93 Years of Marriage: An Heirloom Wedding Gown

My daughter celebrates her first year of marriage this Sunday. I’ve been wanting to share about her wedding gown all this time. Finally! Here’s the story starting at the beginning in 1957. Canton, Ohio

Restored wedding gown,
Mikaela and Ethan, May 18, 2018

The Bride Wore a Satin and Lace Wedding Gown

April 21, 1956 – East Sparta Methodist Church – The bride wore Satin and Chantilly lace with a cathedral length train and a fingertip veil. The gown was handmade by the bride, Elaine Easterday. (my mother). The hem was so long that she has all her bridesmaids come over and help her finish the hem before the wedding. She married a handsome dairy farmer, Gene Dawson, from Louisville, Ohio. They said “standing room only” with over 400 guests attending. {Mom said the cost was $36}

1957 Gene and Elaine
original wedding gown made by Elaine, worn by daughter and  granddaughter
Gene & Elaine April 21, 1956

Off to Finish College

Gene had one more year at Ohio State University School of Agriculture. So they moved their few belongings down to Columbus, Ohio. Wedding gifts and such were packed away in the attic of the family farm. The gown was packed along with a few other special gowns in a cedar chest made by Gene’s brother, George.

family farmhouse
The Dawson Farm in Lousiville, Ohio before 1957

Fire Destroys the Family Farmhouse

March 1957 Louisville, Ohio – Elaine went to the farm and collected a few serving items to throw a birthday party for her beloved husband. She was now expecting their first child. It was the last she would see of her wedding gifts as a few days later, a fire would engulf the 3 story home and gut it completely.

farm house destroyed by fire
1957 after the fire

Upon surveying the damage, they saw the cedar chest high up on a beam. They knocked it down and it fell to the basement. The lid broke open to reveal her perfectly preserved wedding dress! No burnt ends or even the smell of smoke. (Just like Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego! – Read Daniel 3)

The dresses were returned to the cedar chest and there they remained in the cedar chest for the next 32 years, except for a few times to just take a look. Like Mary’s little lamb, the chest went everywhere Gene & Elaine went. Their first home in Wooster, OH; Then two other rental farms in Louisville before moving back the homeplace. In 1975, the family, cows, and cedar chest moved to Cambria, Wisconsin.

Daughter Marries A “Farmer”

December 31, 1989 – Columbia, SC – Daughter, Amanda (me) marries Pastor Michael Farmer. Just a funny side note that has nothing to do with the gown, I said I would “NEVER marry a farmer or a pastor.” God has a sense of humor… I married Pastor Farmer. ha!

However, I always wanted to wear mom’s gown when I married; so I had mom bring it to me in Detroit, Michigan in October of 1989. We were together for my brother’s wedding. It was a bit snug on me but mom had left the seam allowances so a church friend, Gabriella, did the work to make it fit! {Cost: $36}

Michael & I married in West Columbia, SC on New Year’s Eve 1989 with over 300 in attendance. As we headed to San Deigo, CA for our honeymoon, Mom took the gown back to Wisconsin. We met them there a week later for a 2nd reception with the home folks.

Then we headed to Barnesville, GA were Michael was already pastoring. And the gown headed to the cleaners for preserving. {cost: $36} Michael & I did a bit of moving ourselves. And the gown followed us everywhere!

  • 1990 – Chattanooga, TN
  • 1992 – Savannah, GA
  • 1997 – Milwaukee, WI
  • 2003 – Moultrie, GA
  • 2015 – Pooler, GA

Fifty Years Celebrated

April 2006 – Randolph Wisconsin – After 50 years of marriage, 6 kids, and many foster children a couple deserves a party, right? We planned a western event for my parents. Our youngest brother, Le, helped us three girls create a CD for our parents. It was entitled “For All You’ve Done”. I brought out the gown so that it could be displayed.

antique wedding gown celebarting 50th anniversary
Mandy and her daughter at Mom and Dad’s 50th

Another Marriage Begins

May 19, 2018 – Savannah, GA – Mikaela and Ethan wed!

wedding gown before alterations
Mikaela in dress before alterations

Mikaela desired to wear the gown as well. She’s just a bitty thing and the gown swallowed her whole! We weren’t sure there was anything that could be down but we began searching for a seamstress.

.

.

But who do you trust with an heirloom such as this?

Who do you trust to alter your heirloom wedding gown? We found her! Click To Tweet

Fortunately, we found an awesome seamstress (in Waycross, GA) who is experienced with antique fabrics. She was excited and willing to update the dress to Mikaela’s style. At our first visit, Mikaela donned the wedding gown and told Mrs. Tammie what she would like. Mrs. Tammie pulled and pinned and tugged and offered ideas. Then we left the dress in her hands for about 3 months. (Hurricane Harvey plowed through Waycross during that time but the dress was safe.)

