Archive | September 2015

Making apple roses

Apple roses2

It was one of those days.  Oh, not one of those days that I usually complain about, but the kind that seem to be much more elusive.  A day that was full and busy yet strangely peaceful and entirely enjoyable.  I had a plan and lots to do and normally I approach those days with an over-complicated list and an expectation of perfection.  My nature is to map it all out with the end goal being production not fun.  But not yesterday.

Kylie had spent the night and I considered having her mom pick her up right after morning service as I had so much to do in preparation for our ladies event that evening.  But having only very recently received the Best Grandma Award

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I decided to invite her to stay and help me with the new recipe I had in mind.  She graciously accepted my invitation and after a quick lunch of mac and cheese and frozen chicken-somethings that neither of us liked, we began.  We measured and mixed and microwaved.  We stirred and patted and rolled and had more than a few tastes along the way.  We spread and poured and sifted until it looked as if a snow storm had blown through the kitchen.

And I watched.

I watched her concentrate as she placed single blueberries in just the right spot.  I watched the movement of her hands as she lay apple slices on the pastry dough and carefully rolled it into a flower.  I watched her delight as we took our apple roses from the oven and they were just as beautiful as the picture in the video recipe.  I looked at her little face with blueberry juice smeared on her forehead and sugar powdering her cheeks and experienced a depth of love and height of joy that perhaps only a grandmother knows.

                     Apple roses                    Apple roses3

My trek to the coffee pot this morning found me walking a little funny as my feet experienced the stickiness of spilled apricot preserves that remained after a rapid attempt to wipe them up.  The adhesive nature of my steps lasted only a few seconds as they were then quickly coated with the flour and powdered sugar that easily blended with the color of the tile.  I hate walking barefoot on dirty floors, but rather than let annoyance take over and begin the process of cleaning, I put on my slippers, fixed my coffee and replayed the previous day in my mind.  The evening was very, very good with Chandra Peele as our speaker.  I encourage you to check out her website Chandra Peele and invite her to your next ladies event!  But I’m sorry, Chandra, as much as I truly enjoyed and appreciated your wonderful message, it wasn’t the best part of my day.  The best part was that in all the “work” we had to do that afternoon, I got to enjoy my granddaughter.

I love that she wasn’t worried about making a mess.  I love that she is relaxed with me and unafraid of making mistakes.  I love that she is completely confident that I am there to help with anything she needs.  I love that she knows I will be pleased with her best effort and that is what makes the results perfect to me.  (I only wish that my children had known this me.)

I talk about her a lot.  A LOT.  I can’t help it.  Having children taught me so much about God as my Father, but having grandchildren takes it to a whole new level!  He reminds me when I look at her with love that is inexpressible that He looks at me the same.  He tells me again and again that I need have no fear of making mistakes or asking for His help.  He encourages me to relax and just enjoy His presence in all the “work” I have to do.  And once again I ask myself “Why do I make it all so complicated?”

I have a lot to do today.  A lot to do this week.  And I’m already behind schedule.  But rather than take on the pressure of my own very-often-unrealistic expectations, I want to enjoy His presence in everything I do, confident that He is with me to help with anything I need and unafraid of making mistakes.  I may make a few messes along the way, but I can’t worry about that.  He invites me to enjoy Him and it is in this relaxed trust that I am more able to hear Him and follow where He leads rather than go my own way.

Making apple roses was much easier than I expected and most certainly more fun.  But it wouldn’t have been as much fun if I had been alone.  What do you have to do this week?  Remember, you are not alone.  Allow yourself to be loved deeply and don’t worry about making mistakes.  Be confident that it is in this trust that He will speak and lead.  Relax, refocus, and enjoy Him and understand that He is watching and enjoying you.

And for those who would like to try the recipe:  Apple Rose Tarts

 

Making apple roses” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com

Photographs by Kay Stinnett and cannot be used without permission.

 

 

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The end of the world

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I must have tossed and turned all night.  It was one of those mornings I drug myself out of bed having felt that I had’t slept at all.  I didn’t remember any particulars of my dreams and I was frustrated to begin yet another day with an energy deficit.  As I stumbled to the coffee pot I uttered my frequent prayer of “Why, God, why??  Why does sleep evade me so?”  I longed for the days of my youth when little sleep was required…

As the caffeine began to work its magic and the fog cleared, I remembered that just before going to sleep I had been thinking about the end of the world.  Well, no wonder my slumber was disturbed!  I’m not a huge fan of the televised news but had watched an evening broadcast with my husband who is a bit of a news junkie.  Following this input of distressing information I spent a little time reading before trying to sleep.  I was reading about bible prophecy.  I do not recommend this if restful sleep is the goal.

As I retraced my mental steps of the night before, I remember that I went to sleep asking God “What do we do?”  It wasn’t a fearful question but rather a practical one.  How do we prepare if the world is going to end?

My husband is busy with preparation.  While I tease him about being ready for the zombie apocalypse, I appreciate that he is making ready as best he can in order to feed and protect his family.  He thinks of the “what to do” if we have limited or no access to things in our everyday life that we currently take for granted.  He is doing what he can do now, knowing that it will be impossible to fully prepare.

