Posts by Patty Schell

A Snarled Life

girlonadventure.com

Screaming erupted,

accompanying the morning’s hair brushing session. Neglected only one day, my granddaughter’s long blond hair had turned into a tangled mess. We thought it would be okay to ignore our normal routine. We were just hanging out at home. It wasn’t like anyone would be seeing us. No big deal to let her hair go unbrushed. No big deal, that is, until it was. Now pain and tears were involved in the whole process of combing out the snarls.

How quickly life can end up the same way.

Our days seem smooth and easy. So much so, we begin to neglect simple ‘grooming’. We forget to pray; we put off looking into God’s Word; a day or two won’t really matter much. Before we know it, quite a few days have passed without God’s input. Without it, life begins to get tangled and snarled. To make it smooth again, whole lot of ‘brushing’ will need to happen. It’s a good thing the One doing the combing has a gentle touch.

As I consider this whole picture, I am reminded that it takes some time to work the tangles out of my granddaughter’s hair. There are some unpleasant moments, to be sure, but there also is quite a bit of time spent talking as we work on the tangles. Moments of I remember when are shared. A closeness is created through the process, and trust is developed. Before we realize it, beauty emerges from where the tangles once were.

Are you leading a snarled life?

I have been there. Yes, I believe it might have involved some screaming and tears, but God eventually smoothed out the tangles. One thing I know—I never want to go there again. To avoid the snarls, constant maintenance is required. I can’t allow much time to pass before I am in the Word and praying for guidance. Without it, I just feel unkept and disheveled, unable to function, and certainly not looking my best.

If you are unsure of where to start, begin with prayer. It is true, confession is good for the soul. A simple, “Hello, God, it’s me,” will get the process started. You’ll know what to say from there.

The practice of meeting with God . . .

on a regular basis to pray and study His Word takes time to develop. Once it is a habit, you will wonder why you ever neglected it. Peace is one bonus to regular ‘grooming’ your life with the Word. And that is a beautiful thing.

No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:11

Consider the Ant?!

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Ants!

Once again they have taken over my kitchen. I spray, but they merely change route and continue their work. Hard as it may seem, these tenacious little creatures are not driven by the single purpose of trying to drive me crazy, but rather providing a storehouse for their future. Once again, God takes a moment to make a point. This time it is an important illustration He makes in Proverbs.

Go to the ant, you sluggard; observe its ways and be wise!
It has no commander, overseer, or ruler, yet it prepares its food in the summer;
it gathers at the harvest what it will eat.
Proverbs 6:6-8 NLT

Sluggard? Ouch!

That part hurts a little. I must admit I have spent more than my fair share of time watching House Hunters International, Say Yes to the Dress, and Chopped . And aside from Chopped (I pick up some good cooking techniques there.) I must admit that although entertaining, there is not much useful information found in these programs for a married woman who is rooted deep in US soil.

As I looked farther into the passage, I found the actual word prepares is the Hebrew word kuwn, which means ‘be established, be secure, be enduring’. That takes the little ant’s activity to another level. The single-minded activity these animals have is impressive. Their focus is really like no other, and it has all to do with what the definition states: keeping the colony established and secure, allowing it to endure in the future.

So, how does a study on ants apply to the human condition?

Since we know the author of Proverbs 6 is speaking to us, we should pay attention. If we take time to read through this chapter, we see the very next statement he makes is

How long, you sluggard, will you lie there? When will you arise from your sleep?

Proverbs 6:9

How long do we to plan to put off the things we need to do in order to endure whatever the future holds? But what should we do to prepare? It all comes down to storing up large amounts of God’s word in our heart.

This reminds me of when my mother would preserve all of the extra fruit from our backyard orchard. The kitchen smelled delicious as she stirred steamy pots of goodness. Jars, filled with beautiful color, lined the counter before she was finished. They would eventually find themselves tucked away in the pantry. It was a very beautiful sight to see those jars waiting for a time when we wanted something sweet with our meal.