The Seamstress Works Her Miracle

January 2018 – First Fitting – It was hard to really visualize what Mrs.Tammie would do with the dress. But when Mikaela stepped from the dressing room tears filled our eyes and excitement filled our souls. {The cost this time, a bit more than $36.}

Ethan’s First Look

The wedding day arrived and sister-in-law, Tina drove to Waycross (about 2 hours) to fetch the gown. It was lovely. Just like Mikaela wanted. Her goal was to make her sweetheart cry. I believe, she succeeded as she entered the sanctuary on her daddy’s arm.

A huge thank you to Mrs. Tammie Thomas of Waycross, GA for doing the redesign. If you need alterations of any type, I definitely recommend her. And so did the girl trying on her third bridesmaid dress when we first arrived. The Okefenokee Living Magazine Spring 2017 featured Mrs. Tammie in their bridal Issue.

More story below…

Getting Married? Register on the Amazon Bridal Registry

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So Much Wedding Gown Fabric Left Over

Mom’s dress was so full. We had seemingly miles of unused fabric. So I started planning some repurposing. My first thought was a purse for Mom and I. And a small purse for Mikaela’s trousseau.

With plenty of fabric remaining still, I created a different style purse for my sisters who also have children preparing to marry. This gave each of us girls a part of mom’s dress to as a keepsake.

Still More Gown Fabric Left

The fabric seemed to multiply like the widow’s oil in 2 Kings 4:1-7. So, the next item we decided to make was a beautiful blessing gown for future grandbabies. No grandbabies will arrive in the near future, but I decided to make it now before the fabric ages more, or it gets lost. So I’ve gone to work on that. It will be waiting for any and all of the great grandbabies of Gene and Elaine to wear at their Baby Dedication. I found this free pattern and directions at See Kate Sew. I still have the finishing touches to do, but here’s what we have so far.

Will the Legend Continue? Who Knows?

The gown will return to it’s home in a cedar chest for years to come. You never know what could happen. But at this point, we have 93 years of good marriage represented in the gown.

Mom & Dad at 63 years, Mike & Mandy at 29 years, Ethan & Mikaela 1 year and we are all still counting.

Mandy Farmer

I’m certain that you know an heirloom wedding gown does not a great marriage make. Below you will find some great reading that may help you in this matter.

For more about the 2018 wedding click here.

wedding vows, redesigned antique wedding gown
Saying their vows led by both fathers.
wedding ceremony; cathedral train
Practice what you speak

Practice What You Speak

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths,

but only such as is good for building up,

as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Ephesians 4:29-30 (NLT)

A Godly Woman

I’m inspired by a godly woman from our church, Delores. A year or so before my illness, she lost her fight with stage 4 brain cancer. She was a vivacious lady around 60 years old living life to the full. She and her husband ran the local annual rodeo and a western store. 

One Saturday evening, she laid down because she had a headache. The next thing you know, she was having a full-blown seizure. Soon afterward, we learned it was cancer. I have never seen someone have such a positive attitude. It was the most beautiful thing to see. She spoke life to the entire church during her journey to heaven. She would always tell us, Continue reading

I Remember Mama Movie Review

Movie review, I Remember Mama
Movie review

Bonus Mother’s Day Post

As we approach Mother’s Day, I thought I’d give an extra bonus movie review. I’m always reminded of this old movie that my daughter and I found while homeschooling. We were learning about immigration at the time and came across this wonderful black & white movie based on the book, Mama’s Bank Account by Kathryn Forbes. {affilitate}

The story of Kathryn’s recollection of her life growing up being immigrants to America from Norway. She recalls all the ups and downs and financial struggles of being in a new land.

I Remember Mama – movie plot

Loosely based on Kathryn Forbes’ book -Mama’s Bank Account-, this film actually contains richer detail and more intricate characterizations. In turn-of-the-century San Francisco, young Katrina Hansen chronicles episodes of life with her extended family, who combine traditional Norwegian values with “modern” American ways. So successful that it became a popular radio show, and then a TV sitcom, both with Barbara Bel Geddes and Irene Dunne from the film.


Molly Malloy <mailcall@intersource.com>

I didn’t realize this

I didn’t realize until now looking up information that I Remember Mama became a popular radio show and a TV sitcom.

At the time of this post, the movie is available on Amazon Streaming for $2.99 rental or or purchase the DVD for $13.99. {affiliate} The TV Series is available on HULU with your subscription.


It’s a wonderful movie for Mother’s Day because their mother was the rock in the family. You will also meet their quirky aunts and benevolent uncle. A heartwarming story.

Another Review


In the format of a story, aspiring writer Katrin Hanson recollects her life growing up in the early twentieth century San Francisco with her Norwegian immigrant family: her siblings Nels, Christine and Dagmar; and her Papa and Mama named Lars and Martha. Mama is the practical one in the family. One of the family’s rituals is doing the household financial accounts every Saturday night.

Using the money brought home by Papa and what is kept in their petty cash tin, Mama would allocate it to the weekly bills.

