When a New Perspective Sneaks Up and Refreshes Your Soul

by Cathy Baker

Is there anything more refreshing than a an ice cold slushy or a splash in the pool on a sweltering summer day?


Turns out, there is.

If you’ve attended the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference there’s one particular room where dreams have the potential to either take flight, or deflate as quickly as Tom Brady’s fleet of footballs. On one side of the table sit the agents, editors, publishers, etc. On the other, attendees waiting to pitch ideas or ask questions within their fifteen minute appointment. If an attendee arrives for their appointment and finds the person ahead of them still pitching past their allotted time, we’re told to quietly go stand behind the other conferee, signaling their time is up. 

This year, while sharing my appointment time with Ginger Harrington, friend and fellow blogger, she noticed that her time immediately followed mine.

I smiled and told her to feel free to sneak up on me if my time ran over. Without hesitation she said, “I won’t be sneaking up on you, I’ll be standing there praying for you.” 

This is one of many reasons I love the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference: 
Prayer supersedes plans more often than not.

Our exchange that morning left me feeling refreshed—physically, emotionally, and especially spiritually. New perspectives have a way of doing that, don’t they? 

So, how has God brought refreshment to your soul via another person lately? 

(Congratulations to Ginger! She won 1st place in Blogging this year. Visit her site and you’ll see why.)

Save the Date: Bring Your Own Candle

by Cathy Baker

Today, I’d like to introduce you to a recent favorite read, “Playdates with God…Having a Childlike Faith in a Grown-Up World,” by Laura J. Boggess. 

In this book she shares how she was once a rule-follower. She went from one extreme to another, as legalists often do. Tangled up in the to-do’s, her soul found no rest.

Holley Gerth’s endorsement rings true: “Laura Boggess invites us into intimacy  with God in the everyday moments of life. This intimacy is not about striving but rather enjoying, not about laboring but instead, being loved, not about losing ourselves but about finally being found in the ways we’ve longed for all our lives.”

In Chapter 4, titled Bird Watching, the joy of new beginnings, Laura reminds us of what it felt like in the early stages of romantic love. Remember that feeling? We thought of him/her throughout the day, we couldn’t spend enough time with our new-found love, and sometimes we couldn’t eat because of the excitement (this one has always eluded me). 

Think back to the time you first fell in love with Jesus. I know for me I couldn’t get enough of His Word, being around His people, or jotting down notes. Although my love for His Word has not wavered over the years, I admit some of the fervor has at times.  

James 4:8 tells us, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” Sometimes it’s as simple as recognizing His ever-so-close presence in our daily lives. 

Save the Date: 
Laura shares how each time she approaches God in her home, she lights a candle. “God doesn’t need that candle to meet with me. But I do. Every time my mind gets distracted, all I need to do is glance at that flickering flame, and I am reminded that I am not alone. It is because of my own weakness that I seek out ways to bring my mind and heart into awareness that there is more to this world than what my eyes can see. God is so much much more than I can understand.” 

Similarly, I’ve added a chair nearby to remind me of His presence during my quiet time with Him.

You’re Invited:
How about you? Is there something you do, or have done in the past, to remind you of your First Love’s ever abiding presence? 

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. Revelation 2:4, 5a

And the winner of last week’s drawing for the Soy Lavender Field candle is…Mary Beth Dahl! Congratulations, Mary Beth, and thanks to all those who participated. Stay tuned for this month’s drawing later in May!

The Scent of Smoldering Doubts

by Cathy Baker

I don’t mind being wrong. I just don’t want to be misunderstood. (That makes sense, right?)

Like, I’m perfectly okay if someone doesn’t agree with my perspective on something as long as they understand my heart on the matter. This mode of thinking, however, has sometimes handed the enemy his sharpest darts of doubt to penetrate my peace of mind.

Recently, one of his darts took flight soon after writing a difficult email. I had prayed prior to sending it, asking God to check my heart. Nevertheless, this question continued to encircle my thinking: 

What if the meaning of my email was misinterpreted by the recipient? 

Enter, God’s whisper: 

I know your heart. Rest in this truth. 

The enemy may have fiery darts (Eph. 6:16) but our God wields a swift and mighty sword (Hebrews 4:12) that snuffs out doubts, leaving nothing but smoldering splinters in its wake. 

When God reminded me of his truth—that he is omniscient, knowing all things, especially the heart and intentions of his creation—I could rest, and I did. Later that day, God graciously confirmed my initial concern with confirmation that my heart had indeed been understood. A praise of thankfulness quickly followed. 

How has God snuffed out your doubts in recent days with Truth? Let the praises begin!

The Lord looks down from heaven;
    he sees all the children of man;
from where he sits enthroned he looks out
    on all the inhabitants of the earth,
he who fashions the hearts of them all
    and observes all their deeds.
Psalm 33:13-15
**** Don’t miss Monday’s post as I’ll be offering a beautiful tea cup and saucer from my personal collection for a drawing. It’s a gift from me to you as we close out this month’s series. 

Why My Laptop Was Left Behind

Our view from the Portofino IV deck in Garden City, SC

by Cathy Baker

If you know me, you know my vacation actually begins when pen hits paper a few weeks prior to our departure. Yes, the list could be saved on a Google doc but there’s something about starting with fresh paper and bright ink each year that makes me…well, downright happy. 

This year, however, I felt the tinge of a holy adjustment coming my way every time I glanced at the words “lap top” on my list.

Moonlight skimming the ocean.

I knew with three grandbabies on the trip there would be no desire to peruse the internet, check email or write blog posts during the day but I admit I thought it might be the perfect way to close the evening before heading to bed. 

And then I came across Emily Freeman’s post Why Rest Takes Courage. Her final paragraph clung to my soul, refusing its release:

The details of soul rest may look different for each of us, but
probably includes some combination of silence, solitude, nature, your
people, and the willingness to come into the presence of Christ and
simply be ourselves.

The Holy Spirit was as clear as the moon on our first night at the beach—I was to leave the lap top behind. And I did, resulting in a few discoveries along the way: 

  • I was ambushed by the uneasiness that crept in as our departure day drew near. What did I think I’d really miss in 7 days? 
  • A new-found freedom emerged as I carried out my beach days with little to no thought of the lap top. I felt no obligation to check Facebook or email. I tried to rest in the fact that if someone didn’t receive an immediate response from me, all would be well in the end.
  • I lost nothing by leaving my lap top behind but I did gain a liberty I didn’t know existed, time I can never recapture and a renewed appreciation for God’s promptings. 

I’m not suggesting everyone should leave their lap top behind, but I don’t ever see it reappearing on my family beach trip list again. Ever. 

So, how about you? Is there one thing in particular you most appreciate about God’s promptings in your life? 

Taking time off is not a punishment or a dare or a rule.
It is a gift.  
-Emily P. Freeman

Rest. A Wonder of God.


Day 16: REST

Apart from rest, we can sleep through the wonders of God. Though your schedule may be full, consider what you can do today to imbibe rest as one of God’s greatest gifts. Perhaps you can sneak in a catnap. Or allow your eyes to rest mid-afternoon. Or climb into bed an hour early. Look for twenty minutes or more when you can just rest-allowing your mind and body and emotions to recalibrate. Drink in rest to awaken more fully to the wonders of God all around.

-Margaret Feinburg, Wonderstruck

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