Monday, October 29, 2018

Silence

I've been silent on this page lately, for a while now. I don't know why, except that it's been a busy season of hurricane relief and now vacation, and I'm on my phone mostly, which allows me to post to Facebook but not to Blogger. UGH.

There's more posted on Facebook, and although I know that many people don't use Facebook, many still do. I don't have an opinion on that topic. Well, I do, but it doesn't matter to me whether or not you have an account there, I'll try to keep posting at both places (for the time being).

I also have an Instagram account going for Marina's Kitchen Table, and you may be interested in seeing the posts there too (although they are similar to Facebook posts).

None of that really matters, except to let you know that while I may be out of the loop here, I do keep those other spots updated more frequently.

I'm continuing to work with Roy Lessin over at Meeting in the Meadow too, both on Facebook and now on a blog page called "Meeting in the Meadow." We are currently posting twice a week at both spots, with the same content both places.

Here's a sneak peak at the photo meme I did for tomorrow's post there...

have a great rest of the week...
-Marina




Tuesday, September 18, 2018

God’s Got It: A Guest Post from Jennifer Dukes Lee

God’s Got It A Guest Post from Jennifer Dukes Lee

We say that God has everything under control, but we aren’t always aware in the same way that a farmer is aware. That’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my years as a farmer’s wife.

Farming is putting yourself in a position to trust God. It’s a way of life in which you can’t miss the truth: God is God of the clock, God of the calendar, God of the weather, God of the to-do list. God alone knows when the rain will come, when the heat will rise, when it’s time for the seed to push up from the dark into the light.
A lot of people have romantic notions about farm life. But hard things lie beneath the idyllic overlay. There are grueling uncertainties, great losses, late nights, crazy markets, droughts, insects, disease, hailstorms, equipment that breaks down when you need it most, and tragically, despair that has led to a higher-than-average suicide rate nationally.

My husband Scott says he has no choice but to trust God. For years he’s gone around this farm saying, “God’s got it.” And when he says, “God’s got it,” he is talking himself into the truth. That’s a form of what I call active trust. Active trust is proactively believing God. Active trust is giving yourself the gift of future faith, in advance.

For my husband, active trust came out of necessity, rather than some superpious gene he inherited. He is a farmer, always at the mercy of God.

God’s got it = active trust.
In Western culture, it’s tempting to say “God’s got it” but not really live it. We’re more of a “you got this” culture.

You want to pursue your passion? You got this. You want to start a business? You got this. You want to start a new exercise program? You got this. You’ve definitely got it in you to do all of those things, but how often do you and I forget that what’s “in us” is the very Spirit of God?

We live in a culture where we’ve set ourselves up to play God. The first time that I found out my mammogram was abnormal, my immediate instinct was to run for the Google machine and ask it what “asymmetrical tissue” means.

For almost every possible scenario, we have a means of control available to us: a spray to control weeds, a cream to control wrinkles, a pill to control hunger. It’s no wonder we’ve been fooled into thinking we are the ones calling the shots. It’s hard to surrender our lives to God when we’ve got everything covered ourselves, isn’t it?

This, of course, leaves us feeling on the hook for everything. And suddenly we turn around, inspect our lives, and find that we are miles from God.
What do we want with our lives? What do we really want? When we strip all the faux self-sufficiency away, we can see it clearly. We want Jesus. We are hungry for the God who first stole our hearts. We want to do the things that God wants us to do. We want to partner with him, not boss him around. When we lay our heads down at night, we want to feel the incomparable satisfaction of knowing we spent our day in the center of his will. We want to be remembered as women who did exactly what God wanted us to do—rather than as overworked, weary women who lost their joy.

Nothing else on our to-do lists matters as much as knowing we were completely obedient to his. Nothing will give us more joy than giving our yes when God invites us to be a part of what he’s already doing, knowing it deep and true:
God’s got it.

