Everyone Has a Story. {The Legacy of Arthur Guinness}

In 2002, I had my first Guinness at Bull Feeney’s Irish Pub in Portland, Maine. I remember the way my husband and I cautiously sipped the iconic dark stout, while enjoying fish and chips. This little pub, situated in the historic waterfront district, was a sea lovers dream. I remember sitting in our booth, near the window and gazing across the vast Atlantic waters. I momentarily considered the voyage my Irish ancestors made and was stricken with awe.

What a story to tell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, this was a decade before I would begin an Irish journey of my own to write a book. The seed was there. The story was not.

I love stories.

I think that’s why years’ ago I fell in love with Stephen Mansfield’s biography of Arthur Guinness titled, God and Guinness. The rigorous research and detail that he poured into this book felt like a loaded potato, full of substance and topped with all sorts of delicious extras. (Sorry. I know that was cliche’ but, who can resist a good simile.)

The Story of Arthur Guinness

Born in County Down to a father who worked as the manager of an estate, Arthur learned many traits from his father, which included brewing beer. In 1759 Arthur leased some property and began to pursue his own brewing business. It was, as most new ventures are, slow going at first. Knowing what we know now, some 250 years later, Arthur’s dream not only survived but transformed life for the generations to follow. But, what distinguishes his success story from others is his unique pursuit to keep God at the center of his work. We learn this spiritual focus was his driving force to do good and help those in need.

A Living Legacy 

Could it be true that a man is measured by the culture he creates? Culture. It means, that which is encouraged to grow. Guinness beer is magnificent, yes. (Side note: The very best non-alcoholic beer, Kaliber, is made by Guinness.) But it’s the culture that Arthur Guinness created that helped to change his employees lives, transform poverty in Dublin, and shape the future of his family in ways too numerous to count.

A living legacy. It’s what we’re after, right? We work hard with a certain hope, an expectancy that our life will one day matter. What’s the place and who are the people you’ve been entrusted to care for? This is the culture you’re fostering to grow. Do you perceive it? This is where your story lives, your coming legacy.

Take a moment to sip on that, today!

Mothering from Scratch: BOOK GIVEAWAY

When my kids were real little they loved it when I whipped up a fresh batch of cookie dough.

Who am I kidding? Not much has changed over the years.

guess you could say making dough from scratch has become a tradition. It’s become a staple. And when I stop to ponder the legacy of this simple cookie dough tradition I think of all the ways these littles have changed and all the ways they have changed me for the bigger. For the better.

I’m in the throws of this parenting thing. Each child, unique. Each child, in a completely different season.

A young woman who’s nearing adulthood.

A young man stepping into bigger shoes.

A young lady nearing her tweens.

Each child, requiring different ingredients and handling instructions. This mothering thing is a lot like testing new recipe. And that’s good.

“Nobody ever told me, but, it’s sorta crazy how it just comes down to this: Parenting’s this way of bending over in humility to help the scraped child up because you yourself know it takes a lifetime to learn how to walk with Him.” -Ann Voskamp

This past October I made two new friends. Melinda Means and Kathy Helgemo are the mom bloggers over at motheringfromscratch.com.

Together they’ve just launched their first book titled, you guessed it, MOTHERING FROM SCRATCH. It’s a book that speaks directly to the heart of women and shows us how we can develop our own style by exploring our personality, strengths and weaknesses in order to find what works best. Their book takes biblical truths and helps us as mothers to overcome the fear of change or doing something wrong.

So, today, I’m GIVING AWAY a copy of Mothering from Scratch. To enter please leave a comment on my Essence of Pearls Facebook page telling me your favorite thing about being a mother or the most challenging thing about parenting.

Winner will be drawn at random Friday, January 30th {12pmCentral}.

Right Where We Belong #Roots

Roots. All living things have them. Those deeply burrowed veins that sprawl in dark places, hidden from sight. Their purpose, to maintain support and sustain its living thing.

Have you ever thought about your own roots?

Where do you come from?

Where do you belong?

What are you growing?

This summer while vacationing in Colorado a rancher taught me something new. It was while my family and I were horseback riding, if you remember, and my mind was a wee bit wrapped up in overcoming a little fear thing.  But the rancher knew this, he was wise, and so he broke the thought with a lesson. Somewhere on the side of that mountain trail, he slowed our team of horses, mysteriously guiding them to form a broad huddle near a grove of Aspen trees.

The rancher began inquiring our knowledge of the Aspen’s.

“Who knows what these Aspen are capable of producing?” he asked as he briskly ran his hand down the tree’s trunk.

“Asprin!” I mildly shouted as I recalled learning from my Girl Scout days. My Main Man raised an eyebrow, apparently my know-how impressed him. That rarely happens. I sat taller in the saddle.

“Right,” he smiled, “they also produce a natural sunscreen.” The rancher explained while he wiped his chalky palm over his face.

“Now, does anyone know where this Aspen comes from?”

Silence.

“Look,” he pointed across the rocky skies to a neighboring mountain range. “Do you see the Aspen’s over there?”

Photo Credit: www.mccullagh.org

“Their roots are all connected. They belong to each other, one family.”

The rancher went on to explain the complex root system of Aspen trees. A living colony with roots so completely intertwined and vast, yet, connected. A colony that lives for thousands of years off of one parent, passing their shoots onto the next of kin, sustaining a new and living generation.

The Aspen.

Oh, how we are like the Aspen.

Connected.

