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Delighting in my God, I desire to dwell in His pleasure and to help others experience true delight.

"Delight Yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
And He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your judgment as the noonday.  
Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;..." Ps 37:4-7a

Monday, November 17, 2014

Blog Blitz 2.0 is Here

     I can't believe how long it has been since I checked into my blog. It is so easy to let the months roll by since time is a limited commodity. I find myself stretched thin during the school year as a homeschool mom even with only one child left under my tutelage. Since the computer can easily distract me from my top priorities, so I try to relegate blogging to the bottom of the to-do list.
     Today, however, I'm back to recommit to the "Blog Blitz 2.0."

                                      
                                    

     In March 2013 DL Hammons started the blog blitz as "a tool for focusing blogosphere energy for fun" and encouraging bloggers. It is fun. It's a simple way to meet other bloggers, to expose oneself to new blogs, and to be part of that positive blogosphere energy. 
     I haven't been blitzed yet, and honestly, I hope I am not anytime soon, because I am not spending the time on my blog that I would like to at the moment, so I don't really deserve or desire a blitz. However I like to hop aboard the blitz of others whenever I can, keeping my hand and head in the blogosphere a little bit. Though I can't do it every time, it is a little pleasure for me to be a blessing to a fellow blogger in this small way when I can.
     I do hope when I am more regularly blogging to one day wake up and have some extra visitors who might like what they see but for now, I'll be a blitzer. If you are a blogger or if you aren't, this is a fun and worthwhile  blog hop to be a part of. So hop on over to DL Hammons blog and sign on to the blog blitz 2.0. You'll be glad you did.
     
                               Have a delight filled day!  God bless, Maria 
 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Midlife Collage Writing Contest



How fun to discover writing contests in the blogosphere that are actually simple enough for me to understand and participate in.  In the last post I mentioned Write Club.  DL Hammon also runs another blog hop called Blog Blitz.  And you can sign on too.

What's Blog Blitz?   On a intermittent though semi-regular basis, someone is selected to received a visit from the rest of the group.  Since there are nearly 500 bloggers on the list, and growing, even if everyone can't participate, the blitzee still receives a spike in comments.  What a nice treat for a blogger.  Thanks DL for coming up with this great idea.  It's been a pleasure to participate in this wonderful blogging community of blitzers.  

Through the Blog Blitz I have been introduced some fabulous bloggers and other contests out there as well.  One of those I came across through this week's Blog Blitz of Kim Van Sickler who wrote a entry piece called Towpath Trail Adventures for the weekly Midlife Collage writing competition.  It's a free writing competition, but does offer monetary compensation to the winners.  You can check out the website for all the particulars.   What I like about it is how clear and easy to understand submissions are and how fun it is to read the entries even if you aren't ready to participate yourself.  I added both Kim and the Midlife Collage to my blog role because I found both worth a follow. 

Midlife Collage Writing Contest
Again, Thanks DL.   You are helping us all to delight in the journey.  
                                                                 God bless, Maria

Monday, June 30, 2014

Write Club: Don't Miss It

Write Club
If you haven't yet checked out the write club competition, get on over there and take a ring side seat.  Each week, for 16 weeks two 500 word pieces are posted.  Selected from an initial pool of 500 in various genres, these pairing square off for a vote from us the audience.  The winners of each week are then chosen based on audience input to compete in the finals and semi finals.  

You can read the previous weeks winners and participate in selecting in the current bout.  It's oodles of fun and may inspire you to compete in next year's competition.  Check out Write Club here.   I know you will enjoy the experience.
________________________________________________________
                                        
I want to thank Jerry Beuterbaugh for mentioning my blog as a site to see over at As the Crackerhead Crumble.  I am humbled an honored to be mentioned.  Jerry has some other great recommendations as well.  Another blog worth checking out if you haven't yet discovered it.

