Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Island Majesty

If you were to ask my husband if he could live anywhere in the world where would it be, he would quickly answer "the islands". We fell in love with the Hawaiian islands before we were married and still love visiting. So, you may be asking, why are we in Colorado instead of the islands? John will shake his head and say because of me, which is true, and I would answer that I need to be with family, with daughters, with our grand kids. Childcare would be too costly to do if we were so far away. Having said that, we have found no greater place to vacation that Hawaii...not the big island but the little island of Kauai. We have vacationed there during each season and the only one I didn't care for, weather wise, was last March. It was rainy, not just the tropical storms that occur in the afternoons and the surf was especially treachorous. There is something so peaceful about the islands, a slower pace of life where a person really takes in the beauty of God's creation. This year we spent two weeks there and our next trip, not until 2010, John wants to spend three weeks there. How, I wonder, will I be able to be away from the kids and our two dogs for that long. I am so thankful for cell phones and the internet. Many of our family vacations, including daughters and grandkids, have been to Maui and Kauai but with air fares going up this seems impossible for the kids. So we are content to go once a year, o.k. I am content to go once a year, John would love to go there at least twice a year. I love being there but there are other spots beckoning me, Maine & New England for antiques, Ireland to see my grandparents towns, Scotland, Austria, Switzerland and of course New Zealand. These are pipe-dreams but who doesn't love to day dream. Enjoy your dreams today.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lazy Days of Summer

I love summer, I love the warmth and the bright sunshine and if I am blessed enough to be near water I am happier still. Many would say that all my days are lazy now that I am retired but spending time with grandchildren is not an activity I would classify as "being lazy". There is nothing I love more than playing with my little ones and observing them create..whether it is a sand castle at our nearby lake or building a fort. The boys aren't the only ones creating forts, both Shannon and Faith can give them a run for the money when it comes to creating. The girls might have a bit less wood and a few less nails but create they will.
Soon summer days will give way to fall and then we will begin to make applesauce and other goodies in the kitchen. But for now I am content being with each of them, participating in whatever activities they dream up and watching them live life to the fullest.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Today I am so thankful for the imagination of a bright three year old. Several years ago I was able to buy dress-up clothes for the grandkids after halloween, at KMart for a very low price.
Yesterday Shannon and I pulled some out for her to try on...viola-a princess bride.
Somehow I think in years to come we will play this often and as years pass by suddenly the time will come for her to be a real bride. I am so thankful we have many, many years left to play.
Today it is clear blue sky outside and warm already so I'm thankful that I can put shorts,a tank and flip-flops on and I look forward to playing in a wading pool with my grandaughters.
Nine years ago today, my oldest daughter Carrie walked down the aisle to meet her prince and say "I do". I am so thankful for her choice in a husband, their marriage and our wonderful son-in-law Brent. Hard to believe so much time has passed but when you are raising a family time does fly.
I am so thankful for my home and the area we are in.
I am thankful for the wisdom my hubby had in choosing this home for us to rent until our home in Ca. sells. I am also thankful for living across the street from Carrie and her family.
I am thankful that yesterday I got time to start a new wall hanging and help Kim sew a project.
I'm not as good as I'd like but I'm thankful that I do enjoy my relatively new sewing machine and got some time to work on it.
I am thankful for God's grace that covers me daily, from His presence to His word to the love poured out in my life from sisters around the world.
I am thankful that we can all dream and look towards the future with hope and joy, trusting that my days are in His Hands.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Spring of Life

As the deer pants for the water,

So my soul longeth after Thee, O God. Ps. 42:1

Each person is born with a chasm, a gap in their spirit that can only be filled by a relationship with the Lord God, through His Son, Jesus Christ. When we aren't abiding in the Lord and His Word we try to fill it with "things" and no matter how much you fill your life with, if you don't have Living Water giving you life, you will remain empty. You may not acknowledge it and others may not see it, but you will never be complete until you know Life, eternal and abundant. May you seek the true Spring of Life today.

As you seek the Savior today may you be blessed.

Friday, July 18, 2008


I have been reading a book by Karen Ehman titled A Life That Says WELCOME and I love all the practical ideas Karen shares that help the reader learn to have an open heart, open home.

