Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Morning After

I always hated the day after Christmas. No matter what occurred the day of Christmas, from my childhood days of "Santa brings gifts," to my own kids' days of intentionally serving at a shelter, or my grown up kids' days of playing games and eating ourselves silly, the day AFTER Christmas was such a drag. Depressing. EMPTY.

But the day after (in)RL - not so much so!!

The day was wonderful! DD M helped me greatly at home by preparing the salad stuff I'd gotten for lunch, and we headed out early to make my goal of being there an hour before our start time. Once we got to the church, the room we were scheduled to use was all set up for Sunday School the next day (not intimate round tables like I'd expected). While I was unloading stuff from the car, M scouted around the other rooms and found the one we needed - much smaller (since there were only 4 of us) and the bonus of it being the one with the big screen tv in it to hook our computers too. :) BONUS.

Sadly, despite her tech savvy and my $10 external speakers, we couldn't get the sound to be great. I should have thought to bring DH's non-mac computer, as the chording for the tv wouldn't work with my mac. :(  But she got it all set up and working!! Much better than my thought of "well, there's just 4 of us, we'll just watch on the laptop" intimacy. LOL

We were all set up on time, and had a TABLE FULL of wonderful snacks brought by all, and once we were all ready (full plates and introductions taken care of) we dove in to the videos.

We laughed, we cried, we conversed over the questions brought alive by the writers on (in)courage and learned about so many wonderful ways that DaySpring has brought life to unlikely friendships and created opportunities for others (read US) to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We were inspired. We were challenged. All throughout each session there was scripture proclaimed and reminders of His goodness, even in hard places. Reminded that we are here for a purpose, and that although we may be alone, we are not. Ever.

Now, I admit that there were a few times that my grandson was a distraction, and given my poor sound issues there were a few times I wanted to rewind and go through it all again. I'll have to watch them all this afternoon, while I work on quilting....the same quilting that I hoped to work on yesterday. LOL. I didn't pick up my needle one time.

I'm excited to get to know Mrs T better! I'm never amazed that you can go to a large church, attend the same smaller studies, go to the smaller church service time, and never meet someone. I'm glad that we had the day together yesterday, and look forward to spending more time with her.

I learned more about my youngish friend Mrs S, and was amazed with her insight and encouragement. I love her like a dd, and have been blessed these past 2 years to have her in my life.

I was blessed to get to hear my own dd's voice, as she shared her heart for the people in El Salvador (prompted by the Compassion piece) and the children in the Compassion sponsored school that she visited. I learned more how different we are, in good ways, all because God answered my prayer "that she would have greater faith and love God more than I could..." (since I wasn't raised in a Christian home). She's loving God in different ways, and although she's still striving to learn, to draw closer to God. She's done amazing Kingdom things already, and I know that He will provide for them to serve Him wherever He calls them to.

So today. The morning after. I'm not depressed that it's over - I'm EXCITED to see what lies ahead!! I can't wait to be a more dedicated blogger, to dig out my old "Marina's Kitchen Table" devo's from the late 90's (they were posted in a  "Marina's Kitchen Table" Yahoo Group back then!) and possibly merge or link together my Auntie Em writings to here (and vice versa).

Which brings me to another reality...I think that my "Connections" days are done. It's been a few months since they published my writings, for whatever reasons, and the editor hasn't responded to my notes. Since she has 3 months of writings, I didn't bother to submit one this month. I accept this change like all others, with a wondering of "what could I have done better?" and a twinkle in my eye at "what lies ahead?". I know that I've learned a lot through this, and look forward to seeing what He will do in my next season of life. He can do as He wills through me!!

I'm hoping that you'll come along on this journey friend!! As we continue to grow closer to Him, to be more like Him, and discover, fully, how to be (and love) the women He created us to be!

Friday, April 27, 2012

The (in)RL opener....

For any of you that haven't been following me on Twitter (@MarinaWrites), you wouldn't know how special today is for me.

I follow a community of bloggers including Holley Gerth (Heart to Heart with Holley), Bonnie Gray (The Faith Barista), etc who are all a part of a community called (in)courage, and today they launched a webinar as a part of a 2 day event called (in)RL (for in Real Life).

