.  Don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the thing you are describing.  I mean, instead of telling us a thing was ‘terrible,’ describe it so that we’ll be terrified.  Don’t say it was ‘delightful’; make us say ‘delightful’ when we’ve read the description.  You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers ‘Please will you do my job for me.’
  5. Don’t use words too big for the subject.  Don’t say ‘infinitely’ when you mean ‘very’; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.”

 

-C.S. Lewis, letter to “Joan”, 26 June 1959.  Reprinted in C.S. Lewis Letters to Children, edited by Lyle W. Dorsett and Majorie Lamp Mead, Macmillan Publishing Company, 1985.

Undeserving

This is all I know

Hands are shaking here

Voices in my head

Light is nowhere near.

Deep within my tears

Your face is all I see

You know my deepest fears

Your love is pulling me.

  

Surprised beyond my dreams

To see You standing there

The One I hated so

The only One who cares.

Mountains start to fall

I’ve never been so free

I fall in love with You

Because You cherish me.

  

 

Savior of my soul

I feel Your mighty love

It doesn’t matter who I am

Your beauty is enough.

And when this life is past

I’ll walk into Your light

I’ll sing because You live

I’ll live because You died.

Fashion Fridays!

Who doesn’t love a good deal?  And there’s one to be had every Friday over at Christa-Taylor, one of my favorite online clothing stores!  C-T’s “mission beyond business” includes donating a large portion of proceeds to a Cambodian orphanage.  Miss Taylor is a Christian young woman with a passion for fashion and God’s glory.  Check out our earlier review of her website here.  Every Friday there’s a great deal on one item from Christa’s boutique, and it lasts one day only!  Check out today’s steal by clinking the link to her fashion blog below.