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Email problems...

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Hi everyone.  I wanted to let you know my email that is connected to this blog has been giving me issues.  I have had people tell me that when they email me it says my "inbox is full" and their emails are not going through.

I feel terrible because last week I offered a GREAT last minute opportunity to come to Italy this June and most likely some of you sent me an email to ask about the special price and I didn't respond because I'm not getting the emails!  ugh...

So I'm trying to get it fixed, but in the meantime if you were interested in this discounted pricing for the retreat this June or any other questions you may have, please use my other email account through Google:  artandfaithcreative@gmail.com

Today we are showing our house and need to be out of the house most of the day, but I will respond as soon as I can with any emails I recieve.

Have a GREAT day,

Laura

 

 

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Love, Tuesday...

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Love, Tuesday...

Good morning!

Our house is finally ON THE MARKET TODAY!!  Wow... is getting your house ready to sell a HUGE JOB or what!?!  We can't believe it's "GO TIME" but it is and we are excited to see the Lord direct our next steps.  

Yesterday morning as I was vacumming the upstairs (we had 2 showings yesterday even though technically it wasn't even on the market) and I was just having a conversation with the Lord and just at peace with whatever He wants.  This house could sell really quick or take a long time...  and I'm really OK with whatever He wants.  We feel so strongly that He is calling us to Colorado, but we truly want it to be in HIS perfect timing.  So as we were doing those final little things, I felt like ok Lord, we are doing the work and I know You will show us the next steps and the timing in all of it.  This feels right.

So here's a few photos from the lisitng on Zillow if you'd like to see them:

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We are going to miss the Mccollough Spa & Resort... hahaha  

Here's the listing if you want to see the whole thing HERE.

 

But we are ALSO going to miss these two!

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They leave right about now as I'm writing this post for Sicily and then Austria. So please pray for their flights and for peace for Victoria (she HATES to fly)  They are going to get Victoria's equivelant of a "green card" in Italy and then head to Austria for four months to serve there with Dany's family at the Castle that the church runs as a conference center.  We love them and miss them already and we so thankful to enjoy the last couple days (yes, in the middle of this crazy house business) with them here at the house and then some nice time on Sunday at church and Ponte for lunch.  Yesterday I drove them to LA and we got to spend the afternoon with them in LA having one more day of fun... pretty much eating our way through The Grove. :)

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Laduree!!  They have a brand new store in LA at The Grove and we went!  It was so beautiful... come on, just look at those little works of art for our tummy's! I was dying over that little strawberry thing... for $8.00!  But I settled on a macaron for $2.80 EACH.  Wowza, these people are crazy... but I guess they know they can get it in L.A.  ( It's much cheaper in Europe but then I guess you have to fly over there first... so maybe not.  lol)

Well, I hope you have a GREAT Tuesday!  If you know of someone moving to the Temecula area, share our listing with them please.  

Hugs,

Laura

 

 

 

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Create in Italy...

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Create in Italy...

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Want to create in Italy THIS summer?  We have a GREAT opportunity for you that doesn't come around very often!

There is ONE apartment available for our Art & Faith Creative Retreat THIS June 23 - 30, 2018.  This apartment can accomodate up to three of your friends, (1 - 3 people can fit in this apartment) so this is the perfect chance to grab YOUR spot, and bring a friend if you want to!  

Usually our summer retreats in Bellagio, Italy are sold out, so if you've been thinking about coming, this is a great chance to join one of our retreats.

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The details are under the SIGN UP page at the top for this week together, BUT you need to message me directly via the CONTACT button at the top to find out the SPECIAL pricing for this last minute opportunity! (Yes, there is an awesome last minute DEAL on the price)

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Come be inspired, refreshed and renewed... in Italy this summer.

Have a GREAT day everyone!

Hugs,

Laura

 

 

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Travel Blog...

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Travel Blog...

