Monday, September 23, 2013

Vi Bella…Beautiful Life


Vi Bella means “beautiful life”. We chose the name because it is our aim to help women live the beautiful life that God intends for them. ~ Vi Bella 


Five months ago, I was introduced to Vi Bella at the Jumping Tandem Retreat. Although I live in the same state as this Iowa-based non-profit, I was completely unaware of Vi Bella’s history, mission, and the beautiful jewelry created by their artisans.

Since then, I’ve grown to love their mission of “Women Helping Women.”

Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man how to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.”

I believe that’s Vi Bella.

By providing women in Haiti, Mexico, and the United States with jobs and skills, they aren’t just taken care of for a day, but for a lifetime. In areas where there were no jobs for women to earn even enough to feed their children, they now have opportunities to provide for their families.

Women who needed a second chance in life have been given a new outlook on their future.

Through the love of Christ, Vi Bella offers encouragement and opportunities, and, in turn, women who had no hope, now stand taller with dignity and a sense of purpose.

Isn’t that something we all want and need?

Vi Bella continues to grow, adding to their jewelry line, purses (teaching women to sew), accessories, lanyards, and t-shirts. And as Vi Bella grows, so does the number of jobs and opportunities for women in these challenging areas.

I’m so excited about Vi Bella’s fall line and to be having an online party!

Beginning today, September 23 – Sunday, October 6

If you enter Discount Code: OLR3 in the Discount Code box on the online order form, and click “Apply,” you will save $3.00 on your total Vi Bella order! (See example below.)

Cool, right!?!

Will you join me in supporting and celebrating the beautiful life God intends for each of us?
Click here to get started! www.vibellajewelry.com
In Christ,
Laura  



Order Form Example:
Your Cart
ITEM
QTY
PRICE
SUBTOTAL
        $16.95                 $16.95

Discount Code:
  OLR3      Apply                 SubTotal: $16.95Top of Form
Discount: ($3.00)
  TOTAL:  $13.95


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Waiting…for the Next Thing


I’m thrilled to be joining my friend, Jen, on her blog, Finding Heaven, today. Last month, Jen said she was thinking about time…how we use (or misuse) the time we are given. From there, a series was born—Reflections on Time: A New Series.

Will you join me at Finding Heaven, where I’m guest posting today? Here’s the beginning of what you’ll find…
Sleep when the baby sleeps.
That was the advice given to me when my daughter was an infant.
It made sense, and I could do that at night time. But during naps? I didn’t do so well with the advice then.
I looked forward to nap time, but then I was antsy. I thought she would wake up any minute, so I couldn’t relax. And, I felt like I should spend the time doing something, like laundry or cleaning, or something of that nature. So, I went from thing to thing, without accomplishing much of anything.
And when nap time was over, my daughter was well rested…and I was tired.
I didn’t think of resting as doing something, and I wasted the precious quiet time I was given.
I’ve been thinking about this again because I wonder if I’ve changed much.

I hope you’ll join me at Finding Heaven, and would you leave a comment? Jen and I would love to know you stopped by.

In Christ,
Laura 


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Grace in the Doughy Parts

2 Corinthians 12:9 The Message
“It’s done enough. Eat around the doughy parts.”

These were the instructions I gave as I served dinner the other night.

Yes, it was a proud moment.

The dinner a child could make, I served with doughy insides. I won’t say what it was, because frankly, it’s too embarrassing. But, as usual, I wasn’t completely focused on making dinner.

I was trying to get a file sent to me from the office. It was my own fault that I didn’t have it, and the stress was tying a rugged knot in my stomach. So, between phone calls, e-mails, and files flying through internet space, I got dinner prepared and in the oven.

Success.

Or so I thought.

When the timer went off, I pulled out the pan, turned off the oven, and told everyone dinner was ready. And then I realized it was not done. I don’t mean another-minute-or-so not done. I mean raw dough.

So, I put it back in the oven, and we stood around waiting. I thought about Carol Brady—this never happened to her. (But wait, she had Alice…and six kids. I have one kid and no Alice. So, call it a draw.)

If you are not familiar with the Brady Bunch, which I can’t even image, find it in reruns. Really, you need to. Oh, and I’m not dating myself. It was reruns when I watched it as a kid.

