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“Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered; it keeps no record of wrongs…Love never fails.”             I Corinthians 13:4,5,8 “Friendship International is an outreach of Christian love from American ladies to Internationals living in the Lexington area.  We love and appreciate each other as we help internationals adjust to our community from other countries.  The purpose of Friendship International is to help make the adjustment to the American way of life easier, to provide activities of interest and to facilitate building cross-cultural friendships.” Friendship International meets in Immanuel Baptist Church each Thursday during the school year, unless Fayette Co. Public Schools are not in session.  Childcare is provided for preschool children. Here is a list of some of the classes that are offered:  Bible Study, Cooking, Crafts, Crochet, Cross-Cultural Parenting, Cross-Stitch, Exercise, Jewelry Making, Knitting, Line Dancing, Needlepoint, Painting, Praise Dancing, Quilting, Scrap booking, English (levels 1,2and 3), and Spanish. A couple of years ago I attended the parade of Nations at Friendship and took several pictures of the ladies. Friendship was celebrating the countries of the International ladies and the traditional dress of each country worn by many of the International women and their children was breathtaking.  I am sorry I was unable to take pictures of all the lovely ladies and children. Being a part of Friendship International is one of the most rewarding and fun things I have ever done. Many years ago Ruth White and I decided to take on the challenge of teaching a Ceramics class for the Internationals.  Neither of us knew anything about ceramics, but we figured that if God wanted us to do it, He would provide the way.  Well He must have wanted it because we had a wonderful time with the sweetest group of ladies and they each made several lovely ceramic pieces for their homes.  We learned how to do it together.  So never underestimate the power of God to help you do what seems to be impossible! “For nothing is impossible with God.”    Luke 1:37 Friendship International Smiles Are Contagious If you are looking for joy, you’ll find plenty of it at Friendship International. The year that I taught the art of paper-mache clown making was filled with laughter and fun. All of the Friendship classes have so much fun, you really should come to one of the meetings.  It is something you won’t soon forget. Our theme at the clown clinic was “smiles are contagious.”  Several years ago it was my privilege to teach another wonderful class at Friendship International. I decided to teach the girls “How to be a clown.”  I was actually part of a clown group in my church at that time and we enjoyed visiting nursing homes and even went to the children’s special Olympic games held over in Richmond one year.  The Friendship ladies and I had a great time together. We spent most of our time laughing. Can you tell that we designed our costumes ourselves from pajamas and our husband’s old shirts?  At the end of the semester, we decided to put on a skit in which we taught the other ladies at Friendship how to make “Friendship Soup.”  Of course clowns don’t talk so each of the ladies put in an ingredient in our soup pot.  One put in a rubber chicken, another a whole bunch of unpeeled carrots with the green tops still on and another salt that was still in the salt shaker just to list a few.  But the clowns were all sad because we couldn’t figure out why when we tested the soup, it didn’t taste right.  Then someone figured out that we had left out the LOVE ingredient.  So we all started hugging each other and after that the soup tasted great!  I shall never forget the wonderful friends and memories of that group of ladies.  If any of you are still around please let me know. I have often made my own original version of “Friendship Soup” at home and it is a favorite of my family and friends.  I usually serve it with homemade bread or corn bread.  Just remember when you make it  that the most important ingredient is love and always make enough to share with a friend.  That is me with the green hair and chef hat. Friendship Soup Recipe

  • 2 Tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 3 lbs. lean stew beef stew meat cut in chunks (cut off all fat around the beef)
  • 9 cups of water
  • 1 cup Swanson all natural beef stock
  • 1 can of stewed tomatoes
  • 4 fresh carrots peeled and cut in pieces
  • 2 packages frozen white corn (off the cob)
  • 1 package frozen mixed vegetables (corn, peas, beans, carrots)
  • 8 stalks fresh celery chopped into small pieces
  • 1 heaping teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder,
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram leaves,  1/2 teaspoon oregano leaves, 1/2 white onion chopped fine or 1/2 teaspoon onion flakes
  • 3 tablespoons flour

