Friday, August 21, 2015

She's Seven!

It seems like just yesterday I was anxiously awaiting the birth of my first niece, Erica Jean Massey! But it was, in fact, SEVEN years ago! And Erica has been bringing us joy for all of that time!

Happy Birthday, Erica!

Here are some pictures through the years (and believe me, I could have posted a LOT more!)

August 22, 2008, held in her Grandpa's arms







Surfer Girl!

She's got style!
You are our sunshine, sweet Erica!

Friday Favorite: Old and New

 I recently went back to a place that has been a favorite destination, even if it is a fictional town. I finally started reading the latest book in Jan Karon's Mitford series, which came out last year! I bought it in September, planning for it to be my beach book in October, but then I decided to start from the beginning of the series and make my way to the new one. I got distracted along the way and got stuck in the middle of the series with not much motivation to continue on that plan. So this week, I sat out on my deck and opened the "new" book of my "old" favorite series. And it has not disappointed me! Now I can't wait until the next one comes out in another month!

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled on some Sunset magazines at the thrift store. I think I was drawn in by the cover with the camper on the front, but I bought several copies. I was once again reading on my deck and realized how much I liked this magazine. It's actually not new, but has been around for over a century, I believe. I went back and bought the remaining back issues that were at the store, and decided to become a subscriber! I can't wait to dig into more issues and dream about traveling all around the western U.S.!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Friday Favorites: Needtobreathe

I can't remember when I first heard about the band, Needtobreathe, but I know that I liked their sound from the first time I heard their song, "Shine On" played on the radio (and looking at the copyright on that song, it was 2006, so that answers that question).

I didn't really follow them beyond liking that song, but that's how I roll with most music I hear and like on the radio. I liked a couple of songs I heard from their next album, "Signature of the Divine" and "Washed by the Water," but then I didn't hear much from them for a few years.

Fast-forward to 2014 and Needtobreathe released a new album called "Rivers in the Wasteland" and I started hearing the song, "Multiplied" on the radio. And I saw some videos, one of which had a friend of ours running through a field (random fact).

I heard that the band was coming in concert to a local venue, but I didn't get tickets and later was kicking myself for missing it, even though I ended up having a friend visit that same weekend and would have had a small dilemma if I had had concert tickets.

After missing that show, I decided I would follow Needtobreathe on Facebook so I could find out when and where they toured this year. They started announcing their Tour de Compadres, with Switchfoot, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors and Colony House, but the Nashville venue kept being listed as "TBA," so I waited some more. I told Daniel that I wanted us to go, since he's a big Switchfoot fan, and when they finally announced the venue and tickets went on sale, I bought two.

Tonight I am finally going to get to hear Needtobreathe perform live and in person! And I'm almost as excited about the venue as I am about the bands. We'll be sitting on the lawn at Nashville's newest outdoor venue, Ascend Amphitheater, downtown by the river. It's going to be a great show!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


I was feeling very discouraged this morning about some circumstances I'm dealing with in my life. I have to confess, as I sat down with my breakfast to pick up where my Bible reading plan left off, I didn't have much enthusiasm. I am so thankful that I decided to spend that time reading in my Bible because what I got was major encouragement and a gospel reminder from the Book of Habakkuk!

First of all, Habakkuk is one of those little books in the back of the Old Testament that most of us have to use the table of contents to find (or at least flip through those pages until we land on that tiny, three chapter book). Habakkuk was a prophet right before the people of Isreal were sent to exile in Babylon. He didn't live in a very encouraging time, to say the least.

When I read Habakkuk 2:4 and saw the notes leading to passages in the New Testament that quote that verse (Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38-39), I looked the verses up in my ESV Study Bible and read some notes that were given for those verses. That's how I "got" the gospel from the Old Testament today!
Habakkuk 2:2-4, ESV
And the Lord answered me:
“Write the vision;
    make it plain on tablets,
    so he may run who reads it.
For still the vision awaits its appointed time;
    it hastens to the end—it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it;
    it will surely come; it will not delay.
“Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him,
    but the righteous shall live by his faith."

The ESV notes said:
"It will take faith to wait patiently for God's plan to unfold, but "the righteous shall live by faith." It is quoted in NT to emphasize that people are saved by grace through faith and that Christians should live by faith (Hebrews 10:38-39)."

