I’ve Missed My Tennessee Home

2013 November 7 170We just returned home from a trip to D.C. and we are exhausted–at least I am. (My kids have supernatural bounce-back power.)

There was so much I learned and so much I photographed in the hopes of sharing stories about America’s history here with you. Whether I was reading words inscribed at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, or the Lincoln Memorial or even while at Arlington and the tomb of the Unknown Soldier–you can’t get away from the fact that God is recognized by our founding fathers. It was a beautiful thing to witness.

But, I’ll be sharing more about that later.

In the past three months we’ve had company come and stay with us four separate times, and we’ve traveled out of the country once and flown to Seattle, Northern California, New York City and just came home last night after being in our country’s capitol.

Yeah, it’s been kind of crazy. dixie

This morning, my adorable pooch Dixie woke me up and we went outside to the back deck for our morning ritual. While she runs around sniffing everything and attempts to hold me hostage with her favorite ball, I enjoy an enormous mug of coffee and spend time with Jesus.

I was grateful to be alone with the Lord at the break of day.

Just me and Him…and well, Dixie…and the cows behind my house yelling for their breakfast. It felt so good to be back.

I’ve missed my Tennessee home.

 

 


Where are you older woman?

JoanneKraft.comI’ve observed something while travelling across the country; the gatherings at church’s and women’s conferences seem to be missing representation.

While I love to encourage women at these events, there is a piece of womanhood that is absent. Sure, there are gaggles of ladies who gather still, sharing stories about their young children and a desperate need for a weekend of refreshment.  But, as I eye almost any room in the USA, above the cacophony of sing-song voices there’s a silent majority absent—the older woman.

The older and younger women are so needed to be in relationship. The Bible shows us two beautiful examples with Ruth and Naomi and with Mary and Elizabeth.  It seems to me the intergenerational friendships are few and far between these days and sadly, not given the spotlight it deserves.

The American church does a wonderful job of supporting young families. Pick up any weekly bulletin and you may discover a mosaic of monthly events for a young mom or a married couple.  While I understand a church will support and encourage anything God honoring and helpful, what I’ve come to witness is a problem that has me confused.

I wonder, do the younger women misunderstand the value of an older wiser woman in their life? Or, do the older women misunderstand the value of the younger woman and the value of being a vessel poured out into their lives? Which one is confused about their value? Could it be both are?

The absence of the older woman is apparent online, too. While writing my recent book, I asked for assistance from women, a focus group I prayed I could use to ask questions and receive answers.  I used their words in the pages to encourage my readers, moms in particular. While it has been an incredible group of ladies, my biggest mistake was thinking I’d find older women on social media. This generation does not hang out much there.

Older women still live by the traditional protocol of a phone call or a hand written note. They desire face to face conversation and appreciate a coffee date or a cup of tea in the same room.  According to an article in Forbes Magazine our only real method of connection is through authentic communication. Studies show that only 7% of communication is based on the written or verbal word. A whopping 93% is based on nonverbal body language.

Younger woman, do you have an older woman in your life? If your heart is desperate for godly inspiration, if your soul is parched for deep and loving wisdom it may take stepping away from the internet and stepping out of your comfort zone to walk down the street and knock on her door or send a note, or invite her face to face to spend some time with you.

My heart aches for what is missing in the church. It takes all I have not to cry out, where are you older woman? I pray you’re not discouraged. Where are you older woman? Do you forget how much your counsel and wisdom is needed? Where are you older woman? You are needed to comfort the hurting, bind the wounds of the heart, and breathe spiritual life into the younger generation. Like fine wine, the years you’ve travelled along life’s road are full of a sweetness not to be wasted but to be poured into another.

Precious older woman, your silence is not silent, it’s deafening. Do not shrink back or allow pride to swallow up the work still to be done.  You are missed and you are needed.

That they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. Titus 2:4-5


The Way Back From Loss

way back from lossLoss comes in all shapes and sizes. Whether it is the loss of a job, a relationship, or a loved one, the pain associated with loss takes time to overcome. No matter where you are in the grieving process, Pastor Wayne Hastings’s The Way Back From Loss provides you with the comfort and encouragement you need to move on with your life.

Author, Wayne Hastings, has penned a resource that all of us will need at some point in our life. Maybe, that time for you is now.

For me, loss has taken many forms; relocation, divorce, cancer, death and a multitude of other trials that brought me to my knees. But, as a Christian, I yearn for encouragement to walk through loss better the next time it comes calling.

