Who Have You Invited Lately?

This thought has been going through my mind for some time now and I figured the only way to get it out of my head is to…..say it with me……..WRITE ABOUT IT! You are good!

When I became a believer as a teen, I was taught right away to share what I had experienced which is known as “witnessing.” As a very shy girl, I did my best. Many times it was very easy and other times it wasn’t. I learned how to sum up my story in a few words to get the point across. What a joy it was to actually lead someone to Christ. Which means to lead them in a prayer of salvation. I have to stop right here and explain something….terms and life has changed so much over the years. In the church world we have been told that times are a changing and we need to change our lingo in order to reach people with the gospel better. I’ve tried to change my lingo but, I always go back to what I know. What can I say.? I hope what I’m writing about makes sense. If it doesn’t, I’m always here to answer any questions. Now…where was I?

In high school, my mission was to tell as many that would listen about Jesus. Yep, I was teased a few times and put on the spot and in one class I was ostracized for using God’s Word in my speech, etc. In later years, in full time ministry, it was just a natural thing. I was always inviting people to church and Bible study. Leading neighbors and strangers to Christ was always so exciting. Many times we picked people up on the way to church. There were those times someone would say, “Yes, pick me up.” Well, you get there and they don’t answer the door and you get the message that they weren’t interested. That was my world for many years. My favorite story is when we pastored a tiny church and we had one car. My husband would go to the church early on Sunday mornings and get things read and study. Then he would come back and pick me and our two babies up. We would then pick up a lady that lived in government housing on the other side of town. She had I don’t know how many kids…it was a bunch of stair stepped cute little kiddos. Her husband was an alcoholic and we had the privilege of sending him to a home for alcoholics that the late Jerry Falwell started. We would be piled up in our car Sunday after Sunday until they moved on to another town…I have no idea how we all fit!

I miss those days…..sometimes!

While serving as a women’s ministry director for several years….one of my favorite things to do was invite women to everything we had. Every Bible study, every event, every class….it kept me busy because we had a lot going to reach as many women as possible. I met many new friends. I carried cards with all the information on it. When we had an event, it was natural for me to ask everyone I knew to it. I was excited and I wanted everyone to hear and see what was going on. Most of all to be encouraged with what Christ can and will do in our lives. Everyone needs encouragement and I think everyone needs Christ in their lives. So, why wouldn’t I invite everyone I knew and met while out and about?

I have a feeling you are probably that way, too. You don’t want anyone to miss out on anything that would help someone in their walk with Christ, right?

I have noticed that not everyone thinks like we do. You have no idea how many times I have listened to people talk about their Bible studies they attend, their church group, special events and ministries….and no mention of inviting anyone to join them. They go year after year, week after week and the thought never enters their mind to invite someone to join them or make sure someone doesn’t need to be encouraged somehow.

We might be surprised how many people are looking for a connection. How many women are needing some fellowship (there’s that old fashioned word) or some encouragement and just need an invite to whatever we are doing.

Has someone visited your church, study group or event and you are wondering where they are? Maybe you need to check on them and make sure they felt welcome and are invited back. It takes a big step to walk into a place alone…uninvited. Don’t be the one, who just wonders who someone is and then wonders where they are the next week when they don’t show back up. Do something about it. Even if you have to start your own ministry in reaching out to visitors.

I’ve been in a lot of churches and study groups as a visitor and a new member and I could tell you some crazy stories, but, we will save that for another time.

My challenge for you is to make a list of people that you are in contact with that don’t have a place to study or go to church. Then one by one, do something about it.

Think back to when you became a believer or joined a new church or Bible study group. How did you know about it? Why did you go back?

I believe we have a huge responsibility other than the “us four and no more attitude.” It’s probably one of the most important responsibilities we have. We have no idea who is struggling in their faith, in their walk…..in just life!

Many times we get comfortable in our church and our special groups and we forget the main reason we are even still here. We need to step out of our box and look around. Who needs just a little nudge or a fresh start somewhere. We all have a tendency to get so busy with doing, we don’t stop and look around to what is really important…..reaching out to others!

I can’t wait to hear about you making a difference in someones life by just one simple invitation!

Fabulous Living in the Empty Nest Years

I have the honor of having new friends and lifelong friends who are my age or older. I thought it would be fun to share some of the amazing people that I know who haven’t let the empty nest years slow them down. Some have reinvented themselves after all the cuties have flown the nest and some have just kept on keepin’ on doing what they have always done.

I know that some people enter this season of life without a thought or care and then there are some like me who think….”Oh my, now what do I do?” “What’s my purpose?” “Does anything I do make a difference?” “People aren’t interested in what a 50 plus woman thinks or does.” “So much for 20 year goals…I may not even be here.” Sounds like a pity party, doesn’t it? Well, I refuse to have a pity party. I want to embrace this season of life with all that God designed for me with all that I have…. and I know you do, too!

