Monday, February 8, 2016

The LifeGiving Home Give-away


       I have spent a week trying to wax poetic, to compose passionate words compelling you to purchase Sally Clarkson's newest book, The LifeGiving Home, a book I believe in with all of my heart.    Poetic verse has yet to occur but memories have flooded my mind in some strongly emotional ways as I have pondered what a LifeGiving home is and how I  have experienced one.  Sally's children share wonderful memories of  Sunday afternoon Tea Time.  As I heard these stories at MomHeart conferences then read them in this book visions of Downton Abby flooded my mind.  It all seemed so perfect, so beautiful ~ fancy china and petite fours.    On rare occasions I have experienced an event such as this but it certainly has not been a regular occurrence in my life. 
 TEA TIME in my life looked a bit different but left an indelible mark of love on my heart.
     I grew up in northern Maine, about a mile from the Canadian border.  This resulted in a strong English influence on my life.    My Grandmother, a hard-working, faithful, gentle potato farmer's wife, interrupted the labors of each afternoon with a pot of brewed tea and a sweet treat.  My brother and I  share a common bond of drinking strong tea diluted with canned evaporated milk just the way Grammie used to make it for us.  We are both serious sugar addicts as well since each Tea Time included some form of home-baked goodie, brownies, cookies, date squares or the ever present donuts, freshly made donuts, often still warm from the fryer.   Uncle and Grampie would come in from the fields, cracking a joke (or muttering a curse, depending on the cooperation of the farm machinery) knowing there would be delicious treats to energize them for the remaining day's labors. 
     In The LifeGiving Home, Sarah Clarkson answers the question of what her parents did to make her believe in God,
     " 'I think it was French toast on Saturday mornings and coffee and Celtic music and discussions and candlelight in the evenings...'   Because in those moments I tasted and saw the goodness of God in a way I couldn't ignore."
      I, too, saw God's goodness in a way I couldn't ignore when I drank tea and ate yummy donuts with my Grammie, when she donned her white sun hat while we  picked berries  for delicious pies, or when I observed her reading her Bible and finishing  her Sunday School lesson on Saturday night for our time together in church on Sunday morning.  God's love shone through her love and it was GOOD!
       Each time I brew a pot of tea this memory wraps around me like a child's tattered, cherished blanket warming me with the assurance that I was and am loved.  Though Grammie is gone, her love remains true in the memories.  As a child I had no idea of the sacrifice required for her to fry donuts every week, to furnish a well-stocked pantry of brownies and cookies, or to cook each meal from scratch, often after working all day in the potato house or standing for hours in the cold, fall air on a potato harvester.   All  I knew was that the goodness of the food I tasted echoed the goodness of my grandmother's love.

      The feasts I created for my children were a bit different.  Warm chocolate chip cookies on a snowy day, "McMom's" ~ chicken nuggets and french fries served in a recycled McDonald's Happy Meal box, and birthday dinners of made from scratch  chicken pot pie all conveyed the same message, You Are Loved.

    In The LifeGiving Home Sally and Sarah Clarkson share a Mother-Daughter perspective on the safety and refuge of HOME, the place to belong and to become all that God created you to become.   Home will look different for each one of us, whether it be a tiny house or a grand mansion,  but the practical ideas of building faith, family and friendship cross all boundaries. 

       I believe so heartily in the truth of The LifeGiving Home I will be giving away one book set, The LifeGiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming with The LifeGiving Home Experience: a 12-month Guided Journey.  I will also be giving away a CD of Joel Clarkson's original compositions, Music for the LifeGiving Home. 

 Simply share a comment, a memory of home or a family story below to be entered in this drawing.  Winners will be chosen Wednesday, February 10.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Jesus Loves Me, Cookies Tell Me So

  G-d has shown up in so many loving, personal ways today, from blogposts to Shepherd’s pie. 
         A caring friend called and we chatted for quite a while.   In the course of our conversation she mentioned the same Christian counselor whose name has been recommended to me recently , numerous times, in random situations, from dear friends and from people I barely know.   

 So I called.   
   I began a word document of women’s retreat information for our meeting tonight and as I was almost done, feeling a bit overwhelmed, I opened my email to find this:  

Which reminded me of two very important things.
#1 – PRAY - Have we really prayed about having this retreat?
#2 – ACT – if G-d is in it,  the speaker, facility, attendees, every detail down to the ice breakers will all fall into place whether we have 14 months or four months to plan. 

I had minor surgery last week and if you haven’t learned this life lesson let me enlighten you.  Church friends feed you well!  All weekend sitting on the sofa like a slug, my foot looking like the return of the mummy, I longed for a chocolate chip cookie but I couldn’t ask.  That would be so selfish.   So G-d asked for me, delivering them to my door in the arms of a precious friend who, let me tell you, knows how to pamper a girl!   After that another awesome friend showed up with my favorite comfort food in the whole wide world…. Shepherd’s Pie!   This is not one of my family’s favorites so I don’t make it often but today G-d knew... I needed to feel the LOVE!  

Back to the computer to open another email sent from my Heavenly Father, (ok, G-d doesn’t really have an email address but today I was starting to wonder).

Today’s email brought a request to man the book table for a well-known speaker at a women’s conference.  The funny thing is when I first received the flyer about this conference I glared at my husband and commented on the fact that I know many of these speakers personally, have attended training conferences with them in the past few years.   How come my name isn’t on here?  The reality is that there are a lot of reasons for that, the primary one being that G-d doesn’t want my name there… yet.  And today I was thrilled to be asked to come alongside one of these speakers and hold up her arms.  

How personal is your G-d?  Do you believe He cares about the little things?  I know Christians who pray for parking spots and I know others who believe G-d’s parenting style is a bit more hands off.   Either way time in the trenches has taught me that G-d is there, when I need Him and when I think I don't.

And I love that He gives me Shepherd’s pie and chocolate chip cookies!