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If you've been to my blog at all, you know I LOVE to travel.  We host Art & Faith Creative Retreats around the world and we travel multiple times each year.  I think last year was a record for the amount of trips we took!  It was a crazy schedule, but we were so thankful for each trip the Lord brought us on.  

So I've been thinking about travel blogs lately and if that should be part of this blog.  

By the way, the photo at the top of this blog is from our 20th wedding anniversary trip to Europe in 2009.  It was our 2nd time to Venice and some time I will explain how that trip was paid for, because that was a crazy good story! Isn't Venice just beautiful... it's almost beyond our imagination.

I don't know how many of you follow any travel blogs, but if you do I would love to hear about them!  I am thinking with all the trips we take, I should be blogging more often about travel.  What do you think?  I have so many people asking me what to do, where to go... especially in Italy, that I didn't really realize how much information we could impart on a blog. 

Lance is such a FOODIE that everywhere we go he has to check out the restaurants beforehand and make all the arrangements so we are set on that.  I like to see what special things there are to do and always check if there are any flea markets or events going on while we are there. And it takes us days to research where to stay and I always go through all the Trip Advisor reviews to narrow down our search.  Even for my retreats when I need a place to stay or restaurants and things to do, I am constantly looking online for all of that.  So why not help YOU with that too?!

I think I'll check out some travel blogs and see what this world looks like...

It would definitely be different to have a faith aspect to a travel blog, but because my faith is an integral part of my life, it is weaved into every aspect of it.   Travel is where we feel the Lord calling us to step out more and more and GO, so it makes sense to share that as well on this blog.

So if this is what we are going to add to this blog, I can't start this new chapter without sharing some of our favorite places TO travel.  I'll go back in time to our early travels when we took a year off and traveled the world and then some more recent trips we took in the past few years.  Yes, we took a year off when our oldest two daughters were 3 & 7 and we decided to travel for a year around the world.  It was 2002 and just after 911, so needless to say our family was a bit nervous about this idea.  But we had a peace about it and set off on a journey we will NEVER forget.  Unfortunately it came to an end about 6 1/2 months into it, but that time we did have as just our family unit was truly priceless!  

Here's a few photos from the first time we traveled to Venice, Italy.  This was on our "trip around the world" in 2002/2003 and you will notice the photos from the digital camera/video recorder were not superior quality.

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This last one is CLASSIC in our family.  My husband will never live down the fact that he poured bird seed ON our daughters head to get this shot!  Oops... bad daddy moment. 

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Much better moment here with dad on the grass in front of the Eiffel Tower in 2011.  

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On of the prettiest staircases in Italy.  Love taking the boat over to Varenna and walking along the waterfront and getting some gelato right at this spot.

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This is such a FIND in Paris!  The lady who opened this restaurant is from the South... as in "good ol' southern" South.  She is so much fun, the restaurant is all southern food and a complete enigma in Paris, but so worth the visit!  She is moving locations (boo... going to miss this beautiful spot) but I'm sure her new location by Jardin de Luxembourg will be beautiful as well.

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A beautiful day in Monet's Garden.  This was only made MORE magical by the lovely bike ride through the countryside of Giverny.  I dream of having a retreat in this little village and just painting all day...

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Beautiful Brugge with it's canals.  I love this small city that is walkable and a great place to explore!  We can't wait to go back this summer with a group of ladies for our Paris & Brugge Creative Retreat.  

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Our favorite hidden jewel on Lake Como.  This truly is one of the most relaxing places to enjoy a few hours lakefront, with the most delicious meal of your life.  Just ask the ladies who have been here on our retreats... they will tell you about the most delicious lemon ravioli EVER.

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And if you're wondering if we just travel to Europe, the answer is definitely no.  We love our country and part of our trip around the world was actually spent half of the time in our own country!  Since that trip we have been to almost every state in the U.S. and plan to finish that list.  This is one of my favorite states in our country though... Montana.  I spent my summers traveling there with my family growing up.  We would usually go to Montana or Wyoming and I have so many memories there.  It was great to take the family back to the Bozeman area of Montana last summer and explore the Big Sky with them.

