Blog Posts

Morgan Cheek and On Milk and Honey

Posted by on May 27, 2017 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

I just completed devouring a book I’ve been told I needed to read for a couple of years because the author was our former (because our boys grew up into men) pediatrician’s daughter-in-law and my birthday group friends had all read it and I was left out of their conversation over her wisdom as a young mom.

So I finally bought Morgan Cheek’s On Milk and Honey: How God’s Goodness Shows Up in Unexpected Places and downloaded it to my Kindle and I was hooked from the opening pages. I should have known to read it much sooner by the title alone (God’s Goodness? Hello!!)

The book is well-written and conversational in style. The story of Morgan and Hugh Cheek’s life as new parents to twins is raw and honest as she lays out coming to terms within the first 16 months of their lives over God’s mysterious ways in their creation and how a desire for a diagnosis for them is a hope and at times a struggle with her needing information, yet all the while firmly grasping God’s sovereignty in ways far beyond most her age and circumstance.

I’d rather honor their story by not giving it away and encouraging you to check into it for yourself.

Most importantly and a needed reminder that refreshing is that God is on display as their faithful creative Father for Hugh, Morgan, Ally, and Bailey Grace as she shares solid biblical foundation for grasping all that God writes in our stories whether similar to theirs, simpler than theirs, or more strenuous. Comparison is not the heart, nor self-pity. God is.

She openly shares the struggles with her desires for solutions and diagnoses at times as they’ve learned to parent two unique and precious girls. But, Morgan always comes back to how God sustains, provides, and is glorified in lives if we will just open our eyes and see Him at work.

Morgan uses the English Standard Version of the Bible as her translation mostly and that gets my attention. Call me a translation snob, but so be it.

She also draws quotes in from biblically grounded people who have lived before her. No prosperity gospel is happening here.

Her doctrine is solid and their family story real and raw.

Find more of it at her blog His Hands, His Feet, His Heart. She’s also on Facebook and Instagram.

Be encouraged and be hope-filled as you read Morgan’s story and see God writing your own. After all, He is the author and perfecter of your faith if you are His child. Although my own story is different from that of the Cheek family, I have seen firsthand God at work penning the happenings of my own life and seeing it all unfold for my good and His glory.

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Dry Spell Rained Out

Posted by on Mar 29, 2017 in Blog Posts | 6 comments

Isaiah via She Reads Truth, New Inductive Study Bible (ESV), and my bullet journal keep my quiet time well watered lately.

Do you ever have a dry spell, spiritually speaking?

I have been in one that was rather long lasting and I realized that much of my desert living was due to not being intentional in my relationship with God. My spirit was struggling and parched.

I finally confessed to God that I was absent in my relationship with him and was desperate for change. I told him that my Bible pages were dusty and my prayers stale. I asked him for a bit of revival and asked him what steps to take.

I’m that kind of person. Give me a detailed plan and I’m there. Most days.

Of late, however, I am in the school of flexibility and spontaneity. (A challenge for me.) I make plans and they have to be able to change quickly. Plans for a great and lengthy quiet time are not realistic, and as much as I would like to blame my spiritual desert dryness on unplanned things, that is a pathetic excuse.

It is my own neglect of quiet time that interrupts refreshing time.

So here are my steps for reviving a desert slump of spirit. Ready? It’s game-changing.

  1. Read the Bible.
  2. Pray.

TAH and DAH!!! Amazing?!

Read the Bible

That book. The one that God wrote through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit through the pens of men. Not a book about it. But THAT book. Pick a smaller portion of it, but read it. For me, Isaiah is where I am currently camping thanks to She Reads Truth’s beautiful Lenten version. No muss and no fuss, but beautiful (and yes, more that I should have spent but I splurged anyway). I led a study on Isaiah a few years ago, so it is actually refreshing to read for the sake of reading rather than for the sake of leading. If you teach Bible studies, you’ll understand that.

Pray

I journal my prayers and I also pray them out loud. To sit still and journal pray or pray silently or aloud takes time and discipline. It takes work and I have been slacking at it. But, once I pulled out my pen and paper and began jotting my prayers as bullet points, the words began to flow in written form. And those things so personal that I dare not write, turned into pauses on paper as words were spoken.

