Waiting and Watching

Waiting and Watching

I’m so excited to share this blog post with you, dear friends. Let me tell you why…

The Lord has been teaching me afresh to slow down and to watch & wait for His movement and direction, His “signal,” so to speak, before forging on ahead. He has been doing this through Psalm 123:2 and my word of the year, Wait on God.

In the process, I have shared my thoughts in my blog post (New Year, New Word) and in conversations. One such conversation took place recently with my sweet, young friend Rebekah VanBuskirk via Facebook Messenger. What Rebekah shared with me was so amazingly illustrative of the heart of the whole issue of watching and waiting, I knew it was too good to keep to myself. So I asked Rebekah to share here at A Branch in the Vine.

Read More

The Wise Men...gifts of Essential Oils?

The Wise Men...gifts of Essential Oils?

Magi, Wise men, Three Kings...those figures way at the end of the Nativity scene (I suppose because they were still traveling from afar)... In recent years, this trio (if it was a trio) have become my heroes. Think about it! People probably thought they were crazy following a star to God knows where. THEY probably thought they were crazy after a time. What courage! What perseverance! What joy in the finding!

Read More

Reflections on Emmanuel, God WITH Us

Reflections on Emmanuel, God WITH Us

Emmanuel…a Christmas Reading
by Kathy Compton

Christmas means different things to different people. For some, it is a difficult holiday because of memories that are cherished…but they are just memories now.

There is an emptiness about Christmas. 

For some, it is the delight of family and friends, of decorations and cards, of cookies and carols. There is a fullness about Christmas.

Read More

God's Voice (Author Unknown)

God's Voice (Author Unknown)

Many voices come at our minds, day after day. Some of those voices come from the world around us, through our 5 senses. But then there are those inner voices. Where do they come from — our own thoughts? the voices of others within?

Discerning all those voices, within and without can be tricky. But believe it or not there was a post on Facebook recently that certainly helps.

Read More

The Gate Left Open

The Gate Left Open

I'm so excited to introduce you to my favorite "Guest Branch," my darling husband John. John is a good writer and more important, he is a kind, loving, godly person. The first time he wrote for A Branch in the Vine, it was in response to an anniversary blog post that I had written. And I have been wanting him to write again (OK, nagging a bit too) for this blog. 

So here he is in all his writing and "walking with God" glory. Thank you, John, for helping all of us, including your wife, to understand more deeply that God's grace truly is amazing and ... 

Oops, it's your story, John! Thanks for sharing it with us, my love!

Read More

Soul Care: Just Breathe

Soul Care: Just Breathe

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.  Genesis 2:7 KJV

Ah! How to care for our soul, our inner person? We so often neglect our inside self until we are ready to go over the edge with anxiety, exhaustion, depletion, hole-ness ... often caused by failing to read the signals in and around us.

So my friend and guest branch Mary Petzinger returns today with her helpful insights into this very issue.

Read More

Quiet Places

Quiet Places

In his book The Way of the Heart, Henri Nouwen spoke of silence as a portable cell or sanctuary, a place of transformation that can be carried into ministry. Yet true as that is in active ministry, my ministry now is mainly to family and those that God brings across my path. Even when I’m with family, my heart longs for a quiet place in the midst of chaos. In my oldest daughter Karen’s home it is her sunroom, decorated in a nautical theme. I search for things in the beach painting in front of me – the shapes of the clouds, the rocks at the edge of the water that soothe my soul and help clear my mind.

Read More

In Sorrow: Redefining Death ... and Life!

In Sorrow: Redefining Death ... and Life!

A wise person thinks a lot about death,
    while a fool thinks only about having a good time.

Ecclesiastes 7:2-4 NLT

Death! 

The word puts terror in our bones! We know it's coming but we ignore it when we can, and we act like we will live on this earth forever. But then there's the health crisis, the loss of a loved one, the thoughts in the darkness of night, the day-mare or nightmare. And the realization of the truth of where we are all heading (some of us sooner than later) comes sneaking or crashing in. And then we have to face the inevitable or drown it all out with some artificial comfort.