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Beautiful beaches are also a place close to my heart.  If you were to ask me where I wanted to go... it would most assuredly be close to water.  There is something about water, isn't there... something so peaceful, yet powerful.  We lived 14 years right by Laguna Beach and it still is one of our favorite places to visit.  But I also love lakes, and this beach is so quiet in the mornings you can have it all to yourself.  The picture above is from Lake Michigan and it's a place we go almost every summer to visit my brother. 

Isn't travel such a gift!  I LOVE home, but travel opens up your life is such unexpected ways.  To me it's about seeing and being in the presence of such splendor of the world that God created.  It's an amazing way to get a perspective on this big world.  I am in AWE of the One who created this big world we live in!

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Like this place.  This was a "bucket list" place for my husband.  Bora Bora was unbelievable!  I want to do a retreat here some day, because it truly is as amazing as everyone says.  The water is every color of blue and turquoise.

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This is us in 2015 outside of our overwater bungalow.  

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Look at these rays swimming right by our bungalow!  What an incredible moment.

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I can't talk about travel without mentioning my love of all things New England.  Covered bridges are some of the most beautiful pieces of architecture in my opinion.  They are so simple, yet so beautiful and nostalgic... a part of our history.  My husband and I planned our entire wedding around the fall colors changing!  Yes, it's true.  We wanted to go see the fall foliage and so we decided to get married on September 30th so we could go visit the New England states for two weeks in October.  This was almost 29 years ago... wow, I'm aging myself!  

Last fall we went back to some of the places on our honeymoon and Woodstock, Vermont will always be a place deep in our hearts.  This is such a beautiful little village that feels like you've stepped onto the set of Gilmore Girls!  I highly recommend putting this place on your list of travel destinations!

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And I can't end this post without mentioning our move to Colorado.  I was born in California and have only known California my whole life as HOME.  But something happened on a trip last summer that stirred my heart.  I've shared my story on this blog and why we feel the Lord has called us to move to Colorado and build a home and "Gathering Place," but it goes deep down into our souls and I think travel can do that to you.  It truly can stir your heart to something more.  Something I believe the Lord wants for you to do, for His purposes.  

So I encourage you to GO.  

Go travel.  

See what God has so beautifully made.  

Seek Him while you travel.  

Be still, and ask Him what He is stirring in your heart.

It's the WHY behind my retreats...

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My heart is to share that with you and I hope some day to meet you on one of our travels.

In the coming months we will be giving our website a fresh new look!  It will also make it easier to find blog posts on specific topics, like travel, or information on our retreats and art classes.

Have a BLESSED day,

Laura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Walk this way...

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Walk this way...

 

Last weeks "Love, Tuesday" I touched on the subject of how to know "what to do."  I was talking to someone this week and that same thing came up and it was funny because we all do want that "sticky note" from God spelling it all out for us!  

But it's not that easy.  Not that the Lord is trying to make it hard.  I wrote in a blog post about how He is calling us NEAR to Him, to have that close relationship where we are so close to Him that He can whisper in our ear.

This verse in Isaiah speaks to that:

Isaiah 30:21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

I love the picture of this.  Being so connected and close to our Creator that He is with us, whispering in our ear.

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My daughter asked me last night if I just sat still in the Lord's presence and listened.  I was having a bad headache again and just physically and emotionally drained, and I was a mess.  I've shared how the Lord speaks to us many different ways, and one is through other people.  So it was just so sweet how He spoke through her last night.  Reminding me that I KNOW this, but I'm not practicing this.  I don't even know the last time I did this... probably this past Fall in the backyard, but I'd have to go back in my prayer journal to find exactly when.  So thank you Jesus for reminding us that You are here... we just need to lean in and listen.

