Wednesday, June 30, 2010


These colonial hats make me smile so thought I'd share with you. Straw hats just say summer to me. And since ours hasn't started yet, I keep dreaming:) Of course I'm hearing from friends around the country that summer is in full swing. Author friend Sarah Sundin enjoyed a 101 degree day in California yesterday at the pool. Michelle and Regina say it's 90-something in Kentucky. Here it's a cool 53 and raining ~ again. I've always had a hard time with Washington weather (though it is wonderful for writing). It just plain makes me blue. So thought I'd post about praise.

I've been reading Streams in the Desert for my devotional each morning and it seems to be a perfect fit for my life right now. Here's a portion of today's reading:

Nothing pleases the Lord as much as praise. There is no greater evidence of faith than the virtue of genuine thanksgiving. Are you praising God enough? Are you thanking Him for the countless blessings He has bestowed on you? Are you boldly praising Him even for the trials in your life, which are actually blessings in disguise? And have you learned to praise Him in advance for answers yet to come?

Hmmm...I'm so thankful for healthy kids, a weekend away, a wedding this Saturday, the 4th of July, a stack of books to read, grilling hot dogs (even in the rain), blog buddies, a clean house, roses in bloom... Really, the list is endless when you think about it! But I have a harder time giving praise for the stomach bug last week, the birthday I forgot, credit card fraud that resulted in several expensive plane trips charged to our account, the picture that fell off the wall and shattered, the unexpected death of a friend... And then there are the praises for answers yet to come: future books, conversions of dear friends or loved ones, Christian mates for my children, safety, good health, employment, etc.

Can you praise Him for a current blessing, a trial, and a future answer yet to come? It's kind of a fun exercise and flips your perspective on the trials that come into our lives. I'm going to try to praise Him more and memorize this verse, among others. If you have a favorite praise verse, I'll add it to my list.

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises! ~Psalm 57:7


  1. Oh, Laura. Your pictures always make me smile.

    I am praising God today for a sweet church friend who has given Chris and I a beautiful book to read, Hinds Feet on High Places. I praise God for another friend who is going through a trial and we have been able to encourage each other daily through talk and email. I praise God for our family walks that have brightened our moods and given us lots of talking time. I am praising God that we are beginning to learn about the process of adoption. I was reading Voice of the Martyrs magazine today and praising God for our freedom in this country. I'm thankful for my sunny daisys as I look out the window. I'm thankful for the way God uses our trials to encourage others and encourages me as I see others going through trials, too.

  2. Laura, I'm just going to have to read Streams in the Desert. You keep posting from it and one of my dear church friends sent us some encouragement from that devotional.

  3. Julia, Your comments gave me the biggest smile:) So uplifting! I was hoping someone would share like that! Isn't it amazing that when we dwell on the good things, the bad things become insignificant? Love that you've discovered the joy of wallking - that has always been good medicine for me. Hinds Feet on High Places is in my library and it's such a wonderful book! Also, Voice of the Martyrs will put everything in perspective. You are living proof of the verse that calls us to be an encouragement to others. Thank you so much for encouraging me!

    p.s. Streams is an amazing book. A reader friend in KY sent it to me for my birthday. I know you'll love it.

  4. Sometimes I wish we were in the NW when it gets so hot out here. Sometimes summer is just miserable! The humidity is the worst. But we've got a cool front of the low 90s this week so its totally manageable ;)

    Sometimes we forget that we have so much to be thankful for in life. I know I do. But its easy to dwell on the negative and that's no way to go through life. I try to remind myself that life is for the living, and that means today. No use waiting for that perfect situation/weight/weather/whatever. If you want to be happy do it now!

    And oh goodness, I'm sorry to hear about your credit card drama! I hope it got all sorted out! I had something like that happen to me last fall...someone stole my info and bought some crazy expensive phone with all this stuff on it and sent me the bill for $500+. It was crazy and makes you feel violated but luckily the phone company had realized it was fraud by the time we called to say "!!(@(*$" hehehe...

    Wishing you a lovely Independence Day! I'll send you some sun if you send me some cool rainy breezes ;)

  5. I am praising God today for a cool, sunny day and for friends that we can share trials with; I'm praising Him for the trial my husband is going through, because I know He's in control and has something great, in God's eyes, for the future.

    Laura, sounds like it's been a crazy few weeks, both good and bad! Aren't you glad God IS in control? It makes me think of the hymn, "Without Him." The last line - "Without Him, how lost I would be."

    Loved the picture - it reminded me of a little hat stand at Williamsburg! Oh I'd love to be there on a beautiful day like this!

  6. Heather,
    I know it must be beyond HOT where you are! Can you imagine those pioneer women in their log or sod (supposed to be cooler) houses ~ am not sure how cool it could be on the OK prairie!? I think you'd love the weather here and all the trees and water. I forget the beauty sometimes when everything is bathed in fog.

