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The Early Bird Gets …

I began my year by naming it INSPIRE and promising myself to blog more regularly.

I haven’t done very well with that so far.

My latest motivation:

On March 1, Allume tickets went on sale and the first 50 to be sold were “earlybird” and were significantly reduced.



So in October, I will head south again and meet up with my sweet friend Julie Nevue. I met her at the second Relevant/Allume when she accompanied her husband to the conference as he was there to perform.

One would think I would have had lots of time to blog while I have been recuperating from surgery, being that my mom has been here helping tremendously with the kids, laundry and cooking. I am being spoiled.

I have been spending time taking photos of birds and sitting and helping the kids with their school work and getting all our papers graded and in the grade book. I was really far behind and still have one kid’s work to go.

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For The Birds


The kids and I have a new interest.


We bought a few bird feeders for Christmas and have been enjoying the divers colors and shapes of the birds that have come to pay us a visit.

I am loving learning how to use my new dSLR with our new subject matter flittering about in our side yard.

Blue jays are the big bullies. Thankfully they don’t show up very often but when they do, let me tell you, everybody else clears the deck.

We have a small eastern North America book on birds and we have been finding out what each of our visitors names are. I need to get us a more detailed bird book but for now it will do.

As I sit here and type this there is a very loud cacophony of geese flying overhead. We have had several groups of them come over in the past hour and there are several hundred in each group. I am actually quite glad they prefer the lake at the next door neighbors house. I don’t really want all that goose poo in my yard.

So get ready for an increase in bird photos thrown in with the occasional flower.

I think of all the birds that visit our yard so far this winter the ones like the most is this Tuffed Titmouse seen above. I think he is a cheeky little fellow.

I caught him with a snow mustache.

Though I don’t like the fact that they are bullies, I do like the brilliant blue of the bluejays.

What can I say? Blue is my favorite color!

Do you ever watch the birds in your yard? What are your favorites to watch?

And those geese over head are still coming in waves…

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  • Marlene BackertMarch 2, 2014 - 4:22 PM

    My fav is listening for the woodpecker pounding away in the woods . And then watching the hummingbirds come on the deck to eat from the hanging baskets!ReplyCancel

    • Sharon @ Hiking Toward HomeMarch 4, 2014 - 10:08 PM

      We have a woodpecker that seems to think our house is really made of wood! He was out there just above the front door next to the upper windows going to town on the door jamb yesterday! Too funny!! I can’t wait to get some hummingbird feeders up this year. Thanks for stopping by my blog!ReplyCancel

Five Minute Friday: Choose


Every friday Lisa-Jo hosts a link up for writers all writing for five minutes on one word. No editing (except maybe punctuation and spacing). Straight off the cuff and through the fingers to the screen.


It’s funny, but really kinda sad.

As we were preparing to go to the Philippines, I gathered art supplies from every missions closet offered to me to browse.

I shipped them halfway around the world and put them in my art closet.

And there they pretty much stayed.

I clung to them with the thoughts of; “I don’t want to waste them” and “I can’t replace this stuff over here”.

And so I didn’t do as many crafts with my kids as I dreamed about. I lived with a fear of using them up and then what?

So, we dragged them back around the world and here they are in my art closet, on the shelf.

Much of my stash is still unused.

I know in my head I need to CHOOSE to use them.

I must face that old fear again and forget about messing them up.

Which in itself is a bit weird.

But to make anything beautiful I must CHOOSE to loosen my grip on those pots of pigment and colors encased in wood and put slashes and blotches on the white of paper.

It is funny that I am afraid to paint but I am not afraid to snap a million photos.

… However, I rarely print them.

What is the deal with that?

Maybe it is because I can only afford to print a few and have them done up in frames and matts for the walls of my home and I am afraid to CHOOSE…

… because once I do … surely I won’t be happy with them and wished I’d picked different ones.


I know. I have issues.
Click on over to Lisa-Jo’s to read more Five Minute Friday posts on “choose”.

