Not So Secret

morning spotEarly this morning I created a little spot for myself to enjoy my coffee and read a bit before I set in to morning chores, painting and my Etsy Shop. I named it my Morning Spot as it gets the early light of the day. I sat, drank my coffee and read from the gospel of Mark. The line, “He could not keep His presence secret,” stayed with me.

FROM THE MORNING SPOT: 
This morning I was reading the passage in the 4th chapter of Mark about the Greek woman who begged Jesus to heal her daughter. Though he had entered her city, he did not want anyone to know it as it would have set in motion a ministry to the Gentiles before the appointed time had come. Yet when the woman persisted and pursued what only Christ could do for her, she was satisfied.
When we persist and pursue what only Christ can do FOR us, His presence IN us can not be kept secret. Build your spiritual house on the presence of Christ and you will be satisfied.
(passage from Mark 7:24-30)

 

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Banana Bread, Date Night and Netflix

banana breadWe always have bananas which means we always have bananas ripe for baking and since my men enjoy my banana bread, I often put the Kitchen Aid to work and mix up a few mini loaves. I like to make the minis because a.) they bake faster and b.) I can fit the small loaf pans in my toaster oven which means c.) I don’t have to unload the pots and pans which I store in my oven.

I use:

*Pamela’s gluten free baking mix (works GREAT!)

*Kerrygold butter

*local honey

*good eggs…as opposed to those ol’ bad eggs :)

*coconut flavoring because I’m out of vanilla but coconut is so tasty in this recipe anyway

I follow the recipe on the back of the Pamela’s baking mix bag and shorten the baking time (about 27 minutes for 3 mini loaves). I let them cool in the pans on a rack then gently remove and keep them under my glass domed cake stand on my kitchen table.

cake stand and roses

By the way, those roses are from my little backyard rose garden. Flowers growing around my house are a true pleasure for me. I so enjoy cutting fresh flowers to bring into my home. I’ve got roses, gardenias and hydrangeas available now. Love. Love. Love.

hydrangeas in clear vase

 

gardeniasAnd now for a funny story that illustrates that I. AM. OLD. NOW. or either just really, really boring! ;)

Friday nights are reserved for date night. That would be me dating my husband. He usually leaves from work a bit early so we can beat the traffic and the Friday night scene resulting in us joining another scene: THE EARLY BIRDS.  Yep. We’re quite often the youngest couple ordering dinner.

dan and mel

In my effort to use an actual picture we took on an actual date night…it was dark in there.

Last weekend we drove across the bay (oh, the BEAUTIFUL bay with the sun shimmering on the warm, Gulf waters!) to Tampa to eat at Eddie V’s. We sat in the lounge area and shared an order of lobster tacos. I also had the wedge salad with blue cheese dressing. Confession: I asked for extra dressing; it’s THAT good. My husband had a cup of seafood bisque. Since I’m watching the carbs I only ate one lobster taco as it was wrapped in a flour tortilla WHICH THEY MAKE IN HOUSE AND OH HOW I WANT THAT RECIPE.

Afterwards, we decided to drive across the street to the mall. We looked around a bit in Dillard’s together and then split up. He to men’s shoes and I to the Chelsea & Violet section. He called to ask if I were ready to leave to which I replied (after glancing at my watch), “I think so. I’m ready to get home.” On the way back across the bay, I remarked how early it still looked to be nearly 9:00! To which he replied, “It’s not even 8:00 yet..”

“What?!”

I had misread my watch and now I realize that may be just one more sign of ME GETTING OLDER! But, seriously…We are just not party people. Just not. Unless you call getting in your p.j.’s with a book, readers and Netflix a party. But now that I think about it, PARTY ON!

And I leave you with a few Netflix series I’ve enjoyed lately:

North and South

The Paradise

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

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Look For the Purpose

 

lilly in milkglass pm

8 x 10 acrylic on canvas – lily in milk glass

I have a confession to make.

I’m a woman who likes to have a plan. I don’t generally like to wing it or fly by the seat of my pants and I tend to get a little nervous when people say, “Let’s just go with the flow.”

A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with a family member in which I said, “Keep me updated with your plans because your plans directly affect MY plans and I’m happier, which means YOU’LL be happier, if there is a plan in place.