“It’s good – we do not have to go to the bank” is what Mama would say if they had enough money. Luckily, they never had to go to the bank as dipping into their bank account was the worst thing they could have done.

Beyond her practicality, Mama is truthful and compassionate and will do anything for those she loves. This not only includes her husband and children but also her “scary” Uncle Chris & her trio of sisters. – All four of whom can be difficult to love much of the time. – And their poor boarder, Mr. Hyde, who provides more to the family in his readings than any financial compensation ever could. But Katrin and her siblings learn of a lie told by Mama, all in the name of protecting them.


Huggo
I Remember Mama is a wonderful movie for Mother's Day. Their mother was the rock in the family. #iremembermama #mothersday Click To Tweet
Mandy Farmer

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Elisabeth Elliot

Self-Discipline: A Matter of Grit and Grace

Welcome to the first of four LEgacy Link-ups for the summer of 2019! We are so excited! With Mother’s Day coming up, We would like this link-up to be All About Women who have or are Leaving a Legacy for us to follow. I started us out writing about Susie Spurgeon and Susanna Wesley. Now read what guest writer, Michele Morin from Living Our Days wants to share with us. Then write and share your own legacy story at the bottom.

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Self-Discipline: A Matter of Grit and Grace

With an empty house, a clean kitchen, laundry on the line (and even a sleeping dog!), it was a perfect afternoon to study or write. Deadlines were looming; however . . . the sun was shining, bath towels flapped and danced on the clothesline outside, and suddenly, while there was plenty that needed doing, the will to do it was lacking.

“Maybe I’ll call a friend,” I mused. “Or this would be a great day to wash windows!”

An Example to Live by

When I’m pondering the possibility of veering off course in some small way, I remember the faithful example of Elisabeth Elliot, who readily admitted that she was also subject to all the usual distractions and reluctance when it was time to sit down and write. She spoke of “taking herself by the scruff of the neck” and sitting herself down before the task at hand.

SHaping of a Christian Family
TSOACH, Updated in 2005

Raised by attentive parents who set high standards for her behavior, Elisabeth inherited a “habit of order” (TSOACH, 73) and a love for uncluttered efficiency that I have had to live my way into as an adult. Then, in the Ecuadorian jungles, Elisabeth witnessed the patient diligence of tribal people whose very lives depended upon their hard work through mud, thorns, snakes, steep climbing, and deep forests. Measuring her own small inconveniences against the lot of women who regularly carried hundred-pound packs on their backs, she was startled into an awareness of her tendency to complain about small inconveniences.

A Cracked Pot

Elisabeth had no illusions about her own status as a sinner, “a cracked pot” whose supreme privilege it was to reveal in her own life “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:6) By grace, however, she was able to speak truth with grit, even on topics that are usually off limits. For example, with wry humor, she noted that no one is actually qualified to address self-discipline around eating habits because if you don’t struggle with your weight, you don’t know how hard it is, and if you do struggle, you’ve got no room to talk!

"..if you don’t struggle with your weight, you don’t know how hard it is, and if you do struggle, you’ve got no room to talk!" #Elisabeth Elliot #LegacyLinkUp Click To Tweet

Naturally slender, Elisabeth found to her surprise that as she aged, she could pick up a few extra pounds when she traveled. To avoid gaining weight unawares, she weighed herself daily, reasoning that (1) it’s better to keep weight off than to shed pounds once they have been gained; (2) it’s easier to lose five pounds immediately than fifteen pounds later.

Who Left a Legacy for Elisabeth?

A Lamp For My Feet

Mentored by the writing of Amy Carmichael, Elisabeth endeavored to apply the counsel that shaped Amy’s perspective in doing things that were not to her liking:  “See in it a chance to die.” (ALFMF, 30) The small offerings, tiny deaths to self that we make every day are a way of cooperating with God, and this is a theme that ran through Elisabeth’s writing and speaking ministries—because it also runs through Scripture. She described it as the “interworking of the will of God and the will of man.” (ALFMF, 21) Responding in self-discipline is an opportunity to participate in God’s work here on earth as surely as those who filled the water pots in Cana or distributed the loaves and fish on a grassy Galilean hillside.

So, I’ll do the next thing today, trusting God to put words on the page and grateful for the example of a mentor from afar. Elisabeth Elliot blended grit and grace so consistently that it is impossible to tell—and pointless to wonder—where one ends and the other begins.

-Michele Morin

Works Cited

{affiliate links}

A Lamp for My Feet, 1985 (ALFMF)

The Shaping of a Christian Home, 1992 (TSOACH)
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summer of legacy

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SUsanna Wesley motherhood

Legacy of Motherhood: The Life of Susanna Wesley

My Mother and the first three kids.
Mom with my brother, sister, and me

For as long as I can remember, my greatest desire was to be a mother. And why not? God blessed me with the greatest examples of motherhood that a girl could have. My own mother was a portrait of motherhood. She had 6 children and countless foster kids. And she loved them all well. She told us often how wonderful it was to have children. Unlike many women today, she dreaded the end of summer and sending her children off to school. She wanted them around her feet, pulling on her skirt tails. There was never any doubt that she was proud to be a momma.