                                     Delighting in the journey.  God bless, Maria 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Join us for Call2Fall





The Call2Fall is nothing fancy.  It is simple.  On Sunday, June 29, 2014, let's get on our knees and faces before the Lord in repentant prayer, pleading with God to reshape our lives, renew our land, and send times of refreshing (See 2 Chronicles 7:14; Acts 3:19).

Join us in living out the Call2Fall Declaration and preparing our hearts for Sunday, June 29th.   

You can find out more on the Call2Fall Website.  Can we ever pray enough for our nation?  Spread the word.



Call2Fall
  
Call2Fall

Thursday, June 19, 2014

More Puritan Prayer

In my last post, I mentioned that I have recently become enamored with Puritan Prayer through the introduction of my pastor.  Here are two more of the Puritan Prayers I found so very compelling.  I hope they bless you as they did me.

                                     Spiritual Helps

Eternal Father, it is amazing love, that You have sent Your Son to suffer in my stead, that You have added the Spirit to teach, comfort, guide, that You have allowed the ministry of angels to wall me round; all heaven subserves the welfare of a poor worm.  Permit Your unseen servants to be ever active on my behalf, and to rejoice when grace expands in me. Suffer them never to rest until my conflict is over, and I stand victorious on salvation's shore.

Grant that my proneness to evil, deadness to good, resistance to Your Spirit's motions, may never provoke You to abandon me. May my hard heart awake Your pity, not Your wrath, And if the enemy gets an advantage through my corruption, let it be seen that heaven is mightier than hell, that those for me are greater than those against me. Arise to my help in richness of covenant blessings, keep me feeding in the pastures of Your strengthening Word, searching Scripture to find You there.

If my waywardness is visited with a scourge, enable me to receive correction meekly, to bless the reproving hand, to discern the motive of rebuke, to respond promptly, and do the first work. Let all Your fatherly dealings make me a partaker of Your holiness. Grant that in every fall I may sink lower on my knees, and that when I rise it may be to loftier heights of devotion. May my every cross be sanctified, every loss be gain, every denial a spiritual advantage, every dark day a light of the Holy Spirit, every night of trial a song. 

                               The Valley of Vision

Lord,
high and holy, meek and lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory.
Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord,
in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine;
let me find Thy light in my darkness,
Thy life in my death,
Thy joy in my sorrow,
Thy grace in my sin,
Thy riches in my poverty,
Thy glory in my valley.


I decided I had to purchase the book, The Valley of Vision which stirred my passion for these prayers. These cause me to delight even more in my God.
                                                                                 God bless, Maria

Monday, June 16, 2014

Discovering the Power of Puritan Prayers


Recently my pastor shared a Puritan prayer in church from a little book called The Valley of Vision.  It so blessed me that I asked if he would email me a copy of the prayer.

"Here Maria.  Why don't you borrow the book for a couple weeks?"

Reading some of these prayers, I have been so profoundly moved.  Several I have copied to share with family and friends.  I searched on the web to see if I could find easier versions to email and I found Puritan Prayers which replicate many of the prayers from my pastor's little book.   I hope to  commit some of them to memory.  I want to learn to pray like this from my heart, to pour my heart out with the depth of appreciation these godly folks had for their state and the awesomeness of God, His love, and His grace.  I want to pray like this.

Portrait of the Founding Fathers at the signing in the Capitol Rotunda

As God would have it, in the midst of contemplating the place of prayer in my life, I was privileged to take a tour of the US Capitol exploring our spiritual roots with the Center of Christian Statesmanship.  One of our guides, Congressman Forbes of Virginia, pointed out the place of prayer in our country's history and its transformative power before the birth of our nation.  Again my heart was pricked as I considered what greater role I should be giving to prayer for my nation. 

Today we don't give nearly the time and devotion to God in our prayers that was true of our Christian predecessors.  They would spend hours in prayer to our minutes, and it made a difference in their lives and their purposes, because they aligned their lives and purposes with God's meta-purpose.  Though I try to keep a prayerful stance, praying continually, I don't spend the devoted time in contemplative and repentive prayer that I believe I should.  Puritan prayers like these in this little book come from a heart that has been bathed in the presence of God in prayer and time in the Word of God.  I don't believe it flows from a few minutes, but from practiced Christian Discipline.

