Friday, March 27, 2020

How Are You Doing?

We all have different coping mechanisms. Some of us fill our time, some worry, some try to connect with nature and some need others. Existing during this pandemic of 2020 has some of us stretched to the limit. It is not easy no matter how positive we try to be.

The promise of spring always brings joy as the sun comes out and the trees blossom. I am an outdoor girl. I need to breathe in the outside air and hear the sounds of life outside. No virus can take away from me the blessing of God's creation. I admit to also being someone who likes to be out and about a couple times a week. I work from home so going to the grocery or having tea with a friend fills me. That is what I have missed most. I can make do without certain food items. It is definitely time to get creative with cooking. I have also been trying to conserve food, making sure we eat any leftovers and trying to be frugal in what I am making.

I also imagine that you may be going through some changes at home. During the first week we were isolating ourselves, having my husband working from home totally threw me. He usually gets up super early, takes his shower and leaves for work then I get up. So he was sleeping later and I kept waiting for him to get up but now I am getting up first. There is not as much alone time. Usually I like my afternoon quiet time. I think I may have been a bit grumpy about all this at first but it has now been about three weeks and I have adjusted. Maybe you are one of the thousands who all of a sudden are teaching your kids at home. I have heard of so many creative ways parents are filling their kid's days. It's not easy but it is amazing how people are coping.

Many folks are out of work and they are concerned about the future. I can't imagine the heavy burden that must be on your heart.

Although we are all trying to make the best of it, I know we are counting the days until we can go back to life as normal. Or perhaps a new normal. I find my self crying for no apparent reason or I may snap at someone. I know it is such a difficult time. I think of my sister on the front lines in the medical profession. Others too, my daughter not able to teach her guitar students or even those who have lost a loved one to this terrible virus. I would love to pray for you. Even though I don't know you I pray for everyone who reads my blog and I would also be willing to pray specifically for you.
You can send me a message through social media or through my website.

The one key ingredient to hold us together is the anchor we have in our Almighty God. He is our comforter and grants us peace in any storm. Praise Him. Cling to Him. Pray for the peace that only He can give.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction with comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." I Corinthians 1:3-4 

"The Lord sat as King at the flood;Yes, the Lord sits as King forever. The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace" Psalm 29:10-11

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Do You Have A Little Flour?

I hope you are all doing okay in this new normal we have been dealt. As time is passing with our self isolation or maybe you are in an area that is in more of a lockdown, I hope you are well and are not sick.

I am making adjustments. Last week I was more sad, disappointed and wondered how we could go on this way for weeks. This week I feel like my husband and I have fallen into a new routine. He is able to work from home so he is up in his office part of the time. We have been trying to get outside and walk or work in the yard as weather permits. We have had some lovely spring days and it's amazing how that gives a boost. I have been able to go to the grocery a few times. Checking for those elusive items that have been missing the past two weeks. I have been pleased that the grocery I go to has been trying to make things look nice. Maybe there are not 4 brands of chicken but they have spread it across the refrigerated unit to not freak people out that it's empty. I admit it is a bit unnerving to see things so empty.

I was NOT  one of those who stocked up on toilet paper or flour that first week. Consequently I am starting to wonder about it. I made banana bread this morning and have some flour left but it will not last long. Thank goodness I had recently bought some. I had also bought extra dog food, also sold out right now. My niece gave me a recipe to make my own so I am set with that.

It is a great time to get creative with your cooking and use what you have. Make soup in your crock pot, you can add anything. Whatever veggies you have. Don't forget to season with spices and herbs. And if you DO have flour and is time to bake. It helps with any boredom, your house smells good and makes people happy.

My banana bread is smelling good, almost done cooking. Then I will go in search of the elusive toilet paper. Not sure how to make that from scratch. However, I have been on some mission trips where they did not flush paper because their plumbing was poor. They just had a trash can next to the toilet and did not flush it. So we CAN always make do.

Blessings to you all. I am hoping you are all well and I am confident we will look back on this time and see many blessings and how we are all more resilient than we think.

"I know how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content - whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him (Christ)  who strengthens me."           Philippians 4:12-13

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The Unfairness Of It All

Many years ago, during the summer before my junior year in High School I was invited by my best friend to go on vacation with her family to Canada. I was over the moon excited. I never was even allowed to have a friend spend the night and rarely got to go somewhere so this was SO special and exciting to me. That was also the August that my sister was leaving for college. I was happy for her, our life had not been easy, and I was glad she was able to have a new life away from our current situation but it would be hard to see her go.

The night before my trip to Canada I got a sore throat. I didn't want to say anything because I wanted to go so bad. I hoped it would just go away but as the night wore on I couldn't swallow at all. My mom woke me at 4:30am. I couldn't speak. I was very sick. She called my friend's family and told them I couldn't go. I WAS BROKENHEARTED!
I went to the doctor (one of three times I had ever gone) and they gave me huge penicillin pills. A few days later my sister left for college. Life would have a new normal. Just my mom and I.

I have to tell you that these events were very difficult for me. I lost 20 pounds within a month or so as my junior year started and life marched along. I look at this now and remember those times. They were hard and they seemed unfair. Why was life so hard? Shouldn't I be able to have something good happen?

Yesterday this all came flashing back to me as we made the tough decision to postpone my daughter's bridal shower. She was coming from another state. I was so excited to see her. I had gifts with beautiful wrap. My friend was hosting the event at her lovely home, we bought special serving dishes and there would have been a woodland theme. I admit I cried a bit yesterday. It seemed so unfair. Yet I also understand that a world epidemic needed special precautions. SO although I did awake this morning with a few more tears, I was reminded that this too would pass and life would still have joy.

