Roses and My First Blog Give-away


Photo by Joyce Takeda

1975: Walking one day with my dad in San Diego’s Balboa Park. I was a younger version of me and dad was a younger version of him. What he said during that day stayed with me all these years.

There was a popular song by Mac Davis called “Stop and Smell the Roses.” It played over and over on the radio (note to young readers: “radio” was an iPod before iPods were the brainchild of Steve Jobs).

We stopped to look at rows of delicate pink roses. The roses grew straight up and blossoms proudly opened to reveal layers of soft petals.

“You know, people always say that we should stop and smell the roses,” Dad said that morning,
“But please remember that someone took the time to plant them and nurture them so we can stop and enjoy them.”

Creativity/Virtues/Values are a bit like those roses: they grow best when we take the time to tend to them. When we accept our Creator’s invitation to partner in our own tending.

We cannot outsource our own Nurturing.

My adventure in the Be Gentle, Be Love eCourse  gave me the tools and the support. I (finally) slowed down and began to tend.
By (finally) taking the time to pause, ponder, read, reflect, synthesize, and create, my awareness and gratefulness blossomed. The experience has been reminiscent of sophomore English class only without the vocabulary to memorize. Or maybe a new vocabulary to internalize!

What I know: I am different after Day 30 than I was on Day 1


via sweetbluephotography

Like the rose, I have blossomed. I’ve been nurtured by the course, Amanda, and the course community.
…and especially by an Abundant Creator.
These gifts were there all along from the Creator to (me!)
I continue to regain my once-(loud) voice and remove the
parentheses around (me)!

I am also the first nurture-tenderer to finish the course!

As a fun celebration of crossing the BGBL finish line, Amanda Oaks, course and book creator, has offered to give a free course ebook to a friend who also wants to tend to the blossoms of her own Creativity for awhile.


Whether you're an artist, writer or someone that doesn't think you're creative at all, this book was tailored to help you dig deep inside yourself & then use what you find to create meaningful, life-shifting art.

Is that you? I hope so!
If you would like to be entered into a drawing to receive a BGBL e-coursebook, please leave a comment below describing a way
you tend to the blossoming creativity of your life. (journaling, music, dancing, praying, reading, cooking, baking, painting, etc…)

Feel free to comment each day through Wednesday, August 31.
On Thursday, September 1st a new month will start with a new gift (my first blog give-away!) for a randomly selected special someone.

A Word From The Sponsor~August 28

Though the mountains be shaken   
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken   
nor my covenant of peace be removed,  says the LORD,
who has compassion on you.
~Isaiah 54:10

And a song by Jimmy Needham based on this verse

Saturday Digest~August 27

This Saturday Digest calls on reflection, time to ponder, time to brew in your mind like a glass of sun tea in the waning hours of a late summer day.

Something to read slowly and then think about and re-read:

Catastrophizing is how we make our own soul-cages. That fear’s always the flee ahead. That he really could take one long, deep breath and just relax. Abide. Because it’s never about your capabilities. When you’re in covenant with Christ, it’s His responsibility to cover your cracks, to be all your competency and completeness. Inabilities, in Christ, are made all-sufficient, just-right abilities. Abandon worries — and wholly abide. Ann Voskamp


The Lord wanted me to NOT live by my emotions, feelings and circumstances, but by His power, His strength, walking in faith and trusting Him in all things. ~Charlene Steinkamp, Rejoice Marriage Ministries

Great Thoughts I saw on Our

~Unless we rely on God’s power within us, we will yield to the pressures around us.

~Teach us, Lord, to trust Your hidden hand, leading in ways we may not understand.

 My Favorite Pinterest Pin: this butterfly with little hearts:

Sip tea and Praise God!

Devotion~Day 30~Be Gentle, Be Love

Devotion Quote

Muse on what could symbolize devotion, a ring, two hands holding each other, animals that mate for life
… and then create something centered around your thoughts.