And to be honest, I even like to plan for spontaneity! Now don’t I sound like a boat load of fun?! :)

But I think my “planning personality” puts me in good company because we have a Master Planner in Heaven who ALWAYS has a plan.

A scripture I hear quoted a lot is Jeremiah 29:11, where God speaks to the Jewish exiles that Nebuchadnezzar had carried away to Babylon, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (NIV).

Paul writes in Ephesians chapter 3 about God’s plan for the Gentiles: “I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning.”

Then there’s the passage from Proverbs on the preparation of the ant who takes meal planning to the extreme!

“Go to the ant, you sluggard; observe its ways and be wise. It has no commander, overseer, or ruler, yet it prepares its food in the summer; it gathers at the harvest what it will eat” (Proverbs 6:6-8 NET).

But sometimes I think we can get so focused on the plan of God for our lives that we overlook the purpose of God for our lives.

The PURPOSE of God is always behind the PLAN of God. 

God has a purpose for the human race – that we should glorify Him and enjoy unfettered and unbroken relationship with Him forever!

Christs’ purpose in coming to this earth was to “seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

And we know that Christ fulfilled the plan of God in order that the purpose of God would be manifest. “Now my soul is troubled and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, Glorify Your name” (John 12:27-28).

One purpose of the Holy Spirit whom Christ called our Comforter (parakletos – {Greek} “someone called long side of another) is to conform us into the image of Christ! He leads, teaches and matures us by His indwelling presence!

Recently I was reading the 8th chapter of Romans and there were three things that connected for me that I had never noticed before: purpose, conformity to Christ and glory.

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:28-30).

God’s purpose for us is that we become more and more like His son and in this He is glorified and one day He will glorify us as well. Those things that are permitted or put into our lives are all made redeemable as a refining tool for us. As believers we are in a process of progressive sanctification until that day that it is completely accomplished and we experience glorification.

(Read more here about purpose and glory.)

Whatever God’s plan for you, His purpose for you is that you are made more and more like His Son. Ecclesiastes 3:1 records, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun.”  Whatever the plan God has for you in this season and time, don’t overlook the purpose of God for you in the plan. For the purpose of God is always behind the plan of God!

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Time to Thrive

one of my watercolors

one of my watercolors – self portrait? :)

Hmmmm…so it’s been a while and several times I’ve logged on to write a quick post but found myself at a loss for any words motivational, inspirational or devotional.

I’ll just share a bit about what I’m doing these day and perhaps a little motivation, inspiration or devotion may find it’s way after all.

At a glance…

  • About a month ago I deactivated from Facebook. I’ll be back there but I’m not sure when. My mind was feeling all cluttered with TMI overload!
  • In March I went to see my doctor whom I had not seen in nearly two years and the number on the scale shocked me into making my health a priority. Stress, I tell ya. Stress.
  • I started using Young Living Oils a couple of weeks ago and I L.O.V.E diffusing oils night and day. My favorites to diffuse are Purification or Citrus Fresh in the day and Lavender in the evening. At night I have the diffuser on my bedside table and during the day I move it from room to room. My home has never smelled cleaner and I’m feeling calmer! I’m excited to learn more about oily living.
  • Along with making my physical health a priority with better eating habits (which for me means eliminating and/or reducing sugar and many high glycemic carbs), I’m also working out on a regular basis again. This means more running most days of the week as in years past. Healthy living depends upon a synergistic approach: body, soul, and spirit.
  • I’m working on two Bible studies: Beth Moore’s Living Beyond Yourself, Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit and Susie Larson’s Your Beautiful Purpose. I’m doing both of these on my own although a friend of mine is also independently studying Living Beyond Yourself and we’ll be sharing notes and insights.

Friends, I can honestly tell you that the past six years have been harder than anything I could have imagined I’d go through. It’s been one thing after another and as hard as I’ve tried to rise up and overcome (and I do believe I HAVE had my overcoming seasons – short as they were!), I’ve needed to really step back and take stock of my heart and my health. There have been too many times that I’ve felt myself on the edge emotionally and I am determined to change that. I cannot always make a change in my circumstances but I have cried a multitude of tears and bowed low in prayer for divine intervention or wisdom to know what I CAN do to not just survive but thrive again. As I said above, healthy living requires a synergistic approach. It’s not all about the physical just as it is not all about the spiritual or the emotional. To be a whole person, one must practice whole living otherwise you tend to grow a little lopsided. I don’t want a lopsided life; I want to live and walk in the way of wisdom. I read this in the book of James recently,“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace (James 3:17-18 NKJV). 

