Monday, December 31, 2012

Adventures in Green {Smoothies}

The advent of a new year always brings with it new goals and new adventures, and this year is no different.  I find myself a bit nervous and excited at the same time about the journey I am about to step into tomorrow.

You're probably thinking something major is about to happen, right?

Before the anticipation gets too thick in here, let me fill you in on the details.  Josh and I are going to drink only green smoothies for the entire month of January.  The seed for this newest heist was planted when we watched the Netflix documentary "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" last week.  Great flick if you haven't seen it!  Highly inspirational and informative regarding our current thought processes and general eating habits in today's culture. 
Frothy Green Goodness
In any case, Josh looked over at me after the movie and said, "I'd like to do green smoothies for the month of January."  Oh my. 

Now, I'm generally a pretty adventurous person; but I'm not gonna lie.  This one has me a bit nervous.  Oh, I know we'll pull through just fine in the long run...but truth be told, I have been gulping down the coffee the past two days like the Mayans were right and the world is ending.  And sure, I've eaten an extra dark chocolate truffle, or ten, just knowing what's coming.  And perhaps I took down Ms. Linnie's entire tin of homemade rocky road fudge on Sunday without even telling anyone that I had it in my possession in the first place. 

Can you blame me?  Really?  I'm about to just drink my food through a straw for 31 days.  A little grace, please.

Nonetheless, I am excited.  Sure, I moan and whine a bit before the initial commencement; but mark my words, halfway into the month of smoothiedom when even my skin turns green and a bit Hulkesque, I will be the poster child for green smoothies.  I will proclaim their goodness far and wide and seek to share their immense benefits with the world. 

And be sure and check back in here frequently, as I will be updating our progress daily throughout the month!

So, here we go. On the brink of the great cleanse of 2013, I wish you the best in all of your 2013 New Year's goals.  I lift high my glass of green goodness and toast to your hopes and dreams for the days ahead.

Happy New Year!

My Recipe for a basic Green Smoothie:

1/2 cup ice
1 cup water
Fill blender with greens to the top.  Our greens of preference are spinach or kale.  We also have used cabbage, collards, Romaine lettuce and anything else green and raw! 

Blend well.  This will blend down to about 1/3 of a blender-full.

Now add in:
4-5 bananas
1/2 cup peanut butter or raw oats (for protein)
any other fruit you please (frozen berries, fresh pineapple, oranges, apples, etc.)

Blend away and serve!  Drink in all of those wonderful antioxidants and feel the health and wellness.

This is a basic loose template.  You can swap out almost any ingredients you choose.  The goal is to  blend up a glass of health and enjoy!

Enjoy today,

P.S. You are welcome here! Thank you for stopping by for a visit. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Friday, December 14, 2012


In Spanglish?  "Christ...MORE".
I recently saw a T-shirt emblazoned with the word "Christ(mas)".  Which set me to thinking.  Now, I don't know if the shirt creator was trying to employ a bit of a Spanglish play on words, but that's exactly how my brain interpreted it.  And of course, our company name being the mixture of Spanish and English that it is, it's only natural that my mind would travel this path.
Interpretation?  "Wash me clean".


How absolutely appropriate.

This season of joy is accompanied by the fullness of forgiveness and the melody of redemption and restoration.  It marks a sacred space when the tapestry of time and the grace story of the ages continue their weaving through a baby boy in an animal's feeding trough.  Through the celebrations and remembrances here in 2012...He shines. 

Emmanuel, God Himself with us.  

Christ More.

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

'Glory to God in the highest heaven,and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.'"  ~ Luke 2:8-14
Enjoy today,

P.S.  You are welcome here!  Thank you for stopping by for a visit.  Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


It's been a busy couple of weeks around the soap shop, as I'm sure it has been for all of you!  December always brings with it a joyous hustle and bustle; a bit of scurrying from here to there.

In this midst of this Christmas season, our family took our last week of vacation for the year.  Instead of going somewhere, we stayed home on a "staycation".  Every now and then we like to do this instead of traveling.  We use the time instead to be together and make new memories in a cost-effective manner, take care of home projects and do a general scrub-down of our house.