BIO: Jennifer Dukes Lee is the wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, and an author. She loves queso and singing too loudly to songs with great harmony. Once upon a time, she didn’t believe in Jesus. Now, He’s her CEO. Jennifer’s newest book, It’s All Under Control, and a companion Bible study, are releasing today! This is a book for every woman who is hanging on tight and trying to get each day right―yet finding that life often feels out of control and chaotic.
Adapted from It’s All under Control: A Journey of Letting Go, Hanging On, and Finding a Peace You Almost Forgot Was Possible by Jennifer Dukes Lee, releasing this fall from Tyndale House Publishers.




Sunday, September 9, 2018

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Embracing All of Fall: RECIPE - BBQ Grilled Cheese Sandwiches


Once Summer takes her turn through the Solstice, something adjusts within me. It's happened every year, for as long as I can remember. My countenance changes. I don't sleep well. I'm more prone to catch colds (allergies of late summer?). I become a bit more introvert and melancholy.

Events have happened in life that make it hard too, birthdays and anniversaries of loved ones gone, difficult seasons to re-live or remember. I tend to enter into fall warily, like "I've been this road before, and it's unpleasant...". I have to get my nerve up to face them all. Like I'm searching for a new counselor, or meeting a new friend, and needing to share ALL of the stories that make you "you." It can be exhausting, and I want to enjoy the

And don't get me wrong, not all of the memories are bad, they just need to be dealt with.

Yet there are so many things I LOVE about the season, I really want to embrace it. ALL of it.

So this year, as I count my 1000 Gifts (thank you again for your older list Ann Voskamp!) I'm going to be intentional about focusing on the GOOD of Autumn, and EMBRACE ALL OF FALL. The idea is to go beyond the "everything pumpkin" so many others talk about and look for the deeper things. The crisp of first frost, the colors of everything... not just the mums, and even things I have no idea what will be... because I've not lived in this house in this area for this season before! I'm excited to get to do it.

So much of my autumns are celebrated in the kitchen, so I wanted to start with a favorite recipe! I've not spent time sharing recipes, or taking photos of food on the blog (hello Instagram!) so I'm going to make a point to do this more often... but for now, today, here is something I whipped up over the weekend...

These are simple to make and warm and delicious. Fall is the perfect time since we're grilling and smoking meats (although this past weekend, I didn't have the grill going... so I used what I had on hand). Still delicious! Use your own favorite meats and cheeses, and discover your own creation! Be sure to share what worked for you in the comments! I can't wait to hear what you did, what sauce you prefer, meat you used, and how it all turned out!

I've also made these with a whole loaf of Hawaiian Honey Rolls, cutting in half with a bread knife and grilling on a full sized griddle! I recommend using pulled meat, or meat slices that have been heated thoroughly in a pan before placing in the sandwich formation. It's a bit challenging to flip over to grill the other side, but it can be done! 

BBQ Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

I can usually find the ingredients around my kitchen for these anytime sandwiches, but sometimes I need to plan by purchasing Hawaiian Honey Rolls. Somehow, they just make these extra-special. Today I'm using a sliced commercial turkey breast, but these are AH-mazing using whatever "real" smoked meat you happen to have around... my favorite is left-over pulled pork, but you can use whatever your favorite is!




Take a section of Hawaiian Honey Rolls and keep them attached, to make a 4-piece section. You'll slice the roll section down the middle, keeping the rolls attached to each other. It's about the size of a large piece of bread.




Once the roll section is sliced in two, butter generously on the inside of the roll slice - which will become the OUTSIDE of the sandwich. 




Heat your griddle or frying pan over medium heat, and place the bread BUTTER SIDE DOWN in the pan. Layer cheese (I prefer Havarti, but you can use what your favorite is!), meat, BBQ Sauce, and top with cheese, before placing the top slice of bread on top (BUTTERED SIDE UP!). ((An option is to heat the meat with BBQ sauce first, then add to the sandwich, layering the same as bread, cheese, meat, cheese, bread. This works well with shredded meats that are smoked and pulled.)