My husband and I are enjoying our season of empty nest as much as possible. We have been traveling and seeing things that I only dreamed of. We enjoy our kids and grandkids and love being around them. I don’t take anything for granted and I know where my blessings come from and because of God’s amazing grace am I able to do the things that we are able to partake in.

I know I have some young moms and even singles that are readers of my blog. That makes me happy. I want to encourage you that someday, you will enjoy life after you have raised your children. I always struggled with that thought as I couldn’t imagine living without my children close by. Yes, I’m one of those. I love being a mom. Now I have the joy of being a Mimi and watching my children in their marriages and as parents. My heart smiles when I think of my children as adults and I will hold the memories of them as little ones that depended on me for everything in my heart forever. Seasons of life are sometimes hard to get used to, but, if we are prepared, it will make it easier. Personally, I wasn’t prepared. I’m still learning.

All that to say….I really hope these articles of introducing you to some amazing ladies will only inspire and encourage you for the future. Also, for those like me….it’s never too late to be inspired and make any changes that need to be made. Are you ready to meet my first inspirational friend?

I met Rhodema 4 years ago. She and her husband were moving to our area from East Texas and the leader of a writer’s group that she was a member of, gave her my email address to see if there were any writer’s groups in her new city. Rhodema is a writer. She has been published in a few magazines and is working on a historical fiction book.

When I received her email and answered her questions, I also told her to contact me when she made the move and we would go to lunch. Once she got moved and all settled, she contacted me and we attended a writer’s group and also went to lunch and became instant friends. We were the same age and had a lot in common.

Rhodema had recently lost her father whom she loved very much. She has four grown children and 4 grandchildren who are basically all around the world. Rhodema homeschooled her children through graduation. Her oldest is married and has 4 adorable children and she and her husband are medical missionaries in a far away country. Another daughter is a nurse at a hospital in another city. Another daughter is a Moody Bible Institute graduate and is in the process of moving to another country as well. Her youngest is an aspiring actor in Hollywood and has been in several television shows and movies.

Rhodema is also the wife (38 years) of a busy doctor who has his own practice. So, you can see she has a busy and full life. Once she moved to her new city and oh, so far away from family, friends and church, she found herself in the throws of the empty nest world. She loves writing and she loves gardening and that kept her pretty busy, but, she felt something was still missing. The quietness was still hard to get used to. So one day, she picked up a paint brush and gave it a whirl. She loved it! She enrolled in some painting classes and joined a painters club.

Long story short…..

This very week, she is a featured artist with over 40 pieces of her work on display and for sale at a local venue. She is now known as a local artist of our city.

If all of that isn’t enough, she is also a tutor for some college age students and she volunteers for a mission in our city.

I hope you have enjoyed getting to know my friend, Rhodema! If you would like to follow her on some of her social media, here are her links:

Website

Instagram

Pinterest

A couple of years ago, I shared in a post, a friend of mine in Oklahoma who is also an artist. She is another one who picked up a paint brush one day and is now a well known artist. Click here to read about my friend, Karin and follow her work. She is amazing!

Yes, I picked up a brush and tried to paint. It didn’t work. I just don’t have it, evidently! I know many artists and it seems everyone has their own style and what fun it is to watch them in all of their creativity. I can do a stick figure and that is about it.

Thanks for being a reader of my blog and I hope you will subscribe and receive updates in your inbox each time I make a new post. I’m trying to build my reader list. If that isn’t your thing, that is okay. I do hope you will come back and visit again. My desire is that you will be inspired and encouraged by something you read.

Until next time….

Do You Bounce The Ball Back?

When my kids were young I taught them how to bounce the ball back. No, I’m not talking about a real ball or even the game of basketball. Although, Nathan was a good little basketball player when he was growing up. I loved watching him play. I’ll have to share with you sometime soon about me starting a basketball team. Yes, you read that correctly. It was a hilarious experience. Well, it wasn’t hilarious at the time…..but, now when I think of it…..I can’t help but laugh. But, for today, I wanted to talk about bouncing the ball back to others.

Several years ago I was attending my first writers conference. I didn’t know a soul there. During break, I was sitting on a sofa in the lobby and a lady was sitting close by. We started chatting…..just small talk. I could have easily, just said, “nice to meet you” and gone on my way. But, between this sweet lady and myself, we ended up in a deep conversation. Today, she is one of my very dear friends and someone I look up to for wisdom. On another occasion, I received an email from someone I didn’t know. She had been given my name from someone that knew of me in the Dallas area. She took a chance and sent me an email to ask if I knew of any writers groups in my city since she was moving here. I could have easily just forwarded her the information. Long story short, I wrote her back and asked a few questions and made it a point to contact her when she made the move to my city and we went to lunch and from there, we became close friends. She is an encourager in my life and an inspiration to me.

That is what I mean by bouncing the ball back. When someone reaches out to you…..reach back….bounce the ball back. When someone says, good morning as you are out shopping or sitting in church, tell them the same and add something to maybe get a conversation going. You never know what could become of that.

