Loving my February book. Open heart open home. There are very few people that I have talked to in the last week that I haven’t quoted portions of it to or thought about while conversing. What I love most about this little golden book on hospitality is that it reminds me of all my friends! Seriously I know the best people. I am truly blessed to live in such a hospitable community!
Tag Archives: serve one another
I LoVe getting mail… and packages. My husband and I dated long distance for 9 out of the 12 months between the time we met and got married. Not that I would recommend that necessarily but it did allow for a few things. We became very good at communicating over the phone and through the mail. The post office will send practically anything (safe) with a stamp on it. I sent frisbee post cards and Nalgene packages. I still have a little bundle of letters from him that chronicle our falling in love. Seeing handwritten letters and packages still stirs my heart.
The package above is not from my husband or a surprise, but something I just ordered. It is still sweet… Every once in a while I like to treat myself with another potters work. This cute honey pot was made by JustWork, a collective potters group in Vancouver (where we went on our “honey”moon). Just Work employs individuals who face some kind of barrier to the traditional work force, such as struggles with addiction, mental health issues, disability, or homelessness. What a sweet reminder to sit on my counter, of my love and encouragement to use our gifts towards charity and empowering those around us in need.
ps. I am falling in love with this chocolate brown clay and feel the sudden urge to make lidded vessels!
This past week we celebrated at the annual SpringHill Christmas party. It is always such a treat to gather all Michigan, Indiana and Daycamp staff and volunteers together and fellowship, something that doesn’t occur often as we are usually the ones serving from several location. I love this group of people, for the shared vision and commitment to Jesus and kids.
This year our party coordinator/detail extraordinaire Dina, included us on the fun! All the centerpieces were made by staff/volunteers and were part of a game. Guess that Christmas Carol… Mine I bet will be obvious to you. I was so excited to put my ‘O little town of Bethlehem’ votives together I was literally the first one to decorate my table, and one of the first ones to the party. I tried to leave my hands open as to who would join us at our table and prayed that Jesus would bring the right people to the spots. Well you can imagine my disappointment when after 35+ minutes of mingling not a single person sat at our table!
A little crushed and dinner almost ready to begin, two couples discreetly entered in. Chuck and his wife, one of our creative duo at Site and Enoch and Joan, our Camp founders. My fears aside, He brought just the right people, I am so thankful. Even though we were the closest to the buffet line we were the last table called. I didn’t mind, I was in awe of the conversation taking place with Chuck and Enoch talking shop about the dining hall renovation. Of all the conversations I hear around camp about kids, numbers, revenues… these two were talking about details of the building, specifically floor tiles.
Enoch recounted the 8000 tiles he personally laid in the original dining hall and still exist today in the space. Talk about laying a foundation for a legacy! I love that such a dynamic and personal leader was willing to get on his hands and knees to serve a place that reaches so many. What a great example of humility to all who aim to serve. Being willing to do even the most redundant lowly projects, that get walked on every day, not for recognition because it’s what needs to be done! Not delegating just doing. Something both of these men know a lot about.
I don’t think I could have hand-picked two better couples to sit with. What a delightful evening it turned out to be, plus the girls crushed at family feud! To pass on the fun, can you pick out some of the carols?
“And there, in the stable, amongst the chickens and the donkeys and the cows, in the quiet of the night, God gave the world his wonderful gift. The baby that would change the world was born. His baby son… And they gazed in wonder at God’s Great Gift, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger. Mary and Joseph named him Jesus, “Emmanuel” – which means “God has come to live with us.” – Jesus Storybook Bible
I love this song by jj heller. especially this last bit.
I will love you for you
Not for what you have done or what you will become
I will love you for you
I will give you the love
The love that you never knew
Our pastor spoke on giving and generosity this week. He read a quote from Richard Fosters book Celebration of Disciplines. I remember reading much of this book in college and remember quite a bit, nevertheless his sermon prompted me to go back and read the chapter on simplicity. How different the lessons sit on me than they did when I was in my twenties. Deep, challenging and then I read the following which truly struck the matter of my heart.
“To have our goods available to others marks the third inner attitude of simplicity. If our goods are not available to the community when it is clearly right and good, then they are stolen goods. The reason we find such an idea so difficult is our fear of the future. We cling to our possessions rather than sharing them because we are anxious about tomorrow. But if we truly believe that God is who Jesus says he is, then we do not need to be afraid. When we come to see the almighty Creator and our loving Father, we can share because we know that he will care for us. If someone is in need, we are free to help them. “
The goods in this instance refers to baby items that I have been “stealing” away in my basement. Oh, the decision to have a third has not been easy on my heart. Our two daughters came at surprising times for us, but no matter what our feelings were at those moments we first found out, I have come to understand that those “surprise” pregnancies were blessings. This planning to have another baby at the “right” time or at all, is no more easy. Who ever truly knows what they are getting into with a child? Absolutely my fear (or hope) about tomorrow causes me to cling to earthly goods. No matter how I pray on this topic it reveals my anxiety of change.
