Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hope

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident of hope salvation.  And this hope will not lead us to disappointment.  For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.  Romans 5:3-5

It is hard this thing called life.  And sometimes we forget there is hope.  Because, at times, I view myself as the disappointment.  To Mark. To the kids. To my house. To my pets. To my friends.  To my church.  and mostly TO MYSELF.

But I am not.

God has forgiven me before I mess up.  He loves me no matter what I do.  or Say.  He is always there to hand me hope.  He is there to guide me.  To show me how to live this life.

At times, I have to remind myself not to give up. or give in.  I have to remember that I must move forward…… with God’s lead.  Not my own.  When I do face a problem, God is there loving me through it.  He makes me want to move forward.  He is the reason I have the strength to get out of bed each morning.  It is God’s love that fuels my motivation and satisfies my soul.

So, when life happens…… say “Bring it on.”  Because God is by your side.

 

Giving and Gaining

This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.  1 Corinthians 1:25

I read that last night.  It really made me sit and think.  Never thought about it quite that way.  But it make sense.

Oh and how many times I mapped out the wisest plan!  Only to find myself totally without control and losing my mind.  And of course, I always think I am such a strong woman…… ahem, only to find myself in a corner somewhere sobbing (the snot running down your face kind) and feeling totally helpless.

Over the past couple of weeks, my neighbors on either side of my bakery site have proven to be such a wonderful resource and support.  They have cheered me on, lent me a helping hand, and got me in touch with an electrician and a plumber.  The electrician reminds me of Mr. Walton on the Waltons 70′s TV series.  Handy.  Helpful.  And sweet.  The plumber looks as if he has just walked off the set of Duck Dynasty.  A hoot to say the least.

Well, I don’t know if it was the fear of hearing bad news or what……but I just couldn’t make myself call them to come out and work.  I was truly having anxiety.  I begged Mark to call.  He was at work and was swamped so he wasn’t able.  I plead my case to Daddy and well……  I should have known……  I was always the one ordering pizza as a kid.  Daddy just told me to do it.  Ugh!

Then, I guess the anxiety got the best of me.  I got snappy at Daddy.  He was trying to point out the reasons I needed to wait on the health department’s approval before I made the call.  My floor plan made absolutely the most sense and well…… I saw no reason why they should turn it down.  I didn’t want to wait any longer but I didn’t want to make the call either.

Helplessness engulfed me.  I wanted to throw in the towel or at least throw up my hands and walk away.  I wanted to run away and have a melt down.  I really just wanted to throw myself down on the floor and have a fit like I did when I was little trying to get my way.  Not a very pretty sight.

Well, I marched off to my office like a spoiled rotten little girl.  I sat down and allowed the helplessness and the powerlessness wash over me.  I was tired.  Cranky.  And wanted to run away.  The perfect mental state for Satan to ease right in and do his dirty work.

My pastor’s sermon on trust resounded in my head.  I’m sure Abraham felt the same way when God asked him to sacrifice his son.  Oh imagine the powerlessness he felt.  I bet his human heart and mind wrestled with anxiety and helplessness.  But he didn’t rely on his plan or emotions….. nope he trusted God.

Daddy said he was going to the store for batteries.  I waved him goodbye and laid my head down on my desk.  I said, “I can’t do this God.  I’m not made for this. I just don’t know what to do.”  And I cried.

Just as I wiped away the tears, the doorbell to the bakery went off.  In walks the electrician!  He comes in and takes a look.  Then plans to come back later this week.  It wasn’t more than an hour later when the plumber walks in and out doing the same thing.  THEN…. the health department calls…..everything looks great!

I gave up my power and control.  God took over and got results.  I found strength alright…. in God’s trust.

Learning……

Opening a business is hard.  I ain’t gonna lie.  And well….. God has a way of building lessons to learn in just about anything.

I have left my dream job at the library.  I am now working full time at the bakery location.  To be honest, I don’t think I have ever worked this hard.  There are so many aspects to opening a business that my head hurts, and my back, and my knees, and my hands, and yes, even my heart.