Read More

a branch in the VINE: bigger than a blog

a branch in the VINE: bigger than a blog

I can't believe it. A branch in the Vine is seven years old this month! THANK YOU, dear readers, for reading and encouraging me to keep writing! You have blessed me beyond measure. Can I share a little of the story behind it all?

Eight years ago, I started to be aware that some young women in my life (among whom was my daughter-in-law Cortney) were writing blogs ... quite effectively, I might add. I thought to myself,

"I'm too old to do a blog, but if I weren't, I would call it A branch in the Vine."

Read More

Finding Rest: Wearing the Yoke that Fits

Finding Rest: Wearing the Yoke that Fits

Finding REST, yes! Oh yes!

Rest is my "word of the year," yet it is still a quest for me. You too? Actually, rest is both a gift and a quest while on this earth. Let me explain. 

When we come to Christ by faith, He gives us rest, in fact He Himself IS our Rest -- rest from the penalty and power and one day, the presence of sin. As a result, we are totally acceptable to God, born into His family, beloved children of His who live by His indwelling life. I am IN Christ, and He is IN me. And this rest is a free gift ... given! Not earned!  

Read More

Letting Go of Enabling...especially in Parenting

Letting Go of Enabling...especially in Parenting

Helping or enabling? Enabling or helping? It can be difficult to know the difference. And knowing the difference can make or break a relationship ... and I might add, it may be the difference between being God's instrument in the life of another or blocking God's work in that same individual. 

Welcome again to my friend Tresca who clarifies the difference for us. She deals with the issue as it relates to our children. But if you are like me, you will also learn about healthy helping in other relationships in your life.

Read More

A Hard Detachment: Letting Go of Our Own "Figuring It Out to Fix It"

A Hard Detachment: Letting Go of Our Own "Figuring It Out to Fix It"

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take....

Catherine Marshall says the the hardest thing to relinquish is our will. But I might add that equally hard is yielding our own wisdom, our own understanding, our own abilities, our own "good intentions," to another, even to our Ultimate Other, the Lord Himself. Lately, God has been personally speaking to me again about this very issue. 

Read More

Letting Go: a Healthy Detachment

Letting Go: a Healthy Detachment

Jesus lived with what I call a "healthy detachment." I discovered this years ago as I was meditating in John, chapter two. Even though people were "believing" in Jesus left and right because of the miracles He was performing, He didn't entrust the well-being of His soul to them. He knew human nature. Jesus deeply cared about people, but He knew the only One to whom He could safely entrust Himself was His heavenly Father.We need that healthy detachment in our own lives, don't we? But it is often difficult to know when and how to "let go" in a relationship. I am delighted to introduce you to my friend, Tresca Grannum, our Guest Branch for today. Tresca comes to share some helpful insights into this whole issue of "letting go."

Read More

Soul Care: Just Breathe

Soul Care: Just Breathe

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.  Genesis 2:7 KJV

Ah! How to care for our soul, our inner person? We so often neglect our inside self until we are ready to go over the edge with anxiety, exhaustion, depletion, hole-ness ... often caused by failing to read the signals in and around us.

So my friend and guest branch Mary Petzinger returns today with her helpful insights into this very issue.

Read More

Quiet Places: Shared Wisdom from a Guest Branch

Quiet Places: Shared Wisdom from a Guest Branch

Today and next time here at the Branch in the Vine, I am honored to share words of wisdom from a new friend, Mary Petzinger. Mary and I met at the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove in Asheville, NC this fall. As we shared with each other bits and pieces of our lives, we discovered that we had much in common humanly and spiritually. And our husbands also have a common interest, "Evidence of the Creator in the Creation" (Intelligent Design).

