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Posts Tagged ‘spring’

My Lent blog posting adventure (marathon) is complete, but I’ve kinda, sorta gotten into a routine writing again so I don’t want to stop completely. Really enjoyed writing the Five Favorites post last week, so you’re going to get another list of five of my current favorite things.

(1)  Spring Flowers! You have to be honest – this winter in Iowa was brutal. Cold. Snow. Cold. Snow. The cycle that never ended. But within the last week or so, we’ve had some absolutely lovely weather and so spring has sprung in the gardens, trees and bushes around Cedar Rapids. I love to take nature photographs with my little iPhone so if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen a few flower shots. Such a reminder of fresh beginnings. Something we all need occasionally.

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(2)  “Lay It All Down.” Saw a friend post about a song she has on “repeat” this week. I love it when friends share music because I don’t always know when good stuff comes out, especially with artists I’m not familiar with. img_2563It was a definite perk of having music-loving sons living at home. So when I began listening to Will Reagan’s “Lay It All Down,” I also put it on repeat. All day. Each day. I have Spotify so I listen to Will’s music on my long walks, but you can also enjoy this on his YouTube video. Please listen. You’ll be singing along in no time.

(3) Iowa Coffee Roasters. My Lenten caffeine fast is over!!! My wonderful husband took me out for good coffee on my first day back but I am blessed to have a wonderful friend who roasts coffee. A personal coffee roaster! How cool is that? Well, he roasts for lots of people (and my office, and many other offices, too) but I hope you’ll check out Lee’s website and retail space in Marion, Iowa.

(4) My Uncle Dan. img_2561Today is his 80th birthday. I was so glad I was able to attend his party last weekend. My nephew Matt took some wonderful pictures of Uncle Dan out at the farm he was raised on (and lived at until the mid-90s). Matt posted the photos on his Instagram account and I was in awe (and a little teary) when I read some of the comments. Dan, a life long bachelor, is a retired middle-school English teacher who has touched so many lives through his teaching, volunteering and church work. He enjoys attending local school sports and music events and is a well known and loved member of the community. We are so blessed to have him in our lives.

(5) Monthly Bible reading plans. Since the first of the year I’ve been using Rachel Wojo’s Bible reading plans to focus on one characteristic of God each month. In May, she is using God’s magnificent power. She provides a journal to download, plus a daily reading that only takes about 5-10 minutes to complete. I’ve been using a plain notebook for my journal, and as I read the Scriptures each morning, I also write them out in my own words. It has been a powerful exercise for me – to get those life-giving passages deep into my spirit for the rest of the day. Rachel has many plans to choose from – you don’t have to do them in any particular order…confident trust, pure joy, perfect, names of God, and more…I have enjoyed every one.

Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand, it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. 1 Chronicles 29:10-13

 

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Trail through woodsMy top 10 list of things to do this time of year:

10) Clean out my closet. I’m so tired of sweaters. Though I could wear boots year-round, I am looking forward to wearing sandals, or at least no socks! Now is a great time to sort through those clothes and shoes you didn’t wear over the long winter and donate to Salvation Army. Or make a little extra money by using Stuff Etc. Beware though – your consignment items need to be in very, very good condition to be accepted.

9) Trying a new restaurant. I enjoy going to new places any time of year, but there is something about spring that gives me extra bravery to try a different cuisine. I’m still waiting to try good Thai or Indian food. I do have someone who’s willing to go with me, so I just need to set the date.

8) Clean my windows. I actually enjoy cleaning my house windows, inside and out, when the weather is nice, and I can open everything up. Feels like a fresh start.

7) Move the furniture around. Another fresh start. Just don’t do it right before going to bed because you may end up stubbing your toes on the couch in the middle of the night. “Who moved that there?” I have some new furniture than only fits a certain way in my living room, so I’m going to have be extra creative this year.

6) Re-connecting with friends. The winter was treacherous. Lots of ice and snow kept most of us inside unless we absolutely had to go out. But now that that yucky stuff is gone, time to make some coffee dates with friends I haven’t seen since late fall. I may not be drinking caffeine, but most coffee shops offer herbal alternatives. And scones.