God’s word is that something sweet we need . . .

when we’ve been served up a healthy portion of discouragement and disappointment found in life. When times are hard, it is good to be able to go to the storehouse and find that God has already given you hope and strength through His promises and instructions. Proverbs 6:21 tells us to bind His word to our hearts continually, because—

When you walk about, they will guide you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; when you wake up, they will talk to you. For the commandments are like a lamp, instruction is like a light, and rebukes of discipline are like the road leading to life. . .
Proverbs 6:22-23

So, consider the ant that doesn’t take NO for an answer.

Practice the ways of the enduring little creature and let nothing get in the way of storing up the Bible and its wisdom.

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Romans 15:4

On a Mission: The Art of Pulling Together

https://pattyschell.com/2017/06/30/on-a-mission-karen-sanchez/

 

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.”
Hebrews 10:24 NLT

Karen Sanchez has the unique ability to get people together. . .

to get things done, and her involvement with uniting the community with Hands of Mercy (HoM) is no different. In fact, this agency’s purpose has a special place in her heart. By teaming up with HoM, Karen, whose life’s work as a realtor is to pair families and houses together, has the opportunity to extend this passion to the underserved of Mexico. What’s more, she wants others to get involved and join the fun.

How does helping families in Mexico can make our high desert community a better place to live?

Hands of Mercy works through groups in the US who sponsor the building projects with their resources. They purchase the building materials for a small 12’x12’ loft house and then gather community members to partially assemble the house before delivering it to its permanent place in Mexico. This whole process gives people an opportunity to serve others by giving money, swinging a hammer, or providing a box of household goods to welcome the family to their new home.

But it doesn’t stop there.

It also builds community here through working side-by-side to accomplish the task. What is even more exciting about Hands of Mercy is they have made the entire process family-friendly. Young and old can come together to provide a family with a basic structure that will give them security and raise their standard of living. Relationships are built as neighbors serve together. It empowers them to think beyond their front door, giving them a much larger worldview.

Karen serves as a catalyst in this endeavor. She has organized fundraisers and has spread the word through her various connections, encouraging people to get involved in not only giving money but also in the actual building process. If that’s not enough, she and her husband organize lunch for all who participate. In the end, well over three hundred people have had a hand in making a family’s life better while forming connections in their own community; now multiply that amount times four.

Just this past April. . .

the fourth house made its way down to Baja to its permanent location. The recipient, a woman who had been homeless for ten years, will now have a safe place to call her own. This is much in thanks to Karen Sanchez. She has taken her talent for making connections and used it to bring people together in a significant way. And through that, families, friendships, and communities are strengthened, making the world a better place to live.

Above all, put on love–the perfect bond of unity.
Colossians 3:14 HCSB

 

To contribute financially to the next loft house build and be part of something pretty great, go here.

To learn more about Hands of Mercy and the work they do, go here.

Something to Ponder: Glorify God

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You cannot glorify God unless you consider His ways and follow them.

Hands Full

http://girlonadventure.com/2017/06/16/hands-full

I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes.

 Psalm 119:48 ESV

 

Hands raised in worship.

I have been part of it when a song strikes a chord in my soul. the action of lifting my hands in worship acknowledges a longing for my whole being participate with a heart that is lifted to the throne room of God. You, Lord, have done great things is usually the reason for my hands to reach out in a worship service.

Other images come to mind when considering “lifting up my hands”. Hands over our heads can be a sign of surrender. We raise our right hand and swear we will tell the whole truth, while volunteers show their eagerness to serve with hand stretched high. Hands thrown upward can also be a sign we’ve simply had enough of how something is going.

But when we look at the Hebrew word for hand—kalf— in the Psalm 119 verse above, we see something else. It describes the palm or hollow of the hand. The hollow of the hand is made for scooping, holding, or carrying things. Combined with the word nasa’ I shall lift up—it gives the idea of picking something up and carrying it in your hand.

Now, doesn’t that give us a different picture?

We lift our hands to receive from God who is the Giver of good gifts. His Word certainly qualifies as one of those good gifts. In receiving it, we can move on to touching it and allowing it to touch us.

