Think On These Things ~ Ecclesiastes 3:9-22

What gain has the worker from his toil?

I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live;

also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil–this is God’s gift to man.

I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him.

That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.

Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness.

I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work.

I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts.

For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity.

All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.

Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth?

So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him?

What gain has the worker from his toil?

I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live;

also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil–this is God’s gift to man.

I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him.

That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.

Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness.

I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work.

I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts.

For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity.

All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.

Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth?

So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him?

Friday Favorites ~ Words, Wit, and Wisdom

I have been reading books or facebook posts or blogs recently that have been full of good words, wit, and wisdom. Today, I am going to share a few with you and I hope you get a laugh out of the funny ones, spend some time contemplating the ones that make you think. If a source is available I will share it otherwise let’s just appreciate that somebody somewhere had something interesting to say 🙂

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You can’t have a filet mignon lifestyle with a hot dog work ethic.

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The limits of our capacity to imagine are not the limits of God’s capacity to work.
~ P. Andrew Sandlin (Can I get a greatful amen?)

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“Never miss a good chance to shut up.”
―Will Rogers

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“Whenever we realize that we have not done that which we had a magnificent opportunity of doing, then we are apt to sink into despair; and Jesus Christ comes and says— “[…] that opportunity is lost forever, you cannot alter it, but arise and go to the next thing.” Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ, and go out into the irresistible future with Him.”
~Oswald Chambers (This one is especially meaningful to me…if I am not careful I can squander time and do it in such a way as to disguise idleness as busyness.)

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The difference between the right word and a similar word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. –Mark Twain

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To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!
~Proverbs 15:23

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May all your words be wise ones this weekend. Have a good one, y’all!

Think On These Things ~ 2 Peter 1:3-13

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,

by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 

and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 

and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 

For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 

Therefore, brothers,be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 

For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 

I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder.

Good To Be Back

The year Sarah graduated she also had four cousins graduate, two were my sisters’ kids and two were my cousins’ kids. Everyone from different schools if I remember correctly.

This past Saturday I had the best time photographing two cousins from church who are graduating this year. I think they have schooled together their entire lives.

It was a great opportunity for me to get to see more of our area as we wandered the streets of downtown Lake Charles. You can still see much evidence of the back to back hurricanes that came through but there are glimpses of what it used to be.

Thankfully, nearly two years after those storms, you can also see some signs of recovery as people and business are beginning to restore and rebuild. It’s fitting to me that both of these young men will be attending New Saint Andrews in Moscow, Idaho as their slogan is Build + Fight. (Think Nehemiah and the people of Israel rebuilding the walls of the temple with a sword in one hand and a shovel in the other.)

Jackson and Wyatt both know the physical and spiritual ramifications of living life this way and I am so excited to see how God strengthens them for work He has called them to do for His name’s sake, both there in college and afterward.

Lovers of Christ, really smart and hardworking and they both play the piano beautifully.

It’s unusual for young men (actually men in general) to make a session so easy but they were quick to respond and eager to keep moving so it really was a lot of fun.

It’s been six months or so since I did a real session and I felt a little rusty. I definitely had some moments of face palming over forgetting some things but all in all it was great to be back behind the camera shooting people! I mean, how could it not have been when they actually brought a sword and a shovel with them? And they also dabbed!

Jackson and Wyatt, may the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you both as you enter this new and exciting season of life. There will be victories because there will be battles but you have been well prepared by your parents to stand fast and be courageous in them. Go, act justly and love mercy and continue to walk humbly with your God.

Bountiful

Last weekend started off low key but with plenty of work to put our hands too. Rob and Sam worked really hard to dismantle the horse ring left by the previous owners. I literally climbed on the counter in my bathroom to get a good view of them because Sam was using power tools for the first time 🙂 Rob and I took the drone up for a few minutes before they got started because we want to document our progress as we work the land.

Dinner Saturday was delicious and right in the middle of it I looked up to see Emily and Hays pulling into our driveway. It was a lovely surprise for Mother’s Day! They also gifted me with some homemade vanilla that I cannot wait to use.

Sarah and Devon sent me the absolute best card along with a beautiful new addition to my Willow Tree figurine collection.

Rob and Abigail, Sam and Claire gave me the one thing I have wanted for literally years and years and we finally have the best place for it here…a swing to hang from one of our beautiful oak trees! I can hardly wait to sit in the mornings with Rob and drink our coffee together.

