Monday, March 2, 2015

The Whisper of An Impromptu Prayer

by Cathy Baker

As shared in last Thursday's post, it's often those quiet, subtle whispers from God that leave the deepest imprint on our lives, as well as others. 

Recently, I walked into our local tea bar and ordered an Earl Grey. The young barista was confused.

"You don't want your normal Mocha with whip?" she asked. I quickly told her that my fickle gallbladder had ushered in a new way of eating AND drinking. 

As I made my way to the table with my cuppa tea, a woman who'd been waiting for her tea while I ordered, walked by. We exchanged pleasant goodbyes as she walked out the door. 

I saw her get in the car, start it up and sit there for a second. The next time I looked up she was walking back through the door towards me. 

"I was sitting in my car getting ready to leave but the Lord told me to come back in and pray for you. Do you mind if I pray?" she asked as she bent low, near my ear. 

I don't remember the last time that happened to me but let me testify now -- it was a moment I won't soon forget. I thanked her, and I thanked God. Her, for the obedience required in doing what God called her to do in that moment, not knowing how I would react. And I thanked God because only He knew how much I needed prayer as I quietly sipped my tea. 

A quiet whisper. The woman heard it and obeyed. And because of her whisper of prayer, I was blessed. And because I was blessed, I desire to be more aware of those same whispers from God so I can bless others in the same way. 

How about you? Have you had someone pray an impromptu prayer for you or someone you love? Is there some way I can pray for you today? 

And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. 1 Kings 19:12

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Fragrance of Love: It's What You Don't See

by Cathy Baker

Four Friday's into the month of February and I'm still LOVING tiny houses. 

At first glance, I'm a bit underwhelmed by today's selection.

I don't know if it's the weathered look or the slightly cluttered feel of the setting, but the only thing here that visually appeals to me is the fact that it's a tiny house on a wooded lot.  

Pic 2
Then, the door opens to this {2nd pic.} A light, airy space never suspected from the outside looking in. White boards, shiny floors, and my oh my, the books. 

Pic 3
As you move through the room, one can't help but notice the turn-table and leaning vinyl {3rd pic.} Sold! 

And finally, {4th pic} the warm woody feel of the attic lends itself to the perfect music room (or reading nook?)

Would you have ever guessed this bright clean space was hiding behind the weathered exterior? Me either.

All too often, houses aren't the only things I judge at first glance. I've driven past restaurants because of their appearance, determined a person can't sing in a TV contest because they don't "look like the type that could sing." Whaaat?,  pic 4
What's worse, I'm sometimes quick to judge people based on their outward appearance, a particular facial gesture, or the way they ride my bumper.

So with this final shout out to Tiny Houses I'm reminded that many of us can relate with the first impressions and how they can lead us astray. 

What do you think? What most surprised you about behind the doors of this particular tiny home? 

As we wrap up our February series on all things LOVE, I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to spend time with me here @ Fragrant Ink. I especially appreciate all the participation. What a blessing! 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Fragrance of Love: A NEW Series!

by Cathy Baker

One of my favorite accounts in the Bible is found in 1 Kings 19. 

A discouraged Elijah flees to the wilderness despite the fact God had just used him to silence the lies of Baal in a magnificent display of Yahweh's power. One would think after such a victory he'd be dancing like David before the LORD but instead he flees under threat to the wilderness, overcome by discouragement.

Along the way, God cares for him in seemingly small ways but through each one, especially the last one, he restores Elijah in a beautiful way. 

Let's see. 
  • He prayed for God to kill him but he was one of the few men who never actually died.  
  • God provided for His physical needs, and then his emotional ones. 
  • God provided a broom tree for Elijah to rest under.
  • God allowed Elijah to fully voice his frustrations.
  • Then, God graciously reveals Himself to Elijah. As he stood at the cleft of a cliff, He sent wind, an earthquake and fire, but it was in a still small voice (a gentle whisper, if you will) that Elijah sensed God's presence and was awe-struck.

Initially, the theme for March's series was going to be wind. After all, it goes hand-in-hand with the month. But then, 1 Kings 19:1-21 reminded me how often it's the scent of subtle, quiet "whispers" that take place in our lives that produce our most powerful moments in life. 

So, I hope you'll make plans to join me on this journey. I plan to post twice a week, beginning Monday, March 2, for this series and would love for you to share your own "whispers" along the way. And did I mention a very sweet giveaway at the end of the month? Oh yes.

