Soul Staring

Posted September 10th, 2014 by Leah and filed in REPLENISH, Word of Encouragement

Last week Lauren and I took a mother-daughter trip to NYC for her 30th birthday and had a blast! She is such fun to be with, and this trip turned out to be no exception!

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Lauren has a great boutique in downtown Orlando, Lauren Nicole, so taking a holiday to the City during Fashion Week called for finding a good spot to people watch. We sat for hours watching Fashion bloggers, designers, well-heeled New Yorkers, models and the like. Although we didn’t have a high-powered lens like the paparazzi, I found myself staring intently…which caused Lauren to continually poke me to “stop”!

I’ve been thinking about how much I love to “observe” {stare} at people and let my mind wander wondering about their “back story”, as my friend Hattie calls someone’s history. Lately I have been reading the Bible this way. The fall REPLENISH at The Farm October 24 & 25 will focus on the beloved story of Mary breaking open her alabaster jar and pouring out everything she had on Jesus.

Have you ever thought about Mary’s “back-story”? Why she would risk everything, surrender completely and worship Jesus in a way that totally disregarded all the people, friends, family and strangers, in the room? Have you ever let everything go, sitting perfectly still under the hand of God forgetting the natural and allowing God to weave His life together with yours…regardless of the circumstances or what “friends” say?

I hope you will join me for Replenish as we stare deep into Mary’s soul…recognizing similarities…discovering what needs to be broken open so our lives can be “filled with the beautiful fragrance”.  As Mary anointed Jesus with all she had, she unwittingly left an eternal legacy.

Jesus said to those at the table…Leave her alone for she has done a beautiful thing to me and this will be her legacy.

Replenish yourself in a beautiful setting with beautiful sisters, together discovering the beauty of pouring out our lives, completely, for Jesus. Besides my teachings, you will hear a personal story from each of the team members, Marcy Boutz, Gail Ratzlaff, Jessie Trigger, Dee Mueller and Laura Hemmerle, relating to Mary’s story. We will eat together, worship together, get creative together, pray together…be REPLENISHED together! For more info on REPLENISH, please click HERE.

Watch for the REPLENISH INVITATION in your inbox and posted on Facebook later this week. I encourage you to take some time to stare into Mary’s soul, and your own, by reading her legacy found in Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9 and John 12:1-8.

Let us leave nothing unsurrendered, but fearlessly stare into our soul…

xo

leah

It is possible…

Posted February 22nd, 2014 by Leah and filed in Word of Encouragement

All things are possible for Him who believes.  

Mark 9:23

This Saturday morning considering…ACTIVE FAITH  versus  PASSIVE FAITH

ACTIVE FAITH:

Active faith believes first, lives like it believes, steps out, steps up! Active faith stands steadfast on a platform, not a tightrope, a rock not a pebble, firm ground not shifting sand. Active faith puts a foot in the water, watching it part and presses onward into the land of giants believing God is bigger.

PASSIVE FAITH:

Sits wondering if only…what if…if you are willing, Lord?…If you can? IF, IF…IF.

 

GO AHEAD! Let’s exercise our faith today!, Actively stretch out that shriveled hand and grab God’s promise…it is finished! Yes, that promise is for us, even today.

All things are possible for Him who believes.

 

Passive faith but praises in the light

when sun does shine.

Active faith will praise in the darkest night-

which faith is thine?

…poem selected from Streams in the Desert

 

it is possible! ACTIVELY believe!

xo

leah

 

LIVE OPENLY

Posted February 3rd, 2014 by Leah and filed in Interior Wisdom, Word of Encouragement

Our lives, beautiful photographs, pictorials developed in the dark room, in silence, stillness, isolated…trusting our way in the darkness, alone, yet not. There, in the dark, character grows, God’s ways developed, and our mission slowly revealed, transforming us for the scrutiny of eventual light.

People watch you. They listen…waiting…waiting for a word of wisdom, knowledge, hope. They listen longing for a word with deep understanding of injury, pain and brokenness, all learned in the dark. A gentle spirit unafraid to live openly saying,

Yes, I understand. Did I ever tell you about the time…

People watch you. They listen and long to be comforted with the comfort from which, from whom, you have been comforted. Open your hands, open your life. Share all God has developed in you, while you stood quietly in the shadows, in His grip…abiding in the secret place, under His wings. God causes both to bloom, the evening primrose and morning glory.

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My Child…Be still, right now, and know that I am God. A God of healing, hope and restoration. A God who will never leave you nor forsake you. A God who is designing an incredibly beautiful pictorial of your life…a life worth sharing. Stay close, draw near for I long to beautify my beautiful house, your soul. Tabernacle with me throughout your day by just whispering my name, for I am here. Peace, Peace like a river rushes in creating deep pools of joy! Splash your furrowed brow in my joy in the midst of pain, knowing you can trust this mystery…I live in you, your hope now, and to come.

