Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Things I Learned In July

chatting at the sky Last month, I joined up with Emily Freeman from Chatting at the Sky in reflecting on some of the random – and sometimes quirky – things we’ve learned in the past month. I love this link up because it appeals to my introspective nature, and my ability to notice the accidental and mundane and elevate it into something that might be enlightening. Or then again, just be kind of odd and eccentric, and very much me.

One – I guess I’m just never going to get tired of fairy tales. We haven’t had cable for a couple of years now, so when we watch shows, it’s fun to see them back to back to back. Without commercials. Without waiting. The latest one my family and I enjoy is Once Upon A Time – a modern day twist on traditional fairy tales. It doesn’t require a lot of brain power, and I’m better at pacing myself now, but it sure is fun to pop in a new episode after dinner.

Two – I (finally) learned how to link up social media buttons on my blog. I had been wrestling with this for weeks and weeks and couldn’t get things quite right. The links would work, but the images would be off. Or the images would appear – sometimes randomly – and the links wouldn’t work. Then I read a series of great interviews with Amy Lynn Andrews on How They Blog and she had so much good information to share. I gleaned so much from her posts and Q & A, I thought I’d take my fledgling Twitter self and just ask her if she had any tips. Within 24 hours, she responded with a specific post that had the best tutorial I’d ever seen, and within half an hour, I had my buttons up. Thank you Kat Lee (How They Blog). Thank you Amy Lynn Andrews.

Three – Speaking of recommendations from Amy Lynn Andrews, Tiny Wings is totally addicting. Fun. But addicting.

Four – It’s official. I feel like I belong at work. I love my job. I never saw myself doing something like this. But in the process of configuring Microsoft Surface Pros for deployment later next month, I realized that I’ve found my next career calling in a place I absolutely love. Oh, and I learned how to configure a Surface.

Five – Having Fridays off in the summer is pretty fabulous, but working four-tens kicks my butt.

Six – No matter how many times I watch Firefly, I still love every episode. And I still get passionately annoyed that the series was cancelled. Browncoats forever.

Seven – I thought it would be awful when my daughter got around to texting, but it’s not. Granted, she doesn’t have her own phone yet – that may alter my opinion somewhat – but when she’s sending me love and sweet messages out of the blue, it’s hard to be unhappy about that.

Eight – I still get a little giddy when I know a package is coming my way. Especially when it has new books in it.

Nine – I make a pretty mean, “gummy salad” for kids’ sleepovers. It was a huge hit.

Ten – Guest posting is exciting, and encouraging, and fabulous, and exhilarating, and exhausting. I was privileged to have my first guest post ever with the (in)courage Bloom book club, and the range of emotions I went through really surprised me. Their team was so supportive and just cheered for me the whole way – it was such a wonderful first time experience.

Eleven – this is not so much a “learned” as a “reminder.” It’s just so hard to be 3,000 miles away from home with no road in between; especially when they could really use you at home.

Twelve – In French, instead of saying “I miss you,” the translation is “you are missing from me.” Love that.

I'd love to connect with you some more - stop on by the Three Bees Facebook Page or connect with me on Twitter @3BeesBlueBonnet. Let's continue the conversation!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Behind the Scenes – My Weekend Trip to Europe

 Last year in the middle of June, I was suffering from a bout of insomnia. Another night of sleepless wanderings around my silent house. Another set of hours stressing about lack of work, lack of funds – lack of a future as far as I could see. My desert journey was in a particularly dry period. It was a dark time, and I was feeling hopeless, helpless, and at the end of my rope. My cries out to God seemed to be hitting a glass ceiling and reverberating back into the empty space around me.

One o'clock in the morning is not the ideal time for me to start a new project, try to gain traction, or build initiative; so really, I was just looking for a distraction. While perusing Facebook (what better place for distraction!), I noticed that a friend had checked into a nearby coffee shop several hours before. I smiled to see in the comments, she noted that she hadn’t actually been there, but just wished she had, and how she thought it was funny that Facebook let you check into places without actually having to be there. Two posts down from that, another friend was reminiscing about her time spent in France, and how she loved the fact that she could still see her old neighborhood using Google maps.

I perked up as inspiration hit. This was what I needed – to get out of this space, to take a trip, to get a new perspective. Right now.

I was going to Europe.

The beauty of the Internet age and the imagination is that just about anything is possible. I started Googling places I’d like to visit and looking for local coffee shops. I started with Paris and “checked in” to a popular tourist spot called Les Duex Magots. For fun, I started an online album and copied generic pictures from the net of the café, of a lovely tea set up, and even a cute black and white of a supposed new friend – Marthe – that I’d made while visiting. I planned out a few more spots, did some research, and crawled into bed with my spirits lifted from my creative endeavors.

Imagine my surprise in the morning when I logged on to Facebook again and saw comments from friends expressing amazement about my “sudden trip to France” and how excited they were for me. Surely they were kidding. Everyone knew that we were broke, and seriously – they thought I’d disappeared overnight and was suddenly in Paris? I shrugged it off and continued with my online adventure; researching more cities; checking in to new destination cafés; adding photos; and commenting about my adventures.

To my astonishment and delight, friends continued to comment on my journey – some still thinking I was actually away on a whirlwind escapade, others figuring out what I was up to and playing along by “joining me” in different cities. By the time the weekend was over, I had been to cafes Paris, Florence, London, Prague, and a castle in Liechtenstein.

While my weekend journey will never measure up to the real deal, that creative expedition was just what I needed in that moment to jolt myself out of the doldrums and gain a new perspective. And finding pictures of the cathedrals and holy labyrinths I longed to visit only reminded me that I didn’t have to go overseas to find a quiet, meditative place to commune with God to refresh my spirit.

crystalstine.meI'm linking up with Crystal Stine and company for the first time today; joining the Behind the Scenes link up. A place to make a connection beyond the Pinterest perfect ideals; to look past the edges of the photo to the real life behind it; to say hi, this is me in all my messy real-ness. Sounds like a good time to me.

