Tag Archives: Paula Moldenhauer

Announcing the Winners!

It’s really fun how the drawing turned out! Empty-Nest Man won the book, The Joy of joy of letting goLetting Go: Releasing Your Teens into Real Life in the Big World! If the series on releasing our children to adulthood blessed you, I believe you’ll be blessed by his new blog. And as crazy as this seems that Empty Nest Man won the book on empty nest, I promise it was not rigged. I wrote out each name on paper and drew two. He was drawn first, and He chose his book!

Winner of the Colors of Hope inspirational coloring book is Lacey!

Her comment asked a question: Your devotional time sounds both joyous and thought-provoking, Paula. Just out of curiosity…not that it really matters, except for preference…do you use colored pencils, or crayons? My daughter has 17155194_10154303091171723_2711020159173082596_nbeen ill, and I bought a new box of over 100 crayon’s for her. Fresh, new crayons with a crayon sharpener included. There’s something special about using a new crayon or recently sharpened pencil.

My answer to Lacey was: I’ve been using markers or colored pencils, but that may be because I have pencils to sharpen but not fresh new crayons! I think that would be a great question for Lisa, though! 

So I contacted the expert, Lisa Samson who said:

Colored pencils would work better for the book. There are smaller spaces that would be hard to access with crayons. Although, there are some pages that would work just fine with crayon because they have been designed for people of all skills!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the drawings. I hope to do more in the future! Stay tuned!

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Free Kindle of My Novel!

In honor of the April 15th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, the book I co-authored with Kathleen E Kovach, Titanic Legacy of Betrayal, will be free on Amazon’s Kindle the following dates: TOMORROW and Saturday, April 7 – 8, and Easter weekend, which coincides with Titanic’s Anniversary (April 14, 15 and 16).

Happy Easter from Kathy and me. We hope you enjoy this gift!

TitanicA secret. A key. Much was buried when the Titanic went down, but now it’s time for resurrection.

April 1912 – Olive Stanford boarded the Titanic determined to protect all she held dear. Her secret will go with her to the grave—but how can she face the afterlife carrying the burden of her actions?

April 2012 – Portland real estate agent, Ember Keaton-Jones, distrusts men, with good reason. Ever since her great-great-grandfather, Thomas, deserted the family after the fateful sinking of the Titanic, every Keaton male has disappointed. Ember is on the brink of a huge sale when a stranger shows up with a key to a century-old secret challenging everything she believes. She meets forward-thinking Jeff Dawson who is working in the family’s musty antique shop and finds an unexpected ally in unlocking the mystery of her past. But can they undo the legacy of Thomas Keaton’s betrayal?

(PS, don’t forget that if you leave a comment on any of my BLOG posts between now and Easter, your name will go in for a drawing for a book. Winner gets either The Joy of Letting Go, by Vicki Caruana or Colors of Hope, by Lisa Joy Samson.)

How Do You Juggle?

How do you juggle multiple responsibilities and still nurture your heart?

Or do you?

I find it’s a constant choice to seek joy, peace, and balance when the pace of life increases. As I type, I’m less than a week out from my son’s wedding. (Exciting!) A few weeks out from a book deadline. (Exciting!) And coming off a wonderful three-day speaking engagement in February. (Exciting!) Of course there are other joys and responsibilities in between the big events. Finding joy in hardship is a challenge for me, but I’m discovering joy can also be lost in good times if I’m not careful, just because of the pace!

So . . . how to hang onto the joy? To celebrate all this good even as time feels shorter (which of course it never is, really.) How to stay peaceful in the hurry?

A little self-care helps. This morning I took a time out to re-read a few passages from a book releasing on April 1 by a friend of mine Vicki Caruana, of the popular Apples and Chalkdust blog. 20170321_093105Why take the time? The topic is timely. I don’t think it is coincidence that the week my son marries I receive The Joy of Letting Go in the mail. I devoured an advanced copy of this book before it published, and I knew the wisdom and grace Vicki offers would be as good for my heart as my eggs and avocados were this morning.  It was.

The pretty book cover inspired me to an extra bit of self-nuture, so I grabbed this beautiful cup given to me by the lovely bride-to-be (my new daughter!!) and that inspired me to pull out my grandmother’s china and a new cloth napkin I purchased for the bridal shower. (Isn’t it lucky my reading glasses match too?) I don’t usually eat out of china, but this extra touch of beauty only cost me about thirty seconds and it meant something to me!

What touch of beauty would cost little time but mean something to you today?

The other thing I’ve done during this busy season is engage with Colors of Hope, the first coloring book in the new inspirational coloring series by Lisa Joy Samson. If you love good fiction, you’ve likely read one of Lisa’s novels. You’ve also heard her name here because Lisa drew the cover art for my Soul Scents book series.