I know.  I know.  Shocking….. God has given me a gift and I say my heart hurts.  I should be thankful.  And I am…… but whew….. I am overwhelmed.

For two weeks, I have been pulled in so many directions.  Bureaucratic run-arounds left me dizzy.  Finding electricians, plumbers and equipment has put a strain on me…..   I’ve learned a lot about the health department codes.  146 pages of them……  And I thought Leviticus was a long list of do’s and don’ts.  At times, I have wanted to scream, kick, and cry.

In fact just a couple of days ago, I finally got to talk to a person at the health department.  I had a zillion questions that well…… just didn’t seem to find answers within those 146 pages.  I spent almost 30 minutes picking this poor man’s brain.  I bet he thought, “Hope she bakes better than understanding all these rules.”

I had gotten all caught up in one-more-problem-oh-no-now-what-am-I-gonna-do “Eeyeor” way of thinking.  Everyone….. salesmen, plumbers, electricians, and even people off the street had a solution.  I was allowing all of that to overshadow the peace God had once provided. With every “Can’t do it that way,”  “Ain’t gonna work,” “No,” “Nope,” “Gotta do it this way or that way,” that peace had been chipped away and now I find myself wondering if I really was cut out to do this……

I started snipping at family.  Snapping sarcasm left and right.  And yes, even throwing a fit or two.

Then Sunday morning, our pastor preached on Abraham’s request to leave everything behind and go to this place God wanted him to go.  He left everything that kept him feeling safe and secure.  His daily routine had been shaken up and turned completely upside down.  He trusted God enough to follow Him into the unknown.  Abraham had to learn how to fully trust God’s plan.  Yes, like most of us, Abraham took matters into his own hands when he didn’t wait on God.  But he finally learned the value in trusting God.

I sat there in my safe and secure seat and thought, “Wow, I am like Abraham.  God has given me a bakery.  And I am leaving my safety and security behind.  I am learning to live outside that comfort zone.  Once again, that peace came through and melted those troubles away.

In the end I discovered……..It isn’t a matter of learning……. but a matter of leaning.

That Peaceful Feeling

God sometimes wants to make a point.  Sometimes it comes in a subtle way and other times…… well let’s just say a “thump on the noggin.”

The peace that comes when you are in sync with our Lord can not be explained by mere words.  It is more than contentment.  It is sweeter than any confectionery fix.  It is not skin deep but deep in the soul peace.  And it is NOT a feeling of happiness.

And sometimes, well, there are just some times that the only thing left to do is to just sit back and watch God in all His glory do what He does best……. love.  When you surrender to God’s will or when you hand over what ever may be causing you to struggle, that peace comes along.  It is more than a feeling.  Yea, it is……. it is a presence…… a state of being……

Let me tell you something……  It is true what the bible says……. God is a God of Peace.  And that I can testify.

Remember last week, I told you about the prayer I had during church.  I asked God for direction and affirmation.  I pointed out in the prayer that He is peace and not confusion…….  Well, He cleared up that confusion real quick and the peace that followed was unimaginable.

I told you how  I was a blubbering mess over the little shoppe I fell in love with……  it wasn’t confusion that I felt, nor frustration…… No, it was disappointment through and through.  MY daydream shattered.  Not God’s plan.  MY expectations fell apart.  Not God’s.  I wanted something really bad.  But God had something else in mind……

After the red brick shoppe had been pointed out to me by the sweet little lady, I knew God was working.  All I had to do was allow HIM to do it.  I needed to let go of the control and just let HIM.  I’ve struggled with this my whole life.  But for some strange reason I was allowing Him to work…… maybe it is because I have no idea what I am doing.  Just blind faith……

I asked my realtor to look into the property.  He did and he had great news…….  It had tenants already.  BUT, the landlord wasn’t really happy with them and was thinking about terminating their lease.  

I’m not going to lie.  I jumped up and down squealing “YES!”  I cried tears of joy.  I got on my knees and thanked God.