I'd love to connect with you some more - stop on by the Three Bees Facebook Page or connect with me on Twitter @3BeesBlueBonnet. Let's continue the conversation!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Broken

Five Minute FridayTonight, it’s going to be an unusual one. It’s still a beautiful, unscripted, Five Minute Friday moment. But tonight, I lingered a little longer with the family, recalling Karrilee’s reminder for balance; I relaxed into the sofa at the end of a long week – loosening up before jumping online for tweets and posts of inspiration and encouragement. Then I had to detour and go grab the receipt for plane tickets in December as I read an email from one of my best friends from high school saying that there was a tiny, maybe possibility that we’d be home for Christmas at the same time.  And then I saw the prompt …

This Week: Broken


It would be so easy for me to tell you about all the things that are wrong with me. And I could start way back. Way. Back.

Memories of separateness and disconnectedness that started with a clothespin in kindergarten. Isolation that continued with a lizard hidden with ill intent in elementary school (what? this phobia doesn’t come from nowhere, folks). One misunderstood mistake in Junior High that made me a pariah for months – over a table. Pain seeps through my life like water going to ground in dry, parched earth. It gets worse. There are things I don’t write about; things I barely talk about; things I won’t even acknowledge in my journal because writing them down makes them too real.

But not tonight.

Because despite all the hurt, and the pain, and the deep dark places, this is what you need to know about me:

I am stronger in the broken places.

I used to love to quote Invictus by William Earnest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Continued here

Like that’s what made me strong. Me. And my will to survive.  But the older I got, and the more I went through, the more I realized, it was not about me surviving. It was not about me thriving in difficult circumstances. It wasn’t about me at all.

I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth. Job 19:25 NIV

This is what it’s about. And this:

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12: 9 NIV

Let anything that I have come through, let anything that I have survived, let anything that I have been given grace to overcome, stand simply as a testimony to the power of Christ in my life, and what my God is able to do.

Broken and poured out, my life is His.


How to Join:
Want to know how Five Minute Friday got started and how to participate? All the details are here. No editing or second guessing. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community

One Plate at a Time

I have not always been a girl’s girl. Growing up in a neighborhood of boys, I played hard and long with my brother and his friends; eschewing Barbie and her crew for tall leafy trees to climb; deep cool ravines to run rampant in; and the half-built cinder-block structures near the soccer field in the park that made a great fort. This trend continued all through school as I made friends with the girls, but kept my best friendships for the guys and their ability to keep things simple and uncomplicated.

Fast-forward twenty-something years in my life and I’m all about my women friends. My grown up girlfriends. I’m still a fringe-of-the-party kind of loner, but there are a handful that I hold close to my heart. I’d seen some of them online before I met them in person – friends of friends who shared a monthly supper club in common – I’d see their likes and comments on mutual friends' Facebook posts; hear about them at church gatherings; come into a conversation where someone told a story about someone else and there that name was again. And then I met them.

One night in December; squeezing together around a booth in a Chinese restaurant and spilling out the sides – I said hello for the first time – ducking immediately into introvert mode as the laughter, holiday cheer, and swapping of dishes swirled around me. I recognized faces, now suddenly blooming in real life around me, and thought, I could do it. I could be friends here.

The Girls and I at the Hub on a summer afternoon
Month by month I came back. Came as we celebrated birthdays; set goals; caught up on life moving at break-neck pace; talked about kids; laughed some more, ate some more – always at a different favorite place.

There was a space of time where we actually broke for a while. Things happen in any group of friends, they always do, and for a while there was a large, empty space where this cluster of companionship used to be. Then the May birthdays said “oh, why not, let’s just do it again and see who comes,” and it was off and running. A little bit of the same. A little bit different. But still together. And still dinner. And still God-blessed and holding on and praying together and for each other.

Technology adds a new dimension now - and it’s a great place to connect when we can’t be together. We post prayer requests, struggles with family, our hopes for our children, death, cancer, chronic illness that feels like it’s killing us, custody battles, unemployment, the things that wear us so thin we feel we can’t breathe, joys, those wonderful moments you just have to share right this second – and then we have those times we’re together again. And it’s all of us, around another table; everyone hugging hello; passing menus and deciding what to order; trying to play catch up and breathe in the life that flows from one to another when we are connected.

These are the connections that happen over chow mein and cheese plates. Over crab dip and chardonnay. Over corn salad and enchiladas. These connections weave us together; intertwining our lives, so that when things happen – good or bad – when I reach for the phone to call or text, it’s these women I’m reaching out for; their prayers I’m asking for;  their voices I want to hear – laughing or crying with me. I’m blessed to have been brought to them; blessed to have been welcomed in by them; blessed to be adding our stories together, one plate at a time.

I'm thrilled to be featured as a Second Helpings guest post with the Bloom (in)courage Book Club. We've been reading the wonderfully tasteful Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table, by Shauna Niequist. Special thanks to Alia Joy from Narrow Paths to Higher Places and Robin Dance from (in)courage and for their support and encouragement on my very first guest post.

And be sure to visit Anna {a girl with a blog} - I'm her second helpings today. And she's just lovely. 

I'd love to connect with you some more - stop on by the Three Bees Facebook Page or connect with me on Twitter @3BeesBlueBonnet. Let's continue the conversation!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Text that Made Me Catch My Breath

It is the height of summer here, and all the school related issues I wrestled with over the past year are becoming faded memories. Not completely gone, but they’ve been replaced by my outrageously happy girl who greets me with smiles; who can’t stop hugging me; who wants to give me sweet kisses all the time. Oh, how I’ve missed that smile.

Please don’t let this stop.

I feel like I’ve spent the last three school years fighting for my child to be heard, listened to, and recognized for the person she is; for the learning style she has; and for the creative soul that lives inside this fiercely independent, extra-tall body.