Since THEY have never done this before, I really didn't know what to expect! I don't know if THEY knew what to expect!! But day one was AMAZING.

I LOVED getting to hear these bloggers, and others, who fill a certain niche in the blog scene, sharing about life, and the need for community, and the desire for REAL friendships. Oh, sometimes they talk about their kids, or the issues of the day that consume them, but MOSTLY they share not so much about the events of their days, but how God is so faithful to bring us through them. He IS so faithful.

Tomorrow is a longer time event, and we'll meet around the world - some in groups, some in homes, some in churches, and many alone. I think that our goal is to draw closer to each other despite the internet; and no matter how many women are participating, I know it will be good.

I'm praying for all the tech support in each location, and for the hearts of every women to feel the presence of God. I'm so looking forward to it all!!

More after it's over...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

In response to Faith Barista Bonnie Gray..

Oh Bonnie...I NEEDED this today! Our last move, coming here to KY, was so precious! We felt like God had prepared a place for us in community, and it all happened so fast - effortless. And now, TODAY, we're waiting to hear about another a new opportunity has opened up with my husband's company. And while my prayer is all "only God's will" I can't help but wonder "could He bless us this way twice?". Because really, we love life here. He had work for us both, in ministry and a paycheck, and He's blessed the work of our hands, of our hearts, an although we can go to earn a paycheck - can we find community there that will have a spot for me, for us? And a few questions loom over the if's and how's of making friends and being on the road, and will He make that happen?? So I needed this, to remind me that He desires us in fellowship with Him. And church, that sense of community, He loves too...but it's the frosting on the cake. I can rest now, and stop worrying, and start trusting...knowing He knows all we don't know, like if he'll even get the job...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

In response to (in)courage on Community...

Today's post on community struck a chord with me...someone who has always felt alone in the crowd: Wow! Really good! Thanks for sharing openly and honestly!! During my "18 years in the desert", I felt we HAD to be in community somewhere, with a job to do to keep whichever small church we went to going. Who would teach the toddlers? Or cook for the jr high kids after school? Since being delivered from the desert, and being lovingly placed here, we are in a big a HUGE one...and although I've been given a ministry to head up there, when it comes to time for church service I think we wouldn't be missed...and perhaps we wouldn't, BUT THAT'S NOT THE POINT. The point is that when I sing worship, it's an offering to God. When I engage and apply a sermon to my life, I leave equipped for conversations with others the rest of the week. When I participate in tithing I am giving an offering and confirming that I trust God to work through our leaders to use my tithe for the equipping of community. (ok, honestly, we give online, so we don't have to be there...but you get my point.) and in our denomination of "independent Christian Churches", we share in communion each week, and I would miss this opportunity to partake of bread and juice, deep reflection, confession, and repentance. So although it's "not about me", it's for my benefit....and ultimately for my growth, to honor and serve Him, to make my life an offering...

Monday, April 23, 2012

DaySpring stuff, and what I think about it all...

I have been blessed to have gotten re-aquainted with DaySpring a few years ago when my friend Tammy Carroll started selling the product line Blessings Unlimited (DaySprings home party line; You can see Tammy's website here!!)

I was an early user of DaySpring's products, and I really think that I used a lot of their tracts when I was a new Christian in the late 70's and early 80's. Remember tracts?? LOL I'm dating myself here. :)

Over the years, we've used their products, lovely cards at Christmastime, gifts for others' homes, and special things for our own home too!

A year ago or so I started doing product reviews for them, and have tried some GREAT things out. I have especially LOVED the products from Holley Gerth's line, based on the book "You're Already Amazing".  Her cards are poignant, saying things when I can't find the right words, or don't have the time to write the right words. They are HIGH END, which means so much more than a little generic card too (although ANY card sent is so meaningful!! A text or email doesn't always cut it!!).

I have LOVED doing her book - I've gone on and on about that before - so don't feel a need to do that now - and there are a few other things I've bought, or have been given, that I adore!!

