Thursday, September 30, 2010

Gomer: Copper Bath

This is what our bathroom looked like on the day we viewed the house to consider buying it. We still bought it. If you ever wondered if countertop formica on the bathroom wall and sponge painting your bathtub pink would be a good idea. This is your answer.

We took down that hideous shower ring, the formica, and sanded down the tub to refinish it. Denbigh primed and refinished the outside of the tub in copper. I love it. Now we have to refinish the feet and the redo the porcelain on the inside of the tub. Then it's on to fixtures and so forth. You will probably see a thrilling blog about a faucet in the future! 

Come take a bath! 

Bonus: Here is a story about a woman who lived here as a child. She just turned 106!

Support this project and donate to Gomer's House.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

You are Deeply Loved.

"Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God." -Ephesians 3:17-19

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Talk to me, Abba.

I know the path for you. It is not one lined with self-help books and false religious ideas. The path I have laid out for you is one I have already tread down. It is My path. It isn't some grand theological gateway for Christians to go. It is simple. My leading there is not something you need to study or analyze. My leading is personal and intimate. Grab hold of my hand. Trust me through dark woods and into bright spaces. Don't let go of my hand. Hold tight, with deep affection, to the words I share with you in secret on this journey.

"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them."
-Isaiah 42:16

For more on this segment, see this post.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Love At Last Sight by Kerry Shook

Kerry and Chris Shook have written a challenging book about growing your closest relationships in thirty days. I almost didn't read it because I thought the title was cheesy, but decided to because I want to challenge myself in my relationships and be as open as possible with people. The book is quite challenging. I cried on the first day as I did an exercise that you are to journal about. It was quite difficult. It brings much light to all of the ways we avoid people and true intimate relationships. I wouldn't call this book a Bible study. It is simply a practical guide to doing life better with those you love. I think we could all use a little of that.

A side bar: In the end of the book he talks about breathing the old out and the new in and choosing to do things in God's power. I suggest that you seek repentance and ask the Holy Spirit of God to fill and enable you instead.

Great read.

This book was provided by Random House for review.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Fifth Great Awakening

I was going to blog about tacos today, but I have been pondering something.  Throughout history there have been revivals that sprang up in simple places that have effected the globe. I heard Jim Dennison say that the world is experiencing a fifth great awakening, but not here. As we have traveled and around America and filled the pews at many churches, I have been left to wonder at something. Is the Spirit of God disgusted with our churches? Does He hate our shiny, happy Jesus pep rallies? Has He vacated our sanctuaries? Do false prophets fill our pulpits? Why aren't we noticing? Too many plans and visions of our own? Too much emotional manipulation and entertainment? Why aren't we on our faces in repentance? Why are we not yelling out, "Abba, come back to us?" Perhaps, our hearts are cold to our Father and we are just complacent enough to think we have enough of Him. 

Return to us, Lord. Make your home in us, with us again. Do not abandon us as we have abandoned you. You signed your name with blood to a covenant with us. Avenge your name.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gomer: The Baby Room

If we would have been around in 1914, this is where our butler would have slept. This is the "Butler's Quarters." It has a closet in it so he could have supplied us with linens at a moment's notice. For us, this tiny room became a junk graveyard, the place things went to die. For two days, I loaded up 4 huge outdoor trash bags. Now free of debris, we must sand and stain the floor, insulate the walls, buy a new window, and put up ceiling tile. It is somewhat funny if you think about it. Most people who are trying to decorate a nursery are agonizing over paint color. We are hanging drywall. There is no butler, but we'll take the baby. Must get to work. Wait til you see the bath tub too. It's exquisite!