When I think of hospitality there are 3 women in my life who have embodied this character trait . The first woman is my dear sister-in-law who I refer to as the sister of my heart; Susan has always had a knack of treating family and guests like royalty. Her natural ability and ease at entertaining always draws others to her home. Through her example I have learned many skills as well as what she has taught my daughters. Not only does she make a person feel so special but she makes the preparations look so easy. When I am with Susan, I feel so incredibly cherished, she nutures me in all areas. I am so grateful to Sue, her love and her example!

The next gal I want to give honor to is my best friend since high school, Aletha. Aletha and her husband live in the mountains above Carmel Valley Ca. When we visit there, it is like going away on a vacation to a mountain resort. Aletha is a first class cook with a talent for creating gormet meals from scratch. I always come home with new recipes but sadly don't follow her example too often. Aletha has such a laid back style and you know you can kick your shoes off and get in and help create.

My third example, although I have many more, is a woman who I worked with at a preschool. Her name is Beth Anderson and she is a pastors' wife as well as teacher, encourager, gifted hostess. Many times while working with Beth she would leave for day only to call the school and ask the entire staff to come for lunch. When we would arrive, it would not be a simple lunch of sandwiches but a complete sit-down luncheon, china and all. Beth always insisted in serving us and making us feel like we were in a first class restaraunt. Beth gives constantly to all she comes in contact with and is an example of a Prov. 31 woman.

With all three of these special ladies, I am so proud to have spent time with them and hope to emulate them in my own life.

One of the ways I hope to apply some of Karen Ehman's suggestions is to start with my family. I want to pamper them as others have pampered me so that they may be blessed by the simple art of pouring out love on a daily basis. I am still learning so much about ministering to others, God still has a lot of work to do in me in order for me to be a blessing and example for others.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Today I am so thankful for the Word of God which ministers life to my brokenness and to my soul.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 "For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not calamity to give you a future and a hope.
Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart."

"The suffering caused by shattered dreams must not be thought of as something to relieve if we can or endure if we must. It's an opportunity to be embraced, a chance to discover our desire for the highest blessing God wants to give us, An Encounter with Himself". Quote from Barbara Rainey at Empty Nest.

Today Father, take my sadness, my brokenness, my emptiness and make it what You would have it. May I encourage others as only You can encourage me. May Your strength pour forth through my life for this hour, for this day. Fill me with all that You are for there is nothing that compares to You. Amen

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Joy in the simple things

This morning I joined my two daughters and their children to go on a walk before our day got too hot. It is always so fun to see things through the eyes of children, to see joy in the simple things-red ants in the open space, butterflies, birds and creeks. Trying to run through the sprinklers without getting wet or falling while running, giggles and laughter as well as one granddaughter crying because she didn't want to be wet. Kim, my pregnant girl, telling me later she didn't expect to go on an hour long walk and being surprised that this walk was not a long walk by our standards. Boys that love to race around the trails, riding through the puddles and skidding to a stop only to be told they need to come back and join the group. Little ones falling asleep while being carried by mama despite all the noise and jostling. Life is good, the Lord has richly blessed us.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Lilies of the Field

One of my favorite verses is:

And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,

Yet I say to you that even Solomon is all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these.

But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you... Matt.6:28-30

I made this quilt in 2005 and decided to call it Lilies of the Field even though the fabric was Irises. Seeing this quilt reminds me of the splendor of the flowers that my God has created for me to enjoy. I always think on this verse when I see my quilt. I love nature and I love to create quilts so it was natural to choose the fabric that reminded me of lilies and irises.

May you find beauty in your day that causes you to create something from within, whether it's a photo, poem, art work or cooking. Be blessed today.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Cozy Welcoming Feeling

In our small town of 17,000 people we have three coffee houses and two Starbucks which are located in grocery stores. We were new in town and happened upon my favorite spot, House of Windsor. This is a combo coffee house and country gift store. I love to just go hang out there and visit with the owners or any other staff members. Often they have "girlie" mornings and bring in local artisans to show their ware. I have joked about working there in exchange for merchandise but I am not the only one who thought of this. One of my favorite friends is pictured above, Kim with her daughter Rachel. Being a newbie in town I don't have many girlfriends, o.k only 3 besides my two daughters. Kim is always reaching out to me and making me feel loved. Kim and her family have only been in town for two years, so I imagine she remembers what it was like.
A home near my daughters' house that I love to look at.