I bought the "birdcage" in the DaySpring Outlet Store on a recent trip to Siloam Springs, AR, and the block art on the bottom shows the detail of one of the gifts I received on a tour I went on of the office facilities there for (in)courage.

I am using a lot of products from them on a day to day basis...card organizers, wall art, clocks (from the Blessings Unlimited line), and even purses and bags!! I LOVE my jute shopping bags, and REALLY LOVE the bag from Holley Gerth's line that I'm using as a purse (also a gift from my time in the offices there). 

I'm really excited about a few things that are coming up - the (in)RL web conference, with several of the (in)courage authors will start Friday evening (YAY- we can view that in our homes!!) and end up on Saturday at Crossroads (or wherever hosting is taking place near you!). I'm sponsoring a small group at church, for us to watch it together on Saturday. :)  Join us if you're not busy!! 

I'm THRILLED as my daughters' due date approaches!! YAY!!  (God's perfect timing on this one though, don't want him to be born before his time!!)

Oh I know I had a few other things to be excited about....

OH- I'm going to facilitate a group of women through "You're Already Amazing"!! YAY!! Starting the 2nd week in June, and I think maybe on Tuesday mornings at our church. :)  Come and join us!! 


Saturday, April 21, 2012

New place for wives of poultry workers...

Really, I did it. 

"You're Already Amazing" Book Review

Well, I had hoped to post each time I posted at the end of each chapter, but it got to crazy this week! But don't let that dissuade you as to how AMAZING this book is!!

I thought, really, that I was not reading it for me...but to refer others to it in the future. I was so wrong. There were great things author Holley Gerth pointed out, and exercises for me to do that gave GREAT insight.

So pretty much, no matter what age you are, if you are a woman, you should read this book. :)  (oh, a man would learn a lot from it too, but really - do many men read books? - and the book really is written "to" women of all ages).

I'm looking forward to facilitating a discussion group with women from church this summer. I think it will be a good time, and it will help us to get to know ourselves as well as each other, better.

Join us, if you're in the Henderson, Evansville, Newburgh area!! Details coming soon!!


I admire these bloggers who are disciplined and write regularly. 

I want to be like that. Someday.

Right now, my cup is full. Overflowing. My HOUSE is also full and overflowing! It's just a season, so I'm not bothered by it. I still remember what it was like to wake up on my own timetable, not have an agenda (usually, or just a light one, depending on the volunteer work), and I never had a problem finding a quiet place to write - I had a whole house of nothing but quiet! 

But now, my day starts with the sounds of little one's crying (some don't quite know what to do with morning yet), or scurrying across the living room from bedroom to kitchen, excited about what breakfast will be. 

I admire my daughter more than ever right now. She's up with all 4 of them, every morning. She keeps her cool, gets them settled, keeps THEM quiet (as possible, in this small house). It never shows whether she had 2 hours of sleep, or 10. She never complains about how many times the baby woke up wanting to eat, or how many kids climbed into bed with them that night. She creatively built a bedroll out of bedding on one side of the bed, so wayward kids can lie down there if the bed is already full. Wish I had thought of that back when SHE was a kid!!

Our husbands are working hard. Lots of hours right now with a project coming into fruition. CRAZY hours over the next few weeks. It's hard on all of us, but it's the nature of the industry. 

I'm thinking that I'll launch a new blog site for wives of men in the poultry industry...I discussed this with a friend that I met through what we call the "TPW" (company name's initial, Prayer Warriors")- all women whose husbands work in different jobs at the same place. We used to meet monthly to encourage each other, and make a prayer list of the needs we have, and our husbands have. We'd be sure to pray for things to run smoothly, for the men to remain in fellowship - remembering that they're not just co-workers but brothers in Christ. Lately we haven't been meeting, but we stay in touch occasionally...some more than others. One is preparing to move, another looking for a transfer, so I know that it would be hard to remain as tight as we have been over these past 2 years. 