I noticed that I hadn't bought anything for Yasha, our to be born daughter. This made me realize that after six miscarriages and some heavy oppression in my life that I was hesitant to allow myself to be fully vested in this venture. This summer I began to remedy this at a baby boutique or two. This woobie is to die for and that blinged out pacifier holder makes me happy every time I see it. If you want to come over and sand or show up at my baby shower randomly, please do. Let me tell you of what the Lord has done for me. My unborn daughter has an amazing testimony already. Don't worry. I'm writing it all down.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

God Sees You

I received this from a friend:"Yesterday while a woman I work with named Marilyn was driving home, she had a very heavy heart about a situation in her life.  She had been praying about it for a long time and was wondering if God was listening.  While asking Him if He was paying attention to her, she looked in the sky and this is what she saw.  Amazed, convinced that no one would believe her if she simply described it, and not so sure she wasn’t just seeing things, she pulled over and took this picture with her iPhone.  You may recognize the scenery; Marilyn pulled over in the parking lot of the furniture store on 84 near Texas Central Parkway.  Look closely at the cloud.  It is heart-shaped.  Zoom in on it…it has an M in the center of it.  There’s a heart-shaped cloud with an M in the middle of the heart. Marilyn had been praying asking God if He was paying any attention to her and right there in the sky He placed a heart-shaped cloud with her initial in the middle of it.  How’s that for a sign?"

God did that for me at the end of a very rough day earlier this year. Look up.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Talk to me, Abba

Shhhh. Be still. Be quiet. Open my word and listen. I want to talk with you. I know your heart is hurting and heavy. Listen. My word is like salve on a wound. I speak healing. Let your weary bones and body receive my healing word. Let me transform your scars into fresh new skin. Revel in the beauty of forgiveness. Walk with me. I know what has happened. I know where you have been and the things you have endured. I know. Let me in there to call forth the hurt wrapped in falsely protected darkness into the glorious healing light. Open my word. Listen. Listen.

I have called you to inherit My blessing... 1 Peter 3:9

For more on this segment, see this post.


Monday, September 20, 2010

The Wild Rose

The Wild Rose
Wendell Berry

Sometimes hidden from me
in daily custom and in trust,
so that I live by you unaware
as by the beating of my heart.

Suddenly you flare in my sight,
a wild rose blooming at the edge
of thicket, grace and light
where yesterday was only shade,

and once again I am blessed, choosing
again what I chose before.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Croque Madame at The Mix

I was recently fortunate enough to discover The Mix in Hewitt, Texas. It was fabulous. You simply must check out the store and dine in if you can. The boutique items are too fabulous and they sell my favorite, Tyler Candles. What "flavors" do I like, you ask. French Market, Fleur de lis, and High Maintenance. 

The atmosphere of the bistro is exquisite. Classical music. A perfect mix of antiques and glam! If you want to go, call me! I dined on the Croque Monsieur (which was actually the Croque Madame). It's a ham and swiss sandwich topped with a fried egg and melted swiss on top. Fab! Maybe I will try the recipe on my blog soon. Let your mouth begin to water...

I went to lunch with these two lovely ladies. We have been friends for a decade. One of them was telling us over lunch how her daughter had mastered nouns and I burst into tears (I was so happy for her/ a day of high pregnant hormones). We had the best laugh over that! Many other ladies only humorous things came about, but you'll never know about those (wink)! God is good to give us life long friends.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Gomer: What do you think?

My dear friend Pauline gave me an antique frame she got at an estate sale (which I love). She has a matching one (which I also love that we both have one). When we bought this vanity, I almost bought the matching mirror and then I remembered that I had this fabulous frame. So we took it and had a mirror mounted in it. You really have to see it to appreciate it. I adore it.

 I was taking a picture with my phone to show you and when I uploaded it, I saw my husband in the back without a shirt on!! To keep the blog from going x-rated, I covered him up. Now, I am on to picking out a light fixture. I read that at the turn of the last century, when our house was built, pineapples were a sign of hospitality. I liked that and thought it went well with our 45 foot palm trees (tropical theme). Here.s my question: Do you like this light fixture? I thought it looked antiquey and would match the look I have going. Let me know what you think?


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mary Beth, My Pen Pal

A couple of years ago I had the desire to write letters with someone (like the good old days). I asked God who I should ask to be my pen pal and he told me Mary Beth. I am sure there are hundreds of rational reasons I could come up with to do this like growing as a writer or indulging in someone's story. Truth be told, I think God is teaching me to cultivate love like He cultivated life by hand in Eden. 