I add this last bit, because if you’re a parent whose child falls outside the “normal” scale on the growth chart, you know what it’s like to wrestle with expectations – whether they’re too much or too little for the child who is your heart. Have a child on the petite side? I’m sure you live with amazement and wonder at what they can do. And all you want to say is, “yes, well, actually, she’s five, not three.” If you’re like my husband and I – raising an Amazon princess – it’s quite the opposite. It can be very frustrating to constantly say, “but, no, really, she’s just three. Not five.” Or seven. Or nine. So back off. Immediately. That last part is said in my head.

But like I said, those days are behind us for now. No comparing, no judgment, no round peg, square hole. Just lots of time for love and snuggles and joy.

And texting.

Oh yes. She’s started texting me on her daddy’s phone. It’s a hoot and a half; these wildly punctuated notes that come trilling over the ether to me. Sometimes they make me catch my breath in mid-stride. Like this one yesterday:

Dear mama,i wish we could stay together forever!!!!!!!!!! seriously, i miss you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

This child of my heart teaches me so much. She loves greatly and without restraint. She forgives me any number of stumbles and crashes that I make. Daily. She reminds me (as she follows in my footsteps wanting to emulate everything) of the kind of reflection I need to provide for her as she grows up. Though I might wrestle with things I think I might not want to give up; things my human nature wants to hang on to; I cannot deny that striving to be a better mother makes me a better person. And If my eyes turn heavenward with Christ as the image I try to reflect, what better ideal can I provide for her?

This closeness we share now; the part where she loves me so fiercely and misses me after being apart for only a few hours? I’m cherishing it, and aiming to cultivate that relationship so that when she hits her teenage stride with its inevitable bumps and lumps – we’ll have this solid foundation to rely on; these moments and memories to grow from; the already established expectation that we don’t have to grow apart in those years – but simply continue to grow stronger together as a family.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Behind the Scenes: Dreaming of a Trans-Pacific Highway

We make plans. And then life happens. Isn’t that the way of it? When my daughter was first born, it worked out that my mom could come up and spend about a month with us. How amazing is that? It really was a blessing, and even more so because my dad had been through a couple of strokes and wasn’t as independent as he used to be. We made plans during that time, that she’d come and spend time with us each year around my daughter’s birthday.

The first year, we got a pass on that because my family and I wound up moving out near my parents. But that’s a whole ‘nother post (perhaps another book) in and of itself. It was a time of struggle (too expensive, too hot, too many things stacked against us), and in the end, clarity (this wasn’t where we were supposed to be – not where we wanted to call home), but I’m thankful that it meant time for my parents to have with my child.

So we started again when she was two – again with the plan that my mom would come for her birthday month. It worked at two, and then again at three. And then my dad had another stroke, this one more devastating than the ones before, and then that was the end of the birthday visits.

I made the decision to move away from home long before I met my husband, long before my child was even a possibility. Before there was even an us. I needed to be away to establish my identity and competency away from everything that I had grown up with, and the Pacific Northwest has truly become home for me. But oh, there are times when I wish there was a trans-Pacific highway and a way to get back home that doesn’t require a flight plan.

This picture is from my mom’s last visit when my daughter was three. We were having breakfast at a favorite spot – the Hob Nob (best biscuits and gravy in town) before popping over to the park. Thankfully, we’ve seen them since then, but only a couple of times.

It’s been four years since I was home with my family. Four years since my mom and dad have seen their first grandchild face to face; four years since I’ve held my dad’s hand or looked into my mother's eyes. Four years since I’ve punched my little brother in the arm and given him a hug. Never mind the niece I haven’t even met yet. She can say my name, and I’m pretty sure she can show you what a picture of me looks like. But it’s not the same.

This Christmas, we’re flying back.

I can’t believe it. I can’t even think about it. I’m just like that. It won’t be real for me until I’ve stepped off the plane in Honolulu and taken and deep breath of the air out there and realized once again how much I’m going to need to re-acclimate for the days that I’m there. But it will be a precious time to once again be with my family – the people I love. To have tea, celebrate Christmas, and hold each other close.

I’m hanging on.

crystalstine.meI'm linking up with Crystal Stine and company for the first time today; joining the Behind the Scenes link up. A place to make a connection beyond the Pinterest perfect ideals; to look past the edges of the photo to the real life behind it; to say hi, this is me in all my messy real-ness. Sounds like a good time to me.

I'd love to connect with you some more - stop on by the Three Bees Facebook Page or connect with me on Twitter @3BeesBlueBonnet. Let's continue the conversation!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Chasing History: Dorcas - Love Was in Her Hands

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12: 9-13

There are so many passages in scripture that speak to us about love – specifically about what loving one another looks like. If we love we will share, we will care, we will speak kindly, we will have patience, we will lay down our life for another. These acts of doing bring action to love. They make love become the verb that it should be. When they are done in the name of Christ and in the spirit of helping our brothers and sisters in Christ – and even those who are not – that love becomes a testimony to God’s glory and is an instrument to draw others to Him.

We all know people like that, don’t we? Those who are good with their hands; those whose gifts lie in their ability to make and to give – and they seem to do it with an easy grace that makes abundance seem like a natural outflowing of their lives. They are great cooks who are ready to bring a meal when someone is sick or laid up; they are beautiful seamstresses who create beautiful clothes to share or costumes for the children’s plays; they are an indispensable masseuse who’s hands being relief and healing to aching, tired muscles; they are the kind friend who pulls us aside with a cup of coffee, sits quietly at our side, and wipes away our tears when our hearts are breaking. Where would we be without the gift of these who give with their hands?

For the new church growing in Joppa that we read about in Acts, Dorcas (also called Tabitha in the Aramaic) was that kind of person. She was a disciple who is described as always doing good and helping the poor. Dorcas used her hands to create things – she made clothing for those who were too poor to make or purchase their own. Caring for the poor and widowed was called for in the Jewish culture, but Dorcas’ commitment to the cause must have been exemplary and extraordinary for her to be remembered for this special gift. So much so that when her unexpected passing came, her community was devastated.

Imagine a spirit like that – not just a generous giving of material things – but surely a generosity of spirit surrounded her like a sweet perfume. Dorcas was the kind of person you wanted to be around because you could see God in action in her life. They were not ready to let her go.