How many times have we sat in church waiting for the service to start and everyone is just sitting there staring straight ahead not speaking. Reach out and strike up a conversation with someone. I know….there are many people who don’t want to talk and they aren’t interested….you just go to the next person. Or, how about maybe not even a conversation. How about a smile or a pat on the shoulder and say something positive to them, such as, “I love your shoes.” Maybe you don’t love their shoes…there has to be something about everyone that would be easy to compliment.

A smile is the easiest. I just got in from doing some shopping. I passed a lady on the way to my car. I smiled at her and she said, “What a beautiful smile.” Isn’t that sweet? I don’t think I have a pretty smile, but, she was so kind. I want to be like that, don’t you? When you pass people who are in a hurry, just smile. If they don’t smile back, that is okay. When they smile at you, smile back and say, “hi!” So easy.

A few years ago, I was leaving church and a lady stopped me. She had her arms folded and looked down at me with a look that seemed she wasn’t too sure of me. She said, “Who are you… and where did you come from!” I proceeded to tell her my name and that my husband and I had moved back to the area, blah blah blah. She never changed expressions. She wasn’t impressed. I then excused myself and left. A few days later, I was walking through a department store and I saw this same lady checking out at a counter. I walked over and patted her and said “Hi, how are you doing?” She looked over at me as if I were bothering her and as she looked me up and down she then said “fine!” and turned around and walked away. From that day forward, I kept my ball from her. I was no longer going to try. There is something about me that I don’t like too much and that is, I have a tendency to give up on trying to win people over. Especially, people that are rude and mean spirited. Granted, I know that if I keep trying, someone may come around. I have tried working with someone in ministry purposely that I knew without a doubt didn’t like me…..I never won them over. It’s hard work and it takes a lot of humility. I’m a very discerning person and I usually know when someone is purposely rude, is shy, is going through a hard time, or just doesn’t have any manners. It’s easy to be patient and keep bouncing the ball back to them except for the purposely rude ones. They take much patience and prayer. Then there are always the genuinely kind and happy people. They are a piece of cake! We all need people like that in our lives, don’t we? WE can be that type of person for others.

With this day of social media, it’s interesting as well. Have you ever been friends with someone on social media and then when you meet them in person, they have nothing to say or they don’t really want to acknowledge you. But, on Facebook you know everything about them; what they ate for dinner, where they went for vacation, who their friends are, what they like and don’t like and even when they can’t sleep. If we were that interested in talking face to face, we would probably have some really “true friends” wouldn’t we?

Then we have texting and comments on your social media. If someone goes to the trouble of looking our name up and then taking time to type out something or share a picture with us, we should always respond. Not answering a text or a comment on your social media pages to me is like just not answering someone if they were talking to you face to face. Or turning your back on them. We would never do that, would we? Well, there might be some people that would. -wink!

On my Facebook, memories from up to 5 or more years ago will pop up. I love looking at pictures and reading what was going on years ago. A couple of times I cringe when I see that someone left a comment and I never responded. All I can think of is that I never saw it. I’m so tempted to comment back, but, this particular one that I recently saw was from 6 years ago. If I comment, the picture will start circulating again….how embarrassing. So, I just learn from that and I carefully acknowledge anytime someone takes the time to connect or comment now.

You may be saying….”Beverly, what makes you such an expert on this subject?” Well, I’m not….I’m learning everyday. I blow it too many times in this area and I can probably recall each time I did and regret it horribly. I was extremely shy growing up and I basically still am….I just work at it really hard. When I was about 15 or so, I had a man at church shake my hand as I was walking out and he he called me “stuck up!” It hurt deeply and I was determined to not let people think that of me ever again. I’m sure they did as I was shall I say, “painfully shy!” So, I’m a work in progress and I’ve worked hard at it. No expert….just a crazy girl trying to be all that God created me to be!

Bouncing the ball back is hard sometimes. You may be humbled or you may make a new best friend. Who knows, you may be able to share some good news with someone who is going through a hard time or is in desperate need of a Savior. Even though it’s hard at times, the rewards are worth it.

I have a challenge for us today:

Bounce the ball back……….or better yet, you bounce first!

Until next time….

Iris, A Special Lady

Today is the Iris’ birthday. The only problem is, I can’t call her and wish her a happy 91st birthday. Iris passed away 4 months ago.

I met Iris about 25 years ago. I had just started a local group with Concerned Women For America. Iris was very active in local politics, church life, leadership in Eagle Forum and in her spare time she loved her work as a Landman. She traveled across the country doing land work.

Iris taught me everything I needed to know about politics. I traveled to Washington D.C. with her to Eagle Council as well as St. Louis. I met Phylis Schlafly a couple of times along with Clarence Thomas and numerous other conservative leaders. Iris was active in our local Republican Women’s group and encouraged me to do so as well. I attended three Texas State Republican Conventions as a delegate. I learned more about politics than I cared to know. It is all very exciting and at the same time “politics.” Many times someone that was running for political office would come to town and Iris would be the one to take them to all the “important people” to ask for their support and I had the pleasure of driving several of them to their various appointments.