We spent the time baking our annual Christmas cookies together as a family.  The recipe list this year included gingerbread men, snowballs, sugar cookies and peanut butter kiss cookies.  We do this each year in December.  Once finished, we give them as our Christmas gifts to my husband's co-workers and our neighbors.  It's a tradition our children really look forward to!
We also used the time to give our living room a much-needed fresh coat of paint.  Sprucing up and clearing out for the holidays always helps to set my spirit still before all of the busyness sets in!

Each of these cleaning and sprucing activities serves a purpose in our family's mission.  We do these things so that we may better focus on what is important and essential.  We have found that the more simply we live, the more time we have for our favorite traditions such as the making and delivering of the cookies.

I heard it said this past week that we are always in the process of glorifying something; always making someone great.  This set me to thinking.  How little can I make of my surroundings and myself, so that God can be glorified and magnified in our family's life?

May we become less, that He may become greater.

Enjoy today,

P.S.  You are welcome here!  Thank you for stopping by for a visit.  Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Thing of Celebration

Celebration Boots
"Livin' off the fatta the land."  Ms. Masdon's voice read this line over and over  in a thick southern drawl and asked us what we thought it meant.

I remember the first time I had that yearning in my soul to garden, keep a few chickens; and essentially, to eat what I grow and grow what I eat.  

I wasn't too keen on the book "Of Mice and Men" in the 11th grade.  I was much more excited about the upcoming Friday night football game with friends in the crisp Georgia air or the dinner theater our drama club was working on putting together.

However, that one line, "living off the fatta the land" stirred something in me each time I heard it.  It reminded me of being a young girl in the Upper Michigan woods, roaming the trails all the day long, pausing to eat wild blueberries and sugarplums or apples.  

Years passed and I no longer sit in those hard chairs in Ms. Masdon's class, but that desire to eat as close to the source as possible remains.  

Five years ago I began researching backyard hens.  I read all the books our library had to offer on the subject, scoured blogs and devoured every piece of literature I could find.  And then I found out these sweet little pets were banned in our city. 

Heartbroken, I went to City Hall to inquire further and find out if there were any hidden loopholes.  Each time I went (yes, there were multiple occasions), the employees would simply give a firm shake of their heads and a confident, "No."  

"Ma'am, you're just not zoned for that.  Really, you just need to move out to the country if you want chickens."

Last week this all turned upside down.  In my continued quest for fresh nutrient-dense eggs from our own backyard, I did a quick search on Facebook for any group that may have formed in my city.  Lo and behold, not only was there a group formed, but they were active, moving and preparing for a vote from the Council!

Last night, up to six laying hens enclosed in a pen became legal in our City of Chesapeake.  The Facebook group, 4 Chesapeake Hens, has worked long and hard to make this happen.

Our children have been cheering, celebrating and already naming their not-yet-ordered chickens. 

Apparently, the yearning to "live off the fatta the land" runs so deep, even our young children understand it.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  ~ James 1:17

Enjoy today,

P.S.  You are welcome here!  Thank you for stopping by for a visit.  Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Friday, October 5, 2012

No, no, this is not a stock photo.  This is an actual pic my little sis took of her toddler's new reading nook.

Isn't it the coolest?!

I almost wish I had such a nook.

When interrogated as to how she built such a beautiful area, she said the shelves are simply spice racks from Ikea.  

What?!  Amazing.

Megin also humbly stated that she absolutely stole the idea from countless others on the Internet, but that it was easy-peasy.  Spray paint a few letters from your local big box store, and you're good to go!

We love reading in our family and do it every chance we get. 

I remember holding a squalling 12-pound, 3-week old Caleb years ago in the wee hours of the morning, bouncing him about and trying to read Curious George to him to soothe his tears.  Didn't work.  Maybe it was George, maybe it was me or the rhythm of the bounce; nevertheless, on he cried.

I kept at it.  We read and read all through his infancy and early childhood.  And now?  He reads all the day long, as do each of my children.  I love it.

Currently we are reading aloud, "Island of the Blue Dolphins".  We still make time in our days to read aloud all together and enjoy the rise and fall of our voices as we take turns with the pages.

This weekend, why not find a quiet space, your own cozy nook, and read a chapter or two of a good book?  

