My sweet, creative, artsy, brilliant neighbor and friend Rachel (http://www.homesanctuary.com) is a lovely gift giver. From little ornaments and fresh picked flowers to handmade artwork and homemade sweet treats, she's knows how to make her friends smile.
Which is why I was grinning ear to ear when she painted this little sign and brought it over to my house several years ago:
I love it's simplicity and poignant declaration over my home. It's like the calm in the midst of the swirling mayhem of muddied football cleats, half eaten sandwiches and dirty laundry.
So, I keep it in my bathroom; one of the only sanctuary-ish places in my house. . . kind of. . .
There it is. Do you see it? Tucked behind all those legos that my son Jude plays with. . .in MY bathtub. . .that is in MY sanctuary/bathroom is the sign - imprisoned like a caged animal trying desperately to get out from behind its multi-colored cell.
Oh well. . so much for peace, order and beauty, right?
I giggled when I caught sight of this irony today but I didn't have time to do much of anything about it. I was headed into the kitchen to put together the beginning of our evening's dinner.
Needed a recipe from my recipe box. . .
I never found the one I was looking for.
I giggled again as I started taking out ingredients to whip together a dish with a recipe that was already in my brain instead of in my black-hole-recipe box. Needed some red wine vinegar out of the pantry and on the way across the kitchen I came face to face with the far wall beside the dining table:
A different rotation of words like these have been there for years now. Taught all three of my boys to read during the pre-kindergarten years and our "wordwall" has been a huge part of the process. It's my four year old's turn now (the same one that turned my tub into a toy box). We've all gotten so used to seeing our kitchen wall scattered with random papers that it doesn't phase us anymore. It's just our "wordwall", that's all. I'm sure a guest's eye might see it differently and laugh hysterically if they knew about my sanctuary sign - the caged animal on lock down in the bathroom.
My sanctuary sign seems more displaced then ever in my small, crowded house where kitchen walls are school boards and bathtubs are toy bins. But then I realized that this little place we call home - with all it's loving pandemonium is actually exactly what my sign declares it should be - just in a way that looks different from the Pottery Barn catalogue that came in the mail yesterday.
Peace - my children and husband are healthy - body, mind and spirit. The assurance and rest of Christ rules amid the craziness of daily living and all who enter these doors can sense His love. We feel safe and at ease here. We can be authentic with one another. There is peace here.
Beauty - We laugh and smile and cuddle and eat and play and forgive and tuck precious memories into bed each night. Beautiful.
Order - . . . well maybe I'm still working on this one . . .
This is my sanctuary. God's presence makes it so.
This is Home.
Enjoy yours today, ok? No matter what it looks like :)
One of the most powerful storms ever to hit a nation fell upon the #Philippines just a few days ago. The devastation is enormous, and more than 10,000 people are feared to have lost their lives in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
Many more have been displaced indefinitely from their homes and urgent help is needed.
I struggle to understand the devastation in the world we live in, but I do know this: Even when bad "stuff" happens, God is still good and He stands for us. And, God wants us to give thanks in all circumstances; it is an act of faith and it helps us put God in proper perspective.
Will you join us this week in praying for the Philippines? Let's recognize God and all He has done, then believe Him for restoration, healing and protection for our brothers and sisters across Asia.
Ways You Can Help:
- The Red Cross: Both the American Red Cross and the Philippine Red Cross are collecting donations and sending rescue teams to help those affected by the storm. Both branches are actively deploying team to support disaster relief efforts,including search and rescue missions and distributing food and medical care.
- World Vision: World Vision has a Disaster Response Fund that will provide food, shelter and other emergency relief to children and families impacted by Haiyan.
- Compassion International:The Disaster Relief Stability Fund will go towards food, clothing, and other supplies needed to help children in the Philippines, and their families.CI commits that any money raised above their amount needed will be put into a general Disaster Relief Fund.
What I love most about the gorgeous Bianca Olthoff is that she tells it like it is. Her words, whether spoken or penned on paper, are authentic; real. She doesn't mess around. She just gets to the point and digs deep into an issue while gently holding the hand of the one listening.
Honestly, I don't know how she does it - serve as a key part of The A21 Campaign, keynote on platforms across the country, faithfully contribute blogs and articles that edify and encourage, and serve as a catalyst for future leaders in the church. She does it all. And by all. . . I do mean all.