Carefully flip the sandwich over when the bottom is browned and the cheese is melty, repeat until the other side is equally browned. Serve with sides of your choice! 

This is my husband's plate last weekend...



Ingredients:

Hawaiian Honey Rolls
Butter (softened for spreading)
Sliced Turkey (or pulled meat of your choice)
Sliced Havarti (or cheese of your choice)
BBQ Sauce of your choice


Break off a section of rolls, desired size of finished sandwich. Slice Hawaiian Honey Rolls in half, keeping attached to other rolls.

Butter the inside of the rolls (which becomes the outside of the sandwich).

Place one slice of rolls, buttered side down, in medium heated griddle or frying pan.

Layer cheese, bbq sauce, meat, sauce, cheese on top of rolls in pan. Top with other side of rolls, buttered side up.

Heat until browned, then flip to heat and brown other side. Remove from pan and ENJOY!!

#embracingalloffall  #marinaskitchentable #recipe #recipebbqgrilledcheese #bbqgrilledcheese

Friday, August 31, 2018

Changing Signs of Changed Seasons

As I drove to Nashville yesterday morning, I couldn’t help but notice all the color draining from the trees. On the surface everything looks green and lush, but just under the surface I can feel the colors of fall trying to push through... a yellowing here, an orange tinge there, leaves trying their hardest to hold on for “true fall.” 
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Here in Alabama it’s been dry. Really dry. Our lawn feels and sounds crunchy under my feet. I drag a hose around to try to keep it green, but I know it will all be Bermuda brown too soon. That’s ok. But the leaves that fall in our yard already make me sad. I know that the kudzu privacy wall will dry and fade, the trees will lose their leaves. The maple sapling up front and the redbud out back will never be the same...they’ll turn and shed leaves and come back a foot taller with the Spring glory. Seasons do that, ya know. 
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They do that to us too, though I’ll never be a foot taller come Spring. 😉😄 There’s the feeling of change pressing from within. Knowing something is going to happen, but not knowing when. Just acting out of obedience and finding out later why you had to do that THEN. It’s come up a few times in the past week, this prompting of the Holy Spirit, then obeying without understanding why, and then, on the flip side seeing the reasons why. Getting it. 
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A few years ago I had more VA clients than I knew what to do with. It was my ministry, my job, and I loved getting to make art and get paid for it. I enjoyed contracting with a national card and gift company for a blog they owned, working with different writers and ministries in promoting their platforms, and helping their online presence perform well. Although my own creativity was set aside, I was filled with joy at helping others succeed. I loved being a part of the team. Each one. Then God started whispering “smaller” to me.
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I thought it was meant for my personal blog, my own words, but it seemed each year He asked me to let go of more. Then one year He just snatched my big account out of my hands, with no warnings or explanations. I was a little shellshocked. Or a lot. Yet between each thing He asked me to release to Him, or each thing He took away, we moved. KY to AR. AR to AL, where I had no high-speed internet, then to a different home in AL that better suited our needs. 
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Looking back now, I KNOW why He whispered, released and took away. If I had been unwilling to let go of things when He prompted, I would of left people in a big mess! Although I hate not being a part of those teams today, I know that their growth would of been hampered if I’d tried to stay with it, and the year without internet could of done damage to their ministries (and my sanity). God knew. He was not surprised and He was fully aware of what the future would hold, for me and for each of them. 
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Now I’m delighted to see them fully operate without me, and although I’m not as involved as I would of been, I’m able to support them in other ways. It’s all good! My life looks different, but right for me, in this season. And I’ll continue to delight in each season He brings me through... all glory to God! 

Monday, August 27, 2018

New in the Neighborhood

Whew! As I finish content for Roy Lessin's new blog site (meetinginthemeadow.com) and prepare to get grandkids again, I am {pausing} and *reflecting* on this summer.

