What was the highlight?

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This past weekend my daughters Hannah and Rebekah joined me and nine other ladies from our church at a women’s conference entitled “Women Arise!” held at Charis Bible College (Andrew Wommack Ministries) in Woodland Park, Colorado.

We arrived home Sunday just before my husband, John, arrived from the airport with my mother-in-law.  We all unpacked, chatted and chattered, and it wasn’t until this morning at breakfast that John got a word in edgewise, saying, “What was the highlight?”

Hard question, but I’d given it some thought.  The spiritual highlight was perhaps the final teaching from Audrey Mack, which lit a fire under me that seems to be getting hotter by the minute.

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The setting, the weather, the thousand small favors of God on each minute – these were all highlights.  Maybe, as I said to Hannah last night, “Maybe the most important thing was the bonding between the hearts of the women of our church, and no doubt between all the women there.  The revelation of sisterhood in Christ, the shared hilarity and heartache, the love..

John asked me a few more questions this morning, then turned to Rebekah.  “What was the highlight to you, Rebekah?”  Rebekah said she “got new dreams and remembered forgotten ones.”  She didn’t mention that we got to the conference early and feasted on Brat Kolaches and amazing pastries at Woodland Park’s Donut Mill, but perhaps we’d already said enough about that, and about the other culinary delights experienced by all.  If Rebekah was reticent, Hannah could regale her dad on that account at a later date.

Hannah was already gone to work when John asked his question, but she would have had so much to say, so much to praise.

I could say the praise was the highlight, the worship of our good Father.  I could say bringing home a heart full of praise and thanksgiving and joy was the highlight.

But how do you describe the highlights of God?  It’s all highlight.

Certainty.  I came home with certainty.  With peace and power and a new and greater level of dominion, a new revelation of authority in Christ.  More humility, more surrender, greater power.

More.  Always more.  Because His depths are unfathomable, endless, and marvelous.  I marvel at the question, and so enjoy exploring the answer.

How to choose one highlight?  Would it help to eliminate those things that weren’t my favorite parts?  There was a workshop time slated Saturday afternoon that I skipped out on, in favor of walking around the sparkling lake, crossing the high wooden bridge, and making tracks to sit under a pine in the sun, where I whispered to God and He heard me.  That was definitely a highlight.  So, even the parts that weren’t looking like the best parts, became highlights.

“It’s all highlight in Jesus,” I could say to John.  And I remember what I told Rebekah, and then repeated to John last night.  “You know what’s really great,” I said to Rebekah as we ate lunch on the way home yesterday.  “What’s really great is to go somewhere so astoundingly beautiful and have such a wonderfully blessed time, and yet the best part of it all is going home.

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And so, dearest husband, the highlight of the entire beyond-all-I-asked-or-imagined weekend, was coming home to you.

Pentecost, and all Things Richly to Enjoy

 

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Taking a walk in the cool not-quite-summer breezes the other morning an old question popped into my mind:  Which of the senses would you miss the most, were you to lose it?

Loss of sight would mean no more color, no more iridescent, translucent, sparkling, proof-of- God color.  No more looking into the eyes of my beloveds, no more laughing at a child’s guileless smile.

Not good.

Loss of smell would mean I couldn’t smell this sage I’m crushing in my fingers and thereby being lifted, transported.  Same for the juniper, pine, spruce, fir and cedar on the heavenly breeze.

Loss of smell would mean roast beef and vegetables and gravy and hot buttered homemade bread would be irrelevant.  Also not good.

Loss of smell would mean I wouldn’t notice the clove on John’s breath when he kissed me.

A kiss.  A touch.  Not being able to feel the kissing face, or hugged neck, or the touch of a hand of another of God’s children.

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Hearing.  A marmot is sounding the alarm because the dogs are busy sniffing out his rock pile, and the spring snowmelt has made the creek practically roar as it rushes out of its banks, but not above my favorite creekside blessing rock.

