The Day Eavesdropping Inspired This Titus 2 Woman to Tears

At the cafe

I didn’t intend to eavesdrop.

My sole purpose for being at the The Black Bear Coffee Co. in Hendersonville NC was to write while Brian shopped for vintage vinyl finds, five miles down the road.

On the cafe table, three essentials: laptop, a fragrant cup of non-fat goodness, aka lavender latte, and plenty of napkins. I’m messy that way.

As I tapped the keys to the rhythm of the music, the conversation next to me in our tight corner space, prompted a grateful pause more than once.

One woman did most of the talking as if she might be counseling the other. The tone of her voice reflected the zeal in her heart as she shared the gospel, the importance of remaining pure before marriage, and how a woman should expect to be treated by a Christian man. I marveled at her wisdom and the authority with which she shared it.

 

I couldn’t ignore them any longer.

 

I removed the earbuds, scooched away from my tiny cafe table and leaned over. I’m not intentionally eavesdropping, *smile* but I want to tell you that you are wise beyond your years, and to hear you share the gospel with such conviction warmed my heart.

One young woman was eighteen. The other, twenty-one. Both broke smiles that would rival wide Autumn skies as we began sharing our faith stories. Their enthusiasm was contagious. When I stood up to return to my table, the eighteen-year-old reached out and said, Our generation needs women like you to pour into us.

 

And the tears began to pour.

 

Teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Titus 2:3

Joan Coker was one of those women for me. I was a new Christ-follower when we first became members of the church. We never studied the Word together one-on-one, but I studied her life, her decisions, and prayers, all leaving an indelible mark on me.

I’m still learning what it means to be a Joan Coker. I tend to be overly concerned that I’m intruding in a person’s life, so I step back, wait and watch.

 

At the risk of being dramatic, none of us have that kind of time. Today⏤more than ever⏤we need each other.

 

Since meeting the two young women in the cafe, I’m pondering ways to “pour” into the lives of younger women. Below are a few that have come to mind in recent days.

 

Embrace Community

It’s no secret that I’m a die-hard-introverted-homebody. But how can I pour into vessels that aren’t there? God wired us for biblical community. Yes, even us introverts. Meeting in person is undoubtedly the best way to rub shoulders with someone, and I look forward to these opportunities at our church, but perhaps God will also open doors in a different setting as well. For instance, the nearby university that’s nestled in the mountains. Since our move, I’ve sensed a tug to be involved with the young women attending there. Want to join me in praying for God’s lead on that particular adventure? (I’d love to pray for yours too!)

 

Take Risks

This looks different for us all. Maybe it means reaching out to someone we normally wouldn’t, at the risk of seeming foolish. Perhaps younger women are hesitant to reach out for the same reason. Selma Wilson addresses specific reasons why it’s worth taking the risk in 8 Things Younger Women Need from Older Women in the Church.

 

Live a Great Story

When the eighteen-year-old woman spoke her words, I was struck with both conviction and resolve. Conviction, because I need to steam less and pour more.

Resolve, because:

  • I’m determined to finish the race with as much⏤if not more⏤zeal than when I began.
  • I refuse to fade away from the Church, serving, community, and sharing the gospel just because the age spots darken.
  • I now understand the power of the eavesdrop and I want those who might overhear my conversations to be as inspired as I was that day in the cafe.

I want to live a great story⏤not perfect, but pourable.

 

Lori Roeleveld describes what it means to live a great story (and more!) in her marvelous post, Five Ways to Be an Older Woman Younger Women Can Hear.

 

After leaving the cafe, it occurred to me that I didn’t know their names and they didn’t know mine. My first thought was to return to the hallelujah corner, but then there was this quiet understanding: Jesus was the focus of our conversation and that One name was really all we needed to know.

 

How do you pour into the lives of the next generation? Or, how can I pray for you as you set out on this new adventure?

 

Mustard Seed

It is only when we pour into others that we ourselves are filled.

 

There's more! Here’s what I’m eagerly watching for in my mailbox this week:

Joyful Magazine

Joyful Life Magazine

Oh, the anticipation of it all! I love everything about The Joyful Life: Heart & Home Inspiration for Women. And I loved it long before I became an affiliate for this beautiful site. I’m currently working through their Bible study, Counting it All Joy. More details on that at a later date, but today I want to give you a heads up on the opportunity to pre-order the premiere issue. Shipping begins this week.