Prayer is supposed to be a conversation with our God.  Yet I think we can get so caught up in our prayers and the long list of people to pray for, cares to pray for, needs to be prayed for, etc. etc...  that we don't have a two way conversation, it's a one way conversation.  Which really isn't a conversation at all, right?  Mark Batterson talks about this in his book Whisper, but last night it was Rebecca reminding me that we ask God things as we pray, we seek Him earnestly as we pray and we talk, talk, talk and then Amen.... we're done and we go about our day.  But He's up there ready to speak and we're finished with our prayers and onto the next thing!  Sound familiar to any of you? I know it does for me... hahaha

Yes, there is a LOT to be praying for... just turn on the news or read Facebook... we live in a hurting world.

But the one who MADE us, LOVES us, CARES for us, wants to SPEAK to us.  And, He will CARRY us. Love this image I found on Pinterest.  It just seems like an image of a peaceful moment where she is looking out and listening to her Savior's voice.

 

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I pray you will take the time to draw close to the Lord in prayer and have that conversation He's wanting to have with you. I know I need it so deeply as we go forward in so many new things and put a season behind us.  

What I am finding in this "middle" is that He is not only "behind us" whispering in our ear, He is also going "before us" and I want to share a really cool story about that next time.  It ties in with this and also how the Lord speaks through people, because this time it was the guy who came to fix our wood floors!  True story... 

I LOVE these little confirmations along the path that He is preparing for us, don't you?

Have a GREAT day!

Hugs,

Laura

 

 

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Upcoming Creative Retreats in Italy...

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Upcoming Creative Retreats in Italy...

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How's everyone's week starting off? 

The weather here in sunny California is... SUNNY.  as in, 95 degrees sunny!  YIKES.  Lots of house preparations are taking place in our home in the next couple of weeks to get it ready to put on the market.  Once we have things all pretty, I'll share some photos on here.  That way, if you know of anyone moving to the Temecula area and looking for a home, you can pass the information on to them.  

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Yesterday, I posted some photos about our Art & Faith Creative Retreat this Fall in Bellagio.  I wanted to share that post here and let you know there are only a few more spaces left.  I get a lot of questions about when I will be having another retreat, so here's your chance to join us at this one!

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Here's what I posted on my @creativeretreats IG account:

I want to invite you to Italy with us this October. There are only a few more spots open and I know the Lord has these open for a reason. For those of you wondering if this is what you need... if stepping away from life for a week and renewing your spirit is what you long for, if resting in the Lord and refreshing your soul is what you’ve been praying for.

I’m telling you right now... Sheila Atchley and I are so ready to share with you what the Lord is calling us women “in the middle” towards. God is so, so good and His love for us is beyond what we can imagine. I encourage you to pray about this week away. God is doing BIG things ladies, and He has plans for all of us. We can’t wait to see how He draws us close to Him during this week together, but also how He knits us together as a group that gives Him the Glory through it all! We invite you to come. October 6-13, 2018 in Bellagio, Italy. We can’t wait to meet you in Italy. 🇮🇹 

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It's going to be an AMAZING week with Sheila!  And this time of year is divine.  October is such beautiful on the lake with all the leaves changing and the weather just about to change.  Oh, Ic can't WAIT to be back with another group.   I will share more on our classes as we get closer.  I know there are some local ladies wanting to join in on the classes and I should have that information by mid summer.  Here's a sneak at one of Sheila's classes and then one of my bible journaling pages.

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If you are still wanting to join us on this retreat, I do encourage you to pray about it and come join us if you feel lead.  Sheila and I really do feel the Lord is moving in BIG ways for this week that we are praying over.

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If 2018 isn't going to work for you, I've also lots of inquiries about my 2019 retreats.  I am still praying about that and I've asked someone I adore to join me next year!  BUT, I will only have ONE RETREAT NEXT YEAR.  With the move and building a home and Gathering Place in Colorado, I do think life is going to be a bit busy...

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So if you are planning on joining us next year, there will only be one Art & Faith Creative Retreat in 2019, and that will be in Bellagio, Italy.  Most likely it will be in late June.  I don't have the dates set in stone yet, but will let you know in the next month what we have decided. If you are interested in joining us for this, please leave me a note on the Contact page above.  I will put you on the INTEREST LIST and you'll be the first to hear all the details.