His hands and Our hands carry, epitomize, and manifest devotion.

Rembrandt, painted  Return of the The Prodigal Son as a portrayal of reconcilitation. He portrayed a feminine hand receiving the Prodigal upon his return. The feminine hand is delicate, nurturing, consoling and devoted.

rembrandt the prodigal, feminine hands

The world that the prodigal ventured to was punishing and chaotic. Rembrandt painted a masculine hand with the resolve of strength and firm devotion, the fingers spread to encompass and protect. Rembrandt The Prodigal masculine hand
Together both hands embrace the Prodigal devotedly.
Together both shelter, comfort, and love with agape’s unconditional love.

Rembrandts The Prodigal Both Hands
Hands of Devotion beckon, welcome the prodigal in all of us.


Just as He does…..Because of Grace.
And we prodigals receive it, the comfort, the acceptance, the rest…Because of Grace

God never stops waiting for us, just as the father never stopped waiting for his wandering son.
~Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son

Are you waiting for a return? of a love, a child, an outcome, a miracle?
Do you need to return? to a love, to a parent, to your family, to your miracle?
Please Begin Today.

This is Day 30, the final day in the Be Gentle, Be Love ebook and ecourse.

A Word from The Sponsor~August 21

2 Chronicles 16:9

Collage by Helen

Saturday Digest~August 20

*”Love and I tend not to see eye to eye all the time and we argue and call each other names.”

Wow! What a powerful thought-nugget about openness. Being open is about vulnerability and adventure.
By Aleathia in La Spectatrice

*Was catching up on unread emails and found a thia thought in a post from Alia’s Inner Bliss Blog

“If you have been feeling uninspired or unfulfilled with the work you do or things that you do during the day, try waking up and asking, ‘How can I be of service to the highest good of all today?’ Make sure to include yourself in there, too!”

Thanks, Alia!

*As I read through the gospels and note where Jesus’ focus is, I can learn from His example. Jesus regularly spent time alone in prayer. To read Jody’s post on Jesus in Prayer, gently click here

*Don’t Give Up When Times Are Tough: God is more interested in what you are becoming than what you accomplish. To read this Purpose Driven Life post, gently click here

*Finding Balance: To gain balance—remember one thing: quality not quantity. Don’t get caught up doing a little bit of EVERY-thing and not focusing on THE-thing that matters most. Gently Click Here to read more

*Favorite Idea I’ve Seen in awhile: A great guestbook idea: use a calendar accompanied with the sign: “Find your birthday, sign your name.” Click Here to see a sample

Whole-hearted Living~Mary Stroebe~August 18

For awhile, Thursdays will provide a Because of Grace Wholehearted Living Stories

“I think I’m young, so I act like it.”~ Mary Stroebe

There is a picture on my office vision board of tulips, Huntington Beach pier, the rock I climbed on my birthday, and Mary Stroebe.

In 2006 Mary Stroebe, took part in her twelfth triathlon.

                                                                      …at the age of 88

The silver-haired great-grandmother from Wisconsin competed in at least twelve triathlons, an event that combines swimming, biking and running. She competed despite a titanium rod in her left shin and you know, being on this earth for nine decades.  In her first triathlon in she joined her son Bruce and her granddaughter in a three-generation team. Each one competed in one leg of the race.

“I just watched them and said that looks like fun,” she said. “I can do that.”

Despite doctors’ orders that she not participate, in 2006, Mary, with the titanium rod firmly in place, competed anyway. Maybe it was her life-long athleticism or her training in the Navy Waves or as a public school teacher. But Mary Stroebe competed until

“Each year I think it’s my last,” she said. “Sometimes I think it’s time to hang it up. Then it comes and I think it’s fun to do it one more year.”

And so she did, until 2008, when at age 90 she retired.

“It’s been nice – more than I deserve,” she says of her notoriety. “I won’t let it go to my head. I just think it’s something other people could do if they put their minds to it. You have to train for it, but that’s part of the fun.”

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