Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Philippians 4:11-13

     Laundry. The dreaded task. The never ending pile of dirty clothes. Laundry and I may never be best friends but I do consider myself to be blessed. After all, I have an automatic washer and dryer in the same little laundry room. My washing machine is hooked up to both the cold and hot water faucets. I can wash and dry a lot of laundry in just one day if I need or want to. This wasn't always the case.

     Seventeen years ago, we lived in Brasov, Romania.  I considered myself fortunate to have an American washing machine. Never mind the fact that there was only cold water to wash in. It did the job well enough. In the winter, the water was really, really cold. And we only had powdered detergent. After a couple of loads that ended up covered with the undissolved powder, I learned to microwave a bowl full of water, stir in some detergent and put that in the washer. I had to hang the clothes to dry inside the house for most of the year. We had a little clothesline above the bathtub and a dryer rack usually sat near our huge terra cotta heater. No, it wasn't the most convenient arrangement. But it was better than it was when we first moved into that house. It was a small house and certainly not made for a large American washing machine. It took John a few weeks to figure out how and where to install it. Meanwhile, we did laundry in the bathtub and wrung it out by hand. I say "we" because John helped immensely. I was 2 months pregnant and very ill.

     The first few months in that house were difficult in many ways. But it was a relief from what we had just been through during our first two months in Romania. Much of it is a nightmare that I try to forget but since laundry is the topic of the day, I will address that aspect. The four of us lived in one small room of a Romanian family's house for our first few weeks. They had a small washer but it was usually broken. When it worked, it was constantly in use by them. So I washed clothes in the tub. But there was nowhere to dry them. The family had a clothesline but it was always filled with clothes, wet clothes. It rained almost every day that we were there. So I washed socks, underwear and anything else that just couldn't be worn one more time and hung them on the radiator, backs of chairs and bedposts, hoping they would dry in the damp weather.

     Laundry is still an almost daily affair here in our house in the States. We generally do a load or two 5-6 days a week. This time the "we" includes the kids. It's not my favorite chore. I don't mind washing and drying so much and I actually enjoy hanging clothes on the line outside. It's the folding that I don't really enjoy. So, sometimes I forget how blessed I really am. Sometimes I complain, sigh, procrastinate. But then I remember the days when a simple thing like clean, dry socks was an enormous challenge and I thank God for all that He has blessed me with.  

By Karen W of Ellie Marie Designs
Take a look at the CAST Shop of the Week, . Jennifer's shop is full of useful and beautiful prayer journals that can be customized just for you or something special in your life. 

Journal / Personalized Gift / Prayer Notebook - Little Birdie Fall Version- 1 Thessalonians 5:18/

Please note that the only way to be featured as the CAST Shop of the Week is to tag your shop items "castteam" on Etsy and to not hide your teams in your Etsy profile. You will also have to have at least 12 items to feature. Those are the ways that I find great CAST shops to feature each week. 

CAST Members: If you have a minute or two, please feel free to favorite ♥ this shop or promote it on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or other social media.  Thanks!

by Sue of SueRunyonDesigns
Today is an interesting day for me.  It is the last first day of elementary school for my youngest child, the last first day of middle school for my middle daughter and the last first day of high school for my oldest two kiddos.  Each on of them are in a transition year which means my husband and I are also in a transition year.

As I think about their individual journeys, as well as our corporate journey as a family, I am full of mixed emotions.  I am so proud of who they are becoming and yet I am filled with the thought that there was so much more I wanted to be able to do for them and provide for them.  I am tempted to over examine each failing I have had as a parent when God gently reminds me that my kiddos are really His.  He always has their best interest at heart and He has the ability to redeem my mistakes and use them for my children's good and His glory.  He reminds me to do my best and not to beat myself up by comparing it with someone else's best.

And my heart felt prayer becomes "For Your name's sake, O Lord, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great." (Psalm 25:11 NASB) Redeem the times I have missed the mark as a parent to them. Bless them beyond measure. Help them to build a solid life in You, may they begin with my best as their foundation and be wiser and more gracious than I have ever been.