Romans 1:16-17, ESV
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

For Romans 1:17, the ESV notes said:
"The life of faith is all-encompassing: it is by faith that one initially receives the gift of salvation (eternal life), but it is also by faith that one lives each day (Hab. 2:4, Gal. 3:11, Heb. 10:38)."

Hebrews 10:35-39, ESV
Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For,
“Yet a little while,
    and the coming one will come and will not delay;
but my righteous one shall live by faith,
    and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

For Hebrews 10:37-38, the ESV notes said:
"The quote from Habakkuk 2:3-4 encourages perseverance; it announces that the wait for the end will be short, that faith is required from the righteous, and that "shrinking back" invites God's displeasure, and this displeasure, as the next verse clarifies, means final judgement."

Habakkuk 3:17-19, ESV
Though the fig tree should not blossom,
    nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
    and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
    and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
    I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the deer's;
    he makes me tread on my high places.

For Habakkuk 3:17-19, the ESV notes said:
"Anticipating great destruction at the hands of the Babylonians, Habakkuk has radically changed--he began by informing God how to run his world, and ended by trusting that God knows best and will bring about justice. Even amid suffering and loss, Habakkuk has learned that he can trust God, and with that trust comes great joy, not in circumstances, but in God himself. Yahweh has become Habakkuk's strength (Psalm 18:32, 39)."

"Habakkuk can have sure-footed confidence in God and can live on the heights even amid extreme circumstances. (see Malachi 4:2, "But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.")"

These verses helped me to remember my confidence in God's ability and faithfulness and it strengthened my faith this morning. I love how immediately after those verses in Hebrews 10, we get the "Hall of Fame of Faith" in Hebrews 11!

Like Habakkuk, by God's grace, I was able to get up from my table with my heart filled with praise and great joy in God, instead of feeling discouraged by my circumstances.

May God encourage your hearts and minds today.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Summer Bucket List: Update #3

We're ten days into August, so I guess it would be a good time for a Summer Bucket List update! I may have slowed down a bit on some things and have realized that other things on the list are probably not going to happen (namely, cooking). But I have been able to do some crossing off on my list!

  1. Go on a vacation with Daniel (this is a easy one, since our trip is planned)
  2. Create scrapbook layouts for the first six months of 2015 using the Project Life app
  3. Get together with some friends to get some other scrapbooking done
  4. Make cards (either alone or with a friend)
  5. Create monthly/seasonal "vingette" on top of my entertainment center
  6. Do a DIY project for my home
  7. Have a cook-out
  8. Try a new recipe
  9. Cook at home at least once a week
  10. Write a note to someone every week
  11. Read for at least an hour a day
  12. Watch the fireworks on 4th of July
  13. Go to the Farmer's Market
  14. Attend a local festival
  15. Go on a day-trip
5. Create monthly/seasonal "vingette" on top of my entertainment center.  
I don't think I took a picture of my "patriotic" display, but it hasn't changed all that much throughout the spring and summer. In fact, I still have (fake) forsythia twigs in the jars. I also like to decorate the blank wall in my dining room and throughout July, I had a fabric swag and wreath hanging there. When August rolled around, I changed out the swag and hung up some of my "vintage" beach postcards from my collection. Most of them are from the Jersey Shore, but there are a couple from Daytona and Ocean City, I think.

Postcard garland in the dining room
If you can look beyond the silliness, you'll see the vingette on top of the entertainment center!
4. Make cards (either alone or with a friend)
I had already crossed this off, but I thought I'd show some birthday cards I made for some August friends. I found some adhesive-backed paper at Michael's and am enjoying playing with it, as well as trying to use paper scraps a little more often.

10. Write a note to someone every week.
This isn't something I've logged or taken a photo of, but I have been trying to be more intentional about sending notes to people (or birthday cards can count, too). I personally enjoy getting notes in the mail, so I imagine that others do too. It doesn't have to be a long letter. Just a short note saying you're thinking of them can go a long way in making someone's day.

So, even though school has started back for kids in Middle Tennessee and my college guy will be going back to Knoxville this coming weekend, I don't consider the end of summer to be until Labor Day weekend . . . and that comes late this year (September 5-7). I've still got lots of time for summer fun!