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

 

 

 

Mini-REPLENISH

Posted January 25th, 2013 by Leah and filed in Interior Wisdom, REPLENISH, Word of Encouragement

Monday, Jim and I hosted Edie and Linda’s bridge group at The Farm for a Mini-Replenish. Winter is a time of rest and reflection, in nature and our spirit, so I took the opportunity of this quiet season to share some Interior Wisdom for the home and heart…anticipating a beautiful new Spring!

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 To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under Heaven.  Ecc 3:1

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The women drove in from the city around 10:00 and enjoyed coffee and a snack as they toured the Farmhouse. I shared a teaching and sent them off to do a Prayer Walk around The Farm before Jim served lunch. REPLENISH is all about taking time to pull away from the busyness of life to reconnect with close friend and an even closer God.

God has clearly shown me that a healing begins for all who come. God has anointed The Farm in this generation for such a time as this…and Jim and I both relish being a steward, servant and heir. 

I encourage you to go outside, into nature, and do a Prayer Walk of your own. Consider these notes as a spring board to reconnect you with God this weekend. Let this season of Winter quiet your soul.

REPLENISH Prayer Walk

As you walk about The Farm, get honest with God and let the natural and spiritual hold hands…for all is of God. The season is Winter. A time of REST and REFLECTION before the INVIGORATING NEWNESS of Spring. Remember, regardless of what Winter holds, we can always count of the perpetual fresh start of Spring!

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under Heaven.  

Ecc 3:1

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What has cluttered your home and heart that needs clearing out, editing? Why do you hold onto the broken things in your life? Let go of the stuff that so easily encumbers and entangles you. Consider simplicity and learning to live with less.

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What is the focal point of your life? Your home? Is it clearly discernible to family and friends? God desires to be that focal point, that anchor and refuge. Release those little idols, for your security and identity are in God alone.

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Maybe you have been running hard after everything else but God. Life happens fast and we find we have wandered down the wrong path…again! Jesus said for us to Come to him if we are weary and burdened and He will give us rest. Commit your schedule to God, again, and ask him to create margin, breathing room, in your life. Margin in your home, your schedule, your finances. What needs to happen for you to live a life of devotion and rest in this season of your life?

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Jesus promises us His yoke is easy and His burden is light. How do you feel when you read what God has to offer you is a time of rest, days that are easy and light? Let go of those weighty burdens for God is faithful.

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What is that ONE THING you want to change in your home? In your heart? God knows us completely. He knows our heart’s desire. Name that one thing?

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Finally, reflect on those things that add beauty and dimension, texture, to your life. What makes you smile, truly happy? Those are blessings God has generously poured out on your life! Spend some time in thanksgiving…thank him for everything!

God has made everything beautiful (beautifully appropriate/ a beautiful fit) in His time.  

Ecc 3:11 (added)

I am praying you will choose to create margin in your life to enjoy God this weekend.

xo

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

 

 

ABIDING builds our RESILIENCY

Posted January 7th, 2013 by Leah and filed in Word of Encouragement

Happy New Year Friends! Unplugging for a couple of weeks gave me time to listen more intently to that still small voice and start my journal for 2013. I just love spending extended times alone with God. During this time, the Holy Spirit placed a beautiful word in my heart and mind, along with allowing it to pop off the pages of my Bible at every turn…

ABIDING– living, dwelling closely, settling down, being vitally united to…

In the midst of a full life, even a life full of God…ABIDING.

ABIDING, fully aware of God’s presence throughout my day.

Completely dependent on being connected to, attached to the Source…ABIDING in God’s Word.

ABIDING in complete confidence, no fear, for my life and times are securely in the Savior’s hands.

A fruit of ABIDING, the second word I repetitively heard, is the fruit of being RESILIENT!

RESILIENT means we are able to spring back into shape after bending, stretching or being compressed…being flexible.

2012 held some challenges for me, maybe for you? And I anticipate that 2013 will offer up a few too. So developing RESILIENCY, recovering quickly from difficult conditions, is a good thing. Life’s challenges may cause us to bend, but they will not break us! They will not keep us down, depressed, worried or discouraged!