Yes, there are playgrounds full of school children already, homeschooling mommas have already put their plans in place for the new year, and we're losing daylight each day (which makes me SO sad!), but there's still some summer to be enjoyed! Days are still warm (ok, HOT) and there are still plenty of hummingbirds at the feeders. Despite the fading daylight, the lake water is still warm and inviting and summer's blooms are still bright and cheery. Sunsets are still to be enjoyed from the front porch (or landing) or on a walk in the cool of the evening. There's plenty of summer left to enjoy a tall glass of lemonade or sweet tea!

It's also the ideal time to get out and meet your neighbors! Our neighborhood is slowly-but-surely being built. I don't know if any other houses are sold, or when the sold houses will be occupied, but I'm praying for the people that will move in, in time. I'm praying for the neighbors I've met recently too, for the new family next door, and the few empty-nest couples on our street. I'm praying for the family that keeps to themselves, and the single grown-ups that are alone. Mostly, I'm praying that we can be salt and light, encouragement and help to all of them, that we continually point them to Jesus.

Ours is a brand new neighborhood, so we are all coming from someplace else, but sometimes I've been the new person on the block, and everyone else has known each other for a longer time. There are already disagreements in place and boundaries drawn, people know each other's stories and have formed opinions on issues. Everyone else knows who roots for Alabama and who cheers on Auburn (the struggle is real around here!). Sometimes being the newest on the street leaves you feeling like you're living in a fish bowl, with everyone looking in at you and you not being able to clearly see or perceive what's going on in the rest of the neighborhood.



Take heart, dear friend. It's ok if you're not warmly welcomed with a plate of warm cookies and a casserole. Find your feet in your new home and take a little time to catch your breath. Then bake up a batch of cookies and go visiting your neighbors, or just take a walk when you notice everyone is out doing yard work. Don't be afraid to introduce yourself and extend a hand of friendship. It's so much better to make acquaintances on the neutral turf of a front yard rather than over the fence about the barking dog. Lay a foundation of friendship and build on what you have in common (a property line? leaving for work at the same time? kids in the same school?). Don't be afraid to expose your real-life messy and invite the other stay-at-home mom over for coffee, or to linger at the bus stop a little longer to exchange pleasantries. Friendships are to be made, and it just takes a smile and a hello!

So be brave, dear soul, and open the door to all the possibilities. Prayer walk (or ride or drive!) your neighborhood, and let the Lord lead. Listen to the Holy Spirit prompt you, nudging you in whatever direction He pleases to bring you a new friendship. Take advantage of these last days of summer to see what will come to bloom before the short days of fall rush in. It's not too late to plant a few seeds of friendship and see them take root!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Busy to Best Challenge

"We ask for a map to deal with all of this (messy life), but instead Jesus gives us a compass and says, "Follow me." - Jennifer Lee
I had to go outside and take a photo when I read these words... because, God's got a sense of humor like that... here I am, dragging this silly compass around from house to house (it's been at the past 6 of them!). Sometimes it's inside, sometimes outside, like now. OH, and that window underneath?? That's my office. ((gulp)) He's got my attention...
"Some of your pain came because of all the things you are trying to do... and you are TIRED. Some of your pain came from all the things that have happened to you... and you are BROKEN." - Jennifer Dukes Lee (emphasis mine)
I CAN NOT STOP reading this book and I'm SO excited about the Busy to Best Challenge! I ordered two copies of materials for the challenge... does anyone local want to join me? Just ONE week, at the end of September, and we'll just meet TWO times... (so don't worry... you won't have to see me every day 😉 ) DM me and we can talk about it! If more than one of you responds, there's still time to order more!!
#busytobestchallenge #marinaskitchentable #itsallundercontrol 




Monday, August 13, 2018

Ways to be Involved in Your Community

I had the opportunity to share with the readers over at June Foster's blog last week! You can visit her website here. Be sure to share your ideas or ministries you've been involved with in the comments section!