Now, here’s what happened next….. are you ready?  God is about to prove a point.

My realtor called.  The landlord had told him that the tenants were planning to open in 2 weeks with a bakery.  I won’t lie.  I cried like a baby.  But, once the tears dried.  Peace came over me like it had never done before.  I had a strange feeling something else was about to happen.

I was looking at other properties.  There was a place along the freeway.  It wasn’t the best spot but it was nice.  I began to daydream again.  Every time I drove by….. I felt peace.  So, after a whole lot of praying, I went forward.

Every day for the two weeks that the people were preparing to open, I drove to that place, parked and prayed for their success.  I felt led to do this.  I can’t explain why I did it but after I pulled away, peace washed over me.  

And then, the two weeks passed.  Still nothing happened at the red brick.  I know deadlines sometimes are not met.  But then a nagging feeling started.  This thought of ask about the red brick again would not leave me alone.  So, I picked up the phone, called my guy and asked him to inquire one last time.  If nothing happened by a date, we will go even further with the other property. 

Once again, family and friends expressed their concerns.  My Dad went as far as looking at other locations.  Every time someone asked if I was sure that this freeway location was the right place, my answer was “I feel at peace about it.  God wouldn’t steer me wrong.”

Then on the Monday before Thanksgiving, they opened.  I drove by.  Parked.  And once again prayed.  I can’t say that I wasn’t disappointed but again I had a peace that I could not explain.

So we moved forward.  I stopped going by the red brick.  I wished them luck and prayed that this small town was big enough for to bakeries.   I continually said what I felt about the other location…… I feel nothing but peace.  I even was lectured a couple of times.  But, I didn’t budge.  The peace was too strong to ignore.  So, I stood my ground, in sync with God.

See, that was not my normal behavior.  In the past, I would have taken over and looked for another “red brick” cute shoppe.  But, I don’t know.   I can’t explain as to why.  I just know I followed the peace.  

Then…… well, you ain’t gonna believe me when I tell you this……

The Monday after Thanksgiving, I was at work at the library.  Minding my own business, when I got a voice mail notice.  I listened…… it was my guy.  And he sounded rather…… excited.  thrilled.  shocked.  The red brick landlord called my guy and wanted to know if I was still interested in renting.

Yes, you read that correctly.  The other bakery closed……  The tenants cleaned out their stuff and left. End of Story.

I had to drive by there and see for myself.  I couldn’t believe it was true.  The rent was a 1/3 of the cost of the freeway location.  And there was a bakery case left behind.  God is so good.  Do you hear me??  GOD!  IS! SO! GOOD!!!!!  God made a point.  All I had to do was trust in HIM…… not in me…… not in the opinions of people I love…… Just HIM.  Best part….. I didn’t get a big old thump on the noggin!!

We did a walk through that week.  I couldn’t do or say anything…..  I just walked through thinking, “Yep, this is the place.”

 A week later, I was holding the keys.

 

Accepting The Idea

Okay, so, now my secret it out……  I am opening a bakery.  But let me tell you…….  I have no idea what I am doing!!

God has a way of paving the path.  Let me explain……

That Sunday, I accepted the idea of actually opening a bakery.  So Monday’s prayer was just simple…… Lord, help me do this?.?.?.  You know, it was one of those Yeah-yeah-God-Are-You-Sure-About-This, kinda a question and kinda a statement prayers.

So I went on with my Monday as usual.  Then I got a phone call.  My neighbor and banker called, “Are you thinking about opening a bakery?”

Me:  UM, yeah……. (how did she know???  Oh yeah, her daughter was with me while I daydreamed a few weeks ago……. ahem, daydream, yeah……guess pulling into the empty bakery parking lot and saying, “Wish I could have it” qualifies as daydreaming)

Neighbor:  Good.  I talked to a gentleman today who is in retail reality.  Here’s his number.  Call him.

