Maybe this has something to do with being artistic. Or perhaps it is because I’m an optimist. Yes these do have something to do with my attitude. But the real reason is because of my own history.
You see, over the years, I have made some pretty stupid, self-destructive choices. There are parts of my past that are pretty ugly. I spent many years pretending that the brokenness wasn’t there. I was very good at “fluffing the pillows” of my past so that no one saw it for what it really was–not even me.
I had an encounter that changed all of that. Not right away in my case, but little by little over time. I began to see that Jesus was not only able but willing to turn the broken, wobbly bits of me into something not only useful but beautiful.
Looking back over the last five years, my family has experienced some very traumatic events. Some of them I wondered whether we would make it through. But even in the midst of tragedy, I knew (and know) that God does not waste any opportunity for transformation. He will not leave something dark and dead and useless. He is the God of light and life and purpose.
“to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61: 3)
Be encouraged, my friends. He will not leave us in our brokenness, our ugliness, in the dark. He longs to take our sorrow and trade it for delight.
Open your eyes. Look around and see that everything has beauty once it has been transformed by Jesus. Once we have been transformed.
I am writing today in honor of my friend, Elizabeth Bumpas. She left for Uganda yesterday in response to a call to serve the Lord. She leaves behind family and friends, her home and her precious dogs, comfort and security.
Elizabeth is one of the bravest people I know. She really knows how to step out in faith.
We have been friends for over 30 years and this is not the first time that she has stepped out in faith. Time and time again she has listened for the Lord to speak to heart, prayed for discernment and guidance, invited others into her discernment process, and sought wisdom and counsel from spiritual mentors. And then she has taken the bold step to follow the plan that the Lord had prepared for her.
Now I am not saying that each and every time she has gone eagerly into the unknown. Elizabeth, like most of us, appreciates her home and family and friends. She “hunkers down” as good as anyone and resists change. No, she is not perfect but she is most definitely intent on knowing God’s will for her life and in being obedient–regardless of the price.
My friend Elizabeth is like an Olympic athlete in training. Her heart has been well-trained to listen for God’s call. She goes through the discipline of the discernment process rather than just jumping into one thing or another. Her years of obedience to the Lord has shown her that she can trust Him to care for her.
I am so excited for her and her new adventure. She started writing a blog as she began preparing to leave and will continue to add to it while she is in Uganda. Click here to read more about her mission. I will share some of her reflections here as well.
Please click here if you would like to partner with her in prayer or if you care to make a donation.
Please join me in praying for her as she follows God’s call.
This morning I have assembled a few of my favorite things to share with you. It wasn’t very hard to narrow this grouping as they were all within reach. I keep my favorite things close.
And just to be completely clear, all of these things are items that I or a family member has actually purchased. None of these have been “freebies”.
Here is what I included in the photo above.
Lots of stripes:
- Navy and white striped St. James shirt from J. Crew
- Red and white striped shirt by Amor Lux from Ann Mashburn’s Atlanta shop
- Red and white washi tape (probably from Michaels)
- Red and white twine (and lots of it). I like the thicker version though I do have spools of thinner twine and multiple colors.
- Occasions and Manners by Kate Spade (Simon & Schuster, 2004). Not shown but also equally loved is Style also in this series. I particularly love the watercolor illustrations by Virginia Johnson.
- Entertaining is Fun! How to be a Popular Hostess by Dorothy Draper (Rizzoli, 2004). Originally published in 1941.
- Orchids on Your Budget or Live Smartly on What You Have by Marjorie Hillis (Virago, 2009). Originally published in 1937.
A few other things:
- White and navy swiss dot cotton pjs from J. Crew (a gift from my very sweet husband who knows how much I l o v e pajamas).
- “Oops” letterpress card by Ink Meets Paper, my favorite local letterpress studio (soon to be featured in my “Bee Smitten” series). I am a huge fan of snail mail
- Reading glasses by Peepers. Now that I have reached a certain age, reading glasses are essential. I leave them all over the house but try to keep them somewhat ‘girly’ so my husband won’t borrow them. I have several favorite brands but the price is right for these stylish lovelies.
- 154 Cologne by Jo Malone. This is my “go to” scent but when I want to change things up a bit, I layer it with one of their other fragrances. My favorites are grapefruit and pomegranate-noir.
- Bright pink leather handbag with lime green interior by Sigrid Olsen. I especially love the scallops and bow. I picked this up for a steal a number of years ago at Marshalls.
- Cream satin handmade rose brooch. This adds just a little something to anything. I purchased this several years ago from my favorite local store, Out of Hand in Mount Pleasant SC.
A few of my favorite things are missing:
peonies, gingham, red nail polish, coconut cake, seersucker, grapefruit, velvet ribbon, English breakfast tea, rick rack, colorful espadrilles, . . . .
I will continue to add posts to this series so keep coming back to see more of my other favorite things.
What are a few of your favorite things?