    You said something that reminds me so much of TJ (Thomas Jefferson) ~ life is for the living. So true! And yes, the credit card disaster is still ongoing and we are trying to figure it all out with the company. Fortunately, like you, we aren't responsible for the charges. Though I'd like to find the person in CA. who is:)

    Enjoy today! It's sunny here at last but don't know how long it will last. Carpe diem! Think that's Latin for "sieze the day":)

  7. Oh Regina, Me, too ~ how I would love to be there today! And you are so savvy - it IS a picture of a hat stand in Williamsburg:) Love the breeze blowing those ribbons.

    Thanks for sharing some of your praises. It's always amazing how much good and bad and bittersweet is happening in all our lives.

    Enjoy that somewhat cooler Kentucky day! My mom told me yesterday was quite nice, too. Bless you.

  8. Yes, walking has been great. We've been trying to walk at least a few miles every day!

    Thank you so much for your kind words. Any encouragement is definitely from the Lord, I know what's in my flesh and pray that I won't pour out from that fountain...if you know what I mean. And you are most definitely an encouragement to me, Laura!

    P.S. I LOVE Williamsburg, so that brightened my day. My husband and I honeymooned there and have been there 2 other times. A neat little God thing was that at our first house the previous owners left hand-drawn artwork of Williamsburg...we didn't realize until after we bought it :)

  9. That picture makes me smile! Love all the colored ribbons.

    I have to say I consider Jeremiah 29:11 to be my life verse. It's a good reminder of what God promises.

    Today, I am thankful for my health, my job, getting to work from home (!), my family, and my friends both in real life and online.

    Yet, we are all struck with things we find it hard to praise God for. I think we all know we are called to praise Him no matter our circumstances, yet it can be such a difficult thing.

  10. What a wise devotional. I'm with the other commenters - I think I'll have to get that book. The part that resonated with me is praising God in advance for answers yet to come. I can't say I'd given that much thought before. I certainly will now.

  11. I need to practice "boldly praising Him for trials, which are blessings in disguise."

    I have so enjoyed your sharing from this devotional book that I went and ordered it from PaperbackSwap.

  12. Julia,
    Finding that art really is a God-thing! You're so right that God delights in delighting us ~ we just know when we're on the receiving end of that love and grace:) That artwork sounds like a treasure.

    And I am so tickled to read you spent your honeymoon at CW!! That is the perfect destination to me and I think it's so neat that you have been able to go back twice! Oh my, maybe you can blog about it sometime. I would dearly love that post:)

  13. Michelle,
    Your verse is a favorite of mine, too. I like to think of verses as promises already kept. That brings an extra measure of comfort. Love your praises you mentioned. Health is such a HUGE blessing. As I age I am more aware of that than ever.

    How neat to think you work out of your home! I have wanted to do that for years and now can ~ it just took a long time. Don't you love it? Computers allow us to do so much that way and I'm thankful.

    Yes, we're supposed to praise in spite of everything. I like that the Bible calls it "a sacrifice of praise." It costs us to do it and God is aware of that. Hope today is full of blessings for you, Michelle.

  14. Brenda,
    I hadn't really thought of that either as I live so much in the present. Lately I've been reminded that God has my whole life in view, every book yet for me (and you) to write, every single second of the rest of our lives. It makes sense to thank Him for the good things ahead. Found this Scripture lately and it just delighted me~

    For you meet him with the blessings of good things. ~Psalm 21:3

    But I think I like this translation best~

    "Thou surprisest him":)

  15. Mary,
    Am so happy you went and ordered it from Pswap! I think it was meant for writer types like us who feel things deeply and try to stay even keel in this scary old world. It just gives me a boost every morning. Some readings are uncanny as they seem to be written just for me:) And are just what I need to face the day. I know you'll feel the same. Thanks so much for sharing here.

  16. Just this week I have spent time outside, listing all my blessings. It gives me more peace, so I sometimes make it a habit when life seems to be down.
    Weekly I look in the Psalms and slowly read every detail, sentence by sentence, until I stop at something that seems important to me at that time. That makes a difference too. :)

  17. Adrienne,
    This is great:) You said something so important - that you read slowly and regularly. Meditating on Scripture is something I keep hearing about again and again and how important it is for us to do that.

    I love being outside, too, reading my Bible. Nature is just another reminder of how much God loves us.

  18. I’m gonna praise the Lord for all the problems blogger is giving my right now, LOL! I tried to post a comment a few hours ago and it wouldn’t go through. Then I just got home and tried 3 more times and still nothing. So, I’m praying that this will work :)

    Laura, I just wanted to say that this post is just what I needed today my friend. The Lord ALWAYS uses you in such a special way! And every single comment on this post has blessed me SO much! You girls are just AWESOME!!