Which is why I'm so honored that she'd take time to write a post that every girl who has ever been single and a bit unsatisfied can relate to.
Read. Enjoy. Respond.
For six and a half years I was President of the Lonely Hearts Club. Yes, I was the self-professed Six Year Single. I joked about it, but inside I struggled with doing life alone. I did everything by myself; shopping, eating out, studying, driving to holiday functions, hanging with groups of friends.
I've been that girl. You know, thee single friend who's attending every friend's wedding sans a date, RSVPing for one, and praying to God no one asks her why she’s still single. The one who during the ceremony hears vows of for better or worse, until death do we part and prays for the cocktail hour to start just so I can swallow my jealousy in tooth-picked hors d'oeuvres and watery punch.
There were times where I didn't mind; other times weren't as successful. Many nights after serving in youth ministry I would chill with my two friends, Ben&Jerry, while watching You've Got Mail as I never received any mail. Pathetic? Yes. Honest? Oh, yeah!
Okay, okay, I may not be single anymore. But for 30 years I survived sans a wedding ring or a life partner. After my dysfunctional three-year dating relationship with a man I affectionately refer to as Satan ended, I realized I need to make some healthy changes moving forward. I could get bitter or I could get better.
Around the age of 25 when most Hispanic women are married with children, I was in graduate school. I was serving in full-time ministry in an unpaid position in youth ministry when most people were encouraging me to find a singles group. And I was consciously aware that I could end up a BitterBetty because most single women I spoke to complained incessantly about the lack of spiritual leaders [aka: single men to ask them out] in the church.
I had to decision to make.
1. I could sit on my spiritual laurels and wish, hope, and pray for Prince Charming to read me Songs of Solomon and refer to me as bone of my bone.
2. I could put my head down, do some work, and keep my eyes open for a Godly man who is doing the same.
Some of the best memories and moments in life were not on the arm of a man, but reaching for the hand of the One hand who knew me far greater than anyone else. Of course looking back on my singleness is easier than being in it, but I will say perspective changed my attitude.
Contrary to popular belief, there are worse things than not being married. Like being married to the wrong person. Or having a sixth toe. Both are tragic.
For those who are married or in dating relationships, here are some things you can do to be supportive in all seasons:
• If someone tells you they just broke up or are single, don't wince, sigh, and say, I'll pray for you. They don't have a terminal disease, for crying out loud?! Instead, open your house or your calendar to make time to spend with them.
• ThreeDogNight said it best, One is the loneliness number that you'll ever hear. If you have a single friend, be available. I know, I know, it's hard to make time. But do it.
• If you're single, mingle. Don't be a hermit or spend another night watching FRIENDS with Ben and Jerry. Get out! Meet people! Have fun! Use exclamation marks!
• If you're single, maybe it's for a reason. Are your expectations too high? Are you mean? Are you bitter? Do you smell? Ask a married friend to be honest with you and trust them to tell you where you need to change. [Yes, ask a married person. If you ask your single friend if your expectations are too high and she says no, maybe that's why you're both single.]
That's my two cents for what it's worth. If you're single, what's you reason? If you're married, what advice can you give to those in a party of one?
I need a new phone. Problem is . . . I don't want one.
I'm not much of a "new and advanced technology" kind of person. Just hearing about the next-big-thing gives me a headache and makes me want to take a long nap. I've only just learned how to use my current phone . . . and computer . . . and the last software update about the same time that Apple decides to invent something that totally antiquates the very thing that I was finally able to wrap my brain around. Drives me nuts I tell you.
It was only a couple weeks ago that my husband dragged me kicking and screaming into updating the software package onto my 4S phone. I stared down at the new face on the screen, with it's new sleek updated features, and winced in pain. Now, I'd have to learn something new, adapt to change and pay closer attention to detail in order to use this new alien device effectively. I'm trying. . .but I've still accidentally hung up on more people than I care to mention.
Several phones ago, I dropped my phone and ended up with a crack across the front that splintered into at least a dozen seams. Looked like a wild tree had grown roots on my iPhone. It took me a little while to find a place to fix it for a reasonable price , and during those few searching hours I became totally comfortable with my cracks - adapted to reading text messages between the lines and learned just how to push my buttons with the exact pressure needed to make them respond. It worked for me, so I ended up carrying that scarred phone around for months. I was happy.