Godly Grandmothers

And then there were my godly grandmothers. Oh my goodness, if I could live up to their lives I would be so proud, but that would just pull me down from the heights of glory because they were all of the humble kind.

One thing my Grandma Dawson was proud of was that I was her namesake. And once I learned what that meant, I was proud of it too.
If you look at my father, uncles, and aunt you know that she was a great example of motherhood. She was a servant of God and man. At her funeral, my Uncle said, “You could always find her on her knees, either in prayer or serving others.

"You could always find her on her knees, either in prayer or service to others." #motherhood #grandmother #legacy Click To Tweet

Grandma Dawson (Amanda Leona) was also named for her Grandmother Amanda Hukill. Though I never knew her, she left a legacy of perseverance and faith enough for all of us. I can look to her whenever I think I have had my share of trials because she dealt with more than I ever have.

I look to her whenever I think I have had more than my fair share of trials. #leavingalegacy Click To Tweet

So Many More Legacy Builders

So you can see that it was easy for me to want to be a momma myself. It seemed the greatest accomplishment to me, it still does. Early on, I began reading about others that have set an example that has passed the test of time. Jackie Green’s book Only One Life speaks of many women who have left a legacy for us. There are two Susanna’s that have stood out for me as perfect examples of motherhood (physically and spiritually), Susie Spurgeon, whom I have already written about and Susannah Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley.

#Motherhood The greatest accomplishment. #lleavingalegacy Click To Tweet
Susanna motherhood

Susanna Wesley, Wife of a Minister

Susanna, wife of Rev. Samuel Wesley, Sr. and educated herself stayed right up with her husband (and later, her sons) in theological studies, reading anything and everything in her husband’s library. Her husband traveled often to schools and preaching, leaving her to hold down everything at home. They report that while he was away if the substitute priest was not “up to par”, she would have Bible lessons that evening in her home. This grew quickly from just her small brood to include many of the church members.

Mother of Nineteen

Susanna Wesley had nineteen children but only 10 of them reached adulthood (two of which were John and Charles Wesley, founders of Methodism). It was important to her that her children, girls included, would be given an education and she did it. All of them began their formal education at home and the girls completed their education under her teaching. She determined to have a dedicated period of study time set aside for each child, individually, each week. (When I think about this now, and factor in that she was likely pregnant or nursing the entire time, I am amazed. Yikes!)

Susanna's unwavering discipline
photo credit: Holinesstoday.org

Legacy of Discipline & Resilience

Susanna managed the gardening, cooking, and housekeeping along with the children’s studies. She kept a regular time set apart for meditation and self-examination before God, keeping of a spiritual journal and strict adherence to the Sabbath. Susanna, known as a great prayer warrior, with a houseful of activity, would pull her apron up over her head to pray; the signal for no interruptions. She expected the same devotion by her children.. to spend an allocated amount of time in Bible study and prayer. She wrote in a letter for her son Samuel:

I will tell you what rule I observed when I was young, and too much addicted to childish diversions, was this — never spend more time in mere recreation in one day than I spent in private religious devotions.

Eliza Clarke, Susanna Wesley (London: W.H. Allen & Co., 1886), 68

I have often read the writings of young people from earlier centuries and marveled at the depth of thought in young minds. Susanna’s practices, which came from the Puritan heritage, are how such depth of thought can be found. We all might take heed and learn from them.

SUsannah's Devotion to God
www.holinesstoday.org

“Mother of Methodism”

Susanna Wesley, mother of Methodism. Not only because she was the Mother of the founding men, John & Charles, but because she kept up with her husband and sons in their studies. She remained deeply involved with them in establishing the Methodist Church. As I type this, I am realizing that her disciplines stated above were carried into the new Methodist movement. The worship style of Methodism is just that. Methodical and with reason. I also wonder if it wasn’t her Sunday afternoon lessons, that sparked the idea of Sunday School classes for better learning and further teaching. can teach

Susanna Wesley a Legacy of Discipline, Faith & Prayer #leavingalegacy Click To Tweet

Large Shoes to Fill

The Life and Legacy of Susanna Wesley leave much for us to learn and follow. I encourage you to do some research on your own and perhaps take one area to use as an example to follow. There are many sources available for purchase; however, most of what I write today comes from the magazine Holiness Today, September/October 2018 issue which can be read online.

www.holinesstoday.org

What an excellent legacy to follow.

I pray that I do.

Mandy Farmer
summer of legacy

Legacy Link-ups are now Open

Click on the link of the month below.

Each month a different theme

  • May ~ Women
  • June ~ Men
  • July – Leaving a Legacy Through Blended Families (his/hers/ours/theirs or interracial families
  • August ~ Leaving a Legacy Through Adoption (from all viewpoints)

See you next week!

