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Celebrating Sacrifice…


Today is Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of the Lenten season. As followers of Christ, my husband and I observe this season annually, but this is the first year that our boys have been old enough to grasp the reality of sacrificing things that they love in order to contemplate Jesus’ death on the cross for us…the ultimate in sacrifice and self-denial.  

During our family time this morning, we talked about Lent and what we want this season to look like for our family. And, for a rabbit trail..can we just put it out there…having family time together in the morning is hard work. We’ve only done it consistently for about 3 months, and there hasn’t been a time yet when a child didn’t get in trouble and someone didn’t end up crying or fighting over who got to pray first. Whew!  Hard work I tell you, but so worth it!

After our time together, I went to work looking for some tangible things that we could use in our family during Lent.  We each chose one thing that we plan to surrender for the season, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wanted us to experience more than giving up a few of our guilty pleasures…like sodas and candy.  I’ve read several books..okay, every book written to date, by a guy named Rob Bell, who is the founding pastor of a church called Mars Hill Bible Church.  This man radiates grace, and I don’t know about you, but I am captivated by people who not only accept God’s grace but who live under it and extend it to others.  So, I went to their website and not only did I find a great sermon series that he is doing on Lent out of the book of Jonah, but I also found some pretty outstanding resources that we plan to use with our family.  I wanted to include them in the hopes that it will help you, who are interested, to know more about this season that means everything to someone who follows Jesus.

Here you will find a Lent Calendar that will give you some great ideas for how to honor this season with your family each day of the season until Easter Sunday.  We’re still going to sacrifice our sodas and candy, but I love the idea of adding these things on the calendar because it will help all of us to daily focus on why we are honoring this season.  

And, below is the first part of the sermon series that Rob Bell is doing during this Lent season at their church.  There is a study guide for those interested in the 6 week study of Jonah that can be found here

From deep in the realm of the dead Jonah calls for help. And God listens to his cry.

Jonah and the big fish—it’s a story for Bible storybooks and Sunday school flannelboards. It requires us to believe the impossible, but more than that, it forces us to confront truths that we’re more comfortable relegating to children’s stories and myths. We don’t want to take seriously its claims.

But Jesus saw the story of Jonah as central to everything he was doing through his death and resurrection—he called it the sign of Jonah.

Few stories capture the spirit of repentance and return like the story of Jonah. It’s a story of God’s compassion and longing for all people to return to him. It’s a story of running and returning, of illusions and disillusions, of disobedience and spiteful obedience, and ultimately about a world completely transformed by God’s love.

What if we could name our own illusions about how the world ought to work and open ourselves to the world God longs to bring into being?

What if coming to the end of ourselves brought us to a new beginning in God?

What if God’s compassion were planted so deeply into our being
that it would challenge all of
our assumptions
our anger
our prejudices? 

Thanking God for his grace and truth,

Sarah - This is great, Tara. I love Rob Bell, and love that calendar. I will try this with our family, even if we don’t do everything we will be focusing more on Christ’s sacrifice for us. Thanks for sharing!

Cha Cha - Tara, thank you for sharing this. What a great way to live intentionally during this season. I am going to print this out. I am so glad to hear that other people struggle at making family time work, the enemy sure doesn’t want it to happen and tempts us hard to try to destroy it, keep it up, you will be bless.


A Country Farm House…

I grew up on land with animals, a garden, and all things homemade.  The older that I get, the more I appreciate the wonderfully simple upbringing that I had from my parents.  If I had it to do over, I’d complain so much less about the yard work on that massive amount of land and the seemingly endless gardening that we did each summer preparing for the winters.  I’m here to tell you, I long for the day when I can have a big white farmhouse, feed the cows, have my very own flower garden to pick fresh flowers for our home, and help feed the community with home grown vegetables.  
I have been so inspired by Trina’s life in her renovated country farmhouse.  She and her husband have worked tirelessly to make it their own while respecting the structure of the home.  And, it isn’t just her home that I absolutely love.  She picks fresh flowers and adorns her home with them, she loves to cook simple, delicious meals with whole foods, and she has an apron collection!  I’m thinking cooking might be so much more fun in one of those aprons! 
Her life is an inspiration to me, and I don’t know about you, but I want my life surrounded with people that inspire me to live my life to the fullest.  Trina, and her home, are remarkable, and you’ll surely be inspired when you visit her blog!   