Photo by saviodm
The disciples of Joppa heard that Peter was nearby in Lydda and sent two of their men to ask him to come immediately. When he arrived, imagine the scene – the people gathered in the home where she was laid out. They were in mourning, but also, they shared with Peter the testimony of the life of woman who was laid out to rest.

All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them. Acts 9:39b

All these women whose lives had been touched and been made better by the hand-made gifts of one woman. They wanted a chance to share this with Peter. I wonder if this community realized how large her influence had been; how many lives she had touched, until they were all gathered there together to mourn her passing. I’m sure there wasn’t a single dry eye in the house. This woman had moved people.

The Bible doesn’t go into a lot of detail about what happens next. It tells us that Peter asked all the people to leave the room; that he prayed; and then he turned to the dead woman and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then he called the believers and widows back into the room and presented her to them alive. What rejoicing there must have been. Dorcas gave her life in service to God and He returned her life to her to show His love for her and His glory through her. Her community of believers and all of Joppa would know that she had been brought back by the power of the risen Christ and testimony would draw others to Him. All because she chose to show love through acts of kindness with her hands.

Hands. Made for loving, serving, praising, giving, sharing. Our hands can be instruments for God’s glory if we allow Him to use them – as He uses all of us, in all ways, with our whole lives – in service for Him. If we let Him, our hands can proclaim good news to the poor … bind up the brokenhearted … proclaim freedom for the captives … proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor … and comfort all who mourn (from Isaiah 61:1-2).

What will you allow God to do through your hands?

I'm Chasing History again today with Just One Girl and the ones who are writing about women in the Bible. Come on over and share with us. We're a community coming together to talk about the stories He has written!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Belong

Five Minute FridayFive Minute Fridays are the beautiful, unscripted moments that happen between Thursday night at the FMFParty on Twitter and for days and days after as post after post of inspiration and encouragement gets linked up at Lisa Jo Baker’s site here. Writers and joy abound and it’s a great place to be.

This Week: Belong


If we work outside the home, we spend the bulk of our days with strangers, who slowly become an intricate part of our lives. We hope they might become friends. If we’re lucky, they might even start to feel like family. I’ve had one or two instances like that in my life, and far more many jobs where it was just a job; just a place to clock in; just a place to do my best work and then get out of there.

But really, I’m not built like that. I can pretend to be a tough girl who doesn’t care; someone who manages to stay above it all – and yes, part of that’s true. I’m a born loner and a bit of a fringe dweller, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to have a place to belong – especially if I’m going to spend forty plus hours a week there.

My last job – meh. That was about as far from friends and belonging as I am from Calcutta. In the end, it was awful, and sent me in a downward spiral that took my health, my emotional well-being, and my sense of security for car wreck of a crash that almost leveled me.

I didn’t have a lot of hope after that – thought I’d be left on the fringes for the rest of my career – maybe thought I’d be freelancing for the rest of my life and popping in and out of teams that meshed and clicked – again – standing on the outside looking in.

And then I found the basement crew. Honestly, about the last thing I expected to do. After a lifetime career in marketing and communications, tech support was not where I saw myself going.

But I did.

And it fit.

Boy did it ever.

It's all a part of His timing and His plan, but this unusual mix of techie, geeky, authentically wonderful people welcomed me in, trained me and showed me that I had skills I hadn’t even realized, and more than anything, made me feel at home. I’ve been with them for about a year, but it wasn’t until this last week as I sat at my desk imaging one of the many new Microsoft Surface Pros that we’re rolling out later this year that I do indeed have skills outside of the box I’d always carried around, and that indeed, I had found my safe spot, my landing spot, my new work place that feels like home.


How to Join:
Want to know how Five Minute Friday got started and how to participate? All the details are here. No editing or second guessing. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community

Monday, July 15, 2013

Chasing History: The Widow of Zarephath – God’s Promise is True and His Faithfulness Endures

ChasingHistoryLinkUpAs I sit at my computer – whether in our designated computer room or at my laptop at my desk in my bedroom – a verse peeks out at me from near the screen. It’s a little old. The tape is worn and is barely hanging on. The paper curls around the edges, and in some cases, the print is a little blurry. But I know this verse in my heart. It’s what I clung to during our desert years. I will never forget.

For thus saith the Lord God of Israel: The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruise of oil fail, until the day the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth. 1 Kings 17:14 KJV

We all have seasons in our lives that feel like a drought or a desert. Oftentimes, it’s metaphorical: a dry spiritual season, month or years without a good friend to confide in or share community with; a stretch of time when nothing inspires or encourages us. But sometimes, sometimes those droughts are literal.

In the year that Asa, King of Judah turned thirty-eight, a season would begin for the people of that region that was a literal time of want. Ahab became king in Israel, and with his queen Jezebel, would bring a time of evil that had not been seen before: worshiping Baal, worshiping Asherah (specifically to provoke God), and doing more to anger the Lord than “all the kings of Israel before him.” Elijah, prophet of the Lord, went to Ahab and declared that there would be no dew or rain in the country in the next few years, except at his word. The Lord watches over Elijah, sending him first east of the Jordan to be cared for by ravens, and then into Zarephath where He directs him to the home of a widow and her son.

Of all the places and with all the resources available to Him, do you ever wonder why God chose a widow in small town near Jezebel’s home to shelter His prophet? Sometimes our circumstances are such that we ask God, “what exactly were you thinking here?” The beauty of His plan is that He always has something in mind – even if we’re unable to see it.

Elijah approaches the widow and asks for a drink of water and some bread. I wonder if he was famous (or infamous) enough to be recognized on sight? Would she have realized he was God’s prophet? Whether she did or not, she was not a person of resources – she was a widow with no family to protect or provide for her and she was down to her last bit for flour and oil for making bread. Probably the last meal she expected to eat with her son before they became victims of the famine and died. And here’s where God’s beautiful miracle intervenes.

Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’” She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.
1 Kings 17: 13-16 ESV

Photo by rollingroscoe
In this miracle, you’ll notice that there’s not an overabundance of flour and oil. It doesn’t say it was full to running over. Just that it never ran out. Just enough so that she could see on a daily basis that her needs were being met by God’s miracles.

There are times in this technological and twenty-first century that we feel we are beyond or outside of miracles. Sure, they happened in Old Testament times, or when Jesus walked on earth, but not now, right? I have to tell you, that I can’t agree. During the desert times that my family walked through, we saw 1 Kings 17:14 live out on a daily basis. For three years we survived without any work, except the occasional freelance job, and our needs were met in ways I couldn’t have even imagined. We had food on the table, the utilities were paid, the medicine I need was provided, and our car kept running. More importantly though, we experienced God’s grace in the most beautiful ways, as people around us became His hands and feet in helping us get through. There were times that my husband and I were so frustrated – all that job hunting, interviewing, papering the town with our resumes, coming so close to landing great jobs – all to be told that it wasn’t going to happen. I prayed and pleaded and, yes, even shouted at God, trying to figure out what was going on. When I finally stopped and listened, I was able to hear Him and the lessons He had for us to learn, the growth He wanted us to experience, the miracles He wanted us to see, the things that demanded total dependence on Him, which would not come without a drought or desert season.

Later in this passage in 1 Kings, in the midst of the miracle, the widow’s son becomes ill and dies. She’s seen God’s provision, and yet in her grief, she turns to Elijah and questions his word and God’s asking if they’ve done this to punish her even more.

God is so full of grace though, and using Elijah once more, raises her son from death and restores her hope.

Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is the truth.” 1 Kings 17:24 ESV

It’s easy for us to question her and wonder at her shallow faith – hadn’t she seen God in action all those days? And yet, I can tell you from my own desert times, from the midst of my own miracles, that there were times I still wrestled with God, where I still looked up from deep, wounded crying and frustration and said, “why God, why me? Why us?” How many times did this Psalm come up in my prayers:

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Psalm 13:1-3 ESV

We see from the story of the Widow of Zarephath, and I will tell you from my desert journey, that the Lord loves us – He loves you. He will go to great ends to show His love. And while His timing is not always visible, His care and compassion is. He loves us in the midst of our unbelief too much to leave us stranded there. His faithfulness endures and will bring you to a place where you can say:

But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Psalm 13: 5-6 ESV

I'm Chasing History again today with Just One Girl and the ones who are writing about women in the Bible. Come on over and share with us. We're a community coming together to talk about the stories He has written!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Present

Five Minute FridayFive Minute Fridays are the beautiful, unscripted moments that happen between Thursday night at the FMFParty on Twitter and for days and days after as post after post of inspiration and encouragement gets linked up at Lisa Jo Baker’s site here. Writers and joy abound and it’s a great place to be.

This Week: Present


It’s not what I want, but it’s what I have to deal with. It’s better than what I’ve walked through, and I’m grateful for that. We’ve talked so much about it this week, it seems. These wonderful women that I write with and blog with. These online friends that I’m discovering through (in)courage and Allume and the Five Minute Fridays (that begin on Thursday nights). We’ve been talking about contentment, and wrestling with what we have; not contending for what we want; being centered in this very moment and being thankful right here and now.

I wish that my discontent was just situational. I wish that my discomfort was just in my circumstance. I don’t know why, but somehow I think it would be easier to bear.

The idea that if my cross to bear was an internal wrestling with my soul; my ego; my spirit. Why? Do I think that would be more manageable?

Yes. The very cry of “oh, God, yes” almost rips itself out of my throat and I’m hoarse with salt tears that I choke back on a daily basis because of this here and now and where it has me mired.

I read about them running and exercising – just for fun. Running – after their children, up and down the hall, around the playground, just for fun. Running – errands and off to Starbucks, just for fun.

And I’m standing here – but not for longer than five minutes, because that’s about when my body starts to give out. There is no running. There is walking. But just barely. Enough to get around the house and in to work. And I think – it’s a good thing I’m not going anywhere anyone can see me anytime soon. Yes. That’s what I really do think.

And all the while, I’m trying to figure out what it is that He has in this for me to learn. What it is that I’m supposed to grasp in my present circumstance that I couldn’t learn just as well without the pain and with the ability to walk around the corner.

There are so many lessons to be learned. But I think most basic one that I need to seat firmly in my heart is that this is not my home. As beautiful and as wonderful as this world can be, this is not my final destination. I am as temporary here as a flower coming to life under the sun. I will have my moment, and then I will be gone. But unlike the flower, I will be passing on to a greater tomorrow. No more tears. No more pain. When we see Jesus face to face.

Until then, I need to give thanks for what I do have.
I could have so much less.
Others have so much less.
And thanksgiving precedes the miracle.


You'll have to forgive me. This is far more personal and raw than I expected tonight. I almost ripped it out and started over, but I've committed to honesty and transparency here, so I'm just going to have to take a chance with this. And hope for grace.

How to Join:
Want to know how Five Minute Friday got started and how to participate? All the details are here. No editing or second guessing. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community

The will of God will never take you where the grace of God cannot keep you

Just trying a little something new here. I add these on my blog's Facebook page from time to time, but have never shared them here. If you're on Facebook, I'd love to have you join me there too! This is one of my favorite sayings from a long time ago when I used to work for Frances at the Agape Shoppe and a favorite picture from where I used to drop my daughter off at school. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Framed in Grace

She’s growing up. She just keeps growing up. And there’s nothing I can do about it. To make matters worse – should I say worse? It’s not really worse, it’s just complicated. So let me rephrase … to make matters more complicated, she’s also very curious. And she loves getting into her Mama’s stuff. Which is why on a weekend when I wasn’t in the mood for curious or complicated, she came dancing into our room with a shiny green book and asked, “Mama, did you really used to go out with someone name Rover?”

Did I mention that sometimes she has really stinky timing?

Oh, to be a woman with a pristine past. Or no past at all. Oh, to not have anything hiding under a rock or a closet or under the bed that will eventually need to discussed, debated, and dissected with my child.

