Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Everyday Grace

Our church, like many others, has a hostess schedule, so that visitors always have a place to eat lunch on Sunday afternoon,
and also to encourage us to invite our church family into our homes.
It's a great practice, and a part of the Mennonite culture that I appreciate. {especially when I get to eat at another person's table for lunch!}
Actually being the hostess is a whole different story!
I enjoy having people to our home;
It's the making of a meal that intimidates me.
I can cook,
it's just not my "spiritual gift".
If there is such a thing!
Furthermore, I have expectations.
Good, but sometimes unreasonable expectations!
And that's part of the reason I feel overwhelmed when I take on the job of hostessing.

My mental list went something like this:
1. Have a freshly-cleaned house with absolutely no sign of clutter.
2. Set the table the night before so I have less to do Sunday morning. {something my mama taught me!}
3. Prepare a full course of delicious food.
4. Wear cute apron so I look the part of the cook.
5. Make chalkboard menu and prop in dining room.
6. Be calm, cool and collected.
7. Enjoy my guests!
I smile now, because almost nothing went as "planned" last Sunday when I was hostess!
{it wasn't quite as amusing at that point}
I got up, at a decent hour, thinking I had plenty of time to do everything.
No sooner did I get myself ready than Hadassah woke up.
So, while I tried to rush around and prepare food,
I also tried to keep her happy.
Graham crackers do a fair job of that,
but they also make a mess on clean, vacuumed floors.
By the time we needed to leave for church, my house didn't look like I wanted it to.
And for the first time in my life, I allowed one of my guests to vaccuum when we got home from church!
I can't tell you how humbling it was.
I didn't wear a cute apron.
There was no fun chalkboard menu,
and I certainly wasn't calm, cool and collected.
But I had prayed, as I always do before I host guests,
that God would fill our home with His joy,
and that everyone that was there would feel appreciated and blessed.
It all worked out, as things usually do.
I truly enjoyed being hostess and visiting with friends!
And I learned an important lesson on Sunday:
God's grace is just as real for a amateur hostess
preparing a Sunday meal
as it is for the single mother raising a family.
I thought of the verse "My grace is sufficient for you,
because My power is made perfect in weakness."
I love that!
I have decided that if it takes weakness for me to experience the beauty of the sufficiency of God's grace in my everyday life,
that's fine with me.
Because it's enough for whatever I face:
His everyday grace.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Time Out!

It's Wednesday, and I'm smack in the middle of a "to-do" list that feels overwhelming at moments.
There's revivals this week, with early evening practices for special music,
food to be prepared for guests on Sunday,
and I am scheduled to work the rest of the week.
My husband needs me to help him prepare for a meeting he is hosting,
and of course, there's the house to clean!
But I also have a daughter who is growing up all too quickly,
and I want to savor every stage of her life!
It would be a tragedy to look back and wish that I had cuddled her more,
took more time to read her favorite books,
or just sit and play with her.

When I opened the door, the glory of a perfect fall day beckoned to me.
I couldn't stay inside,
when cloudless indigo skies, balmy breezes and colorful trees called my name!
I thought of the park,
and I thought of my list of work to be done.

I made an important decision:
 the work can wait!
I have a precious little girl who loves to swing,
and moments like these won't last forever.
So I packed her up and off to the park we went!

 It was totally worth it,
to see the delight in her eyes and the joy in her face!
I treasured every minute,
and thanked God for nudging me to take time.

The thing is,
He knew just how much this little girl's mommy needed it too!
Take time, my sweet friends.
This moment won't last forever!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Hadassah's First Birthday Photoshoot

On the week of Hadassah's birthday, between making multiple meals for the harvest crew,
I decided to take some photos for the birthday girl.
The neighbors have a lovely old red barn that was the perfect backdrop for the shoot.
Chippy, old, red...oh yeah!
All their children decided to join in on the fun, and had such a hoot waving grasses in her face and trying to make her smile.
You can't beat free entertainment!
I grabbed an old chair, chalkboard and the burlap pennant I made for her party to use as props.
All in all, I felt like it was a success! I mean, she stayed on the chair long enough for me to snap a few pictures, which was a challenge in itself!!
I melt when I look at this sweet little girl,
the one that I held in my arms for the first time just a year ago!
How is it possible that we're here already?
{I'm imagining what I'll say when she turns 16!}
She's a busy little lady, and is always exploring, aka: getting into trouble.
She's super-friendly, and considers it her job to tell everyone
that she sees "hi"!
She loves to go "bye-bye" with papa and gets very sad when he leaves without her.
She loves the horses and kitties,
and thinks she is big enough to feed herself.
She signs "please", "thank you", "more" and "drink".
It's so fun to watch her learn and grow!
I'm excited to see who she will become.
Happy birthday, angel!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Perennial Favorites Barn Sale Recap

There was excitement in the air, as the sun peeked over the horizon on a chilly September morning.

