Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Deeply Rooted Retreat

Months ago, a friend and I signed up for the Deeply Rooted retreat. It happened to fall at the end of our evacuation and I'm so grateful that it worked out for me to go which looked a bit iffy during all the upheaval.

I'm not sure where to start at what a wonderful time this was. And I am so grateful for the opportunity to attend and be part of such a special time.

First of all, have you heard of Deeply Rooted magazine?! Here is a great overview of the mission and purpose. I love the tagline: Glorifying God in Womanhood.

I also love how it is divided into sections that really define who we are as women: Christ-Follower, Creator, Helpmate, Keeper of the Home, Mother, Individual.

The magazine is beautifully done. I have a thing about things being well done and with excellence as believers. I think our work should be high quality and even better than secular work because we represent the King of Heaven!

Anyway, the lovely team at Deeply Rooted put together their first retreat this Fall! It was so Christ honoring and Gospel-centered. In a culture where we are hearing a watered down version of the Gospel from every direction, there was some serious truth-telling going on and in all the right ways. It was just so so good.

Beautiful woodsy location, crisp air and great weather, beautifully planned attention to details and done with excellence all around. It was a joy and delight to meet up with other women who know and love God and are serving Him in their own day-to-day lives. Really, our one focus was Jesus the whole weekend. What a gift.

I have loads more photos to share and am going to pull out my notes to share some of my favorite takeaways. Exciting!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


While we were evacuated, my parents called to let me know that my Grandma {Dad's mom} had gone to be with Jesus. For various reasons it did not work out for us to go but I took an afternoon in the woods to sit and think about all the things that came to mind when I thought of her and wanted to rejoice in the memory of:

Cooking bacon for breakfast and coffee!!
Two twin beds that Grandpa had made for her. Her bed always seemed HUGE to me!!!
Flowers on her patio
Moving a lot
Liked music, liked to dance
Vibrating slippers and back massage {an E/R/S memory}
Loved ice cream!
Wearing a robe
Using her fingers to brush her hair back
Loved to laugh
Talked to herself as "Mary"
Cherry Blossoms
Angel picture over her bed
Worshiped the memory of her husband Joe
Lit up around Dad
Kept her friends for a long time
Willing to go with the flow
So proud of her family
Looked good in pink
Liked country music
Gave good hugs
Touch lamps
Glasses with "M" on them
Making peanut brittle and persimmon bread
Black walnuts
Liked handsome men
Had some spice!
Called my Dad: Danny Joe

We will miss her, but I think I will always remember my Dad's sweet words that we were there for her in life. I have also been comforted to think of how she is reunited with her husband who passed away many years ago, her brother who died as a child, her parents and so many other loved ones. All this still pales in comparison with the fact that she is in the presence of Jesus. She is healed and whole and perfectly happy.

Hope is a gift. And I can't let this opportunity go by without sharing how you can have this gift of hope too if you don't already.

I want you to know that God created you with a special and unique purpose in His kingdom. He created you for His glory. First, you must understand that God loves you so much. He loves you enough that He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to die and pay the price our sin requires. 

What is sin? Sin is anything we think, say, or do that does not please God. And oh, my friend, every single one of us has things in our lives that fall into that category. The first step in receiving this free gift is to admit that you have sinned. Just confess that in your heart right now to Him. Nothing is too big or ugly to confess. He already knows and, remember, He loves you so much.

Now you must take that always hard first step of faith. Believe that Jesus died for your sins. Believe that He loves you. Believe that when you ask for forgiveness, you have received it. 

If you would like to receive Jesus and His precious gift into your heart, you can pray something like this prayer:

Dear Jesus, I admit I am a sinner and I have done things that do not please You. I ask for Your forgiveness and believe that You sent Your Son Jesus to die in my place. I want to live forever in heaven with You. Please come into my heart and find a welcoming place here at home in me. Thank You, God, for hearing my prayer and loving me enough to save me. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Please begin to unwrap this free gift of eternal life with our heavenly Father by talking to someone you trust who knows God. Ask God for understanding when you read His Word, and ask for wisdom and guidance in any changes you need to make in your life. 