**As an affiliate, I will receive a small commission when you purchase products from the site using my links. It doesn’t increase your cost and it helps this coffee lover grab a fancy latte every once and awhile. Most importantly, I only promote products that I myself enjoy and value.

Here’s what you’ll find in this premiere issue of The Joyful Life. (I love that every issue will have a Titus 2 Interview. Pour away, sisters!)

INSIDE THE JOYFUL LIFE:

  • Heart & Home Inspiration
  • Spiritual Growth Articles
  • Honest Stories of Real Women
  • Stunning Original Images
  • Lifestyle Features
  • Seasonal Inspiration
  • Creative Pursuits
  • Lists and Journaling Prompts
  • Recipes
  • Gift Guide
  • Featured Product Reviews | In Every Issue
  • Titus 2 Feature Interview | In Every Issue
  • The Lost Art Series | In Every Issue
  • & MUCH MORE!

Wouldn’t this make the perfect Christmas gift? Pre-order your copy, or yearly subscription, here.

 

Thank you for spending time with me on the hill today! Hope you’ll join me next week for Tiny House Tuesday.

Subscribers to The Tiny House on the Hill: Be sure to check this month’s letter to download your copy of “30 Slips of Gratitude” to enjoy throughout this month. It’s never too late to start! 

 

Name Your Fears For What They Are and See What Happens When You Do

Name Your Fears

I’ve never been a fan of anything that slithers.

Having lived in the burbs for most of my life where the outdoors consisted of crumbling asphalt and the occasional stray cat, I wasn’t sure what country life would bring. I know what it brought our first night⏤a colorful snake coiled up next to the steps in our garage. That went over well. (But the swarm of honey bees that swept across our backyard on a warm summer day was a sight for these city eyes.)

There’s only one thing I dread out here and that’s moving anything outdoors⏤flower pots, deck chairs, outdoor rugs, etc. With even the slightest movement, some creature inevitably dashes (or slithers) away. Let’s just say that my tightly wound shrieks have become as common as the cock-a-doodle-doo next door.

So earlier this year, when a lizard matching the color of mulch darted in front of me, I did what any 6-year-old-at-heart would do. I named it. What once caused fear now prompted a smile. How could you fear a lizard named Ricky? (Lucy, Ethel, and Fred soon followed.)

 

The simple gesture of naming my fear weakened its ability and strengthened mine.

 

Some fears are easier to name than others. Snakes and lizards are visible, but others bury down deep refusing to surface unless they’re called out by name. Like the time not so long ago when Hurricane Florence pounced the Carolinas. Reality set in that the tiny house could buckle under the high winds even though we fastened her down the best we could. All the what-if’s kidnapped my peace.

What if the tiny house is destroyed? What if she’s damaged and requires even more time to complete it? What if I can’t minister as planned?

 

If I wasn’t careful, the name of this fear would soon become idol.

 

That was hard to write, and an even harder truth to swallow. What begins as a godly desire to build a tiny space to write, play, and minister, can quietly slip beyond its well-intended boundaries without warning.

 

Anything⏤including good, godly things⏤if held too tightly can become an idol.

 

When I recognized my fear of losing the tiny house and more importantly, the why behind it, I named it⏤called it out⏤before the Lord. With that confession came a speechless comfort. And yet, I knew I needed to put a few safeguards into place to prevent it from happening again. So I sat down with my Bible, pen, a sheet of paper, and my recently humbled heart {ouch!} and put these three grace-laced steps into place:

 

Safeguard the Heart

 

 

Start mornings with Psalm 139: 23,24.

This is one of the first verses I memorized but haven’t paid nearly enough attention to in recent months. He longs to show us the way and help us get back on the right track.

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

 

On an index card, write a scripture verse that speaks to the issue, one biblical quote, and a scripture verse on God’s forgiveness and mercy.

I try to bookend the cards with scripture because the point of confession is not to receive an emotional “beating” but rather, to reconcile with a loving heavenly Father. The enemy would prefer us to believe otherwise, so putting this safeguard into place serves as a constant reminder to rely on truth, not feelings.