Early in the morning in a large pot, brown the beef in the butter on medium high heat.  Add the water, beef stock and salt and pepper.  Let simmer all morning.  Take off burner and add a cup of ice cubes to cool and place pot in refrigerator in order to let grease rise to top.  A couple of hours before supper cook the carrots and celery about 20 minutes until tender and drain.  Cook frozen corn and vegetables and drain.  Take soup pot out of refrigerator and skim off the fat and throw away.  Chop up the stewed tomatoes and add them along with tomato juice to pot.  Add all of the drained cooked vegetables and the rest of the seasonings.  Bring to boil and then let simmer until dinner time.  Just before serving mix the flour into a cup of water and add to soup stirring to thicken the broth.  We love it the first night but I think it tastes even better the following day after all the flavors have mixed together.  Enjoy! Friendship 2013-2014 This year God has blessed me once again to be able to take part in Friendship.  I am teaching a painting class with Mary DeMarttina.  We have a group of such sweet and talented girls from Japan, China, Korea, Iraq, Mexico, India and Canada and they truly amaze me with their beautiful paintings.  We are studying the exquisite beauty of flowers up close and learning to paint what we see.  We will also be learning about the harmony of color in a wildflower meadow and how color delights the soul. painting class 2014 bI love painting flowers because in a garden I feel the very presence of God. wildflower beautyIn the words of the well-known and much loved artist, Thomas Kinkade,  “When we keep ourselves tuned to the beauty of our world, life itself become a joyous celebration of the senses and a song of praise.” painting class 2014 gfriendship painting 2014 hpainting class 2014 c painting class 2014 d painting class 2014 e painting class 2014 fIt is my prayer that this class will enrich the lives of the lovely ladies who participate in it and fill them with the joy of the amazing beauty that is all around us. “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.”         Psalm 37:4 painting class 2013 dpainting class 2013 apainting class 2013 bpainting class 2013 cpainting class 2013 epainting class 2013I have learned that it is not the ability that counts so much in teaching, it is the willingness to laugh at our mistakes and pour love out in everything we do and say that really counts.

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is  God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”   I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Awesome and Amazing


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“I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”      Isaiah 45:3

mustard seed faithThis evening I went down to the creek where my children and grandchildren have loved playing for years.  Last year the meadow along the woods was nothing but mud because bulldozers had dug a deep trench so that the Marathon oil pipeline could be laid down the field and across the creek.  I hated the way our privacy had been invaded and the lovely quiet of the wooded creek seemed to be a thing of the past.  But the people from Marathon had been very nice and I was thankful that they had saved as many of our trees as possible.

This coming Fall, I am planning to teach a class of International ladies in Friendship to paint wildflowers and I wondered where I would find enough flowers, or flower magazines and pictures to use as examples.   I was hoping to order some flower catalogs that would be helpful.  I even sent off for one but it never came.

But God is so awesome!  I discovered that down at the creek and along the meadow next to the woods there was an abundance of beautiful wildflowers blooming this summer.  Many of these wildflowers I had never seen growing down there before.  There were hundreds of pretty yellow daisy like flowers growing along the edge of the woods next to the creek.wildflowers sunflowersI also discovered great bunches of black-eyed Susans  and lovely pink, lavender and white wild flowers which may have been some kind of phlox.  I am convinced that God not only provides for our needs but He delights in giving us the desires of our hearts when we love Him. wildflower beauty“Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.”      Psalm 37:4

And the abundance with which he does this overwhelms me!wildflowers beauty2It occurred to me that the real treasures of darkness and the riches stored in secret places spoken of in Isaiah 45:3 are NOT gold and silver or precious jewels.  The real riches are those that God has hidden in seeds that suddenly spring forth producing the beauty of a tree or flower.  Or think about what happens when the seed of a man and woman is fertilized in love, and by the power of God brings forth the beauty and sweetness of a newborn baby. scan000shepherd-babyThis is the awesome, amazing power of God to give a seed life and energy and purpose.  And it fills me with praise for the one and only Creator.

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is a work within us.”   Ephesians 3:20

Future All Unknown


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“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seem is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”    II Corinthians 4:18   Mountain fogSometimes our pathway takes us through a season of darkness but even in the blackest night Jesus provides a light when we trust and focus on Him instead of our worries.

“In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.”  John 1:4

Only God can see the future and He alone knows the best way for us to go and will stay by our side every step of the journey.  future unknown 6“Commit your way to the LORD; Trust in him and he will do this:  He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”  Psalm 37:5,6

With a heart filled with trust, we have nothing to fear.

“For the LORD, gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.  He holds victory in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones.”   Proverbs 2:6-8

The way will open up as we go and Jesus will light our path.

“We live by faith, not by sight.”         II Corinthians 5:7   future unknown 1

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched.  They must be felt within the heart.”        Helen Keller

“But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”                              John 3:21   future unknown 3And let us not forget each day when our business seems overwhelming to kneel and pray knowing you will help us accomplish all we need to do in the quickest and best way.