Five Minute Friday

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  • CrystalMarch 1, 2014 - 3:14 AM

    You are so talented, please CHOOSE to share the beauty of the gift God has given you, it brings joy to those who are blessed to see! I never tire of the matted photo you gave me! <3. "Dragonfly"ReplyCancel

    • Sharon @ Hiking Toward HomeMarch 4, 2014 - 10:02 PM

      I had forgotten about that photo! So there are a few I have printed but very few. Thanks for leaving an encouraging comment. Miss you! When are you coming to see me? :-) ReplyCancel

  • AbbyMarch 1, 2014 - 12:29 PM

    I love your last line. It’s ok, though, because we all have issues. ;-) I know what you mean, though! There are certain “treasures” that are hard to use or let go of because of the memory behind it or the fear of messing them up. But you’re right, you have to make a choice about what’s important. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Dawn Paoletta (@breathoffaith)March 1, 2014 - 12:35 PM

    Oh, Sharon, please choose to share! It’s like a new journal or blank page. We want it to be perfect. But He specializes in Perfection and we surrender to His beauty…and rlease our beauty through creating imperfectly, yet still the joy as we share in creating- I so love that He is our Creator and whenever I create, a poem, a post, collage or a prayer in my journal…I am joining Him in a small, precious portion of His creative spirit. Girl, you need to push throughthose issues to joy- I bet there is a gift in you the enemy wants to keep you from using because it holds great power in blessing you and others. OK, hope that all was not too preachy…My heart on caffeine does runneth over. After you at Lisa – Jo’s place!ReplyCancel

    • Sharon @ Hiking Toward HomeMarch 4, 2014 - 10:04 PM

      LOL!! It was not too preachy! It’s what I need to hear/read. And I completely get the “heart on caffeine does runneth over.” Thanks for stopping by my blog. :-) ReplyCancel

  • Debbie WilliamsonMarch 1, 2014 - 12:37 PM

    So funny . . . “I know I have issues.” A few years ago I discovered an unused, brand new box of crayons, still with the pointy tips, with my maiden name on them clearly written when I was in elementary school. I am 53. :-/ I think we might all have issues! But I really resonated with your writing today and the confusion about why it is hard to choose to jump on in to whatever. Something for me to ponder today. Thanks!ReplyCancel

Shocked and Inspired By My Own Words

In July of 2011 a post of mine was featured on (in)courage.

The topic was facing fear; in particular my fear of the white of a blank piece of watercolor paper that hid behind a door in my home. It was stretched and ready to go but it sat there hidden behind a door for a long time. Months.

I didn’t want to “waste” an expensive piece of watercolor paper by painting something that would turn out mediocre. I was afraid to mess it up. It was as if the blank paper was worth more than any efforts I could attempt to make. As if the blank sheet was perfect the way it was and any mark I might make on it would render it “ugly”.

Crazy huh?

The post published before I was informed and so I never was able to write a “teaser” post on my own blog ahead of time to send readers over to (in)courage to read it.

At the time it was published I was headed to Florida for a much needed vacation with my family. We stayed the night at the famous South Of the Border “resort”. We intended to stay there two nights, my husband wanting our kids to experience the junk shops and climbing the big sombrero that overlooks I-95, something he did as a kid with his parents.

While my husband and kids romped in the pool, I sat and checked my email.

It was flooded with “comments” to reply to. After a moment of confusion, I realized that my post had been published THAT MORNING.

I wanted to shout Hooray and Yikes at the same time! I was disappointed that I had not been able to post a “teaser” on my blog but I was thrilled at the response my article was receiving.

I sat down to respond to the comments and as I worked my way down the list I read this:

Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 3.56.58 PM

I have considered Holley to be a friend since meeting her at Relevant/Allume 2010, the very first one.

For that kind of response from a person whom I admire and respect in the blogging community… WOW.

However, the dark valley of 2011 and 2012 caused me to back off blogging and over time I forgot about Holley’s comment.


When Holley released You’re Made for a God-sized Dream,


I was still in healing mode and sat on the sidelines as I watched and read about all the bloggers involved with launching the book and then writing about pursuing their God-sized dreams throughout 2013. I was slightly saddened (and slightly jealous) that I was not participating. Life just did not allow it at the time.