Comfortable with my cracks.
Finally, my husband just couldn't stand it anymore so he confiscated the wounded thing without my knowledge and returned with a smile on his face along with a newly minted phone.
He waited for me to fall into his arms in thanksgiving and knight him the prince of my dreams.
Took me a while to do it.
I had just gotten used to my cracks and strangely. . . I missed them.
Bad relationship. Bad habit. You name it. Sometimes sticking with familiar is just easier than taking the time and energy required to exchange it for something that would be much better for us.
You hanging onto something "cracked" right now? Why has it been difficult for you to let it go?
I think I've shared a bit about enjoying fitness and working out, but I would never call myself a runner.
Yes....I've gotten used to the monotony of stationary machines when I'm in the gym, where my primary motivation is watching the clock slowly fade away to '0', but running? And, out in the open?
No, thank you.
I've run a couple of races, and every now and again I'll get on a 'kick', and log a mile or two here and there to change things up a bit, but IF I've run, I've always preferred to dodge daily traffic on sidewalks. In the suburbs.
Then I discovered Runyon Canyon.
How LA manages to fit the park in the middle of everything else? I don't know, but last fall I found myself in California for Thanksgiving, and out of sheer desperation for some exercise before Turkey day I drove 45-minutes to hit the trails.
Clearly, I went at the wrong time of day, because just a few minutes in and I was stuck dodging yogis and marathoners and dogs and strollers , and everyone else who all had the same idea as me.
But then I got into my groove. I didn't know what was at the top and I wasn't sure what I'd encounter on my way up there, but I moved to the outside of the trail and fell in behind the season runners who'd already paved the path to the top. At different points I got too far to the edge, my music playlist ran out, I had to ditch my too large water bottle and I stopped a time or two to re-tie stubborn shoelaces, but it didn't matter.
I got to the top and peered out over the Hollywood strip and It was exhilarating. See, it wasn't about the time or distance. The point was to get to the destination, and I'd gotten past the difficulties, stayed consistent and finished what I'd started.
Yes, Monday has rolled around, once again. Aren't you glad for that?
I once heard that most people breathe and live just deep enough to stay conscious. Don't check out of this week's challenges; rest in the presence of our Savior. Then, relax the shoulders, keep your head above your heart and run the race.
We'll start AND finish... together.
I got to meet Tracey Eyster a few years ago and I was immediately delighted. This woman lives to encourage others - moms especially - and the thing is, she doesn't even have to try hard to do it. The love she has for her family and her life as a mother comes shining through every word she says, blog she posts and books she writes. Her goal is to shine a huge, bright spotlight on the joys of motherhood and then pull others into its shimmering brilliance. Somehow she's able to accomplish this in a way that's practical, realistic and utterly relatable. . . .
like when she tells us to slow down long enough to create fall memories for our family that will make these cooler months absolutely delicious!
MMMMM. . .my mouth is already watering. Pumpkin. Spice. And Everything Nice.
He busted into our home headed towards his room to gather some “guy gear” and suddenly he stopped in his tracks, “What’s that smell? Are those pumpkin muffins?”
Interestingly, yet not surprisingly, he allowed his activities to wait, while he sat at the kitchen counter and chowed down on my “world famous” (or at least neighborhood famous) chocolate chip pumpkin muffins.
Along with the chowing down was him reminding me that was one of his favorite things about fall – that I always make my amazing pumpkin chocolate chip muffins! He also confessed that sharing them was always hard because they were so very good. I quickly let him know I had made a triple batch to help him remain unselfish!
I too have memories of tastes and smells of my years growing up with a mom and grandmothers who took the time to make homemade yummies for my siblings and me.
I know we are all busy, but allow me to encourage you to take the time to bake homemade treats for your family, they will appreciate it and they will stop, chat with you and shower you with words of gratitude...and mouths stuffed full of goodness!
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
1 2/3 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 Table pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
2 eggs 1 cup pumpkin
½ cup melted butter
2 ½ cups chocolate chips (miniature)
Stir flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda & powder in a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix eggs, add pumpkin and butter then whisk till well blended. Stir in choc chips and pour over dry ingredients. Gently mix until dry ingredients moist. Put batter in muffin tins & bake @350 for 12-14 minutes, or until puffed. (Do not overcook.) Hint: All baked goods keep cooking even after removed from oven and muffins left to sit in the pan for a quick couple of minutes are more easily removed.