“I’ve much to do today, dear Lord
But let me kneel a bit
Before the threshold of my day
that I may enter it
With mind serene and heart made fresh
with fragrant heavenly dew
that every moment of the day
I’ll be reflecting You.”
by Alice Hansche Mortenson   future unknown 5“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”       Colossians 3:17

Shout To The Lord
“My Jesus, my Savior, Lord, there is none like You;
All of my days I want to praise the wonders of your mighty love.
My comfort, my Shelter, Tower of refuge and strength;
Let every breath, all that I am, never cease to worship You.
Shout to the Lord, all the earth, let us sing
Power and majesty, praise to the King;
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar
At the sound of your name.
I sing for joy at the work of your hands,
Forever I’ll love You, forever I’ll stand,
Nothing compares to the promise I have in You.”

The Greatest Gift is Love


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“I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you establish your faithfulness in heaven itself.”     Psalm 89:2   sunset beautiful“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.  We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”     John 1:14

Have you ever walked outside in the evening and looked up to see the most glorious sunset imaginable and felt the absolute awesomeness of God?  To think that this mighty God loved us so much that He came down to earth and gave His life for our sins so that we might know Him and have a relationship with Him overwhelms me with amazement.  Oh how I love Him!  This Holy God delights in us and wants to protect and guide us.  His love and concern for my life fills me with joy and makes my heart sing!

Jesus is the greatest gift the world has ever received.

But what can I give Him?

I will give Him my heart filled with love.

I will give the gift of love this Christmas to my family, my children and spouse

and I will give the gift of love in His name to all I know and meet this year.

“I will sing of the LORD”S great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.”     Psalm 89:1

When Love Was Born  artist: Mark Schultz

Starlight shines, the night is still.  Shepherds watching from a hill.  I close my eyes to see the night when love was born.

A Perfect Child gently wails.  A mother bends to kiss God’s face  I close my eyes to see the night when love was born.

Angels fill the midnight sky and they sing Hallelujah,  He is Christ, our King.

Emmanuel, Prince of Peace,  Love came down to you and me.  Heaven’s gift, the holy spark to light the way inside our hearts.

Bethlehem, through your small door came the hope we’ve waited for.  The world was changed forevermore when love was born.

I close my eyes to see the night when love was born.

Treasure Seeking


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“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”    Matthew 6:21

I love to look for the perfect treasure to give at Christmas time to loved ones and friends.  When the children were little it seemed quite easy but now it grows harder each year.  We all want to find that special gift that we know they will love so that on Christmas morning we will see their eyes light up and hear those wonderful words, “it’s just what I wanted.”

A few days ago I went Christmas Shopping and was overwhelmed not only by the cost but just by all the stuff, none of which I wanted or thought would really make my family happy.  I began to wonder if our hearts have become chained to all this stuff we think we need but has no lasting value.  The happiness it provides usually is short lived and leads to the desire for more stuff.  Am I searching for stuff that looks like treasure this Christmas or seeking His treasure that never tarnishes or disappoints?  “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.”     Matthew 6:19  “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”   Matthew 6:20

The Magi, also known as the wise-men, traveled a great distance to find the Christ, who was born a king because they had seen His star in the east and they wanted to worship Him.  The Magi were overjoyed when they saw the child with His mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him.  Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold, incense and myrrh. 

The wise Magi knew that all our treasure is nothing compared with knowing God.  They discovered great truth by studying the scriptures.

“…if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.”        Proverbs 2:4,5

Jesus is everything we need:

“His divine power has given us EVERYTHING WE NEED for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.”      II Peter 1:3

                                                   I’d Rather Have Jesus                                                                    (Words by Rhea F. Miller, music by George Beverly Shea)

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands;
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand

  • Refrain:
    Than to be the king of a vast domain
    And be held in sin’s dread sway;
    I’d rather have Jesus than anything
    This world affords today.

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame;
I’d rather be true to His holy name

He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb;
He’s all that my hungering spirit needs;
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead

Inner Strength And Thanksgiving


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“Let your roots grow down into Him and draw up nourishment from Him.  See that you go on growing in the Lord, and become strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught.  Let your lives overflow with joy and thanksgiving for all He has done.”  Colossians 2:7  (Living Bible)

How do you acquire inner strength?  It is not like muscle that comes from exercising and nourishing your body with all the right foods.  Yet in a way inner strength is similar. We may appear to be weak and have abundant flaws but what truly counts is on the inside.  God looks at the heart.   It is important to exercise our mind and nourish our heart and soul daily by reading God’s word, memorizing bible verses and praying to Him.  Then when times of trouble arrive, we will have the strength necessary to stay strong in our faith and maintain peace in our heart.