Nothing fancy and no gimmicks, either, are involved in reviving a quiet time. Just plain and simple prayer and Scripture reading have turned on the showers and my spiritual dryness has been rained   out.

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Craftsy Supplies Sale

Posted by on Feb 25, 2017 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

Just a couple of the shawl kits at Craftsy.

(Affiliate disclosure at the bottom of my blog page)

I’ve been rather busy knitting lately and wanted to let you know that Craftsy is having a great sale on supplies and kits for ALL kinds of crafts. Some of their shawl kits are gorgeous.

As an affiliate, if you click via this link and order supplies/kits, I’ll get a smidgen of moolah back.

But here’s the great news, if you have always wanted a shawl, but don’t know how to knit and you see and purchase a shawl kit you like, let me know and I’ll be happy to complete the shawl for you for a fee. You can contact me via my contact page to begin the dialog for me completing your shawl.

This is only for shawls at this time. I do not do sweaters, yet.

So, happy shopping, crafting, and creating! Thank you!

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Advent, Already? Amen.

Posted by on Sep 15, 2016 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

advent-presalesI realized this morning that there are 100 days until Christmas. I am not typically interested in counting down the days until December 25. I really look forward to the days of Advent that lead up to Christmas Day. On the Christian church calendar, Advent officially begins Sunday, November 27 this year.

I enjoy Advent, but not for the presents, not for the parties, and not for the nativity set or tree we put in our home.  Those are great, but not my happiest place during Advent and Christmas. No, I enjoy it because it gives me the “excuse” to be still. It is in the being still that I find space in my day to pray, read my Bible, and work through an advent devotional. I need the motivation to be intentional in being still even more during the holidays. Do you?

When it comes to a devotional, I may read the same one for several years or I may search for a new one. I enjoy the process of selecting a devotional that is solid in the gospel and doctrine without fluff of more things I need to do to make this Christmas my best yet.

You may not be thinking about an Advent devotional today, but I want to pass along an opportunity to purchase a beautiful Advent calendar and devotional at a discount between now and next Wednesday.

The ladies at Amen Paper Company and the artist from Lindsay Letters have collaborated to pull this bundle of Christmas joy together sooner than later so you can be intentional in preparing your heart for Christ again or maybe for the first time in your life. Jess and Helen of APC put out an APB to those who may be inclined to submit written pieces on specific topics within the theme of, “Let it Be,” which is another way of saying, “Amen”.

I submitted a piece and it was selected and I cannot wait to see it all together. Words and art creatively colliding and displaying the splendor of Christ and his magnificent So Be It when his atonement was accomplished is where I desire my focus today and all my days.

Christmas is 100 days away. Let us prepare our hearts and make him room today and everyday. Amen?

 

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Who Me, Disciple? An Invitation.

Posted by on May 11, 2016 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

An invitation for you...

An invitation for you…

Today’s text from a younger woman in our church prompted me to consider again this recurring and blessed nudge from God, this commission as spoken by Jesus to his disciples at the end of Matthew, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…”

What about you? Are you ever nudged by God about this?

Backing up a bit, I know the need for discipling from the perspective of this younger woman. Giving my heart to Christ as a young teenager was wonderful and memorable, but my growth was sporadic and unguided until I got out of college and became a mom two and a half years later.

Reflecting back to being a young newly married woman, I remember calling a wise woman in our church and asking her if she knew of a Bible study in which I could participate. This woman was someone whose faith I admired from afar. She seemed to have her life together when it came to her ability to share about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. At the least, I was hoping for an invitation to her Bible study. At the most, I was envisioning being discipled by her, one on one.

But I cannot forget her heartfelt response to me. She steered me to no one – not herself, and not her Bible study group because of my youthfulness and her group’s not-so-youthfulness. She steered me far away from pursuing discipling of any kind.

I hung up the phone dejected and ashamed to have made a cold call to this woman.

Fast forwarding now, I have been blessed in the years since that phone call being in the providential combo of right place and time of receiving from godly women – from group Bible studies, to one-on-one over steaming coffee, to authors who challenged me from afar unbeknownst to their discipling affect on my soul through the words in books.