For me, ABIDING means I plan to continue to stick close to God and trust Him, regardless. Out of that ABIDING, flows RESILIENCY.

God already knows the challenges we will face this year. Let’s stick close to, ABIDE in, the One who holds our peace and provision. Regardless, we choose to be RESILIENT! RESILIENT!

What does it mean to you to ABIDE?

Would RESILIENCY be a pattern of life worthy of adoption in 2013?

Oh Lord, I love the habitation of your house and the place where your glory abides-dwells! Let your glory abide-dwell with us, over us and around us in 2013. Cover us and overwhelm us with your abiding glory. So close, so close that the scent of your glory, the joy of your glory shines through us all as we ABIDE, causing us to bask in the sunshine of your love. Build RESILIENCY into our lives, bouncing back even stronger and surer after every challenge. Trouble is eminent in this world, but we “take heart”, for you, Lord Jesus, overcame this world.

If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain [abide] in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.  John 15:7 amplified version

 

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.

 

Beauty & Strength

Posted November 13th, 2012 by Leah and filed in Word of Encouragement

Good morning Friends!

For the past several weeks I have been pondering BEAUTY & STRENGTH.

Driving up to South Georgia to visit my folks and see how they are doing in their new retirement apartment, I found myself surrounded by a sea of white cotton fields for miles and miles.  My mind wandered back to images before machinery, images of strong men and women out in the fields gathering the harvest…doing what their hands found to do, hard work, desiring to honor God. The beauty of creation partnering with the strength of man. BEAUTY & STRENGTH.

I am enjoying watching our daughter Lauren, now a small business owner, make thoughtful and wise decisions. Her boutique, Lauren Nicole, will host the First Annual Holiday Fashion Show in DeLand on Thursday, benefitting Toys for Tots. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and her kind ways and words attract other business owners to get involved.  BEAUTY & STRENGTH.

Jim, Lauren and I, along with his precious cousin Cindy and her husband, Charlie, spent the day in St. Augustine recently to celebrate Jim’s birthday. Family. I love to observe, to watch my family interact, sharing stories, laughing, eating, leisurely strolling along ancient streets.

BEAUTY & STRENGTH in union, in the family.

Speaking of the family, since we are unsure of Mr. Rudy’s birthday, he shares Jim’s. The BEAUTY & STRENGTH of our farm dog! {humor me}

Last week, I spent some time preparing for the Replenish Christmas Luncheon with Marcy. We made these clay crosses as a gift for the women attending. As I took them up to my studio and laid them all out on the table, the Holy Spirit whispered BEAUTY & STRENGTH. The beauty of what Jesus chose to do for me, for you, and the strength His grace gives me to live each day, remembering that I am apart of something much bigger than myself. The BEAUTY & STRENGTH of my faith has a ripple effect, for everyone and everything is connected.

Tomorrow I leave again. This time to drive up to Atlanta to share a message of BEAUTY & STRENGTH at the Festival of Holidays, hosted by the First Baptist Church of Alpharetta. As an interior designer, my role is to make things beautiful. But true beauty, authentic beauty reaches past my human design to the power and presence of God in our lives. As women of God, we have a hidden BEAUTY and an inner STRENGTH that God alone creates. Only our God can build this type of lasting BEAUTY & STRENGTH in our hearts, which spills over to our homes, our work, our relationships…every area of our lives.

Look around you. Look for the BEAUTY and find your STRENGTH in the One who thinks you are an amazing woman…BEAUTIFUL & STRONG! Let the BEAUTY & STRENGTH of our Lord be so ingrained in your thoughts and actions, so much a part of your life, you seemed clothed in BEAUTY & STENGTH.

Strength and dignity are her clothing,

and she laughs at the time to come.

 Proverbs 31:25

xo

leah

p.s.  Want to know more about the Replenish Christmas Luncheon at The Farm? Click HERE

 

 

 

 

Wednesday Whim!

Posted November 8th, 2012 by Leah and filed in Wednesday Whim!

 

WE STILL HAVE

BOUNDLESS BLESSINGS

TO COUNT!

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!