Women Leave a LEgacy

How Your Simple Life Can Leave an Eternal Legacy

You had a great life planned out. But here you are changing diapers, running a vacuum cleaner and planning daily meals. Or maybe typing business notes for your boss or scrubbing floors at a restaurant. How did you end up here? And how are you going to make any difference in the world doing this? You only have one life.

You had a great life planned out, but here you are doing menial tasks. #leavingalegacy Click To Tweet

Challenge Accepted

A retreat speaker once said she had chosen “GG” to be her grandmother name. It stands for “Godly Grandmother”. My mind drew a picture of a saintly old woman in her rocker with her Bible on her lap. Yes! I want my children and grandchildren to have a godly grandmother. One whose voice and advice echos in their mind long after I am gone.

I have always looked up to my grandmothers and I want to follow in their footsteps. I decided then and there that “GG” was my desired grandma name also.

What Makes a Godly Godmother?

I returned home from the retreat and God began to talk with me about what does that mean? Are you suddenly a godly grandmother just because you have 3 or 4 grandbabies? A grandmother is loved and treasured. She makes cookies and treats for her grandkids but how do you get that “godly” word to form in front of “grandma”? God began to show me that to be that Godly Grandmother, it had to start now. Now before my children are even raised and having children of their own.

Actually, it doesn’t really have anything to do with being a grandmother. It has to do with living a holy life before God and man. Studying His Word. Spending time in prayer, listening to Him, obeying His commandments and instructions to you, worshiping Him on a regular basis. Living life before your children and grandchildren that exemplifies God. This is the definition of a godly grandparent.

It has to do with living a holy life before God and man. #LeavingaLegacy Click To Tweet

Only One Life

There’s a familiar poem by C.T. Studd. You may only remember these two lines. But really, they say it all.


Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last. – C.T. Studd


https://paulhockley.com/2016/05/24/quote-only-one-life-twill-soon-be-past-poem-by-c-t-studd/

I recently picked up a book by Jackie Green and Lauren Green McAfee. You may know them from the largely publicized fight for rights ~ Hobby Lobby vs. Obamacare. Jackie and her husband is the founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby. Or more recently they have been largely involved with the creating and opening of the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C.

Only One Life: How a Woman’s Every Day Shapes an Eternal Legacy

Mother and daughter teamed up to write this precious book about legacy. They share about the matriarchs in their own family and how they themselves have been challenged to continue the legacy to new generations of the Green family.

There lives alone would encourage us to live godly legacies but they don’t stop there. They submit that there are many ways to create a legacy in our lives by showing us a dozen different roads to legacy. This alone creates an excitement that, “yes, indeed”, no matter where you are in life, you can create a lasting legacy. Legacy comes from the courage we live out through our struggles. It comes from lives of generosity, wisdom, compassion, and of course, the faith and prayer that we might first think of.

"yes, indeed", no matter where you are in life, you can create a lasting legacy. #bookreview #legacybuilding Click To Tweet

Jackie and Lauren create this excitement by sharing stories of women. Stories of Biblical women, known and little known, that made a difference all the way to the cross.

Legacy Builders of All Times

There are also so many women of history that encourage us that we can make a difference for the next generation. They share about Susie Spurgeon, Elizabeth Elliot, and Corrie Ten Boom, and many more down through history.

And then there are those leaving legacies right now in front of our very eyes, such as Joni Eareckson Tada, Mary Beth Chapman, and Christine Caine to name a few. And the list keeps going and going.

Even if you have no legacy to fall back on. You can lean on these and others to encourage you to build your own legacy for others. Even if you have no children to whom a legacy can be left, others can see your life and be encouraged.

I recommend this book, Only One Life: How a Woman’s Every Day Shapes an Eternal Legacy It would be an excellent place to begin to find leaders that leave you an example for building a beautiful legacy for the next generation.

Concluding With the Authors


“We believe that God will multiply our days and shape an eternal legacy.

So, women of God, together let’s be a generation of legacy-building leaders—of generosity and prayer, through loyalty and witness—wherever God calls us to go. A great adventure lies ahead!

Only One Life: How a Woman’s Every Day Shapes an Eternal Legacy

CHALLENGE: Let’s Make a List

Summer LEgacy Link-up ~ Will you join us?

So, who has built a legacy for you?

We want to know. Michele and I are planning several legacy link-ups this summer. We’ll begin with women who have built your legacy. Start thinking about who that is and write a tribute to her. Post it in your own blog and then come back here and link up with us. Share your post and read about other legacy builders from our readers. Michele and I are excited to learn who has built a legacy in your life and why they encourage you to continue the legacy.

Leaving a Legacy;

Mandy Farmer

Subscribe before you leave to be notified when the link-up is live. We can’t wait. How about you?

I purchased this book after seeing the Greens interview on the Huckabee Show. The above review is my personal and honest review. Following you will find the Huckebee Interview.