 “We are praying, too, that you will be filled with His mighty, glorious strength so that you can keep going no matter what happens – always full of the joy of the Lord”    Colossians 2:11   Inner strength comes from knowing God.

 “I love you O LORD, my strength.”      Psalm 18:1

Looking at my difficulties through the eyes of faith in what God can do instead of what I can’t do, frees me of my worries and fills me with peace.  I know my heavenly Father will work our my problems in the best way possible because He loves me.  My heart sings with joy as I think about His faithfulness and amazing love and I just want to thank Him and praise Him all the days of my life.

 “I will sing of the LORD’S great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.”    Psalm 89:1

“When I think of the wisdom and scope of His plan I fall down on my knees and pray to the Father of all the great family of God – some of them already in heaven and some down here on earth –

That out of His glorious, unlimited resources He will give you the mighty inner strengthening of His Holy Spirit.  And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in Him.  May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love.   And may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high His love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it.  And so at last you will be filled up with God Himself. 

Now glory be to God who by His mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of – infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.”     Ephesians 3:14-20 (Living Bible)

Precious Pearls


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“Again the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.  When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought It.”                 Matthew 13:45,46

Early one morning walking along the beach I saw what looked like tiny strings of iridescent pearls stretched out in swirls for miles along the sand at the water’s edge.  Even though they were only seed pearls off some kind of seaweed, I imagined these pearls to be much like the wisdom of God which is limitless.  When we ask and seek his wisdom, he gives us a precious pearl or two to tuck in our mind and heart.  As we begin to understand the value of these precious pearls of wisdom we desire more and more.   I don’t believe that many of the beach walkers this morning even noticed these pearls as they walked or jogged crushing them as they went.  Most of the walkers are far too busy listening to their headset radios to hear the voice of God.  While others walk along discussing self-seeking plans and complaints to each other never taking time to appreciate the wondrous beauty and gifts of God along the way.

Seaweed in the water and along the beach has a way of clinging to your legs and feet.  The thicker the seaweed becomes the more dark and dirty the water appears.  It also emits a foul odor that burns your nose and throat when it collects along the beach filled with dead fish. It reminds me of Satan’s lies which can entangle our good intentions and actions when we allow them to take root in our mind and memory.   So often we walk along consumed by the fog of our daily problems and miss out on so much beauty.  When we observe and appreciate God’s wonderful creation, we gain wisdom and understanding about this awesome God who loves and blesses us in ways beyond what we could imagine.  Only His wisdom could create the infinite quantity and variety of tiny, exquisite shells along the beach, multitudes of beautiful flowers, the ever changing woods in summer, fall, springtime and winter, green meadows and snow capped mountains, blue skies and clouds, sunsets and sunrises.  And these are just a few of the ways that God delights in providing glorious beauty for our enjoyment.

“Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.  Look to the LORD and His strength; seek his face always.”    Psalm 105:3,4   Butterflies are pretty, but they also enlighten us about death and provide hope that one day like the ugly caterpillar, we will exchange these earthly bodies for a new eternal body and live forever with the God who created us.   Trees lose their beautiful foliage in fall and look dead and lifeless all winter long as cold winds blow and snow falls.  But when spring comes they bud with new leaves and blossom with flowers because God has the power to give new life to us and His creation.   It amazes me that this mighty God of ours who stretched out the heavens and created the earth still has time and wants a relationship with me.  It doesn’t matter what a mess my life is or what I have done in the past.  His grace covers all my sin and His love and concern for my life overwhelms me with joy.

“This is what the LORD says, He who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it – the LORD is His name.  ‘Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'”            Jeremiah 33:2,3    So as I walk the beach listening to the gentle rhythm of the waves and gathering precious pearls in my mind, I know that He walks beside me. Having trusted Jesus to be my Savior, and believing that He paid the debt in full for my sin when he died on the cross, I have given my heart to Him.  Because I know that He is in control, I don’t need to worry about what happens in my life and I am filled with a feeling of great peace in the ever Presence of His love.

“For God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”            II Corinthians 4:6