Favorite Christmas Foto #2

You may wonder what this is that I would pick it to be my favorite photo of the past several days! I really wanted to post some of our grandchildren who visited but since I only wanted one picture I settled for this one.

This was at the Christmas Tea that we had at our house several days ago for the ladies from our church. I had made some simple napkin rings from keychain rings and little silk roses and they were obviously very happy with them. When I saw them putting their hands together with the little red roses on them it just looked like the prettiest little picture...which it is!


Born To Die

All over the world today many people are celebrating Christmas. Sadly, very sadly, only a small percentage of those are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, which we know is the real reason for this season of joy.

Very often over the past few weeks I have thought of the reason that Jesus was sent to earth: TO DIE. Yes, He was born to die! That does not bring us sadness but, rather, great joy for it was because of His death that we are able to live.  

A forever life with Him...What a precious and beautiful gift He gave to us and that is why we can have such great joy as we celebrate this Christmas Day!

May you know and experience the True Joy of Christmas this year.

Merry Christmas to all!

"For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me.
And this is the Father's will which hath sent Me...that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life..."  -John 6:38-40


My Alabaster Box

I love the Bible story (Mark 14:3-9) of the woman who broke her alabaster box and poured out her expensive perfume on Jesus. Whether it was Mary of Bethany, Mary Magdalene or some other woman doesn't matter.  The change that Jesus brought about in her life was worthy of the love and worship she unabandonly gave to Him.

I have a little alabaster box that a friend once gave to me and every time I see it I am reminded of this story. Thus I am reminded of the need that I have to give to Him the love, praise and worship that He deserves and desires from me.

What is in your alabaster box? What is in mine? What gift can we bring this Christmas to Jesus Who gave His all, His best, for us? Whatever it is, give it to Him with abandon, with love, with worship...as this woman did.

There is a beautiful song about this story, here are the words...

Alabaster Box

The room grew still
As she made her way to Jesus
She stumbled through the tears that made her blind
She felt such pain
Some spoke in anger
Heard folks whisper
There's no place here for her kind
Still on she came
Through the shame that flushed her face
Until at last, she knelt before his feet
And though she spoke no words
Everything she said was heard
As she poured her love for the Master
From her box of alabaster

And I've come to pour
My praise on Him
Like oil from Mary's alabaster box
Don't be angry if I wash his feet with my tears
And I dry them with my hair
You weren't there the night He found me
You did not feel what I felt
When he wrapped his love all around me and
You don't know the cost of the oil
In my alabaster box

I can't forget the way life used to be
I was a prisoner to the sin that had me bound
And I spent my days
Poured my life without measure
Into a little treasure box
I'd thought I'd found
Until the day when Jesus came to me
And healed my soul
With the wonder of His touch
So now I'm giving back to Him
All the praise He's worthy of
I've been forgiven
And that's why
I love Him so much
 And I've come to pour
My praise on Him
Like oil from Mary's alabaster box
Don't be angry if I wash his feet with my tears
And dry them with my hair
You weren't there the night Jesus found me
You did not feel what I felt
When He wrapped his loving arms around me and
You don't know the cost of the oil
Oh, you don't know the cost of my praise
You don't know the cost of the oil
In my alabaster box.
                              -Cece Winans


Favorite Christmas Fotos #1

It will only be Thursday by the time I post this but...close enough, I say, to Friday. This pink Christmas decoration was in the house where we spent the weekend in the state to the north of us and I admired it every time I walked by it. The Christmas greeting photo to the right is a close-up of this one.

The lady of the house was a fellow lover of roses...even PINK ones! Here's another of the decorations that I saw there...

 These kinds of things are gifts from Him to bring joy to my life!



I can't type as well these days because of a hand injury so I'll just post photos of these little flowers that suddenly bloomed in the corner of our front yard this week...a new one each day for 3 days. Reminds me of the verse which I put below.
I had forgotten that I had planted these bulbs from plants that I found at the side of the road last month, growing wild. What a special delight! Don't know their name but they look like miniature lilies.




"It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22,23


Favorite Foto Friday #5

From the front of our house a few days ago, not long before sunset, this cloud was all lit up. Beautiful! (Just ignore the wires...)