Read More

The Wise Guys...Essential Oils, Part 2

The Wise Guys...Essential Oils, Part 2

Epiphany is over. 
Christmas trees are coming down. 
And perhaps in response to the awesome information shared in the last post by our family expert and my dear DIL, Cortney Solinger Loyd,
or even through previous contact with the "believers" in your life, 
you are exploring the gifts of the Magi...the essential oils, in particular myrrh and frankincense.

If you are among that number, you may be interested to look at Cortney's links below

Read More

Arrested by the Risen Christ: Brenda's Story

Arrested by the Risen Christ:  Brenda's Story

Every Easter I think of family and friends who have died in Christ.  Somewhere and sometime on their earthly journey they each met the Risen Christ in a unique way...some quite dramatically, some softly and quietly.

During this Easter week, I'd like to tell you about a friend who was arrested by the Risen Christ.  She's virtually unknown, except by those whose lives she touched.  Her name is Brenda.

Read More

Keeping God's Word Fresh: a Guest Branch

Keeping God's Word Fresh: a Guest Branch

If I want to keep my relationship with Jesus strong I need to keep the lines of communication open. We speak to God through prayer and He speaks to us through His Word and through the Holy Spirit. 

Sometimes it can seem like a chore, however, so I’m always looking for ways to keep the Bible “living and active”. 

I discovered a fun Bible last year. It’s called The ESV Journaling Bible. It has room on the sides to write notes or to draw or paint. I’ve always enjoyed drawing and painting as a hobby so what better way to elevate God’s Word! 

Read More

My Sticky Valentine...Loving Real, Loving Well

I am so honored to introduce you to my latest Guest Branch, my darling daughter, Elizabeth ... better known to all of us as Beth. Beth and Nate, her husband of ten-plus years, started out as good friends in high school. Years later, at just the right time, their real-life friendship blossomed into something more.

So in this post from her own blog, Beth describes a real-life romance, celebrating Valentines Day in a real-life way.

A profoundly real truth for us all!

Beth and Nate
Beth and Nate

My Sticky Valentine

Valentine’s Day has always been a sticky holiday for my husband and I. My decorating style may be romantic at times, but our style as a couple just doesn't jive with all the over the top drama associated with the holiday.  My date night of choice for example would be to go play a rousing game of billiards and flirt competitively with my husband over drinks rather than exchange sonnets professing our love.  There is just something that doesn't ring true in my heart if it has to be cloaked in too much pomp and circumstance.

We usually just play it safe though and go the humorous route, oh yeah, and chocolate...lots and lots of chocolate.  Honestly I would be hard pressed to find an occasion in life where Godiva would not be appropriate.

But last year I couldn't opt-out with humor.  Just a couple of months prior we had taken a large financial hit with our rental home, having to replace the entire AC unit as well as completing some other major repairs. While we were trying to regain our footing, we found out that we were expecting.  Being the efficient military couple, forced to travel light, we had gotten rid of all the paraphernalia required for a child under the age of 4.

It wasn't earth shattering and truly the latter one was a blessing but by Valentines day we were left feeling stressed and emotionally tired.

I set out to compose a valentine that was financially cheap, emotionally extravagant and honestly whimsical.

After composing the message, I printed it out on card stock folding it at the top twice, leaving 1/2in allowance between the folds, to fit a box of my husband's favorite chewing gum on the inside.

Then I left it on the seat of his car.

It's not perfect.  In fact I can't help thinking how my graphic designer brother might react to my type choice and spacing.  I guess its only fitting. My husband and I are not perfect either but in our imperfection, perfect for each other and isn't that what Valentines day is all about?

Visit Beth at her blog Rental Pretty

Rental Pretty
Rental Pretty

I'm not afraid to experiment with unconventional materials, snatch up and repurpose rejected items waiting for the landfill,and occasionally fail in the process.

It's all in the effort to transform this bland rental space from rental ready to RentalPretty.