In the end of October 2013 I picked up You’re Made for a God-sized Dream at Allume. I come across a whole chapter related to facing fear and overcoming it.


I finally sat down to read it in the end of November. One morning while reading, I turned the page to see…


my name and words staring back at me off the page.

Yes. I admit it. I SCREAMED!

I was excited and shocked and overwhelmed all at the same time.

My words. Quoted and cited in a published book.
Not only had my words made an impact when they were published on (in)courage but it impacted Holley enough to choose to make them part of her book.
Although they were “my” words, reading them set in the commentary of another made me stop and read them afresh and gain a new perspective.
It caused me to stop and think about the fact that I had written those words.
Where did that Sharon go?
I realized that though I faced my fear by finishing a particular painting, I had not followed through with another painting. I had dropped the proverbial ball.
My “dream” had become a lot of talk and no action.
In 2014, the year of INSPIRE, I have set a goal to pursue my God-sized dream and paint a whole lot more.
An even bigger part of that dream is to make an income of some sort with my art {painting and photography} for two reasons:
1. to be able to give more to the Lord and
2. to be able to contribute to our household financially, looking toward the future of hopefully buying our own home one day.
Do you have any God-sized dreams?
Have you been pursuing them or have you let them gather dust behind a door, hidden away and forgotten?
And  if your dream is lurking in the corners of your life… what might you do to start on the path of hiking toward seeing it come to fruition?
Share about it here in the comments below.
I’m linking up over at today. Come on over and read about others who are pursuing their God-sized dreams.

Linking up with Crystal for Behind the Scenes too!


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  • Kristin SmithJanuary 7, 2014 - 8:06 AM

    Oh I love this story – just love it!! So excited to dream with you and see the wonderful places God will take you in your obedience!! Thanks for linking up with us at God-sized Dreams!ReplyCancel

  • Valerie SiscoJanuary 7, 2014 - 9:07 AM

    How exciting! To see how God used your words is amazing — thank you for sharing your heart with us!

  • Joanne ViolaJanuary 7, 2014 - 9:58 AM

    I love this post! It is so exciting when God surprises us in such unexpected ways. May He fulfill your dreams for 2014!

  • BethJanuary 7, 2014 - 9:58 AM

    Oh what a glorious story. I’m so delighted I linked up next to you today and was brought here. Such encouragement found reading this today. I linked up even though I only briefly share what I believe may be a God-sized dream. I’ve had such a difficult time knowing…but God is speaking to my heart in so many amazing ways as we begin this new year.
    So encouraged by all you God-sized Dreamers.

  • Sharon OJanuary 7, 2014 - 12:04 PM

    Haven’t seen your blog for some time. I love it. wow that is a wonderful ‘honor’ to be in a book and quoted and encouraged and wow, God it doing a good thing. Be blessed.ReplyCancel

  • J. RaeJanuary 7, 2014 - 12:05 PM

    Too cool! What a sweet moment of encouragement that must have been :) ReplyCancel

  • Laurie Wallin (@mylivingpower)January 7, 2014 - 6:28 PM

    “I didn’t want to “waste” an expensive piece of watercolor paper by painting something that would turn out mediocre.” I soooo resonate with that. It’s probably the number one reason I don’t start something new that requires special resources like that! But I love that your fear in that one area put your heart on paper in another. . . in Holley’s book! How amazing God is to put that desire there, then fill it in ways we never anticipated, and then bring you to a new version of it that you CAN tackle. So fun! Glad to find you through the link up at!ReplyCancel

    • Sharon @ Hiking Toward HomeJanuary 7, 2014 - 8:19 PM

      Laurie- Isn’t it ironic? paper unused is wasted and yet… my thinking was opposite, that touching brush to paper would make it “wasted”. Thanks for coming by through the link up! I appreciate your comments :-) ReplyCancel

  • Holley GerthJanuary 7, 2014 - 8:32 PM

    What a joy to read this post, Sharon! I appreciate your words, friendship and heart so much. :) ReplyCancel