    And Julia, “Hind’s Feet on High Places” is one of my FAVORITES! I also just subscribed to Voice of the Martyrs and received the free book, “Tortured for Christ” by: Richard Wurmbrand, that they offer on their website. And what you said, “Any encouragement is definitely from the Lord, I know what's in my flesh and pray that I won't pour out from that fountain...” is SO powerful and SO true! Hope you don’t mind if I use that line ;)

    Praying for you all and praising the Lord for this beautiful post and the beautiful person behind it :)

    Amanda Stanley

  19. Oy -- praising trials? I can't say that I've ever concentrated on doing that -- at least not while in the midst of them. So okay -- I'll take that as a challenge. Hmmm...maybe I'll keep a praise journal. Kind of like a prayer journal only I'll write down a trial and every time I think of something positive that comes out of it I'll write it down. I imagine it will take a while to fill a page! LOL. But you've inspired me, so I'll give it a try.

    Love the hats with all those pretty ribbons. I could use one of them when I'm working in my garden. It's sunny and cool here this week -- that's my kind of summer. Heat and humidity are hitting on the weekend so I best get my trial/praise book started by then. I get grumbly in the heat. :-)

  20. Amanda,
    So sorry to hear blogger has been giving you trouble! But since I just sent you an email to that effect, I won't belabor it here. Bless you for persisting! Your comments always add so much. Won't heaven be grand - no more down days or trials or trying to praise in the midst of trials, etc. Or blogger:)

    I agree, Julia's wording was just beautiful when she said that! Hope you have a great day today and the fountain that pours out is refreshing, indeed.

  21. Kav,
    I get grumbly without the heat. Wouldn't it be fine if we could just switch weather for a little time when it became unbearable for us both? If so, I'd send you some breezy showers as everything is foggy and wet and 49 degrees this morning.

    Your idea for a journal where you record trials and blessings from those trials inspires me. I think I might do that very thing, too. I've been dividing a paper in half - one side for prayer requests and the other side for praises, even the smallest things. Sometimes I forget all the little delights that occur on a daily basis, like a favorite flower blooming or just a cup of coffee or a walk. When I am tempted to get downcast (love that archaic word but it's so telling), I have the praise list right in front of me. Going one step further with a thank-you-in-the-midst-of-trials would be a challenge. But I bet it would surprise us both:)

  22. LOL- Laura, if you sent me an email today it never went through because I just checked and its not in my inbox :( I guess we have to praise the Lord for email problems, too ;)

    Praying you have a beautiful rest of the day my friend and NO more computer problems!!

    Amanda Stanley

  23. Thank you for the wonderful reminder! I'm praising Him for the sunshine in my shadows! He is so good to give me songs in the night and times of refreshing. I'm thankful for my Stepdad being home and my Dad being under a good dr's care at the hospital. And I'm tickled pink and thanking Him in advance for making my writing dreams come true.

    I'm also very blessed to have a certain novel that takes me away from my troubles into the deep woods of Kentucke! It really is a blessing, Laura, to have such a fine book to read during stressful times.

    103:1 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul,and forget not all his benefits,who forgives all your iniquity,who heals all your diseases,who redeems your life from the pit,who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

  24. I almost forgot...when I see those hats with all the different ribbons it makes me cheerful and grateful. In times past when a woman might have had a limited wardrobe she could dress up and feel special simply by changing a ribbon on her hat! What a nice thought. I think I'll make a point to put a necklace on (I seldom wear jewelry) or paint my toenails (which I seldom do) just to bring some cheer to my day. :) Thanks for the inspiration!

  25. Carla, So glad to hear about your dad and stepdad and that you are praising in spite of the hardships and heartache! I can't tell you how thrilled I am about your writing dream coming true ~ I don't think it's an accident that it's happening amidst all the other trials you are undergoing.

    Love your sweet words about CML! I don't know how you read at all right now, Carla! Don't hesitate to put it away for winter reading when you have more time - or whenever! Morrow will always be there waiting.

    I love the reminder of the hat ribbon and what a treat that was for so many women. As for painting toenails, I do my own and they're pink:) And I love jewelry though I seldom wear it either. Your comments always give me such a lift:) Can't wait to hear more about your book project!!

  26. Amanda, You get an A plus for persisting but think I already told you that! Praying you have a wonderful weekend full of blessings/praises!

  27. I adore your phase and verse is awesome! I shall learn it also!

    The colonial hats are just too pretty. Looks like a display form a Washington fair I am sure. Ilived there for a while and would love to return. It is way to hot here in Alabama. I saw you on Inside Nana's Head Blog!
    Smiles, cyndi

  28. Hi Cyndi,
    So happy to meet you here! I love these hats, too. They look so festive and feminine:) Reminds me of summer. Yes, the praise verse is great ~ a great one to memorize. Bless you today!