Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ironing with God

The first thing I did this morning was iron RB's shirts.  I'll be in Pennsylvania with my parents and then enjoy a mini vacation with my sister.  I want to do everything possible to ensure the household runs smoothly while I am away.  Thus the shirt ironing. (RB's version: "Want to make sure everything's ironed out before my departure!")

I've had many people tell me if you take shirts out of the dryer right away you don't have to iron them. I've even been given the brand of shirts that never need ironing.  However I have yet to see a shirt to come out of the dryer with a crisp crease down the sleeve or with starched collars.  And my man sure does love his stiffly starched shirts.

For some reason, looking at the row of shirts I ironed reminded me of having a stiff upper lip.  Fortitude in the face of adversity.  Those of you who love the English humorist,  P. G. Wodehouse, will recall reading "Keep a Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves."
"I accepted the situation...though stunned I kept..."
"A stiff upper lip?"
The Apostle Paul put it this way, "Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power" (Ephesians 6:10).  There are days when my patience is tried.  When the knot I tied at the end of the rope is unraveling.  In the middle of rope issues, I can be assured the Lord I serve will hand me another rope.

I didn't realize how many times God promises strength in His Word.  Here are a few:

The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him. (Nahum 1:7)

Fear thou not; for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen you; yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness. (Isaiah 41:10)

That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man. (Ephesians 3:16-21)

In the day when I cried you answered me, and strengthened me with strength in my soul. (Psalm 138:3)

I will go in the strength of the Lord God. (Psalm 46:1-3)

God is our refuge and strength. (Psalm 71:16)

He shall strengthen thine heart. (Psalm 27:14)

My heart spilled over while reading these Scriptures.  Telling myself to have a stiff upper lip took on new meaning. Finding fortitude in adversity isn't a deep hole without light.  I don't have to face my trials alone, because God has promised strength -- not only promised it, but He is our strength.  

The secret is in the verse from Nahum: ....knows them that trust in him.  Starched Stiff.  Just like RB's shirts.  When I trust, God adds the starch.
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sitting Under the Shelter Tree

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.  ~Leo Buscaglia

Encouraging Others
What I love about shelter sightings is that everyone's tree looks just a bit different. I sit under Avis' tree and am blessed by her appreciation of my writings. I sit under Melanie's tree and am sheltered with fun surprises -- a magazine, a container of cookies she baked for her family, a blog link she knows I'll love. I think sometimes we think sheltering is just the big blessings, the big gifts. To me, it's primarily the little things. It's Joann sheltering with a hug, my mother celebrating my writing accomplishments, Janene's "I'm praying for you," and Emily's "Sit still, Momma, I'll get it."

One Autumn sighting I've had is on Stephanie's Somewhat Simple blog. Stephanie came up with a special way to shelter her family by making a fun pumpkin garland. This is what she says: 
This garland is not only cute and festive, it is a sweet reminder of what we love about each person in our family. Now everyone in my family has their own hanging pumpkin telling them just a few of the reasons why their family members love them!
The second sighting is Stacey from A Delightful Home. One of the best things a momma can teach her children is to shelter. I was delighted to find this tree (you know my fixation on trees) card her children made for special people in their lives. She says:
[This is] a sweet (and earth-friendly way) the kids can show love and gratitude to special people in their life. Help your child think of specific things they appreciate about an individual and write them inside. (This is my favorite part. It is always fun to hear what children come up with!)
I've been sheltered the last couple weeks -- among them an invitation to dinner, crisp delicious apples, sweet blog comments and a letter from a blog friend.

I hope reading of these sightings will bless you as well as spark a few ideas of your own. I'd love to hear about them. Remember, it's the love bundled into the gift that blesses -- or as George MacDonald says, “the loving thought.” If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give.

God's heart smiles when we shelter.

* * * * *

Pumpkin Chocolate Bread

This is one of my new favorite shelter idea. I made it and believe me when I say it’s delicious! No reason for me to recopy the recipe. Go to Amy’s blog at My Name is Snickerdoodle. It makes a large heavy loaf. Next time I’m going to make it in smaller pans.  

And for a gift tag idea, check out these from Esther's at Shoregirl's Creations.