Thursday, June 06, 2019

I Had A Dream About A House ...

About 9 years ago, a woman I knew was going through some things and I asked her to lunch. Three days before I went to lunch with her, I had a dream that she bought a new house. I saw this old farmhouse in my dream take on new life. I watched it change colors and become a place of rich beauty. This was before Magnolia gave words to what I was seeing so I called it "rustic elegance." I saw people coming and going being revived. I could feel God's hand in it all. 

I will tell you that I had never had a dream about anyone getting a house. I have had things happen where God would impress on me things that I couldn't have known otherwise, but I was also quite shy and not really about letting people see my crazy. I decided to be brave and tell this woman anyway.

Years went by and she wrote to me that they were looking for a house and to pray. Fast forward. She finds the house and ends up on HGTV on the show House Hunters. As I watched the progress of the house, I felt like I was watching my dream. Every transition was a flashback.

Over the years, I have wondered if God had shown me that dream solely to encourage my friend or if there was more to it. At the beginning of May, I attended a prayer workshop and we did several exercises together. One of those exercises was to close my eyes and ask Jesus where he wanted to meet with me. The house from my dream popped in my head. It is now on VRBO for rent. I shared it with a few friends that I pray for and do ministry with and they wanted to go see what God was up to.

I cannot even begin to tell you the beauty of fellowship and the birthing of dreams that happened in that dream house over the last few days. I was constantly moved to tears by watching these women come alongside one another and encourage each other in their individual ministries. So many answered prayers and affirmations. Many seeds were planted. I will be excited to share over the next weeks and months. Also, my dream kept going beyond this initial house so you can stay tuned to see what happens there. 

If you are looking for a stunning vacation rental in Driftwood, TX, I cannot recommend Farmhouse on Elderhill enough to you. It is more beautiful than you could ever imagine. I had seen hundreds of pictures of it, but I literally gasped at the beauty of the real thing. 

Thank you, Audrey Church. You are one of the most hospitable people I have ever met.

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Friday, May 03, 2019

Rise of the Servant Kings by Ken Harrison

Wow. I am not a man and I am not rising to be a servant king, but I thought this book was powerful. Whenever I come across how to books, I admit that I assume they are going to be cheesy with poor illustrations. This is definitely what is happening here. Ken takes his time in and since the LAPD to share hard hitting stories about integrity in the face of cultural lack thereof. 

Y'all should read it. I was drawn in by the title. Humility is so lacking in our culture and I thought it would be good to get a nice dose of it. I thought I could pray through it for my man and I did. The thing I was not expecting is how much the book spoke to me. It reenergized things in my heart that had grown weary. It encouraged me time and again to seek God in humility instead of paving my own way. Ken's own telling of pride and God calling him to submission was a beacon of light. 

As I read, I write out things about books that speak to me. I wrote about the story telling. The unusual stories really drove home the point of the matter. He spoke about how spouses are called to submit to one another instead of obey because obedience is forced and submission is choice. Submission is our way of bringing about the greatest good of another for the glory of God. He railed against his own pride and cried out for God to make him humble. One of my favorite things was in the last pages. He thanked someone for helping him to forgive the Pharisees. In the age of church hurt, it is so important to offer forgiveness and prayer for those who hurt us. He encouraged standing against abusers, but to also go that extra step to pray and forgive. 

Great read! Get your man a copy.
Available May 7th

This book was graciously provided for review by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Introverted Mom by Jamie C. Martin

I am an extroverted introvert. I flip flop on the Myers Briggs between an INFJ and an ENFJ. Even the E in the ENFJ exhibits many high introverted tendencies. The unusual pairing of this personality type is one that has great love of people and a need to processes life in quiet. It has truly been one of the biggest challenges that I have faced as an adult. How to balance a love of people, a deep need for quiet, and the constant chaos of being a homeschool mom. In complete honesty, I have no idea. I just kept moving forward and hoping for peace.

Reading (and listening to) Jamie's book has helped me see clear to some strategies to help my heart thrive. If I lean too hard to the quiet or to the people, one side suffers. Jamie is helping me find balance. I am realizing that I need to build quiet days into my calendar after major people days. I have learned how people with a high sensitivity to people, their emotions and energy, need more rest to process an event. God made us like this on purpose. It's a strength, not a weakness, when used well. He wants us to see things and share them. I am learning to create margin for rest so that I am able to share.

