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

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

Savoring the Yucatan

Posted March 3rd, 2013 by Leah and filed in Leah Richardson

Truly I didn’t know what to expect for I had never been on a mission trip outside of the U.S.  God took my hand and I walked in awe as He poured out His all surpassing power, beauty and love, like kisses from Heaven, on the precious Mayan people. Here are some of my photos, along with a few some team members took, and the field report Gail asked me to write, which tells more about the trip.

My first photo as the bus drove up to our hotel in Valladolid.

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Gail getting our room key while I oogle the architecture!

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Precious Mayan women who helped us throughout our trip.

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Many trees were painted white around the base of the trunk. I asked why and was given 2 reasons: It helps keep insects out and THEY LIKE IT!  Me too! It has a cool contemporary look…I wonder if Jim will let me paint the trunks in the orange grove…hummmm  (:

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All ages came to the see the premier of Magdalena: Released from Shame recently translated into Maya.

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We walked the streets in teams handing out invitations to the showing.

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Our hotel was lovely!

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Fresh fruit every morning- loved the papaya!

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So wanted to take this stone column home!

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Gail in the main square in Valladolid.

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Fresh tortillas with EVERY meal.

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It was so dark at night and I loved the basket lanterns hanging in the trees.

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Wonderful details

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When our bus arrived in villages, all the children would rush to greet “the Americans”!

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Precious sisters prepared us Sunday lunch after the church service.

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The concrete structure was so simple, beautiful and colorful.

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Martha, LuAnne, Gail and Ally

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Bougainvillea in bloom everywhere

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Organic little one room homes in these remote villages

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We washed the head of the household’s feet and gave each family a pair of new shoes.

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This colorful green concrete house stood out in the night.

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The film shown for the villagers was The Story of Jesus for Children, in their native tongue.

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Young and old saying yes to the call of Jesus!

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The 22 year old young man that started Feet That Move! Amazing Dustin Sandoval.

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One morning of sightseeing.

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interesting designs everywhere that could be incorporated into fabrics and wallcoverings.

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In this village we gave out toothbrushes, toothpaste and coloring books.

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I took my Jesus bookmarks with John 14:6 on the back, in Spanish. They were a hit!

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This woman knew everyone in her small village and took me to meet all her relatives and invite them to the showing that evening.

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I couldn’t help but ask this dear Mayan woman to show me how to shuck corn…as you can see they got a kick out of me trying! She filled this basket quickly!

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Four and five generations would live in these simple 1-room homes. Many sleep in hammocks. One woman, through the translator, asked one of our team members if she had a place to spend the night…because if she didn’t, she offered to put up another hammock. Such hospitality!

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We can find beauty, if we will just look for it.

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for the love of Jesus,

leah

Wise Men

Posted January 10th, 2013 by Leah and filed in Leah Richardson, Word of Encouragement

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Last Sunday, Jim and I enjoyed driving over to New Smyrna Beach, to glean some New-Year knowledge from our dear friend Jim Spencer, Rector of St. Peter the Fisherman. For years I sat in a pew in Ft. Walton Beach listening to life-changing words spill from Jim Spencer’s mouth. His passion for Jesus is contagious! He is “real” and we just love that he wears docksiders with no socks under that robe!!

The reading that morning was the story of the Three Kings venturing out to follow the star. Highlights and points I remember about “Following our passion and growing in wisdom” are this-

The three wise men followed their passion, and went out not knowing where they were going or what they were going to find, exactly. They went with joy and great expectation taking costly gifts out of their own treasure. They listened to that still small inner voice, whether giving direction or warning. Wisdom quite often means pausing to ask for directions. They arrived in Jerusalem and asked for directions, yet in wisdom, they went home by another route. Wisdom, if we will listen to her, imparts direction, guidance and discernment.

God used the wise men. Mary and Joseph were Jewish, and would not normally accept gifts from a foreigner. But they did, and the gold given most likely financed the couple’s trip to Egypt. The provision came from an unexpected source! Joseph was warned in a dream that Herod was planning harm. Now, Joseph had the means to pack up his family and move them out of harm’s way. God can use anyone in our lives. That is worth repeating, God can, will and does use any and everyone in our lives. Are we listening? If it’s God’s plan, let’s wisely receive from that unexpected source, that someone different from ourselves? I had never really thought about this aspect of Mary and Joseph’s story. But we see throughout the Bible God using unlikely candidates like King Cyrus, Pharaoh and Rahab, to accomplish his plans and purposes.

Notes to self:

1. God can use “wise men” in my life to bring provision, even to finance my passion. To move me in the direction He has planned.

2. Listen with my heart, ask God for wisdom when an unlikely opportunity presents itself. And heed any warnings too. God may have planned from the foundation of the earth to use this or that to bring His plans to fruition.

3. Don’t travel this journey of life alone. Seek out others with a similar passion, for each gift is needed and important. Then be generous with my gifts, for the provision comes from God alone.