Some friends of ours are wonderful parents, they also open their home to children in need. Just this week they were called to take in a two day old baby. My heart breaks for a child entering in this world with literally, nothing. I am so thankful for this sermon this week, for this chapter in Foster’s book this week, for items to share in my basement this week, and for a newborn baby with an unexpected, yet amazing family to love him this week. God has already began to provide for this little one that he cares for. They have loving taken this baby into their home not knowing the duration of its stay or its future. One day at a time, one need at a time, what a testimony to living fully, simply, and being a steward of God’s creation. We do not need to be afraid, we can discerningly give to those in need and know that when the time arises the same God will lovingly provide for us.
Live simply friends.
Acts 17:28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’
We had such a great and FULL weekend around these parts. I had a wonderful time, serving at the SpringHill spring women’s retreat. It is unlike any other camp or retreat we do here, check out what our camp president has to say about it here.
There were over 75 women who joined in on the silk scarf painting! Sometimes it is challenging to get people to branch out and tap into their creative side, as opposed to following a set example. But here’s why I think it is so important, we are all created as unique individuals with a unique story and unique song inside of us. I tried to challenge the ladies to work from their own heart and make their scarf an extension of that place they are at. I am amazed at the diversity of each design, truly we are made by a Creative God!
That being said it was awesome seeing each unique painting offering a glimpse of the individual story of the woman at work behind it. I hope you enjoy the pictures and I hope I get to lead another craft at our Fall retreat this year!
September 30 – October 2 with Liz Curtis Higgs & Alanna Story
I had a friend in college who was from Japan. She was studying music abroad in the states. She was so thrilled at the time with her performance classes because in her homeland she was encouraged to only pursue music theory. She had to do a study for statistics class and pass out a survey, which she chose the topic funeral music. I think it was hard for her to understand why very few college students chose to participate in the few short questions she passed out in the student union. That has always impressed on me, how our culture flees from death and chooses to delay preparations often until it is too late. This young lady also happened to be a believer, which from my understanding is a rare thing in Japan. I often drove her places, she marveled at our christian bookstores and the availability of resources that we have to learn from.
Since meeting Yuko, I have been intrigued with Japan, there is so much beauty in their movement, artwork, landscape and culture. It is one of the places I would love to visit one day. As I see images on the news my heart grows for this country. I have always pictured the nation as a peaceful place, but in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami it is impossible to ignore that they too are a nation that is in great need. The landscape forever has been changed, lives have been lost, and images show many that are in great anguish. How many words does a picture convey.
My girls have a little travelers video on Japan. They love watching these two sisters as they learn about daily life activities there from a child’s perspective. I believe because of this movie they have shown special attention to the recent headlines and tragedies. They both have very sensitive hearts so I carefully planned a special time with them to learn more about and pray for Japan. We watched our movie, looked at a map and reviewed pictures from the news. Then we talked about sumi-e paintings and allowed them to paint with ink and wash, pictures they saw on a scroll of white paper. For dinner we had a simple meal of noodles and boiled eggs.
O Japan, we pray for you, that you will find hope and comfort in Jesus. That aid will provide warm blankets, food, shelter, and relief. My heart so touched to hear the sweet and tender words of a 4 and 6-year-old learning to care for others in need. Their prayer went like this, “ I pray that you will bring them wool, so they can make sweaters and be warm, and help them to find food to eat.”
Psalm 46: 1-3
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philipians 3:13-14
Its been an eventful one folks… This week I am saying goodbye to a little non-profit art organization in town that I have taught at for the last two years. I counted it up I taught over 90 students during that time, different art classes for kids, adults and my beloved little pottery studio (that’s alot for our little town of 2000). I have learned a tremendous amount and am so greateful for the opportunity to do what I love and share that with others. I am excited about working on and in my own home studio and being able to set my pace and schedule. I am confident in my work and excited about what the future holds, hopefully a new avenue will open at some point for me to teach again but for now I am just going to enjoy the journey and press on in the race!
Gorgeous color and even better smell. I am sure I won’t have any trouble with the girls tonight about finishing dinner, with such a sweet reward waiting. I can already tell this will be a two recipe week, this won’t last long.