When we left California to move to Colorado the housing market was very soft, to put it mildly. Our home of 18 yrs didn't sell and dear hubby and I found ourselves renting a very lovely home. I am so grateful for the house we rent but when I take my daily walks around various neighborhoods I like to pick out the type of house I would like and what the character of the house is. I found this home on one such walk and immediately felt it welcoming me. Can't you just imagine sitting in the rocker with a friend and glass of ice tea. I am a country girl and if I can't live out in the country I'd like to have a house that is country style and says welcome. So I hope, dream and pray as I walk; looking forward to the day when we will be able to buy and I can plant all the flowers I want and make it inviting to others.
So this day, I again am rejoicing in the area that we live in and all the blessings of my life. Today I spent the morning with my daughter and her girls and this afternoon I was able to run across the street and see our other daughter and her four children. Life is good. This evening I took dear hubby out to dinner for his birthday and we enjoyed a great meal. I am notorious though for always wanting dessert and tonight was no exception. We ordered a Caramel Apple Bread pudding and it was phenomenal but I found myself very full afterwards. The great thing about living in a new climate is that we can actually go for walks in the evenings and not get cold. I love it here.
May you find joy in the simple things of life and see the beauty all around you.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


I have vivid memories of being a young elementary school student, riding my bike home each day and singing hymns while I rode. I'm sure there were snickers at my singing but the sense that I have is being totally focused on singing. When I got to high school, my best friend and I did what many others did-we picked up guitars and sang in all the talent shows as well as a little coffee house once a week. My girlfriend had the talent but we both had the passion to sing our hearts out. Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Buffy St.Marie and of course John Denver(later on) were just a few of the artists we copied. It was fun and although my voice wasn't anything special, music has always been part of my life. As a young mom I would always sing to my girls, no matter where or when and also make up funny little rhymes and songs. Now in this season of life, I sing silly songs to my grandkids but also teach them to lift their voice above. I still love to sing; I often wake up with a worship song on my heart. I love to praise my Lord with my voice. One of my favorite c.d.'s is Valley of Vision by Sovereign Grace. These songs are based on Puritan Prayers and so eloquent, so relevant to my heart today.

In The Valley
Based on "The Valley of Vision"

When You lead me to the valley of vision
I can see You in the heights
And though my humbling wouldn't be my decision
It's here Your glory shines so bright
So let me learn that the cross precedes the crown
To be low is to be high
That the valley's where You make me more like Christ.

Let me find Your grace in the valley
Let me find Your life in my death
Let me find Your joy in my sorrow
Your wealth in my need
That You're near with every breath
In the valley

In the daytime there are stars in the heavens
But they only shine at night
And the deeper that I go into darkness
The more I see their radiant light
So let me learn that my losses are my gain
To be broken is to heal
That the valley's where Your power is revealed.

May you find something today to sing about. May you have joy in the song.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Some of my favorites

A Lifetime building friendships, no matter how much time passes or what the distance, you know you'll be friends forever. John, Noreen, Aletha and Dave

My two middle grandchildren bring me such joy

Ben waiting to play, Shannon looking at flowers in a neighbors garden during a walk

Some of the most beautiful sites sit in the mountains near my home. There is an abundance of elk, big horn sheep and mountain goats plus many peaks over 14,000'. The beauty of the Rockies is phenomenal and breathtaking.

Enjoy the beauty around in this day.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Daily I am trying to cultivate an attitude of gratitude but on Thursdays I love to jot down some of my favorite things.

I am thankful for the beauty of orchids that grow among lava gardens. I love the flowers that grow in Hawaii and also here in Northern Colorado-my home.

I am thankful for all the different birds, wildlife and flowers that I am learning to love right here.

I am thankful for the birds that serenade me early every morning.

I am thankful for the crickets that chirp as I drift off to sleep at night.

I am thankful that even though we have warm mornings and thunder storms in the afternoons, our sky is clear and free from smoke that our family and friends in Ca. are living with.

