The Beautiful Ordinary

Morning Coffee

I make my way to the kitchen where my trusty coffee pot awaits. I pour the water, scoop the grounds, they remind me of dirt. You’d think I was planning to grow something, maybe some courage for the day.

 
The coffee pot pours the warm water over the grounds and almost magically a warm, golden brown liquid trickles into the warm glass pot. The coffee pot beeps, signaling that the coffee is ready and waiting.

 
It’s still dark, my brain still fuzzy from sleep as I hold my cup close and take my first drink. Warm liquid energy warms me, wakes me and sooths me all in one. Simple comfort found in the cup.

 
Lord, as I hold my cup and snuggle in with You this morning, I realize that you are my refuge. Apart from You I do not have one good thing, but with You all things are working for my good. Lord, You are my portion and my cup, no matter what today holds, in You I am secure. I find my courage in You this morning, You counsel me, and instruct my heart. Help me to keep my eyes always on You.

  Psalm 16

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The Beautiful Ordinary

The Planting of a Garden

Memorial weekend is always the weekend our garden goes in.  The manure was spread months ago, next the tilling of the soil.  I love fresh tilled soil it is so dark and rich as it awaits planting day.

We have selected our plants, every year we try something new, this year it’s brussel sprouts.  We map out the plan and then it’s time for the seeds and plants to go in.   There is something sacred about having your hands in the dirt of the Earth. We watch amazed as tiny seeds and fragile starter plants quickly take root and grow strong in the fertile soil.

At first the garden looks perfect, not a weed in sight, and the new plants are standing up strong and tall in the rich dark soil.  We go to great lengths to protect them, making sure they have enough water, hoping for enough sunshine and covering them when a late frost comes.

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By mid-summer the plants are four times their size and the hope of fruit is beginning to show itself.  It is also a time when a battle begins, the battle against the weeds who want to choke the life out of our precious plants.  Weeds do not need cared for or protected and they seem to thrive in any condition.

We weed, we water, and we protect. The long-awaited day arrives, the day of the first fruit, and this begins the steady flow of good things from the garden.

For if the first fruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. Romans 11:16

Oh Lord, that I will be holy as You are holy. 

The Beautiful Ordinary

Making the Bed

I am a bed maker, it brings peace and order to my day. Sheets tucked tight, quilt even on each side, a soft stack of pillows. My bed has served me well, it has given me peaceful rest, served as a refuge, felt my tears, heard my laughter, known my dreams, my nightmares and has been witness to many prayers.

There are days I forget to make my bed, or simply run out of time in the morning. As evening comes around and sleep begins to call, I’m sad to find it messy and crumpled.
Call me crazy or OCD, but the truth is I take a few minutes to tuck those sheets tight, square up that quilt, then turn it down and slide in for the night. It is the place where I am still.

Father, I thank You for this small rectangle I call my bed. It is warm, clean safe and the one place where I can be still.

As I wake each morning, it is the pace where my first thoughts are forming. Help my first thoughts to set on the truth that You Are God.

You will be exalted over all the Earth and heavenly hosts are at Your command. You are my safe place and I need not fear as the sunrises on a new day.

Psalm 46

Faith

Life Lessons from a Shunammite Woman

This post remains my number one post. Thought it was worth a reblog. 🙂

I’ve been studying the story of the Shunammite woman this week and her story is so rich and full of many truths.  You can read it here in 2 Kings 4: 8-37 and then in 2 Kings 8:1-6

Take a little walk with me through the life lessons that her story teaches –

Take Time for Hospitality

Now it happened one day that Elisha went to Shunem, where there was a notable woman, and she persuaded him to eat some food. So it was, as often as he passed by, he would turn in there to eat some food.  And she said to her husband, “Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly. Please, let us make a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair…

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Book Reviews

Courageous Creative

I have found this to be true,  I am happier when I am creating, even when it is something small.   Some of us who are not as artistic as others, raising both hands high, we find creating more of a struggle.

The truth is there are many ways to create, from painting and writing, to cooking and baking,  gardening, photography, graphic design, and dancing, the list goes on and on.

This year I have been pursuing new ways to create.  I have found a love for spoken word poetry.  I have been introduced to beautiful liturgical dance and I actually felt graceful. I’m sure I did not look graceful, but I was convinced I was! God can be glorified in so many ways as we create to honor Him.

Then I stumbled upon this sweet little book, Courageous Creative: A 31-Day Interactive Devotional, written by Jenny Randle.  I am having so much fun trying all kinds of courageous and creative things.  It has honestly been just the lift that I needed.

 

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This photo is from the challenge from Day 3, framing a photo in a unique way.
Bike Ride

I took this while on my bike ride the other evening, peaking out from the bushes over the lake.  I love the close foliage of the bushes and then the lone tree in the distance, flaming red, like a burning bush.