Enjoy today,

 P.S.  You are welcome here!  Thank you for stopping by for a visit.  Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Abandon All Reason

A huge {minor} victory this morning!  

My husband and I have been running and cross-training for the past couple of months in order to keep our bodies in tip-top condition as we go about our service to the Lord.  This morning I finally hit 3.5 miles in an average pace under 10 minutes.  This is a big deal for a girl who used to hate running!

After finishing my run for today, I left the dripping humidity of the outside air and walked in the front door.  Setting my coffee mug on the table across from Josh, I smiled.  He stared long at me.  "What's your inspiration?"

Good question. 

I find inspiration in so many different things.  Here is a short list:

1.  God.  He created our bodies to work marvelously and fluidly.  As long as we are able, we should get the very best use out of them for His glory alone.

2.  My family.  As far as it depends on me and I am able, I want to be a blessing to them with abundant energy!

3.  10-year-old Wendy When I was 10 years old, I used to roam through the woods of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for hours on end, picking wildflowers and dreaming.  I don't want to let that little girl down by dreaming smaller dreams now that I am grown.

4.  My friend, Ben.  Ben is in a wheelchair and for two years now has surfed at the oceanfront with a group of  volunteers in place to assist him in conquering all fear and going for the gusto.  That he would trust God and his friends and get out there with full courage?  Amazing.  If Ben can do that; I can surely run around the block one more time.

5.  The sheer joy of it.  I listen to uplifting, masterfully played melodies while I exercise.  As the musician works their instrument to the best of their ability; I pace my footsteps to the rhythm, telling myself I am also an artist and this is my craft.

There are many, many more reasons why I run.  But these are the beginnings.  These are the ones that keep me lacing up my shoes just one more day. 

And how to get started if you want to exercise but just have no motivation?   

Abandon all reason. 

That's right.  I read a running article the other day that said the best way to start is to drop all of the excuses you can think of not to start:  not enough time, too tired, no workout clothes, no will, etc.  The fact is, we will always find a million reasons not to do something new or hard. 

Drop them.  Abandon all of those reasons, lace up your shoes and start. 

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom."  ~Ecclesiates 9:10

Enjoy today,

 P.S.  You are welcome here!  Thank you for stopping by for a visit.  Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Progress in Preparation

Do you take the time to prepare?

Last night I cleaned out my coffeepot, ground some fresh beans and set all systems to go for this morning.  When I stumbled out of my bedroom at 5:30 this a.m., the only thing left to do was push "on".

Once the coffeepot was readied, I turned my attention to pouring my bread ingredients into my bread maker.  I ground the wheat berries in my grinder to produce a freshly ground whole wheat flour.  After about five minutes of effort, I awakened this morning to this completed loaf.
Paired with a bowl of steel cut oats topped with pecans, honey, banana slices, butter and milk, this hearty bread packed with protein and vitamins makes a great start to our day!

Why would I go to this trouble the night before, when it seems so much more appealing to just rest and then work it all out the next morning?

For this sacred space of time:
I've found that the more I prepare in advance for the things which must be done, the more smoothly a morning will run.  

There is nothing like waking up in the pre-dawn quiet hours to an open Bible and listening for the voice of God.  My spirit is stilled in His presence, and there is nothing else to distract from His words. 

After reading a chapter or so, I leave my Bible open on a counter, a table or another place where I can re-read the words again and again throughout the day.  I pray about a verse or two from the reading that the Lord placed upon my heart for that moment, and I may write it on our dining chalkboard as well. 

This evening, before going to bed at a decent hour, try doing a bit of prep work for the next morning.  

I like to think of my time with the Lord as I would a date with my husband.  I prepare my schedule by clearing it,  ready my heart and create a calm environment.  And then I listen as He speaks.  I wouldn't trade these times for anything.

Here is a nugget from 1 Corinthians 4:1 God showed me this morning in our time together:  "This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God."  

Enjoy today,

 P.S.  You are welcome here!  Thank you for stopping by for a visit.  Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


This early morning we sat snuggling under layers of cozy quilts on the porch.  Morning coffee steaming in our mugs, we breathed the crisp new fall air. 

Knee-high socks have made their reappearance after a summer slumber in my bureau. 