 

Lord God, please lavish your wisdom on us! Forgive us when we have made poor decisions and jumped ahead without inquiring or listening. Help us to listen to the Holy Spirit and seek your wisdom. Show us the “wise men” in our lives so we don’t travel alone. And above all, teach us to be like you, generous!

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God who gives it generously without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5

Lord teach me your ways, show me your paths and guide me in your faithfulness… Psalm 25:4

 

What’s your passion?  Couple it with God’s wisdom, and expect great things bringing great joy!

xo

leah

 

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Posted December 23rd, 2012 by Leah and filed in Leah Richardson, Word of Encouragement

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Jim, Rudy and me! (Jim’s behind the camera!)

 

Always remember sweet friends, each of us has a very important role in the Kingdom. God loves using us daily and has even better plans for our lives in 2013! Whether we are the lowly Shepherd tending our flock, the angel heralding good news, wise men of means generously giving, a faithful father in awe of God’s faithfulness or a “take that leap of faith” mom who can’t help but sing in her heart…GOD TOOK ONE LOOK AT ME AND LOOK WHAT HAPPENED! I AM TRULY THE MOST FORTUNATE WOMAN ON THIS EARTH! Whatever role, do it to God’s glory with a thankful heart!

Oh God, open doors for us to walk through according to your good plans for 2013. Surprise and delight us as we find ourselves continually surprised and delighted about you, our Lord. 

As I sit and seek God’s face before another year introduces itself, I encourage you to do the same. God longs to reveal hidden and secret things to us if we will wait patiently, blooming where he has planted us.

Be still and know that He is God. (Psalm 46:10) A God of beauty, order and grace. A God we can trust fully. A mighty God completely able…

It has been such a delight to share my life with you! Thank you. I love you, and I look forward to God’s plans for  2013.

Leah

Christmas on The Farm

Posted December 22nd, 2012 by Leah and filed in Leah Richardson, REPLENISH, Word of Encouragement

So many wonderful happenings this Christmas season at The Farm…let me share with you!

The wild turkeys roam about The Farm leisurely (since Thanksgiving is over!) as I drive out to

Select Growers to purchase a large magnolia wreath.

It is a beautiful and peaceful spot outside of Deland.

I look forward to working with them on some landscaping ideas in the Spring.

As I walked in the warehouse filled with every type of greenery imaginable, the scent of Christmas filled the air! Look at the length of that Magnolia garland!

Preparing for 37 women for the Replenish Christmas gathering, I pulled out all my Ina Garten cookbooks finding wonderful recipes for lemon honey pound cake (I substituted orange for the lemon), pecan shortbread cookies, chocolate ganache truffles, etc…

In the middle of preparations, Jim knocked on the kitchen window…“come see”...

A bit of history, really 40 years of history, lovingly set aside for a new story to unfold. After working closely with the very creative Jeff of Deland Metal Crafters, the new sign for The Farm was being installed.

My inspiration was a single handmade iron cattail purchased while visiting mom and dad in N. Georgia.

What do you think? Jim and I really like it!

December 13th turned out to be a cool, misty morning, perfect for a Christmas gathering!

Good friends, Marcy and Kat, manned the kitchen…their gift and expertise. They made Italian wedding soup (an Ina Garten recipe) with chicken sausage meatballs…DELICIOUS!

Gail, in her beautiful green sweater from lauren nicole boutique, is so creative and helped decorate the tables and organize, well, everything! 

Elizabeth Schenkel, our guest speaker, shared her tragic testimony of surviving a nightmarish attack by Al Qauda while living and ministering in Uzbekistan. As only our God can do, the events turned out for her good and God’s glory…really, as Elizabeth stated, “the best day of her life”. She challenged us all to consider what has been the “best day of our lives”, along with, at the end of our lives, gladly being found guilty of sharing our faith at every opportunity.

At the end of the post, I will share with you Kat, Marcy, Gail and my thoughts from Elizabeth’s message.

A beautiful day for beautiful women to step away from the busyness of Christmas to be REPLENISHED!

Our new friend Loi led us in some Christmas Cheer!

Gail introducing Elizabeth

From KatFrom Gail

From Marcy

Over the telephone Marcy shared how she, like Kat, had been pondering the “best day” of her life thus far. And, she said, I want to be found guilty of proselytising!!

Some notes I jotted down the next morning in my journal…

All of us are on a journey- some of the hardest, most desperate times in our lives are the sweetest times with Jesus, for suffering draws us near to the only One who can comfort, help, heal and restore us.

Elizabeth said she forgave her attackers before she ever left the room!!!  {Could I do that Lord?}

She and her family went back! They went back to finish what had been started. Before the attack, the Muslim women discounted 80% of what she said. Now, they were open to hearing about Elizabeth’s God of love.

Eric, her husband, said to her as she lay near death on their bedroom floor…”One day you will look back and laugh about this!”  What- only the Holy Spirit would have allowed this to come out of his mouth. I knew then, Elizabeth said, that I was going to live.

As you prepare for a JOY-filled Christmas celebration, remember that our greatest gifts come with sacrifice, and often times, suffering.

As you spend some alone time drawing near to the reason we celebrate Christmas, Jesus, ask yourself this question. What has been the best day of my life?

