Tiny House Tuesday // With A Little Help From My Friend

I mean, how hard could it be to install a metal roof?

We were convinced it wouldn’t be that hard⏤even with a roof that points to the sky like an arrow. Brian calls it a 14/12 pitch. I call it crazy steep.

Over the last several weeks, we’d framed, lifted beefy plywood via sheer willpower, and purchased more nails than groceries. Laying galvanized metal on top of twelve weeks of work felt like tucking a toddler into bed. The exhaustion was behind us, and now all we wanted to do was have a little fun.

 

Tiny House Roof Cap

 

But the roof cap was a party pooper.

 

This eighteen-foot-long piece of metal shaped like a pop-up tent was the last piece to apply to the roof and the toughest. Brian tried traipsing up the slick metal with the supposed “right” shoes but they turned out to be all wrong. We needed a professional.

 

But he wasn’t the friend.

 

That would be Shana. She is the person who “happened” to mention how she’d just had metal roof work done on her barn. I’d never seen Brian jot down information as fast as I did that Sunday morning.

 

But here’s the best part.

 

One issue stood between us and sanity: convincing this busy roofer to take time to do our small job. So when he called saying he could fit us in the following Friday afternoon we were surprised. Turns out, the roofer had Shana down for that time to finish up her barn.

 

But she gave up her slot for us.

 

What made her sacrifice even more special was that we’ve only known Shana for a short period of time. Something like this might be expected from a seasoned friend, but for someone to do it simply because she knew we had a need made it feel like a hug from above. It’s true, isn’t it?

 

Sacrifice is at the heart of friendship.

 

I fail miserably at sacrificing for others more often than I’d like to admit, but I’m thankful God never disappoints. He gave up⏤sacrificed⏤His Son so that we could experience the joy of being in relationship with Him for an eternity (beginning now!) and Jesus laid His life low so that we, in turn, could be lifted to this new life.

No friendship compares to the friend we have in Jesus. No one loves us as He does⏤no one possibly could.

 

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

“We measure the love and friendship of Jesus by the price he paid for us.” -John Piper

 

Mustard Seed

Sacrifice and friendship go hand-in-hand.

 

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! 

 

Temperaments and Marriage: Guest Post by Andrea Merrell

I’m delighted to welcome Andrea Merrell to the blog today. We met in 2010 when I attended the Blue Ridge Mountains Christians Writers Conference for the first time. Her quick smile and warm demeanor made me feel right at home. Only recently, however, did I realize we live only twenty minutes away from one another.

As you can see from her bio, Andrea is one talented lady. Today, she’s sharing an excerpt from her latest release, Marriage: Make it or Break It, published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Enjoy! I hope you’ll show Andrea some love by taking a moment to leave a comment, letting her know which tempermant you suppose yourself to be.

Arrow

Make It or Break ItBy Andrea Merrell

One experience that helped save our marriage and enabled us to understand each other was learning about the four basic temperaments: Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy, and Phlegmatic.

Have you ever wondered why your wife burns whatever she cooks, loses her purse, and can’t remember where she parks? Maybe your husband shows no emotion when plans go haywire and doesn’t care when he has a black sock on one foot and a blue one on the other. Your spouse might be friendly but forgetful, dependable but moody, or confident but a little impatient. Depending on the situation, he or she might exhibit little quirks that make you want to ask, “What planet are you from?

Studying the temperaments, which first originated with the theory of the Greek historian Hippocrates (460-370 BC), gave us insight into the behavior of our children and helped us see others in a whole new light.

If you’re struggling to comprehend your spouse’s thoughts and behavior, let’s look briefly at the temperaments, along with a few of the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Sanguine (Extrovert/Talker/Optimist)
  • Strengths: bubbly, outgoing, sincere, enthusiastic, friendly, talkative
  • Weaknesses: scatterbrained, forgetful, naïve, disorganized, talkative
Melancholy (Introvert/Thinker/Pessimist)
  • Strengths: detailed, loyal, dependable, creative, analytical
  • Weaknesses: perfectionistic, sensitive, critical, negative, moody
Choleric (Extrovert/Doer/Optimist)
  • Strengths: confident, independent, self-sufficient, capable leader
  • Weaknesses: bossy, impatient, indifferent, rash, lacks compassion
Phlegmatic (Introvert/Watcher/Pessimist)
  • Strengths: calm, patient, happy, peaceful, well-balanced
  • Weaknesses: lazy, unmotivated, indecisive, hardheaded, resists change

Do you see yourself—or your spouse—in any of these categories? In the same way most people have a primary love language, they also have a primary temperament, usually with a close second. I like to say that Jesus has a picture-perfect blend of all the temperaments—all the strengths and none of the weaknesses. He has the storytelling gift and sincerity of the Sanguine; the sensitivity, organization, and loyalty of the Melancholy; the confidence and administrative ability of the Choleric; and the calm, peaceful, well-balanced nature of the Phlegmatic. His strengths are the perfect combination. This is why we’re to look to Jesus as our example and standard, refusing to compare ourselves to anyone else.