Iris loved her country and she prayed faithfully for God to continue to bless our country in a great and mighty way. She loved her son and grandson with everything that she had. Iris became a single mom when her son was very young. She did an excellent job in raising him. She also cared for her mother until she passed away.

When Iris was young, she was a Rangerette at Kilgore College. I loved to hear her stories about those days. She went on to graduate from Baylor University.

When I first met Iris, she put together a tour to various small towns around our city and had a team of speakers on different subjects. At the time, I was working with Concerned Women for America and our goal was to rid our community of pornography. That’s a whole story in itself, but, Iris convinced me to give a speech on what pornography does to a community as well as families. It took a lot of convincing and a lot of prayer to get up in front of a room full of strangers and speak on that subject. Iris always encouraged me in my speaking and my writing. Every time I talked to her, she would ask me about my book or where I spoke last. She also loved my family. She prayed for each one of them and always said the kindest things about each one. She loved my Jim and even made sure that he would preach her funeral. She was confident he would share the gospel. She knew everything about both of our kids and their lives and prayed for each one regularly. She loved my mom and always asked about her.

Iris introduced me to a lady named Carol over 25 years ago and we have been dear friends since that day. Together we have traveled on a regular basis to visit Iris when she moved to be closer to her son. What a time we had. Iris could walk, but, we could get places so much faster if we pushed Iris in a wheel chair. When we visited, Iris was ready to go shopping, eating out and going to church. We kept the road hot in The Woodlands for the 3-4 days that we visited each time. Iris lost her eye sight the last few years of her life, but you would have never known it. She insisted on going to movies, especially, the movies that our son worked on. She wanted to know every detail. Iris needed hearing aids and rarely wore them, so, what fun Carol and I would have wheeling Iris around to shopping centers, restaurants, movie theaters and church while talking very loud and describing everything we see.

The last couple of years Iris spoke a lot about Heaven. She told me she couldn’t wait to get there and see Jesus face to face. We talked on the phone about that for hours. She wanted to listen to books on tape about Heaven. Right before she passed away, she had a trip planned to go to The Cove, the home of Billy Graham and the Bible Museum in Washington DC. Not much slowed Iris down. Carol and a I would get home from our trips with Iris and have to take a couple of days to rest. I was the driver of our excursions once we got to The Woodlands. Iris would sit in the front seat with me and even though she couldn’t see a thing, she always knew if I made a wrong turn or not. She could tell me where to go and how to get there. She would describe the location and what the place looked like that we were driving to. She also heard everything Carol and I would say when we were trying to figure out our plans for the day. She was a smart little cookie! Nothing got passed Iris!

One last story to share that makes me smile when I think about it. About 4 years ago, I was having lunch with Iris and she asked if I would take her to Roswell. Roswell is a few hours from our city and I told her that sounded good and I would check my calendar and let her know for sure if and when. I talked to Jim, checked my calendar and called her and asked her when she would like to go to Roswell. She said, “Honey, I didn’t say Roswell, I said Toronto, Canada.” Long story short, her son took her to Toronto.

Here is a link to a post I did years ago of a recipe Iris gave me. Click here to read.

Happy Birthday, Iris! I know you are seeing such beauty and hearing the sweet voice of our Savior!

Do You Send Notes of Encouragement?

I have been cleaning out some files and getting rid of things like crazy lately.  I came across a file that I had stuffed notes and letters in while serving in women’s ministry for several years.  I just couldn’t part with them.  So many were so kind and so thoughtful, I just couldn’t toss them.  I sat down today and read through them.  I remember reading many of these when I received them and they touched me.  But, today, my heart was extremely tender and I wept as I went through them and even laughed with some of the funny comments.  I will cherish each one of these notes forever. Since I couldn’t throw them away, I made a notebook and punched holes in the letters and then put all the note cards in page protectors. While reading through these, my heart was happy to hear about how the Lord had made some amazing changes in peoples lives and how they were striving to live a life for Christ.  I believe God was glorified in so many ways during this ministry.

As I put my notebook up on the shelf, I couldn’t help but think how important it is that we lift one another up with kind words and notes of encouragement.

In our day of social media and busy, busy, busy, I would like to challenge us to take the time to lift someone up.

We all have different personalities and love languages.  Some people may even call them “quirks.”  We all respond in different ways to things according to our personalities.  I have a feeling though, that most people love having a note of thanks or just simply, “I’m thinking of you, today.”