Autumn is here, friends.  We're bringing out our quilts and brewing hot pots of coffee.  We're looking forward to snuggling in front of the crackling fireplace; and yes, every now and then even breaking out in a Christmas carol or two.  Pumpkins adorn our mantel and a cute chubby glass owl rests among the gourds there.

It's a fresh season; a fresh day.  Get out there and embrace it!  Or rest quietly wrapped in a faded quilt.  Either way; savor this day.

"I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing the praises of Your name, O Most High."  ~Psalm 9:2

Enjoy today,

 P.S.  You are welcome here!  Thank you for stopping by for a visit.  Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Catching the Drips

"Pling.  Pling.  Pling."

You know the sound.  A faucet that is turned on and just won't turn off.

"Pling.  Pling."

This is what hit my ears when my feet hit the ground Sunday morning. 

I grasped the cold metal handle and raised it.  Lowered it.  Shifted it to the right; then left. 

Pushed it all the way down.  Eased it up ever so slowly.


There's no escaping it.  My faucet needs repair.

I stared at it.  Prayed over it.  I let my husband know we would need to fix it.

What else to do?
Gathering up my houseplants in my arms, I brought them in, one by one, and allowed them to sit under the slow and continuous drip.  

This drip that annoys me; it provides a nice long soaking bath for my dry plants.  They loved it.  Sat there for hours and just drank it in. 

Look around with open eyes.  Are there any drips you can catch today?  

Enjoy today,

 P.S.  You are welcome here!  Thank you for stopping by for a visit.  Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Unleashing Joy

"Don't put the kids to bed yet.  We're waiting on a phone call."

"Dad!  What is it?  What are we waiting for?"  Our three children clamor around Josh, tripping over each other's sentences.

"Guys.  It's mom's birthday weekend..  No questions."

Approximately 17 minutes later (no, really, I wasn't counting) the phone rang.

"All right, gang.  Hop in the van!" 

We parked in the darkened drive of a house a few miles down the road.  Mac greeted us with outstretched hand, wide smile.  "Here it is, buddy.  What do you think?  Is it what you were looking for?"

My heart leapt into my throat even as I kept my well-trained Craig's List poker face on.  I turned and gazed big-eyed at Josh.

Mac was running his hand over the smooth finish of a well-worn piano nestled in his garage.  Nothing fancy;  no bells or whistles.  Just a simple instrument that has been cared for and loved.

"We've built a new house down in Carolina; and well, there's just no place for it anymore." 

Transaction complete, we settled on a pick-up day this weekend. 

Now let's go ahead and lay something on the table.  I am no prodigy.  Far from it.  I took lessons for maybe three years or so back in elementary and middle school from a music professor at a local college. 

I practiced my thirty minutes a day and plunked out Christmas carols for passersby in a shopping mall.  I dressed fancy for recitals and critiques.  I experimented with all the different sounds on my mom's synthesizer when they first came out in the 80's. 

And I remember the day my parents were out and I was angry with my brother.  Tears streaming down my purple face, I rushed pell-mell to the piano bench.  I threw myself down hard with the strength that only an offended middle school girl can possess. 
 I whipped open my music book to Beethoven's "Ode To Joy" and pounded hard the keys.  Each note crashed a forceful staccato; I am sure in no way like the great master intended for it to be played.  But I think he would understand nonetheless.
I sat there long, the same notes over and over again pouring out.  As my tears slowly began to dry, the music beneath my fingers gradually found a smoother rhythm.  After about 45 minutes of  the same song, the storm had subsided into a beautiful melody flowing through my fingertips. 

There is something special that happens in a soul when music is created.  It's far more powerful than simply listening to music.  Something is unlocked that perhaps at other times is closed.  Music has a way of revealing the mysterious and unleashing joy.  

And so, I await the delivery of my new-old piece of beauty.  And I hug my husband, the man who understands my yearnings and desires.  

Enjoy today,

P.S.  You are welcome here!  Thank you for stopping by for a visit.  Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A-1, Class Act

Yesterday Caleb and I had the privilege of sharing the heart and mission behind with a group of senior adults at a local church luncheon. 
All set to head out to our speaking engagement
Caleb helped me with the technology when I didn't know which button to push.  He sat next to me during the potluck and used his best manners.  He oversaw the contest we ran for those in attendance.