There are so many things in life not under our control and that can be very scary. I have a tendency to want to control circumstances and outcomes. What?! You, too? However as I read the verse above, I was encouraged to know this:

How another brother or sister responds to the Spirit’s leading in their life is not under my control nor is it my responsibility. My job is to be the guardian of my own heart by keeping it pure and seeking to be a peacemaker. The book of James teaches that the fruit of righteousness (what is good and just) is sown in peace (James 3:18). If I want to grow right I must sew right.

(I posted the above on Instagram a few days ago.)

If I don’t want to grow lopsided, I must seek whole health. I must practice the way of wisdom. Note I said “practice.” Practice does not mean perfection. It means I continue to seek after those truths and disciplines that lead to a whole – a sound - lifestyle. Proverbs 14:30 teaches, “a sound heart is life to the body.” 

In the biblical sense, the heart is the essence of a person – the inner self. To live free of the confines of your circumstances (particularly those that cause distress), a sound or whole heart is needed and wholeness only comes in relationship with Christ. Nothing else can take His place; He is our destiny. It is only in Him we have true and eternal life. And for the believer, your eternal life began the day you said, “Yes,” to Christ being your Lord and Savior.

(- also from my Instagram page)

Although I’m not on Facebook for the time being I do enjoy posting a couple of times a week to Instagram. You can find me by searching my name.

A few more things I’ve been up to lately…

  • My little rose garden provides me with a dose of Vitamin H – HAPPY! I can see the blooms from my kitchen window and nearly every day I have fresh flowers in jars and vases around my home. This week my gardenias bloomed and the hydrangeas are coming along too! Oh joy!

pink roses in bloom pm

  • I have taken a little sabbatical from painting. Although each day I feel a little itchier to get back to it.  Here are two of my favorite acrylics lately:
Acrylic on 11 x 14 canvas board - $45 includes shipping within the contiguous U.S. and frame NOT included) Message me if interested and I'll reserve this for you in my Etsy Shop.

Acrylic on 11 x 14 canvas board – $45 includes shipping within the contiguous U.S., frame NOT included) Message me if interested and I’ll reserve this for you in my Etsy Shop.

 

https://www.etsy.com/listing/227570485/hydrangeas-pink-acrylic-canvas-original?ref=shop_home_active_1

“Hydrangeas”  acrylic on 24 x 24 gallery wrapped canvas -

You can find my Hydrangea painting in my Etsy Shop. 

And here is one of my most recent watercolors hanging in my kitchen.

Rosemary There’s just something about spring and seeing new growth in nature that encourages the heart to want to go deeper into the soil of God’s goodness and grow. And as I said above, if I want to grow right I must sew right. I’m busy putting the seeds in the soil and though you may not hear from me or see me around much, I’m still here! Loving God, family and friends and truly wanting to thrive where I’m planted. I think it’s time.

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Notes From A Daughter Who Cares

pink roses in mason jar

Care Giving Journal - 

2/23/15

Last year my dad helped me plant two rosebushes in my backyard. Later, I planted another by myself.

My dad lives with us. He sleeps across the hall from my husband and me. The light he leaves on late into the night often wakes me even with my door closed. I’m a light sleeper; I’m a mother.

It’s awkward to mother your father. I don’t do it very well. When it comes to him, I feel I don’t do anything very well. Guilt. Shame. It’s life on a roller coaster. And I’m not a fan of roller coasters. I always regret the ride.

I tell myself, “This is just how it is. It must be normal to have these conflicting feelings.” Sometimes that helps for a bit. But then the ride dips and my equilibrium is disturbed. I am dizzy. Then I’m nauseous. I get sick. But the man in the booth does not stop the ride.

My husband tells me, “Breathe.” I do. He tells me my deep sighs are waking him up at night. Last week he woke me from a nightmare. I was in a dilapidated car with the windows busted out. It was dark and I was alone and scared. A dog rushed through an opening. He lunged at me encircling my wrist with his sharp teeth. I called for help as I tried to pry his teeth apart. My husband touched me. The nightmare over, I lay in the dark waiting for my heart beat to slow and my racing mind to calm.