I am definitely a book lover and Jamie did something I love within her book. She used introverted authors of classic novels to share stories about how to care for an introverted soul. It's a brilliant strategy to make an idea sink in.

Simply reading the book increased my calm and peace. Every time I read the title, I felt a renewed sense of hope. "Your guide to more calm, less guilt, and quiet joy." Don't you feel good simply seeing those words?

Y'all read it or listen to it. I loved the audio as well. Jamie's voice is quite soothing. If you are an introvert or simply have some introverted tendencies, I highly recommend this book to you.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Trolls & Truth by Jimmy Dorrell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I am a big fan of Jimmy’s work with the homeless. I’ve watched as he has grown Mission Waco into a big life-giving organization. I drive to his church once a quarter to serve tacos to the homeless. My hope is to catch a little of his humility and the way he gives dignity to the homeless, mentally ill, and special needs individual.

His book is more of the same. It’s full of simple stories that call out wealthy churches and complacent Christians to stand up for the least of these. It’s full of stories of people who began changing from being loved and accepted. Knowing these stories changes you. The common thought is that these people just need to get a job. Some of them do. Many more are unemployable. Mental illness and illness of other kinds has left them without an ability to work. This is where Jimmy will tell you to love everyone and do your best to do the best thing for them. Great read.

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Monday, March 18, 2019

It's an Update Y'all.

One of my favorite stories I have ever read was by Corrie ten Boom. Most of you know the author of The Hiding Place. This story is in a lesser known work entitled In My Father's House. In it, Corrie tells her readers what shaped her into the woman that was able to faithfully serve those around her in the concentration camp. She tells of starting a large girls' club in her town and many other volunteer roles she undertook. She talks about the kind and purposeful way Papa ten Boom taught her to live. The thing that stuck out to me and has become a perpetual prayer of my life is her service in a hospital that specialized in special needs and mental health. She gives this place credit for teaching her how to be ready to love and share the gospel with anyone. She learned how the communicate the gospel and every story of Jesus in the most simple way so that anyone could understand while serving these people and she saw miracles. Later when she was in the concentration camp, she was able to speak plainly and calmly to women in panic. Many came to know Jesus there. She took her Father's teaching on relying on God, her sister's deeply grateful heart (You may remember her thanking God for the lice that kept the guards away), and the ability to articulate the gospel to the least of these and she became a prophet of the goodness of God in the darkest place most of us can imagine. She spoke life in hell. 

That has long been my own prayer. Don't let me piddle around leading a nice churchy life, Jesus. Train me and send me in. Teach me to speak to people with words that give dignity and life. Send me to the offensive. He has. He has been teaching me. He has been repeatedly putting my heart through the wine press using pressure to create beauty. He has led me into dark valleys. Where I used to know of people hurting, I now know people hurting. I am constantly asking Jesus to remove the things in me that make him hard to see. I keep asking to be sent out to serve. Send me to the homeless. Send me to Haiti. It has only fueled a fire to do more. Send me more. He is. I'm ready to go again. 

This whole thing has morphed into something more for me. We have been praying about breaking off from the people who run our non-profit and starting a new one. The vision is expanding. The call is expanding. My need to sit with and hug the people on the fringes is expanding. My intercession is expanding. 

At the end of last year, I wrote out some of the top ministry needs I have. This is probably 1/3 of our total needs, but they are what is on my heart. I went to Haiti for 10 days. That changed my life. I have been able to feed the homeless more than ever before (food is an excellent gateway to relationship and hugs). God has put around $11,000 of the $35,000 needed in our laps. He has given us clarity to our call and vision. Now, we are going to step out on faith and follow Jesus to the edges of society where I hope to learn to share the gospel in the most clear and dignifying way. Come with me. 

I am humbly asking for you to pray for us. Pray for protection. We walk in some dark places and come up against much warfare. Thank God for the money we have to start with and ask for the remainder. Pray that we hold on to the words he has spoken into our hearts. 