My current cards include:

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 1 Corinthians 10:14

“It (idolatry) means turning a good thing into an ultimate thing.” – Tim Keller

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

 

Pray a tiny {but powerful} prayer.

Memorizing scripture and seeing truths can change the trajectory of our days. But prayer instantaneously melds our desire to be on the right path in one breath with the power of God, the One who makes it happen, in the next. For me, it was as simple as⏤You alone, Lord, You alone.

 

Mustard Seed

To name our fear we must first recognize what lies beneath it.

 

Do you have a go-to verse when you need to be reminded of God’s love and forgiveness? If not, that’s okay! I encourage you to find one, memorize it, and take it with you wherever you go.

 

Thank you for making your way up the hill to hang out with me for a little while today. You’re always welcome here.

 

This is the final week of giveaways in celebration of The Tiny House on the Hill blog launch and I saved the best for last. After all, what better gift to celebrate the blog than these beautiful artisan *mustard seed* earrings?

To enter the random giveaway, simply share with others. For every share, you receive an entry. If you’re a subscriber, you receive two entries for every share. Be sure to tag me!

 

Mustard Seed Earrings

 

 

Tiny House Tuesday // The Tarp of It All

Funny how hurricanes force you to re-think everything.

We were one sheet of underlayment away from having the base of the roof covered before we left for our beach vacation. Apparently, Hurricane Florence decided to follow us home. Before we knew it, forecasters were predicting sustained winds up to 50 mph and possibly 12″ of rain. This could be the first test of the Tiny House on the Hill’s survival despite the fact that summer storms march over these mountains like soldiers going off to battle. The wind, the rain, the wind.

Thankfully, Brian secured her to the ground with these bad boys early on in the process. We felt she’d stay put, but with the potential for tropical downpours, it was vital to find a way to protect the interior of the house. Although empty, we prefer she stay dry for obvious reasons.

A few of the tarp grommets popped off during a recent storm so our confidence was waning. Let’s just say it didn’t take long for Brian to work his magic, aka, head to Lowes.

He purchased four overly-sized straps and a sturdy rachet system. Two straps hooked together created one large enough to wrap around the entire house. We buckled her down at the front of the house, as well as the back. Finally, a thick sheet of plywood was bolted over the door opening.

No, it wasn’t her prettiest moment, but it certainly was her most secure.

Tiny House Hurricane

While we had no control over Florence’s path or destruction, we rested in knowing we’d done everything possible to secure her well. Thankfully, Florence skirted around us, but our hearts broke for those who faced her head on.

 

Pre hurricane sky

Pre-hurricane sky with no filter.

 

The broken, but well-braced tiny house, reminds me of us.

 

None being whole, perfect, or complete. Missing pieces in the form of loss, feeling invisible, waiting, or the gaping hole within us that longs to know or draw closer to God.

Being a Christ-follower doesn’t always protect us from diseases, accidents, or hurricanes. Few people explain this better than John Piper but suffice it to say, when our spiritual positioning is under the umbrella of Christ, we can know that He covers and protects us in such a way that we can find rest during any storm this life may bring.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1 NIV

 

Mustard Seed Moment

God covers it all.

 

Is there some way I can pray for you today? Nothing is too small. If you prefer not to share your request in the comments section, feel free to email me via the envelope icon in my sidebar. I count it a privilege.

 

 

Glass Magnets

Thanks for stopping by the Tiny House on the Hill! 

Three Ways to Draw Close to God This Fall

Draw Near to God

I’m convinced that if there’s an eternal season in heaven, it’s Fall.

It’s also the perfect season for spending time outdoors, finding quiet spots, and rousing our senses, so let’s consider three ways we can draw closer to God in the coming weeks.