Now it's good to pray for whatever time you do.  However, as I read the prayers of these humble saints, I long for more of God.  God was so gracious to have these prayers committed to paper so that we could glimpse what beauty awaits us if we will pour our hearts out to the Lord and let Him fill us up.  How glorious we become in our contriteness because in our weakness, He is strong.

Here is the prayer that started me on this journey.

 
Blessed Lord Jesus,
Before thy cross I kneel and see
the heinousness of my sin,
my iniquity that caused thee to be
‘made a curse’,
the evil that excites the severity
of divine wrath.
Show me the enormity of my guilt by
the crown of thorns,
the pierced hands and feet,
the bruised body,
the dying cries.
Thy blood is the blood of incarnate God,
its worth infinite, its value beyond all thought.
Infinite must be the evil and guilt
that demands such a price.
Sin is my malady, my monster, my foe, my viper,
born in my birth,
alive in my life,
strong in my character,
dominating my faculties,
following me as a shadow,
intermingling with my every thought,
my chain that holds me captive in the
empire of my soul.
Sinner that I am, why should the sun give me light,
the air supply breath,
the earth bear my tread,
its fruits nourish me,
its creatures subserve my ends?
Yet thy compassions yearn over me,
thy heart hastens to my rescue,
thy love endured my curse,
thy mercy bore my deserved stripes.
Let me walk humbly in the lowest depths
of humiliation,
bathed in thy blood,
tender of conscience,
triumphing gloriously as an heir of salvation.


A version of this prayer has been committed to song and can be heard at Sovereign Grace Music.  You can listen to or purchase the song or the album on this website.

                                                                              God bless, Maria

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Exciting Energy Technologies

We hear a lot in the news about global warming this, climate change that.  Instead of the US government forcing more regulations and restrictions down our throats when all of that has proven only to stifle creativity, impede progress, and downright harm our people and the very environment the government purports to seek to protect, why not encourage those who are making positive progress.  

I know.  You may say that that has failed as well, since they seem to always bet on failing or corrupt companies to invest our tax dollars in promoting.  However, when we survey the landscape of companies that are making excellent progress, there is no need to be discouraged.  We simply have to get the government out of the way and let these companies soar.  

enow Energy Solutions Blog

One such company I have been keeping my eye on is ENowENow  is a company harnessing the power of solar technology for motor vehicles, especially the trucking industry.  The CEO recently appeared on Power Pitch to talk about their product line.  It's amazing what this start up company is doing with solar technology.  I hope they are able to take off and get their product moving literally and figuratively.

What new technologies give you hope for the future of energy?  Is there something you have heard about or come across that just makes you go "WOW!"?  Do you have something that you think more of the world should know about?  I'd love to hear about your discovery as well.  Maybe we can help these companies get the word out to the world.  Pass the word about enow too. 
                                    
                                                   God bless, Maria


Monday, June 9, 2014

Celebrating Our Graduate



Celebrating our Graduate as a Family
 This past Saturday, June 7, 2014, we graduated our 4th of five children from our homeschool, another milestone reached for him and for his dad and me.
5 of My Gifts from God

That's my boy!
 Exuberant and loving, Kipp is a joy in our home.  I am blessed he won’t be leaving us just yet.  He has elected to pursue his associate’s degree in computer science at the community college before continuing at a 4-year institution, if the Lord allows.  There is joy in the journey.

At his graduation ceremony, the president of our state homeschool group was also watching her youngest child of nine graduate. She noted that though people often comment that this is a bittersweet time, she disagreed.  

“It’s just sweet,” she professed.  

I’m not sure any transition is ‘just sweet’ for me, but there is a sense of that sweetness in the respite of accomplishment, of completion.  There is a sweetness in watching the little ones we brought into the world now prepared, albeit never fully, to take on that world themselves.  There is sweetness in remembering, because it is the sweetness of the memories that remains.  

