Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Ministry Update

I wanted to share an update on our ministry in the Midwest as well as thank all of  those who have been faithfully praying for us. 

Our view outside 

Right now, we are in the throes of winter and eagerly anticipating spring. We have extremely harsh winters here, which makes us all the more thankful when the sweet spring days come. Just recently, I was reading about lilac bushes, which apparently are able to thrive in extreme conditions. There are many, many lilac bushes in Wisconsin! And they flourish, despite the bitter cold winters that we experience here. This fact about lilac bushes reminded me that believers are called to press into the One who is the cleft of the Rock during the harshest times that we face spiritually. We may trust Him to bring life after the chilling winter winds have threatened us with despair. Just as the lilac bush is one of the most beautiful sights in the springtime, so may our lives gracefully reflect the glory of Christ through adversity and hardship. 


Hummingbird near the Missionary House drinking honeysuckle


O Christ, He is the fountain,

The deep, sweet well of life:

Its living streams I've tasted

Which save from grief and strife.

And to an ocean fullness,

His mercy doth expand;

His grace is all sufficient

As by His wisdom planned.

~Anne Cousin

I've shared with you before about an outbuilding on our property which we have affectionately named "The Missionary House." We've been focusing our prayers on that building, asking the Lord to provide the means to renovate it for guests to stay in. 

Last summer, I felt that Holy Spirit was asking me to take a step of faith in using all of the earnings from our small farm stand that my children and I run during the spring/summer months toward the renovation of the Missionary House. We usually use this money toward pint-sized projects/our families needs when things are tight, and so it was a step of obedience for me to trust in the Lord to set it aside. I took a large pickle jar and began putting all of our earnings in it as the spring and then summer wore on.

Next, I set a goal on paper and in my mind to complete "Phase 1" of the Missionary House. This would be part 1 of 4 parts--the storage area that is leaking and needed to be re-roofed and framed. I was hoping that what was set aside during the summer would be enough for that particular project. 

Unusual things began to happen after I had made the decision to use the money from the farm stand for Herrnhut. I hadn't shared that I would be using this money for our ministry with anyone other than my husband and a few very close immediate family members who I asked not to tell anyone (that was what I believed the Lord had laid upon my heart to do). 

My sales in young spring perennials that I dug early in the season went way up. Many people stopped by to buy hollyhock plants that I started in the house. And on two separate occasions, neighbors knocked on my door, one of them asking to buy a hanging plant that was just a decoration on the farm stand! It confirmed to me that the Lord was indeed blessing the earnings of the farm stand and had indeed led me to put them aside.

At the end of the summer, I was hopeful that we might have enough to begin the project. And yet, we fell short. I brought this to the Lord and waited. Miraculously, in answer to prayer, He unexpectedly provided through gifts that were given toward Herrnhut over the winter months, as well as a gift from a family member that was not designated for Herrnhut but that we decided to use toward this project--exactly enough to complete phase one in the spring. 

We praise God for His provision and for His faithfulness to answered prayer. We are waiting at this point for our Amish friend to contact us when he is ready to begin the work in early spring. And we praise God! 


South side of the Missionary House

I am hoping in the next update to share photos with you all of the work that will be done on the Missionary House. Please continue to keep us in your prayers. I am always amazed at how the Lord provides for us exactly in His perfect timing. 

We continue to be grateful for your prayers. The Lord bless each and every one of you. 



Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Wednesday Hymn~O God Our Help in Ages Past

 Our God, our help in ages past, 

Our hope for years to come,

Our shelter from the stormy blast, 

And our eternal home.


Under the shadow of Thy throne

Thy saints have dwelt secure;

Sufficient is Thine arm alone,

And our defense is sure.


Before the hills in order stood

Or earth received her frame,

From everlasting Thou are God,

To endless years the same.


The Word commands our flesh to dust,

"Return, ye sons of men."

All nations rose from earth at first,

And turn to earth again.


A thousand ages in Thy sight

Are like an evening gone;

Short as the watch that ends the night

Before the rising sun.


The busy tribes of flesh and blood,

With all their lives and cares,

Are carried downwards by the flood,

And lost in following years.


Time, like an ever rolling stream

Bears all its sons away;

They fly, forgotten, as a dream

Dies at the opening day.