The common denominator of all those life-giving and life changing encounters with godly women was the Word of God as central to nurturing younger women. Repeatedly pointing me back to truths found in Scripture was key to my growth.

Being a new mom challenged my faith and mentors pointed me to the solidity of the gospel in keeping Jesus at the center of my calling to parent. This sustained me through all the phases of parenting. I knew to whom I could drag my weary soul at the end of a hard day and it was to the Trinity. Women discipling me faithfully pointed me there.

Praying was never my strong suit, but through my discipling relationships, I learned how to pray alone and in community. I learned that God was to be the first ears to hear my heart’s burdens and not my husband’s, friends’, or mentors’. I saw confidentiality modeled and godly strength upheld. I saw repentance and seeking forgiveness displayed. I learned the value of communicating regularly with God.

And I learned the value of being invested in by godly (not perfect) women who gave of their time to come alongside me. For them, I am thankful.

I know the benefits of discipleship. Women discipling women are a breath of fresh air in the Church. To pour into another life (through the power of the Holy Spirit) as I’ve been blessed is a valuable benefit of being an active part of a church body.

I will talk with my younger friend and find out what God has laid on her heart. I will do my best to encourage and teach her as others have modeled for me. I will keep the gospel at the heart of our relationship. I will share my failures and flaws, my meager attempts and few successes, by God’s grace. I will ask her to disciple others, too, at the right time.

Is it time for you to do the same?

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Time Flies

Posted by on Jan 6, 2016 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

January2016

In the blink of an eye it seems, I have done much and not so much. I consider all the mental plans I had made for last year sitting here, gazing out my window as cars zoom by and students leave school. The occasional jogger runs by and I wonder what we are all thinking in this moment in time.

I imagine all of our ideas of things we want/need to do as vastly diverse as our fingerprints. I can almost see those ideas and tentative plans  swirling upward like breath out of that jogger’s mouth on a wintry morning – quickly remembered, quickly vanished.

My to-do lists, sticky notes, planner jottings, and journal all filled and representing my 2015 now loom ready to stay either checked off as completed or ready to be transferred to clean pages of a new year’s planner, folder, journal in time to get those undone things done, I hope. It’s time to put 2015 away and keep on going into 2016.

Good bye to the shoulda, woulda, and coulda things.

Hello to shall, will, and can things.

Last year, I never had that day alone with God when I set aside time to pray through plans for the year ahead. The file folder containing past years’ penned prayerful goals and plans sat unopened all of the year. Occasionally, a scrap of paper would be forced in-between others in the folder in hopes I would get around to that day. I looked forward to it. Yet, I neglected to make time for it. No goals or specific hopes with prayers and verses were ever penned last year.

So yesterday I had the opportunity to begin the refreshing work on it a bit in the morning and I yearned to complete it before leaving the house to fulfill a joyful duty. I contemplated forgetting about the commitment only to be reminded of letting my yes be yes. Off I went with my thoughts swirling about my head, excited to pick up the day alone with God today. It looks like that will happen over the course of several days…snippets of time savored alone with the Lord. Ahhhhh.

A bit of tidying up the space on this blog needed to be completed today and thus, I have evaluated whether to keep investing money into a spot where so little writing happens. But then, I thought better of it and decided to keep it for this year. After all, writing still remains a pleasant activity for me, along with sewing, knitting, crocheting, reading, cooking, volunteering at the local cancer center,  working on a manageable garden in the spring, taking care of dear husband, helping our adult children and our two-year-old grandson and soon another boy due in April to the younger son and daughter-in-love…then there’s teaching the occasional Bible study, helping out with church things for women, mentoring, spending time with friends, maybe practicing photography, maybe learning hand-lettering and hybrid journaling, cross-stitching, healthier habits (always), paring down my wardrobe, remembering the gospel daily, sharing the gospel with others, remembering God’s gracious goodness…

…and so the hopes, plans, and thoughts swirl about and waft up from my head hoping to make it to the days ahead and respective lists of things to do. Goodness gracious, it’s 2016!

 

 

 

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