It seems counter-intuitive to color when you have a lot to get done, but I’ve found that it calms me and makes me more creative and productive later, especially when tackling the novella deadline. Besides it’s fun and playful, and with the Bible verses and beauty of the art, the coloring book helps me spend some restful moment thinking about the One who gives hope. 20170311_082302.jpgHow about you? Is there something you enjoy that is simple and creative that will bring your stress down and free you to more productivity? (A hint: I do set a timer when I color, so this creative endeavor doesn’t suck me into giving up more time than is wise. I take several days to color one page.)

17156189_10211441460007228_7758007868974633871_nI’m still walking, and it still provides great joy and peace. I’ll be honest and admit that it is hard to make myself take the time, and too often I don’t make the choice to get outside, but every time I do I feel better and have more peace and stamina when I return to my work. Added bonus right now? If I pay attention, I see spring coming!

I also often use this time to catch up with a friend. Another great stress reducer!

How about you? Where can you find a few minutes to get some sunshine and a little activity? Time with a friend?

If you know me well, you’re going to be shocked at my last stress-reducing activity. My husband actually laughed out loud this morning when I said I needed to climb out of bed because the sunrise is so pretty.

Honestly, I’m a huge fan of sunsets, but sunrises happen too early for me. That said, for some reason I’ve seen every one of them this week. Instead of letting it stress me out that I’m not sleeping as much as I prefer, I slip into the living room and position myself for the best view. Curling beneath a soft blanket, I take a few minutes just to enjoy.20170318_065141I don’t know whether you’re a sunrise or sunset person–or both! But I hope tonight or tomorrow morning you’ll pause a moment and let the beauty seep in!

Here’s to capturing joy and peace in the midst of the bustle.

Now I’m off to clean the bathrooms for wedding company!

(By the way, after the wedding I’ve invited Lisa to share with us about the benefits of coloring and Vickie to help us process the joy of releasing our progeny to their adult lives. I hope you’ll join us the next few weeks. It’s going to be beautiful!)

Blessings,

paula-another-test-401x192-2

 

Soul Scents: Flourish Available

The blogs I’ve shared this season are excerpted from the ending of Soul Scents: Flourish, the last book in the Soul Scents devotional series. It is now available in paperback and electronic versions on Amazon.

I invite you to come with me. To brave the deeper release. To seek Him for the deeper rsz_pmapprov4-01healing. So we can learn to live like daughters of the King instead of slaves. So we can quit striving and beating ourselves up with all that pressure, so we can walk through the pain to the other side. To freedom. So we can learn to live in His unforced rhythms of grace.

Soul Scents: Flourish. All 506 pages of the journey to healing. Short daily excerpts. Not an easy read, but an accessible one.

Here’s the back cover copy:

At just the right time in history God sent His beloved Son to set the captives free and claim victory over the darkness. At just the right time in each life God shows His child how to step into the freedom He already won.

Lie weeds twist around the good plantings of our heart, choking abundant life, but when we step into truth, the tendrils of that vile weed uncurl. In this fourth volume of the Soul Scents series, Paula talks about her journey out of emotional, verbal, and spiritual abuse.  She says, “As God reveals how pain and abuse twists our understanding of who He is and how He works, the distrust falls away.  The root of the lie weed is exposed, and the Lord pulls that sucker out completely! In its place comes a deepened intimacy with Jesus and the joy we’ve prayed for but couldn’t find. We rise from the pain and live free to flourish.”

Take the Flourish journey and brave deeper healing, letting go of shame and learning to live as vibrant daughters of the King!

The Soul Scents collection invites readers into an ever-deepening discovery of who God is and how He interacts with us. Combined, its four volumes—Awaken, Rooted, Bloom, and Flourish—offer a year’s worth of devotional reading. Each book has thirteen weeks of down-to-earth insight gleaned from Scripture and the author’s journey into spiritual freedom.  The week-day readings include Scriptures and prayers. Rest in the Son’s embrace as you enter the beautiful heart of the Freedom Giver Himself.

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Christmas Communion

The Word of the Lord is worth more than gold, even more than much fine gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey straight from the comb. ~ Psalm 19:10 NLV

“Come sit under the Christmas tree with Me.”18269-large

Perhaps above all else it was these words of beautiful intimacy, whispered to my friend and shared with me, that made me hunger for whatever it was I missed by not embracing Christmas. They played in my thoughts, year after year, as I wondered what celebrating Christmas truly meant. My friend told me that when she responded to His sweet voice and joined him next to the tree bedecked in twinkle lights, He shared His heart with her as she recorded His thoughts in her journal. She read part of it to me, the part that wasn’t quite so intimate. It was early in my journey to believe God speaks to me, before I was able to trust it is His voice I listen to.