When we find out what motivates us, we can work to build on our strengths and eliminate our weaknesses. But once you discover what motivates you, refuse to use it as a weapon or an excuse. I’ve heard people say, “That’s just the way I am, and if you don’t like it, tough!” The purpose of the study of temperaments isn’t to put ourselves in a category; it’s to help us understand our strengths and weaknesses so we can become the best version of ourselves we can be.

Don’t ever underestimate your Creator. He knew what He was doing when He lovingly formed and fashioned both you and your spouse. You are His special creation, gifted with unique talents and abilities that no one else possesses. Your spouse is a one-of-a-kind individual with a God-given purpose and destiny, just like you. There’s not another person on earth exactly like you … or your spouse. This is God’s design, His perfect plan. **

** Excerpt taken from Marriage: Make It or Break It by Andrea Merrell published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Used by permission.

 

Andrea MerrillAndrea Merrell is an associate editor with Christian Devotions Ministries and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She is also a professional freelance editor and was a finalist for the 2016 Editor of the Year Award at BRMCWC. She teaches workshops at writers’ conferences and has been published in numerous anthologies and online venues. Andrea is a graduate of Christian Communicators and a finalist in the 2015 USA Best Book Awards. She is the author of Murder of a Manuscript, Praying for the Prodigal, and Marriage: Make It or Break It. For more information visit www.AndreaMerrell.com or www.TheWriteEditing.com.

 

Stop Waiting for Hope at Life’s Drive-Thru Window

Hi, Cathy here.

Today, it’s my honor to introduce you to Karen “Girl” Friday. We met last year at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference and it has been a delight watching God grow her ministry ever since. Karen’s bold declarations of love for the Lord is downright inspiring. I know you’ll enjoy her guest post.

Join me in offering Karen a warm welcome!

Drive Thru

The drive-thru window of life remains understocked with real hope.

Less than a mile from my neighborhood, in opposite directions, the same fast-food restaurant provides drive-thru service. At the end of our road, we must make a decision. Do we turn right or left? To the right stands a newer version of the long-lasting business established in the 1940’s.

But the same problem exists with both locations. My son arrives home and discovers his order is wrong. Like the time he placed his order for lunch, paid and waited. Yet, found his bag filled with breakfast items.

To our dismay, it also happens to me and my husband. Now, to make certain, I check everything. I open each bag, wrapper or container. It assures I leave with what I expected…what I wanted.

The Quest for Authentic Hope

Where do we turn when the unexpected happens? When we come to the end of our road, which way do we go?

As a pastor’s wife, people come to me looking for hope. Real people in tough places. Hearts broken by tragedy or disappointment. Dreams with no pillow to lay their heads.

And I’ve been parked at life’s crossroads. ­­­­­­­­­Not sure whether to go right or left. Tired of waiting. Not certain I’ll leave with what I expected…all the items I went there to get.

So, I went in search of long-lasting hope. It needed to be rooted in something other than this world.

A Certain Hope

Hoping things turn out as we want comes natural to us. Google defines hope as, “A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.”

Still, here’s the problem. Life is uncertain and continues to let us down. The only choices on the menu offer false promises. High hopes placed in people, programs, possessions, money, goals, careers, and religion.

Even if we examine and double-check each item.

We’ll always leave life’s drive-thru window without real hope.

But God’s Word offers a hope established before the world existed.

“For whatever was written in the former days was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” Romans 15:4 ESV.

“But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” Isaiah 40:31 ESV.

The New International Version translates wait as hope. “…but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.”

Windows of HopeThe Windows of Heaven

God’s story fulfills the promise of hope in a person and a place.

The Messiah, Jesus Christ, came to give us what the world could not offer. His shed blood and broken body on Calvary’s cross triumphed over evil and religion. The empty tomb trumped the enemy’s intention to destroy hope forever. Because Jesus rose from the dead.

So, we wait for real hope from a Holy King. We lay our expectation and desire in His able and sovereign hands.