God wants to be involved in every situation in our lives, from our jobs to our marriages, from relationships with our parents to our relationships with our children.  He waits for us to invite Him in and then He does what only He can do, turns our messes into messages and tests into testimonies, offers grace and mercy for our sins, redeems our mistakes, and loves us more deeply than we can often fathom.  Whatever life holds for you today, challenges, transitions, celebrations, know that God loves you and wants to bless you. He is just waiting for you to say "come on in Lord".

Silver Forest Arts

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me." Rev 3:20 NASB

Many blessings to you today!
Cherry Fargo
Being ReMade (formerly Cherry's Creations)

"Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another, not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving The Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. " Romans 12:9-13 NKJV

Take a look at the CAST Shop of the Week, SeedlingDesigns. Jane's shop is stocked with intricately designed beadwork creations in necklaces, bracelets, earrings and sets. She also has a sale section with gorgeous items in case you are already on the look out for very special stocking stuffers to set aside for Christmas.  Enjoy browsing. 

This Green Handmade Beaded Necklace is Both Delicate and Daring. Live Life to its Fullest.

Please note that the only way to be featured as the CAST Shop of the Week is to tag your shop items "castteam" on Etsy and to not hide your teams in your Etsy profile. You will also have to have at least 12 items to feature. Those are the ways that I find great CAST shops to feature each week. 

CAST Members: If you have a minute or two, please feel free to favorite ♥ this shop or promote it on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or other social media.  Thanks!

by Sue of SueRunyonDesigns
She wakes with a million thoughts running through her mind.
In fact, the waking is more of a jolt as she considers
a new school year, care for aging parents, her Etsy business, 
a friend who has just lost a child, that ladies meeting at church
and how she really should put together a meal plan
and shopping list for the week to come.

(In my real life it looks like son's wedding on Sunday
which means a week filled with details and cake making, An overflowing 
Etsy inbox, the physical and emotional exhaustion of a huge funeral last Saturday 
and catering of the reception which followed,
working with my Burmese Friends, preparing music lessons for this school year,
an annual physical, a hair cut and color, dinner with friends, and so much more.  
How about you?)

 Her feet hit the floor with a thud
and she sighs as it becomes apparent that the "dressing room"
is already occupied.
This morning is getting off to a wrong start.
She knows who is in there and they take forever.
Now she has a choice.

Will she choose to trust that God has this day
just like all of the others in His care and thank Him
for that fact and the shower loving child in the dressing room?
will she begin to fume and mumble about how this always happens
and she has so much to do?
Will she assume that her agenda is more important than the 
others in her home?

It is important which attitude she assumes because it will
impact every person she comes in contact with in the next
hour, if not all day.

God has given women a very important role in their homes.
We are the mood setters.
We have the power to take everyone along to our grumpy place
or to lift them from a hard day into an encouraging environment.

We cannot do this in our own strength.
We need to call out to Him daily to receive
His joy...even when we are feeling stressed, sad or tired to the bone.

I admit that I don't always go there first.
But more and more I see the rewards of making that choice
to be thankful in all things.
May God continue to teach me to seek Him first.

It really is the best choice.

Psalm 86: 1-13 (NIV) says it well....

Hear me, Lord, and answer me,

    for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
    save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,
    for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
    for I put my trust in you.
You, Lord, are forgiving and good,

    abounding in love to all who call to you.
Hear my prayer, Lord;
    listen to my cry for mercy.
When I am in distress, I call to you,
    because you answer me.
Among the gods there is none like you, Lord;

    no deeds can compare with yours.
All the nations you have made
    will come and worship before you, Lord;
    they will bring glory to your name.
For you are great and do marvelous deeds;
    you alone are God.
Teach me your way, Lord,

    that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
    that I may fear your name.
I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
    I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your love toward me;
    you have delivered me from the depths,
    from the realm of the dead.

Blessings on your week!
"Seek first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."  Matthew 6:33

Bible Art Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God
by Pictures of Faith

Happy Sunday!