One of my love languages is affirmation.  I LOVE affirming words.  I’m not sure where it all came from, but, if I go without hearing any type of affirmation in what I’m doing or even how I look, I will begin to feel like a total failure.  I know….what can I say?   I always remind myself that what I do is for Christ and I shouldn’t need affirmation as long as I’m living my life as Christ would have me to.  But, let me tell you, if I get a note, a call or even told in person that I’m doing a good job, I’m ready to set the world on fire.  I’m ready to do more.  There you go, now you know one of my weaknesses.  I might need to hear that my weakness is okay from someone. (wink, wink)

Okay, back to my challenge…

NOTECARDS:

Purchase or make some note cards and put them close by so you can grab at a moments notice.  Keep stamps handy.  I have a basket full of note cards.  I’m addicted to cute note cards.  Whenever I see a cute set of notecards at the store, I grab them.  You can find all prices.  Find some that look like you.  So when people open up that card, they see you as they read your words.  I’ve had to make a habit of also picking up more masculine cards.  When I’ve wanted to send a thank you to my son, son-in-law and grandsons, I’ve had to wade through all the hearts, flowers and glitter.  So you might want to have something that would appeal to a guy. *Emails and texts are great, too.  But, you just can’t beat a handwritten card sometimes.

HEARTFELT WORDS:

Your words can change someones day.  You never ever know what someone is going through.  Your note doesn’t have to be long and drawn out.  Get straight to the point and tell them why you thought of them and what it is that you admire about them that day.  Or maybe their face popped up in your mind and you just wanted to let them know that you are thinking of them.  If they have made a difference in your life, tell them exactly what it was that helped you.  The important thing is to be real and honest with your words.

MAKE IT A HABIT:

Make a habit of being thankful.  When you have a thankful heart, you want to share it.  As soon as someone is on your heart, sit down and write out a quick note.  If you are somewhere and you can’t do that, then, put it on your to do list.  Trust me, you will forget if you don’t and it will be easy to say, “Oh well, I’ll do something later.”  It’s possible you might regret not ever letting someone know how you feel about them.

GO TO THE MAILBOX OR HIT SEND:

Only procrastinators will understand this tip.

There you go!  How easy is that?  A simple note will make someone’s day, I can almost promise.

Oh, one last tip….

SAVE YOUR NOTES THAT YOU RECEIVE:

You will be glad that you saved all those kind notes and letters someday.  File them neatly in a system that works for you.  When you are having one of those days where you think, “What have I done with my life and did I even make a difference anywhere?”…..you will be glad you held on to the kind and encouraging notes from friends and family…..and even strangers. *if you happen to get any hateful notes….just throw them away.  Don’t let someones hatefulness ruin your day….that is what it was intended for….to make you feel defeated and to ruin your day.  Those that really love you and care about you, would never send you a hateful note or letter.  So, since they don’t care anything about you, why let it bother you?

Okay…I just had a thought!  What if you don’t ever receive any kind notes or letters?  #1 – You may need a new set of friends #2 – check up to see if you are encouraging others with your words of kindness and deeds. #3 – It’s never too late to start!  You can do it!

Can We Be Friends?

I have been blessed with some dear friends.  I know you have, too.

I think it is important to affirm others and lift them up, don’t you?  We live in a fast paced world and everyone is so busy… I have a feeling stopping to edify someone isn’t on most people’s daily to do list.

“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another…” I Thessalonians 5:11

A good place to start, is with our family.  Do they know how much you care and how proud you are of them?  Is there someone that needs to hear your voice today?  If you can’t call, you might send a card and share your heart with them.  It just might change someone’s day.

Several years ago, I was told something that wounded me to the core.  They said,”Just because we are related doesn’t mean I would or want to your friend.  If I saw you walking down the street, you would be the last person I would be friends with!”  I know, right!?  Is that how it feels to be stabbed?  Maybe?

When family and friendship means so much to you, words like that will make you leery and scared to be who you really are.  Afraid you won’t be accepted or liked.  It’s easy to stay to yourself and not put yourself out there to risk being told cruel things about yourself.  Who needs that in their life?  Not me!

There comes a time when you have to move on and realize that isn’t how the Lord intends you to live.  He wants us to enjoy our family and to have friends.  Encouraging and edifying others is how we are to live.  Get busy with making the world a better place by seeing the good in others and being friendly.  We all have a purpose and wonderful to be able to share it with others.

We have such an amazing God, don’t we?  He gives us just what we need when we need it.  I believe one of those things are friends.  Think about your friends for a second.  How did you become friends?  Did it involve you taking a chance and just being kind to someone?  Maybe just being interested in them?  Caring who they are, where they’ve been, where they are going?  All it takes is being interested in others and then truly caring for them.   Do all your friends look and act just like you.  Dress alike, talk alike, think alike?  Granted, that is fun to have someone that you think just alike, but how about those that have different things to offer.  Don’t ever think that because someone lives differently than you could never be your friend.  As in the person that told me they would never be my friend and made it a priority to make fun of my dress, my lifestyle, how I raised my kids, etc.   Instead of focusing on the differences and ridiculing them, it could be that we should look at our differences and learn from one another and we just might find that we really aren’t all that different.