Eight years ago I said good-by to my older sister.  Doing that on the phone from over 2000 miles away was one of the most painful experiences of my life. Two days later she was home with her Lord...because she believed in Him, and Him alone, to save her.

 Her life was an example and inspiration to me-from way back when we were growing up together til the last moment of her life. She supported us in our mission work with gifts, prayers, letters  and encouragement from the beginning and her husband still continues to do so.

Bonnie, I love you and I miss you. You were (and still are) an amazing and wonderful sister!

"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you." (Philippians 1:3)


Favorite Foto Friday #4: Double Exposure

Since I missed doing this last week I think it gives me the right to post two pictures today! Yes, that's right, whether you agree or not.

I've had fun using a colleague's fancy (in comparison to mine) camera the past several days. Here's one of my favorites from the many "test" photos I took, a little saffron finch (Sicalis flaveola) that comes to sit on the fence every morning, only a few meters outside the window. It was a wish come true to be able to get such a clear close-up picture of one of my feathered friends. Such a pink blessing!
And here's one from today, fresh off the press so to speak. This lovely lavendar rose is part of an arrangement of flowers I made for a graduation service tonight. My second arrangement ever! I could tell more blessings around this whole story but...this is just about favorite photos, right? I hope you enjoy this photo as much as I do. It is a feast for the eyes!



I love the simple and beautiful truth of God's Word!

We don't like it when people lie. We like to know what the truth is even if it hurts. It makes our life safe and secure, it gives us hope and joy, it gives meaning, structure and reality to our own little private world and to the wide world around us.

Where do we find truth? In God's Word. He is the only One who is incapable of lying. He is the only one Who knows all truth for He IS truth! He said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life..." (John 14:6)

Why do so many people insist on having the words of some human being as their basis for truth? Why do they prefer to believe the words of  unstable, untrustworthy, fallible men instead of the truth of the one and only, true, faithful, and loving God of the universe? He Himself said that He cannot lie. Why don't we believe Him?

There are many who say they believe Him, but when they also believe the words of others who contradict God's words they are really calling God a liar.

That is so sad and it often pains my heart. But I am so thankful that the truth of His Word remains, no matter what man says or tries to do to it!

"For Thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and Thy truth unto the clouds." (Psalm 57:10)
"For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations." (Psalm 100:5)


Giving Thanks

Our celebration of Thanksgiving is this week. But who says we have to stick to one day each year to thank the Lord for His goodness to us? Hopefully we do that every single day!

"O  give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever.
To Him alone who doeth wonders..." (Psalm 136: 1and 4)


Favorite Foto Friday #3

A morning sky scene...

The camera never captures the full beauty of such moments!
"Cause me to hear Thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in Thee do I trust..." (Psalm 143:8)


The Cross

Over the past few days I have been impressed and stirred once again by the importance, power and beauty of Christ's death on the cross. What mercy, grace and love was shown there on that day long ago...for everyone, but also (and this boggles my mind) just for me!
Because of His death and resurrection we have all we need for salvation. We are complete in Him! He has promised this and His promises never fail.
I heard this song the other day and it touches my soul every time I hear it. It's beautiful!
"And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power." (Colossians 2:10)

Brazil's National Flower

At this beautiful Spring time of the year, Brazil's national flower, the ipê (of the tabebuia family), is in full bloom, gracing the land with its exquisite blooms. There are different colors, mainly yellow, white, pink and purple. This young yellow one is on our Bible college campus and I couldn't resist giving it a photo session as I saw it brightly shining in the sunlight!
A closer look at the flowers... A couple years ago I planted some seeds from a purple ipê. Three or four sprouted but only one survived. Last month I donated the almost 20-inches tall plant to the college to join her cousins as they beautify the campus. This photo is not one that I took, but is of one like it's "mother", just a block or two from our house. Hopefully it will one day look like this!
"And the earth brought forth grass...and herb...and the tree...and God saw that it was good." (Genesis 1: 12)
(purple ipê photo: inuticultura.wordpress.com)