For years, every time I would see Mary Beth her presence would nourish my spirit. She is so full of life and joy. I have never been around her and not laughed atleast 20 times. There is something simply amazing about her. I wanted a bit of it for myself and a touch of it to offer to others. 

I love my sweet pen pal. We started writing several years after I had moved from where she lives and shortly after she lost her beloved husband of 56 years. She doesn't look old enough to have been married that long! Mary Beth is vibrant beyond description. I cannot tell you how many times I have received a letter from her on the worst of days or how simply writing to her lifts my spirits. I love her dearly.
Cultivate Love.

*we were both dying laughing at my mom trying to use my camera!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Talk to me, Abba

Linger with Me. Pour yourself out as a drink offering before Me. Make room in your being for what I want to give you. Space must be made. Clutter must be cleared away. I have better things to give you than the worthless things you cling to. Ask Me. Right now. Take a deep breath and ask Me the deep desires of your heart. Keep breathing. Don't get distracted. What do you yearn for? Ask Me what has cluttered up your life? Ask Me to remove it? I will gladly do things for you to reveal My glory to you. Let Me lift your head.

But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
Psalm 3:3

For more on this segment, see this post.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Butterfly Effect by Andy Andrews

Last week I reviewed The Boy Who Changed the World by Andy Andrews. This is the grown up and equally inspirational version of that story. It chronicles how the action of one person caused a ripple effect into billions of peoples lives. Each story builds upon the one before and serves as a powerful reminder of how powerful the simple things we do in our lives can be.

I was challenged and encouraged by each story in the book. Even the explanation of the Butterfly Effect (a scientific theory become law) and how it was challenged and outright mocked reminded me to press on toward the goal. There are multiple chronicles of how the actions of one person effected countless lives. The beauty of the whole story line is that all of this change started with a rescue and an adoption. Much like all of our stories in Christ. What simple kindness will we extend that might change the world?
This is a great book for your coffee table or guest room. You can easily read it in one short sitting.
This book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado

There are two ambrosial things I think are notable about this book: All of the proceeds go to World Vision and, in my opinion, this is the best book Max Lucado has ever written.

Outlive Your Life is a challenge to quit turning your head when you see someone in need. We have been cloaked in this idea that we don't have to help anybody because we cannot help everybody. This truth is that we pass by and pass up Jesus on the streets, in foreign lands, and in our own families. We refuse to serve him. Max reminds us that what we do to the least of these, we do to Christ.

I loved this book. I think for the most part, we go through our daily lives and never truly connect with anyone. Nobody looks you in the eye anymore. I often feel like screaming that the people we see every day are wounded and we do not care to notice. Please notice.

There were so many amazing stories in this book, but one spoke to me on a personal level. Max tells the story of a time when he and another man were in a church and a drifter showed up. As he was telling the story, Max is getting irritated at the guy and just knows he is lying. His friend did not react the same way. He stared at the drifter with intensity. He fed him and gave him food to take with him. Max was stopped in his tracks wondering "How long since anyone looked this fellow square in the face?" 

"There is something fundamentally good about taking time to see a person."

This book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Learning to Love

I read this the other day on Jasmine Baucham's blog. She was addressing a friend's loss of someone she loved, but I thought it was good fodder for thought for any of us who have been wounded or rejected. I pray that my husband gives such sage advice to our daughters. 

"The other day, I was reading The Hiding Place, getting ready to teach one of my English students about the life of Corrie ten Boom, when I remembered that twenty-three-year-old Corrie had also experienced heartache. 

She met a young man named Karel who seemed to be promising her the moon -who, by all appearances, wanted to spend the rest of his life with her -who devoted his time to long walks with her, long letters with her, and hopeful promises with her... and Corrie, despite the warning from her older brother that Karel would only "marry well," and not into the impoverished ten Boom family, fell in love and built her hopes around this guy. 

Now, I've always said that I can identify with Corrie ten Boom's personality and struggles (her faults if not her strengths), but just so ya'll know, I have never done something like this. Ever. ;-)

Karel did choose someone else, and he came to the ten Booms' to introduce his fiance. Corrie was cordial, but the moment he left, she ran up to her room and threw herself across the bed and cried, knowing that her only love had just walked out of her life. 