Me and you, a colony, a nation of brothers and sisters. Alive. We are tethered to this one parent, God, who is before the beginning and up to the very end, the essence of our life.

I believe there is something in each one of us that longs to understand who we are and where we belong. This hunger and thirst can only be quenched by the Aspen-like roots system that God passes onto us through Jesus.

Contrary to worldly opinion this is not a rules based system. 

Contrary to worldly opinion this is not a performance based system. 

The rules were broken long ago. The work’s been done. And because of this we can be grafted into the system.

Believe it or not, this is right where you belong.

Intoxicated- Discovering Your Core Lies

I woke up around midnight on Saturday sicker than a dog. Vertigo. The room had turned itself upside down by the wild spinning in my head. Thus, for a good hour or so produced some nauseating porcelain prayers.

My first bout with the dreaded vertigo came 6 years ago. Again in the middle of the night. That time however; I ended up in the ER with hurried nurses scrambling to diagnose my condition. After a CAT scan, MRI, and full battery of tests they concluded nothing. I was released in perfect form the following day. Still, the jolting affect of that violent episode left me wondering why that happened to me? After I thoroughly analyzed the events from the previous day I was able to self-diagnose the root cause of my sickness.

I had been poisoned.

The said event was stupid, really. I was simply mowing our lawn when it suddenly quit working. Out of gas. So, I filled up the tank and pulled, pulled, pulled on that rip cord thing. Nothing. Hmm. Next, I checked the oil level {well, first I called my husband and thats what he told me to do. Since I’m a fair person I must give credit where due}. Yep, that was the problem! I glugged a quart of oil into the spout, spilling a little {okay, a lot}. Pulled, pulled, pulled and walla I was back in the mowing business.

Except, now, due to the excess oil spillage I had a crazy amount of burn off. You know, black rolling plumes of smoke. I’m not talking a little bit here folks. I’m talking Hiroshima. But a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do and I had to finish mowing the lawn. So thats what I did. Inhaled, ingested, consumed, and digested all those toxic fumes so I could get the job done. In the process I poisoned myself. Later that night, still trapped within the cells of my body, they fought their way to expulsion. Bam, vertigo!

A few weeks ago I began diving into a study written by Sarah Mae aimed at discovering and dealing with lies. Core lies. Those other toxins imbedded into the fiber of our being. Lies that we believe are true about ourself. Lies we don’t even know that we believe.

“Below the flesh, creeping behind bone, in secret places of the spirit,               lie wounds.” – Sarah Mae 
We all have wounds. Taking an in depth look at my own has brought about this radical realization that the way I respond to situations, the manner of how I speak, and how I behave has often times been an overflow of the lies hidden within.  
What’s the big deal anyways? They don’t really have that big of an effect. I’ll just push {mow} through it.
The truth. It’s about living a cleaner, more authentic life. Cleared of debri from the past. Cleaning up the toxic waste and throwing out messy lies. 
Why? To fulfill the ultimate commandment. 
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”             – Matthew 22: 37-39
When we confront those lies and see them as the poison they really are we can be empowered to choose to see and believe the truth. This will make us free. Freedom from lies will give us a greater capacity to love God and love others more fully.

Sometimes it takes a dark night to fully realize that we are indeed sick. Just like my trip to the ER caused me to look back at past events, so can discovering the root of our lies help to diagnose a sin sick condition or ways the enemy has been slithering in and around our wounds whispering tales of deception. 
The Core Lies guide is a free, download that you can obtain here. 
Press on. The truth will set you free.


The Essence of Pearls

This month marks the 5th anniversary of my grandmothers death. Her name was Mabel. I loved her deeply. Upon her passing I was given her cultured pearl necklace. If you’ve ever received something to have and to hold from a beloved then you understand the value it holds.

Her gift to me inspired the naming of this blog. The essence of pearls. 
Have you ever considered the making of a pearl?   
It’s quite the journey. Beginning as a tiny seed, first it needs a safe place to live. A home that will protect it, an oyster shell. Nestled, it is covered by the scientific substance called nacre. Essentially, this is the mysterious stuff that clings to the seed. Over many, many years it transforms the small speck {seed} into a lustrous pearl. And makes it shine.

Transformation. Changing. This is the journey. I’ve spent wasted years searching for my purpose. I’ve cried out, praying that God would just give me a one good work to do. Slowly now, with the nacre at work in my life, I tilt my head, mouth gapped at the simplicity. Could the becoming of a pearl be the one good work? That the real purpose of life is about developing {transforming} into something of deeper beauty. To shine.
Why must it take so long? A lifetime. Once we determine, set our minds to how we want our life to look, shouldn’t it just happen? Why must it take so long? 
Quietly- I’m learning. Transformation comes in the waiting. The holding on to a promise. Longing and yearning. More waiting. Submitting my will be done for humility {it’s not all about me}. Waiting, waiting, and more waiting. Every tear through affliction, polishes. Undone but never uncovered. The essence of pearls takes time. A lifetime. 
As I continue to live and breath these numbered days, I consider the seeds I am dropping. Just like grandma did for me. I place them into the palm of my son’s hand and sew them like patches upon my daughters’ hearts. I write, and bake, and promote. I sprinkle seeds.

My hope: That when my fleck life is through, the essence {Christ in me} of my life, will produce a farm of pearls. To shine. It’s about the becoming of something more admirable, rare, and valuable.

Life’s journey is the essence of pearls.