Years ago I saw a little wall hanging that said “You can’t scare me.  I have kids.”  I thought it was funny. I realize now that I have taken this frame of mind when it comes to all the trouble in the world and the doom and gloom that the future seems to hold.

End of the world?  You don’t scare me.  I’ve watched my world crumble as my heart was broken and marriage fell apart.  I wasn’t prepared.  I’ve stumbled through the rubble, falling again and again, the inevitable scars making their mark and altering my future.  Some for good.  Some for bad.  And I’m still standing.

End of the world?  I’ve loved and lost more than I ever dreamed I would.  I’ve chosen wrong paths that invited destruction into my life.  I’ve wrestled with God during these times, pulling against Him and clinging to Him at the same time, living a broken life under the guise of being a confident Christian.

End of the world?  I’ve stood to speak at my son’s memorial when I felt as if my heart had been ripped from my chest. We had just begun to find each other again.  Just a few short weeks before, we had a sweet, sweet time together at breakfast.  He left me that morning with a kiss on my cheek.  I can still feel it. There is no way to prepare for this.

End of the world?  You don’t scare me.  I’ve found that God is faithful and true and whatever may come He will never leave me.  I’ve found that my assurance of something more than this world offers is stronger than ever.   I’ve found the One who suffered more than I can imagine so that there could be purpose borne out of any suffering I may endure.  I’ve found Hope.  I’ve found Love.

Unspeakable horrors and acts of evil pervade our world and it’s hard to imagine that it will not ultimately destroy the earth.  So, God, what do we do?  We stay on task:  Tell them about Me.  What hope do we have without Him?  My heart breaks for those across this globe who face the terrors I cannot imagine and I pray for them.  I give what I can to their aid and support.  I try not to turn away from their images and become numb to their pain.  But I pray that I will also be sensitive to the woman down the street whose world just ended with the passing of her husband.  Or the man who stands begging on the corner, no longer able to sustain his world when the job ended.  Or the young person whose world has become an endless rip tide of addiction.   The mission remains the same:  Tell them about Me.

The end of the world?  Don’t be afraid.  There is so much more to life than this.  God in His magnificent love offers us a new beginning in Him, a life that will never end.  He compels us to take His offer of mercy and grace and fall into His arms.  In His love there is no fear and the end will find us still standing.

There is no fear in love…love drives out fear and dispels every trace of terror.  (1 John 4:18)

The end of the world” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com

When faith and prayer are not enough

 

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This week my heart has been heavy for a friend.  Her plate is full and she just got served another big helping of life that has the ability to overwhelm.  Again.  While I don’t feel that I know her that well yet, what I have seen in her quiet demeanor is a river that runs deep, a strength that endures, and a life lived in the business of giving.  We had but a moment together before an event when she relayed the latest information to me and I felt that old, familiar helplessness rising as I watched her fight the tears that welled up in her eyes.  I recognized the resistance to the unwelcomed flood that threatened to pour forth, a resistance to yield for fear that the waters would rise and overtake her, drowning her in the unspoken sorrow that claimed her heart that day.

She covets the thoughts and prayers of her friends and family and I assured her immediately that I would be praying and standing with her in faith for the help and hope and healing that is needed.  And I have.  I am sure that she is confident that I will not forget to pray or speak life over her situation.  I have no actual hand in the solution, no concrete way to step in and save the day, yet I have not been able to shake the feeling that I need to do more.

God has worked in my life an openness to others and a comfort with sharing my experiences, but I am still at heart a private and more reserved person when it comes to my own needs.  I see this same characteristic in my friend.  I approach with caution not because I don’t want to help, but because I do not want to press too far or offend in any way.  So as I asked God what more could I do, He answered in His wonderful simplicity:

“You can cook.  You can clean.  You can drive.  You can listen.  You can help.”

I couldn’t wait to see her this morning just to say “Let me help.”  To tell her that I can cook, clean, drive, and listen. It’s not like I didn’t know I can do these things, but His prompting was to stop waiting for her to ask!  To probe for a little more information about the things that lie ahead and to purposefully plan to do things she would never ask me to do.  We so often reserve these acts of service for the moms who’ve come home with a newborn or the family that mourns a lost one.  So many people we know have so many problems that we can find ourselves paralyzed into inactivity, relying on our promises of faithful prayers to be enough.  And sometimes they are.  But I strongly suspect that more often our faith should have some actual muscle behind it and our prayers should be more shown than heard, because true faith produces good works (James 2).

On the other hand, in our desire to live our faith and be strong Christians we many times find ourselves unable to ask for help.  My friend needs rest. She would never ask and I’m no Martha Stewart, but I can cook a meal.  It won’t give her days of rest but maybe for that evening she can just sit for a while.  I can drive and run errands and maybe for an hour or two she doesn’t have to think about what needs to be done in her ordinary life.  I can listen and let her cry without any expectations or condemnation but simply because sometimes we just need to have a good, long cry.  I am not the answer to the problem, but I can help.

Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the Law of Christ.  Galatians 6:2

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews  13:16

So this week and the next week and the next week and for however long she needs, I will help.  And as I stand in faith and pray for those I know who are in need, I think I’ll head to the kitchen a little more often and cook someone a meal.

 

When faith and prayer are not enough” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com