Friday, March 27, 2015

Hospitality at Applewood Hill

In our culture of fast food and full schedules, it’s harder and harder to find time to open our home to guests on a regular basis. Join Karen as she begins the Heart of Hospitality series on her blog 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Recovery From Burnout

Hubby bought this apron for me!
When recovering from emotional burnout, the worst day is when you start feeling better. That’s when I’m liable to think I can take on the world and I say yes to more things than I can handle. Again.

That’s what got me to this point of wanting to hide in a hole and tell everyone to go away and leave me alone for a very long time! 

That and my insane sense of responsibility. It is hard to let things go. To leave things undone. To back away from activities. To let someone else do the job for a change.

But God has been whispering to me for a while now about slowing down. Getting rid of unnecessary activity. Breathing. Finding white space. Letting Him handle things.

First I read Essentialism by Greg McKeown. Then I found The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst. Then I read Finding Spiritual Whitespace by Bonnie Gray. All great books with necessary messages. I knew what I needed to do, but found myself unwilling to walk away from things.

That took me to a place where I had no choice but to step away. I cried at the drop of a hat. I couldn’t focus. I was overwhelmed. Tired and sleepy all the time. It was extremely hard to write.

I knew if I wanted to be healthy (and productive) for the long run, I had to change some things. Cry when I felt like it. Run away (for just a day) and breathe. Laugh more. Say no more. Create more. Pray more. Be still more. Be with God more.

And in that stillness, in the quiet, find the strength that comes from being in the presence of God. Find healing for pain I have locked away inside me for a very long time. And find His joy in exchange for my weariness.

It really comes down to learning to fully trust my Heavenly Father. I thought I did trust Him. It turns out there are some areas of my life I have kept hidden from His healing touch. And now its time. To open my heart and let Him in. I’m sure it won’t be the easiest thing I’ve ever done. But I’m ready for this to truly be done. Its time.

Have you ever found yourself in that overwhelmed place? 
What have you done to restore sanity to your life?
If today you find yourself in that place, what is one way you can take steps to restore balance? 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

News and Notes

I haven't posted in a few weeks because I reached the point of overload. Exhausted, overwhelmed and brain fogged. So, my wonderful husband is giving me a vacation. (What a guy!) He's taking time off and handling the cooking/chores/ homeschooling!!! And I get to sleep in. Needless to say, I won't be posting here on my blog during that time, but I might stop by my social media sites...just for fun!

See you in a couple of weeks! 

Friday, February 6, 2015

From Karen at Applewood Hill….

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I thought I would share with you 7 free or almost free ideas to show your spouse how much you care. If you’re trying to stick to a budget or just want to do something different, let these get your creative juices going for an extra special Valentine's day. 

To check out her ideas, visit Life at Applewood Hill

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Only Rational Response to a Crazy Day

I am happy to introduce you to Jennifer Slattery. 
I recently read her debut novel and thouroughly enjoyed it. I look forward to her second one (information on both below). As I read Jennifer's post, I recognized a timely word of encouragement. I hope you are encouraged as well. Be sure to stop by and visit Jennifer over on her website!

~ ~ ~

Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. She also writes for, Internet CafĂ© Devotions, and the group blog, Faith-filled Friends. When not writing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her teenage daughter and coffee dates with her handsome railroader husband.

Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud
Discover more about her books at the bottom of the post. 

From Jennifer's Heart to Yours.....

Short on time, long on tasks—watch the chaos ensue.

We’ve all had days like this, right? Life can get insane! Actually, life is insane on a good day. When mistakes occur or the unexpected hits… I don’t have an analogy quite sufficient for that.

Listening to other friends, it appears I’m not the only one with a rapidly mounting to-do list. For me, a lot of jobs and little time equals a dull mind. And often, a very sour heart, one that could, if not put into check, infect my family’s hearts.

Because the woman sets the tone for the household.

So what do we do when we burn dinner, overflow our washing machine into an overflowing, sudsy mess, and our brain feels ready to explode?

We slow down and regroup. We let the potatoes simmer and the laundry stay in heaps on our bed and head straight for our prayer closet. We turn on the radio, tuned to praise music, and focus on those things that matter most:

Christ and His mission.
Heart-to-heart time.
With or without mashed potatoes.

Psalm 139:16 says all my days –even the crazy ones--were written in God’s book before one of them came to be.

Ephesians 2:10 says I am God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so I can do the good things He planned for me—for my family—long ago.

And if God planned my life, (and yours) one bad day isn’t going to thwart it. In fact, my chaos could be laying the groundwork for His perfect plan. (Jeremiah 29:11) My best response, then, is to pause and tune my ears to Him, the Prince of Peace. 
Chaos could be laying the 
groundwork for His perfect plan.

Not only has Christ enabled us to have peace with God, but He also gives us a daily peace that surpasses our circumstances–when we abide. If we abide in Him, remain in Him, draw near to Him throughout our day, He’ll come to us, soothing our anxieties and filling us with peace and strength. It might feel like we don’t have time for prayer, but honestly, if we’re feeling frazzled and pushed to the max, we don’t have time not to pray.

Let Jesus be your all in all today.

~ ~ ~

Jennifer's Books:

When Dawn Breaks

As the hurricane forces Jacqueline to evacuate, her need for purpose and restitution propel her north to her estranged and embittered daughter and into the arms of a handsome new friend. However, he’s dealing with a potential conspiracy at work, one that could cost him everything, and Jacqueline isn’t sure if he will be the one she can lean on during the difficult days ahead. Then there are the three orphans to consider, especially Gavin. Must she relinquish her chance at having love again in order to be restored?