And then Father walks in:

...suddenly I was afraid of what Father would say. Afraid he would say, "There'll be someone else soon," and that forever afterward this untruth would lie between us. For in some deep part of me I knew already that there would not -soon or ever -be anyone else. 

The sweet cigar-smell came into the room with Father. And of course he did not say the false, idle words. 

"Corrie," he began instead, "do you know what hurts so very much? It's love. Love is the strongest force in the world, and when it is blocked that means pain. 

"There are two things we can do when this happens. We can kill the love so that it stops hurting. But then of course part of us dies, too. Or, Corrie, we can ask God to open up another route for that love to travel. 

"God loves Karel -even more than you do -and if you ask Him, He will give you His love for this man, a love nothing can prevent, nothing destroy. Whenever we cannot love in the old, human way, Corrie, God can give us his perfect way."

I did not know, as I listened to Father's footsteps winding back down the stairs, that he had given me more than the key to this hard moment. I did not know that he had put into my hands the secret that would open far darker rooms than this -places wherer there was not, on a human level, anything to love at all. (The Hiding Place, pg. 44-45) "


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The Cat Burglar

Due to the nature of being an itinerant worship leader, my husband and I travel about six months out of the year. During our 10 week stint of being gone, something funny happened. Now, let me preface this by telling you that in the small town where we are building our Respite, something funny is always happening. This however is a "cake taker."

In the spring, Denbigh thought our two new female cats were not old enough to get pregnant and put off having them fixed. They, of course, both became pregnant. They both had kittens and we inherited a cat that a neighbor abandoned. All total, we ended up with a whopping 14 cats! I had no idea how we were going to manage finding people to give all these extra cats to. 

Mid-summer I had to come home for a doctor's appointment and I didn't see any cats. There was a full bowl of food an no cats. Until a few weeks ago we couldn't figure out where the cats had gone. One of our neighbors stopped by and told us that he had taken them all home and they were spending their days watching tv with him. Denbigh asked if we could have the adult cats back. The man tells Denbigh that he will just keep them. Denbigh explains that we would like our cats back. "Oh,"he said completely heartbroken. A few weeks later he shows up to tell us that the cats we wanted back mysteriously disappeared. Odd timing, don't you think?  I just laugh when I think of this man sitting at his house watching tv with ALL of our cats. Guess we need some new pets. 

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Talk to me, Abba

I see you. 
You are valuable to Me.

Permission to Speak Freely by Anne Jackson

Book Descprition: "In May 2008, Anne Jackson asked a question on her blog, "What is one thing you feel you can't say in church?" Hundreds responded. Everyone had a story.

Permission to Speak Freely is the artistic collaboration and movement of author Anne Jackson, who is through with keeping brokenness in the dark. Bringing to light the original intent of God's sanctuary as a place of help and healing, Anne reveals that through confession, both to God and to others, we can live lives that are whole and healed.
Told with disarming transparency, Anne shares what led to her own addictions and the ensuing lifestyle that left her wounded and withdrawn. She includes dramatic stories of others that also learned to lose their fear, pride, and masks; to identify their hurts; and to find the courage to speak freely. Readers will share in the opportunity to find their own redemption and freedom."

Beautiful. Artistic. Freeing. I must admit I was intrigued when I saw this book and I was not disappointed by it's content. At a time when I am desperately trying to be vulnerable about abuse I suffered in church, this book was an advocate for my spirit. We are not meant to keep things hidden in the dark. We are meant to place them on the alter in the light that they may be healed. Church, as beautiful as she was meant to be, needs a reformation. The problem is that we are trying to make it appear as though she has had one instead of actually healing the broken. This is one of my favorite reads of the year. May you be encouraged to bring your transparency into the house of God so that others might be healed. Please read this book.
Releases today!

This book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.

The Boy Who Changed the World by Andy Andrews

I don't have many children's books that I think are really well done. This book is an exception to that. I absolutely loved it. Perhaps, it is because it tells a little of the story of George Washington Carver and how his simple faith led him to make immeasurable discoveries in science. He asked the Lord to guide him in everything he did and God opened up things to him that he had never revealed to anyone.