And then I met a great young woman in AR, and her husband works for another company...and I thought, "Wow! It would be great if we could broaden our circle a bit to include these other women who are going through the same situations we are!". The poultry industry is really hard, and the troubles that our husbands face are all the same, no matter what their job is, or what company they work for. If weather is flip-floppy, bird size will be a problem. If it's icy cold, there's problems with transportation. If it's hot, that's a whole other set of problems. If it's humid out, then condensation is an issue. Then put all these men together in the midst of it all, and you can sure bet they need our prayers!! Sometimes it's just that they won't get mad at each other!! LOL

So, since that's another area of care...I was thinking that it needed it's own I'm *in labor* right now, praying about how to make that BEST happen. Then how to get the word out, and get a few of my TPW's to blog along with me (one already has agreed!). Fun!!

SO, this is still early in the season for my daughter's experience as the wife of a poultry worker (although, she is also the daughter of one, I'm sure that it looks different as a wife/mom). 

She's doing great. :) 

OK - well, my blog break is about over. I need to get back to work in preparing for a meeting I've got at church tomorrow. I'm going to bring in a bunch of DaySpring items, to see how we can use things they offer to encourage our Global Workers. I know that there are cards to send, but also amazing gifts, books, home decor....the list goes on and on!! I LOVE everything I have from them. 

Have a GREAT weekend...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

In my backyard...

When we bought our house, we knew that the back yard would need a lot of work. A LOT. Our lot sits lower than the neighbors in back, so we have no privacy, and they get a birds' eye view of everything going on back there! On top of that, we have a utility clearance right-of-way that goes along the back of it, with water drainage through a ditch (all grown over with grass that can be mowed) and power lines above (just normal ones). It made it a creative challenge for me, who sought peace and beauty and botany in my backyard!

We haven't really started at all...well, not in the REAL sense of the word. Last year we planted some Giant Arbor Vitae trees along the back fence line. They should get taller than our fence, providing more privacy, but stay narrow enough on top to not interfere with the power lines. We ran out of them before we go the whole fence planted, so we're lacking around 3 more trees, and they aren't due to ship to our area's Lowe's till June, so we're waiting. patiently. not.

We had a little surprise in our backyard this past week! Our grands had been playing with their little "angry birds" kites, and Mark noticed kite string tangled in one of the Arbor Vitae trees. As he moved closer to investigate, he noticed that the kite string was not dangled there by our grands, but by a family of robins! This is the nest he saw....

Three PERFECT little robin's eggs. You can see the kite string in the nest, and how they used it to create a hammock to suspend it from the branches. It really IS perfect!

A few days have gone by now, and today all 3 of the eggs have hatched, leaving three little birds, all downy soft, huge feet, eyes, and beaks. They barely peep, but I'm sure that will change! I was able to capture this picture today....

These little one's are hungry all the time! It reminded me that I need to hunger and thirst after His righteousness, not giving up on feeding on it, even when I get tired or weary. 

(For all you animal lovers, don't worry. I'm being super careful to not touch the nest, or the birds, or even the tree! The parental bird will squawk at me when I come near, but I don't stay long, and I'm careful to not disturb them early in the day when it's colder. These little ones don't have much to keep them warm!)

I'm also looking forward to putting out some feeders soon! My dear friend/mom Charlotte Bull sent me home with several feeders when I saw her in MO last week, and I just need to find a way to hang them. We don't want them close to the patio, so it will be nice to hang them near to the trees. I'm sure we'll get to witness the baby birds making their first flight's to those feeders!! We've already seen other birds drinking and bathing in Abbey's water bowl! And when the kids are in the sprinklers, a whole BUNCH of birds come out to play in the water with them!!

I LOVE living in bird country!! No wonder John James Audubon spent time here! :) 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

In response to aging....or refusing not to...

Perfect timing!! A (in)courage blog on true beauty... A friends fb status had just mentioned the Clairol Fairies that visited her, and made me wonder (for 1/2 second) if I should request they visit me has been years since their last visit! I joked that "I love my gray hairs best", but recently letting my hair grow out after years of wearing it "sassy short" reminded me how very gray I've gotten! The over 50 isn't so much about fighting the aging process, but more about wanting to look graceful when I'm 60! It's true though, the best thing I can wear is a smile, the worst - a sour disposition. Bring on the years, or take me home!! I want to be remembered by how well I love others, how much I love God, and how well my heart functioned - not medically - but spiritually. Let my face wrinkle with laugh lines, my eyesight fail at judging others but radiate His love with tenderness, my ability to endure physical exercise wither, but my heart break for the lost. Just give me Jesus!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

BLOOM, Chapters 5 & 6, and 7....