 

5) Fresh music playlist. I’ve listened to the same playlist all winter so time to change it up. Spotify makes it very easy to find whatever I want to listen to and create a playlist that I can access any time. Made a Lenten worship one the other day and loving it.EFY_2015_1

4) Running. I do not run in the winter. I’m old enough that recovery from a fall on ice or snow would be long and arduous, but come spring time, I’m ready to hit the trails again. I upload my C25K app (again) and start fresh with Day 1. Doesn’t take too long to get back into the swing of it. “You don’t need to go fast, you just need to go.”

3) Baseball is back. Cubs fan. That is all.

2) Long walks outside. I walk every day. If the weather is lousy, I walk during my lunch hour within my block-long office building or I hit the downtown sky walk system. If I include a parking deck or two, I can get three miles in over the hour. But once spring weather comes in, I love walking outside. The new playlist in my earbuds, my comfy boots or shoes, an occasionally muddy spot, blue skies, gentle (or blustery) breezes…recharges my battery and lifts my moody. Every time.

1) Easter. I don’t decorate in pastels, and bunnies, and eggs. Well, truthfully, I don’t decorate in much of anything, but for me Easter isn’t about all of that. Easter is THE holiday in my life. I take this time of year to reflect on the magnitude of this great thing – Christ Jesus gave His life on a brutal cross to take my sin so I could have eternity with Him in heaven. Easter isn’t just about the cross – it’s also about the tomb. He died for us, yet He rose again, victorious over sin and darkness. That is why Easter is so important…why it’s number one on my list.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:10

He Is Risen

Happy Spring! Happy Easter!

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sunshine-heartThe sun is shining in Cedar Rapids! After a long, cold, snowy, cold winter, I’m anticipating the arrival of spring a little more enthusiastically today.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow! (sing along with me!)

The sunshine encourages me. I work in an office with a lot of windows and that beautiful sun shines in and lifts my spirits. But the opposite is true as well. On those dark, cloudy, gray days, I have to work very hard to stay upbeat and positive. As you can tell, I allow my circumstances to control my mood. And that is not healthy living.

Romans_15_13Every day I’m thankful for the Word of God that is filled with encouragement…verses that lift me up, show me where my confidence should be, promises God will always fulfill. When I read my Bible, I get a large dose of sunshine (even on a cloudy day). Other believers also boost my spirits. I have a very dear friend who regularly puts positive, uplifting, encouraging posts on Facebook. When I see them, I smile. I can’t help it. Encouragement is contagious.

So if you need a little boost – read the promises of God. The YouVersion app is a wonderful tool to put the Word literally at your fingertips. If you are sufficiently “boosted,” won’t you spread a little cheer to someone else today? It’ll feed your own soul too!

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This spring thaw has caused major damage and destruction across the Midwest. Complete towns devastated, roads and bridges destroyed by ice jams and raging flood waters. Would you take a moment to pray for all those affected by this tragedy?

In my little corner of the world it was pleasant enough to take a short walk this afternoon. I purposely kept my eyes to the ground. So often looking down can communicate depression but in this case, I wanted to see the world awakening in small ways.

My poor daffodils tried to come up out of the warming ground a couple of weeks early. After being buried under snow for a while they are pretty pale and wrinkled. Here’s hoping some significant sunshine will set things right.

The hope of spring feels real when I see the little green shoots of my narcissus next to my front door. That little bit of green is so welcome in my brown world.

I also noticed a beautiful ice bubble in one of the last snow packs in our yard. This area was underwater earlier this week but most of the water is gone and the rest froze again in today’s cooler temps. See that little bubble? It’s a tiny magnifying glass – so fragile – so perfect.

I like to think God delights over us much as I delighted in these little signs of spring. Excited to see how we’ll surface from the cold, lifeless journey of sin into the warmth of His love and care. Persevere, little one. Reach up to the Son. Bloom as He intends for you. You are filled with all you need to be beautiful!

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spring-flowers

The original intention for this blog was to encourage you to wear more color. The drab days of winter are over and with the arrival of spring, I thought it’s about time we began wearing greens and yellows and reds and blues…just to liven things up a bit. But while doing a few Google searches, I found that my little title “Color My World” brought some interesting websites to my attention.

There were websites about harp music, humanitarian efforts, and video games. I found a set of 13 individual stamps, a multi-stone engagement ring and heat transfer papers – all entitled “Color My World.” But a couple of entries stood out…namely:

Colour My World” is the name of a song by the 1970s pop group “Chicago.” For someone who grew up in the 70s, it was a little flashback to my high school days. And the lyrics, though catchy, were not exactly cerebral.