Read a free, 36-page excerpt HERE . 
Purchase When the Dawn Breaks:

~ ~ ~
Beyond I Do 

Jennifer's debut novel is currently on sale at Amazon for under $4 (print & kindle version)! 

Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignites a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancĂ©. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

I hope you enjoy Jennifer's books as much as I have! 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Shame Off You!

The Quiet Lecture

A Life Parable
~A fictionalized true event~ 

The phone rang, breaking the silence of night. Keeping her eyes closed, Andi rolled over to pick up her smart phone. She swiped across the screen. “Hello?”


Her eyes flew open. What was her manager calling about at this hour?

“Weren’t you supposed to serve at the breakfast this morning?”

She glanced at the clock and groaned. Six o’clock. She was supposed to have been there half an hour ago. “Sorry. Be there in a few minutes.”

She jumped out of bed and threw on her catering uniform and ran a brush through her hair. A few minutes with her make up and she was out the door. Fortunately, her dorm was the closest to the cafeteria. She cut across the lawn and was there in under 5 minutes.

As student manager, she always got there on time. Until today. At least there wasn’t a large crew waiting on her. It was a small breakfast and she had chosen to take care of it herself.

She clocked in and found her boss already gathering her supplies. Working together, they had everything ready in short order. At the door to the parking lot, her boss went through the list, checking to make sure she hadn’t forgotten anything. She prided herself on never having forgotten something she needed.

Of course today, she had almost forgotten to even be here. She kept waiting for him to lecture her about being late. As she opened the door, she turned and faced her boss. “Why haven’t you laid into me about being late?”

He just grinned and folded his arms. “You’re already telling yourself everything you need to hear. Why should I add to a well delivered lecture? Now, go do your job.”

~ ~ ~

The easiest choice for Andi’s boss would have been to dock her pay or reem her in front of other workers. But that was not his way or the best choice.

When someone’s messes spill out over us, a quick tongue can add to the burden of the enemy’s whispers. Can add to the shame and the struggle to fend off his lies. On the right and left he whispers the suggestion, “you are not enough” “you will never get it right.”

Their own heart betrays them into thinking there is nothing they can do and the shame grows. Like quicksand it sucks downward until the struggle to be free is life or death.

Silence sometimes offers the best advice. A word of encouragement the best correction. A hand up the surest discipline. A look of the eye the quickest reign.

Before the quicksand pulls them down. Before the whispers take them out. Look to yourself and your own gift of heavenly grace offered for your messes. Give that. 

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:2

Have you ever experienced the grace of a lift out
 of the quicksand of shame?

I've linked up for #livefreeThursday . 
More encouraging posts there - check it out. 

photo credit: Free Digital Photos // marcolm

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Carrying One Another’s Burden

photo credit:
Running the Race
 Life Parable (Fiction)
by Angela D. Meyer

I struggled to keep up with the rest of the runners. Why did I enter this race? I’ll never make it. I’m no good at this running stuff. I slowed my pace, about convinced to quit when a voice speaks from behind. A small, gentle voice. But strong.

“Don’t give up now. You’re almost there. Just a mile left.” A petite runner came up behind me. She had to have been at least 20 years older than me.

How does she do this? “I can’t see the finish line.” I wanted to believe the end was that close, but I labored to breathe and just wanted to stop. A vanilla frappe sounded heavenly right now.

“It’s there, around that curve ahead. Here.” She handed me a water bottle. “Picked up an extra at the last station.” She flashed me an encouraging smile. “So what brings you out to run today?”

I stole a look at my newest running companion. “A dare.”

She nods her head. “My first run was a dare. Been hooked ever since.”

I laughed between gasping for air. “I doubt I’ll ever want to run again.”

She smiled like she knew some secret I didn’t. “When you’re not running, what do you do?”

“Mom.” Talking was getting harder. We rounded the curve to face a hill I did not want to run up.

She must have recognized the look in my face because she stopped asking questions. Instead, she spoke gentle words of encouragement every few minutes. She reminded me over and over that I could do it.

After we crossed the finish line – and not in last place I must add – I looked around for my friend who helped me to accomplish what I thought was impossible. I finally spotted her and caught her eye. I mouthed thank you and waved. She grinned and waved back as she headed away from the crowds.

In a flash, my family bombarded me with hugs and kisses.

My teenage daughter wrapped her arms around me and whispered in my ear. “That was awesome, Mom. Can I run with you next time?”

I almost groaned, but saw the look of hope on her face and quickly recanted my dread. “Sure. I think that would be a great thing for us to do together.”

~ ~ ~

Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load. Galatians 6: 2-5

 The person sitting next to us in the pew is likely struggling with something. A friend may have an addiction. It is their responsibility to choose and make right decisions, but often they need encouragement to keep going. To do the hard stuff. To not quit. To do life God’s way. 

There have been plenty of times I have longed for someone to come alongside me and walk with me and encourage me. And I doubt I am alone. 

Words of encouragement go a long way to helping people stay in the game! (Click to Tweet)

The next time you come across someone struggling, take a moment and lighten their burden with words of encouragement, a prayer and maybe even a helping hand.

To put it another way, 
here is one of my favorite scenes. Ever!