When we lived in Oklahoma, I went to a co-op meeting that I heard about and wanted to learn more about ordering organic food.  I didn’t know much about this, but I wanted to learn more.  When my order came in, I drove to the home of the lady that the food was delivered to.  I should mention I got lost a couple of times while driving to her house as she lived on a ranch with horses, gardens and lifestyle that was so different than mine.  She homeschooled like me and I was excited that we had that in common.  Only she had nine children and I had two.  So many interesting and different things about her world.  They even had a family band and all the children played a different instrument.  I was intrigued.  Instead of getting my order and leaving, I felt like the Lord had given me a chance to meet someone very interesting that I needed to hear from.  Since that day, I gained a friend that I still have after 15 years.  We live far apart, but I know she is there and I love hearing and seeing all that she does to fill her days.  She recently left a comment on one of my blog posts and she gave me permission to use it.  I share it to show that yes, you can be different and still have a special friendship.

“Loved reading this post!!! I’ve always marveled at how different we are in our tastes, you are so stylish and glittery and I’m just kind of a down to earth natural with very little fashion style, but it really surprised me to read that all the things that you can’t do, I can… I knit, I draw/paint, I do play piano, even though I haven’t for years. I think it is just our different ways of expressing beauty. 🙂”

One of my memories with this friend is the time we met at a tea room for lunch.  As we were talking about various things she got tears in her eyes as she was sharing.  I reached in my purse and got her a tissue and handed it to her.  This wasn’t an ordinary tissue, it was a leopard print tissue.  She then looked at it and started laughing and said, “Of course it is.”

How sad it would be if I would have let that friendship pass due to being “different.”  She has been a huge inspiration in my life!  By the way, if you want to be inspired by her, visit her website.  She is an amazing  and beautiful artist. (I can’t even draw a stick figure!)  Click here to visit her.  By the way, I think she is very stylish!

I just have to share one more friend with you.

Alicia and I met years ago before Jim and I got married.  We didn’t really get close until our kids were almost grown.  What fun we have had.  Yes, we are as different as night and day but yet we have so much in common.  How does that work?  We’ve laughed ourselves silly and prayed for each others kiddos….and now grandkiddos.

To give you an idea of just how different we are in a few things, maybe the picture will help explain.

Alicia would rather haul a pile of wood to the other side of her property and wrap a chain around the trunk of a tree, get in her Mule and pull it out of the ground.  Then go ride a horse for the afternoon.  Me?  Not so much!  But, yet, I love getting together with her and learning all that she has to share.  Alicia can cook an amazing meal at the drop of a hat! Me… I have to plan and think about it for a while.  She is strong and isn’t afraid of too much.  One time many years ago, when my husband was the Jr. High Director of our church, Alicia and I decided to go decorate the bulletin boards one late afternoon.  We were upstairs working away and all of the sudden the lights went out.  It was as dark as dark could be.  Alicia had the stapler in her hand and so we headed downstairs in the dark and I held on to her shirt.  She had her stapler out just in case a monster or whatever was in the building. The main switch was all the way downstairs.  We had to walk all the way down the hall, down the stairs in the dark to get to the main switch.  It seems someone that was in the office had left for the day and turned all the lights off thinking no one was in the building.  Yes, she was my hero that day!  I would have had a heart attack if I were there by myself.  I wouldn’t be writing this right now…I’d be long gone!  I told you she was brave!

Thank you to these two ladies who have loved me, prayed for me and most of all, I can call you, My Friend!

I hope you have had the blessing of a friend that is not a cookie cutter image of you and loves you just as you are!

I would love to share more

but, I will save it for another day….

Is there someone you need to call or send a note to, today?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friends Are Forever

May I introduce you to my friend, Karin Naylor?

I’m pretty sure the year was 2000.  Our family had moved to Edmond, Oklahoma with our family business.  We leased a house since we didn’t know how long we would be there.  It was a beautiful house and in a very nice neighborhood.  I loved living in Edmond.  The neighborhood didn’t seem too friendly, but I stayed busy with homeschooling, exploring the Oklahoma City area  and trying to get situated in a new church.    Other than the neighborhood, Edmond folks were very friendly.

Our daughter and I were interested in learning how to cook healthy and we found a co-op that you could order organic food from.  When I made the phone call to get information, little did I know that the lady that answered my call would turn out to be a dear friend who has inspired me for the last 15 years.

I drove to Karin’s house to pick up my order and she lived several miles outside of town on a ranch.  I was intrigued with her and her entire family.  Karin and her husband Scott have 9 children.  The talent in this family amazed me.  Everything from cooking, gardening, horses, chickens, wood working and they even had a family band.  We would go out and all the them would pull out their guitars and all kinds of instruments and do a concert for us.

I could talk forever about how amazing Karin is to me and all the ways that she has encouraged me with  her life.  I wanted to share her with you.  Enjoy my interview with Karin Naylor.