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I look forward to meeting you in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and enjoy some coffee and Jesus with you!  

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This is the hotel where the weeklong event takes place.  Isn't it stunning in that Fall glow?!

Here is the link to the page with all the retreats for this year.  I can also add a couple people to this summers retreat for those who are last minute decision makers.  That retreat is THIS June 23-30 and also in Bellagio, Italy.  

Have a GREAT day everyone.

Hugs,

Laura 

 

 

 

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Love, Tuesday...

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Love, Tuesday...

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Last week we spent four days in Colorado going through a TON of meetings for the home.  It was fun and exciting, and stressful and daunting.  But, through it all it still remains one of the most amazing things that has happened in our lives.  Ever.  Because it is being directed by the Lord.

How many times have you wanted to do something, or thought about doing something, or dreamed about something and really just wanted to know WHAT TO DO??  Sometimes I like to say "I wish we had a sticky note from God!"  Don't you just feel like that sometimes?  Lord, just TELL ME what you want me to do?!  We mull over, stress out and go over the Pro's & Con's until we are blue in the face... but we just want to know, what we should do!

But how DO we know?

I'm not going to sit here and tell you "I have the answer" to ALL of life's questions... I will tell you though that there IS a way to find out what that sticky note would say.

In Mark Patterson's book "Whisper" he talks about the different ways we hear God. "The voice that spoke the cosmos into existence is the same voice that parted the Red sea, and made the sun stand still in the midday sky.  One day, this voice will make all things new, but it’s also speaking to you now!  That voice is God’s voice, and what we’ve learned from Scripture is that He often speaks in a whisper.  Not to make it difficult to hear Him, but to draw us close."  

Did you get that?  He's wanting us to come NEAR to Him.  That is KEY.  Just like I mentioned yesterday,  Jesus died on a cross with His arms stretched out wide... for YOU and for Me.  To have a relationship with Him, to come NEAR to Him.  He already showed us how much He loves us by giving His life so that WE could have life.  So why wouldn't we trust Him? Why wouldn't we want to listen closely for His voice and direction?

Not just when we NEED something or WANT something.  But daily listen to Him by reading His Word, worshiping Him through songs of worship, by being thankful in our hearts.

Colossians 3:16 says: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God."

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It's in that close connection that you will find the answers. So thankful for that.

I talked about what my son-in-law said a few weeks ago in a blog post a week or so ago, when they were praying and seeking answers from the Lord on going to Austria for a short term mission trip and time of rest and renewal.  He was seeking the Lord and they were trying to see if this was what they should do.  And in that, they felt that Proverbs 16:9 answered their questions... but not in the way that maybe most people would see that verse.

Proverbs 16:9 says: "A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps."

Most people may see this verse and think "Well since God directs my steps, I need to wait on Him to show me what they are and NOT plan my own steps... or anything until I hear from Him."

What Dany shared was that he saw it the other way around.  

God knows our hearts.  He PUTS desires there, IN our hearts.  When we may be thinking about our future and there is something on our hearts... They are there for a reason. So it's ok to step out and plan.  The Lord will then direct those plans. "He directs our steps."  If they are of the Lord, He will confirm them.  If they are not the direction He would have you to go, then He will shut those doors.  

I love that and I have felt that in this whole journey of us moving our lives to Colorado.

We had no idea this was the path the Lord was taking us.  But how did it start?  A shift IN plans.  Looking back on it now, I see that it was all part OF the plan.  God's plan.  But it started with plans.  Then because those changed, He was able to stir something in us, that we would have NEVER had happen if He hadn't changed our plans.   Then we started praying about it and waiting... and then researching and planning... and waiting, and seeking Him through His Word and listening.  It's all part of the process of finding out what IS the steps that the Lord would have us take.

So how do we know what IS the plan?  How do we know if what we desire is just our own self serving desires or God's desires/plans for our lives? 