Our Fine Young Men
Yet how easily tears flow these days as each transition not only brings its own twinge of trauma, but also a re-visitation of all transition traumas past.  So…sweet yes, but it is a sweetness that exposes both weakness and strength, tenderness, with all its facets, yet energetic vitality for what’s ahead.  There is joy in the journey, even in transitions.

         So as you celebrate your own transitions, whether they be graduations, or weddings, or something else, I encourage you to cherish them.  Bask in the moments, because they pass so quickly.  They are gifts from God.  Let go of the lies that rob you of your sweetness, and treasure the preciousness of your life.  Even in transition one can relish and delight in the joy of the journey.

Transitions Make Memories
 To you my special family:  I love you guys.  You are all and each special blessings to me from God.  And I will thank Him all the days of my life for you.  Go forth.  Be a blessing and be blessed.     Love, Mom

Monday, May 26, 2014

Our Coquina Vacation


Recently my honey and I got away for a few days to Daytona Beach.  It was a wonderful, relaxing few days, watching sunrises over the ocean horizon, listening to the rolling waves, and walking the beach morning and evening.  


On our first walk, my husband, who grew up in Daytona, introduced me to what became the delight of this vacation.  It was a perfect evening.  The temperature was perfect. The breeze was perfect.   The water was perfect.  As we walked along, we looked for the little holes that show up as the tide goes out. Just for fun, we like to try to find the tiny crabs that Colin calls sand fleas.  I was about to rediscover the 5 year old in me.


“Ah, no sand fleas - just periwinkles.  Did you see the periwinkle dig its way into the sand?” 


“No.  I didn’t know periwinkles dig into the sand.”


And so I watched.


“Oh I saw it.  I saw it.”  I squealed excitedly.  “I can’t believe I never knew about this in all the years we have been coming here.  This makes my night.”


We continued to stroll along looking for the tiny burrowing clams.  Later we found out they weren’t periwinkles at all, but coquinas.  Though I may have seen them on prior visits, the nice thing about being over 50 is that I often get to experience things again as if it’s the first time.  I was so captivated by this new discovery that I looked forward to researching what I could on the net and getting back to the beach for further observation.


Each day we learned something new.  I would spend hours on the beach just watching.  I not only saw them burrow, but discovered them rising from the hidden homes by the millions.  As the tide comes in, they slowly poke out, until the timing is just right for the waves to wash them further inland.  It is an amazing site to behold.  They rise in mass by the millions all along the beach just to be pulled by the waves a few inches to a few feet.  Many of them die in the process.


If you take the time to watch the video, (It’s only about 40 seconds), look to the top to see the tiny creatures rising up from the sand.  Then wait to watch the multitude of shell creatures tossed forward by the waves only to borrow back down.  What an awesome Creator to have conceived such incredible creatures.  

video 

There are more video posts on you tube which may be better than my attempt.  We decided to call this our coquina vacation since we spent so much of our time enjoying and exploring the life of the coquinas.  I'm not done discovering yet.  

On another note, there are only a few more days to submit your 500 word piece for the Write Club Competition.  It closes May 31st.  Hop on over to D L Hammons to check out all the particulars of this exciting writing competition opportunity.  

Write Club



Friday, May 23, 2014

A to Z still Going

Just returned from a great vacation on the beach in Daytona, Florida. We watched the sunrise several mornings - just breathtaking.  I need a better camera.

Sunrise on Daytona Beach, May 23, 2014


Now I'm a guest on the A to Z Challenge blog.  Hop over for a visit.  And then visit M.J.Joachim's Writing Tips and take the A to Z survery.  Still riding on the road trip.
                                                                                God bless, Maria

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

On a Road Trip

Whew!  I can't believe it's been already 15 days since the April A to Z challenge ended.  I joined the A to Z road trip, visiting those A to Z blogs and posts I didn't get a chance to visit during April.