Favorite Flower Foto Friday #1

I know. It's Saturday, not Friday. But I was going to do this yesterday and it didn't happen so I'm posting it today. It might be any day of the week when you see this anyway so it doesn't matter, does it?! This is something I want to do every week, if possible, but I promise it won't always be about flowers. Seeing as how I've only taken about 300 pictures during the past couple of weeks (not counting the many that were deleted) it's pretty difficult to choose just one. But here we go...
And aren't you glad it isn't another pink rose? ! These callalilies, or "cup of milk" as it's translated from Portuguese, were part of the arrangement I made for the reception table at a recent musical recital. My first flower arrangement! I quite enjoyed it so don't be surprised if a new "passion" has begun!
Please note the interesting detail of the little "tail" on the one callalily! Precious.
One other interesting detail is that I now have a callalily plant and it is blooming. You might see more fotos similar to this one in the near future. Aren't you happy about that?!
Thank you, my patient readers, for "bearing with me in my folly".


"Like Them That Dream..."

Answers to prayers are sometimes like a fulfilled dream. I am rejoicing today over the victory experienced in the life of a dear Brazilian pastor's wife who is also a sister and friend. It centers around her sister who was discovered NOT to have cancer although everything pointed to it as being just that. Our God is amazing and still does miracles! In her written testimony, Lídia referred to some verses in the Psalms....

"When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them. The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad." (Ps 126: 1-3)


Pink Rose Collection #1

It has been one year since I began this blog, a year of many enjoyable (and a few frustrating) moments as I have written and posted about God's many gifts and blessings to me. If you, my readers, are being blessed even just half as much as I am through these, then I consider it well-worth my time. Honest! You currently come from 74 cities in 25 countries. I am amazed, overwhelmed and humbled and do not take that lightly for it places a huge responsibility on me as I think of the possibilities. Interestingly, I have never mentioned my collection of pink rose items, something which began shortly after my increased attraction to pink roses. So today I am beginning some posts which show some of those items that are located in various corners of our house. This one is on a small shelf in the kitchen. The mug was a gift from one of our daughters and the gravy holder was one of my mom's. The green goblets? One of the few of our wedding gifts that remain!


Pink Rose Painting

This is my imagination...of me painting a pink rose. [smile}


God's Two Sides

For several years now I've been attracted to a study of "God's 2 sides": the strong and the soft, I call it. His strong side would include His holiness, justice and power. In His soft side is seen His love, gentleness and provision. The study of Scripture shows us so much more about both of these aspects of God and they have been a great blessing to me.
We can look around us and see more than one thing that
illustrates this.
The ocean with its calm waters that softly lap on the shore...
...or with its powerful, impressive waves that crash against the rocks.
There's another illustration that may be even better-that of a father holding his newborn baby. What strength are in those arms to protect his little one but what softness to handle it with gentleness and love!

"Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him: behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.
He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young." (Isaiah 40:10,11)
(1st & 3rd photo: internet)


In Kings' Palaces

Proberbs 30:28 is probably referring to the spider's web but I thought of this verse when I saw the "palaces" that these two spiders chose for their abode. This spider chose my light pink, smell-like-a-baby rose. Indeed, a good choice! This other one opted for the darker pink one. Here she is on a soon-to-open bud..
And here she still is about two days later as the rose is quickly opening. Do you see her?...down towards the bottom of the rose. And yes, this is the same spider. The sun was glaring on it in the above photo.
Oh, we can hardly see her! Let's zoom in a bit more...
We can hardly blame them for choosing such lovely palaces, made by God Himself. The Proverb says that she is one of the "four little wise things on earth"!

"There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise... The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces." (Proverbs 30:24,28)


Oh, I Want To Know You More

 "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." (I Corinthinans 13:12)


