Sunday, November 30, 2014


…the word has come to my mind over and  in the turning of outside temperature and the preparation for the Birthday of our King

(This is the second year Grace and I have enjoyed making a homemade Advent calendar.   ) 

I've heard the word to describe the character of a person: "She's warm, and sweet, and…" 

It's  the word that comes to mind when I think of winter (that's odd, isn't it?), Christmas, my Mother, and home. 

Did you know that one of the Hebrew words for "warmth" means "dove"? 

Dove. Biblically symbolic of the Spirit of God

He is the Comforter. Warmth. This season we are ever reminded of those blessed tidings of Comfort and Joy

(We start on the first day of Dec. and lead up to Christmas day.We write down a scripture passage that pertains to the birth of Jesus to read each day.) 

And I say this to a question I've asked myself:

 Why do we bring in garland, drink hot chocolate, string up lights, and enjoy warm and fuzzy feelings during this season? 

(We also write down other fun activities, like, Bake Christmas cookies,  Church Christmas Program, and Send out Christmas Cards. We try not to make up stuff that will take more time for us, but just write down stuff we already know we're going to do. It simply reminds us to treasure Christ by celebrating Him through His word and reminding ourselves why we do all these fun little things.)

Is it silliness? Does it honor Christ?  

Here's one answer: it's winter. Some things we associate with Christmas is simply due to it being winter. I do want to be careful not to associate the partaking of hot chocolate to be apart of treasuring Christ (though that doesn't mean I don't enjoy a cup and praise Him for it!). 

Another answer is, Yes! Some of these things really are frivolous. 

But then the last answer I've come to believe, is that these traditions (not all, but some), are to be an outflowing of an inward existing. 

(We don't spend a lot of money on Christmas decorations, but Mother does go out and trim lots of greens to fill the house with life!) 

* "Traditions steep sweetness when we wield them to draw our hearts to adore Christ and celebrate His given life" 

If, indeed, the Spirit of God is active within us, there is apart of His nature that is comfort and warmth that will not only be apart of our character but flow out of us into our practical lives.

(We don't have a Christmas tree every year, but after two years without one Daddy said he'd be glad to take us out to pick one out. Mother always said that she doesn't want us to feel like Christmas can't be Christmas without a tree. So some years we have one and some years we don't. :)) 

It is His nature and existing within us that we treasure, not the outward comforts that will one day burn. But it is also His nature that causes us to both create and enjoy warmth and joy! 

In treasuring the Sprit of God within me I hope there is a warmth that penetrates cold souls I encounter. 

My Mother has showcased to me that the Spirit of Christ will also, with warmth and peace,  penetrate the atmosphere of your home

Today I live in America. Today I have comfort on earth that brings great pleasure. But this year, I am convicted again to remember to treasure the True Comforter that will remain if next year I am called to be in a hut in Africa eating rice and beans instead of hot chocolate and biscotti. Because He will remain, though I am not promised nor should treasure any other comfort but Him. But I am quick to say that because of His Spirit there will be outward flowing of this inward comfort and joy, no matter my circumstances. 

 That is comforting. 

(Gracie and her friend, Erin, painting pinecones for the Christmas tree.) 

This isn't' the first year of Christmas that my heart has been turned to rejoicing in the joy of the Spirit of God within. It is Christmas that was the first step for the curtain of the Holy of Holies to be rent so that I may not only have access but actually be the temple for His Presence to indwell. For the Holy Spirit is not only comforter, but also power, which is the the source for victory in the life of the flower of Christ. 

You can be a professional interior designer, have money for the perfectly decorated Christmas tree, and still lack any true warmth and joy. It is the Spirit of God alone who knows how to honor Christ in this season. I pray it is His nature that will cause any outflow of celebration and tradition during this season. 

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:10-11)

(Attempting to make a few of THESE )

 * "As you prayerfully walk through this season seeking to establish meaningful traditions that honor Christ (and possibly nix some too!), be encouraged to remember that the Spirit of God brings life, light, and clarity...And He will faithfully lead you to walk through this season in a way that reflects the beautiful, heavenly 
celebration of the Gospel!"