No rules, just ride through as many and as often as you can.  It's a lot of fun, and you can sign up by adding your name to the linky here.  I have been going at a slow pace because, alas, as soon as I signed up, I got sick.  I'm still recovering, but have enough in me to at least invite you all along for the ride.  If you didn't participate in the challenge this year, check out the challenge website to see the ongoing story of the challenge as posts continue.  You may be intrigued enough to consider it next time around in April 2015.

At the top of the website, you can find the links for those who signed up for the challenge or for the those who wrote reflections on the challenge.  The link for the road trip was not at the top of the website at the time of this posting, but I hope they add that as well since this is the fourth annual road trip, after all.

I've already discovered some great blogs while on the road trip, traveling through various reflections on the challenge.  One was the website of The Slightly Eccentric Diary of Rob Z Tobor.  His reflection was a parody of Jack in the Beanstalk that he titled Fee Fi Fo Fum.  It's a hoot.  Check it out here.

There are lots of wonderful blogs in the blogosphere, no doubt.   There are also a plethora of writing challenges, parties, linkys, etc.  It can take over your life.  The A to Z challenge is a place to expose oneself to a wide assortment of different writers, styles, topics, people from all over the world, and yet, as more than one member of this diverse group has put it, still feel a sense of community.  It's quite incredible really.  I'm very glad someone invited me to check it out and join in.  Now I am inviting you.  
                                                                                      God bless, Maria

Monday, May 5, 2014

A to Z Challenge 2014, Reflections

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As I reflect on this year’s A to Z challenge, I find a smile come to my face, satisfied to have completed another and already planning for next April.  Why smile?  Well it feels good to accomplish something that is, well, a challenge.   It is always fun to reacquaint with friends from the previous year’s challenge, meet new friends and cultures, and discover talented bloggers to follow.  It’s also a real delight to find how I grow through the challenge.  I appreciate alternative views a little more.  I find myself more compassionate towards the hurting.  I understand blogging, writing, and thinking a bit better.

1.     Loved catching up with some blog friends I made in last year’s challenge.
2.     Loved meeting new friends.
3.     Loved visiting with people from diverse cultures and from around the world.
4.     Loved being challenged to write.
5.     Loved being challenged to think and grow.
6.     Glad to be back blogging again after such a long hiatus.
7.     Sad so many didn’t finish.
8.     Glad I learned so much from some great bloggers like Silvia at Silvia Writes, who wrote on all things Romanian and Sharon at Shells, Tales, and Sails who taught us about all things fruit.  Did you know there was an ice cream fruit?
9.     Sad I wasn’t able to visit 5 new A to Zers every day.
10. Glad for those I did visit and revisit.  I hope to continue to check out others on the list in the coming days and months. 

Things I learned that were helpful.

1.     It was valuable to check in with the challenge website as often as I could to see the daily post there.  Often there were helpful tips to enhance the challenge experience.  Also, those who are commenting on the challenge website are among those who are surely continuing and so they make good first visits.

2.     It was nice not to have a particular theme, but I find that I enjoy visiting those who did, so I am thinking about that for next year.

3.     I like being able to find out more about the bloggers themselves.  So I appreciate reading the about me link and seeing their photo.  I may have to do a better job of that myself.

4.     I really liked when someone recommended another blogger, and I usually went over to visit them as well.  So I did do that a few times.  If I plan it out better, I'd like to include  more recommendations or bloggers I found worth a visit.  There are plenty I could and would recommend.

5.     Last year I planned it out a bit more.  That was helpful especially when time got tight.  However, I feel less stress about it at this year’s conclusion.  Is that because it wasn’t all new or because of just getting to it when and if I could?  I don’t know, but I think, if possible, I’ll plan ahead a bit next year.

Thank you to all who stopped by.    Thank you to the all the A to Z team for your dedication in seeing this through and encouraging all of us.  I don't know how you do it, but I know it wouldn't happen if not for you.  I appreciate you.  And thank you again, Lee, for your brainchild.  Really enjoyed visiting with each one of you.