Can I just tell you how much I love this boy? 

He was top-notch.  In fact, as we were leaving, two of the gentlemen shook his hand and told him he was an "A-1, class act".  Now that is a fine compliment. 

Beaming with joy and satisfaction in his job well done, Caleb packaged up our soaps and poplar trays in boxes and hauled them off to the trunk of our car.  Each time I neared the door, arms loaded with supplies, he would rush ahead of me and hold the door wide. 

I gave him a big thank you hug and a crisp $10 bill for all of his efforts throughout the day. 

And then I thanked God.  I thanked him for this boy that I see ever so gradually growing into a man. 

9 years old.  9 years!  That's halfway to 18 and college!  What?! 

Grateful.  I remain grateful for each and every moment I spend with him:  knowing, teaching, loving, playing, admonishing, growing, disciplining and enjoying.  Parents, we are blessed indeed.  

"Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him."  Psalm 127:3

Enjoy today,

P.S.  You are welcome here!  Thank you for stopping by for a visit.  Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

An Unexpected Surprise

A few years back, I purchased some material to make some fall aprons.  I carefully chose my fabrics and was so inspired by the rich hues and autumn patterns.  I just couldn't wait to get started!

That night I ironed the fabric and got to work.  Measuring and snipping while music played in the background, the scissors and fabric were scattered all about.  Inspiration was thick in the air.

About 15 minutes into my project, I started lining up the pieces I had cut and realization began to set in.  I had trimmed them all wrong.  In my haste and excitement, I had made a major mistake with the pattern and now couldn't finish the aprons.  

I sat staring (possibly a bit forlornly) at the fabric and mourned the aprons that would not be.  What a waste.

As I looked longer, though, a new idea began to simmer. 

I quickly began turning my fabric this way and that, and a nice fall throw quilt for our couch started to come together.

Our family's favorite fall quilt

Adding some cotton batting on the inside and a thick layer of tan corduroy on the back, I quilted it all together with a stipple pattern. 

The finished product quickly became our family's favorite fall quilt, and we look forward to bringing it out of the attic each autumn to enjoy during the crisp weather. 
Quilt in the morning mist
Try turning over a problem today and looking at it in a new light.  Perhaps it was actually meant to be something other than what you had originally planned.  

Enjoy today,

P.S.  You are welcome here!  Thank you for stopping by for a visit.  Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Words of Life

"I will speak words of life."
"I will speak words of life."
"I will speak..."
The sentences scrawled five times across the blackboard in a childish hand.  Apparently, a minor altercation had ensued when I was absent from the room.  Based on the story relayed to me, I gathered that the perpetrator had accused a younger sibling of "whining like a baby" when they were having a hard time with their school work.

We had a short discussion on the merits of speaking blessings and encouragement over one another, and then the consequence followed of dreaded blackboard writing.

Did you know that we hold the power of life and death in our tongues? 

It's true. 

"The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit."  ~Proverbs 18:21

Here's the thing.  Whenever I seek to teach my children a lesson, the Holy Spirit always begins to roll it around in my heart and head as well.

And so this, this is what has been passing through my being the past few days:  "I will speak words of life...I will speak words of life...I will speak words of life."

There are always words of blessing the Lord can bring to our mind to speak over another person.  Even when it's hard.  Even when we think there may be none.  They're there. 

Try it.  Ask God for words of life that you may speak over another person created in His image today.  And when He answers you; speak them. 

We have no idea just how deeply those words could minister to another person's heart.

Enjoy today,

P.S.  You are welcome here!  Thank you for stopping by for a visit.  Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Your Purple Crayon


"Yes, honey?"

I paused in the doorway, turning back around to answer my youngest.

Five-year-old Isaac looked up at me, smiling, "Is 'Harold and the Purple Crayon' real?"

"What do you mean, Isaac?"

"I mean, did it really happen?  With the purple crayon?  CAN it really happen?"

I smiled gently, casually.  "No, baby.  It's not real.  It's a made-up story."

Isaac nodded and set back to the business of reading his book.