I wear my hair in a ponytail most of the time. Actually it’s not a real ponytail – like those cute ones that look like smooth waterfalls cascading from the back of those cute girls’ heads. You know the ones.
Most of the time, mine is in a make-shift ball of chaos that peeks above the horizon of my scalp like a misshapen moon. Runaway hairs fly all over the place and are never really part of the hairstyle. They are just orphaned, left to fend for themselves for the day.
It’s a mess.
And yet, somehow, it’s still my favorite style.
Before bed, I pull the elastic ring from my head and all my hair falls like a mop around my face. And, it feels like freedom. I’m serious. I can actually feel freedom. There is something so relaxing about taking a ponytail down at the end of a long day. My temples relax and any headache I might have from the day’s happenings (which might have actually been from my too-tight bun) dissipates. It feels good.
The other day, while doing schoolwork with my boys in a Maryland hotel room, this same relaxed feeling came over me. It’s the first year I’ve felt like this in regards to my kids’ schooling – cause it’s the first year we’ve homeschooled full time. Sure, we did it on and off, taking their classwork with us whenever we traveled together (which was often) but it was becoming increasingly difficult to merge our unconventional life with conventional schooling. It felt like the walls were closing in on us. Tethered to strict guidelines, timeframes and workloads that often butted heads with our family schedule and our children’s individual learning styles, we felt confined. So, for those reasons, (and because I felt badly for being that mom – the one who drives the teachers insane) at the end of last year, we changed our style.
Took the ponytail down.
And last week, in a hotel in Baltimore, I felt free – like I was walking around with all my hair uninhibited and cascading around my face in a gigantic curly, mop (except it wasn’t cause I needed to be able to see the boys’ papers). Each of the boys was able to go at a pace that was good for them, then we could stop when we wanted and go do something else. We could plan the day around other things not just school things. Life things. Connecting their science lesson on amphibians with our outing to the national aquarium on the harbor was a blast.
Our driving time to visit relatives was their reading time. And best of all, they could be in Maryland with me – to do ministry, spend time with extended family and see the world outside the classroom.
Homeschooling isn’t for everyone. Let’s be clear, I’m not even totally sure yet that it’s for us (check back with me in May). I’m not writing this post because I think it’s the way everyone should go or that it’s somehow more right than another educational choice. But I do know that for now, for us, it’s a blessing.
Do I know what I’m doing? Not really.
Do I whisper a regular prayer begging for patience? All the time.
Have I solicited help from others because this job is a bit too big for me? You bet.
Do I secretly wonder if my children might grow up to be one of those awkward adults who can’t find a real job and end up living at home for the rest of their lives? Ummmm. . .maybe.
But my hair is down. Temples are loose. Quite a few homework headaches are quelled.
We feel free. And, at least for now, it feels good.
A one of a kind night.
Were. You. There?!?!
We were a little bummed when we realized Priscilla wouldn't be able to make last week's highly anticipated Awaken event. It was SO HARD to keep a secret, but when Ms. Beth Moore graciously offered to take her place we were almost beside ourselves!
The incredible team at Fellowship Dallas hosted more then 1500 women for an absolutely fantastic evening! It's a unique moment that brings together women from all over the DFW area for a dual purpose: serving others and getting challenged and encouraged by the power of Christ's word living and active in us.
Not only did Ms. Beth deliver to us a powerful message on healing, and how our scars can be remade into a signature of Christ, in turn we got to pour into Jesus Said Love, a dynamic ministry dedicated to reaching out to women marginalized by the exotic entertainment business (get more information about Jesus Said Love and volunteering here).
Check out the rest of these snippets we grabbed from the event, then leave us a comment and tell us how Ms. Beth Moore brought The Word and ROCKED your world!
P.S: Just In Case You Missed It ...
You're officially invited to our very first 2014 Awaken with Priscilla on Tuesday, April 8, 2014, at First Baptist Dallas. This will be an amazing night of fellowship, worship, teaching and encouragement!
The event is free but registration is still required (we'll have more information about that, soon).