Day 4, record yourself reciting a monologue, which was right up my alley.

Here I recorded a spoken word poem that I wrote about the Woman at the Well.  It is raw and unedited, but so fun with no pressure to be perfect.  Have a listen to Thirsty

I am having so much fun with this devotional, and I notice that my wheels are turning in new, fun and creative ways.

If you re in a dry spell, grab a copy of Jenny’s devotional and start creating!

 

 

Faith

4 Reasons To Come to a Women’s Bible Study

Chances are you have a Women’s Bible study happening at your local church.  Maybe you have been invited, scanned over the blurb in the church bulletin, or have seen it promoted online and you thought, “I should go to this.  Yes, I’m going!”

Within that same moment you also begin to think of the one hundred and one reasons why you can’t go.  Your lack of time being number one, followed by, ” I don’t want to go in there by myself,” to the standard, “I’m just too busy”.

We are busy, oh so busy, in a world that has more modern conveniences than ever before.  How is that possible?

My good friend always says this about being BUSY

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Oh so true.  He loves to keep us BUSY, wasting our time on things that will not catapult us toward God.  He wants to keep us status quo, so he can wear us down to the point where we won’t even remember the last time we opened our Bible.  The last time we simply sat in the quietness of God’s presence, where God’s grace, mercy, hope and peace flow.

As a Women’s Ministry leader I am always coaxing women to come to Women’s Bible Study and here are my top four reasons:

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You will Increase Your Bible Knowledge

The more time you spend in something, the better you will know it.  As you devote yourself to learning more of God’s Word, that knowledge will take up a residence within you, that you carry for the rest of your life.

Your Faith Will Grow 

As you read and study God’s Word and the lives of the people within the pages of the Bible, you will see two things:  Their Lack of Faith, or Their Great Faith.  Your faith will grow by studying both.

You Will Become a Woman of Prayer

Prayer will take on a fresh meaning to you, as you pray for the needs of the women around you and they pray for you.  You will wonder how you’ve made it this far in life without it.

You Will Find Community 

You will sit around a table with women who you may have not met otherwise, and you will laugh and cry together.  They will become your friends, your confidants, your sisters, and you will find the wonderful bond of community.

As Women’s Bible studies are kicking off in churches all over this Fall, answer the call dear friend, dear sister, you will be happy that you did.

If you are in my area, I would love to have you at our Women’s Bible Study, kicking off this week at Bethel Life Worship Center, in Greenville, PA

Here are your bulletin blurbs!

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WOW Bible Study

 

Faith

America Is Great – Because We Give

The truth is, we all need it from time to time, a wake up call.  I have to say that since my last post  When You Can’t Unknow  I’ve been wrecked.  I’ve been angry, crying and filled with desperation.

Something happened within me that night as I listened to Christine share about something as simple as sanitary kits for women. Something that every woman should have, the ability to keep herself clean.

It was if God slapped me in the face, it stung, it is still stinging and just won’t stop. I’m grouchy about it. I find myself in daily conversations with people and everything seems silly and small in comparison.

I honestly felt like there was no good thing I would ever have to say again, at least nothing that would make any kind of a difference.  I would sit down to write something and nothing would come.  Until tonight.

For whatever reason, the Lord wanted me to see poverty and the despair it brings in a new light.  In a real light.

  • We live in a world where some are cherished and some are thrown away like trash. 
  • Where some are fed and some are left starving. 
  • Where some have excellent medical care and others loose their eye from something as curable as pink eye.
  • Where some have indoor plumbing and others share a hole in the ground with hundreds of others.  
  • Where some women have any an all means to keep themselves clean and others bleed on a bale of hay.

I’m currently reading a book titled Find Me Unafraid.  Jessica Posner finds herself in the largest slum in Kenya, called Kibera, a slum of over one million people.    She shares a conversation that she had over a meager meal with a few young boys, they are five and six.

They begin to ask her questions about America and they want to know if it is true that dogs and cats get fed every day?  Is it also true that Americans take their dogs and cats to the doctor?

She tells them, “Yes these things are true.”  The five year old, says these words…“I wish I were a cat in America.”

I want you to pause here for a moment, dear friend, and I want you to let that slice your soul, as it did mine.

I don’t share this with you, to make you feel bad or sad.  I share this with you on a beautiful Sunday evening in America, where most of us us have enjoyed plates full of food all week.  We have swam and played in oceans, lakes and pools of clean water.  Our children have enjoyed fun, games and fireworks.  We have celebrated something coveted by the world, Freedom.

We are all busy, running this frantic race, trying to make our lives and our Nation great.  The truth is we are already great, yet we are never satisfied.  We want bigger, better, more.

In these past weeks I have come to know this…

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Never let anyone fool you into believing different.

