L.E.A.P. – intentionally (April 29)

Intentional

The best things don’t happen by accident.  To do the best, we must choose the best..

With that in mind, the L.E.A.P. year challenge for this month is to…

  1. LIVE,
  2. ENJOY,
  3. ADD,
  4. and PRAY intentionally!

To live life well, we need balance.  In order to walk the fine line of planning and spontaneity, we must trim away the excess and mediocre fillers from our lives.

This month,  I am creating breathing space in my schedule and continuing in this underlying theme of enjoying the blessings in the moment.

I’m done with  procrastination.  I am praying for wisdom for a new perspective on  frustratingly unproductive tasks and eliminating altogether the meaningless parts of my routine and chaotic clutter; so I am free to add more fun.   I want to “Seize the Day!!!”, spring on to the opportunities that only come around once; I want to LEAP into the abundant life, not drag myself through the years until I fall into the grave.

I want to pray as a warrior:  purposefully, specifically, deliberately…  with potent words prompted by the promises of God, with authority, in victory, and seeing answers to those prayers!

This WON’T happen by accident!!!

We must be intentional! 

So, let’s do this!!!!

What do you WANT to do (NEED to do, …or OUGHT to do) this month???

What could you do this month to make your days more pleasant, your relationships more meaningful, your work less stressful, ….?

How would you like to improve your life and your habits this month?

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Many of us “intend” to do something, but then allow the tyranny of the urgent or even silly distractions and lazy excuses to delay “today” till sometime and  “tomorrow” until later, meaning never?

But not us, not this month!!!  Right?

We’re going to L.E.A.P. intentionally this month!!!

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It’s often the simple things we neglect to do, but once we get over the hurdle of starting, they usually become a blessing.

Sometime we put off things we don’t want to do:

(What’s the first thing that come to your mind?)

  1. scheduling a doctor’s appointment
  2. sorting through closets to pass along a blessing from our abundance
  3. making a particular phone call
  4. saying we’re sorry
  5. dinking plenty of water through out the day
  6. getting a little bit of exercise and fresh air EVERYDAY
  7. taking a Sabbath rest
  8. reading our Bible
  9. memorizing or meditating on a verse
Other times we’re honestly too tired and overextended; so something good that we’d genuinely enjoy becomes a burden…
  1. tucking a child unhurriedly in for bed
  2. visiting a neighbor
  3. praying with our spouse early in the morning before work
Some days, we’re just being stingy.  We dismiss the “above-and-beyond” generous blessings in our life because we never get around to “splurging” our time and energy on those extra little “free gifts” from God that He has made available for our enjoyment and refreshment:
  1. going for a walk
  2. staying connected with family
  3. showing hospitality
  4. lingering for fellowship
  5. reading fiction
  6. soaking in the tub till our toes are wrinkled
  7. watching the sunrise or sunset

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Intentional is not just about WHAT WE DO, it’s about WHAT WE DON’T DO.

That brings us to this new month and a new challenge —

  • Intentionally LIVING:  (continuing to live attentively, beautifully… )  breathing, moving, waking, sleeping;  choosing the activities that fill the time to reflect our premeditated priorities
  • Intentionally ENJOYING:  taking in the moment, unhurried, sense alert, relaxed, at peace wherever I find myself, whatever the challenge, making the most of divine appointments and unexpected opportunities
  • Intentionally ADDING:   selectively, purposefully (not just more for the sake of more), making improvements, making a contribution, blessing, serving (this means subtracting some good things to make room for the best things)
  • Intentionally PRAYING:  purposefully, specifically, creatively, unceasingly, genuinely, intimately, worshipfully, thankfully (For me this really comes down to having a TIME and PLACE.)

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Make a list of your “INTENTIONS”.

Write out a list, start with 29 items and then add more after you check those off:

  • things you NEED do
  • things you OUGHT to do
  • things you WANT to do!!!

If you do choose to be “INTENTIONAL”  this month, you can check out and print your own copy of the chart I made for myself.

LEAP April 29 – Intentional Chart

Though some things on my list might not be as tempting to me initially, the fact that the items made it on the list, deep down I really “WANT” to do all of them, even if only to have the items “done” and behind me.