Prayer ushers in hope from the windows of heaven.

Trusting God with the impossible and unexplainable parts of life.

Set your hope fully on the hope-giver. One day you’ll see.

Hope was always coming and God knew.

 

Karen Friday

Karen Friday is a pastor’s wife and women’s ministry leader. She’s an award-winning writer and avid speaker who loves words and God’s Word. For over a decade, Karen has balanced the busy life of church ministry with working from her home office in marketing and business development roles. Karen earned a communications degree and has experience in a broad spectrum of business services where she is frequently referred to as Girl Friday.

A blogger, Karen “Girl” Friday engages a community every week. Hope is Among Us is an award-winning blog that expresses scriptural truths as life happens. Karen is a regular contributor for the national site, Inspire a Fire, which draws 30,000 monthly visitors. Karen has published a number of articles and devotions in both print and online media. She is currently working on her first book project. An inspirational speaker, she addresses a wide variety of audiences. Karen is passionate about mentoring and discipleship that helps followers of Christ live with authentic faith in real life. Karen and her husband Mike Friday reside in East Tennessee and have two grown children and a grandson. The entire family is fond of the expression, “TGIF: Thank God it’s Friday.” They owe Monday an apology. www.KarenGirlFriday.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FridayKaren
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karen.clarkstonfriday
Facebook Writer Page: https://www.facebook.com/karengirlfriday/

Speaking Ministry PDF 

 

 

10 {Meaningful} Valentine Gifts Money Can’t Buy

Gifts Money Can't Buy

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, it’s the perfect time to gift those you love with something far more meaningful than flowers or candy. Or books. Wait, what?

No doubt the Beatles were onto something with the lyrics “Can’t Buy Me Love”. Love⎯real love⎯cannot be purchased or persuaded. This kind of love cannot be bound by a date circled in red on our daily calendar. It deserves to be wooed year-round and is not limited to spouses. The ideas below can also be gifted to others, including singles and widows in your life who could use a little extra love this Valentine’s Day.

So here are ten no-bow-required ideas for Valentine’s  Any Day.

Priceless Valentine Day Gifts

TEN PRICELESS GIFTS TO GIVE ANOTHER
A Road Trip

Okay, so there’s gas money involved but you get the idea. Take your spouse to a place nearby that holds a special meaning for you both. For us, it’s Applebees and we still celebrate our first date in 1990 by eating dinner there every January 6th. Don’t have such a place? It’s time you create one. Or visit the place where you gave your life to Christ. Once in a blue moon, I still drive by the brick duplex where my condemnation kneeled in the presence of unconditional love.

A Bloody Lip

The gift is biting your lip, not bloodying the lip of another.  One of the best gifts we can give to another is to speak less and listen more. {At least that’s what I’ve been told *wink*}. Seriously, there are times I have to pray to be more aware of what I’m blurting out – like in the car. I’m not a great passenger. Most of us know what pushes the buttons of those closest to us and it’s our responsibility to not only be aware of those buttons but to also be proactive in promoting peace. Even if it means biting your lip once in awhile.

A Skill

Are you a whiz at saving money at the grocery store? Offer these skills to a new wife or mom trying to make ends meet. Mad skills in the kitchen? Offer your help to a new college grad setting up their own place. Like to clean? {You are my hero} Offer a final clean up job for someone moving. Like to piddle with cars? A single mom would love your help. The list goes on.

Forgiveness

People who have trouble forgiving others have yet to grasp the depth of their own sin. There it is. It probably hurts as much to read that statement as it was to write it. But the truth is when I struggle to forgive I need only look in the mirror to be reminded of how much God has forgiven me. And the crusty layer of bitterness attempting to form around my heart is divinely pummeled to pieces. Forgiveness is not only a gift we give to others. It’s also one we give to ourselves.

A Sticky Note

Or a dozen. Nothing says “I love you” like sticky notes proclaiming the specific reasons you {and/or God} love another plastered all over the house. Add a Hershey’s kiss to each one? Boom!

A Prayer

I would rather the prayers of one person who I’m confident will pray than ten dozen people promising to pray. Follow up a time of prayer for a person with a note letting them know how you prayed specifically on their behalf. Or if you’re with the person, pray with them on the spot.

Serve

This is intended to be a tad different from sharing a skill in that you don’t require any skills to simply serve someone else. Deliver a meal. Serve a meal. Welcome someone new at church. Babysit for a single mom. Cut grass for the elderly person down the street. Visit a nursing home. Again, the list goes on.