 

1. Engage Your Senses

 

October delivers the swiftest punch of the twelve, offering up a whole host of sensory delights:

Feel: Chilled heavy breezes, rough-hewn rake handles, warm scarves snug around the neck
Taste: Candy corn, pumpkin pie, cinnamon stirred apple cider, S’mores
See: Brilliant hues, baring limbs, roaring bonfires
Hear: Crispy leaves underfoot, banjos picking atop flatbed trailers at local festivals
Smell: Smouldering logs from dampened campfires, the rancid scent of ripening pecans on the tree

My book, Pauses for the Vacationing Soul: A Sensory-Based Devotional Guide for the Mountains, was written with the mingling power of our senses and God in mind. It’s also perfect for a staycation. *wink*

Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Psalm 34:8

Mustard SeedTake note of your own sensory finds this fall. How can you “taste and see” that the LORD is good through each of your finds? 

Heavenly Father, awaken our senses to Your amazing creation as we go through our days this Fall. As we taste and see your goodness, may we be quick to give You all the glory. Draw us near. 

 

**Subscribers! Your October Monthly Letter should’ve landed in your inbox yesterday. In it, you’ll find your exclusive copy of Ten {Tiny} Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Autumn.

 

2. Spend Time Praying for Specific Things

 

What are you praying for these days? Maybe it’s for a person, a situation, or a whole laundry list of needs. Regardless, God hears you. Now add specificity and we’re given an opportunity to witness God’s awe-inspiring attention to detail in action.

 

One of those moments came for me one day while peering out our window. I’d not sensed His presence as much in recent weeks, even though I was confident He was there—whether I felt it or not. Nevertheless, like any daughter desiring to feel closer to her Father, I made a simple heartfelt request, Lord, I just want to know You’re near.

 

Before I caught my next breath, a brief blustery gust of wind swept through the trees closest to my window pane—without disturbing another tree in my yard.

 

To some, a ten-second gust of wind would simply appear as our season’s signature. And perhaps it was⏤but to me, at that moment, it was a reminder that He is that close.

 

Prayer is not monologued, but dialogue. Gods voice in response to mine is its most essential part. ~ Andrew Murray

 

Mustard SeedSet aside a night in October. Find a cozy corner, pour a cuppa Joe, and consider what one person or circumstance you can pray for specifically. Bonus points if you jot it down in a journal and watch expectantly for His answer.

 

Heavenly Father, I thank You that Your presence in our lives is never dependent on whether we feel like You are near, or not. As we seek to draw nearer to You, give us a holy boldness to pray specifically, trust fully, and watch in expectation. Amen.

 

3. Head Outdoors

 

October invites us to marvel at the artistic flair of our Creator the moment we step outdoors.

Consider for a moment how God could’ve surrounded us in a black and white existence. But instead, He gifted us with a kaleidoscope of colored leaves, bright-colored pumpkins, crisp red apples for the picking, and honey-brown fried apple pies with a light dusting of sugar. Oh wait, do those count?

I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host. Isaiah 45:12

 

Mustard SeedTake a walk and focus on one masterpiece in nature. Note the intricate details⏤perhaps things you’ve never noticed before. Consider spending time with God, thanking Him for your find.

Heavenly Father, our hearts bend toward You in gratefulness for the many ways You lavish us with Your love, grace, and mercy. Help us not to pass by Your creative works without a worship-filled pause. 

 

So, which of the three “mustard seed moments” activities might you consider doing this month? 

 

But first! A tremendous thanks to everyone for the success of last week’s launch of the Tiny House on the Hill.

Watch for a NEW *tiny* inspired giveaway every Tuesday through October 16th.

Enter this week’s giveaway by sharing the NEW meme located on my Facebook page. You must tag me to be entered. If you’re a subscriber, you receive two entries for every share. *Because you’re awesome*

Journals

journal

 

Welcome to the Tiny House on the Hill // Because Mustard Seed Moments Matter

Tiny House

I never saw it coming⏤this dream becoming a reality.

Only months ago, while enjoying breakfast with dad at Panera, I shared a story from the internet of a teenager who built his own tiny house. My excitement must’ve been contagious because he inspired me to get started on my own tiny space. The best part was his willingness to come help whenever possible.

And then there was my hubby, who sacrificially set aside his hard-earned bonus and a ton of hours, for both the planning and building of this tiny beaut.

With plans in hand, Brian and I trudged up the hill one brisk March morning. I quickly learned that the term weekend warriors is code for slow and steady. Currently, we’re about halfway finished, but the Victorian tiny house above is our end goal.