Speaking of coffee, my sweet friend and I went to a really lovely bakery in Lake Charles called The Bekery as a way to wrap up a book we’d been reading together. The food was scrumptious and I enjoyed a yummy lavender and honey latte. We are already planning our next read and decided this will be our tradition every time we finish a book.

Another favorite this week is this book.

We are looking for ways of using our property instead of selling parcels of it. Currently we are researching raising chickens and/or pigs and cultivating a flower farm. I am more excited about laying hens and their beautiful yard eggs rather than raising meat birds. And I like the idea of pigs more than meat birds for some reason. But I am positively delirious with joy at the idea of a flower farm! I almost always have fresh flowers in my house and if you pay any attention to my photography it’s easy to see how much I enjoy floral photography. I have a lot of reading to do to be able to really make things thrive in the ground here but I’m eager for the challenge.

Currently we have a huge blackberry bush growing and producing like gangbusters so I know the land can be fruitful. Trying to harvest ripe berries earlier in the week earned me and Emily some scratches but no pain no gain, right? Totally worth the yummy hand pies Claire baked yesterday. There are a ton of almost ready berries and I realize I am going to have to check it daily if I don’t want them going to waste. It’s already frustrating because of some of them are out of reach already but the bush is so beautiful.

Since we are talking about sweet treats I am going to wrap up this week’s Friday Favorites post with a link to a recipe I made a few weeks back for church. My mother shared it with me years ago and until recently I had forgotten all about it. For some reason the original recipe was called Italian Bakeless Cake which just doesn’t sit right with me. I have no idea what is Italian about it but the weirder thing to me was calling it “bakeless” which is just an odd sounding word to me. I promptly made it Italian No Bake Cake but no matter what you call it just make sure you get called to the table to enjoy it!

Have a great weekend, y’all!

Think On These Things ~ Philippians 3: 8-21

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my 
Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I 
may gain Christ 

and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that 
which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—

that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies 
behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 

Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will 
reveal that also to you. 

Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 

For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the 
cross of Christ. 

Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on 
earthly things. 

But our citizenship is in heaven, and  from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 

who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even 
to subject all things to himself.

Friday Favorites

I love our sunrises. Maybe it’s because we have property here and don’t live in a neighborhood but it satisfies something in my soul when I see the early morning sun breaking through the trees.

Yesterday, Claire and I made a trip into Houston for a 4-H field trip. Yep, that’s right. I drove into the city, a major city, I might add. The interstate is an fascinating mess but people actually know how to drive it which means everything keeps moving even though there is a ton of traffic. And the skyline is so amazing.

We went to the museum of natural science for the Ramses exhibit. After all our years at Trinitas studying ancient Egypt is was really interesting to see all of the artifacts and mummies.

The museum is huge and after we finished up the planned portion of the visit a group of us did the butterfly center which was super fun. I love butterflies and the museum has created a really beautiful habitat to enjoy them in. I did hesitate going in because their sign said something about free roaming reptiles and I was not sure I was okay with that. Turns out they have an iguana that has free reign of the place so it was all good.

It had been a long day but we still wanted to take a turn through the dinosaur exhibit. Those creatures really were huge.

We thought we were done at this point but then a few of the kids came running up and said we just HAD to go see the hall of gems and minerals as well as the Everyday Faberge exhibit. They were so right and I was so happy we didn’t miss them. All the sparkle 🥰

I am always amazed more and more by God’s creation activity looking at what are basically rocks that He made. The myriad of colors and textures…it is mind boggling!

I do wish they had a before picture to accompany each one. I know they don’t come out of the ground looking like this and I bet it is fascinating to see the process.

Look at this chunk of opal! Isn’t it gorgeous?

And then you can see all the incredible ways man uses these stones to make beautiful and elaborate jewelry.

These are all rings. Aren’t they pretty?

Tiaras and necklaces too, oh my!

There were also some more delicate “everyday” pieces like some very lovely cigarette cases or calling card cases.

I loved this little broach watch made with rubies. The exhibit has a tiny mirror set up under it to reflect the watch on the back.

All in all it was a good trip but our timing was off a little bit. One, I think it is smarter to spend more than one day there and two, do not go at the end of the school year. There were gobs of schools there and it was crowded.

I definitely want to go back and visit the museum district as a whole and Houston in general. There just seems like there is so much to do!

Have a good weekend y’all!