Your Time

It’s our most precious commodity so to give it away to another is a gift no bow can wrap itself around. Take a walk together, plan a hike, go out for coffee even though you have a Keurig at home (no distractions). Sit around a campfire with a marshmallow in hand (along with a Hershey bar…and graham cracker, of course). Or set aside a specific time each week with the sole purpose of catching up with one another.

Write A Poem

Yes, a poem. You don’t have to be Mary Oliver or Robert Frost to pen your feelings in a melodic way. Need help getting started? Here’s a link on how to write a poem for Valentines Day.

Write A Love Letter

If writing poetry intimidates you, turn to a letter. Spilling your heart onto the pages are priceless gifts that are sure to be tucked away for further reading in the future. Could it possibly serve as a tangible reminder for the generations that may one day plunder through their family’s possessions? We never know. I’ve discovered priceless letters to loved ones in my family homes and they are treasured.

Now let’s go love on others with the indescribable love of Christ!

Do you have another idea to add? Or is there one above you plan to try this year? Please share in the comment section.

 

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Love is Guarding Your Mind from the Muck

What the World Needs Now is Love
Love. If there’s anything the world needs now it’s love, sweet love. {cue music}

Words, heavy and dense like thunderclouds, roll across TV screens, Facebook feeds, and well, my own mind. I’m convinced that whoever originated the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” lived in a hobbit house tucked away inside an isolated hill far, far away.

A broken arm heals in a matter of weeks. Hurtful words can linger a lifetime.

Listening to friends and other voices around me, I sense I’m not alone in having allowed some of the recent muck being voiced today to penetrate places in my mind and heart it ought not. Like, feeling tinges of bitterness toward a women’s movement that clearly does not represent my thoughts, my “rights”, and certainly not my beliefs.

But it’s not just that.

It’s about a friend across the US that is hurting, wounded by a friend. Not because of her friend’s words to her during a difficult time, but the lack thereof. Not one word, in fact.

But it’s not just that.

It’s about a couple behind me in the self-checkout line at the local Ingles. He berates her in a crowd, not only embarrassing himself but those around him, and especially her. Kind of makes you wonder how he speaks to her in the quietness of their home.

But it’s not just that.

It’s about a beautiful twelve-year-old girl I had the pleasure of knowing who took her own life because of the words from a bully at school.

It’s true, isn’t it? The tongue really does hold the power of life and death. (Proverbs 18:21)

Our words and their tone, whether spoken or written, do one of two things the moment they leave our lips or fingertips: They extend life to another or kill it, sometimes literally.

Rarely, if ever, do words fall idle.

If I’m not careful, I won’t only wade through the muck of misguided, misspoken, or even non-spoken words, I’ll track them inside, leaving their sticky imprint on my thoughts, and eventually my own words, revealing my heart. (Proverbs 4:23) But we’re not left defenseless.

So how do we keep the muck from tracking into our minds and over our hearts? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Here are a few of mine:

Checking Our Words at the Door

How to Check Incoming Words at the Door
  • Know where the responsibility lies. We can’t control words that come to us, much like an unexpected guest at our doorstep. But we can control who—and what, in this case—we let in.
  • Consider the motivation. At times, there are words that are hard to hear but are said for right reasons. Allowing only the words we want to hear inside the door of our mind can lead to shallow thinking and unwise living. At times, we need to invite the hard words, escorted with the right motivation, into the entry hall. They don’t necessarily need to make themselves at home in our minds at this point, but we at least need to consider the words, the person, and their motivation.
  • Continue the interrogation. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to take every thought captive, much like our brave men and women who take our enemies captive. They interrogate the enemy asking where they came from, who sent them, and what their mission is⎯and our interrogation of suspicious words and thoughts should be no less.*
  • Rest and surround yourself in truth. Jeremiah 15:16 is one of my favorite verses. “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, LORD God Almighty.” Nothing stabilizes, nourishes, or guards the doorway of our minds like scripture.

What the world needs is Jesus. He is the definition of love. A love by any other name is fleeting. Until He returns, we are to be wise stewards of words — those we share and those we receive.

Is there a specific way you guard against the muck leaving its imprint on your heart and mind? Please share!

*While snowed in one Sunday morning, I watched Steven Furtick from Elevation Church for the first time. (He and our oldest son are college friends.) He was speaking on 2 Corinthians 10:5 from a sermon entitled, “Hold That Thought”. I couldn’t take notes fast enough. You’re the blessed recipient of these jotted notes under “Continue the Interrogation.” You’re welcome. {smile}

 

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