Open your hands, open your door, open your heart…open your life.

Live openly.

xo

leah

 

Remembering June…

Posted July 1st, 2013 by Leah and filed in Leah Richardson, Word of Encouragement


July first!!!  WOW!!!  Springtime took 2 giant steps forward and it’s mid summer! So let’s catch up…

We kicked off summertime at The Farm hosting a precious group of saints for one day during their Beach Retreat. I taught Prophetic Art inspiring them through the Scriptures. I just love the way God paints His beautiful portrait of life through the Word using colors, imagery, visions and movement.

After a typical Florida afternoon thunderstorm, with the palate of our mind was cleansed, we broke out the paintbrushes, listened to the Holy Spirit’s promptings and created something of worth, beauty and meaning starting with a blank canvas…mimicking God’s exercise from the beginning, continuing each and every day.

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Look what happens when we LET GO and LET GOD work through us like only He can do! 
If you are thinking…I could never do that…I don’t have a creative bone in my body.
I say, “Oh, but YOU DO!”
God breathed His essence, His creativity into you giving you vibrant life! The way each one of us express ourselves comes from the Creator Himself who designed us, gave us a unique style…You are His inspiration! His creative expression to the world around you…so go out there and confidently EXPRESS YOURSELF!!
THEN…Mom and I escaped on a little mother-daughter trip to the beautiful balmy Northeast enjoying Quebec and Nova Scotia Canada, and Maine. Together we hunt down all the great art galleries where local artists, artisans and craftsmen show their wares. While browsing, we make a point to ask the locals where they eat, for we NEVER miss a meal! It was a wonderful trip, so in an appropriately short sweet summary, as I wrote 33 years ago as an intern, for the Summer Social Section of the Camilla Enterprise…“And a good time was had by all”!!
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My cute mom!
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The Hotel Frontenac in Quebec City
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The city reminded me of Paris in many ways, especially all the narrow streets lined with bistros.
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Sweeping views of the St. Lawrence River.
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Beautiful French architecture abounded with steep-pitched roofs and dormers.
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Quaint picture perfect ports.
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Now that’s a violin!
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I thought this was a great idea for a flower tower using wine crates. I could do this with our orange crates.
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A beautiful 17th Century Catholic Cathedral in Halifax, Nova Scotia with amazing stained glass windows.
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See ya later!
June 28th marked our 2-year anniversary moving to The Farm. In July and August Jim and I plan to tackle the remodeling of the cottage. With innumerable episodes of HGTV to back us up {haha} we are going to TRY {the operative word here} to do most of the work ourselves. We shall see…you too if you are a friend of this blog.
Have a fun-filled 4th of July my friends!!  
I pray that our God will cause Romans 8:28 and Ephesians 3:20 to explode like fireworks in your life! God is faithful and He hears our every prayer. I pray you radically believe Him. Pray I radically believe Him. For when we fully grasp God’s sovereignty, every aspect of life changes…radically!
God adores you!
xo
leah

Flower Power at The Farm

Posted June 5th, 2013 by Leah and filed in Leah Richardson, Word of Encouragement

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The earth is the Lords

and everything in it…

and the fullness thereof…

and all it contains…

Psalm 24:1

ENJOYING GOD’S BOUNTY!

leah

New way of living…

Posted May 13th, 2013 by Leah and filed in Interior Wisdom, Word of Encouragement

Complete awe. Watching God move in the cool, quiet breezes blowing through The Farm.

Women coming to be REPLENISHED, refilled. To receive from God. Permission to live a new way. Differently from the world’s ways.

In considering a new way of living, desires are quieted with satisfaction.

Grasping, needing, wanting gives way to rest and peace…trust.

Undisturbed confidence that He, God, will lead us beside still waters and restore our souls.

The Lord is my Shepherd.

Because the Lord is my Shepherd. He will lead, feed, keep and protect this week if we will follow.

Follow him into an even leaner life, one of simplicity. Simplicity scrutinizes want, brings true need into focus and chooses less. Less holding on, more letting go.

Let go. Release. Summer season is fast approaching. Summer is a season of harvest. Harvesting all the seed planted and watered. Harvesting that which was toiled for and prayed over.

But, is the harvest given so we build a bigger barn? Does that bigger barn secure you from life’s next storm? For Summer brings the storms too.

The Lord is my Shepherd.

Simplify. Simplify now. Find misplaced loyalty, true security. King David counted the harvest, what he thought were “his”. We easily forget we are simply the vessel. A vessel pours out after graciously receiving. Waters after being filled.