These are not the things we’re thinking about in those fresh-faced years when we’re staying out until all hours of the morning; stealthily slipping in bedroom windows and under covers instead creaking open front doors; testing our lines and our limits as we discover ourselves and the world around us. No. We’re not thinking about the conversations we might be having with our children twenty years down the road when they dig through old boxes in our attics and garages and find pretty green books that turn out to be a journals with memories and stories from long before they were imagined. We’re not thinking about that possibility at all.

Present tense: right now, I’m just grateful that she still can’t decipher my cursive writing well enough to get the whole gist of it. And no. I did not date anyone named “Rover.”

My daughter’s discovery led to an interesting conversation between my daughter and husband and I. About the fact that her daddy and I had, in fact, dated other people before we dated each other (big eyes). About the fact that he and I had, in fact, had a life on our own before she showed up (even bigger eyes).

And while I was a little annoyed about how the whole conversation came about, I did appreciate that it allowed us the opportunity to talk with her about how God helps us find the right person for us – that God was, in fact, right at this moment growing up a young man who would be the right person for her someday – and how important it was to wait for him. We were able to talk about how when you find the right person that God has for you; you stay committed – no matter what. We were able to tell her that because God picked her Mama and Daddy for each other we will always be together. Despite the fact that we might annoy each other at times, argue about silly things, and act angry like wet, disagreeable cats on occasion, we will always work it out and be together because God is at the heart of our relationship and His grace covers so much.


Let’s face it; I don’t have a pristine past. I’ve walked a bumpy road getting to where I am today and sooner or later my daughter is going to hear about it. But I feel very strongly that I’m the one who should be able to decide how she hears about it and how the story is framed. And what I want her to hear and see most, is that my story is framed in grace above all else. That no matter how rocky the road got; no matter how far I wandered off the path that was set before me; no matter what obstacles were placed in my path; the North Star in my life has always been the light of Christ: my shelter from the storm and the rock that is higher than I.

There are lessons to be learned from a life that has not been perfect; from a road that has not been smooth. If my daughter can learn from that; if she can see something in this reflection that makes her path easier? Then I am all the more glad for it. If she can look at my mistakes and see how grace saved me? Then I am blessed again. If she can read the lines of her mother’s story and find her way to unending love and amazing grace for herself? It will be all I need.

Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) - Chris Tomlin

I'm joining my friend Karilee at Abiding Love, Abounding Grace as we share ways that we've been Finders of Beauty and Hunters of Grace. Will you join us too?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Chasing History: Miriam - Keeping Our Eyes on What God Gives Us

ChasingHistoryLinkUpGrowing up in Hawaii, my family had devotional time together after dinner. We called it ‘ohana time – ‘ohana means “family” in Hawaiian. I remember that we had some books that we read through; questions we talked about; but what I remember most is acting out the stories from the Bible. And for some reason, the one I remember most is the story of Moses.

While my father read aloud from Exodus out of his hard-covered, gold-toned Good News Bible, my mother, brother, and I recreated the river Nile on our living room floor. My favorite sheets from my parents’ bed – the ones with the watery pattern in blues, greens, and aquas spilled across the floor. The wicker laundry basket was relieved of its usual load and padded with soft towels and blankets. My little brother, playing Moses, would fold himself into the basket (oh how I laugh with joy at that memory – trying to imagine the towering six-foot plus man he’s grown into trying to do that now) so I – wrapped in a simple white sheet, being Miriam – could carefully steer the basket to the side of the river to my mother, the princess.

I identified with Miriam. She was the older sister. Her job was to look after her little brother – not always the easiest thing to do! After Moses was placed in the basket in the river, Exodus says, “His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.” I always wondered how long she had to stay there. In the Bible, it jumps right into Pharaoh’s daughter coming down to bathe and finding the basket, but there’s no way to capture that passage of time. Was Miriam there for five minutes? Five hours? Did she have to do this for several days?

There are times in our lives when God asks us to wait for something – to wait for Him. It’s usually not easy – not with our sense of urgency; our sense of chronological time ticking away. But if we hold out, if we wait, He is always faithful to His promise and brings His answer in His time.

Whatever her time of waiting was, Miriam stayed and watched over her brother. And it was she who was brave enough to approach the princess to ask about finding a nurse for him – and thoughtful and thorough enough to bring her own mother; ensuring that Moses would be raised in his own home until he was of age to be weaned and raised in the Pharaoh’s house.

We hear nothing of Miriam until Moses returns to Egypt as an adult after living in Midian and meeting the Lord at the burning bush. What must it have been like for her – all those years in bondage, working day in and day out; wondering what became of her brother. Did she know that he had abandoned his royal life after killing the overseer? Did she have hope of ever seeing him again?

Miriam is not mentioned again until Exodus 15, after Pharaoh and his army have been swept under the Red Sea, Moses and the Israelites sing.

Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing. Miriam sang to them:
Sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver
He has hurled into the sea.

Photo by Edumigue
It is here at the Red Sea that she is spoken of as a prophetess – God has spoken to her and through her.

That must have been heady stuff – in that day or in any day - for the Lord himself to speak to you or through you. This is where it got complicated for Miriam, or for anyone who is striving to be a servant for the Lord. There seems to have come a time when that wasn’t enough for Miriam. When she, along with her brother Aaron, got tired of being in little brother Moses’ shadow and longed for a higher status of their own.

I find this one so relevant – for anyone today who looks around at others who are being blessed by God and asks, “why not me?” For the writer or blogger who celebrates the success of her friends, but wonders quietly in her heart if her time will ever come. For the young woman who dreams of becoming a mother and attends one baby shower after another for friends and family while waiting to fill a cradle in her own home. For the family struggling to make ends meet; waiting on that right job to come through – wondering how long it will be until they can move into a home that fits or make it through the month without holding their breath.