I’m going to see how many of the things on my “want to do” list that I can get done this month.  I will check off the items that are “once and done” and put tally marks beside the other items to see how many times I can do them.

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Pray about what the LORD would have you do this month.

What do you need to be intentional about?  (attitude, words, thoughts,…)   Ask the LORD to show you what you need to do or stop doing this month.

Remember, if another word resonates with you, do your own thing.     Maybe check out the ideas from previous months.  You could always come back to this word another time.

Have fun SEEKING as you Live, Enjoy, Add, and Pray this month!

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If you’re reading this sentence, I AM PRAYING FOR YOU!!!

LORD, help up to know our options and understand what is best. Give us wisdom to practically pursue the best.   Help us plan for the best and take action.

a prayer collage

magazine clippings

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words and phrases

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pictures and symbols

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cutting lines that resonate with something in my heart

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snips of images that trigger a response of my emotions

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Thumbing through a pile of old magazines, one last look before tossing them to make room for the new… and an image in an ad catches my eye.

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I rip out the page to illustrate a journal entry that already has begun to form in my brain.

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… then another and another.

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For several years I’ve kept a baggie of clipped words and images in my supply tote with my Bible and journal, but last year I spent a long sleepless night cutting and gluing magazine pages as I prayed my way through the mental maze of worries that was robbing me of rest.

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This year, I shared the idea with a few friends, and I was amazed at how different each of our prayer pages were!  We all started with the same magazines, but each of us were drawn to different images and went in entirely different directions.  In the end, our creations were each unique reflections of ourselves, ours styles, our families, our concerns, our dreams, our fears, our faith.

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Here’s what you need to begin:

  • magazines and catalogues (We had quite a variety since we collected some from doctor’s offices.  This was especially helpful for finding pictures that represented our husbands, children, ect.  It was nice to have a few Christian magazines that had verses and faith-related words, and the beautiful images from ladies’ magazines were the best for the full-page backdrops for gluing on smaller pictures and words. )prayer collage 20
  • glue sticks, double-stick tape, light weight packing tape  (While glue sticks and tape are essential to create a collage,  packing tape is a must-have to attaching pages together to form an unfolding booklet and to cover a page with small words and pictures that might otherwise flake off after glue dries.)prayer collage 13prayer collage 18

You can begin by simply putting a couple pages together for an unfolding layout or you could start by attaching a magazine page to a folder or in a notebook or journal.

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I like having pages that open to the left and the right with layers of flaps to lift or unfold.

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I pray all though the creating process.  I ask the LORD to reveal to me what He wants:  concerns that I need to entrust to Him, areas of sin that I need to confess, or anything that He’s like to speak to me about …

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Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.”  (Psalm 139)

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I pray about whatever comes to mind as I clip.  Then as I arrange the pages into themes or scenes, I pray more specifically about the particular issue or person that page is about.

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Some gals made a separate unfolding  page for each person in their family.  Some ladies made their collage booklet just about themselves with each page being about a personal issue or concern on their heart, with each unfolding page like a door to another room in their heart.

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Having done this several times, I enjoy looking at old prayer pages.  They are reminders of answered prayer, surrendered fears, and dreams realized.  I hope you’ll give this visual approach to prayer a try.  May this idea inspire to you to Seek the LORD more creatively and make everything you do a matter of prayer.

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If you’re reading this sentence, I pray the LORD meets you in a special way in the hours you spent cutting and gluing and that He’ll set you free from every fear and every sin that entangles your heart.    God bless you, dear Seeker!

L.E.A.P. beautifully (29 pictures)

‘A thing of beauty if a joy forever’, especially if you take a photo.”    – John Keats  (and Mary Poppins) … and Me.

This month, consider taking 29 beautiful pictures of…

  • beautiful ideas
  • beautiful people in your life
  • beautiful creations
  • something of beauty in nature, in your home, etc…
  • ugly-beautiful things (if you’re familiar w/ A. Voskamp)
  • beautiful moments you want to keep as memories
  • even an old photo of a beautiful memory that makes you smile today

It doesn’t matter if others think it is “beautiful” as long as it is beautiful to you!