Mark your calendars NOW, line up a babysitter, and invite your friends, family and co-workers to this special night!
Connect with us on twitter for updates and more information: @AwakenDFW
If anyone has taught me the beauty of writing it is Patsy Clairmont. I can’t even tell you how many books she has masterfully written and how many lives her messages have touched. She is an articulate and remarkable writer whose books, poems and songs are nearly as eclectic as her personal style. Put a pen in her hand and a message in her heart and you’ll see why thousands hang onto her every word – whether they come out of her mouth or trickle onto paper from her gifted hands.
I’m so grateful for her contribution to our blog today. It’s simplistically poignant and powerful all at once. I'm grateful for her wisdom, longevity and passion. Look between the lines of her post below and you'll see all three of these virtues poking through in between every single line.
When Luci Swindoll told me one of her favorite inventions was the alphabet I knew we would always be friends. I love words. I’m a bonafide verbiage collector. I love small words like gnu, descriptive words like dollop, and filler words like thingamajigs and whatchamacallits.
There’s something magical about lining up letters and finding the very thing you want to say. So imagine the jolt I got when a couple of my friends showed up at a conference sporting, “On Voice Rest” badges. “What does that mean,” I puzzled. They rolled their eyes and pointed at the confusing script. “On Voice Rest,” I squawked. Still befuddled I asked, “but does that mean you’re actually not going to talk?” They nodded. I was almost silenced, but then I rallied and decided I could talk for all three of us. So I was chatting away when one of them got up walked over to me and pulled from her pocket a backup badge and pinned it on my collar. Harrumph.
C’mon, not talk? Think. About. It.
I read once about a movie actor who fasted from words on Wednesdays. He said it added such a flurry of creative energy to his work and it helped him be more word sensitive when he did speak. Secretly, I admired his choice but I have yet to duplicate it. I have however remained silent on two hour flights only to get off and magpie anyone within a 10 foot perimeter. It’s like the accrued word count within me had percolated in my silence until when I disembarked I erupted into a volley of caffeinated chat.
I do have a propensity to go on-and-on. I know that. It’s like I have no edit button. When in truth I know it’s a matter of changing gears (slowing my pace) and installing a conscious (Holy Spirit) awareness of my need to at least minimize my word count. Voice rest has multiple benefits.
• Those who have grown weary of our deluge are relieved.
• We listen more closely, (because we are not busy crafting our response).
• Our new discipline will spill over into other frayed areas of our life.
• People’s trust in us grows.
• And our center stills. We feel less frantic and surprisingly, more heard.
So what about a wordless Wednesday or having a mute button installed for Monday mornings? Or being silent long enough to hear what God’s curriculum is for us? Think about it. I am.
“Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom.” Francis Bacon
SO, we're in a season of give-aways here at Going Beyond Ministries. A couple of weeks ago we gave away copies of God is Able, then we chose some VIPS for our Awaken event who will receive a bunch of goodies tomorrow night when they arrive. And at the Awaken event, 2100 of my closest friends will be helping me to generously, outrageously bless the Jesus Said Love ministry with hundreds of gifts and donations.
And today, we've got something else we'd like to give . . .
Anyone who knows me knows that gifts are my love language - and not nearly as much in receiving them (although I like unwrapping a present as much as the next girl) as in giving them. I like to see the look on people's faces when they get their gift. The joy of watching THEM unwrap it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up! Gratefully, I work with an office full of women who feel the same way! We love to figure out how to bless others as much as we can. So, we figured it'd be fun to give you an opportunity to have one of our new favorite pieces of jewelry.
If you are wondering why "Beyond Beyond" just click here for an explanation. . .or you can just turn your Bible to Eph 3:20-21 and read a passage that will blow your mind!
We are giving away 3 of these sterling silver necklaces. Here's how you enter to win . . .
1. Copy this instagram image and post it on your social media for encouragement to your followers
2. Leave a comment telling us what your love language is. Gifts? Acts of Service? Quality Time? Physical Touch? Words of Affirmation?
Don't forget to leave an email address so we can contact you if you are a winner. We'll randomly select 3 of you on 10/30/13!
Have a fantastic day, my friend and remember that "He can and will do more than you ask or imagine!"
PS. . . you can find our Beyond, Beyond necklaces for family and friends here.