Heading back to the kitchen, I picked up my broom with the handle all bent from the boys' Star Wars misadventures.  I swept the floor I've swept a thousand times and thought to myself, "If only..." 

If only "Harold and the Purple Crayon" were real. 

What would I draw on my blank white canvas, bringing to life with a quick swipe of my purple crayon? 

The broom stood still in my hands.  Because I realized, I would draw my life exactly as it is. 

I would draw brilliantly happy pictures of my husband, children and home.  Pictures of my church family madly in love with God.  Pictures of the body of Christ working together, serving together, worshiping together. 

I don't think I would put my crayon down at that point, though.  No.  A purple crayon that can draw out your dreams into reality?  That's too amazing an opportunity to be missed.

No, I would keep on scrawling.  I would draw a world with everyone smiling and understanding the great love their Creator, God has for them.  I would keep drawing a place where people understood the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

And then, once all of those people were smiling and receiving that love from God, I would draw them sharing with each other in a reflection of His love for us.  Streams of purple would flow into rushing rivers of flowing clean water.  Scribbles would turn into food that everyone would share until all bellies were filled.  A house and a mommy and daddy for every child.

That's what I would do with my crayon. 

But you see, don't we each hold a purple crayon?  Isn't that what the very Creator, God Himself, breathed into our beings when He formed us and made us?  He puts into the hand of each of us a purple crayon.  And with our lives, we draw. 

What are you drawing with your crayon?

Enjoy Today,

P.S.  You are welcome here!  Thank you for stopping by for a visit.  Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

When God Whispers

Josh & me in Nicaragua
"Look.  If I could tell you one thing about these people tomorrow, here it is."

"Speak to them about belief in God.  Faith."

"Share from your heart about the God of Abraham that we serve.  The God who told us to simply look at a mountain, tell it to move from here to there, and it will."

"Tell them to believe God."

Josh, preparing to share the message with the church body the next morning in Nicaragua, asked our interpreter and friend if there was anything he should know about the culture of the people he would be speaking to.
Josh preaching to Nicaraguan brothers and sisters
The Lord has been speaking this message again and again to my heart in the past weeks.

"Wendy."  I heard the One I Love's voice whisper in my heart as my hands were raised in our own North American worship service.


"As a small child you gave your heart to me.  You follow me when I call.  You listen for my voice."

"But do you believe ME?"

"Of course I believe in You, Abba, and trust you completely."

"But do you believe me?"

"Believe me."

 “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me." ~Isaiah 43:9-11

Enjoy today,

P.S.  You are welcome here!  Thank you for stopping by for a visit.  Feel free to  join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sittin' Pretty

Bee Balm In My Garden
There she sits, spiky hair all askew, soaking up the morning sun in my garden.  Yes, yes, I know, technically people "sit" and objects "set".  But I tell you, this little girl with her hot pink hair flying every which way, she is sitting in my garden.  Living it up.
Day Lily Among the Black-Eyed Susans
One of my favorite quotes is this, by Emerson, "Earth laughs in flowers."

Do you see it?  This big giant beautiful ball of earth that our Creator, God, has set in motion, rolling with laughter in the fields of flowers?  Giggling in the pockets of clover on your lawn, shyly smiling in the violets peaking out from that drainage pipe.
Aerial View of this Beauty, Gently Graced with Mint
Have you laughed recently?  A good hard belly laugh. It can start with just a chuckle.

Give it a whirl.  Need inspiration?  Have a conversation with a child.  You'll both be laughing within just a few moments, I guarantee it.
Butterfly Bush in Bloom

All this beauty God has sprung up from the ground right in my front yard!  I know that all elements of this earth work together in tiny microcosms and one giant ecosystem; but I think too, He just loves to see His children smile.  

He loves that our souls relax and find rest in Him when we inhale deeply of His creation and the work of His hands.

And He loves to hear us laugh.

"He will yet fill your mouth with laughter
    and your lips with shouts of joy." ~Job 8:21

Enjoy today,

P.S.  You are welcome here!  Thank you for stopping by for a visit.  Feel free to  join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts. 

We're linking up to the Homestead Barn Hop!