Remember the ancient Greek poetic and philosophical sentiment, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

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Day 1 – a clutter-free phone area, with ONE pen and note pad, a small Pfaltzgraff pitcher from the set my grandma had when I was little with leftover flowers from an arrangement made for me by my florist-friend  (Clutter-free is BEAUTIFUL!!!  A small reminder of my grandmother and a dear friend… BEAUTIFUL! And blue… aaaah, my favorite color, BEAUTIFUL!)

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Day 2 –  beautiful bookmarks, made by clipping the boarders off the sides of my calendar pages from previous weeks (I chose my kikki calendar because I loved the happy boarders that are different on every page.)   I think they’re adorable, and it is much easier to flip-over to this week’s two-page spread.  (I think I’ll trim these at the end of every month!)

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Day 3  – Chinese Take-out! (with surprise delivery) — a quiet evening at home alone, dinner and a movie, while working on a special project… beautiful?  — delicious!!!  (Handsome took everyone to their Friday-night-social events and then swung back by the house to drop off a yummy surprise before taking Little One out on a “Daddy/Daughter-date”.)   In my opinion this qualifies as a “beautiful” evening.  (Little One was especially beautiful, all dressed up for her night on the town.)

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Day 4  – our “bargain”, definite beauties in Handsome’s eyes, and a reminder of a beautiful date with my man (Handsome and I went to our first auction.  What an adventure for us novices!)

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Day 5  – a surprise snow –  a slow and quiet morning, bright sunshine, and miles of pure, trackless snow; the whole world laced in white… beautiful!!!

It's getting more and more difficult to choose just one photo each day.  I see beauty EVERYWHERE!  (The more I see beauty, the more potential I see for beauty, the more I want to add beauty!) -- Each day, as I come to add pictures, I find myself joyfully skim through the previously captured "things of beauty" and thanking God all over again for each.

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Day 6 – changing the quilt on my bed ( I remember choosing this fabric and making this one more than a decade and a half ago. )  It’s amazing how a different bedspread alters the entire feel of the room.   (As a little girl, my mother always said, “Make the bed first; nothing improves  a bedroom like making the bed.”  She’s the one that taught me the fun and “lazy” way to start making the bed before I even get out of it, straightening and pulling up the sheet and then sliding out the side.)

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Day 7 – bright early morning light reflecting off the snow, beautiful!!!  It’s so much easier to wake-up cheerfully as the Spring days get longer, and this unexpected snow makes the first morning rays even more radiant.

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Day 8 – looking over and adding to my multi-year “prayer collage” … too many to count “beautiful-to-me” pictures and words (Check out this link to a post with a more detailed description.)  Such a fun and visual way to pray.   As I remember the hours of conversations I’ve had with the LORD over magazine clippings and glue sticks, I’m inspired, convicted, and encouraged.

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Day 9 – I founding a beautiful way to make my prayer cubby more portable for the approaching seasons of travel and adventure   — I love my “Prayer Box”!!!!

This little prayer tool up-grade combines the back pages of my Pray 7 Days notebook, the “WarRoom” bulletin-board style washi-tape-wall-posts from my prayer cubby, and a prayer card idea that one of my dear prayer-partner has been using this winter… and all in one little box.   (The back pages of my Pray 7 Days notebook were starting to budge and rip; so now, that notebook just contains the pocket pages for the days of the week that I use first thing each morning to start my day with 15 minutes of intentionally focused prayer. 

I had so much fun finishing up this project yesterday on my prayer day.   If you don't have a Sabbath/prayer-day each week, YOU'VE GOTTA' GET ONE!!!!  It's my favorite day of the week, but I also enjoy anticipating it on the days before and remembering it on the days that follow.  Really, it will change your entire week. If you want a blessing, consider keeping the 4th Commandment.  A day of rest ... plan it, guard it, and keep it holy!

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Day 10 – pens, colored pens and pencils… They are beautiful to me!!!  I love office supplies:  post-its, paper clips, notebooks, tablets, note cards, stationary, tags, etc.  (Today, I’m tidying up by cozy-prayer-corner and also cleaning out and resupplying my every-ready-take-everywhere Bible study bag.   I’m adding beauty to my life in one of my favorite ways!)

Incase you're curious, my favorite pens for marking my Bible are Pigma Micron pens (and I use Crayola's roll up colored pencils as my highlighters).  For journaling, my favorite pens are Pilot G2 pens, and for general daily use, I really like Bic Cristal.  The Cristal pens come in so many colors and don't bleed through thin Bible pages either.)

