Monthly Archives: January 2015

Amazed Beyond Words

Okay, so last week, I pulled out the old pity-party hats and streamers……

1.  Our jeep decided to just quit.

2.  Our car decided to loose battery power due to a faulty connection.

3.  Taxes.  Taxes. Taxes.

4.  Bakery Bank Account Bust.

5.  Bills. Bills. Bills.

6.  Slow business.

7.  Slower business.

8.  Even slower business.

My list piled up high.  Even though I repeatedly repeated my new slogan, “I will trust God.”

I literally stood in the stockroom at the bakery and cried out.  “Oh, God help me.”  It was a snotty blubbering sob.

I felt defeated.  Like a failure.  And completely upset in the lesson of humility I was being taught.

Sigh.

Then I received a call.  My pest control guy….. by the way he is a friend and fellow Sunday School class attendee….. My first reaction and thought??  “Great, another bill.”

Ahem.  PITY PARTY!!!

“Mrs. Regina.  I just wanted to tell you how much you inspire me.  Your blog yesterday….. hit the target.  You are such an inspiration……”

Tears.  Oh, God not the tears!!  I was holding back the flood gates.

“I just want to let you know that I have been right where you are…… and my advice is to remember what is imprinted on a penny…… You know what a penny says right??”

Warning: Flood Gates opened………

“In God We Trust.   Every time you see a penny…. remember what it says.”

Ironic.  I have bawled and squalled over money.  And it takes someone to point out what the money says.  It doesn’t say Trust in Money….. Trust in full bank accounts…… Nope.  Ironic I dare say.

I sobbed out a thank you as best as I could.  (He probably thinks I need to be committed…… smile.)

God was sending my own words of trust right back to me.

Then the mail came……  And with it…. came dread, shame, and utter disgust.

I found myself right back in the middle of that same old pity party.

My phone whistled.  Great.  Now who wants me???

A friend sent the text.  “Hey, thought you might need to hear this….. God has a plan for you.  Keep your head up.”

Warning:  Flood Gates opened…. A.G.A.I.N!!

Isn’t it something how God likes to send us those encouraging messages. I mean…. both friends answered God’s nudge and sent those encouraging words.  It was amazing beyond my belief.  God never fails to amaze me with His timing.

I finally dried my eyes and faced the day.  But this time, I had support beyond measure.  I felt stronger.  I felt redeemed.  I felt His presence.  I wasn’t alone.  My plea for help was answered.

I mean I ain’t gonna lie….. I was kinda hoping for the sky to open up and dollars rain down.  I mean God is a God of miracles…..  🙂

But the help I really needed came from those who believe in me.  Those who love me….. Those who stepped up and encouraged me.  That is what I needed.

Sometimes, it amazes me how much God really puts up with me and those pity parties.  Maybe I need to send Him more invitations……

Just maybe then He will open up the sky…….. oh wait.  He already did.

Grace rained down.

God Bless……..

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Hardest Thing To Do…..

Okay, so this year started off great.  I took a week and a half off from the bakery.  I recharged, energized, and reevaluated.  I wrote plans, prayers, and new goals.  I wasn’t starting off with the typical weight loss, eat healthy, exercise more resolutions.

Mine was simple…… Trust.

Trust God with the bakery.  Trust God with our money……. what little there is these days…… Trust God with my children…… Trust God with everything…..

Ahem.

Doesn’t Jesus say that we shouldn’t worry about things?  Birds are given food.  Flowers flourish in beauty without new clothes.  Am I right to think worrying over things is just a matter of a lack of trust??

So, I built in a whole retrain the brain slogan….. “I will trust God.”  I told myself every time one of those pesky thoughts creep in I would just announce to myself….. “I will trust God.”

Easy enough.  Right?

Why worry about tomorrow?  Tomorrow has its own worries and today has enough already…..  Matthew 6:34

The first week back to the bakery went smooth.  I followed my easy plan….. a plan that I could follow without a problem.  (Trying to run the place by myself until the kids arrive after school)

Every time I thought something negative I would exclaim my slogan….  I will trust God!!

And sales are falling….. lower than ever.

With every passing day…… my slogan becomes quieter.  And with yesterday’s total…… I could barely even utter a sound.