I have been asking myself so many questions:

What can I do?

How can pray?

Can I really make any kind of a difference?

Today a man from my church sent me a book titled, Moving Mountains, by John Eldredge.  He said that he had bought ten copies and the Lord directed him as to who to give them to.  The Lord put my name on his list. Funny how God works, isn’t it?

I know this, the Mountain of Poverty is a mammoth mountain.  Far too big for me or for you, but together with God, is there a mountain too big?

I want to do more than read about what to do, I want to do.  I want to be a woman who is making a difference in the places where the need is desperate.  That place may look different for each of us, but God is big enough to show us where and what small thing we can do.

Let’s Begin to Ask God to Show Us How 

Will you pray for those who would find it a joy to be a cat in America? 

Will you ask God how you can give, and where you should give?

Will you welcome the opportunity to open your door to the poor, when everyone else is closing theirs?

Will you obey, even if it requires sacrifice?

Will you press on and not be deterred, even if it gets hard?  

Are we willing to push against this mountain, with God…until the job is finished?

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Faith

When You Can’t Unknow

It sit in circles with women every week, and yeah, we have problems, heartbreaks even. Our trials are real, painful and nerve wracking, to us.

Today I have to, I must be, honest with you and with myself. If you are a woman, like me, who is living in a home with running water, heat, and fridge full of food, you are living in the top quarter of the world. There is nothing wrong with that, we are simply living what we know. That’s just it, it’s what we know.

Every once in awhile someone breaks into our life, the little bubble in which we live, and gives us information that we don’t know. For some reason the Lord has decided that in this moment it is time for us to know something new, something that will change us, the way we think and what we do.

Today, my friends, I’m going to do this for you. Maybe you’ll thank me, or maybe you’ll want to unknow, but you see there is no unknowing.

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There is a tiny woman who goes to my church, she wakes before the sun comes up and goes to her basement. She is not going to her computer, or her treadmill, but she sits down at her sewing machine and begins to sew.

Surrounded by bolts of fabric and spools of thread and the biggest ironing board I’ve ever seen, she sews. She isn’t sewing curtains or crafts, she sews menstrual kits. Yep, you heard me, menstrual kits, washable, reusable ones.

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She has chosen the fabric with care, the most beautiful prints she can find, the thickness and softness of the fabric is of the utmost importance. You see with each kit she sews she is changing one life, really changing it.

You can see what my friend Christine is up to here.

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Women living in Africa, Nepal, India and other third world countries have no products for feminine hygiene.

Imagine with me-

  • Imagine, having your period and sitting on a piece of card board, hay, or dirt for the week.
  • Imagine be exiled to a hut, in the heat and the cold as you sit. The blood calling out to every animal or serpent near.
  • Imagine being so desperate to go to work that you try to stop your flow with rocks, corn husks, even dried feces, anything that will absorb the flow.
  • Imagine the disease and infection that could ravage your body.
  • Imagine the pain.
  • Imagine if you are lucky enough to go to school and have access to some product, but you have to allow your principal to rape you in order to get it.

Women are beaten down, stripped of their dignity because of the flow of blood, a flow that God created to carry life into the world.

Women living in South America, Canada and Europe where the cost of product is five times what it is in the US. Meaning a box of tampons can be as high as $28 dollars. You are forced to miss work or school, family celebrations, worship, because you are home on rags having your period.

There are many women with the US who cannot afford product for themselves or their daughters, women who are living on under $12,000 a year. Not to mention the limited access to products for girls in foster care or women in prison. They have no money to buy it for themselves and US or State governments do not, where will they get it, and worse yet, what will they have to do to get what they need?

Imagine with me, If you were one of these women, how a washable,
reusable feminine hygiene kit would change your life.

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My friend is on mission sewing as many kits as she can, changing a life with every one. Giving women and girls freedom and dignity. She is faithful to sew and an organization called Days for Girls is faithful to get them to the women and girls who need them.

Ever since my friend shared all of this with me, I wake each morning thinking of the girls, alone, disgraced and suffering because their bodies are doing what they are designed to do. There is no where for them to turn, no help to be found. They suffer as their mothers have suffered.

I don’t know the first thing about sewing, I don’t have much to offer, but now I know and I can’t unknow.

I start with this, spreading the news and praying that God will show me a way I can help, and that I will be willing to sacrifice my own comfort to do it. It’s a heart searching, a soul searching really.

Am I willing to see the suffering of others through the eyes of Christ?

Am I willing to wake before the sun?

Am I willing to go to bed late?

Am I willing to give up a meal out, and give that money away?

Am I willing to travail in prayer?

Am I willing to not do one great thing, but one small thing to change a life?

I hate to do this to you, I really do…

Now, you know, and just like me, there is no unknowing.

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