God is still on the throne. I still have loved ones. I will still get to see my daughter get married in a couple months. Many people have lost loved ones to this virus. My problems seem trivial to that. One of my other daughters had gotten special little outfits for her girls for St. Patricks Day. Cute little green outfits. She was disappointed to not be able to leave her house to take them on an outing. Is this wrong? Of course not. God grants us joy in even the smallest detail. These fun things are special and that's okay.

Dear reader, are you discouraged today? Are you missing out on a special event like your senior son not playing in a championship game for a scholarship or maybe you had a special concert cancelled or travel plans you'd planned for two years? It's okay to feel sad. Just remember a few months from now we will have made it through this quarantine. And once again we can plan special things.

Right now take this special time to help a neighbor or older friend, extra cleaning time, more time in prayer, an art project, make a quilt. Do you have little kids at home? Time to get out the sidewalk chalk, get them outside, paint, show them how to bake a special dessert, have them write to their grandparents. I am catching up on some writing. I may even write my next book that I have outlined in my head.

The important thing is not to let this pull us under. Being a melancholy person by nature I can let that easily happen. This too shall pass dear one.

"For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but my lovingkindness shall not be removed from you. And my covenant of Peace will not be shaken, Says the Lord who has compassion on you." Isaiah 54:10

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Share Your Story

I have had something turning around in my head for a while now. You know those things that keep returning to you over and over. And every time I have a radio or TV interview or even just at a book signing and people start asking me pops up again.

People love my new book It's Not About The Pie. They love the photography, the recipes, the concept of hospitality but... once they look at the book they read all the stories. Stories about life and people who are hurting. They read about how others reached out to help them. AND then they ask, "What made you write this book? What in your life made you want to start a compassion ministry? Why are you on this path?"

I am always limited by time constraints. Sometimes even only minutes to share. And I explain best I can in that short span of time that it all stems from my life. It comes from childhood, life's hurts and then I have to tell them that it becomes clear if they read my first book, Not Really A Princess. This short book written in narrative non-fiction shares my heart. It isn't fancy and beautiful the way my new one is. It's just a reflection of life.

I admit to almost being defensive about it. I don't want to downplay that Pie is a gorgeous book and chock full of wonderful things. It is wonderful but there is something in my heart that wants to tell each person that without the life God has given me, the trials and blessings...I wouldn't be able to write it. Because those very things have given me a heart of compassion. Not that I don't fail at this because I do but God brings adversity into our lives for a reason.

So if you want to read a short story of adoption, death, grief, widows, single parents, rejection, forgiveness, love...please read Princess. 
*You can find the link to Not Really A Princess on my website*

And more importantly Write Your Story!!! We all have trials we have overcome and maybe someone else needs to hear them to have some encouragement in their heart. For years people told me someone needed to write my story. I finally began with just an outline. Countless people have told me how this book has helped them. God will use your story too.

#notreallyaprincess #itsnotaboutthepie #col312ministries

Monday, March 9, 2020

We Have An Anchor

       I just got back from a conference in Nashville on Saturday. Great time but glad to be home. I was enjoying my time at church Sunday when at the end of the service our pastor announced that a woman, whom many in our church knew, had died. She worked along side her husband in a ministry our church was involved with and she had spoken at our ladies retreat a few years before. I did not know her well but she left an impact on my life. Matter of fact, I had even quoted her in my last book. And had actually shared about her at one of my interviews at the conference I was just at in Nashville. She had been battling cancer for awhile but her death stunned me. In fact tears instantly flowed. For my friend sitting next to me as well.

       Then on Monday I got word that another friend from my church had died that morning. She was battling ALS. Both of these women were in their 60's. Both loved the Lord with all their hearts. Both had been great influences in peoples lives around them. This hit me hard. Not because I was worried about their eternity, not in the least. I was just amazed how life can just change in a flash. Then the tornado in Nashville, not far from where I had been three days prior. Wow. The first thing that came to my mind was the old hymn We Have An Anchor -
               "We have an anchor that keeps the soul
                 Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
                 Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
                 Grounded firm and deep in the Savior's Love."

       I know my faith is solid and where my eternity lies. Nothing can take that from me. I have no fear of death. These women who died had no fear either. They were joyful examples of His powerful love. They are rejoicing in Heaven with their Jesus. I hope you have that same assurance too. God promises in His Word in Romans 10:9, "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved".

Love to you dear friends, praying for your eternity.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

My Heart's Desire

"Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge, for not knowing about God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God." Romans 10:1-3

We may feel passionately about those we love who we wish so much would love God above all else but we may not see that happen. I believe that we are to continue to pray fervently for them but it is God who draws them to Himself. People float along content in their life believing they are fine and good. But God tells us that there is "none that does good, no not one" (Rom. 3:12). In Romans 10 it continues in verse 9, "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."

I had the privilege recently to go to a mission agency training center. What a great thing it would be to work at such a place. I got to thinking how all of us who are believers should be encouraging others. We do not need to be a missionary far away, although I would love to be, but sharing with those all around us. I have felt encouraged to do this for years but I want to be more intentional about it.

I love how this chapter in Romans continues in verses 13-15 "Whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. How then shall a they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear with out a preacher?And how shall they preach unless they are sent?Just as it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good tidings of good things'"

Why do we obey? -Guest writer: Jessica Everett

 One of my favorite songs, that I often sing in my head when I'm trying to sleep or in stressful situations is "I'll obey and s...