I am adding new items to my shop every day. I am always thankful for those of you that use your purchase for purpose in my Etsy store. Thank you.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Thrive in Retirement by Eric Thurman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Eric has done a great job putting together a holistic book on retirement. He challenges us from every possible angle. Most books about planning for retirement seem to only speak on money. This one goes far beyond that. Seeing my parents decline emotionally, relationally, and mentally has been hard for me to see. There are many things outlined here that would have helped the age better if they had followed them. Eric sets you up to know what is coming at you when you retire and be able to prepare for it. He delves into everything that creates a rich life and gives practical steps to achieve that end. I am 41 years old and I gleaned many good things from this book. I realized that I can implement many of these things now and coast on in to thriving in retirement. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

Misfit Table by Tiffini Kilgore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have been following Tiffany on Instagram for years. I have been getting sneak peaks at her stories through her feed. I could tell that she has had a horrible battle with emotional abuse and disease. I have also been struck over and over by the power of the words she shared. This book was more of the same. It is a steady walk through abiding with God in the midst of pain. Her humility and vulnerability are freeing beyond what I can express. Her story is freedom. She gives voice to the inner voices we all fight and then she blows them up with God’s word. She is a warrior. We can follow her from trauma to joy in the pages of this book. It is never easy to loose the bonds of pain, but it is worth the bloody fight. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

I read The Last Suppers by Mandy Mikulencak

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have spent quite a bit of time in Huntsville, TX, home of executions in Texas. They moved the executions outside the city, but there is a heaviness that hangs in the air on execution day to me. Other people don’t seem to notice. I am not making a political stance. The whole situation is desperately sad. The types of turns your life must take to end up on death row are unimaginable to me. I am grieved for those left in the wake of it on every side.

When I saw this book at the DCA airport, I stared at it for a moment. It’s a novel about a woman who fought for the last suppers of death row inmates. The book is full of plot twists and thoughtful looks into the lives of the inmates and families surrounding them. The story is set in the 1950’s and shows the dark side of racism and the clan.

There is some alluded to sex and murder, but it isn’t overly descriptive. It tells a story I feel could be real. It not only shows you what is likely happening behind the scenes. The gift it gives is the ability to see past the label to the humanity of each person.

I was sitting in my mom’s house watching the news and reading this book. On the news was a story about an execution that day. The man executed was someone I knew growing up. It was a sobering twist to my reading.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Y'all. I read Girls' Club by Sally Clarkson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book made me happy to read. It encouraged me to start a girls’ club of my own with my three girls. The chapters are written in story form to share about the original girls’ club and how they carried the club into their grownup lives. Their girls’ clubs have included women all over the world as God has moved them.

I started focusing more on what I can do to instill this sense of sisterhood in my own girls. I have begun taking them each on dates and coordinating a girls’ club of my own.
It’s a great encouragement.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

How To Be A Nice Human

Heart of Texas Pregnancy Resource Center
 Sometimes, social media can feel like a swamp of opinions. I'm sure we have all been rubbed the wrong way by someone else's post on the world wide web. We all have feelings about what we see and hear. It's hard to look at the news and not be enraged. We want healing for our nation and land. We want to be free from the tyranny of sin. Sometimes our thoughts are good, but our methods are wrong.  I would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to be a nice human.

My heart aches under the number of babies aborted each year. I'm not trying to trigger anyone. I am simply telling you that it grieves me. It also grieves me to see the shame we unknowingly give off in the church that keeps people away. There are people who desperately want healing out there that are afraid to come inside our churches. 

Your voice is powerful. 
Your words are powerful. 
Use them well.

When you post your thoughts and opinions about abortion, be kind. Be the person that draws people to Christ. Remind people that we are all equally unworthy of the love of God, but he gives us worth when we come to him. He heals us and renews us and takes away our shame. One of the enemy's greatest weapons is isolation. Don't help him with it by making people feel unwelcome. Be kind. Listen to people with your whole heart. So many people are terrified and making choices out of fear. Giving them a listening ear is healing. It contradicts the message that they are unwelcome. 

Pray for those who are out there ministering to women of all walks of life.