I'm throwing them all together today - since I'd fallen behind last week:

Sorry I fell behind…traveling all last week with my hubby (yay!!), the holiday (Easter) and then a little surgery (skin cancer, the not-so-bad-basal cell kind).
WOW – God’s timing. Gotta love it. The whole concept of having my boundary as a GATE and not a WALL. So timely. I have been through counseling with issues with my past and how to deal with my father…this is a perfect tool for me to use.
Thanks God for providing this for me TODAY. Last week I wouldn’t have applied it to this situation, but it was meant for me. today.


Loved this chapter! I think I marked up these pages more than any other chapter so far!! Good stuff.
I found that I’m a Combo person. LOL. I treasure my time with one-on-one’s, but am one of those people who’s “never met a stranger”. I want to deny that – but I can’t. Love meeting new people, but I don’t have to always lead. Actually prefer NOT making those decisions. :)
I’m also a Partner and an Internal – which is kinda odd – it caught me off guard because when Holley said in the video about being an introvert/extrovert – I’m totally an extrovert! So I’m a little confused on that. Might have to go back and read it again. LOL
On the Sphere of Needs, my first indication was to put “Emotional”, but then I read about the “prayer” line in the Intellectual area – and that would be me too. I realize that nothing I say can heal a heart, or say I care, as much as stopping and praying for someone.
I guess when it all boils down to it, we are each “fearfully and wonderfully made”. Perhaps we’re also intricately and complexly made too. :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

On the Road...

There's nothing I love more than a road trip. Ahhh....long winding roads (preferably the ones less traveled) and blue sky. LOVE it!!

Mark has some training at the corporate offices in Springdale, AR, and it was a good chance for me to tag along. HOURS on the road together. Quiet. He was willing to take a "round about road" since we knew that there was construction going on the main highway through the BIG city between here and there. A perfect get-away!!

We got out on time on Monday. I wanted to take photos and blog while Mark was driving. It. Was. Beautiful. But I couldn't take my eyes off of what I was seeing. I didn't want the distraction. It was THAT beautiful.

The sky could not have been a more beautiful shade of blue. Even when it was overcast, there were spots peeking out at me. And every inch of ground was in FULL BLOOM. Oh, my! Earth was crying out in praise to God!! Every dogwood from KY to AR was filled with white flowers. At one time I glanced down in a valley and it was as if a white canopy was suspended above the woodsy was lovely as I've never seen!!

As we drove through another small town in AR, it seemed as if someone had painted the roadsides in the most perfect shade of pink...they were as delicate as poppies, and they covered the ground! (I don't know if they are poppies or's been incredibly warm, but it still seemed early for them to be poppies).

Leaves were out on all the trees, which filtered the sunlight, but the car thermometer still read 92* (yes, on April 2!). Creeks and ponds were full with water! Tons of bugs hit out windshield!! :) Summer-like for sure!!

Settled into our hotel, sleeping well, resting in the time we have together - and with God - to enrich this season!

On the 3...