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Day 11 – the sunset silhouettes of roof tops and chimneys, reminiscent of Mary Poppins; a welcome start to a beautiful weekend

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Day 12 – all my favorite colors found at one of my favorite places in the world… the beach, absolutely beautiful.

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Day 13 – a beach beautifully covered with shells  (I love low tide!)

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Day 14 –  icy mint lemonade – a beautiful friend made a drink for me that I haven’t had since visiting Israel years ago — What a treat, and what a beautiful memory!  (I had several “favorite” pictures this day.  I see beauty EVERYWHERE!  It’s getting more and more difficult to choose just one beautiful moment to share.)

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Day 15 – white chocolate raspberry cheesecake ice cream with whipped cream and fresh raspberries… in a tea cup that is just my style  (I have the sweetest friends who know me so well!!!!) 

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Day 16 – blue, blue, blue… beautiful French Country blue.   It reminds me of Holland.   It seems so simple and clean.   How dear of our Creator to make us with preferences for colors and style!

A friend brought a French Style magazine for us to take clippings from for our prayer collages, and I love the phrases that give the reader "permission" to be her own designer.  Here are a few lines that resonated with me:   

"Style is hard to define.  It is being your own brand... you know it when you see it.  It is made up of individuality... passion... enthusiasm... curiosity.  ... a combination of pieces, not falling prey to trends.  Put interior designers out of business by creating a home with a mix of elements that are all your own.  ... shape your design into your own personal genre.  The best style is authentic.   Create a home that reflects your personal style."

Words that are beautiful to me:  rustic elegance, coastal, southern charm, familiar, classic, timeless, heirlooms, refined and casual, inviting,

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Day 17 –  How beautiful is the body of Christ!  – What a precious fellowship to have communion with friends!  (I love how my florist friend placed everything, even adding grades and leaves… a perfect ending to a week of Seeking the LORD.)

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Day 18 –  a flowering tree –  I have never seen a tree like this before with blooms growing along the sides of the thickest branches!

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Day 19 – starting a beautiful new journal to record beautiful thoughts

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Day 20 – preparing for summer days… imagining a French Country tea at this table when shady leaves fill the trees and my roses bloom

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Day 21 –  beautiful, tidy cabinets that make me smile… blue and white bowls, vases, and pitchers, mason jars for cups… “these are a few of my favorite things”

(As the Jewish people prepare for Passover, cleaning their house and especially their kitchens to remove all leaven or chametz, I take on my own Spring cleaning.  —  On 10th day of the first month of the Biblical year, the people of God were told to chose their lamb and begin preparation for the Passover, which also was the start of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  I am using these days before the Passover to tell the LORD, “I choose JESUS as my Passover Lamb”.   As I remember the prophetic Feasts of the LORD from Leviticus 23, I am literally and symbolically purifying  my house and heart, confessing as I clean.  — I tried to picture what my kitchen would look like if I had glass cabinet doors and arranged them in such a way that I would think the kitchen to be orderly and appealing if they were all left open… beautiful inside and out.  — It was also a personal exercise in thankfulness and contentment, to make MYSELF as well as my home more beautiful.) 

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Day – 22 This morning I dusted my bedroom furniture and carefully replaced the intricate doilies my grandmothers crocheted for me.  They are BEAUTIFUL! — My bedroom, with old carpet and wallpaper I never would have chosen, is beautiful!  Contentment makes life BEAUTIFUL; it transforms things I wish I could change into something I genuinely enjoy and am thankful for!

Yesterday a young gal dropped by for a visit, and I invited her in to see my "not-so-tidy" bedroom, a place most often in need of a little added beauty.   I told her of my afternoon mission to set things to order; so she went home, texted me "before" pictures of her room and "after" pictures a couple hours later.  She and I both had a most productive and rewarding afternoon!!! --- Maybe you have a friend you with whom you could find mutual encouragement by exchanging "before" and "after" pics?  - Waking to a tidy room gave me such motivation to wash mirrors and windows and go that extra mile to use furniture polish... WOW!  I discovered beautiful furniture hidden under a layer of winter dust! 

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Day 23 – beautiful little gifts… I feel loved.

