Monday, January 27, 2014

My Retro Stove

As I deep cleaned my kitchen this morning I was a bit taken back by where my thoughts wandered to. You see, typically while I'm deep cleaning I make a mental list of all failures of my home. The section of my yellow kitchen ceiling that is not yellow but white as it was patched up 7 years ago when the bathroom above the kitchen "sprung a leak". The tile that has a long crack. The veneer on the cupboard door which keeps falling off in chunks. And then there's this ancient stove. 

My harvest gold stove is almost as old as I am. My husband keeps reviving it and I'm not sure if that is a good thing. Two years ago the heating element went out on the oven and I learned to make bread on an outdoor fire pit (I have to admit that that was a fun learning experiment!). Last year the knobs started crumbling one by one. I was finally down to two knobs which I glued together when we were able to locate replacement knobs online. Shortly after we got the knobs replaced for each burner two of the burners stopped working. By November I had ONE burner working. Fortunately I like being challenged and finding innovative ways to problem solve.....until the day my husband requested "Breakfast for Dinner". I kind of lost it as I said, in complete exasperation, "I can't cook hash browns AND bacon AND eggs AND pancakes (he a Tremendous Twelve kind of guy) on ONE BURNER!" After I gave myself a time out for flipping out I found a way to meet his request. Hubby ordered the parts and fixed the stove top last month except the replacement "parts" for two of the burners cooks only on high heat. But, hey, I've got four burners so I'm not going to complain!

So back to this morning. I'm cleaning, organizing and wiping down cupboards, wiping down the oven, etc. when I realize that each time I find something that needs repair (or replacement) I'm not making a mental note with grumbling (yep, that mental list often causes a bad attitude to develop). Instead I'm giving praise. As I washed the cupboard that is in great need of a face lift, I gave thanks that the cupboard, although not pretty, is still functioning. As I washed the stove, I remembered a blog post I had read last fall and was reminded that my old, worn out stove would be a luxury to some and I am thankful. As I look at the burner which will forever bear the orange enamel mark of my tea pot, I am thankful for my boy, the boy who absentmindedly attempted to heat some water for tea but forgot to add water to the teapot. 

As soon as thoughts of, "I wish I could afford a new cupboard/stove/kitchen remodel/new house" crossed my mind they were quickly replaced with, "No, not this year. This is the year for missions" and my heart sung. I happily can live with what I have. As I've learned recently, I have enough. Maybe next year I'll be able to save up for those stainless steel appliances I've been eyeing but for now my appliances are good enough. Besides, aren't retro appliances in style these days? 

Sunday, January 19, 2014


For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. 
Romans 15:4-9

Encouragement. I'm not sure about you but it's something that I need regularly. 

A pat on the back to say "job well done".

A hug to show that someone acknowledges a moment of heartache.

A pep talk when the chaos of our lives becomes a bit unbearable and leaves us feeling all too weary.

A tender word when we are unable to live up to our own high standards.

A blog post of a mother who has been there and tells me it's okay.

God's word reminding me of the hope that I have in Him.

Yet as much as I need occasional encouragement, I've found that I thrive when I am able to encourage another. When I began this blog my purpose was to encourage others, to teach and love and encourage with my words. Yet I've been a bit too quiet here. I had forgotten what my motivation was to write. Fears have silenced my words. Fears of not being good enough (who am I kidding? I'm not a "writer"). Fears of where my thoughts and words would take me. Fears of exposing too much of myself (funny as I'm pretty much an open book). 

Today I am reminded of my purpose and the purpose of why I write. May that purpose awaken my words. 

Today I'm linking up with others at Lisa-Jo's (the queen of encouragement!) where writers around the globe spend five minutes writing on one word. Today's word: ENCOURAGEMENT

I encourage you to head on over there. May you be encouraged today.

Monday, January 6, 2014

It's a Cold Day

If you live in Minnesota you know that the sub-zero temperatures are the "hot topic". Heck, if you live anywhere in the U.S., we're all talking about the cold. On Friday the Governor of Minnesota declared a Monday (today) as a state-wide snow day, or rather a cold day, for MN public schools determining that the subzero forecast would be too dangerous for children to leave their homes. 
A picture that my boy shot from the INSIDE of my warm house!

As many prepared for this frigid day, I gave it little thought. I have a warm home and work comes to me. As long as my furnace continues working, I'm all good. However I have thought of others. Yesterday we passed the "town vet" as we headed home from the The Farm (my parents) and I thought of how this cold affects him and his job. If he's on call today he may be in this cold taking care of sick animals. As I did my chicken chores this morning I counted my blessings that my hens are just across the backyard and tending to them takes a mere five minutes. I also thought of friends who are farmers and prayed that they (and their animals) would be safe today.

Then this afternoon, while the kids had a bit of quiet time, I read my emails as I sipped my tea and read....
" of the harshest winters in recorded history threatens to wipe out 2.3 million Syrian refugees fighting to survive along the war-torn border."
I can't even imagine the fear, the feelings of helplessness, the feelings of hopelessness that one must feel when dealing with homelessness let alone homelessness in an environment/climate that is life threatening. In Minnesota we've been warned that a healthy adult can withstand the subzero for about 10 minutes. I'm sure that estimate is based on proper clothing for the cold. But in Syria refugees are living in tents or dilapidated buildings which have little protection from the cold. Many escaped their homes with little to nothing of their belongings. Winter coats, mittens, hats...even shoes may not be in their possession. Can you imagine? I can not and it quite frankly leaves me with no words.
Please consider donating to World Help as they strive to bring hope to those who have little.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

One Word -- FEARLESS

One word. One word that would encompass my goals for 2014. I pondered this for a bit. Prayed for God to guide me to the one word that would motivate me, move me to more for this New Year. 

In 2012 my one word was LESS and in 2013 RELATIONSHIP.

Fearless was the first word that I thought of. And then came words like brave, faith, surrender, and even "be still" (but that's two words now isn't it?). I want a year of following God's will in every aspect of my life. Yes, fearless sums it up as I fearlessly surrender to a God in whom I can trust. A year in which my faith is strengthened through surrendering EVERYTHING to Him. A faith which would transform my life to live brave, to live fearlessly for Him.