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Recommendations

Helpful Little Hack of the Hour: Photo Books

Clutter! It isn’t always junk, right? Sentimental piles of things can grow faster than children!

What do you do with the special painting you purchased on your honeymoon that no longer matches your décor? How about the medal you earned for completing your first marathon or the years-of-service plaques from your place of employment?

What if you could display one tidy little book instead of all the stuff? Enter today’s helpful little hack of the hour.

Photo Books

Many of you know I recently moved. I had to fit everything I kept in a single 26′ moving truck. If I wanted my furniture, and I did, I didn’t have room for much else. I really needed a helpful hack!

I decided to take photos of the special things I couldn’t keep. I photographed art, medals, certificates, plaques, trophies, and trinkets. I expressed my gratefulness to God for each memory that came to mind as I sorted the items for trash or donation.

If you want to know how God brought immense joy in the journey, read The Amazing News I’m Really Excited to Share – Part 6

“How abundant are the good things
    that you have stored up for those who fear you,
that you bestow in the sight of all,
    on those who take refuge in you.”

Psalm 31:19

I created a digital album in my phone where all these items now live. It takes no physical space and I can view each item whenever I want. Someday soon, I will make a photo book with the pictures. When I do, I will have paired the piles and collections of clutter down to 8″x8″, which I can hold, display, and share.

A photo book with a measuring tape to show the dimensions of 8"x8".
A photo book I made in 2012

I was shocked when I counted how many photos were printed in the photo book above. 168! What would be different if you eliminated 168 dusty items from your storage and living spaces into one compact little book?

I recently discovered Chatbooks while working on another project. I created and ordered a photo book right from my phone. It seemed fairly intuitive and their turn-around time was impressive. There are also several other sites through which you can design and print photo books.

Clutter can be contained with the help of this little hack of the hour. What are you storing that you and your loved ones could just as easily (or perhaps more easily because of accessibility) enjoy in a photo book? Have you made photo books before?

Wondering why am I publishing these helpful little hacks of the hour? Read the Introduction and Intent post here.

Categories
Conversations

Spaces Surging with Stunning Splendor are Something to See #4

Thank you so much for joining me today for the last post in the “Something to See” mini-series. Education by conversation and collaboration is the most enjoyable way to learn. Thank you for the interesting discussion!

I’ve been posting a handful of photos each day for a few days. In case you’re new to the series, you can catch up on the other articles here: Spaces Surging with Stunning Splendor are Something to See #1, #2, and #3.

I’m hoping you might be able to give me some insight about the stunning summer flowers I’ve encountered while hiking around my new hometown. I’d love for you to comment the number and name of any blossoms which you can help me to identify. (Click the pic, if you like, for larger view and scrolling capability.)

Consider for a moment what it takes for a flower to bloom.

  • First a seed must fall from its parent plant to a place where it can be nourished.
  • It has to grow many times it’s size, sending roots down, stems up, and leaves out.
  • Then it must develop buds.
  • Finally, with light, water, and God’s miraculous touch, the buds explode into stunning splendor.

The size, shape, color, and fragrance of each blossom was coded into the tiny seed from the beginning. But it could not fulfill its purpose if it stayed in seed form. It had to die to what it was, undergo amazing growth and transformation, and bloom. Next, it will wilt, drop seeds of its own, and start the process again.

These flowers are not only stunning in their surge of summer shimmer, but they are also superior object lessons. I want to be radiant and fragrant, showcasing the splendor of my Creator. But it isn’t as easy as just saying so.

  • I have to start small, die to myself, and submit to God.
  • I must embrace the process of learning, stretching, and growing.
  • As I am nourished by Him, I begin to develop opportunities to showcase the person He intended me to be.
  • In His perfect time, His beauty and fragrance surges through me in a burst of His stunning splendor for all to see.

Related Post: Angry and Convinced Someone Should Die? Make It Quick!

And, just like a summer blossom, my time to display His wonder will fade away. It is imperative that I invest in others, especially those younger than me, while I may. I need to sow seeds of my own.

Then those seeds, when planted, will follow the same lifecycle and the Savior will be showcased again and again, spreading joy and faith exponentially. That, my friend, is how you and I can leave legacies of eternal importance.

Let’s be perennial flowers, if you will, surging with stunning splendor in our respective spaces. May the seeds of our faith and obedience bloom through the generations and be something to see many years from now.

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Conversations

Spaces Surging with Stunning Splendor are Something to See #3

Welcome back to the “Something to See” mini-series. Thank you so much for joining me. I’m excited to share today’s photos with you! They have me singing a song from my childhood.

Consider the lilies and how they grow, blossoming there in the field 
‘Tis not for their labor they flourish so, flowers of beauty to yield. 
Through the grace of God above, tending all in constant love, 
Every want shall be supplied, for God the Lord will provide.

Consider The Lilies, by Natalie Sleeth

I hope the pictures don’t take too long to load. Your time is precious, and I’m so blessed that you’re spending it here with me, admiring these spaces which are surging with such stunning splendor. I sure wish you could see these colors up close! Feel free to click on any pic to enlarge and scroll through them all.

If you’ve been following these posts, you know that I’d love your input on what kinds of plants these are. Please comment the photo number and any knowledge you have to share. So many of these flowers are new to me.

This isn’t a flower, per se, but this photo is also in my thoughts today.

Large bird with a stunning view from atop of a tall tree
Do you see the special tree-topper?

I took this picture, wondering what it would be like to sit atop the tallest trees. What a stunning view this bird must have had! I suspect this photo came to mind because of the second verse of the song in my head.