Like flowery fields the nations stand

Pleased with the morning light;

The flowers beneath the mower's hand

Lie withering ere 'tis night.


Our God, our help in ages past,

Our hope for years to come,

Be Thou our guard while troubles last,

And our eternal home.

~Isaac Watts




Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Too Much Rubble

 A few days after Christmas, I assessed our situation. It was Monday, and I hadn't decided when we would start up homeschooling again after a few day's Christmas break.


 

I looked around at the after-Christmas clutter in our bedrooms, the decorations that needed to be stored and put away, and at the general disorder around me. 

And I decided that we needed to "clear the rubble" before we began to "build the wall" again. 

It would be difficult and frustrating to delve into our studies when there was so much "build-up" all around us. And so I told my two children (much to their delight), that we would be taking a few days to clean and organize before we delved back into our books. 

We needed to clear the rubble before building the wall. 

 



Then Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is failing, and there is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall.”  

Nehemiah 4:10 NKJV

Isn't this true in our lives? The "walls" of whatever it that the Lord has called us to need to be built. They need to be physically or figuratively built; they need to be spiritually built and strengthened through prayer. The walls need to be built.

What has God called you to build, friend? Is it the spiritual foundation of your family? Is it the strengthening of your devotional life? Is it a ministry or a special project that He has placed upon your heart? What walls are you building? And are they surely the "walls" that the Lord has called you to build?

 

 

I've found, so many times in my own life that I need to STOP and re-access what I am building. Did the Lord really call me to a project or to an endeavor, or am I building the "walls" of my own fancy and design? 

When He HAS indeed called me to a project or to a work, is there clear ground around my feet, or "rubble" that I may trip over and "mess up" the wall that He has called me to build? This "rubble" may take on many shapes and forms--it may be distractions--spiritual or physical distractions that need to be "cleaned up" and dealt with. It may be a besetting sin that "trips us up" and needs to be repented of at the foot of the cross. It may be the "extra clutter" of things and activities that the Lord has not called us to and doesn't want us to pursue, even if in appearance they seem like a "good" thing. As Oswald Chambers says, "Beware of the good that is the enemy of the best." 

 

 

Clear out the rubble, friend. Tidy up your spiritual house. Deal with things quickly with the Lord. Keep short accounts. 

And then "tidy up" your physical house. Has the Lord called you to eat in a healthier way to serve Him better? Clean out your refrigerator; get those offending foods out! Has He called you to wake up a little earlier to spend time with Him? Has He called you to go to bed a little earlier so that you may serve Him better during the day?

Has He called you to "show hospitality?" Give your kids a dusting rag and a broom and together physically clean out the rooms in your home. It will be easier to fulfill His calling when we are obedient to Him in the day to day "tidying" of our homes. 

Has He called you to take the spiritual lead in your home? Dust that Bible off--pick out a good family devotional and clear that rubble of kid's complaining and "lack of time," and pursue the spiritual growth of your home with the simple spiritual "tools" that the Lord has given to us--a Bible, and hymnal, and a mind that can memorize God's Word and hide it in our hearts. 

We don't need all the extra things-the "rubble" is holding us back. 

In the summertime, often my kids will try to start building something in the sandbox while all the other sand toys are lying around and cluttering up the project area. I often tell them--"you can't build with all of this clutter; clean it out first." 

And how true this is for us as well! So come before the Lord. If you can kneel, do so--if not, spread out your hands to Him and ask Him what it is that He has called you to do. Make a list. Get rid of the things that He hasn't called you to, that are just the "rubble" of an extra burden or activity. 


And then get up and build. He has given you the tools. He has given you His Spirit. He will strengthen your hands and your heart. And through your obedience, you will know His smile and pleasure. 

Strengthen the weak hands,
And make firm the feeble knees.

Say to those who are fearful-hearted,
“Be strong, do not fear!

Isaiah 35:3-4a NKJV



Book Recommendation--this is an excellent one to start off the new year--

Discipline: The Glad Surrender, by Elisabeth Elliot

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Wednesday Hymn

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.
~Charles Wesley


Book Recommendation for the Advent season: 










Monday, November 30, 2020

Encouragement for Monday


There are three stages to every great work of God; first it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done.