My rose bushes are producing in abundance. I clip the blooms and fill mason jars and milk glass vases and put them throughout the house.

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Dear Heart

unwelcome mat

Be careful who you welcome through the front door of your life to speak into your life. Everyone has an opinion but don’t put out the “Welcome” mat for everyone’s two cents worth. Lately I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit and in prayer I felt led to place a boundary in my own life – a type of guard on my heart.  In so doing, King Solomon’s words in the Proverbs spoke to me.

“Keep your heart with all diligence for out of it spring the issues of life.” – Proverbs 4:23 NKJV

Perhaps you, too, are in need of some heart keeping. If so, keep reading and let’s examine or, as the cool kids say, “unpack” this scripture.

Keep is to guard and protect. Heart in the verse above refers to the whole inner person. “Dilligence” in this passage is the Hebrew word “mishmar” which is defined as, “a place of confinement” or “observance” while “issues” literally means “outgoings.” And “life”? Well, that just means “life.”

Protect your inner “you” as though you are guarding treasure. Because, dear one, you are. And that treasure? It’s the support for your life. Listen. People mean well. They really do. They want to encourage and sometimes advise. But you must be very careful…diligent even, with the “Welcome Mat” to the inner you.

Here are three safeguards for who you invite to speak into your life.

  • Is she sensitive to the season you are in? This does not mean she has experienced an exact replica of your current season but is there a sensitivity, a genuine compassion for where you are at this time in your life?
  • Is he spiritually balanced in offering prayerful, biblical insight? Or is he simply spouting the latest and greatest feel-good phrase?
  • Is her life bearing the fruit of a mature Christian? Has she been through a few hard places of her own and still deeply trusts the work of God in her life as well as in yours?

Dear-heart, listen carefully. If you allow too many voices to cross the threshold into the inner you, you will put yourself – your heart, mind, emotions - your valuables at risk. Be very choosy with your “Welcome Mat.” For what goes into the deep places of your life springs out as well.

 

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Ransomed

"Ransomed By God"

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all people” (1 Timothy 2:5-6a). 

Ransomed -   a consideration paid or demanded for the release of someone or something from captivity

He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we’ve learned: that there’s one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and us—Jesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free. Eventually the news is going to get out. This and this only has been my appointed work: getting this news to those who have never heard of God, and explaining how it works by simple faith and plain truth. – The Message Bible

"Ransomed By God" Mixed Media on 16 x 20 canvas {$50 includes shipping within U.S.}

“Ransomed By God”
Mixed Media on 16 x 20 Canvas 

Available for purchase in my Etsy Shop.

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Lately

I’ve been painting. Below are some pieces I’ve done in the past week. I guess you could say I’ve had a burst of creativity. That’s a very good thing. I need it to cope lately. The first and last ones sold pretty quickly which is always an affirming thing to happen. The others are available should you be interested. If you have questions, feel free to leave them in a comment.

"Here's My Heart, Lord" 16 x 20 acrylic on canvas {Sold}

“Here’s My Heart, Lord”
16 x 20 acrylic on canvas {Sold}

"Some Glad Morning" 11 x 14 acrylic on canvas $35 and free shipping within U.S.

“Some Glad Morning”
11 x 14 acrylic on canvas
$35 and free shipping within U.S.

11 x 14 mixed media on canvas

11 x 14 mixed media on canvas {$35 with free shipping in the U.S.)

 

"Dreamer" mixed media on 10 x 10 canvas {$25 with free shipping within the U.S.}

“Dreamer”
mixed media on 10 x 10 canvas
{$25 with free shipping within the U.S.}

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"In A Mirror Dimly" This is an acrylic on 10 x 10 canvas with the verse from 1 Cor. 13:12 handwritten along the side, "For now we see through a mirror, dimly, but then face to face.  {$25 with free shipping within the U.S.}

“In A Mirror Dimly” {Sold}
This is an acrylic on 10 x 10 canvas with the verse from 1 Cor. 13:12 handwritten along the side, “For now we see through a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. 

Written by Melanie Dorsey - Visit Website photo Mysignature-1.png
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