Ways to be Involved in Your Community
Marina Bromley

Often we feel helpless if we want to be involved in helping our community and changing our corner of the world. It’s clear that we should be involved in “here, near, and far away” ministries, but we don’t always know what to do, or how to do it. We may give to a larger organization for missions—helping the “near to us” Judea or the “far away” Samaria referred to in Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere–in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” But how do we engage with sharing the gospel and making a difference here in our “Jerusalem”?

Here is a variety of ideas that could be of benefit in your own hometown. If there is a program going on in your area already, get involved instead of starting something new. Unity in the body of Christ is never bad, and He is glorified as your community is strengthened. Volunteering is a great way to make new friends, as you come together to solve a problem. Focus on what you have in common with others, instead of the ways you are different. It is good for the heart and the Spirit!

1. Ways to make a difference with hotel toiletries

What could be easier? For frequent travelers, these are easily accumulated and don’t cost you any more than what you’ve paid for your room already. Often you bring your own favorite products from home, and the hotel versions are left untouched in your room. Here are some great ideas for donating, that only take a quick phone call to coordinate, and you can do it alone, or as a group, on an ongoing basis.
  • Donate to a local Homeless, or Women’s Shelter.
  • Check with the Home Economics or Health instructor at the local school, to see if they can utilize them in their curriculum.
  • Talk to the counselor at the school to see if they could be sent home in “goody bags” for students that may need assistance.
BONUS: Often, when people are displaced, they also find it difficult to stay in touch with loved ones. Donate cards (and postage stamps) for people to send birthday or holiday cards to their loved ones, or a thank you note to someone who has made a difference in their world.

2. Ways to make a difference with shoes

It seems that there are certain times of year that certain types of shoes are purchased regularly. We can take shoes for granted, and often we have way more shoes than what we need, or could ever wear. Consider doing these things to bless someone who may not have the resources to purchase appropriate seasonal footwear.
  • If you purchase a pair of shoes, buy an additional pair exactly the same as yours, then donate them to an appropriate shelter, or job placement program (often people don’t have necessary shoes to wear for job interviews, construction job sites, or office work. This is perfect to do during the “Buy One-Get One” promotional offers.
  • When your children outgrow their sports shoes, if they are still in excellent condition, donate them to the coach to share with another child coming in the program who may not be able to afford even a pair of used shoes.
BONUS: Find out the size of a child on the team and buy them a new pair, or ask a shelter volunteer for details for a specific recipient, perhaps someone who has just arrived, or someone who is preparing to leave because they have found a job and are able to make it on their own. Even if you don’t know the name of the person receiving them, take time to pray for the person who will be wearing them, asking God to reveal Himself to them in new ways and for them to see how He is walking with them in this season.

3. Laundry Love

Who doesn’t appreciate clean clothes? There are several programs with this name that are administered differently. Here are 2 ways that I’ve seen it work well.
  • As a church ministry, arrange to sponsor a night of laundry on a regular basis at a local laundromat. A church team or small group can bring in donated quarters to feed machines, laundry soap and fabric softener, and even dinner to share with those who are doing laundry at a specified location.
  • After discovering that “nothing clean to wear” was a reason children from impoverished homes didn’t come to school, a church raised money to purchase a washer and drier for a local school (with the school’s permission). Church volunteers attended the machines, and school children were invited to bring their personal clothing (not the families) for laundering, dropping them off on their way to class in the morning, and picking them up after classes in the afternoon. Truancy was reduced, and the children built mentor-relationships with those serving them, encouraging them to attend school more regularly.
BONUS: If you do this on a regular basis, you’ll build relationships with the people that return to do there laundry weekly at that time, and you can invite them into spiritual conversations. Bring along paper and Illustrated Faith embellishments and turn the boring time of waiting for the wash to dry into a crafty time to introduce and encourage others in His Word!