                                                                                                                  God bless, Maria

A to Z Challenge, 2014

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z is for Zeal

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 This is my last post in the A to Z challenge for 2014.  It feels good to have reached this point and I must admit I am finishing with more fatigue than zeal, but I am glad to be able to complete the challenge and I believe it is still April somewhere.  Thanks again to Arlee Bird for starting this challenge ball rolling.        (Photo Source)

http://learntoembracethestruggle.com/in-praise-of-praise-pauses/
Zeal for my God
         by Maria Dunn

The Lord our God, the Lord is One. 
It is He Who deserves our zeal.
The Lord is worthy of my passion.
With ardor I will seek Him,
Fueled by appreciation for the Father's love for me.
The Holy Spirit sets spiritual fervor afire.
Avid devotion belongs to the Lord.
Enthusiastically will I testify of His love.
With keen appetite I am hungry for His Presence.


Eager am I to know Him more. 
I relish the Word.
May gusto and vigor be in my pursuit
Of wisdom and knowledge of my God.
With energy I will pursue godliness.
The intensity of my love for my King, my God,
Will deepen and grow nurtured by His Spirit.
How wonderful, how beautiful is my Lord Jesus,
To Whom I raise my hands in zealous praise. 
                                                                                  

A to Z Challenge

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y is for Yearn

 Yearning - to long for, to pine for, to passionately desire. 

 

                              "Yearn" (Shane & Shane)

 

A picture of Yearning:

 As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So my soul pants for You, O God. Psalm 42:1

 

How lovely are Your dwelling places, O Lord of hosts!  My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord;  My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.  Psalm 84:1-2

 

If you are yearning for God, check out the website:  desiring God.

A to Z Challenge

 

Monday, April 28, 2014

X is for 'X' Words



Do you need some good 'X' words for your Words with Friends or Scrabble games?  Do you get hassled by friends when they don't know what the 'X' word is that you use, because they can't pull it up on their dictionaries?  Well I have found a few for you to use and given you the definitions so you won't be baffled.  

These are particularly interesting words because not only do they have a common meaning, most are also the names of companies and rather successful ones at that.  There are two that are not.  One is a non-profit foundation and the other is a city in the USA.  I didn't include Xerox, because it's common meaning comes from the company name rather than the other way around.  Enjoy! 

 

Xebec –  is a small Mediterranean 3 masted sailing ship.  Xebec Deburring Technologies produces deburring and finishing tools using ceramic. 

Xeric

Xeric –  means of or pertaining to an extremely dry climate.  The Xeric Foundation provides support and grants to comic book creators.  

Xenon
Xenon – is the chemical element with the symbol Xe, a colorless, odorless, gas occurring in trace amounts in the earth’s atmosphere.  Xenon is a company that produces automobile body parts.  

Xenics

Xenic is a noble gas compound formed when xenon trioxide is dissolved in water.   Xenics Infrared Solutions is a high tech company which produces a wide variety of infrared products and applications to meet the diverse ever-expanding needs of the global marketplace. 

Xenia, Ohio

Xenia -   is the ancient Greek concept of hospitality involving being generous and courteous to people traveling through your area far from their own homes.  The welcoming of strangers as honored guests.  Xenia is a city in Ohio which calls itself the City of Hospitality.  



Xylem – is a type of transport tissue within the vascular system of plants.  There are at least two companies who have taken the name Xylem.  Xylem Inc is involved with coming up with innovative solutions for global water challenges. 

Xylem

The second company, which goes by simply ‘Xylem’, is a bathroom furniture and fixtures company. 

Whitford products:  housewares
Xylan – is a yellow gummy plant substance ubiquitous in plant cell walls.  Xylan is also one of the trademark brands of fluoropolymer coatings of Whitford, an American company with branches worldwide.  The breadth of what this company produces is quite amazing

Xylol

Xylol – is a type of solvent, very volatile, also known as Xylene.  Klean Strip produces a brand of Xylol which can be purchased at your basic hardware store.