My serenity prayer was sounding like a cynical prayer.  I was quoting the words but my heart and attitude was cynical.  And my bedtime prayer had the attitude….. “Yeah, Right.”

So of course God woke me up bright and early this morning…….Why do you do this?  Why can’t you just see that everything is going to work out?  Why can’t you trust Me with this?  Why can’t you  just let Me?

As I laid there thinking and praying, it dawned on me…….

If  a busy day happens everyday…. every moment….. I would have a chance to coach, train, and dedicate precious time to the students who are coming to the bakery to learn a trade.  If yesterday  was a crazy selling day,  I would not have had the chance to listen to a customer on her bitterness towards church…….  she left apologizing and with me saying, “I would love to talk some more about this.  Come back another day and we will have a cup of coffee.”  And her response was “I would love to do that.  When is a good time for you?” If I had a line of customers out the door, I would have missed the elderly gentleman who was lost and needed a friendly face for directions to the event center.  If the phone was ringing off the hook with orders, I would have missed the opportunity to welcome a new resident to Benton and wouldn’t have heard, “Thank you.  You are such a nice lady.  I enjoyed our little talk.”

I missed the whole point….. especially when I whined back at God, “Yes, those are wonderful and you are right, God.  But those don’t pay the bills.”

His response….. “They will.”

Trusting God is the hardest thing to do.

Simply put.

 

Granny's Kitchen

If you have ever stepped foot in my bakery during the fall and Christmas season, you will find the most delicious soft Molasses cookies.  They were a top seller in November and December.

Molasses brings to my mind Fall…… Autumn.  But, in reality, it is a great replacement for refined sugar.  It is high in iron and calcium.  It is a by-product of refined sugar so therefore it contains all the natural benefits of cane.  It helps hold moisture in breads and is much sweeter than white sugar which means you use less.

And it has been around forever….. like colonial times.

So here’s a recipe I found in Granny’s 1946 Grandma’s Old Fashioned Molasses recipe book.  Yes, 1946.  I just love these old booklets……

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A Simple Activity…..

So this morning…. I spoke at my home church.  Wow….. man….. it felt good to speak.

I kinda miss doing it.

Sorta like me missing this old blog.  I enjoy writing.  I can’t believe how easy it is to let life get in the way…… I mean….. Hey…. I am just running a bakery.

Smile.

So today, I spoke.  The topic I was given was an easy one.  I mean it.  I was to talk about women in ministry.  I got it.  Not a problem.  Until it came time to get my thoughts together and write a speech.

I had always considered the Great Commission something honorable and responsible….. yet….. I always considered it to be the nature of being called to preach.  Not necessarily for me…… an ordinary….. nothing elaborate…… simple kind of a gal.  I mean the task of going out and making disciples was what the preacher or lay minister or deacon or elder does…… right??

Yea…. Yea, yea…… I know we are supposed to go out there and witness and all but to bring people into discipleship is in an other league.

Do you think that way too?

I mean it is for those who are educated in all that church stuff.

For a long time….. that is exactly what I thought.  But the commission is for all of us.  Not just the select educated seminary degree holding peeps.  We….. the believers of Jesus Christ.  We are called into ministry.

Us ordinary….nothing elaborate….. simple folk.

Have you ever looked at the definition of “ministry”?  It is defined as an activity that expresses faith and spreads the news of Jesus Christ.

If you look through the Bible you will find many examples of just that…..

Queen Esther in the Old Testament was indeed the first beauty queen.  She had the task of representing the entire Jewish population.  Without her opening the eyes and heart of her husband, the King, the Jewish population would have been destroyed.  Her active bravery saved her people.

Naomi, the mother-in-law of Ruth, played an important role in her ordinary everyday life.  She taught Ruth, the Mobite, about the one true God.  She also guided Ruth through the Jewish culture and customs once they moved back from Moab.  Without Naomi, Ruth would not have married Boaz and the lineage to Christ would have been broken.  I mean God ever so cleverly placed non-Jewish women within Jesus’ lineage in order for us all to be adopted into God’s chosen people.