4. Sew In Love

What’s happened to the sewing circle? This is a great way to help preserve hand-work in the community, and also bless those that have a need. The type of hand-work done would dictate the items made and how they are dispersed. This would be appropriate for men and women of all ages to work on!
  • Crochet or knit winter hats, scarves or mittens, and donate them to a school program or shelter that has a need for them. Be sure to make them age-appropriate in sizes, colors, and textures of yarn.
  • Quilting and sewing can be done to create quilts of different sizes and stocked in the trunks of Emergency workers to be used during appropriate situations. If there are policies against them carrying them, ask the local Family Services office how they could be donated for children taken into foster care, or to the families that receive them.
BONUS: Invite your church or community to clean out their unused yarns and cotton fabrics for volunteers to use for these projects. Ask the people constructing them to pray for the person who will be using the finished project, as they are making them. Include a little note, folded inside a blanket, or tucked inside a hat or gloves, letting the wearer know that they have been prayed for.

Were you involved in a community ministry that worked well, or do you have other ideas? Please tell us about your story or idea in the comments below.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Why the name, Marina's Kitchen Table?

Why the name, Marina's Kitchen Table?
- Marina Bromley

Ever since I was a little girl, the kitchen table, of ANY home, represented the heartbeat of the home and family. I remember the gray and white formica table set that was in my home growing up, how my mom would sit there with her cigarettes and coffee every morning (and was sometimes still there when I came home from school!), and my older sisters "cool" autumn harvest set in her home around the corner from mine. I remember the long picnic style table that our neighbors had, large enough to seat their very large family.

I recall eating at the counter or in front of the tv after my mother passed away... the table just seemed too big. There were places at other tables from my dad's other wives, but none of them seemed to fit me as well... all pressed oak and over-sized... it wasn't the same.

I remember my favorite tables; my Auntie June's at Easter was equipped with at least 3 tables and a counter, and there was so much laughter and love going around that I don't think anyone cared where we sat, we were there together and that was what mattered.

Of course, I remember my own kitchen tables, usually simple, sometimes mismatched, always room for one more. There were hand-me-downs, and home-made ones too, but it didn't matter, we made memories there. We shared meals, discussions, games, and prayer, and often they were covered with homeschool papers or computers. That's where the name came from originally... as I sat at our hand-me-down computer typing out journal entries on a Yahoo Group site back in the 90's, and eventually it became this... my little blog.

I never envisioned it to be a grand thing, this blog. I've ventured a little from it over the years, at times I was writing for print publications (see the entries under "Auntie Em Writes") and my online writing seemed to take a back seat. Other times, busy with managing other people's blogs, I couldn't find my own voice at all, and that's ok. I would rather be sure I was writing from my heart than piggy-backing off of someone else's voice. There were times I vented at the horrid stuff going on around me (there's been lots of family drama over the years) and sometimes I've been too broken to put things into words at all. There was one year I ventured off of this platform and jumped in over at Wordpress, paying for a space to put my name and a dot com to sustain my words and pictures. At the end of the year, it wasn't me, and God was moving me along back to my space here. It was a time consuming and costly lesson, but I'm genuinely happy to be here at this little Kitchen Table site, with it's pre-formatted blog pages and all my history. I'm ok with that. :)

As we ended my year of no internet (because we lived in a house with dial-up speed) I've dreamed about this space, and prayed about what my table looks like in these empty nesting years. Where do I go from here? What do I share? What's God's purpose in all of this?

I have been out of habit of using my computer (GASP) and have done more on my phone this past year. My photos have been taken on my phone and posted to Facebook (and now Instagram too!) because Google apps and iPhones don't always play nicely together, and a blog is one of those places the limitations are apparent.

