Monday, December 8, 2014

Holy Joy

We hosted our small group from church in our home last night. The day had been filled with events and errands all the way from home to the city and back again, but when we got home, just 15 minutes before we would fellowship with friends, our hearts settled into the quiet hopefulness you have just before sitting down with intention to know God more deeply. My home was still cluttered with the things that make up our lives, hair ties, blankets from a friend's recent stay at our house, dishes from the potluck dish I had just made, but more than all those things our home was filled with the Spirit of the Living God. From our very first apartment to my husband's business offices, we always spent time praying for the Lord to dwell with us, for His presence to be felt and known. Once our friends arrived the sounds of laughter filled the rooms. So much in fact that it was hard get everyone to stop their chatter for more serious conversation.

As we talked about the recent sermons and our lives a friend told us a little about her visit to a third world country where she adopted her son. She said that the orphan children prayed for her, "may the Lord's blessing's be upon you, the blessings of Jesus!" These little ones had nothing. Nothing but Jesus himself. Through Him, however, they had joy. In America we think of blessings as things, sometimes they are, but the truest blessing is more of God Himself. More of Jesus. Because at His right hand are pleasures forever more. In His presence is fullness of joy.

I was reminded that God's joy is always available to us. It can be easy to fall into the mindset of being happy when things are going well, when you have money for all the tasty foods you want, or you've reached some new level of success. Sometimes I think I'd rather live in a monastery where all of my days would be devoted to knowing God, and experiencing Him in richness and clarity. Tonight I was reminded that I don't need a cloistered life to meet with God. I walked into my two year old's room to lay her down for bed when I realized that this moment wasn't for her. God was with me, in a tangible sense, in that dark room as held my daughter. I closed my eyes and let the Spirit speak. I sang a quiet secret hymn to Jesus and experienced a taste again of his joy.

This joy, this peace, this love, this GOD, the Holy Spirit, is always available to us. And I am thankful for sweet reminders.

 Lord, meet with us more. Teach us your grace and fill us until we burst forth with yourself. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Clean Eating in Small Town Western PA

Its not easy bring green. - Kermit the Frog

Living in a small town, a solid hour away from the big city of Pittsburgh, it can be hard to procure all of the foods and cleaning products we'd like to lead a clean, green, lifestyle. It's not always easy but I have spent hours of my life scouring labels, searching through stores, and keeping my ears open for any real food I can find!

Friday, October 31, 2014

So, I [might] Love Food

If you know anything about you me, or my family, you know that we love food.  We spend hours shopping for the right ingredients, more hours laboring over the cooking, sometimes waiting days for things to ferment or soak.  Food is kind of our thing. We love making it, eating, and sharing it. Food is kind of our love language. If you want to show me you love me you'll buy sushi grade salmon and pocky sticks. Or maybe you'll buy me a food dehydrator, juicer, and knife sharpener all in the same year.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Grace Through it All

Its been a year of coming to the end of myself again, and again. Just when I think I've reached the very end of me... God takes me farther. A year ago in October I felt the Lord asking me to go to Asia and work in an orphanage with special needs children for about 2 weeks. I had spent the year prior to that call praying for orphans in China by name, sponsoring them and sending gifts. I grieved as some of them died from complications of their special needs, and I laughed and rejoiced when things went well, like liver transplants in tiny babies' bodies. My heart was broken for these children and when the opportunity came to serve them with my own hands, I was excited and ready. I cried out to God, I will go Lord! Send me.

I think that's about when everything started.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Stella's Family

I am so excited to share with you that I was looking at the New Day Foster Home blogroll of families last night and I came across Stella's Family's blog! Though we have been sad that we weren't called to be her family we have been praying through it. (My post about the sadness of that is here.) I have been worshipping God in new and powerful ways. A lot of that prayer time (even over the last year plus) has been devoted to asking Him to place her in a Christian home, with a loving family, and for the Lord to make the transition from orphan to beloved daughter a smooth one. How wonderful that I can now see how richly the Lord has answered our prayers by reading their blog! Go check it out and pray for them! GOD IS SO GOOD!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Backyard Sugaring!

This year we tapped our maple trees for syrup! Last spring we learned how easy it was and that we had an abundance of maples so, being the doers that we are, we did it this spring! Let me tell you, its easy, its fun, and its delicious.

Here is the basic how to of this process.

Professional Encourager

My husband is the most important person on this Earth to me and I view my role as his wife to be my most important calling. I serve God by serving him. One of the biggest parts of my job is to encourage him. My husband is an incredible man. He's gifted, brilliant, really. He can play the organ, sing with perfect pitch, cook a curry, and shoot straighter than most marksmen. But this world is rough, it beats down the best of us. So today, after a rough weekend, I knelt down in my kitchen with my children and prayed a desperate prayer. "Lord, fill me up with you, Lord light a fire in me, fill me with you. I am empty of myself, fill my children, fill my husband with your Spirit, Jesus."