What??  Is this real??  I hung up the phone and literally sat there in shock.  I made the call…… hey, if God opens the door, why not enter through it!  I called.  I explained how stupid I am about all this.  I told him of the dream.  I left nothing unsaid.  Ahem, he probably thought I was a loony!

Next thing I know, like on Tuesday, Mark and I were driving around town looking at the list of properties sent to me.  Nope. Nope.  Nope.  All the way down the list.  There was one in a high dollar area that had potential but it was WAY  WAY out of my expected price range.  Went home that night feeling somewhat excited and really scared.

That Wednesday, I was cooking for our church’s Halloween bash.  400 Mummy Dogs….. hot dogs wrapped in strips of biscuit.  My Dad and Step-Mom were helping me.  They had seen the list of properties and well, let’s just say Dad was expressing his concern over the costs….. to the point where I wanted to throw in the towel….. literally, my hands were killing me from the wrapping of those mummies.  Ya know, satan likes to take these kinds of opportunities to really rain on someone’s parade.  By the end of the night, I was arm wrestling the big brute called, “Failure.”  Dad was unsure about me taking on this dream.  I was unsure.  In fact, if it wasn’t for Mark I would have walked away from it.  He reminded me of the statement:  “Those thoughts will always be there……”

Thank you, God for having Mark remind me.

So now on to Thursday……

My co-worker at the library asked if I had seen that a little cafe in a nearby town had closed.  She said it was really cute and told me to take a look at it.  Thought it over and what the heck, right??  After work, I drove there.  Pulled right up in front and fell in love.  It was adorable.  It was perfect.  And it was for rent.  A “For Rent” sign was posted in the door.  I got out dancing.  I peered into the window and literally lost control of my emotions.  I cried.  You know the snot running down your face cry……  yes, a beautiful mess!!  Well, I gathered myself enough to get in the car and shot my Realtor a text and called Mark.   I sat there for what seemed to be hours dreaming away.  It was perfect.

My phone rang.  It was my Step-Mom……  She knew I was upset with Dad’s downer speech the night before.  But she sounded so excited……

Let me tell you what your father did today……  We were out and about and he came across the Thrifty Nickel stand……(for those of you who don’t live in our area…. the Thrifty Nickel is a publication that is literally a yard sale in a newspaper form)  He thought about grabbing one but decided not to……  He literally got in the truck and then told me, “I’d better get one.”  So he did……. We were driving to get our hair cut and were talking about last night’s conversation with you.  Your father was really concerned…..But when we got to the salon and he opened the Nickel…… Gina, it was typed in bold “God is Good.”  And right underneath was a listing of bakery equipment.  Your Father got the message……

Well, now, I was snot running sobbing again.  I barely could tell her where I was and what I had found.  Before I could describe it she asked the address and they were on their way to take a look.

They arrived.  Dad walked up with tears in his eyes.  He was choked up and said, “Now this is what you need.”  I cried.  Dad was sold on the idea now.  Well, my Step-Mom called the number on the sign…… I was too late.

My knees gave way.  Thank God for the park bench near me.  I sat there crying.  My dreams vanished.  Dad and Step-Mom tried to console me.  Now, imagine how this looks……

There is this lady who has been crying outside of an empty establishment.  She sat in her car crying even harder on her cell.  Some other folks show up.  They are crying.  Her knees gave way and now she is sitting surrounded my the folks and she is crying again.

Do you see where I am going with this???

Well, the little old lady in the shop next door to the crushed dream came out.  She was worried……  “Everything alright?” she asked.  My dad explained.  She listened.  Then she said……

Well, God is speaking to me right now…… Everything is going to work out.  He will take care of this.

How sweet.  Now apply the sarcasm…..  how sweet.  That ran through my mind.

She went back in her store and emerged again in a few minutes…..

I didn’t want to say anything until I talked to my landlord.  Do you see that little red brick store across the street?

My eyes followed her pointing finger.  There it was a red brick adorable storefront with paper over the windows.

Well, it has been empty for a couple of years and it was a bakery.  And there it sits empty.

God has a way….. does he not??