I am thankful for days spent with loved ones and remembering when the little ones were my daughters, not my grandchildren.

I am thankful for my daughters and their hubby's faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and how they are raising our grandchildren in the knowledge and admonition of the Lord. I am thankful for God's plan for each of our lives; that His promises are true and will not return void.

I am thankful for a small local farmers market that carries fresh produce and plants that I can get in the ground before the season is over.

I am thankful for new friends and coffee time.

I am thankful for the ability to call, on a cell phone, dear friends back home and tell them how much I miss them, to be able to catch up and not worry about expensive phone bills.

I am thankful for the wonderful trips my beloved and I have taken and the possibility of trips next year.

I am thankful for the gift of prayer and knowing it does make a difference in our lives.

I am thankful for dear sisters who pour out their lives as a drink offering unto the Lord. I am grateful to Lynn and Dineen at Spiritually Unequal Marriage as well as 1Peter3Living for the encouragement, support and wisdom they give to others.I am thankful for kindred spirits, some whom I've met and some whom I haven't that I learn about via the internet.

I am thankful that today I will spend the morning at home helping my daughter to sew.

I am thankful that I can wear capris and flip-flops every day except on Sunday when I worship our Lord.

I am thankful the Lord has blessed me with this day, this life in this time.

If you are reading this, I am thankful for you!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Tales of Old

I found this old barn standing alone, solitary and beckoning.
I wanted to step into the past and see what stories it could tell; was it a structure built decades ago by one family who eventually left the farming community in search for an easier life or possibly still belonging to someone who no longer sought life from the land or needed a barn to house animals. I can almost hear children doing daily chores all the while talking about quiet times up in a hay loft. What tales were spun under its beams, what values and skills were honed into a person daily toiling here. What life could still be gleaned under the rafters...could it return to its useful purpose and be restored? How many people drive by not giving a thought to the heritage it holds, to the lives that were lived here. How many people look without seeing?
Lord, let us stop and look all the while being eager to learn Your lessons on life. Help us to have eyes that see the beauty around us. Amen.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

"For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Thy works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from Thee, When I was made in secret. And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Thy book they were all written, The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.
How precious also are Thy thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with Thee."Ps.139:13-18
I praise Thee Lord for life, for days spent with those I love and I thank you for your Living Word.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Seasons and Shedding

This morning I took our two dogs outside to brush them as I've noticed they are shedding quite a bit. Reggie, our springer/terrier mix looses his hair in clumps while Sadie sheds year round. As I plucked the hair tufts from Reggie before using the curry comb on him, a task he resists, I pondered my life as how often the Lord needs to pluck/prune the dead and old from me, my habits, my thoughts and my focus. It is easy to hold onto things past but there comes a time when we must make room for the new, whether it be growth or fruit so that it can flourish. Throughout the seasons of life some things are better left behind to make room for the new...often times I need to stand before the prescence of the Lord and have Him weed out those things not pleasing to Him, even though it may hurt. Only as we yield ourselves to Him can He prune, pluck, weed and then cause us to grow more like Him. Therefore I would gladly undergo His handy work that I might reflect Jesus even more. "More of Him, less of me"-John 3:30

One of my favorite quotes from Prairie Chick is: " I strive to live efficiently in the flesh, fruitfully in the Spirit and joyfully in the soul." I want to live a transformed life in Christ, being made like Him no matter what the cost.
Because He first loved me, Noreen

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Sweet Fragrance of Fellowship

Our Sunday service is in the evening and although this has been an adjustment to what I was used to, it seems fitting to end my day focused on the Lord. Since moving to our area, I joined a new and relatively small community of believers made up of lots of young families and many singles. At the beginning of service our Pastor's wife takes all the little children up front and begins by singing songs of praise with them. Tonight as I watched there were 12 children, from 8yrs to 2yrs all lined up singing to the King. As they sang "Oh the blood of Jesus, oh the blood of Jesus, oh the blood of Jesus, it washes white as snow." Some of the young ones probably didn't grasp the holiness of their song but the older children had holy hands lifted high and eyes closed. Our Father must truly smile on this. The rest of the body echoed in repeating verses time and again until it really sank into our souls.
We were then led in "Through it all" a powerful song that says:
"For it reaches the highest mountain, flows to the lowest valley,
The blood gives me strength from day to day
And it will never loose its power".