And I couldn’t hear His praises sung from the depths of the hearts of His children in church this morning, on Pentecost Sunday.  This thought makes me catch my breath from the sudden glitch of alarm, the actual physical ache, in my spirit.  But, on this day of all days, I am choosing not to think about “what ifs” and possible losses.  I am thinking of my utter inability to even begin to grasp the magnitude of the Love of God.  This is the sense I want to exercise, increase, develop.  This is the realm into which I want to delve more deeply.  More richly.

He has given us all things richly to enjoy.  I call the dogs off and they happily dash off to the next thrill, all senses alert.  He has given us all things richly to enjoy.  This thought again wafts into my mind and I think of how all the senses will be alive and blessing me at once if I simply take this walk with a loved one, sit by the creek eating roast beef on homemade bread with also homemade mayo, and watch steam swirl up out of a thermos of tea as we sip and smile at each other.  And as we see on each others’ faces peace.  How beautiful, how marvelous.  Oh, Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your Name in all the earth.

In all the earth.  He has given us so much to enjoy.  Let us not, in pursuits of manmade enjoyments and entertainments, forgo, forget, become blind to, the wonderful world He has made.  In all of our seeking, with all of our senses, let us tune into Him.  Let us daily live a life of Pentecost.  Amen.

 

 

 

 

The Home Artiste and Mother’s Day

LAST WEEK THE RAIN AND FOG AND THE CHILL CAME IN – AND THE BARELY GREEN ASPEN TREES WERE SHROUDED IN CLOUD.  MY DAUGHTER REBEKAH RIGHTLY DISCERNED IT WAS THE PERFECT TIME FOR A TEA PARTY AND SOME GOOD CONVERSATION, WITH SOME LOVELY MUSIC.  I HAD BEEN PLANNING TO DO SOME PAINT PREPPING, BUT IT WOULD KEEP.

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WEDNESDAY MORNING WAS MUCH THE SAME AND WHEN I ASKED JOHN IF HE WAS STILL SURE HE WANTED A SMOOTHIE FOR BREAKFAST IN THE INTEREST OF TIME, HE WASN’T SO SURE.

SO HERE’S WHAT WENT DOWN:

I PUT SPROUTED AND BUTTERED BREAD IN THE OVEN ON LOW, AND THE SERVING BOWLS AS WELL – PUT COLD BOWLS INTO THE OVEN BEFORE TURNING IT ON, NOT AFTER IT’S HOT. (IF I HAD BEEN GOING TO SERVE FRIED EGGS, I WOULD HAVE ALSO HEATED THE PLATES – FOR FOUR PEOPLE I HEAT SIX PLATES, THEN I HAVE ONE EXTRA ON TOP AND ON BOTTOM, AND WRAP IN DISH TOWELS WHEN I TAKE THEM OUT AND THERE’S NO STRESS ABOUT THE HORROR COLD EGGS!).

THEN THERE’S ALSO A PLATE TO PUT THE EGGS ON AS THEY’RE FINISHED FRYING, WITH A LID OR COVERING OF SOME SORT TO KEEP THEM WARM UNTIL SERVING.  WE CALL THESE EGGS “DIPPIES”, AS YOU HAVE DONE WHITES, BUT YOLKS NICELY RUNNY AND GOLDEN FOR DIPPING TOAST INTO!  (I LEARNED TO CALL THEM “DIPPIES” FROM JANE BROCKET IN “THE GENTLE ART OF DOMESTICITY – EXCELLENT, JANE IS!)

I DUMPED HALF A JAR OF CHUNKY CINNAMON APPLESAUCE INTO A PAN AND ADDED WALNUTS AND RAISINS AND BEGAN HEATING. THE TEA KETTLE WAS FILLED AND HEATING AS REBEKAH SET THE TABLE WITH MILK IN A CREAM PITCHER, HONEY, ETC.