But, I digress…

I checked again. There were still some doughy insides, but I was tired of waiting.

So, I announced, “It’s done enough. Eat around the doughy parts.”

I should probably wonder why this information didn’t surprise my family, but I’m not going there.

We prayed over our delicious home-cooked dinner, prepared with love. (If you didn’t read that with sarcasm, read it again.)

I picked at the edible parts, while my mind kept repeating my failures…done-enough-dinners, forgotten files, and lack of Carol Brady perfection.

And then, my daughter said, “I like the doughy parts.”

Sigh. I could already hear future conversation starters…Hey, mom, remember when you served raw dough for dinner?”

And that’s when I remembered grace.

The grace my family was extending by not complaining and eating as if this wasn’t a big doughy deal. Grace in my daughter’s statement. And the grace I needed to give myself.

The grace that God gives me on a daily basis.

2 Corinthians 12:9 The Message
Perhaps this whole incident helps me understand what God said to St. Paul...
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)
My family loves me even when I serve doughy dinners, and God loves me even when I’m not Carol Brady perfect.

I imagined what this scene would’ve looked like in the Brady Bunch.

“I like the doughy parts!” a child would exclaim, while the family laughed and laughed. The closing music would play and the credits would roll. It would be the perfect ending to their chaotic 25-minute television time slot.

That’s what I’ll do next time. I’ll laugh like it’s the cutest thing she ever said, while family theme music plays in the background.

On second thought, there’s no need to make this again. And who has time to find family theme music anyway?

In Christ,
Laura


Thursday, September 12, 2013

God Will Make a Way


Welcome! I’m over at 5 Minutes for Faith today talking about how God makes a way where there is no way. Here’s the beginning of my post…
Last month, on 5 Minutes for Faith, I wrote about the day God stopped me in my tracks. He reminded me that no matter what I think I know, only He knows the full and complete picture of His plans.
That same day I read this verse...
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Ephesians 3:20 MSG
Since then, this same verse, Ephesians 3:20, has been brought to my attention over and over, at times when I wasn’t turning to it in my Bible.

I hope you’ll join me at 5 Minutes for Faith to read my post in its entirety. And if you would, leave a comment. I’d love to know you stopped by.

Has there been a time when you felt the same Scripture verse was being put in front of you repeatedly?

In Christ,
Laura  



Monday, September 2, 2013

Don’t Underestimate How God Will Surprise You


After a week of near 100 degree temps, high humidity and dew points, and weeks of little to no rain, this morning was beautiful—sunny and not even 80 degrees yet, with a cool breeze. Ahhh, perfect.

I decided I should venture out to the raspberry bushes at the back of the yard to see how bad they looked. I haven’t been watering them, so I expected to see shriveled up berries, if there were any signs of berries at all.

While I did find sad, dried up berries, I was surprised to find good berries—more than I would have guessed or imagined.

I went back to the house for shoes and a bowl to collect them in. I had only expected to be out for a minute to confirm my worst suspicions, but my exciting find said I’d be out longer.

As I carefully picked the good raspberries, I thought about how surprised I was that there were any at all. And it made me think of how God will surprise us.

When we think there’s no hope, God says to hope in Him.

When we think a situation is impossible, God reminds us that with Him anything is possible.

When we expect to see nothing, God shows us something.

The raspberry bushes are across the yard from where I sit writing this, and I can see pink berries that will be ready to pick in another day or two.

If I hadn’t ventured out this morning, I would have missed the delicious surprise I found. And because my eyes are now open to more berries ripening, I won’t miss out later this week.

How often do we miss out because we’re so sure “it” won’t happen?

This morning, my “it” was ripe raspberries. Tomorrow, my “it” might be something much bigger—something I don’t want to miss because I don’t think it will happen.

Don’t underestimate how God will surprise you. {Tweet this!}

Maybe you tend to look through the lens of what you think you will see and how you expect things to go. Is it time to set this lens aside?

When we open ourselves up to what we might find, God will amaze us. {Tweet this!}

And when we get used to looking for God’s surprises, how much more will we see them?

When have you been surprised to find what you were sure you wouldn’t see? Was it even better than you could have hoped for?

In Christ,
Laura