And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. 1 Kings 19:12 ESV

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Fragrance of Love: God's Sovereignty


by Cathy Baker

"Tell her the child is with Me and that she will see him again one day." -Steve

It's a sentence found in my story featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul's Hope and Miracles, released February 10th. In it lies one of the many reasons I LOVE Thee: His sovereignty. 

When I heard Steve's words spoken to me thirty years ago, I knew of Christ, but I didn't know Him personally as my Lord and Savior. (An eternal difference!)

I wasn't overly surprised by his assurance that I would one day see the miscarried child because, after all, I was a "good person." Of course I'd be in heaven! My concern was for the baby. 

And then I came to know—really know—Jesus Christ in a tiny duplex on the outskirts of Spartanburg. Now, as I reflect back on Steve's words spoken to me that day in the hospital, I stand in awe of God's sovereignty, mercy, and grace.

God knew I would be with him in heaven one day...
but on that day in the hospital, 
I was far, far away from him. 

I realize the above post will be more fully understood after you've read my entire story but for today, I simply praise God for His sovereignty -- for knowing all things from beginning to end. And that love is, and always has been, His motivation.

“Our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.”
Psalm 115:3

Care to join in the praise? How have you seen the sovereignty of God in your life?  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Fragrance of Love: Pencil Shavings and Giveaways

by Cathy Baker

I LOVE anything with the hint of pencil shavings except, of course, jelly beans. (Yes, this exists.) 

The office supply section at Target has a gravitational force that sucks in nerdy lovers of all things paper with little resistance. And when that paper item just happens to be paired with anything tea related? Bye bye necessities! 

Today, I'd like to share last week's Target find with you. Literally. But first, the specifics. I love the size. It fits in a pocket or purse. The kraft paper is the perfect backdrop for the steaming cups of tea. Pages are lined and ready for pen in hand!
Here's the fun part:

If you (or your wife) would like the opportunity to receive this find (along with a cup of tea!) in your mailbox this week, simply leave a comment letting me know how you might use it -- journaling, jotting down noticed quirks for your next novel, poetic ideas, grocery list, etc. 

I'd love to share this with you! Enjoy!

“If you wish to forget anything on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered.” 
Edgar Allen Poe

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Fragrance of Love: Poetry, Mary Oliver, and Owls

by Cathy Baker

I LOVE poetry, Mary Oliver, and yes, owls. 

So imagine my delight when all three loves were realized in one particular poem.

Whether you're a lover of poetry or not, I encourage you to read Mary Oliver's poem slowly. Simply find one line that you enjoy, one description that makes you smile.

Little Owl Who Lives in the Orchards
by Mary Oliver

His beak could open a bottle,
and his eyes—when he lifts their soft lids—
go on reading something
just beyond your shoulder—
Blake, maybe,
or the Book of Revelation. 

Never mind that he eats only
the black-smocked crickets,
and dragonflies if they happen
to be out late over the ponds, and of course
the occasional festal mouse.
Never mind that he is only a memo
from the offices of fear—

it's not size but surge that tells us
when we're in touch with something real,
and when I hear him in the orchard
down the little aluminum
ladder of his scream—
when I see his wings open, like two black ferns,

a flurry of palpitations
as cold as sleet
rackets across the marshlands
of my heart,
like a wild spring day. 

Somewhere in the universe,
in the gallery of important things,
the babyish owl, ruffled and rakish,
sits on its pedestal.
Dear, dark dapple of plush!
A message, reads the label,
from the mysterious conglomerate:
Oblivion and Co.
The hooked head stares
from its blouse of dark, feathery lace.
It could be a valentine.

In tomorrow's post, I'm sharing an opportunity to win a little something that might help you in making your own notes of observation for poetry, prose, and life.

But for now, I'd love to know the word or line that resonated with you most today!

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Fragrance of Love: An A-mazing Tiny House

by Cathy Baker

Yes, I LOVE Tiny Houses but I'm especially drawn to those on the whimsy side, much like the one featured today.

Look closely. You may just spot Hansel and Gretel nibbling on the roof. 

Turns out, these A-mazing (pun intended) chalets were built in the '70's as a vacation rental community in Blowing Rock, NC. Today, they're sold to private owners. 
A whimsy A-frame at its best
I especially love the line of A's, as seen below. Nothing says cozy like a tiny community. 

This introvert's dream tiny house, however, is propped in the middle of nowhere, surrounded only by mountain air and the sound of a stream all astir. 

A line of A-frame tiny houses in Blowing Rock NC
How about you? Could you see yourself in one of these A-frames? If not, where would your dream second house be located? 

 "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris