Thank you for taking a few moments out of your busy life to pause and read. My hope is that this Letter will encourage, inspire, and cheer your soul. I've included recipes, art, various thoughts and photos, recommendations, recent reads, and a little printable gift for you. Feel free to let me know if there's anything else you'd like to see featured in these Letters in the future by simply replying to this email. I so appreciate you.
ps- If you aren't able to view the photos in your email, click here to view the full Letter online.
WORLDS COLLIDING IN IRAQ
Preemptive Love was founded and is run in Iraq by some of our closest friends and we have been long-time cheerleaders for them. Many of you have helped fund heart surgeries for PLC through your purchases in my shop over the years!
This song has been on repeat.
In Exodus 14 and 15, we're given a tiny glimpse into the very day when God split the sea for Moses and the Isrealites, the same sea-splitting to which this song refers. After their enemies had been destroyed we're able to read the song they all sang in praise. When simply glanced over on a page, the words may seem monotone, but imagine the reality: Rejoicing, shouting, crying, awe, praise! I can see the Isrealites around minute 3:00 of this song.
All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
I enjoyed this novel so much. Fiction isn't my typical go-to, but I'm a huge fan of WWII-era reads, as well as stories based on actual events, so this one definitely made the cut. It was gripping and beautiful.
The Lost: The Search for Six of Six Million, by Daniel Mendelsohn
I just finished this story about a man's journey to find out what exactly happened to his relatives who perished in the Holocaust. If you're drawn to WWII/Holocaust stories and genealogy then you will certainly appreciate this book.
Humility, by Andrew Murray
I've intentionally read this one slowly. The wisdom is profound.
Spring Cleaning: Minimizing and Decluttering
The Daily Connoisseur continues to inspire me to simplify and pair down when it comes to my wardrobe, providing so much freedom! I've recently decluttered my boys' closet too. It has really helped with my laundry situation. I'm a believer! If you can take a few moments to watch a couple of her videos you'll learn more about the 10-Item Wardrobe.
Heart Room, House Room
I had a lovely experience a few years ago when I was able to enjoy an evening at the home of a remarkable woman named Phyllis Stanley. Phyllis, now in her later years, has lived a full life in service to the Lord and meeting the needs of countless people overseas and from her Colorado home. I was very moved by the evening in her home which included homemade dinner, a bread-making lesson, and a long talk as we all gathered in her living room. I've since enjoyed a little booklet she wrote called, "Our Home, A Place of Life-Giving Ministry," where she discusses the incredible value of home. One comment about her mother always sticks with me...
My mother, a Norwegian immigrant, lived in a 2-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, New York. In order to make room for overnight company she always slept in the closet. She said she loved it and would always tell me, "Where there is heart room, there is house room."
Recipe: Summer Corn Chowder
This recipe is adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow's 'Corn Chowder' from her great cookbook, My Father's Daughter. I didn't quite have everything on hand to make it one day so I changed it up a bit and have just stuck with my version. I'm sure her's is superb though.
3 Tablespoons butter
3 medium shallots, peeled and diced
yellow onion, peeled and diced
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
about 6-8 cups corn, frozen or fresh
salt and pepper
4 cups chicken broth
about 2 cups milk
Directions: Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add shallots, onion, thyme, and bay leaves and saute for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the corn, about 1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt, about 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook for about a minute, stirring everything together. Add the broth and milk and bring to a boil, then lower immediately and simmer for about 30 minutes, or longer if you're able, to enhance flavor.
Last, remove the thyme sprigs (which by now will have lost their leaves) and the bay leaves, and use an immersion blender to puree a good amount of the soup - I roughly blended about 75%. If you don't have an immersion blender then pour at least half the soup into a blender (you'll probably need to do this in two batches) and blend a few seconds until just partially smooth. Serve with crackers or grilled cheese bread.
And a few other new recipes I tried this month that were big winners around here...
Chicken Marbella- My good friend (the one in Iraq) sent me a variation of this recipe and swore my boys would love it. I was a little skeptical when I saw the ingredients, although it looked delicious to me. But I was completely wrong about the boys. They each ate three pieces and said it was their favorite chicken ever! (I did leave the olives out this time.)
Monkey Bread from Scratch- My beautiful sister had a milestone birthday this month and our family celebrated with a brunch that pretty much lasted all day. We all loved how this recipe turned out!
A Peak inside the Art Studio
A sweet friend, Layne, was so kind to feature my art on her site this week. Layne and her husband are amazing photographers in Canada, and she's one of my sister's closest friends. She has a beautiful heart! Read more here.
"Love That Leads" is my most recent original piece. The title comes from the poem written at the beginning on this Letter by Amy Carmichael:
Give me the love that leads the way,
The faith that nothing can dismay
The hope no disappointments tire
The passion that will burn like fire,
Let me not sink to be a clod: Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.
Printable Original Watercolor Art: A Gift for you
Here's a free print for all you wonderful friends. You'll need to go through the standard shop check-out process. (The site requires you enter your email and address but just leave the credit card info blank. I will work to get this changed for future letters.) A link will be emailed to you with the image. The link expires 24 hours from the time it's sent so make sure to download the image once you get the email. It prints well up to an 8x10. Enjoy!
One additional printable now available
This downloadable print is now available for a limited time. Enjoy!
Bravery Leading to Anonymity
"Knowing they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself." (John 6:15)
We talk about being brave, which is good. We want to be stretched by the Lord, to be obedient to a difficult call.
But what about when our brave or bold move isn't sensational to the world? Are we as excited to wear the "Brave" t-shirt when our act of obedience is not something worth advertising?
Sometimes we forget that most "world changers" never receive public recognition, and according to scripture, that's probably a good thing.
It may be healthy to ask ourselves: Are we willing to be brave enough to pursue the path of anonymity? Are we brave enough to accept the prospect of possible obscurity? Do we serve and work out of our love for God, or love for the praise and admiration of others?
God may be leading some of us towards leaps of faith that will bring recognition or notoriety, but likely he's leading more of us on paths that promote our downward mobility, paths no less joyful and abundant. Wasn't that the earthly trajectory of Jesus' life?
I've been thinking about this for quite a while, and then I read this passage the other morning. Jesus had just worked miraculously, and then surprisingly, the passage says that he perceived the people were about to come take him and make him king, and so he withdrew to the mountain by himself.
I think if I had been there I would have assumed this was a perfect next step -- for a godly man to take the position of king. Couldn't the Christian message be spread more effectively? Wouldn't it be more beneficial for the masses to know about him, rather than the smaller crowds he was currently drawing? For his numbers to go up? His followers to increase? It seems intuitive that an upward step of notoriety with a larger audience would be best, right?
And yet, He knew it was not his time. He knew something good was not necessarily best. He listened to His Father's direction, rather than the popular consensus. I think this is one of Jesus' beautiful displays of humility.
I hope your coming month is full of peace, beauty, and transformation.