 

So you might wonder why the NEW site design is launching before she’s finished.

 

I suppose I could have waited for the final step {say, the propping of my favorite books on the antique mantel} but I decided not to for two reasons:

 

  • Joy is in the journey. What if we waited to celebrate the birth of a baby until his arrival? The gender reveals, baby showers and shopping would move to the back burner. No way. Let the celebration begin! I appreciate all the excitement you’ve shared over this tiny house journey and I can’t imagine doing it without you.
  • Most importantly, the foundation of this blog is built on Someone much bigger than a tiny structure built by man.

 

What Are Mustard Seed Moments and Why Do They Matter?

 

Like you, I marvel at the unique ways God uses seemingly insignificant moments in our daily lives to draw us closer to Him. While we may or may not ever encounter a burning bush moment, we encounter small ones every day. Like a word aptly spoken, a glass of water, a simple hug, or a gathering of two or three for prayer. Remember, it was a single tear from a baby that moved the heart of Pharaoh’s daughter. (Exodus 2:6) Nothing⏤absolutely nothing⏤is too small for God to grow for His glory.

In future posts, you’ll find a Mustard Seed Moment Takeaway that includes a seed of truth to plant in our daily life. You’ll know it when you see this symbol at the bottom of each post:

 

Mustard Seed Moment

 

Few things this side of heaven inspire and spur us on more than recognizing the power of our own mustard seed moments. Click To Tweet

 

And that, my friend, is the underlying purpose of this community. Together, we will continue to share creative ways to connect with God, inspire creativity in daily life, and invite meaningful reflection on the small but marvel-worthy moments God places on our paths.

 

What Happens When the Tiny House on the Hill is Complete?

 

The future is an exciting one! Here are some plans in the making:

  • First and foremost, I plan to dedicate the house to the Lord with a prayer gathering of friends surrounding the Tiny House on the Hill. Want to join the circle of prayer? You’ll have that opportunity closer to completion. {Thank you!}
  • Depending on the season, an Open House opportunity might arise. This may or may not coincide with the prayer gathering.
  • I’ll take subscribers on a private behind-the-scenes tour. *love this community*
  • Online Bible studies hosted from the house, and hopefully an in-house {tiny} study can happen too.
  • Writers and readers alike can share the {tiny} space for a day.
  • Down the road, a pocket-size podcast just might blossom!
  • And last but not least, a memoir-ish book is also in the works based on our Tiny House on the Hill experience. The number of people who’ve shared interest in this journey overwhelms me. {Thank you!}

 

Some might argue that, without a kitchen, this Tiny House on the Hill doesn’t meet the requirements to be called a “house.” Perhaps this is true for architects, but not for us dreamers. We know that the true definition of a house isn’t confined to walls, floors, and kitchen sinks.

 

A house is where our soul feels at home to explore, create, and simply be.

 

Make yourself at home here in the Tiny House on the Hill.

 

Monthly Letter

 

 

  • Join our {tiny} community and receive A Monthly Letter from the Tiny House on the Hill. Here, you’ll find words that inspire and encourage, along with behind-the-scenes pictures and videos of the tiny house progress. And the monthly giveaway isn’t so bad either. *wink* In addition to the Monthly Letter, all new subscribers will receive a free copy of Ten {Tiny} Prayers that Offer Great Hope. Did you know that some of the most powerful prayers have the tiniest word count? To become a part of the community, the subscriber box is in my sidebar. You can unsubscribe at any time.

 

Ten Tiny Prayers that Offer Great Hope

 

Celebration

Each Tuesday through October 16th, watch for a NEW giveaway posted here. To enter each week, simply share the post with your friends and social sphere of influence. TAG me on each share and you’ll receive a vote for each share. {Subscribers, you’ll receive a bonus point for each share!}

Facebook: Tag me!

Instagram: @cathysbaker

Twitter: @cathysbaker

Launch Giveaway

Launch Giveaway Starbucks

Starbucks Giveaway

“Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter.”
Izaak Walton

 

{A special thanks to my favorite techie, Susan Stilwell of Fistbump Media, who made this re-design possible. She can make even the dullest of stars shine.}

Tiny House on the Hill

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10 Tiny Prayers That Offer Great Hope.

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