Simplify. Let go. Let “it” go. God’s faithfulness reaches to the Heavens and stretches a canopy of love and provision over your life…beginning to end, the harvest.

Simplify. Intentionally simplify. Move closer to God’s agenda this week.

Lord, we seek you. as the rain falls from Heaven and you water the earth causing it to flourish and grow, please pour yourself, living water, on our lives bringing beauty and holiness in simple ways. The simple satisfaction and undisturbed joy of knowing we are yours. Teach us, empower us, to live a new way- open, slow, simple and generous…closer to you, closer to Heaven.

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Intentional design-intentionally letting go…

xo

leah

Truly Beautiful…

Posted April 19th, 2013 by Leah and filed in Interior Wisdom, Word of Encouragement

Last weekend I enjoyed a beautiful Saturday with the women of the First United Methodist Church of Winter Park at their retreat in Howey-in-the-Hills. Tucked into the landscape of Central Florida is this beautiful old Spanish-style mission redesigned into a first-class resort and spa. Not your typical venue for a women’s retreat, which was quite a beautiful treat!

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My friend Hattie, from New Orleans, and my new friend Marilyn, from Denver, were visiting The Farm for the weekend and helped me with the book signing table. Hattie and I had been working through Jennie Allen’s Bible study CHASE, by telephone, but during her visit, we finished up the last chapter and I have been reviewing my notes.

In my journal, I write, “Teach me what ‘truly beautiful’ means to you God.”

I don’t want to stand one day before the living God who created me only to realize I had wandered off-path in my sincere pursuit to please Him. I don’t want God to say that I missed the point! Which means I must wake every morning and remember that all the invisible stuff is very real. God is invisible, but very, very real.

As an interior designer, I design because I desire to impact the interior of your home. Like God, the grand designer, who desires to impact our interior, our heart life. In thinking through this, I am reminded of the rich, young ruler in the Bible. He followed all the 10 commandments and lived an honorable life, but when Jesus told him to sell all his possessions and give the proceeds to the poor, the Bible states “he went away very sorrowful for he had many possessions.” Please Lord don’t let that be me! That’s all we know of the young ruler. His legacy ended there. Unlike the disciples who chose to obey and follow God, giving it all away for the Kingdom. They turned the world upside down and we, today, right now, are still talking about their beautiful legacy.

“Teach me what truly beautiful means to you God.”

When God fills the interior, when God is our interior designer and we allow Him to edit, rearrange our heart, our priorities, our life, our day, something very beautiful happens. An earthbound caterpillar is transformed into a free flying butterfly. I clearly remember closing the door and walking away from my first completed interior, the one in which I asked God to be the lead designer and me the assistant. Walking to my car I cried like a baby. Of course I was exhausted, but it was more than that. It was such a beautiful, finished interior and I knew deep within that I had not designed it…alone. God used me in a way that forever rocked my world and the ripple effect has been tremendous.

We can choose to build our design, our life on the things that are temporary, the fleeting things that move and change like our address, bank account, accomplishments, social status or appearance. Or, we can build our lives, our true identity, on God. A beautiful God whose beautiful character does not change. A God, who is unconditional love and has designed a floor plan that beautifully fits our lives.

Psalm 24:3-4 is the scripture that inspired my book, INTERIOR WISDOM. It continually reminds me of the truly beautiful. GOD.

By wisdom a house is built.

By understanding it is established;

and through knowledge it’s rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

 

Have a beautiful weekend and ask God what a truly beautiful interior looks like for you!

xo

leah

Meditation

Posted April 9th, 2013 by Leah and filed in Leah Richardson, Word of Encouragement

But his delight is in the law of the LORD,

and in His law he meditates day and night.

He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,

that brings forth its fruit in its season,

whose leaf also shall not wither;

and whatever he does shall prosper.

Psalm 1:2-3

 

When we

remain

abide

live in God’s Presence

and

ponder His truths,

God

reveals

Himself.

He becomes

very real

and

very personal

in our lives.

We become living stones, living truth because we really believe in a living God.

How we live flows out of what we believe about God.

And as we ponder and meditate: think deeply and continuously about Him, He says we become like a tree.

A tree with a continuous flow of living water running through our deep roots of belief.

A tree that produces beautiful fruit of the Spirit to bless all who cross our path today, and tomorrow.

A tree that prospers and flourishes season after season of sunshine or storm.

A tree of strength, poise, beauty and grace.

A tree that points to a Heaven who is coming.

I want to be a tree.

 

MEDITATION: careful thought and consideration creates a desire for truth. Meditation on God and his Word stirs obedience. Obedience to an unseen but very real God draws us close, so very close to truth. And truth bears witness to God’s design for our lives.

MEDITATION: Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin again you {Psalm 119:11} for you ARE GOD, MY GOD.