Family update: We've been back and forth a lot this fall: three banquet tours, GEET 30th anniversary weekend, and revival meetings. We have so enjoyed this past week at home for Thanksgiving! We got home Monday and finally were done with the laundry and cleaning bus by Friday. Then we were able to do all this festive stuff this past Saturday and evenings throughout the week. We've throughly enjoyed company and fellowship with Church family over this weekend! We head out for the Fl. Prison Crusade this week, excited for what the Lord will do! 

Comfort and joy to all of you as you prepare to celebrate the birth of the King! 

Posted by Deborah 

*Quotes taken from THIS magazine article by the Set-Apart Girl ®'s team. (the whole magazine powerful, Christ-centered reading on the Christmas season.)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Embracing Womanhood Conference 2014 ("Hope")

Since our last blog post there was a bit more traveling and a bit of at home life that happened before the delights of this past weekend. 
Mother and I became more and more excited as the time approached for the Women's Conference. There was lots of work to be done and we had such fun in doing it. 
We'll start with a few preparation photos. 
 Planting the centerpieces as I listen to  online photography workshops. 
 We simply used the same wheat we use to grind fresh for our baked goods, soaked/started the sprouting process in jars, and then planted them on the plates with wet paper towels. After they were laid in the plates we continued to spray them throughly over the next week. (We also throughly prayed over them!) Sometimes I added baking soda to my water so that it would kill any bacteria. 
I was very grateful to Lori Wengered for assisting me in planting about half the the centerpieces! 
 Tues. night before the Women's Conference a wonderful group of ladies came to our place to do some crafting for the conference decorations. So grateful for their creative help! 

 Loading up! (We practically moved to the church!) 

I told several people last week, "You can't run a women's conference without men!" My Dad, Brothers, and other men from GEET were indispensable! 

Thursday Evening

Registration and coffee drinks! 

The Ice Coffee Ladies, all ready for action. 

 Meet and greet time 
Opening and blessing by Brother Nelson. So sweet. 
 Prayer of blessing over the speakers 
 Drama by Viv Stoltzfus :) 
"Loveliness in your Lifestyle" by Mother 
 Cupcake bar after a light supper. 


"My Journey to Rest" by Debbie Overholt 
 Sarah had all the ladies find one lady they didn't know and make them their partner for the week. The first assignment was to tell your life story in 2 min. :) 

 "Wounds Heal" by Sarah Coblentz 

 Oh…lunch time. Have I mentioned we have amazing Caterers? 

 I so appreciate all the young ladies who helped me get details ready before each meal. 

Another drama by Naomi Yoder 
 Sweet praise. 
 Maryann blessed us with two beautiful songs she wrote. 
 Maryann Kauffman shared her story that most of us have watched from a distance over the past year. There wasn't a dry eye in the house (though we also laughed). There was such grace as the Lord poured through her that afternoon. 

Bontrager sisters blessed us with their beautiful singing. 
"Never Alone" by Martina Schlabach  
The joy of the Friday Evening dessert bar!
 Our church ladies did a wonderful job of making all this deliciousness! 

 These girls were busy helping all weekend! Such sweet beings, they are.  


 Lovely music by the Mullett sisters 
Coffee and mingling 
 Sweet drama by Naomi Yoder 

Worship time. Annie Hostetler and her team did such a beautiful  job! 
Recognition time! The Caterers got a standing ovation! :)
AMAZING sound booth people. These ladies worked super hard that weekend! 
"Find Hope and Healing, When Life Hurts" By Cindy Mullett 
One by one we cast our burdens "on slip of folded paper" onto the carved wooden "hand "up front at the altar table, refreshed by the reality that Jesus can carry and take care of all of them. 
(Mother's caption. She always edits the blog and here added her thoughts. :))
 A final time of blessing with your partner. 

   Sarah told us we would have a "Sweet surprise" at the end of the conference. Most of us didn't  know what it was! And who would have thought…Ryan Bomgardner! He had us rolling in our seats and then in tears. It was a perfect way to end. 

 And a lovely brunch to finish 

Three ladies so dear to my heart. :) Such a treat to have them here this past weekend! 

Later that afternoon, after everything was had been tore-down and cleaned up, I stepped into the sanctuary one last time. I still felt His presence there. I wanted to cry. Ladies faces flashed through my mind. I remembered the alter times…the times of worship, prayer and laughter. And then all one can say is, "Thank you Lord." 
Such a sweet and precious weekend. 

"May the God of HOPE fill you with al joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" 
-Romans 15:13

Posted by Deborah