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Day 24  – While I am thrilled with how absolutely beautiful my bedroom “suite” has become and the amazing progress I’ve made in reclaiming the guestroom/prayer-room today… (CLUTTER-FREE is BEAUTIFUL!!!), I must post another dandelion pic!  These, and the Little One that gave them to me, are the most beautiful things to me today!!!  (I don’t know how many more springs my youngest will delight in bringing me these gorgeous flowers; so more than ever, I am treasuring every one!  These are sooooo beautiful!!!!  — Since all my small vases are filled with yellow bouquets , I had to make use of an old salt and pepper shaker.  They’re perfect.  I hope these little guys never return to their former purpose.)  

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Day 25 – Acres of yellow polka-dots on the fields of green.  Thank You, LORD!   (Little One replaced all the mini vases with fresh flowers!  What a beautiful blessing she is, and these so called “weeds” are!)   Thank You, God, for letting me live in the country!!!!  I love the simple things; they are the most beautiful!!!

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Day 26 – The trees are bursting with blooms!  Praise the LORD!  Driving to church this morning was all the more worshipful because of the beauty of Spring.  I want my life to bring You glory as nature does.  Each tree has its own way.

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Day 27 – Making beds this morning.   Beautiful.

What a beautiful honor to be working at home and to create beauty for my family, especially my Husband, to enjoy!  As handsome said about me the other day, “This room is beautiful because you’re in it.” — I feel the same way about You, LORD.  This house is beautiful because YOU’RE IN IT!!!!  — I love being a co-laborer with you.  The team of You and me makes everything a possibility.   To be the keeper of this home with You is a privilege I don’t take for granted.

  • Make my home beautiful.
  • Make my presence in the home beautiful.
  • Your presence in this home is BEAUTIFUL!!!!

(The intricate tatting on these pillowcases, a gift from a dearest friend, causes me to worship.  Tiny knot, what could be tangles, all working together to create something absolutely beautiful.  It reminds me of You, LORD.)

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BONUS PIC:  As I typed this morning’s entry, someone brought me breakfast and a pot of tea.  BEAUTIFUL!!!!  God, You are so good to me!   (My daughter’s L.E.A.P.  adventure has been such an encouragement to my “L.E.A.P.-ing”.  It’s so fun to do this together!)

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Day 28  – personal treasures:  little things… and the memories and lessons learned associated with them

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Day 29 – tea with my daughter:   making a beautiful memory as I remember a beautiful memory of making this Spice tea in the fall with my mother as a child  (We would sometimes make this as gifts for Thanksgiving or Christmas for friends.)

Spice Tea

2 c tang (orange powdered drink mix)

2 packages of Lemonade Mix

1/2 c dry instant tea mix

2 c sugar  (1 c if the Lemonade or tea mix is sweetened)

1 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

One last pic …

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Still Day 29 for me –

This beautiful moment… wrapping up a month of beauty.

  • a youtube playlist of instrumental worship
  • setting up a “tea station” in my bedroom (I LOVE HAVING THIS HERE!!!  This may be the best idea of the month!!! — Thank You, LORD, for saving the best for last.)
  • my old “hotshot” from college  (Praise the LORD for things that were made well and made to last!  — And, Thank You, God, for the bathroom sink here in my bedroom.)
  • a basket of favorite teas
  • a teacup and mini-teapot from my sweet “tea-ladies” prayer group

I wish you could share a cup of tea with me.   We could talk, and you would know that all is not “perfect” in anyone’s world, much less mine.  The only thing (or One) that is “perfect” is God, but I’m finding out again today, as I determined to seek Him in the middle of “living life” (with interruptions, frustrations, challenges to work through, and fears to surrender… Oh, for the time and words to be specific with out boring you; so that you’d know the sincerity in this statement!) that I can experience His perfection:  His perfect presence, His perfect peace, His perfect will for my life

He makes my imperfect world BEAUTIFUL with HIMSELF! 


 

Check out the 29 photos from last month – L.E.A.P. attentively (29 pictures)

Or the complete 1-1-1-1/L.E.A.P.  Challenge with monthly suggestions to help you LIVE, ENJOY, ADD, and PRAY this LEAP-year and especially to pray:

  • once a day, every day
  • once a week, every week
  • once a month, every month
  • once a year, every year