Miriam and Aaron were not so patient – they spoke out against Moses and his family – and God dealt with them. Miriam especially felt His judgment. He reminds them, Moses is different than other prophets - he has a closer relationship with God, and that the Lord is the one who will make that decision. As her judgment for challenging Moses, Miriam is afflicted with leprosy and is banished from the camp. Moses pleads with God on her behalf, and she is healed eventually, but does not enter the promised land and is buried in Kadesh.

Miriam had God’s calling in her life. She did not play an insignificant part in the story of the Hebrew people and their release from Egypt. Her challenge however, came from taking her eyes off of her calling and looking to what others had – in her case, her brother Moses – and desiring that instead.

God gives each of us gifts. We need to honor and nurture these gifts and allow them to grow to use in His service and in ministry. Be encouraged that He knows your individual talents and heart’s desires and be content with what He has given you. If you keep your eyes on Him and on His calling in your life, He will make you fruitful and multiply those gifts beyond your wildest imagination – and you’ll be able to return it all again for His glory.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Beautiful

Lisa-Jo BakerFive Minute Fridays are the beautiful, unscripted moments that happen between Thursday night at the FMFParty on Twitter and for days and days after as post after post of inspiration and encouragement gets linked up at Lisa Jo Baker’s site here. Writers and joy abound and it’s a great place to be.

This Week: Beautiful


The older I get, the more I understand what Elisabeth Kübler-Ross meant when she said this:

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.

Maybe you don’t get to understand it until later – until you’ve been through some of that suffering and loss yourself – but when it dawns on you, it opens up a whole new world.

The first time I remember this sinking in was at a Christmas bazaar hosted at a local high school. It attracted a huge artsy crowd from far and wide and was a prime spot for people watching (and getting some great deals). I remember one woman who stood out for me – not for any one specific reason, like striking eyes, or hair, or anything else, but the complete way she was put together really caught my eye. She wasn’t wearing the typical holiday cheer in red or green – just a simple cream-colored fisherman’s sweater over jeans and brown boots with her silvery hair back in a clip – and she just looked elegant. I watched her move from booth to booth, her face lighting up with real pleasure at the artists’ offerings; talking with some of them; at other booths, simply letting her hands run over the different creations. She wasn’t young, but she had such character and grace about her, I remember her to this day.

She was a total stranger and I could see this in her. I think of others – friends who are closer to me – who I know much more intimately. Inevitably, the ones I think of the most when the word beautiful comes to mind, are the ones whose road has not been easy; whose burdens have not been light. In my circles, I think this comes from having One to lean on in the hard times, as well as the good, our God whose strength sustains and enlivens us. When His life touches your life; when His character becomes what you seek; when it’s His strength that you’re leaning on, it’s not hard to be beautiful. It shines from the inside out.


Five Minute FridayHow to Join:
Want to know how Five Minute Friday got started and how to participate? All the details are here. No editing or second guessing. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Things I learned in June

chatting at the skyIn an attempt to broaden my blogging horizons, have some light hearted fun, meet new writers, and be link-up neighbors (or be in close proximity) in yet another fun spot with my new-found friend K, I’m joining Emily Freeman from Chatting at the Sky in reflecting on some of the random – and sometimes quirky – things we’ve learned in the month. This completely appeals to my introspective nature, and my ability to notice the incidental and the mundane and elevate it into something that might be enlightening. Or then again, just kind of odd and eccentric, and very much me.

One – I’ve apparently been to a lot of fun places without my husband and I need to make a list and start taking him to said places immediately. Whether for business lunches or girl’s nights out, I seem to have hit a lot of neat hang-outs around town minus the company of my best friend and best guy. Sure, I’ve always been good about bringing home a doggy bag and plenty of stories about these little restaurants and eateries, but somehow, we’ve never really gotten around to going ourselves. Until recently. And it is just so much fun to take him – and sometimes our daughter too – to these places for sushi, cheese plates, and other treats.

Two – Gillian Flynn’s writing is fantastic. Her novels are deep, dark, challenging, and kind of amazing in the most twisted way imaginable. But I will only read them once. And they will never be ones I own on my bookshelves.

Three – S’mores made with gluten-free peanut-butter cookies instead of graham crackers are seriously the bomb and I’m not sure I want to go back after tasting this insane combination of mouth-watering deliciousness.

Four – I am continually overwhelmed and amazed at the community of women I’m meeting through the (in)courage website. Anyone within a five mile radius is probably tired of hearing this from me and will be fighting the urge to smack me for gushing again, but you have to understand: friendships with women have never been my forte. Many of my experiences have seemed to be mired in seventh grade antics and politics and have resulted in me throwing up some serious walls and barriers and instituting my own “just say no” campaign. Sure, I have real life grown up girlfriends, but it’s a small circle, and I don’t expand it easily. Maybe it’s the nature of being online, but this community is one of the most nurturing and welcoming that I’ve come across in a while. I think part of me is still holding my breath, but so far, it’s amazing.

Five – A & W Root Beer can run out of root beer. It’s ridiculous, I know. But on June 5, the one day I really needed the pick-me-up of a root beer float, we drove up to the drive through and were told that they were out. Of root beer. I don’t even understand how that’s possible.

Six – I still need to be sold on how fabulous Twitter is. I’ve come a long way from “never gonna touch it” to a tweeting a couple of times a day and being a regular attender of a Twitter Party every Thursday night, but I just don’t get the appeal of being that tied to a communication tool. Maybe it’s flashbacks from an old job and the days of my pager, but if I’m going to do this, I need it to feel effortless. And obviously, it doesn’t quite yet. Working on it!

Seven – There are twenty ingredients in McDonald's scrambled eggs. We quit eating fast food a long time ago (about the time Fast Food Nation came out), and this just reminds me why. Great googley moogley! How many Michael Pollen rules do you think that breaks?

Eight – I still don’t miss having cable television. I love that we can still get the movies and shows we want to watch. But I sure don’t miss commercials, and in some crazy way, I love the insane intensity of watching a new series back to back to back. It's a continual inhale; an unstoppable crescendo. Yes. I said it was insane.