Let’s not stop there. Our hands can do so much. How about cradling the word as you would do something precious? Grasping it as in never letting go, and sometimes even hanging on for dear life. Feeling it as you would when gliding your hand over something of beauty, feeling its texture. All these actions further expand my view of my hands coming in contact with God’s Word.

I pray that I follow the Psalmist’s actions. . .

and continue to reach out towards the very thing that allows me to know God and His ways. When my hands are full of His words, they are always at my fingertips to be used in my actions or offered to others who seek to know God, too. What better way is there to live than having one’s hands full of God’s precious words?

So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.

Psalm 63:4

 


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Something to Ponder: Are You Following?


Picking up you cross? What?! Simply put, have you let go of choosing your own way and embraced God’s? 

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.
Mark 8 ESV

http://bible.com/59/mrk.8.34-35.ESV

Tiny Beginnings

http://wp.me/p2mn4o-GR

“The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”

Matthew 13:33

My kitchen has the lovely smell of bread rising.

Flour mixed with yeast gives off the beautiful aroma of the anticipation of something wonderful to come. I can remember my mother’s kitchen smelling the same on days she was baking what we called Light Rolls. They were going to accompany a big pot of white beans and ham that had its own wonderfulness. Without that warm roll with butter melting into the surface of the steamy bread, the beans by themselves would not have been the same.

Oh, man. . .

Before drooling takes over, I want to look at the verse that started this line of thought.

Although most of us equate leavening with sin and its ever-increasing desire to take over, here Jesus uses the concept in a different way. This particular teaching on the kingdom of heaven is a one-liner, found tucked amongst the stories about planting of seeds and finding of treasure. [See Matthew 13] The leavening found in this portion of scripture is intended to give the idea of how a very small thing can make big changes.

The kind of leavening Jesus is referring to is what we know as sour dough. No packets of yeast could be found at the grocery store for his listeners. They were able to picture the concept because virtually every household would make bread in the same way. The starter, as bakers refer to it today, was a little piece of dough reserved from the batch before it. That piece was full of yeast that was alive, and once it was mixed into flour and water, it would also bring life to them.

I love this little bit of scripture and how it points to small beginnings that, at first, cannot be seen from the outside. The woman hides the bit of dough into the flour. This is somewhat like hiding God’s living Word in our hearts. I know in my own case, it started small. A verse here and there, but it grew. The more I incorporated God’s word into my heart, the more I wanted to know. The more I knew, the more I had to share with those around me. It grew and grew, taking over and changing my thoughts and actions.

Now, take the individuals who have infused God’s words into their lives and have grown in the ways of kingdom life, and mix them in a world that is dead. Life will begin to take hold as the effects of God’s Word spreads. The process will generate change, bringing God’s kingdom to our families, our neighborhoods, and our communities.

God’s little bit of leaven hidden in our lives can produce some really great results.

The scent of goodness and life that comes as it grows will alert everyone around us that something wonderful is happening—the kingdom of heaven spreading into all the earth.

“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.”

2 Corinthians 2:14-16


A recipe is certainly in order for this post. This one makes a delicious loaf. If you would like to start your own sour dough, save a pinch of unbaked dough in a lidded container for your next batch. When ready to use it, incorporate it into the dough with the water and an additional 1/4 teaspoon instant dry yeast.

Over time, your sour dough will get more sour as the starter develops. This method has worked for me when baking a couple times a week. If you don’t bake that often, just start fresh each time, or check the internet for more info keeping sour dough starter. This method has worked for me when baking a couple times a week. If you don’t bake that often, start fresh each time, or check the internet for more info for keeping sour dough starter.

No-Knead Artisan Bread

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Directions

  1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add  water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Add a splash of water if needed for right consistency. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
  2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
  3. Gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Place a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) that has been lightly oiled or lined with parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap or towel, and let rise for 2 hours.
  4. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Place lid on pot, bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove lid and bake an additional 15 minutes, or until bread in golden.
  7. Cool on wire rack.
  8. Eat with plenty of butter. Yum!
  9. Enjoy!