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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

The Fragrance of Love: The Specificity of God

Specificity of God

by Cathy Baker

It began with a prayer journal entry—my asking God if writing was His desire for me.

You see, in recent years I’ve struggled with guilt. Guilt because my love for teaching the Word had begun to wane while my love for writing continued to increase. I simply wanted to be as certain as possible that God was behind my desire to write, and not my flesh.

I was growing weary of asking (wondering if I’d heard Him clearly) and I was pretty certain He too was weary of confirming every fleece I’d thrown at His feet for the past five years. My entry ended with this:

Will you lead the way? I only want what You want. Give me ears to hear, eyes to see, and a teachable spirit to discern Your ways. I love You, Pappa. 

As my pen swept over the final “p” in Pappa, the phone beeped, alerting me to an incoming text. It was from my dad.

 

“Good morning sweetheart. I often think of you on these rainy mornings that I love so much. I see you with pen in hand with a steaming cup of tea or coffee…loving the quiet sound of raindrops as you listen for a special little message to put on paper. I love your writings very much but I love you much, much more.”
Dad
 
And there it was. My heavenly Father speaking directly to me… through my earthly one.

 

Tears trickled as I picked up my pen and began to write what God had just cemented in my heart:
Father, You do delight when I write! You even love my writing! 
But you love me, your daughter, much, much more.  
A Text from my Father

 

God peeled back the curtain of uncertainty, allowing me to see the situation through His parental eyes. I delight in my boys simply because they are mine. However, they choose to use their God-given gifts to glorify Him will bring a smile to my face. Why couldn’t I believe this truth for myself in relating to my heavenly Father?

It’s not so much about the gifts, but rather, the heart which motivates the desire to use them. This is what God had been trying to tell me all along.

My days of asking God to confirm whether I should be doing this or that with my spiritual gifts ended that morning. Freedom has come to stay, for His delight in me is grounded in the truth that I am His daughter, created in His image and for His glory, just like you. Whatever way we choose to use His gifts will bring Him great pleasure.

How Do I Love Thee? It will take forever to count the ways but today I celebrate God’s specificity. Nothing vague dwells within Him, especially when it comes to His children. The timing of dad’s text was divinely charged and the message was humbly received. Oh, the joy of serving a living, loving God who IS in the details of our daily life!

Your turn! What’s one specific way God has revealed Himself to you recently? 

 

For in him we live and move and have our being. ‘As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ Acts 17:28
Photo by ALP STUDIO on Unsplash

When Encouragement Travels in a Tea Cup

by Cathy Baker

Tea and encouragement. I prayed God would weave them together for a greater purpose. I’d hosted tea parties in my home but sensed God shaping my desire into something even more personal.

One day, while browsing an antique shop in Myrtle Beach, SC, I spotted the answer to my prayer sitting on a shelf, painted in delicate blue/yellow stripes and shaped like a petite one-cup tea-pot. With it, all the other details flowed into place. 

When we returned from the beach, I wasted no time assembling a “Barnie Basket,” Barnie, aka Barnabas,”Son of Encouragement,” from Acts 4:36. 

Each week, I’d pray for God to give me the name of a woman in our church in need of encouragement. On Sunday mornings, I would ask her to meet me at my car after the service. There, I would hand off the basket and point to the enclosed note card for all the details.

In the note, I shared how God had laid her on my heart and that inside the basket was an opportunity for one-on-one tea time with her heavenly Father.

In the basket, I placed: 

  • One answer-to-prayer teapot
  • One teacup, along with an individually-wrapped teabag
  • A journal and pen (the recipient was encouraged to journal about her time with the Lord and to read the entries made by previous recipients.)
  • Homemade cookies, packaged biscotti, or tea cookies
  • A handwritten note
  • Mini-scripture notes written specifically for the recipient

She need only place the teacup, teapot, and journal in the basket to return to me the following Sunday morning. 
 
That was almost twenty years ago.

Five years ago, a dear friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer. I desperately wanted to lift her spirits as she would soon face a double mastectomy. Then I remembered that this friend was one of the first recipients of the Barnie Basket all those years ago. I searched my shelves for the journal that had traveled home with so many friends and turned to the page of her entry. In it, she shared in detail how she trusted God above all else — no matter what. I carefully removed the page from the journal and framed it for her, presenting it to her a few days before her surgery. It was a special moment, indeed. 

We never know, do we? But God does. 

Tea Maker
Steeped in His Word
Infused with His love
Sweetened by His Spirit
Stirred from above.
-Patsy Clairmont

A Brilliant Way to Record Ideas

Imagine the grin as I peeled back the festive paper to find a journal with Brilliant Ideas imprinted on the front in all its Copperplate glory. (Thank you, Ellen!)

Brilliant? Sure — no pressure! Ideas? Now, that’s more my speed. 

An
hour prior to receiving this thoughtful gift, ideas had already begun
percolating over a plate (yes, a plate) of grits with one of the most creative people I know. Hopefully, you’ll soon see the results of that
particular grits session. 🙂

For those ideas that strike when I’m out and about, I carry a tiny moleskin notebook and pen in the front pocket of my purse because these days ideas seem to disappear as quickly as they strike. 

How about you? Do you have a method for remembering brilliant ideas that come your way? 

“Look at the blank pages before you with courage. 
Now fill them with beauty.” Blaine Hogan

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