I HEATED THE TEAPOT WITH HOT WATER THEN EMPTIED IT AND SET IT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STOVE ON THE WARMING ZONE, ADDED FOUR BAGS OF ROOIBOS TEA AND COVERED IT WITH A TEA COZY ( I WOULD MUCH PREFER A NICE ENGLISH BLACK TEA, ACTUALLY) – ALL READY FOR BREWING. ANOTHER THING I WOULD HAVE DONE IF IT WERE REALLY A COLD DAY IS USE STURDY THICK MUGS AND RUN HOT WATER INTO THEM FOR A BIT BEFORE SERVING TIME.

A PACKAGE OF THIN PORK CHOPS CAME OUT OF THE FREEZER AND WENT INTO A SKILLET WITH WATER TO BEGIN STEAMING APART AND COOKING (I COOKED THEM UNTIL THEY CARMELIZED AND MADE LOVELY BROWN GRAVY, OR AU JUS).

WE HAD LEFTOVER MASHED POTATOES SO I MADE THEM INTO BALLS AND PUT THEM IN THAT SAME SKILLET AFTER REMOVING THE PORK CHOPS INTO A SMALL SKILLET AND PUTTING ON A BACK BURNER ON LOW. ONCE THE POTATO BALLS WERE BROWN ON BOTH SIDES, I PLACED THE PAN ATOP THE PORK CHOP PAN AND PUT A LID ON TOP.

WHEN THINGS LOOKED TO BE NEARLY READY, I DUMPED LEFTOVER HOMEMADE SOURCREAM DIP AND A CUP OF LEFTOVER CHOPPED ONIONS AND SAUTEED THEM GENTLY IN A MIXTURE OF BUTTER AND OLIVE AND COCONUT OILS.

I WHIPPED UP SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH PEPPER AND SEA SALT, POURED THE STEAMING WATER INTO THE TEA POT.

NOTE:  I HAVE A SAUCER READY TO DUMP THE TEA BAGS ONTO BEFORE SERVING, AND A SAUCER OR POT HOLDER TO PLACE THE TEA POT ONTO FOR TABLE PROTECTION (THIS IS ALSO A POSSIBLE ISSUE WITH HOT PLATES, IN WHICH CASE THE TABLE SETTER PUTS A NAPKIN OR A PLACEMAT AT EACH SETTING.

YOU MAY THINK THIS SOUNDS COMPLICATED, BUT IT’S SIMPLY A MATTER OF DOING THINGS IN ORDER, AND GETTING INTO GOOD HABITS.

HAVING A LITTLE HELP IS NICE, TOO. IF YOU DON’T HAVE HELP, THOUGH, YOU JUST PREP AHEAD OF TIME AND THINK THINGS THROUGH.  SET THE TABLE, FILL THE CREAM PITCHER, PUT THE HONEY AND STRAWBERRY JAM ON THE TABLE (NO HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP IN THAT JAM!), WHIP YOUR EGGS AHEAD OF TIME, AND THAW THAT MEAT AHEAD OF TIME!

WHEN IT LOOKS LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE IS READY OR JUST ABOUT, POUR THE EGGS IN TO SCRAMBLE AND WHEN THEY’RE NEARLY DONE RING THE BREAKFAST BELL (YES, I DO HAVE ONE!)

OH, AND IF YOUR LOVELY DAUGHTER PUT ON MUSIC FOR YOU, AS DID REBEKAH WITH COLD PLAY’S “SOMETHING LIKE THIS” BE SURE TO DANCE ABOUT AND SING A BIT. WHAT A GIFT TO YOUR FAMILY:  A HOT, DELICOUS BREAKFAST WITH A DANCING, SINGING, SMILING MUM.

HMMM.  MIGHT THIS BEAR PONDERING WITH REGARD TO MOTHER’S DAY, AND ALL MY FAMILY’S SO HOPING I LIKE THIER GIFTS, AND THAT MY DAY IS TRULY SPECIAL?  COULD IT BE THAT I SHOULD SIMPLY FOCUS ON REJOICING IN GOD FOR MOTHER’S DAY AND ALL IT MEANS?