I think it's ok to go forward and plan. And in that, step out in faith and PRAY.  Seek the Lord through His Word.  Listen for His voice.  

Mark Patterson's book Whisper shares how the Lord speaks in many different ways:
~ Through His Word
~ Through other people
~ Through open or closed doors
~ Through our desires
~ Through dreams
~ Through pain
~ Through promptings

I'm sure there are more ways He speaks, but I encourage you to start listening. You WILL hear Him if you pay attention.

If I go back in my journal (I highly recommend keeping one when you are in the middle of big decisions) I could write a list of the ways we have seen the Lord reveal to us this new adventure He has us on.  I cry tears of amazement when I look back and see this journey and how far we have already come!  Oh, I know there's a lot more to go and a lot of "stretching" still to do... but that we are on the right path... that is evident and I am in AWE of His goodness to us.  

Now we may mess up and veer down the wrong path (which will cause pain) or we may hear the Lord directing us to wait. (or a closed door will come up along the way)  But I think that is just fine tuning what He is calling us to do, or fine tuning US to listen better and obey.  I honestly don't know what the end of this will look like, but I know we are truly trying to seek those answers as we go down this path.  We feel it's about ministry and about His work that He wants us to do.  Yes, we get a nice piece of land and a home and gathering place along this path.  But please know that my heart is for the Lord to get ALL the Glory... not so that I can have a great kitchen island or really nice fridge.  That part is so secondary that I don't even care what kind of fridge we have or the color of the cabinets.  Yes, it's part of the process and I know God is in the details (check out how detailed He was with His temple and how it should be built) but I can't wait until all that is done and we get to start working on the REAL stuff.  The gathering at the table...STUFF.

I love this verse in Psalm 37:23:

The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
    He delights in every detail of their lives.

He delights in the details of our lives.  How awesome is that?!  

Think about that as you go about your day.  The CREATOR of the Universe cares about YOUR details.  Your life.  He truly does.  This isn't made up, this isn't fake news.  There is a God and He loves you and cares about you and wants to draw you close to His loving arms.  He has BIG plans for you... are you ready to hear them?

That is what I LOVE this Tuesday, and I hope you draw close to Him this week, and listen.

I'll end this post with a few cuties I love too...

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These two sisters live on the same campus for one more month, and I know they are going to miss each other big time.

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This girl is already wanting to apply to Interior Design school!  I loved seeing her looking through the Interior Design section at Tattered Bookstore in Denver. This home building is HER thing!

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It was a joy to have the whole family on this trip, and to get to go through this process with all of them.  Dany & Victoria leave soon so this was the last trip we get to take with them for a while.  We enjoyed staying downtown in Denver and finding some really great Coffee houses and restaurants and cool areas to explore.  They LOVE Denver and we are hoping and praying that the Lord will call them to move here after they are done serving in Austria.  But either way, we treasure the time we get to have with our whole family together and this was a great time with them, and with old and new friends as well.

Have a GREAT Tuesday.

Hugs,

Laura

Inspiration Note:  The guitar Bible Journaling page was inspired by a page I saw on Pinerest pinned by Katherine Nalywaiko

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Happy Monday, because of Sunday!

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Happy Monday, because of Sunday!

Well, Good Morning day after Resurrection Sunday!  

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Easter cake for breakfast the next day is a good thing, right?  

I hope you all had a great Easter and had a chance to celebrate what a beautiful day Easter marks on the calendar.  All our HOPE is in the sacrifice Jesus willingly made for our sins to be forgiven.  THANK YOU JESUS!

Yesterday was a bit strange for us as we had gotten home from Colorado late Saturday night and Lance got really sick.  So he had to stay home from church and I stayed home with him (he had a really high fever) and then Rebecca and Isabella were headed to church and her car went all wonky and had to come home and change to my car.  Which then Isabella was crying because she had a headache (which she's never had before) and so she ended up staying home as well!  Ugh... we felt like the enemy did NOT want us going to church.  But, we sat on our couch (minus Lance who was confined to watch it in our bedroom) and watched our service from home.  