A Flower Album

Please come with me to visit my "garden"! At first glance as you walk into my two small yards you might very well ask, Helloo? where are your flowers? But come closer and you will see that there are many different types!
We'll leave the roses and irises alone since I've showed them off in recent weeks. But not to worry, more photos of them are forthcoming in the next few weeks and months when they will be at the height of their beauty! There are five buds on one pink rose bush, one on the orange rose bush and...well, I'm just sayin'. Let's start in the front yard next to the house. Check out one of my two colors of miniature roses. This one is a deep red and is getting old but I think that just adds to its beauty-makes it look rather velvety, don't you think?
Over in the corner is a purple-leafed decorative plant which produces this tiny half-inch flower. Its name is Purple Heart.
Here's an interesting bunch of flowers! They belong to the aloe
plant. That's right, I have my own supply of this good stuff.
The late afternoon sunshine was the perfect setting for this
Now on we go to the back yard...
I have several plants of this cute little flower called a
kalanchoe. It's the easiest thing to care for, does well in
total sun or total shade, survives with almost no water
or drowned in water...I mean, how easy can it get for
those of us who do not have a very green thumb?!
Here you see this flower in red, yellow and fushcia.
Some have single petals and some have multiple ones.
Here's another little flower whose name is not known by me
but she is one perfect little beauty. Her leaves are groups of
three heart-shaped leaves. Oh, the exquisite detail God puts
into His creation!
You'd love this one! It's a type of orchid with cascading strands
of miniature orchids. I bought it on a trip three years ago and
this is the best it has ever produced!
The fragrance of these little beauties was enough to almost knock
out my dear husband who had to transfer them to a more distant
location so that they wouldn't distract them while he studied
(that's his study window behind the plant). Can you imagine?
Oh, this is flower power at its best!
I'm all about close-ups, so lets get a closer look at these...
Last, but not least, I would like to show, in memorium, our poinsettia tree which was removed from the backyard a
couple weeks ago because it was getting too big, not for its
own good, but for ours! My husband was afraid that the root system might damage our nearby water pipes. But Miss
Poinsettia put out a spectacular final display which I leave
here for you to see. A good reminder that Christmas is just
around the corner!

"Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created." (Revelation 4:11)


Scene Through An Open Door

It caught my attention every time I glanced that way...the pot of sunflowers that I could see from where I sat in church. At that morning hour the sun was usually shining through the window, so it enhanced the beauty of the flowers...
Seeing them through the slightly opened door seemed to add to their beauty. It was as if the Lord was saying "Look through those open doors of opportunity, I have beautiful things waiting for you. Trust Me."

"Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit..." (I Corinthians 2:10,11)
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)



That means Spring here in south Brazil. She was gracious on her first day here with us, giving us sunshine and gentle breezes...a bit unlike the preceeding days. I love Spring, whether here or in my beloved North Carolina. The bursting forth of new life or the promise of it is something that warms the heart and soul and is a delight to the eyes. The colors of varied types of flowers would put Crayola crayons to shame.
I will be posting more of my flower photos over the next month, I'm sure, but for now here are two of my roses-

The last rose of winter...

...and the first
rose(bud) of Spring.

I leave you with this beautiful Biblical description
of this most lovely of seasons:

"For, lo, the winter is past;
The rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of the singing of birds is come,
And the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our land; The fig-tree ripeneth her green figs,
And the vines are in blossom;
They give forth their fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away."
(Song of Solomon 2:11-13



"I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving." (Psalm 69:30)
"The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.'' (Psalm 126:3)


Mighty Waters

I was going through some favorite photos this morning and came across this one...
...taken in 2008 when we visited Iguaçu Falls for the first time, on the border where Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina meet. As I looked at this again and remembered the incredible power of that sight, I was reminded of different verses which speak of the power of water, two of which I place here. Interestingly, there IS Someone and something that is more powerful still than water like this. That is so amazing and wonderful! And available to all.
"The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea." (Psalm 93:4)
"Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it..." (Song of Solomon 8:7)


Saturday Luxury

Saturday isn't necessarily my favorite day but I do like the clean-sheet-feeling on Saturday night when I go to bed. The exercise of putting clean sheets on the bed is worth the "ahhh..." I feel when I slide into bed that night. There they are, the clean smell, the smoothness, the soft feel of years-old sheets on my skin, the delicious comfiness that only a clean bed can give.
After I smooth out the final layer I like to stand back and admire the bed and the room. On this particular day I noticed the sunshine-and the breeze blowing the curtains...

Such is the good life, filled with simple luxuries. They don't cost any money, just a moment of our time to take notice.
"Obrigada, Senhor!"