If you aren’t sure what to do next, visit  or ask a trusted friend. Souls are the only thing we can take with us for eternity, where we will experience the ultimate hope and beauty in Christ. Oh friend, how I hope you will be there with me.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Walking in Hard

I don't really know where to start in getting back into posting here. Life has been a whirlwind literally this month.

All of the storm related word pictures we are given in Scripture have taken on new meaning for me in the process of walking through a Hurricane coming through our area. There are piles of debris at the curb in front of most houses and I feel like there could be spiritual application there as well.

Thank goodness I don't have to sweep out all of my internal debris to the curb to be seen by all my neighbors. But, oh, isn't that what Christ wants for us? To sweep that debris out and let Him cleanse us?

Like the remains of this tree: look at how hollow it was inside and no one even knew it from the outside. Whenever I drive by this neighbors house, I am reminded that I don't want my life to be like that.

After my sweet friends cleaned out all the lost food from our freezers, I've opened and just looked at how empty and clean they look. It has left me feeling sort of small and sad that all the careful planning and thrifty shopping came to this. It feels hard to know that I worked hard and diligently to make extra pancakes, muffins, cooked chicken and more to keep on hand and now that is all gone.

And on the other side, I am so utterly thankful that our house was spared when I see friends around me dealing with much larger damage and difficulties. I'm also overwhelmed when walking through the grocery store at how quickly food just appears on the shelves and in the freezers. To know that these perishable foods were completely wiped out just days ago and now are fully back up to normal is overwhelming to me to consider the abundance of where we live and what we have become accustomed to.

On the upside it is actually fun to look inside my freezer and see how neat and clean it is!! It is feeling like a game and success to come up with  meals that utilize what I have and slowly rebuild our staples and stores.

My heart hurts for our little sponsor child in Haiti whose family, we were informed, lost their way of making an income during the Hurricane. I know they do not pick up and move forward as easily because of where they live.

I have taken for granted the beauty of the trees around us and yet how powerful and strong they are to do such large amounts of damage. And after finding out that thousands of trees came down in our area, it is a wonder to me that so many are still standing. How does one tree fall and the one next to it stays?

There is an abundance of stories where trees fell in just the right places away from houses, even split in two or three directions. Only God.

I have a huge list of things I need to process, things to mourn, learn from and move forward in. Not just storm related. Yet I have felt like they are coming so fast that I am holding on for dear life and not really working through any of them much yet. I'm thinking a lot about how we grieve. About God as my refuge. About numbness to so much hard in life.

I'm not looking for pity or for anyone to feel sorry, we all have a big list of hard things in our lives. I can only speak to my own set of circumstances. I know that you could rewrite this entire post with the hard you are walking through right now and maybe writing it out would be helpful as I remind myself of as well.

Comments will be turned off for at least today as making this a quiet space is something I need right now.

For now - settle your heart and mind on this:

Romans 5:1-8, "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person - though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die - but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Biltmore

Let's take a little break from talking about evacuation and talk about hurrication. My friend Jen came up with this word: hurricane + vacation = hurrication. Make the best of it, right?!

This was our one big splurge during the evacuation and I'm already so glad we went for it while we had the unexpected opportunity!

The Biltmore! Of course I'd heard of it but hadn't really known much about it - wow, what a place. I think it is providential that they day we were there was their first day of decorating for the coming Christmas season. David said he is surprised I ever left! Ha!

Emily wants to move into the library a few photos above, Rachel's favorite was the laundry room which had multiple sinks, a big roller washing machine, mangle and neat sheet drying system. I kept telling Rachel she would have that place whipped into shape in no time!

I loved this family room immediately above and also the servants quarters - they just felt much more homey to me than the lavish living quarters "above stairs" :)

The crisp Fall air and mountain views, gorgeous sunset and just doing something different were all a welcome treat in our time away! And what fun memories we made. Can you imagine cleaning 43 bathrooms?! Samuel thought that fact was especially interesting!