Monday, June 11, 2012

An Uncomfortably Hot Mess

"Help us feed hungry children in Nicawaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhgwwwwwaaaaaaaaa!!!"

My youngest, Isaac's, voice rang out in the parking lot.  It was a 90-degree, blazing hot sun kind of Saturday.  The kind where when you stand up from sitting too long in a white plastic deck chair your shorts are inevitably stuck to your sweating legs 

Uncomfortably awkward.

Tannah had been begging for months to have a bake sale and give all of the profits to our church-wide summer initiative, GO.  One of the projects in GO will be purchasing the makings of 20,000 meals for hungry children and assembling them together as a church body to be sent overseas. 
In true family style, all five of us pitched in for the undertaking.  One of our family mottos (or just something I repeat again and again, praying that it sinks into every member's soul) is "We're better together."  We each did our part, and Saturday morning found us all together on the sidewalk outside a local hardware store pushing our lemonade and cookies on every passer-by. 

Josh and I sat at the table, and our three children positioned themselves strategically holding their neon green poster board signs a ways down from us near the entrance of the store.  They offered fresh home-baked cookies and ice-cold lemonade to every potential customer, pleading the plight of their hungry peers in Nicaragua.  

Most people were kind and smilingly helped out, generously putting extra in the Folgers coffee can.  

Some avoided eye contact entirely and walked by.

And here was my favorite.  A younger man, about the age of Josh and me, walked up to our children with his two young toddlers in tow.  Our table was positioned in such a way that not every person who saw our children immediately noticed our refreshment stand off to the side.  This gentleman didn't. 

He simply saw our children.

As he drew closer, I heard our sweet Tannah's voice boldly ask, "Can you please help us feed the hungry children in Nicaragua?"

He stopped walking.  Looking her in the eye, he responded quite matter of factly, "Yeah.  I think we can do that." 

Our kids began walking in our direction, the man and his toddlers following.  He still hadn't seen our booth, yet walked behind our children. 

"So, how are we going to do this?"  He asked.

Our children then started explaining the GO project and the meal packaging, the cookies and the lemonade.  The pieces of the puzzle fit together as he spotted our stand, and he was more than happy to purchase their product.

I.  LOVED. IT.  Why, you ask? 

He was presented with a problem and he said, "I'm in."  "Let's do this.  Let's fix this thing."  There was no hemming and hawing, no averted gaze, no uncomfortably awkward pause or walking away.

He just straight up rolled up his sleeves and got in the mess with us to help get this thing done.

Are you in? 

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."  ~James 1:27

Enjoy today,

P.S.  You are welcome here!  Thank you for stopping by for a visit.  Feel free to  join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Feeding Souls

From my garden yesterday
I love to walk out a few steps from my back door and harvest some food for my family's meal.  It gives me such a fully satisfied feeling, knowing that no chemicals or pesticides have been used on the food that I am bringing in from my garden.  I enjoy knowing that the nutrients and vitamins are at their peak when I serve the food on my table, as it isn't food that has been setting in a warehouse for weeks or months, ripening long after being picked.

And the taste of homegrown food?  Phenomenal!

I heard someone say once, regarding feeding our families, "You're not just filling holes.  You're feeding souls."

The goal of a meal is not simply to push a plate of food, or chemically-processed packaged food stuff, at our family.  Whenever we present an offering of food to someone, we have the honor and privilege of giving them something that will nourish their body, grow their mind and encourage their soul.  

Look carefully at my first photo.  Do you see the slug?  Love him!  Do you know why?  Because it means food that is growing in my yard is conducive to LIFE.  Why would I want to put something in my body that has been so sprayed with chemicals that it kills all bugs and living organisms?  If it's not good for them, really, how can it be good for our bodies?

Rejoice when you see signs of life and a thriving ecosystem in your garden.

Think twice today about what you eat and what you offer to others.  A word of wisdom:  Don't become bound or enslaved by a set of rules regarding food.  Just use the good common sense God gives you to be able to decipher between food and non-food.  And choose food.

"And God said, 'Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit.  You shall have them for food."  ~Genesis 1:29

"Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you.  And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything."  ~Genesis 9:3

Enjoy today,

P.S.  You are welcome here!  Thank you for stopping by for a visit.  Feel free to  join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.