Praise God the blood of the lamb never looses its power. God didn't give us what we deserve, He gave us what we needed when He extended love to us. Praise God that the Life giving blood gives us strength from day to day.

Be blessed as you focus on The Lamb of God.
In Him, Noreen

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July

May God bless our country with His glory
and smile upon her people with His Love.
To all the families of men and women fighting to preserve our freedom here in the United States, I say thank you, thank you, thank you. May the Lord richly bless you today and make His face to shine upon you.
Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for our two grandsons, their friendship and how interesting life is when seen through their eyes.

I am grateful for our camping trip last weekend, the beauty of the area and fun family times.

As I fell asleep to the sound of a powerful river nearby I was thankful to our God for creating such wonders for us to enjoy.

I am thankful for sons-in-laws that have a wonderful sense of humor and the crazy antics they think up. I am thankful that we all get along so well and love to travel together. I am thankful for the ability to get up off on an air-mattress after sleeping on it all night.
I am so thankful for a brother and sister of my heart that encourage, teach and love me for who I am.

I am so grateful for a visit with a new friend and being able to see a fox drink from a lake behind her house.

I am thankful for all the laughter that fills my life.

I am so grateful for God's word and how He loves to speak to His children daily.

I am thankful for those who read the humble ramblings of my heart.

May you see His Love in your life today.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Simple Pleasures

One of the greatest joys of moving to Colorado has been that my dedicated, hard-working husband was able to retire after working for the same manufacturing company for 35+ years. He faithfully worked day in and day out to provide a wonderful lifestyle for his family. We loved living in the beautiful area of California but found it increasingly difficult in the current economic market. Moving out of state allowed us to both quit work and slow down. Many thought we were giving up so much but in the end we have gained so much more than we could have imagined. Having grandchildren across the street has allowed John to teach the boys woodworking and has given us blessings of developing deep relationships with each child. Our daughter, Kim, is 6 mos pregnant and has always had a difficult time, with both daughters she was put on bed rest. Because I am home now, three to four mornings a week I am able to go over and help her with her two very active daughters. Today as we played in the yard and in the wading pool I found myself getting soaked by dear Shannon, now 3. Of course turn about is fair play and so a small water fight occured. I actually got the worse of it and laughed the entire time. If I were out working I would have missed these times helping Kim and growing close to her two as well. When I visit homes of friends and see how elegantly decorated they are, I admire them but wouldn't trade all the material riches for time with my husband, daughters and grandchildren. Our lives pass much to quickly and relationships are much too important, too valuable to trade for "things".
"For where your treasure is, there will you heart be also." Matt.6:21
Where is your heart this day?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Memories of Family

Families are such a interesting combination of personalities and traits. I was born to parents that were first generation Americans and all my grandparents were from Ireland. For those born in Irish Catholic families there is much laughter and joy and a lot of strong willed individuals. I was blessed by having one older sister and one slightly older brother(lol) and I truly was the baby, born 10+ after my siblings. My sister was like a second mom to me when I was growing up and throughout my life I leaned on her for support and friendship but like most siblings Dee could drive me crazy. When my family decided we needed to move to northern Ca. a few years later Dee decided to move to be closer to me, or so she said. I was thankful for that decision because later on it would prove to be the easiest for all of us. Ten years ago my sister was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She would prove to be the most courageous fighter I've ever known and battled this horrendous disease for seven years with more dignity and grace than I ever thought possible. Three years ago today she went home to be with the Lord, as she described it she was taking a long train ride and would be in heaven to greet us. I had the privledge of helping to hospice her during her last seven months and that too proved to be the greatest gift she could give me. Today as I see roses or hear birds sing I think of you my sister.
Today when I enjoy a dessert I will think of you Dee. Today when I walk your beloved dog I will think of you and try not to cry because I miss you so much. I'll smile when I think of you being in heaven with our parents and other family members and also mostly be so grateful that you are with Jesus.
I have one brother and sister-in-law(the sister of my heart) and I cherish them beyond words. Yes, my brother and I have so many family traits and Irish characteristics , I love you both so much and wish you joy today.