I'll share more from that service tomorrow, because there was so much that I took away from it and I want to share that with you.  

After Church we had the family over (Lance was still confined to the bedroom) and enjoyed a somewhat altered Easter gathering, but nice all the same.  I was thinking about that last night because it was different in that Lance was sick, we had just gotten home from Colorado, I didn't decorate for Easter, there were very minimalist Easter baskets for the girls... and we just simply "Gathered at the Table" without the pomp and circumstance.  No pictures were taken, except for some very funny video's the girls took on my phone, and there were no pretty dresses bought, and no Easter egg hunt.  And in a strange way, that was so freeing.  Yes, I have LOVED all those things and have partaken in all those things as our girls have grown up.  But what I felt yesterday was this COMFORT from the simplicity of it all.  

Last night as I was sitting on the couch alone after everyone had gone home, I realized that all the "stuff" we make things out to be is totally fine, but TOTALLY not necessary to FEEL and LIVE in the moment of a special day, like Resurrection Sunday.  

What came over me is this peace and comfort I felt from knowing that what Jesus did was such a GIFT of FREEDOM.  

His hands and feet nailed to that cross were for YOU and ME.  

Our pastor said it so beautifully...  "Jesus' hands were open wide on that cross and that's a picture of His open arms for us to come to Him."  So many times we think God's looking at us with hands crossed and that look of chastisement, like a father upset with his children, but it's the opposite of that.  His love is so deep and wide and OPEN...

I hope you feel that today.

Forgiveness was bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

 

Take a moment to listen to this song from Elevation Worship.

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Here's the fun Easter cake my sister-in-law brought for dessert yesterday.

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And the very minimalist baskets for the girls. (Dany & Victoria got one too :)

Have a beautiful Monday!

Hugs,

Laura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Let's talk about Hope...

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Let's talk about Hope...

We all need a little hope, right?  In this world we live in, there is enough of EVERYTHING else that can take away our hopes and dreams and replace it with fear and doubt.  Just turn on the news on any given day and this world looks pretty bleak.  Which makes me think of what Jesus said, in John 14:1 "Let not your heart be troubled..."  

That's easier said than done, right?

But then their is this word: HOPE.  

What is hope?  Where does it come from... where should we place our hope.  Let's take a look at that word and what it means....

Here's the dictionary definition:

Hope: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

Here's a couple of my favorite Bible verses about Hope:

 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure..." Hebrews 6:19

Seems to me there is a difference between the worlds definition of hope and God's hope... so how do we get to the biblical view of hope.

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Romans 15:4 "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope."

Hope through the Scriptures, God's Word.  

Well, if you're anything like me you've maybe misplaced your hope, or forgotten where it comes from.  Instead we hope in many "things" of this world...
~ hope that we have a nice weekend or vacation
~ hope we get that job or house we want
~ hope that those test goes well
~ hope that what that person told us was the truth
~ and the list goes on and on...

When we hope in "things" or people, (Like the Webster's definition of the word) we are/or can be disappointed, which leads us back to that troubled heart. And that is NOT what the Lord wants for us. He wants our trust and hope to be in Him. (like that verse above in Jeremiah 29:11)

So where are we placing our hope?  

And wow do we stop this vicious cycle? 

This year has been a doozy of a year so far.  I have felt "STRETCHED" (my #OLW word for the year) in more areas of my life than ever before.  I think I'm not the only one either... I've heard from a lot of friends that are experiencing this stretching.  Are you as well? But as I realize this is happening, the other day I was reminded of my word from LAST year which was:

HOPEFUL.

 

Oh, that's right... a year focused on this word and I forget it so quickly? How easy it is to loose sight of things.  The enemy loves to distract us and keep us from TRUTH.  He wants us to live in the world and not focus on God's Word.  He wants the distractions of this world to pull us away from seeing the Bible as an instruction manual like Romans 15:4 says above.  That's why everywhere you turn, the media and this world mocks the Bible.  "It's not relevant, it's just a book, it's not real... the list goes on and on.