Consider a moment the birds in flight, everywhere filling the air. 
With never a worry they seek the height, nourished in bountiful share. 
Through the grace of God above, tending all in constant love, 
Every want shall be supplied, for God the Lord will provide.

Consider The Lilies, by Natalie Sleeth

While the spaces surging with stunning splendor are something to see and savor, they should point us to something even more spectacular. They should remind us that God really cares about us. He knows the details of our lives and gets intimately involved. I leave you with the third verse of the poetic song I just can’t seem to shake today.

For more than the lilies that bloom and grow, more than the birds of the air, 
Your Maker forever your need will know and feed you with heavenly care. 
Through the grace of God above, tending all in constant love, 
Every want shall be supplied, for God the Lord will provide.

Consider The Lilies, by Natalie Sleeth

Blessings, my precious friends. You are loved!

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Conversations

Spaces Surging with Stunning Splendor are Something to See #2

Hello again! Welcome back to the “Something to See” mini-series. I just have to say THANK YOU so much for your help! I’m fascinated to learn what you know about the stunning splendor that is surging in open spaces all around me. The flowers are incredibly beautiful!

Waiting for my photos to load might take away from your reading time, so I’m posting just a handful a day for a few days. Aren’t today’s specimens spectacular? And oh, I wish you could see them up close and personal – they are breath-taking!

(Click any pic to see it larger and for the ability to scroll through them.)

Amazing, right? All flowers, but so different in size, shape, and color. Each is a masterpiece of God’s unbelievable creativity. Hmmm… not unlike you and me!

I would love your assistance identifying these blossoms in the comments. Just use the number in the photo’s caption and tell me what you know! And if you don’t know what kind of plants these are, simply comment on your favorite blossom. I am anxious to hear your thoughts!

I was reminded that I wrote about the surprisingly stunning summer blossoms when I visited Northern Arizona, on vacation, just last year. You can read my thoughts in this post from only months ago, when living here was still a future dream.

So much has happened in such a short time! I’m daily pinching myself, trying to comprehend how God saw us through all that it took to move. I feel extremely fortunate to call this beautiful place home. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share the spaces surging with stunning splendor, which are truly something to see.

I’m so blessed to have you along for the adventure. Thank you, my friend. You are precious to me!

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Conversations

Spaces Surging with Stunning Splendor are Something to See #1

Yes! I’m so glad you’re here! I have something spectacular I want you to see. The open spaces around me are absolutely surging with stunning splendor!

Spring seems to have sprung late where I live. It’s already the end of July. But this whole area seems to have suddenly exploded in joyful bloom.

I’ve tried to photograph several varieties of the flowers I’ve encountered the past few weeks. Most are growing wild in open spaces. I have guesses as to what one or two of them might be, but I’m hoping some of you are more botanically inclined and can help me out!

Will you teach me? I’ve numbered the photos below. Hopefully the different reading platforms are all capable of displaying captions.

It takes a beat to load photos, so I’m going to post just a handful a day for a few days. I’d love for you to comment the number and name of any blossoms which you can help me to identify. (Click on the pic, if you like, for larger view and scrolling capability.)

Aren’t they gorgeous!? What an eye God has for decorating, huh? His open spaces around here are stunning in their surging splendor. My photos really can’t compare to the natural thing, but I hope you enjoy them just the same.

Oh, and one last picture just for fun. Do you have dandelions this big where you live? This is something I had never seen before moving to Northern Arizona. I’m used to them being the same size as the face of my watch. I had to put my hand in this photo for reference. This one is more like the size of my actual face!

A dandelion as big as a human head
Look at the size of that dandelion!

Spaces surging with stunning splendor are certainly something to see, aren’t they? I look forward to learning from you. Let me know what you know about these wild and beautiful plants!

And if you’re a novice admirer like me, will you tell me which are your favorites? I know, it’s hard to pick! But I’ve chosen mine. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Categories
Emotions

A Gift of Love from God’s Heart is Special Anytime!

Hello everyone! I hope you’re feeling loved today! Because, you know what? You are! Think about this for a minute…

Jesus, Creator of the whole universe, loves you so much that even if you were the only person on earth, He would have willingly died on the cross to make a way to spend eternity with you.

“He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed. For ‘you were like sheep going astray,’ but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”

1 Peter 2:24, 25

I really believe that! I don’t understand it… but I believe it! I was telling my husband the other day that it makes no sense to me that God is so enamored with His human creation. We are ridiculous, are we not? And yet, we cannot even fathom the depth of His love for us!

“How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure”

Stuart Townend

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:38, 39

At the end of January, I proposed a photo challenge related to Valentines from God. Click here to see that original post. Since then, I’ve been finding hearts in all kinds of places.

Let’s be honest, all of nature is a gift from our Creator. He didn’t have to make it so pleasing to our senses, but He did! It is spectacular in every way. But when it comes shaped like a heart, I can’t help but feel the love. Here’s one of my recent favorites:

A heart shaped tuft of grass
A little “Psst, I love you!” note from God as I walked past the medical office the other day.

It’s just a little tuft of grass, but God designed it, gave it life, made it grow, directed my eyes toward it, and touched my heart with it. I’m hoping He uses it to encourage you today too! Don’t think for a minute that God doesn’t care that much about grass or about you…

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you – you of little faith!”

Luke 12:27, 28

A gift of love from God’s heart is special anytime, right? Tokens of His affection feel good all year round. So, I decided to gather the hearts I’ve been finding and restart the photo challenge. Stay tuned for more!

In the meantime, don’t forget to keep your eyes open for tokens of affection that God has placed around you. Please share them! Tag this original post, Sunning Valentines from God Photo Challenge, when you do, so we can compile them all in one place. Awesome, thanks! I can’t wait to see what you find!