Huckabee TV Show

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A Recipe For Life

This is not my normal “Cooks Corner” article.  I prefer to do funny and informative.  But let’s face it- we all have serious moments and seasons in our life.  These seasons challenge and refine several points of our character.  How we handle the refining of our character becomes the ingredients in our recipe for life.  Refining can be painful, but the pain acts as a pruning.  Pruning the branches in your life that are not fruitful, maybe even branches that are poisoning the rest of your life.

I just returned from Wisconsin where I was certain I was traveling home to bury my father but instead watched him return from death’s door.  It was a relief to see him alive, but I know fifty years of diabetes is bound to take a toll on your kidneys and heart.  So, time is short and I need to make the most of the time I have.

Arm Chair Quarterback

Talking about one’s life makes you vulnerable.  I think we all like to protect ourselves and our family- which is natural.  We like to pretend “it’s all okay” and that we are invincible.  Everyone has “stuff” to deal with in their life.  My “stuff” is going to look different than your “stuff”.  And it is really easy to say to someone “Yes, but you have it easier, my situation is harder…”.  I am here to tell you, do not belittle someone else’s situation.  Our individual situations affect us differently.  We each have to walk out day to day life with that situation or that person.   It easy to call the shots when you’re not the one having to deal with the results.  Our life challenges can be complicated and they often involve feelings and emotions. Life is messy, people are messy.

I am totally guilty of dispensing advice with the backhand of a tennis pro.  You should do this, and then that.  Callously lobbing advice to someone about their life, pointing out shortcomings and then the “biggie”- JUDGEMENT.

I often am reminded of Job, the Bible character, and his three friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.  I really believe these three friends came with good intentions, but ultimately really hurt Job. If they had been my friends I would have removed them from my Christmas card list and unfriended them from Facebook.  But, being the guy Job was, he most likely chalked up their advice and judgment as “misguided”.   Forgiving them and moved on.

If you haven’t had a chance to read the book of Job, which is located in the Old Testament of the Bible, you should go read it.  After reading Job, go check out this awesome YouTube video by  The Bible Project. They give you a “cliff notes/whiteboard” version of Job. Then check out another The Bible Project animation  YouTube video about the book of Job.

Friend or foe?

Photo Credit: Momentmal

Much of what we do and say can be counterproductive in others lives.  We don’t like to see people we love in pain or suffer. So we say things we think may be helpful or consoling. Or worse, we get into the seat of judgment pronouncing their shortcomings and possible sins which led to the current situation.  Sometimes the best thing we can do is to be a listener.  Just having someone listening and being reassuring is very soothing.

I wish the book of Job had a reconciliation for Job’s friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, but it doesn’t.  God stepped in and put the proper perspective on Jobs situation.  If you watched the above-mentioned animation, I hope you enjoyed Job being humbled as God began to show Job how intricately He designed the universe, nature and human life.  A “Universe of complex decisions”… God taking care of it all, all according to his plan. My heart was pierced when God asked if Job could design and run the universe.    Who am I to tell God how to do things?

Diamonds of out us

Photo Credit: Open Clipart-Vextors

To see these challenges as Gods tool for refining us, not punish us, is the biggest obstacle.  It is a process and not something we just whiz through all smiles.  Sometimes He is gentle and sometimes He gets out 60 grit sandpaper- ouch!  All for our good and all for His glory.

So as you go throughout your days and weeks, each and every person you encounter is dealing with something.  Today may be a good day or today may be a bad day.  We all need to practice grace and forgiveness.  Time is short.  We have just this one life.   Love on people.  Especially unlovable people who you know,  work with or live with.  It may not seem like your making progress, but you are.  Inside you, things will change, if you let it.

 

Recipe For Life

4 cups of Love
2 cups of Loyalty
3 cups of Forgiveness
1 cup of Friendship
5 spoons of Hope
2 spoons of Tenderness
4 quarts of Faith
1 barrel of Laughter

Take Love and Loyalty, mix it thoroughly with Faith.
Blend it with Tenderness, Kindness & Understanding.
Sprinkle abundantly with Laughter.
Bake it with Sunshine.
Serve daily with Generous Helpings.

Michele

 

 

 

purposefulfaith.com

church attendance

How to Improve Your Church Attendance Experience

“…not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”


Hebrews 10:25

Our world is seemingly becoming less concerned with God and more concerned with self. Society preaches being happy at all costs; putting our happiness above all else. When a weekly commitment that Christians are encouraged in the Bible to keep becomes a challenge to us because we do not feel like it, then it may be the time to remind ourselves that church is not really about us…it’s about God. Allow me to expand.


Of course, we receive amazing benefits from going to meeting Together (attending church),

But sometimes we need that powerful reminder that what tops the “Why Should We Go to Church?” list is the fact that the church/meeting together offers us an opportunity to give to God.