“As time goes on, I realize just what you mean to me. And now, now that you’re near, promise your love that I’ve waited to share…and dreams of our moments together. Color my world with hope of loving you.” 

If you’re looking for depth in lyrics, may want to pass on that one.

color_wheel

Number two – color wheels are pretty. Found a lot of images of color wheels. My graphic design sister tried to tell me how one worked once…I was hopeless. That’s why my walls are plain and I wear a lot of black. But I did find a site that talked about the meaning of different colors. It was fascinating. It made me want to wear red (the color of power, strength and passion) except the St. Louis Cardinals are red and I’m a Cubs fan so I’ll go with Cubbie blue (loyalty, depth, stability and wisdom).

crayons  Lastly – I found a wonderful little website telling about a project to provide art supplies and opportunities to youth in the United States and around the world. The Color My World Project collects discarded crayons from restaurants and donates them to schools, childcare centers, orphanages, etc. And not only do they donate the crayons, the distribution team stays and colors with the kids, teaching about recycling and reducing waste.

So add a little color to your life today. Wear some green on Thursday, and not just for St. Paddy’s Day – green also means growth, harmony and freshness. Happy Spring!

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windy day

What do you do when you don’t have any great words of wisdom or advice or humor to share, but you’ve committed yourself to blogging something every day? Let me know when you figure it out…and soon please, because that’s me today.

I took a walk on this extremely blustery day and couldn’t decide which was harder: going into the wind or walking with it. When going against the gale, my leg muscles burned and I leaned forward further than was comfortable. Just when I thought I had a good rhythm going, the wind would shift and I’d almost fall face first. When the wind was behind me, the empty plastic cups raced me down the sidewalk, or just slammed into the back of my legs. I was forced to run or get my legs knocked out from under me.The sand hitting my face was not the beach sand I was dreaming about earlier this week.

It was certainly an adventure – navigating large stretches of watery sidewalks and chunks of thawing ice. This time of year brings mud and mess. I tracked all manners of refuse back into the office after my 2.5 mile trek but I wouldn’t change anything because…(here’s the moral of this rambling)…all of this means Spring is almost here! Though the winds and water are high, the birds are chirping and the air is a tad warmer. We just have to persevere a few more days.

So I added hope for Spring to my daily adventure. It’s just around the corner. Lean into the wind and give winter a chance to lessen its grip. By the way, for my baseball-loving friends, pitchers and catchers reported to spring training today. And for my Cub-loving friends – This. Is. The. Year.

 

 

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sushi

Are you resistant to change? Sometimes I am…sometimes I like it. It usually depends on what is being changed. Changing my clothes – good. Changing my sleep schedule – not so good. Being forced to change is where we usually resist. If we can choose what we change, then we seem more accepting. For instance, some women love to change their hair style or color. But if I told you what you HAD to have for a hair color (Purple? Let’s try it!), you may be a little more resistant.

Last year I spent a couple of months dedicated to thinking up ways to change things up in my routine. I visited places I had never been, tasted new flavors, challenged myself physically and mentally (which meant I was challenged emotionally too). And I loved it! Some of the changes I made were planned, which made them a little easier to accept. A couple of the changes were definitely not planned and they were much harder to deal with. But my mindset for change, which I purposely chose to buy into – that mindset which allowed the good and the bad, the planned and the unexpected – it pushed me beyond what I thought I could do.

I’m going to tackle this challenge again in April. It’s spring, the season of new beginnings. I’ve already thought of a couple of new changes I want to try. I’m using a little different criteria this time around. I’m specifically looking for changes which will challenge what I’ve always said about myself. So if I’ve said “I’ve never” or “I can’t” about something, that’s going on my list. Don’t worry – I’m not going to compromise my morality (in case you were fearful I’d end up on the 10 o’clock news) but there are plenty of things I’ve never attempted because I thought I couldn’t or shouldn’t. Like eating sushi, or learning to bake bread, or running a half-marathon. Of course, there are plenty of things I won’t be changing because some things just shouldn’t be done. Dark hose with white shoes and wearing yoga pants to work are some of the first things coming to mind.

Give me some ideas – what would you do to change things up for yourself in April? What have you always said you couldn’t or wouldn’t do? Make a list and then go for it!

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