But tonight, my phone is to the side, and I'm back at the Kitchen Table (not in my office!) and I'm typing away in the middle of the night. It wasn't my intention. I had intended on working on the blog for one of my clients (Meeting in the Meadow, by Roy Lessin) and eating double-stuff knock off Oreos with a cup of milk to put me to sleep. I'm almost there. In my sleep deprived state of mind, I'm rambling on about why the name of Marina's Kitchen Table, and I feel like this next season in this new home, in a new neighborhood is coming together. The Table will stay the center of my home, whether I've got 7 grandkids surrounding it, or Mark and I are quietly playing backgammon over dinner. I hope that as I get to know my neighbors (and as more of them move into the neighborhood) that I'll find women at this table, sharing recipes and prayers, playing games and discussing books, encouraging each other and feeding hearts and souls. I want to hear laughter here, and I want to share scripture. I hope to see art take place and messes mopped up. I can imagine more cookies being dunked, and cookies being decorated.

And STORIES! I want to hear the HIStory of how God has been at work in people's lives!

So that's why it's "Marina's Kitchen Table," for so long. It may change again down the road. I will likely not get it right, and will post too many photos and not enough words, or the other way around. I might forget to share recipes and art projects, I might take another month off and just get into the old fashioned ways of writing with pen and paper, but for tonight, I'm here at the Table for you...

How may I pray for you?

-Marina
#marinaskitchentable #marinabromley

Friday, July 27, 2018

On Caring for the Ones that Go: A post on Missionary Care

On Caring for the Ones that Go
By Marina Bromley, Marina's Kitchen Table

Today I'm sharing this devotional over at my neighbor's blog JuneFoster.com  

June is a Christian Fiction (Romance) Author, and has published over 15 books! Funny how God put another writer right across the street... only HE could orchestrate that. Our offices actually face each other! Although we write different genres, we still encourage and pray that God would use our words for His glory.

Since it's still summer, and many missionary families will be preparing to return to their home fields, I wanted to share this post here too, to serve as a reminder of how we can love them well. Remember we ALL have a job to do in missions: GO or SEND. Let's all send well!



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Do you know a missionary currently living in another country? Perhaps they are living someplace “closed” or dangerous for the Gospel to be shared. Whether they are serving “here, near, or far away” there are things we can do to partner with them in their ministry, and encourage them as they do the work that God has called them to do.

1. You can pray for them.
I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance. Philippians 1:19 NLT

I speak to many missionaries every month that say that they never know if people READ their newsletters or pray for them!

Do you get newsletters or monthly prayer updates? Pray for them as you read it, then tell them in a short email that you have prayed for them. Use caution if you are corresponding with a Missionary in a “closed” or dangerous country. It’s best to use “code” and not use words like “missions,” “church,” “work,” “God,” “Jesus,” or even “pray.” Instead, say something like this: “Today I thought about you and your many needs.” Give your note of prayer as a gift of encouragement that doesn’t need to be responded to.

2.  Gift them a gift card via email, for no reason at all.
Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. James 1:17 NLT

Using their favorite music app, gift the new favorite worship cd you’re listening to, or make a playlist of music they might enjoy. You’ll want to be sure to ask for the best email and program to use. E-books are great too! Consider an online retailer gift card if they can receive mail deliveries where they are. This will take a little bit of planning, but once you’ve got the proper information it’s easy to do and greatly appreciated! You can ask them to create a “wish list” or just give the card online so they can choose what they would like (or need).

3. Provide for their needs when they are state-side on furlough.
Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. Proverbs 3:27 NLT

Arrange for a rental house (stocked and clean), loaner car, gift cards for gas or groceries, and for a few fun things (movie and dinner out). Yes, they could stay with family members, but that’s not always relaxing. (If they prefer to stay with family, offer to give them a weekend (or a week) away ALONE, no strings attached.)
We often think of their time stateside as “vacation,” but it’s often the time they work the hardest. Every week they are speaking to family members (some who may not be happy that they live overseas), catching up with supporters, and giving presentations to sending churches. It’s good to allow them to have a little room to breathe.