But God is SO good and He lovingly brings us back...

Back to the ONLY place I can point you or anyone to.  To find peace from those question marks in our lives...

and that is directly to God's Word.  

 

It is the only place we can go, to find the true source of HOPE.

Oh dear friends, I've felt ALL those question marks too... just in this last week alone it's been fighting that troubled heart over and over.  So I'm not telling you anything that I don't need to hear just as much!  I think my emotions could have jolted the Richter Scale, believe you, me.   (I think part of that is my 49+ hormones kicking in...) but also just the enemy telling us lies, because he's good at that.  

 

But, God.

 

I love that.  My dear friend Sheila Atchley wrote that in a IG post a little while ago and I thought... Yes.  But, God.  Sure, everything else can feel messed up and wrong, but God can change ANYTHING.  He's the "SWITCH" that turns life around.

The ONLY true place to find REAL hope & REAL peace is close by Jesus' side.  

I am so thankful He is ever SO patient with our ramblings, our rationalizations, our plans, etc. etc...  Then after we've gone through all those annoying "self help talks" to ourselves,  He gently reminds us to come back to REST by His side.  To step into that place of STILLNESS with Him where He has space to speak to our restless hearts and give us His peace and hope.

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“Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”  Psalm 46:10

I'm studying a GREAT YouVersion plan called "Spiritual Disciplines & Evangelism" and it's teaching me so much! (Highly recommend this one)  Here's just one little nugget from the day on Silence & Solitude:

"In solitude & silence is where all our cares are pushed to the background and we are able to rediscover what it means that God has NEVER left our side.  We find God's nearness and BIGNESS simultaneously."

Don't we just LONG for that... Oh how we desperately NEED that!

Why is it then that we make our lives so much more complicated?


Oh we are so silly... What we need to remind ourselves of is that He is beckoning us to Him.  To rest in Him.  He wants to calm our hearts, to fight our battles and to SIMPLIFY our lives.  Yesterday after I realized I had cried about 1/2 a dozen times, I was just DONE.  But then I felt His presence just call me to Him.  To take that time to spend in His Word, with Him.  So I stopped crying, went out in my backyard and had some "Silence and Solitude" time.  Journal in hand, this blog post is what came from that time, and it's what I wanted to share with YOU.  

Because He encourages us with His HOPE...  Daily, or sometimes moment by moment.  I promise you, we need to get out of the way and let Him simplify our lives.

He is near... and He is so dear.  

I hope this weekend you feel the Lord's presence as you draw near to Him through His Word and through prayer.  Find peace and rest and the HOPE that only comes from Him.

His HOPE encourages us to then go out and help others find this joy of life that can be had in Him.

Hugs,

Laura

P.S. Next week I want to go deeper into this and talk about how this HOPE from God flows through to our lives and the plans we make.  So this weekend just sit in that silence and solitude for a while.  It's where you can always go to find rest.  But it's not where we can stay.  The Lord does want us to plan and work and have lives FULL...

 

 

 

 

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Love, Tuesday...

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Love, Tuesday...

It's BIRTHDAY time!

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This guy right here by my side is turning 55 today!  I guess he's going to want to use his "Senior Discount" on his birthday dinner tonight...  hahaha  

But I'm turning the BIG "50" September 1st, so I shouldn't give him too hard of a time.  Ugh.

Time is going by so fast and even though I'm not a fan of getting older, I am so thankful to have this man by my side.  I pray we have many more years to share life together and see what God has for us to do!

On that note...

This past week we have had some possibilities come to light and we are praying those through.  We have a lot of decisions to make in the next couple weeks as we move forward on the house in Colorado and end our time here in California.  It's amazing how fast God works and would love prayers for guidance.  I know that sounds kind of vague, but I will share more as we have some answers soon.

Have a GREAT Tuesday,

Laura

 

 

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