~Hudson Taylor




Have you read Hudson Taylor's Biography? This book will be an encouragement to your faith~~

 Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Scripture Saturday~~Habakkuk 3:17-19

           

 "Though the fig tree does not bud

and there are no grapes on the vines,

though the olive crop fails

and the fields produce no food,

though there are no sheep in the pen

and no cattle in the stalls,

YET (emphasis mine) I will rejoice in the LORD,

I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength;

He makes my feet like the feet of a deer,

He enables me to tread on the heights."

~Habakkuk 3:17-19 NIV








 


    

 


Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Secret Place of Thunder Book Release!

 



About the Novella:

The mountains have imprisoned her long enough...

Edna Sue O’Connell came back to the Kentucky hills out of duty and can’t wait for the chance to escape again. Her work as a horseback librarian in rural Appalachia provides enough income for her invalid father to survive in the midst of the Great Depression, but it affords her with little else.

When an opportunity arises for Edna to take on an additional book delivery area, she spies a glimmer of hope that she might find a way out of Willow Hollow after all… and that she might actually make something of her life apart from the tragedy that has filled it thus far.

But the new routes give Edna more than she ever bargained for. Slowly, she finds that the mountains contain many valuable secrets – if she has the grit to meet them.



My Review:

What an incredible book! There were many facets to love about it, but I'll share my three favorites--close attention to historical detail, the centrality of the Gospel message, and finally, the poignant, engaging story line. 

Every time I read one of this author's books, it becomes "one of my favorites" of hers. This one was no exception. The research into the historical period that she wrote about (including tiny details that fleshed out and really "explained" the time period and location in the Appalachian mountains where the book takes place) was fascinating for me. The book was well-researched and important details were carefully and engagingly highlighted without making the book boring in any way, but rather enhancing the story. The Gospel message was clearly given in a simple and winsome way. And finally, the story line was phenomenally engaging. This book was difficult to put down. I also loved the way that the author wove the hymn "He Hideth My Soul" into the story; it was really beautiful and touching. 

I give this book 5 stars because as usual, this author delivered a poignant, powerful, Gospel saturated, sensitive, compelling story that left me once again at the feet of Truth. I am looking forward to her next release with great anticipation! 


About the Author:

Alicia G. Ruggieri grew up breathing in the salty air of coastal New England. She now writes grace-filled, Christ-centered fiction from her home in Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and sweet second-hand mutt. She loves old graveyards, dusty libraries, and excellent cannolis ~ not necessarily in that order.



About the Series:

The Secret Place of Thunder is part of the Librarians of Willow Hollow multi-author novella collection. Each novella stands on its own but is connected to the others in this historical Christian fiction series set in 1930s Appalachia.

Other books in the Librarians of Willow Hollow series:

A Strand of Hope by Amanda Tero

I Love to Tell the Story by Faith Blum

Hearts on Lonely Mountain by A.M. Heath

Come along as four packhorse librarians find adventures outside the books they carry!


Links:

Purchase the Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08BFBF93T -- Available in e-book and softcover

Author’s Website: http://www.aliciagruggieri.com

Author’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/AliciaGRuggieri

Author’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aliciagruggieri

Find The Secret Place of Thunder on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54151965-the-secret-place-of-thunder


Release Week Giveaway!

To celebrate this release, Alicia is giving away an Appalachian music CD, a mini Appalachian Breakfast soy candle, and a set of whimsical bronze bookmarks! (Due to shipping costs, the giveaway is limited to the continental U.S.)

 A Rafflecopter Giveaway

(Click on the link above or the photo below to enter! :-) )





Blog Tour Stops:

9/15       Welcome to the Tour at A Brighter Destiny – http://www.aliciagruggieri.com/abrighterdestiny

                Amanda @ https://amandatero.com/blog

                Raechel @ https://godspeculiartreasurerae.wordpress.com

9/16       Kaitlyn @ www.maidensformodesty.com

                J.E. Grace @ http://bizwingsblog.blogspot.com

9/17       Rebekah @ www.readytobeoffered.com

9/18       Jane @ www.janemouttet.wordpress.com

9/19       Connie @ https://connie-oldersmarter.blogspot.com

9/20       Abigail @ http://readreviewrejoice.com

9/21       Tara @ www.towerintheplains.wordpress.com

                Ryana @ www.lifeofheritage.com

9/22       Wrap-up & giveaway winner announced @ http://www.aliciagruggieri.com/abrighterdestiny

 

Thank you for stopping by! :-)