Peanut butter ice-cream with Reeces cups
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 1 cup milk
- 1/3 cup smooth natural peanut butter
- 8 Reeses peanut butter cups, chopped into largish bites
Whisk the eggs until light and frothy. Add the sugar slowly, whisking constantly to incorporate. Add the whipping cream and milk and whisk until smooth. Pour 1 cup of the mixture into a separate bowl and add the peanut butter to that bowl. Mix well and pour peanut butter mixture into the cream mixture. Whisk in until fully incorporated.
Freeze mixture in your ice cream maker as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Two minutes before the ice cream is due to be done add the peanut butter cup pieces.
Spoon into a Tupperware or similar container and freeze until hard.
If you don’t have a machine – I saw ice-cream makers on-sale at williams-sonoma online this week for a great price, which includes an extra freezer bowl.
the great owl and the raven will nest there.
God will stretch out over Edom
the measuring line of chaos
We studied these passages in our BSF lesson last week, this struck me in the notes “The measuring line depicts the act of marking out the land in plots for occupation and ownership while the plumb line points to the fact that all will be assessed and compared with the true and real. God, like a master builder who uses a measuring tape and a plumb line to ensure buildings are true and square, will execute the same attention to detail both in building things up and in breaking them down for destruction.”
I have worked with wood a few times in my days, it is not my favorite material because I can never quite get it right. I love the look and the smell of freshly cut wood but lack the skills to transform it. The artist’s craft and patience has to be exact, and their tools sharp to obtain a building that is square or a product that looks good. I have chosen not wood but clay, as to me it always has seemed more forgiving and it’s responsive to the potter’s touch.
The roundness is important; before a piece can be thrown/shaped on the wheel the clay must be readied. All the air bubbles wedged out, hard particles removed, and a good consistent feel through the whole lump of clay. On the wheel the lump must be completely centered. This comes by consistent pressure on the clay, your tools which in this case are your hands must be working together. Once centered the potter must use a plumb line to drop a hole, this too must be exact to keep the lump completely centered. The art is the connection between the mind, the heart and the hands, as the potters touch transforms each lump of clay into a unique vessel. Even if he repeats a similar form, each piece holds its uniqueness and intimate touch. Every vessel is made by the conception of an artist’s hand.
The potter envisions his work of art, centers the clay and opens the hole by pulling the clay outward. This begins the process of stretching the clay. From this point on it can’t go back, the clay particles begin to loosen making the clay pliable to the potter’s touch. Water is added to lubricate, reducing friction and further softening the clay. He begins to pull the clay by again adding a steady and even pressure not outward this time but upwards. It is important for the newly formed pot to stay completely centered as this rotation keeps it workable and strong.
It is sometimes necessary to scrape clay from the bottom or trim the rim at the top to keep the pot centered. After reaching the desired height, he begins to shape it as it seems fit. Overtime the potter creates a signature for himself. A body of work that brings him delight and satisfaction, an example of his skill and consistency. If the clay is overworked or thrown off center the pot collapses, the potter will remove it from the wheel and toss it into a bucket to be reused another day.
This is the ideal way to make a vessel. An experienced potter will be able to accomplish these steps in a matter of minutes but it takes him years and practice to achieve these skills. Along the way you learn little tricks, how to reshape, trim or alter your pot if you don’t like how it looks. You learn how to redeem it if it is slightly off centered or has a uneven side. In fact you learn how to mask the imperfections that keep it from being true and real. This can result in a very clever and deceivingly round pot, but such facts cannot be hidden from its maker.
This has caused a great reflection in me… In learning how to throw pottery on the wheel, one learns the art, the motion, the process of being real and true alongside learning the way to cover, conceal and correct.
Are you aware of the makers intimate touch on your life? The uniqueness of your vessel and the purposes of why you have been made?
Have you measured your life by what is true and real?
The same plumb line that is used to make the clay into a vessel is used in the judgement of it. The creators workmanship is real and good, his body of work must remain consistent to maintain his signature. He charges us with the task of remaining centered in his hands and moving upwards. Are you being moldable and pliable, responsive to the potters touch?
Is the living water being added daily to resist friction and soften your soul?
Are there things in your life that are off center and cause spinning that is increasingly out of control?
Are you bringing delight and satisfaction to your maker? Or are there things that need to given up, thrown in the slop bucket in order to not compromise the body of work as a whole?
Isaiah 40: 28-31
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Amen Jesus. I thank your for these words and visual pictures of you hand in our creation. May these thoughts be pleasing to you O God and bring glory and advancement to your kingdom now and forevermore.