I can’t help but think that God is pleased when we give Him our best worship as we stand alongside our church family. #churchattendance Click To Tweet
attendance
free image pixabay.com modified by Mandy

Encountering the Irritating

Yet, in that church family, we will likely encounter people who irritate us from time to time. There comes a time to decide that pleasing God is more important than trying to avoid being offended by someone’s conduct, lifestyle, or personality. (Remember, there are others who put up with us on those occasions when we might be the ones irritating them!)

My Sunday School teacher, whom I happen to be married to, has said, “If you feel that church is missing something, maybe you are supposed to bring it.” In other words, instead of lamenting the lack of energy, excitement, or enthusiasm, perhaps we are being called to prayerfully initiate it. Instead of considering leaving a church because it doesn’t fulfill our needs, perhaps God is prodding us to stay and be a prayerful part of the solution. Instead of wishing people would change, perhaps God is teaching us to prayerfully change our attitude toward them.

If you feel that church is missing something, maybe you are supposed to bring it. #churchattendance Click To Tweet

Think of the possibilities

If our church is a Gospel-preaching, community-reaching, Bible-believing, Holy Spirit-receiving church, but there are some other aspects that we see as negative, just think what our positive, prayerful approach could possibly accomplish!

Lord, help me become excited about the wonderful opportunity of regularly attending church and being part of a church family. Help me to see and be thankful for the blessings I receive when I go to church, but to be even more concerned about the blessing I can be to others in my church family, as I put the focus on You and Your love. In Your name, I pray, Amen.

See you in Church!

Gwen

Table Mentoring book

Table Mentoring: Blessed to Be a Blessing

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am not being paid to write this or being told what to say.

 

 Table Mentoring: A Simple Guide for Coming Alongside by Sue Moore Donaldson.

table mentoring book covver

I’ve had a desire to come alongside others for years now. (And have actually been doing it) But I really didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing. This little book gave me assurance that I was doing the right thing plus a few more pointers as well.

I’ve heard the admonishment that each of us should not only have a mentor but be a mentor as well. Are you turning back to give someone behind you a hand? This little guide will help you do it.

Here’s an excerpt Sue asked me to share with you …

In my early 20’s I met Jeanne Garrison. Jeanne was wise, gracious, funny, and for some reason, loved me. She showed it by pouring her wisdom into me, her time into my time, her life into my life. Living life with Jeanne alongside made all the difference.

I was a new college grad, starting my first whirl into the real work world—single and facing my first career, a new roommate, a new town, and a new church family. Not floundering exactly, but needing emotional, practical and spiritual support.

Meeting my Mentor

I don’t remember how we first met one-on-one. I do remember sitting at Jeanne’s table, talking and talking, usually a cup of tea in one hand and a pen in the other. (It was good to have a pen when I spent time with Jeanne.) I also remember Jeanne’s response: spoken with a smile, a gentle word, often a chuckle of understanding–never a judgment:

“You know, Sue, this is how it was with my mother.”

“Sounds like you could use help in this area – let me get this organized for you.”

“The most important thing you can tell your students is that God is your most important thing.”

You see why I was grateful. Everyone needs a Jeanne.

In my late 20’s I met Karen and Carol, Debbie and Gerri. They were high school Juniors—smart, motivated, filled with dreams and goals, and for some reason, they loved me, too. I asked them one afternoon:

“Would you like to meet with me after school some day–say, Wednesday? We can talk about your dreams and goals, your guy-relationships, your mom-relationships, and most of all, your relationship with God?”

They said, “Yes” and off we went. We met three months, once a week, and then, I sent each on their way: to meet with a Freshman girl. Fresh from our three months, on to a new three months. Table mentoring, one-to-one, one-to-three. Passing on what they knew, what I knew and now, I pass it on to you.

Table mentoring worked.

For me, for Jeanne, for high school girls ready to fly. And it can for you, as well.

Do you need a table to Table Mentor? No. But a table imbues intimacy—an elbow-touching-grab-a-hand-in-prayer type of closeness. Maybe not at the first meet-up, but definitely in the mix along the way.

Table, bench, back steps, dorm hallway, coffee house

—choose whichever promotes the progress of a hearty sharing. The place or porch doesn’t matter. Taking the time to listen does. Tell a story, gently nudge, cry some, laugh a lot, and give all to the Mighty Counselor before and after and maybe in the middle. Coming together until the misery is out of the commiserate as you both sit at Jesus’ feet.

come alongside

I love to describe MENTORING as “to come alongside”

which is found in The Message version of I Corinthians 1: 3 and 4–

“God comes alongside us when we go through hard times,

and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else

who is going through hard times so that we can be there for

that person just as God was there for us.” 

I Corinthians 1:3,4 MSG

 

Two things to consider:

  • We mentor another from our own experience of being mentored by God. As we experience God’s “alongside-ness” in our up’s and down’s, joys and sorrows, we can more naturally share His overflow with someone who is where we have been.

 

“God comes alongside us when we go through hard times…”

  • We mentor another by getting close enough so that mutual vulnerability is natural and trusted. Authenticity is the vanguard of artless discipleship.

“…He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.”