In the New Testament, we find Mary…… mother Mary.  She had the task of raising Jesus.  Talk about your parental pressure.  I doubt mine often enough…… I can’t imagine raising Christ…….  She was to instill her knowledge of God and customs to Him as a child.  See ordinary living…..

Of course there is Dorcas.  A seamstress by trade, she sewed clothing for the widows and orphans.  She became an honorable member of her community by sewing.  Enough so that when she fell ill, Paul was summoned because the community could not go on without her.

And Priscilla……. she opened her home to believers.  Sorta like when we host a Bible group in our homes.  Her ordinary hostess role lead to the church we know today.

My favorite….. the woman at the well.  A woman troubled yet ordinary.  So troubled that she was unseen as a woman but as a tramp.  But, Jesus stepped into her ordinary life and she believed in Him.  She accepted His offer of the living water.  And thus, she became the first woman Evangelist.  She immediately ran back to her home town telling everyone about Jesus.

These women led ordinary lives.  They performed activities that expressed their faith…… they only did what they felt necessary to spread the word of God’s grace.  They didn’t hold a degree.  They didn’t have the titles…… They were just women…… living their lives as best as they could…… all the while expressing their faith.

I can only aspire to be like them…… that’s not true.  We are all called to be like them.  Taking our ordinary actions to express our faith.

God bless……

Hello 2015

I could bore you with a list a mile long that I need to work on in 2015.  But, I love you so I won’t.  I heard your sigh of relief.

This morning as I sat sipping my hot cocoa and watching the superficial shows that say they are the news….. I listened to what they were trying to say.  Simply put, most Americans make resolutions only to abandon them by week one…… Jan. 8th to be precise.

I can relate.  Really I can.  I make those  vague ones that keeps the guilty at bay…… spend more time doing this or that…… eat healthy foods……. limit my sugar intake (the limit is set by my mood– bad day eat half a cake)……

But, two years ago, I made a decision.  Not a resolution mind you, but a decision.  To give up Pepsi Max and all other sodas.  I had tried countless times to kick the habit but it was when I took note that I was consuming at least 3 to 5  20 oz drinks a day.  Yep.  I was strung out on coke…… ahem that sounded bad….. out on soda.

I was going to do it.  One way or the other.  I was.  I had made up my mind.  Day one free of soda….. not a problem.  Day two…. headache.  Day three…… I wasn’t prepared for……  I literally thought I was dying.  I hurt from head to toe.  I had chills.  The room was spinning.  I thought I was going to throw up.  I would lie still, eyes shut, and prayed that the day would end soon.

Needless to say, that memory stuck.  And I have used that memory so many times at the store or gas station.  I see the Pepsi Maxx calling out my name.  I can taste it…… sweet , bubbly, cool, yummy.

I snap out of it when I bring up the memory of day three.

Mood killer.

For that I am thankful.

It doesn’t take long for me to shake my head no and walk away from the beckoning refrigerator case filled with those soda bottles.

Maybe that is the key……  remembering.  The pain.  The chills.  The victory of overcoming.

Aren’t we supposed to do that with Jesus?  Remember?  Yes, remember.  That is why we have communion.  That is why we have Christmas and Easter.  Remember.

When I begin to sin….. falter from the truth…… or become distracted from ministry….. I should be able to recall Jesus’ death.  The pain in which He suffered.  The blood being spilled.  I should hear the angry mob calling for His torture and ultimately His death.

That should shake me in my boots.

But it is easier for me to remember the soda withdrawal……. is it because I have had the first hand experience of that pain??

Maybe.

But.

When I think about it…… I have suffered so much pain.  Loss of my mother, loss of relationships, loss of an unborn child, loss of a best friend…… back pain, allergic reactions that prevented me to breath…..pain.  I have experienced first hand the pain that life brings.

Plus, I have experienced grace.  Redemption. Agape Love……. Overcoming.

So why don’t I remind myself?

That may be the ultimate question that I can not answer. (I know what you are thinking…. how can, Regina, all knowing not answer the question??)

It is a choice.  That is what it boils down to……  a simple choice.  I chose to remember day three. I don’t choose the image of Christ being tortured, bleeding and dying.

Perhaps.  Just perhaps.  It isn’t a matter of remembering at all….. Rather…. choosing.