Nine – Putting a cat (or cats) on a trampoline is one of the funniest things ever. Don’t worry. No one got hurt. But it was pretty hilarious.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Chasing History - Being the One Who Waits: Hannah Part 2

ChasingHistoryLinkUpI’m back Chasing History again on this beautiful Monday morning. With Just One Girl and some others with stories to share. I saw something on OneGirl’s site – It Just Takes One. An invitation for a Monday link up – Chasing History – with the idea of studying, writing, and sharing about some of our favorite women in biblical history. I thought of Hannah, because I've had practice waiting, and started my thoughts on her story here. Today, I'll finish it up.

Lessons in the Waiting Times
God is able to answer and meet our needs at any time. That being said, the timing is where we most often have the trouble. There is often a gap between the time we ask God for something and the time that He responds. One of the hardest things for me to discover – and I imagine for Hannah to discover – is that God has lessons in the gap – in the waiting times for us. Patience. Perseverance. Fortitude. These are the obvious ones – the things that grow within us as we wait. Less evident, perhaps, are the things that are stripped away – the things we release as we wait.

Waiting on the Lord focuses you. It hones you. In the desert of the waiting lands, you are stripped down to the essentials. Like a true dessert traveler, you cannot be burdened with an abundance of luggage and luxuries to carry with you on your journey. There is no room for extras. There is just enough for essentials.

In the midst of Hannah’s suffering and grief, she was pared down, but did not let go of her essential belief – that God was still God – and that He still heard her. She was chastised by a rival in her own home, but she continued to ask God for His blessings. She felt anguish deep in her soul, but yet she still clung desperately to the belief that the God of the universe would have time for her prayers. So much so, that she was willing to remain humble and respectful when the priest Eli confronts her praying in the temple and mistakes her for a drunk. If it were me, and someone came upon me praying in the midst of my struggle and grief, and immediately jumped to the conclusion that I was drunk as a skunk and responded to me in kind, I don’t know that I would be as gracious in my response. But Hannah is – and Eli validates her prayer and adds his blessing to her prayer.

Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him. She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast. 1 Samuel 1: 17-18

The Blessing in Waiting: Those Who Come Alongside
When I read those two verses, I see Hannah’s comfort coming not only from her prayers and time before God, but in the comfort that Eli brings through his words and kind actions towards her once he understands.

Nothing is quite the same during the desert of the waiting times as the blessing of those who come alongside. Sometime they are ones who pray with you and stand in the gap when you’re weary and worn. Sometimes they are anonymous donors or generous friend who send you gift cards that carry you through lean times. Sometimes they are the ones who have walked a similar road before you and can really understand the struggles you’re experiencing – so important with difficult circumstances. Sometimes, they’re just the ones that ask how you’re doing, and don’t want the pat answer of, “I’m fine – just fine.” They want to know the whole deal – the real deal. And that means so much to a hurting wanderer in a dry, thirsty land.

If you’ve ever been in a place of hurting, in a desert place – where it feels empty and arid around you, if you’ve been bent low in pain and feel that you cannot raise your head, can you remember someone who came alongside you in your need? Do you remember that this felt like a cup of iced water, overflowing – it’s coolness just the relief and refreshment that you needed? Having been there, you can be that same kind of cupbearer for someone God puts in your path. It just takes a moment to be open to His Spirit. To listen to that little nudge, and be one who comes alongside with understanding and compassion.

When the Waiting is Over – Remembering to Give Thanks
When I was younger and in Sunday School, the story of Samuel seemed to end with his mother bringing him back to the temple to be given to the Lord and to apprentice with the priest, Eli. What I didn’t read until later in life, was Hannah’s prayer. It begins:

My heart rejoices in the Lord;
in the Lord my horn is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
for I delight in your deliverance.
There is no one holy like the Lord;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
1 Samuel 2:1-2

From her opening lines, through the end, this is the prayer of someone who knows God, who is in awe of His majesty, and who reveres God for the mighty works that He can do. She speaks to her own condition and always gives God the glory for what has been accomplished.

How often when God meets us in our need, do we forget to say thank you?

I thought long and hard about writing that question – it seems too harsh, and we don’t? Do we? But when I think about the things that God has done for me and for my family, I know deep in my heart that there are things that I have not said thank you for. Times when I have not directed the glory where it should have gone; times I just let it happen like I thought it was just supposed to. I’m not proud of that. This is one of my lessons from the desert. When you are stripped down to necessity; when you have just what you need; when you are literally relying on God to supply your each and every need – you don’t forget as often to say thank you. Each answer is a blessing, each inhalation is grace, and each moment is cherished. It’s so often when we move away from those trying times – those desert times – that “thank you” becomes harder because somehow, we’re not as reliant as we were when things were just on the other side of desperate.

So how do we stay there? How do we continue in that state of reliance? How do I maintain the communion I came to cherish in the desert when every little thing came from God and every time I breathed it was a prayer of yes or thanks or help or please?

I think Hannah has the answer again.

After Waiting – Giving it Back
Hannah had prayed for years and years for her heart’s desire – a child, a son. So much so that she had promised that child to God should He grant her that prayer.

After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. When the bull had been sacrificed, they brought the boy to Eli, and she said to him, “Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.”
1 Samuel 1: 24-27

I’m floored by her ability to do that – give her child back to God – literally. To only see him on her annual pilgrimage. That is faith in action. But what can we learn and do in the same way Hannah did. What are we asking God for – what are the desires of our heart – and what will we do with them when He brings them to pass?

No matter who you are or what you do, your abilities matter to God. He has blessed you with those gifts so that you can serve Him and others with them.

Each of you should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10

God entrusts those gift to us – large or small – they are gifts in His eyes and they matter to Him. Not only that, but they are His investment in you!

Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
I Corinthians 4:2

For our hearts desires to come to their full fruition –  for the waiting to be worth it – or gifts need to be given back to God for His glory. Our blessings and gifts are meant to direct others to Him – we are the signposts along the way.  And when we do, as we allow Him access to these things, our prayers, our lives – our waiting – become part of the greater story pointing the way to Christ.