    • Sharon @ Hiking Toward HomeJanuary 7, 2014 - 8:47 PM

      Holley, Thank you so much for your encouraging words over the last few years. :-) Thank you for stopping over and commenting here as well.
      Keep me accountable and stay on me if I don’t post anything about my progress!ReplyCancel

  • SomerJanuary 7, 2014 - 10:25 PM

    I so enjoyed reading this beautiful story. Your paintings are beautiful. I am no amazing painter, but I shut this joy off from me a long time ago…I used to paint but felt the exact same way you described you felt about your blank canvas…the ” if i don’t try i won’t be disappointed or fail”…you described my fears of failure perfectly. I am so glad you got to see your own comments published in a finished work, words that encouraged and enlightened some one else that you look up too…wow. I have always wanted to write children’s books…and i have lots of stories…but i wrestle over and over with…forget it, hide it, stop it…Thanks for the Encouragement to pursue the dreams that God shines into the dark of your heart….ReplyCancel

    • Sharon @ Hiking Toward HomeJanuary 8, 2014 - 8:07 AM

      Somer, Write those books! Don’t shut off your joy, The joy of the Lord is your strength! There is joy in doing what God created you to be and do. Think of all the artisans who God used to build the tabernacle and the tapestries that covered it. If those workers/artisans had not been willing to use their creative gifts that God had given them…
      Thank you for your sweet comments.ReplyCancel

  • Christine WrightJanuary 9, 2014 - 12:00 AM

    WOW – God is just incredibly AWESOME isn’t He??? OH, that takes my breath away. I love your story, so, so, so (so many so’s! ha!) much!! Girl, keep going. I wish we could have met at Allume – next year. (And my husband and I always make our kids stop at South of the Border and go up in the Pedro’s sombrero! Such a wonderful memory from childhood! Those billboards still make me laugh.)ReplyCancel

    • Sharon @ Hiking Toward HomeJanuary 9, 2014 - 11:36 AM

      Thank you for your sweet comments. I do look forward to meeting up at Allume next year.
      I love reading all the South of the Border billboards too. I always wanted to stop there and my parents never would. It was fun to wander through all the junk shops and try all the silly hats on. Keep me accountable Christine!! I don’t want this dream be forgotten about and put on the shelf. 1. To blog regularly and 2. to actually PAINT this year.ReplyCancel

The Word for 2014: Inspire

Many people make lists of resolutions and others set defined goals and still others “name” their year. This year I fall into the last category.

I have been praying for the Lord to give me a word for 2014 and this is it:


INSPIRE others to follow Christ.

INSPIRE my children to live for Christ in their daily lives.

INSPIRE others through my words- written in pixels, spoken, and sung.

INSPIRE others through my art- in colors of pigment on paper and pixels on screen.

Recently I have been re-inspired to follow a God-sized Dream.

What God-sized dream  you say?

Well… Two years ago I wrote a guest post at (in)courage. I wrote about facing my “fear of white” and getting back to painting and art again.

In a wild and crazy round-about way I have been inspired by

my own words.

What has inspired you lately?

Is there anything you have been inspired to do?

I invite you to share about it in the comments below.

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  • GinaJanuary 2, 2014 - 11:26 PM

    I inspire myself to keep on reading my bible by praying that i wont get tired or lazy.sometimes when im too overwhelmed by the children and house chores or noises in my sorounding i really admit that its too hard to read a bible:-(. Right now im finishing Psalm.yay! Inspire me!ReplyCancel

  • Kathy SchwankeJanuary 5, 2014 - 9:38 PM

    Hi Sharon,
    Thanks for stop[ping by and connecting with me! I love your word and your goals. The one thing worth passing on in life-faith in Jesus. {Inspire to me is passing on the fire; passing on the passion to pursue Christ, right?}

    God bless your family!ReplyCancel

  • […] the proverbial ball. My “dream” had become a lot of talk and no action. In 2014, the year of INSPIRE, I have set a goal to pursue my God-sized dream and paint a whole lot more. An even bigger part of […]ReplyCancel

  • […] began my year by naming it INSPIRE and promising myself to blog more […]ReplyCancel

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