Tracey - Girl….I want the house next door! Ahh..all things simple, sweet and earthy! Longing for the same! Love your blog..Love..Love… and you happen to be one of my favorite people in the world too!

A Country Farmhouse - Hi Tara, Thank you so much for your kind words! The collage is great – how did you do that!? It’s been an absolute pleasure to meet so many wonderful people through blogging. It’s people like YOU who inspire me to celebrate the place we live, and the rich beauty of the simple things in life. The blog world provides such a wonderful sense of community, it’s quite special. So glad to have met a new friend. xoxoTrina

Morning T - Great post Tara! I just found Trina’s blog a few months ago and I love it and have included her blog in my posts the past 2 days in a row. You and I are on the same wavelength for sure!!

Morning T - Sorry…one more thing, welcome to the world of blogging. Your blog is wonderful and I’m adding you to my blog roll. :-)

gina - I found your blog via an inpired room and have found your blog pretty inspiring so far. (I love the double meaning to your header- so clever!) I will definitely check out this blog you are recommending because it’s the little things that i try to savor every day.


Loving These Lamps…

source: Pottery Barn
I’m really interested in replacing some of the lamps in our home. 
I’ve been on the look-out at TJ MAXX and Homegoods hoping to find some that look 
just like these from Pottery Barn for a fraction of the price. 
So far…I’ve only found one.

Mandi @ Finding Home - Ooo…love the lamp love! I often find cute lamps but can't get over the price tag. But I guess if my heart was really set on it….

Kristi - I have a lamp obsession, self confessed addict, lol! I usually find mine at thrift stores and Marshall's or TJ's. They are so much FUN! :)

Morning T - Great finds~I especially love #1 and #3. I like my lamps but am trying to update my shades, even made one out of burlap recently. I have all of my lamps on timers and my hubby gets so mad about it… hee, hee. :-)

Megandvd@Beauty in the Attempt - Obviously I LOVE #3…I made my own version of it this weekend. :)



Overwhelmed by Grace…

Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of the truth, puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, but keeps going to the end.
~1 Corinthians 13
I honestly don’t know if I will be able to put into words what my heart is feeling this morning. So, here’s my best try. I am thankful. I have a redeeming Savior who knows me and loves me with the most gracious love I have ever known. And then, I have this husband of mine. He knows me. He lives with me, so believe me when I say, he knows me. And, he chooses to love me still. My heart is overwhelmed with GRACE.
As I look back over the past 13 1/2 years of marriage, I thank God for the people that He has put in our path that have done a great job of loving one choosing one another. Those same people have encouraged us with their own lives to give our hearts’ affection and our minds’ attention to a daily surrender and acknowledgment of the Lord’s work in our lives. Because isn’t that where it all kind of starts? A surrender of yourself to the one who made you and loves you the very most. And, then a giving of yourself, your real and honest and true self, to your spouse.
I pray that you are also overwhelmed by Grace today…that you experience being loved when you don’t feel so lovable. Amazing Grace.

Michele - Love this, well said!! I love you Happy Valenitne’s day sweet friend.

Playing Sublimely - Oh yes my friend, right there with ya! Loved reading your thoughts.

Sarah - So true, Tara! Sometimes I feel like I don’t really love anyone the way God wants me too b/c of the description of love in Corinthians, but I remember that God knows my heart. Thanks for sharing! I tagged you on my blog, so check it out when you get a chance!