I totally love road trips. Always have. Always will...I hope! 
Mark has had some training to attend at the corporate offices, and I’m glad that he wanted me to get out, get away, and come along with him. Last week we had all 4 grand-kids at home alone while their parents were at orientation for the organization they hope to go on the field with. It. Wore. Me. Out. This weekend is Easter, and although I’m not going to have a houseful of people, or entertain, it’s still an emotional time for me. Draining. Then on Monday I have minor surgery to remove a spot of skin cancer (not the bad kind) from my right shoulder. I will have stitches inside and out to hold together a 3-4 inch area. Not fun, and definitely limiting my next week’s activities. Getting away NOW was ideal!
When I posted on twitter that I was coming to the area, only a few folks responded with wanting a visit. I was most excited to get an invitation to tour the DaySpring facilities, and meet up with some of the key people that “run” (in)courage, and (in)RL, a blogging site and the subsequent group that will host Real Life gatherings to bring all of us “on line friends” together face to face. I didn’t really have any expectations, (oh, ok, I secretly wanted them to offer me a blogging job to expand the age genre of their blogger community!!LOL) but to have been engaged in conversation over and over, with each new creatively placed cubicle, and put names and faces to the folks that facilitate this website that I have grown to love, and embrace as a part of my daily devotional time. They really do point us to grow deeper with God, over and over, from the pens (or typewriters) of women in their 20’s, 30’s and yes, 40’s - but not yet their 50’s or older. I’m praying that they’ll break out of the mold and expand the horizons of (in)courage to women my age (and older). 
It was wonderful to see story boards, creative tools, prototype cards, dreams, and so much more (yes, even the financial department!) as we meandered through the offices. It was fun to see the history of DaySpring, before it was even named that, set up behind glass walls, displaying it’s rich history of faith, witness, and encouragement. What a blessing!
And what a blessing indeed, to take a little time, and put my “God sized dreams” on the table - verbalizing to the powers - that - be, my heart for reaching the women that serve in the fields around the world, sharing words of encouragement, sustenance, friendship, as they (and their husbands, and children) live in the hardest of conditions, placing their lives on the line as they spread the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 
SO, no, I wasn’t offered a writing/blogging spot - but that’s ok. It’s so much more important for my dreams to be heard, even if someone else carries them to fruition. I know that it’s not MY heart that wants to be heard....but HIS heart...and I know that there are many women who are gifted, in word and deed, to carry those words to the hearts of women around the world. Praise God! He has equipped SO many!!
I am so grateful to have met another “poultry widow”, engage in His small world of people who are within the “7 steps of engagement” (how about just one step away - knowing friends or relatives of 2 of the folks there!) and getting to be on this journey, continuing to grow in Him, with Him, by just stepping out in faith a day at a time, or for moments a day - and seeing Him work in me, through me, and all around me!!
Tomorrow...the adventure trip back to home!! Meeting our son in Springfield, MO - meeting his girlfriend for the first time - and then back home to the quiet house - with the grandkids and our daughter visiting her in-laws for a few weeks. :(  Too quiet, I’m sure. sigh. I’ll have time and quiet to hear myself think....and maybe get caught up on a few things (like housework!). 
Grace and peace...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Every day miracles...

(in response to today's (in)courage blog.)

When “every day miracles” occur, I try to take a mental note and hide it in my heart – then share it with my hubby later in the evening.
Our home is in turmoil right now – filled with grandkids and their parents – and there’s a LOT of hustle and bustle.
I kept all 4 kids for a week, while their parents were in orientation for their missions org. I WAS EXHAUSTED. ALL. WEEK. LONG.
But I tried really hard to find something in each day to claim as JOY. A miracle of some sort. Good nap times. A smile from the baby. A hug and “I love you” from the cranky toddler. A picture put up on the refrigerator, captured in time.
When my daughter returned I was full of praises for her, for how she “does it” and hangs in there day in and day out. Cheerful. Full of love. Tender with each child. Laundry done. Hot meals. Hair fixed on the girls.
Her reply: “But mom, I don’t have to. You’ve here with me all the time!”
God brought me through something amazing.
I was “Grumpy Grandma” for a week, with 2x a night feedings and not getting naps when they did, and burning the candle at both ends. The floors went unswept, but everyone got fed each meal (and they ATE!) and clothes were washed (and piled in one chair in the living room). Even “Grandma Rules” and “mom’s not here” and being the heavy in the house 24/5 didn’t deter them.
In the end. They. Still. Loved. Me.
Truly a miracle. :)
One I’ll cherish when they are in language school, or living “on-field” and I’ll have to settle for Skype calls and blowing kisses….another kind of grandparenting.
Another kind of miracle, all together.

Romans 12, Parts 2 and 3: Balanced and Beautiful in Christ

The new posts that I wrote for Balanced and Beautiful in Christ are now live on their Facebook page, and here on my new blog site (subscrib...