Thursday, January 5, 2012

Grace Dipped in Chocolate

Among our family prayers for 2011 was a closer personal relationship with friends who have yet to discover the grace and redeeming love of our Lord, Jesus Christ. We've prayed fervently for opportunities to deepen our bonds with these friends and, through our relationship, draw them close to open windows through which the power of the Holy Spirit could shine. We prayed, yes, but we also worked hard. We worked hard to create opportunities. We worked hard to turn ordinary conversations into testimonies of God's love and quotations of His Words of Life. In our hard work, we were forgetting that the Work has already been done - that we cannot do enough work to share His love. Matthew 10:20 (ESV) reminds us: "For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you." When we tired of the work, the Holy Spirit was freed to do His mighty work. Our friends called us. Our friends did the inviting. Last Friday was spent dipping anything and everything in chocolate for an entire day, creating endless gifts for each of us to take home and share with those we love (for us, it was our veterinarian and many friends).

With each dip of the finest Belgian chocolate onto equally delicious foods (pistachios, cherries, truffles, coconut, peppermint patties, pretzels and even potato chips), I pondered and marveled once again at how much sweeter the love of Jesus is. I acknowledged how He waited for me to be still, so He could created an opportunity I could never have created on my own. Our relationships were strengthened that day and, because of that day, I have had opportunities to share the goodness of the Lord's provision in my own life with these friends. I'm remembering to spin my wheels less these days - no longer playing the orchestrator or conductor, but rather the violin, piano or voice. The seeds are being planted, and the Master Farmer will tend to His harvest. I will keep my watering can close at hand, filled with water and ready to be used - a vessel of His unending love and grace.

Kayla Liechty Paulk

Kayla Paulk with husband, Jason

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Of Paper and Verse

She was standing at the sink washing dishes as we three youngers, sat at the table bouncing ideas for blog names back and forth to each other.  When our boy shouted out "Imagination Nexus", she glanced knowingly over her shoulder.  She is no stranger to good ideas.  
Oh the words that have found their way from her heart to paper over the years.  Though not widely published and shy about her ability, my mother is the first best writer I've ever read.  I find it only fitting that our first exhibitor be Sally Eshelman who nurtured His seeds of creativity in my own life from my first memories.

This poem was written while flying from the east coast to the west, overlooking the beautiful Cascade Mountain Range.

In Flight

I soar the heights, the clouded sky, a white-puffed sea below.
Is heaven's gate a likeness of this realm I do not know?
The artist's brush may imitate, The poet's verse applaud;
But beauty such as this is authored solely by our God.
                                                          Sally Eshelman

How fitting an introduction to our parade of artistic endeavor!  Thanks Mom!

Sally Eshelman with daughter, Kara