The Roller Mill barn was a flurry of activity, as vendors set up their displays, chatted and sipped coffee. A riot of color exploded in groupings of mums and pumpkins, and a general autumn vibe exuded from the atmosphere.
There were about 9 different vendors that displayed their goodies this year! I failed to get pictures with the lovely ladies themselves, so I'll try to mention who's who.
Sweet hair accessories from Amelia Bedelia Designs! 

Gorgeous handmade pillows by Heidi, "The Vintage Lantern"
Beautiful fall arrangements, Christmas wreaths & caramel apples from Hopeful Designs!
 Luisa Morgan created one-of-a-kind handmade journals and fun notecards!

Audrey from Tender Fashions made sweet bonnets, bibs and ruffled baby dresses!
Christy was the burlap queen, with a range of burlap products, including wreaths, silverware holders, pillows and banners! For some reason, I don't have pictures of her items, even though she had a table right beside me! :(
Alla featured cute knitted baby hats, in a variety of sizes. {I bought a white one for Hadassah, and LOVE it!} Sorry, no pictures!
I featured a variety of hand-painted barn wood signs and canvases, as well as a handwritten wedding invitation {my newest line!}
Melody had colorful monograms and fun hair flower accessories, as well as gorgeous handmade jewelry that a friend fashioned for the sale!

Amy {aka: Mrs Brown} at Roller Mill Farms, had a variety of goodies for sale, including some delicious apple butter, vintage feed sacks and amazing homemade soap!
A photo booth, delicious homemade doughnuts and apple fritters, made by Sheila at Candid Cooking & Karana, as well as pork bbq by the Showalter brothers, and pumpkin painting made the day fun-filled and memorable!
It was an honor to work with these ladies, and watch a dream become a reality! Amelia & Amy, you inspire me. Here's to the future of Perennial Favorites Barn Sales!!!
 I want to extend a heart-felt thank you to each of  you who participated, either as vendors, or as "gofers" or customers. You all made this event possible! 
Mark your calendars for the 2013 Barn Sale! We hope to see you there!!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

World-View Wednesday: East Gate Ministries

A week ago, I was privileged to join some friends at a fundraising banquet for a local ministry, East Gate Ministries. This organization provides a home, along with love & support, for unwed mothers and women in abusive situations. Every time I go, I am touched and moved by the compassion that is shown to society's rejects. They are given unconditional love, and their testimonies always move me to tears!

This year, the featured speaker was Shari Rigby, who played as the biological mother of the star in "October Baby". As she shared her story of being raised in a broken home, abusive relationships and a resulting abortion, I was in awe of the redeeming power of God's grace! She could easily identify with many of the women there who had been through similar pain, but she also offered hope. I can't relate to much of what she has experienced, but I have walked through valleys of my own. And regardless of our story, we all know what heartbreak is. But I hope that we also have experienced the healing touch of the Father in our barren places!

As I listened to the stories that were shared, my heart was broken to think of the hurt that is right here, at my back door. So often, we think of "the mission field" as being overseas, when there is untold suffering in our own communities. What am I doing to make a difference, to share the love & hope that I have experienced? Friends, I am praying about that! I don't want to be content to live in my safe little "bubble" while there are hurting people all around me. Here I am, Lord!

As for the movie, "October Baby", watch it!!! The story is beautiful, and the acting is excellent. It is one of the best I have ever seen. The message of forgiveness is powerful and one I need to be reminded of over and over again!

If you want some extra inspiration, watch this clip of Ann Voskamp; another beautiful story of a life that has been transformed by a loving God.

Blessings to you, my friend, as you share the love of your Saviour in the place God has called you!