The book also follows the lives of several other young men and their journeys of faith. One of those young men saved two billion people from starving to death. We see each of them interact and influence others in a kind and compassionate way that is not overshadowed by their brilliance. Science and faith collide in an extraordinary display in this children's book. Get a copy for your child today.

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson Publishers for review.


Monday, September 06, 2010

Christians and Sex - John Acuff's Blog

Do you remember when Ed Young encouraged his congregation to have sex every day for a week? It was all over the news. People everywhere were completely shocked by this. I thought, "really?" Shouldn't we be masters of the art? Hasn't anyone read the Song of Solomon? We have so churched it up and treated it as taboo so long that we are bored out of our minds and no one is doing it. I even felt awkward about addressing it on my blog. I also remember reading a book by a prominent Christian author before I got married that treated the issue so clinically that it made me wary to participate. Well, I stepped out of the bubble just long enough to let the pretense fall away. I secretly want to replace all those fish stickers on "our" cars with stickers that read, "Women, stop your incessant whining and learn to enjoy your man." I know. It wouldn't go over. The fact is, we complain so much about our needs not being met and our yards not being mowed on time (that's not innuendo)that we don't have time for the greatest indulgence God has given us. Imbibe, my sisters.


Friday, September 03, 2010

Delightful Pasta Salad!

I had the great joy of making a spa lunch for the ladies at my mom's spa this week. I served up some chicken salad sandwiches on french bread and this pasta salad. It was an absolute delight. This is a great recipe. Buon appetito!

I also got to surprise and feed my beloved 80 year old pen pal, Mary Beth with the lunch! She is fabulous beyond my blogging ability, but look for her on my blog soon!

May you have a blessed week!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Gomer: Books and Bookshelves

My husband took our daughter to Wisconsin yesterday to visit his (maternal) grandparents.  This pregnant momma is staying here. Now, I am having trouble being away from my family and I don't exactly know what to do with myself. Today, I got a mani/pedi, realized I lost my debit card and will have to go to the bank tomorrow, and made chicken salad and pasta salad for the ladies at my mom's spa.   It's weird being alone, but I am trying to make the most of it. I'm reading. Go figure. I am taking pictures. As soon as I get a new debit card, I'm going to buy some canvas and paint. I do miss my family. a ton.

I have been making a list of things that I did with my dad growing up that were meaningful to me. It wasn't theme parks or big trips. It was intimate times. The lake, playing in the yard, and building things. We built a doll house and then we built model cars to park at it. I have been encouraging my husband to spend time building things with Laomai. She loves it. Her eyes just light up when Daddy tells her "good job." I love that. I sit off to the side like any pregnant woman would and I tear up. 

Recently, they built a bookshelf to hold the books they read at bed time. She loves bringing people into her room and telling them how she and her daddy built this bookcase and how they read "all" the books on it. 

Build something.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

A Reminder to Breathe

.I was recently sitting at the edge of the ocean meditating on a scripture that has been deeply speaking to me for the better part of  a year on a daily basis.  
"I am my Beloved's and His desire is for me."
(Song of Solomon 7:10) It has comforted and confronted me through abuse and rejection. Every day God would remind me that His fervent desire was for me. For a few minutes, as I stared at the ocean waves hitting against my body, I felt the fierce power of God's desire for me. I was overwhelmed by the force and pressure...and I had only waded into the first few feet of it. A few hours of it and I was still sore the next day. God's desire is powerful beyond comprehension. It it one of those sensations that when you feel it you simply must close your eyes and remind yourself to breathe to allow yourself to experience it even at the most basic level. Breathe. Breathe again. His desire is for us. Sit for a moment and meditate on that over and over until tears well up in your eyes. Let God's desire wash over you.

"I am my Beloved's and His desire is for me."
"I am my Beloved's and His desire is for me."
"I am my Beloved's and His desire is for me."

Miscarriage | Infertility | Hope

I encountered Jesus as a young child in a church pew in the balcony of an old country church. Through a lifetime of trial, I knew he was the...