4. If you’ve committed to support them financially, DO IT.
For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do. Hebrews 6:10 NLT

Before a Missionary goes on the field, they put together a budget and submit it to their agency (or sending church, depending on the situation). If your situation has changed, give them a head’s up so they can pray for you, adjust their budget in time for the decrease, or raise new supporters.

We all understand that life happens, and hard seasons come. Don’t be afraid to explain to your Missionary what you are going through, and let them know that you need to suspend your support for a season. I know that they are happy to pray with you, and for you, as you are a vital part of their ministry. Don’t stop praying for them as you can still be a vital part of the team!

5.  Encourage them spiritually.
The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you,   for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.  Psalm 9:9 NLT

Take time to pray beyond the newsletters, letting God lead you to pray for things they may not even sense approaching. Pray for the people they are trying to reach, and follow what’s going on in that part of the world with current events, weather, disasters, etc.

Praying Scripture over them is a powerful way to pray, especially when you don’t know what to pray. There are many effective prayers in the Psalms and throughout the New Testament that make fitting prayers for people we care about overseas. Once you select a Scripture, pick out a card of encouragement and send it to them with that scripture written out. If you cannot mail it to them, scan it and email it to them as a secure attachment.

……….
Some of these ideas are more involved, and may be more fun to do as a Sunday School, small group, or Church. Still, there are many meaningful things that can be done from home as an individual. As you begin encouraging your Missionary, I pray that God will use you to share these ideas with others in your Church, so a culture of Missionary Care will begin to grow around you, blessing your Missionary and their family.

©2018 Marina Bromley, Marina’s Kitchen Table. Used with permission.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

A Head Start - Welcome Back!

WHEW! I wasn't very good at staying offline this month! Let's just say that too much fun stuff went on, too many grandkids were around (and are fixin' to be back next week!), and not having internet for so long made it hard to stay away from it! My Facebook page has several posts on it, and a few of them I'll share here this week. Thank you for hanging in there with me (trying to be) offline.

There's been some fun and unexpected and fun things going on in my life. Nothing life-changing, but still signs of life, and that's always good. Even when it hurts, it's a great reminder that I don't walk alone and that God is with me (and YOU!) in the midst of it all; the good, bad, boring, desperate and desolate. Everything has a season.

As I prepare to return to online life, I'm excited to give you a little sneak peak of a few changes, a fresh blog design that will work better with photographs in the future, a few returning features for the future (like book and product reviews and give-aways!), a few new things (like recipes!), and of course, shared words and pictures.

Blogging, for me, has never been about the numbers, it's been about the ONE. I often write as if God is the only one who reads my blog, and if He allows ONE other person to read it, I'm blessed. So, that being said, I'm so grateful to know that you're here with me through all these changes. All the moves, career and job changes, seasons of the year and seasons in life. Thank you. I pray that my words and pictures will encourage you as we move forward from here...

Grace and peace,
Marina

Broken and Wrong

Broken and Wrong
Marina Bromley, Marina's Kitchen Table


I’m not very good at many things, but one thing I am pretty accomplished at: being wrong. 



So often I can stop God’s best momentum in its track, believing I’m too broken, failed too often, am too scarred and gray to amount to much. And certainly God has MUCH more talented people to use than me, right? I sound like Punchinello straight out of a Max Lucado children’s book, except instead of letting others put labels and stickers on me I’m slapping them on myself. Can anyone else relate? 
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I have heard this song many times, even sang along on the chorus (and probably made up my own lyrics to sing!), but today I HEARD the lyrics as the author intended. God chooses to use us as we are, broken, scarred, sickly and imperfect. He is not done with us, and we are still under construction.
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I’m so thankful for His mercy, so grateful for the cross, so amazed that in the midst of my sinful imperfections He chooses to work in me and through me. I’m humbled, and yet this is the way He intended it to be.
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#marinasmusicalmusings #marinaskitchentable
#matthewwest #brokenthings