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Beverly:  Karin, thank you for allowing me to introduce you to everyone.  Can you share a little bit about you and your family?

Karin:     I’m married to a wonderful Christian man, and I have 9 children and 3 grand-children. I started home schooling in 1985 when my second daughter was in 6th grade. We were not happy with several things that were happening at the school she was attending, and when my daughter brought home a very inappropriate book that her class was to read we confronted the principle about it. He stood up for the book, and consequently, we took her out of school in the middle of the year. The next year I also taught my son who was in 9th grade and my third daughter who was in third grade. I have never regretted our decision. Our family kept growing and we kept learning and in 1998 we started playing music together and traveled around sharing the gospel for about 10 years. My youngest son graduated from home school in 2008, and that is when I began learning to paint.

Naylor Band

Beverly:  Will you share how you became a Christian?

Karin:      My story with Jesus begins when I was married the first time. I was not raised in a Christian home, but I had a very wonderful childhood. My parents were good to my brother and me. I was influenced by the “peace and love” hippie movement in the late 1960’s/ early 70’s. When I was 19 I was in Europe traveling with a band and became pregnant with my first child. We returned to the US and got married a month before I was due. I gave birth to a beautiful little boy. When I was pregnant with my second child, my father died,and we moved to Hawaii where my mother lived. There we became involved in the New Age Movement, and with another couple moved to the Big Island to rebuild an old Buddhist temple in order to house some Buddhist teachers who were coming from Tibet. It was here that the marriage began to break up and we separated. I went back to my mother’s house with my two children. This was a very tragic time in my life and I don’t know if I would be alive today, except for my two first children and what Jesus did for me. My neighbor gave me Hal Lindsey’s book The Late Great Planet Earth …and after finishing the book I went to my bedroom and dropped down on my knees and asked, “Jesus, If you are real, please show me.” The whole room lit up and was glowing and I felt a warmth flood my body from head to toe. In front of me I saw a vision of Jesus’ face and I just knew that I knew that I knew that the Word was true. I went and found a Bible and could not stop reading it. A week later Hal Lindsey came to Honolulu and spoke in a large auditorium. My neighbor and I went to see him. When they called for the invitation to come to the front, I ran up to tell the world that I had been saved. This is how my journey began. There have been many ups and downs, but Jesus has always been faithful and true. He erased all the New Age religion from my mind and filled it with longing for Him and His ways.

He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. Psalms 40:2

Seeking the Lost Sheep
Beverly:  What has been your greatest joy in motherhood and what has been the hardest?

Karin:      I have always loved being a mother. My first child gave me a purpose in life. Each one is such a treasure to me. My greatest joy is seeing my children come to know Jesus in their own way, to watch and stand in awe at the incredible maturity they have spiritually. The hardest is when my children have turned from God. My first child turned 18 and told me he did not know if he believed in God or not, and to this day has refused Christ. One of my other sons was a prodigal for 6 years, and I am so praiseful that he has reconciled with us and with God. I began a ministry at that time called Mothers of Prodigals, and a blog Helping Hurting Parents of Prodigals. My heart goes out to parents with prodigals.

Beverly:  Did you have a role model growing up of a healthy marriage, motherhood and family life?

Karin:     My mother and father were great parents. My mom stayed at home with us. Being that my parents were not Christians my life was void of scripture, so I didn’t have a Christian role model in my growing up years.

Beverly:  What are your hobbies?

Karin:      There are so many things I love doing…gardening and art would have to be top on my list. I love picking bouquets of flowers from my garden and painting them. I also raise chickens and paint them too. 🙂 I knit and occasionally spin on my spinning wheel. I have in the past been a song writer and musician in our family band.

our-place

 

 

Welsummer Sis ©2013 Karin Naylor

Beverly:  When did you become interested in painting?

Karin:      I’ve been interested in painting since the third grade when my teacher singled out a finger painting I had done and proudly showed it to the class. It’s amazing how much influence someone can have on your life. I remember trying out watercolors in my 20s after I became a Christian. I didn’t get serious about it though until my youngest child graduated from my home school which was about 6 years ago. I did take a watercolor class, then moved on to acrylics before I started experimenting with oils. Now I’m just really loving oil painting. I’m self taught, but some day I would love to take a class with the right artist at the right time and the right place. My goal is to glorify God with my paintings. As I am learning I have found that I love to be able to capture in art the joy of a moment in time, like a snowflake falling on an eyelash…

Snow Jewels

Beverly:  What does a typical day look like for you?

Karin:      I usually get up earlier than the rest of my family, so it is the perfect time to pray and read my Bible in quiet. We always have a Bible time together to start the day around 7:30 or 8. My husband started this when our children were little as we are told to “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33 So whether it is all of us, or just the two of us, we begin our day this way.