I AM INCAPABLE OF PUTTING WORDS TO WHAT’S IN MY HEART, BUT I ASK GOD DAILY TO CLEANSE IT FROM ALL SELFISHNESS, SO THAT IT MAY BE FULL OF PRAISE AND SONG.  YES, THAT’S IT, OR AT LEAST A GLIMMER – I WANT MY FAMILY TO HAVE EVEN THE SLIGHTEST INKLING OF THEIR WORTH AND VALUE TO ME.  AND I WANT THEM TO SEE ME SMILE.  AND HEAR ME SING.  AND DANCE WITH ME.

THIS MOTHER’S DAY DON’T LAMENT A SINGLE THING. JUST ENJOY, AND GIVE, AND RECEIVE!

Lifting Burdens via Intercessory Prayer

 

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I was asked to pray for someone last night and I just couldn’t do it, not with any faith and fervor.  I awoke at 2:00 a.m. burdened for this person, but not in a good way.  It might be more accurate to say I was aggravated with them.

As I prayed about it I realized that intercessory prayer is not to be undertaken before there is personal heart maintenance.  Otherwise, the intercessor simply takes on the burden of the other person, rather than assisting them in giving that burden to Jesus, who can not only take it, but do away with it!

So, practically what does that mean?  It means seeing what the Word says about love, and about every single person.  It means asking God for His take, how He sees it, what He wants done in this person’s life.

Then come the revelations, the prayers of faith that build more faith, and the return to where we start:  apart from Him, I can do (pray) nothing, and with Him all things (prayers) are possible.

He’s the only Way to go.

Percolator Parties and Other Fall Bequeaths

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I’d been thinking I wanted an old time percolator for some time and just couldn’t find the very thing.  And when a dear friend spotted this one in an antique shop, she said she saw my name on it.  Yay for the Holy Spirit working through dear friends!

This same friend has given me a very fine and perfect old-time picnic basket, egg coddlers, and more.  But for today I want to talk about my percolator.

After brewing up a few fine pots of coffee and tea, it quit.  I was sad, to say the least.  Oh, well, I thought, it still looks lovely on my kitchen counter, and I’m all about making the kitchen beautiful.

But my dear husband fixed it!!!  It simply needed a new resistor in the cord, and it’s off to the races again (the sound and sight of the brew gurgling up into the glass cap is the sound of joy).  Actually, it’s been off to the balcony in the chilly Rocky Mountain mornings for what we now call Percolator Parties.

Monday’s coffee Percolator Party was simply a Welcome-the-Morning, and Glory-in-Fall party.  Tuesday dawned bright and chilly and my daughter Hannah and son Seth joined me for chicory coffee in heated mugs with heavy cream, and to solve the little conundrums that make up our world.

On Wednesday the day sneaked up without early morning Percolator Party time, so we were ready on Thursday and chose to try a specialty Chai-with-chocolate tea, about which I had reservations.  But there are those special times when the first sip of an excellent tea changes things, sets them aright.  As I sat in the early morning chill, wrapped in a quilt and watching the golden apricot aspen leaves quake, I took one of those rare and wonderful universe altering sips of tea.

One after another, members of our household came out onto the balcony to savor the morning, to partake of our new and beloved delight, Percolator Partying.

In the Fall.

How far is Heaven?  Some days, not that far.

A Job Well Done

 

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John and I recently had the blessing of seeing our son Benjamin receive his Bachelor’s Degree and become a commissioned officer in the United States Army.  We are blessed and highly favored by our awesome God, through faith in Jesus Christ.  Amen.

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I have tons more pictures, but I’ll stop now.

 

P.S.  John and I will be on the radio tomorrow, Friday June 24 at 2:00 Mountain Time, talking about our trip to the Pacific Northwest (for Benjamin’s graduation), about taking dominion in this life, about friendship in marriage, and more.

http://streema.com/radios/KHNC