Hastings shares his words to comfort the hurting and tenderly bind the wounds of the grieving and through it all he points his readers to the fullness of Jesus Christ.

While I’m still working my way through this book, I encourage you to take advantage of something that will be a gift to your heart and inspire you to never fear loss again.

 

 

A world class author, speaker and business consultant, Wayne Hastings is delivering powerful

messages to business and ministry leaders today. Through his extensive research and hands-on experience Wayne shares a message of trust, hope and encouragement necessary for people to reach their full potential.

Wayne offers simple, yet paradigm-shifting concepts for industry and ministry leaders. He is committed to transforming organizations by helping people through a teaching style rooted in heart and truth.

Connect with Wayne on Facebook or Twitter

 

 


I Need Some Help Here! What about you?

kathi lipp i need some help here

Do you have a few kids at home? Summertime can be the most trying on a mother’s nerves, am I right or what!? But, what about those bigger moments. Frustrations not easily answered with a cherry Popsicle or an afternoon nap.

As much as I love my little darlings, after breakfast I’m already in need of some encouragement. If you can relate, then I’ve got the book for you.

Author, Kathi Lipp, has struck gold with her newest book,  I need some help here! Whether you’re the mom of kids still drooling or maybe they’re old enough to drive and you’re drooling, either way, there are times we all need a little help.

Each chapter title helps give answers to some of the very words I’ve spoken silently to myself a trillion times. I was thrilled to read:

  • When My Child is Overwhelmed
  • When My Child is Making Poor Choices
  • When My Child is Struggling
  • When My Child is Running Away From God

And, my favorite encouragement chapter of all? You Are Not the Only One. Never preachy, Kathi uses bucket loads of humor to remind us that this crazy ride called mother hood is one to be cherished. Filled with prayers for your children and prayers for yourselves, it will accompany your morning cup of coffee perfectly and give you the reminder you need that no matter what, you are loved by a God who is incredible, and you will survive with His help.

I make a point to highlight only those women who write from the heart. I take it very seriously when I point my mom-friends to an author. Kathi Lipp is not only the real deal, I know her personally and understand her ministry desire first-hand…to throw moms a lifeline.

Do you need a little help today? She’s throwing you a rope. Grab it and order I Need Some Help Here!

 

Make Sure to Connect with Kathi: 

Facebook    https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKathiLipp

Twitter       https://twitter.com/kathilipp

Pinterest    http://www.pinterest.com/kathilipp/

(more…)


The Hurting Beside Us

marcy josSeated at a table for dinner — a family of four strangers would be our company for the evening. This precious Tennessee restaurant off the beaten path of a winding road held the promise of a home cooked meal and live country music.

Kind formalities and introductions were exchanged followed by a dash of awkward silence. 

My girlfriend and I attempted our own private conversation as this family engaged in their own. At the end of the table sat the lovely matriarch of their group–grey hair and tender eyes, she was the first to  reach out sweetly to us, “Where ya’ll from?” Followed quickly by “What do ya’ll do?”

“We’re writers.” I shared.

“What do ya’ll write?” She smiled.

My friend went first, “I’ve written a devotion book on grief…”

Before she could share any more the elderly woman’s face fell and her eyes grew wet, ” I really need that book.” She whispered.

We watched her fight back tears.  “My husband passed away three and a half years ago and I can’t begin to explain the grief. We were married fifty-two years.” Her voice thick, she gently smiled. “If it weren’t for the Lord I wouldn’t have made it. I could really use a book like that.”

The rest of our meal she tenderly set her grief aside as she shared stories of the man she loved so dearly. Like a bottle of carbonated soda, her words bubbled over– she was so grateful for the opportunity to talk about him. The deep lines in her face smoothed by the joy of a lifetime of memories.

The hurting are all around. God places them alongside us every day. They disguise their hurts by smiles and kind eyes, all the while they’re numb as they walk and live and breathe. Their trials aren’t contagious, their agony will not spread, but it can be eased by a moment of our time.

Has your friend lost their job? Are they living under the smothering weight of illness? Do they have a prodigal child or a marriage that has shattered into a million tiny pieces?

Press through your awkward feelings and make a phone call, invite them to coffee, drop them a note, bring over a meal. You don’t need to say a word. Let them do all the talking, or none at all. Sometimes just acknowledging the pain is enough.

Lay down your life for a few moments. Lay it down for the sake of your neighbor. Set aside your desires and your to-do list and accomplish something even greater, to seek those who hurt and comfort them with the comfort you have been given.

Who sits beside you today? Whose heart beats in painful rhythm and sings the cadence of grief’s song?

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13


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