We still have a lot of young adults living at home, so everyone makes their own breakfast and gets off to work or whatever they are doing for the day. I usually try to do some kind of exercise in the morning either walking at the lake nearby if the weather is nice, or doing stretches and a video tape exercise, or garden chores. After the house quiets down, I do my daily cleaning chores and visit my 95 year old mom who is living next door. We usually chat a while and have coffee. Oh, and I almost forgot my chickens, they need to be fed and have their water.

Twice a year January and September I participate in Leslie Saeta’s 30 Paintings in 30 Days along with hundreds of other artists. So these 2 months I paint everyday. The rest of the time I try and put Thursday aside for my painting day. This last year having my mom come live with us has changed my schedule a lot. It has been a time of adjusting for all of us, and I have to say that it has not been easy. There are times when I am too stressed or depressed to paint. But I know the Lord is working on all of us to be more selfless and this is a good thing.

We all usually gather together for dinner at 6. My daughter is a gourmet cook and loves it, so I don’t have to worry about cooking, and we have delicious healthy meals. In the evening I catch up with my blogs and knit, or we might watch a movie. We haven’t had a television in our house for over 30 years, but we do have a screen that we can watch movies on.

My husband and I typically wait up until all the young adults are home and safe, and then we go to bed. I don’t know why it is always easier to sleep knowing they are all safe.

Sisters
Beverly:  Where is your favorite vacation spot?

Karin:      I love the mountains. My in-laws had a vacation home in Colorado, so we were able to go up there a lot. Unfortunately they sold it, but the mountains will still be my favorite place to go.

Beverly:  What do you love the most about this season of life that you are in right now? And what is the hardest?

Karin:      I think a year ago I would have answered this in a totally different way. Things were pretty mellow then, and I was really enjoying being able to paint when I wanted. Then when my step-father died and my mom came to live with us life changed dramatically. I would say the hardest thing right now is dealing with aging parents who have dementia.

My greatest joys are my grandchildren.

Take My Hand ©2014 Karin Naylor

Beverly:  What would be your best advice from your life experiences that you would like to share with us?

Karin:        Everyone has hard times in their lives. One of the best things that I read years ago and still remember to this day, is from Elizabeth Elliott, “Do the next thing.”

Another great little saying to remember is to “Let go and let God!” His ways are not our ways… 🙂 Isaiah 55:8

I would advise every Christian to follow after Jesus. Don’t put preachers or teachers up on pedestals – they are just people like ourselves.

Don’t seek after material things, but put God first in your life and He will supply all your needs and more.

Be content with what you have… determine what are wants and what are needs. He will provide all our needs.

Give, give and give some more…

One of my favorite songs with an incredible message is Blessings by Laura Story . Take a moment to read these lyrics, or listen to the song online. I think there is so much wisdom in this song…

“Blessings”

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home
It’s not our home

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

Foot Washing

I love living the simple life… gardening, raising chickens, laughing with my grandchildren, walking with my daughters, having deep discussions with my sons, holding my husband’s hand as we walk through life’s journey, praising God for His salvation offered by the atoning blood of His son, Jesus. Jesus truly saved me from death – my life is an offering and these paintings are my praise offering of the talent that He has given me.

pergola

I think each believer is an epistle, a letter written by the Lord Himself. He is the one who orchestrates our lives. We can make mistakes, but He is there to turn those mistakes into good. Thank you, Beverly, for giving me the opportunity to share the epistle of my life.

 

My Website… knaylorpaintings.com

My Etsy Shop …  http://www.etsy.com/shop/knaylorpaintings

My paintings and note cards are available on my website, my Etsy shop and Aunt Gertrude’s House in Guthrie, Oklahoma http://www.auntgertrudeshouse.com/

My Blogs…

Words of Life
http://shadowlilies.wordpress.com/

Helping Hurting Parents of Prodigals
https://helpinghurtingparentsofprodigals.wordpress.com/

Rosemary, Lavender, and Thyme
http://myhandsinfathersgarden.wordpress.com/

Simply Painting
http://30daystopaintinspiration.wordpress.com/

My Instagram…
http://instagram.com/knaylorpaintings

 

Beverly:  Thank you so much, Karin, for sharing who you are.  I am so thankful to have you in my life and will continue to pray for you and especially as you go through this time with your mom.  What a gift you are to so many that are blessed to have you in their lives!

 

Friends, Family and Snow!

I’m sitting by the fire reading and blogging.  (That is the reason for the extra posts today.)


We are supposed to get up to 8 inches of snow today.  I’ve been fighting a cold the last three days and today is the worst!  I have a cough to go along with it now.  Such a beautiful day and so much to do and all I can do is sit here.


I had a friend call and she delivered her famous Taco Soup with all the trimmings.  She had no idea I was sick, she just wanted to bring it.  She will never know how much that blessed me!  Not to mention it was absolutely DELICIOUS!!!!


Friends, Family and Snow? (and taco soup) Can it get much better than that?  It makes this terrible cold a little more bearable!