Be still for just a moment. MEDITATE on God, the God who just caused your lungs to take another breath.

 

desiring to be a tree…

xo

leah

Back to Egypt…

Posted March 23rd, 2013 by Leah and filed in Leah Richardson, Word of Encouragement

Have you been watching the BIBLE series on television? Jim and I have really enjoyed seeing the Scripture come to life! Well, all but the really bloody…gory…barbaric scenes!

This week we celebrate Passover and Easter. And I have been thinking about Moses’ obedience of returning to Egypt.

Now when forty years had passed, and angel appeared to Moses in the wilderness of Mount Sinai…I am the God of your fathers…I have surely seen the affliction of my people…heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. {Acts 7:30,32,34}

AND NOW COME, I WILL SEND YOU BACK TO EGYPT.’

{Acts 7:34b emphasis mine}

Has God ever sent you back to Egypt? It had been 40 years since Moses fled Egypt, and now God says it’s time to go back. Go back to those you abandoned. Go back to a people who think God doesn’t hear their pleas. Go back, after 40 years, go back, although they rejected you, go back and deliver my people.

Me Lord?

Yes.

And Moses obeyed God, for Moses knew in his heart God could be trusted.

It’s a scary thing to go back to Egypt and face brothers turned enemies. For God’s ways and plans make no room for our pride or ego. He sends us back for His cause. He sends us back for there is something back there that needs reconciling, and if we disobey…what might be lost? 

Will you go?

God provided all Moses needed to carry out His plans for His people. And through Moses, God set his people free. Free.

Death did not claim one of God’s people, for lamb’s blood protected each house. Death was forced to passover, for that was God’s good design.

This week, Jesus followers celebrate Easter. Death is forced to passover once and for all who believe. Believe in Jesus’ sacrifice. Believe in God’s new covenant design… Jesus’ blood shed, which is greater than lamb’s blood.

No fear in returning to Egypt, to obey God. Arise and shine for our Savior has come. He’s resurrected your life and only Heaven awaits. Until then, if He calls,

go back to Egypt and proclaim the Good News…the Messiah has come…you are free!

Happy Easter!

We have this treasure in earthen vessels,

that the excellency of the power may be of God,

and not of us.

2 Corinthians 4:7

 xo

leah

Everyone has a beautiful house in them

Posted February 11th, 2013 by Leah and filed in Interior Wisdom, Word of Encouragement

Today I received my renewal for House Beautiful magazine. Tucked in the bill was a bookmark…Everyone has a beautiful house in them!

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It’s true and I just love this thought. Everyone has a beautiful house in them! You never know where you will find inspiration. This morning in prayer I asked the Holy Spirit to give me the theme for a women’s retreat next month on St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, where I will be speaking. And out fell this bookmark a couple of hours later!

HOUSE BEAUTIFUL…everyone has a beautiful house in them

Once we believe this, God starts rearranging our interiors to reflect His design.

The Lord promises

I will beautiful my beautiful house. {Isaiah 60:7}

I will beautify the place of my sanctuary. {Isaiah 60:13}

And our heart is that house, his sanctuary. I encourage you to consider that

everyone {that’s you} has a beautiful house in them!

And creating that beauty starts with the powerful presence of God in our homes and lives. When God moves in, everything changes. Beauty is no longer beautiful for the sake of beauty, but beauty has meaning and purpose. Our lives become living pinterest boards for all who are searching. And believe me, people are watching and listening to you my friend, for we all crave authenticity. Something real and something of real beauty, which overflows from the heart, the heart occupied by Jesus.

Everyone has a beautiful house in them!

A dear friend of mine shared a way God is creating a beautiful house within her. In the past, she would write her prayers in a journal to help keep her mind from wandering, but recently she framed a bulletin board she covered in linen and fills it with pictures of her family and friends. Her coffee pot is in her laundry room and each morning she walks in with a beautiful reminder to pray. She places her hands on the pictures and she prays…creating a beautiful house within.

Isn’t this a wonderfully creative and beautiful way to remind yourself to pray! I truly love this idea and plan to incorporate it into my beautiful house within.
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Speaking of praying, please keep me and my dear friend Gail in your prayers as we venture to Mexico Friday on a mission trip to minister to the Mayan people. We are both very excited for the opportunity to share with the women of that culture that they, too,

have a beautiful house in them when Jesus moves in!

If you are reading this, know that I have put my petite hand on my computer and asked the Lord to bless you, for He hears every prayer…from the faintest whisper to the most desperate cry. I pray for you with confidence remembering that God takes all the broken things in our lives, including the clutter, mess and the chaos, and makes it all new and beautiful.

everyone has a beautiful house in them!

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xo

leah