Merry Christmas sweet friends! I pray that out of our God’s glorious and infinite riches, He will open Heaven’s windows and pour out all you need for this journey we call life. Remember, the beautiful climbing rose you planted on the garden wall may not bloom until it reaches the neighbor’s side. God’s mysterious and beautiful plans unfold day by day, so enjoy the journey…and share your faith!

For Christ alone,

Leah

Lots of Christmas Creativity

Posted December 4th, 2012 by Leah and filed in Leah Richardson, Word of Encouragement

Hi Friends! Be inspired!

A couple of weeks ago I spoke in Alpharetta, Georgia for the First Baptist Church women’s ministry event- A Festival of Holidays.  Look at these beautiful tables!

A Classic Christmas.

A Thanksgiving inspired table with shucked corn in the glass hurricanes.

Table after table carefully and thoughtfully decorated.

What a jolly fun table!

Simple elegance

What an amazing group of women! I was so honored to be with them!

Melody Dowdy recently moved from DeLand, and her “time” inspired New Year’s table was one of my favorites. I love the burlap covered chairs with the handmade clocks.

What a great idea to use our silver trays as chargers. Great salad too!

Wouldn’t this be a beautiful way to ring in the New Year!

My good friend Hattie drove over from New Orleans to help me with the book signing table. Hattie makes any event fun!

Thank you Alpharetta Baptist Church for such a wonderful evening!

Back at The Farm, Jim and I put up our Christmas tree last weekend. This year it graces the big window in the Living Room…so classic!

Mom and I made some simple ornaments-a fun project to do with your friends or kids. Gold wire with little pearl beads and a larger wood bead made to look like a butterfly angel.

More organic… an angel with a driftwood body, walnut head, clove halo, moss collar and chicken feathers {compliments of Jim’s Girls} for the wings.

Little pearl and gold bead crosses woven on florist wire.

The fish shape would be easy for young children.

Here’s an angel with an oyster shell body, wood bead head with wire wings and halo. Mom and I always have such fun getting creative together.

Instead of the classic red and green, this year I purchased 2 large cans of antique gold spray paint and created easy elegance with a monochromatic theme. While in Georgia, I picked up acorns and twigs with small pinecones still attached. In the past, I used the garland of gold leaves as a wreath. It’s a very versatile decoration to own.

Last year I placed the colored balls in a big glass bowl, but this year they adorn a silver tray of decanters. The sunlight streams over them during the day- just beautiful! Use your classic decorations in creative new ways to give you a new look for the season.

The reflective quality of glass and mirror, especially mercury and colored glass, ping light and shadow around the room.

My friend Gail and I took time out last week to get creative. We made angels with non-bake clay. We call these our “Only God can Love” series! Do you have someone you can decorate, bake, get creative with? I encourage you to call them and get together. Gail and I have some wonderful memories and you can see that we don’t take ourselves too seriously!

Pecan shortbread and egg nog…a yummy treat to have on hand to serve your family and friends! The recipe is from Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.  Very simple and very good, especially when you use Georgia pecans!

Back to decorating…These iron urns have been a great investment. I use them continually. During Thanksgiving I designed a graduated pumpkin topiary with magnolia leaves in between. For Christmas, I took tall styrofoam cones and covered them with large leaves. I gathered the newly fallen ones, which were less dried out and easier to work with after spray painting. I love the pearl-headed pin heads holding the leaves and acorn tops. The white wire beaded wreath-like shape around the base of the cone was one large wreath, which I cut to make 2 smaller ones. More pinecones and a large wood snowflake on top, all spray painted.  You can find the spray paint, styrofoam forms, snowflake cut outs and pins at Michaels. Your yard will yield the rest! If you don’t have any urns, use terra cotta pots, and spay paint them too!

 

This is a precious book to place bedside for your Christmas guests.

I hang the family’s silver baby cups and bowls on the Christmas Tree, which is a beautiful reminder of those we love. Silver also reflects light beautifully.

The angel said to Mary…NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD!

Just

Merry Christmas and God Bless you in creative and amazing ways!

leah

p.s…I look forward to being with the women of All Saint’s Episcopal Church in Winter Park on Thursday. God has given me a beautiful and creative word for them. Then next week, 32 women will grace The Farm for the REPLENISH Christmas Gathering. We will take lots of pictures to share with you.

 

REPLENISH Christmas Gathering invitation

Posted October 29th, 2012 by Leah and filed in Leah Richardson, REPLENISH

Mid December is just around the corner, and what a wonderful time to pull away from all the festivities of the season to come to The Farm and be filled to overflowing with the beauty and holiness of our Lord.

Elizabeth Schenkel, our guest speaker, has lived around the world serving God through Campus Crusade for Christ. In April, she and her husband Erick moved from Africa to Orlando for him to take the Executive Director position of the JESUS FILM project. Elizabeth’s amazing stories of love and hope will inspire us all to step out, and embrace our faith with a fresh perspective this Christmas.

Come join us at The Farm on Dec 13th, and bring a friend!