 

You don’t need a table to be a Table Mentor.

You do need an ongoing relationship with the Ultimate Mentor, and a bold desire to get close to someone who needs to hear what you’ve learned.

-Excerpt from Table Mentoring: A Simple Guide for Coming Alongside, Sue Moore Donaldson

Are YOU mentoring someone?

How about giving it a try? Come alongside someone who is going through something you have gone through in the past. You won’t regret it.

Also, check out my review of Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s book Adorned: Living Out the Gospel Together

I’ve been coming alongside people with Fibromyalgia.

Fibro is one of those Invisible Chronic Illnesses. It’s so hard for family and loved ones to understand what is going on. I have created a Facebook page to help the friends and family of fibro warriors. Come join us over at Fibromyalgia – Is It for Real?  Maybe we can answer some of your questions.

facebook page

Click on the image above to go to my Fibro Facebook page.

Mandy Farmer

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Sharing the Gospel

Sharing the Gospel: You CAN Do It

This week we have been focusing on the Great Commission. Glenae spoke of how our very lives should be a witness for Christ. And that is a very good place to start. But I wonder,

“When was the last time you led someone to Christ or even shared the gospel with a non-believer?”

When Was the Last Time You Led Someone to Christ? Click To Tweet
95%of all Christians have NEVER led someone to Christ.

This weekend, we watched some preaching from Greg Laurie. Wow! This guy is fast becoming one of my favorites. He’s such a wonderful Bible Teacher. And always leads people straight to the cross.

Not So Good News

Pastor Greg gave some very disturbing statistics about who is sharing the Gospel. He reported that only 95% of Christians have NEVER led someone to Christ and only 2% have ever shared the Gospel with a non-believer. This is very sad news since we have that only Good News that will fill the emptiness in a non-believers life.

We can give a lot of excuses for not sharing the Gospel. But will God accept your excuse when you stand before Him one day? Allow me to offer three ways to get around your excuses.

The sad truth. 95% of all Christians have never led someone to Christ. Click To Tweet

It’s Too Scary. I Don’t Talk so Good.

I understand. It’s a scary thought to share the gospel. But again, let me quote Pastor Greg. He said we recommend things all the time.

  • The best stores
  • My favorite restaurant
  • You’ve GOT to see this movie
  • Read this book!
  • The best vacation spot
Evangelism is a scary word but it is not that hard. Click To Tweet

So why can’t we recommend the best option for abundant life?

We have the answer folks. We need to be sharing it. 2 Kings 7:3-10 tells of four lepers that were starving and decided to go out to the enemy camp and see if they could find some food. To their amazement, the camp was deserted and food and clothing all left behind. They began to feast on the abundant foods but then realized they needed to share the wealth. They ran back to the city gates and told the people that the enemy camp was empty and the spoils were there for the taking.

Why are we keeping it all to ourselves when we have the best thing since sliced bread. Even better. 🙂

Share the Good News? I Don’t Know Enough

Me Disciple? I Don't Know Enough. Click To Tweet

Simple solution. Learn more. There are many tracts and sources available to teach us how to evangelize. There’s the Roman Road and the A, B, C’s which I have right here on this blog. I have used the Wordless Book in my children’s ministry for a long time. This one uses colors to share the gospel. There is now a colorful soccer ball you can use to share the plan of salvation. One summer I taught our church children to tell the Gospel using the colors. They were all given their own soccer ball at the end of the summer. For all these avenues there are cards with all the pertinent information so that it can easily be shared, such as this one

If you would like more ideas, I recommend heading on over to The Navigators website. They have several ways to lead people to Christ, even one where you only need ONE BIBLE VERSE. You can learn one verse, can’t you? You probably already know it. (Romans 6:23)

Bridges International is another helpful resource for learning how to share the Gospel using the Four Spiritual Laws. This is the process that beings with “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.”

I Don’t Know What to Say

Again I say, learn. Start taking your quiet time seriously. Don’t just stop for 5 minutes and read a bible verse. Dig deep into God’s word and see what you learn. He will show you great and mighty things.

Sharing the Gospel? I don't know what to say. Click To Tweet

None of us know everything. If you get stuck when you are sharing the gospel, take them to someone smarter than you. Our son is like a complete Bible commentary. When I have a question, I got to him and he hasn’t failed me yet to give a good answer. Do you have someone in your life that has Bible knowledge? (your pastor, for one) Tap into them, give them a call or take your friend to meet him.

You Can DO it
Photo credit: free image at Canva.com Modified by Mandy

God promises in His word that He will give you the words to say. Just trust Him to do it. If you don’t have the words, He will bring someone along to help you out. He did it for Moses, he’ll do it for you.

I’ll tell you this. Leading someone to Christ is the most amazing thing that will ever happen to you. You will be blessed beyond blessed.

I would love to hear about a time you led someone to Christ. Share your story in the comments to encourage others.

Mandy Farmer
Gaither Vocal Band – Can’t Stop talking About it