Oh how I longed to hear and record His voice as she had!

How I longed for Him to be that near, that relational, that sweet to me!

My friend and I were traveling when this happened, sharing a hotel room. As I slipped into sleep, I told Jesus how I longed for intimacy with Him. That night I dreamed Jesus stood at the foot of our separate beds. He said that when He saw me, He saw the things He saw in my friend, a beautiful pink heart, one healthy with grace and love, one designed for intimacy. He told me I was loved no less than He loved her, that I was precious to Him too.

Then He held two white rocks in front of me. He said that on each was written a special name, one of them was the name He’d given her, the other the name He’d given me. The white signified how pure and clean we were, washed by His blood and saved by His grace. Each name was intimate. Special. Something He treasured in each of us. He didn’t tell me our names. It’s a kingdom secret I look forward to knowing in eternity.

I’d longed for a pretty Christmas tree to decorate as a child, but the longing that grew with my friend’s story was at a whole new level. I wanted every ounce of intimacy and worship He had for me.

“Come to the tree,” I hear today.

2d6f00940e456a368404153933242329Only in this moment I sense a different tree. It is cleared of branches and needles. It is shaped like a cross.

When I finished Soul Scents: Bloom, it was late. My family slept quietly, and I delighted in the white space to be alone with God. Instead of going to bed, I slipped into my recliner and pulled out my journal. I wanted to celebrate the moment with Jesus. As I wrote to Him, I sensed Him say, “I celebrate with you! Grab a glass of wine.”

I opened the refrigerator. There were two options, but I sensed He wanted me to pour the mead, which is wine made from honey. One time during a prayer gathering the woman praying for me told me that she saw God’s anointing upon my words, that what came from me would pour out like honey, sweet and healing for those who listened. Receiving that promise in faith, I poured from that bottle to celebrate with my Jesus. It got a little weird when I felt He asked me to pour two glasses. After all, I didn’t really expect Him to drink it, since we are together in spirit rather than flesh. I decided to have our little celebration outside, on the deck I so often thank Him for. I suspected He would ask me to pour the second glass on the ground, like a drink offering before Him. I remembered something about David doing that in Scripture.

What I’m about to share, I share in brief, holding back the words I believe were specifically for me and sharing only those words I believe He speaks to all of us. In reality I was writing in my journal, pausing and praying, never seeing His face. In my spirit I sensed His position in heaven, surrounded by friends who dined with Him there, but I never saw anything.

I offer this experience to you with a bit of embellishment, told as a story, in hopes you can read as though you are the heroine. As you digest the following portion, imagine yourself as the “I.”

Hear His heart for you.

Ponder His request.

Receive His love.

I sit in the night breeze, chilled though it is summer. The dim light illuminates the two glasses of mead on the glass table before me. The flowers I planted in pots around the deck are colorless shapes, shadows in the darkness, but their beauty is still present in my heart. I scan the sky for stars and moon and watch the tree limbs stir as they reach toward heaven.

The glasses of honey wine call to me. Am I crazy? Did He really ask me to pour two glasses? “It is hard to trust this is Your voice, Jesus, telling me to do this strange thing. But Your voice, Your words are desired by me. More than gold. They are sweeter even than honey. I do want intimacy with you more than I want anything.” I stare at the goblets, side-by-side. “Won’t You speak and show me what to do with these glasses of mead?”

“Take. Drink. This is our communion. This sharing together.”

I sense His voice rising from my heart, I don’t hear with my ears, but the words are sweet, so sweet. Just to know He speaks is beyond joy.

“This sharing together is our celebration. Take up your cross and follow Me. Receive from My hand both blessing and sacrifice. Trust Me in each.”

“What are we celebrating, Lord?”

“My sacrifice and yours. Your surrender. My victory upon the cross. My resurrection Spirit within you. This moment of victory in your journey. Take up the glass and lift it to heaven!”

I close my eyes and lift my glass, shutting out the deck, the flowers, the night. I hold my glass and listen for His voice, sensing He no longer whispers to my heart, but speaks out loud in heaven, inviting His friends there to listen.

“I toast you. Here is My partner and my bride. She bears many scars, but each is lovely to Me. I see no fault in her. I am highly pleased! Raise your glass, my sister, my bride. Believe in our marriage, our oneness, our unity! You fear failure. Obscurity. Lack of impact. Poverty. How can that be when you are married to the One who is highly exalted above all powers? Raise your glass, for I am King. I have conquered sin and death. I am victorious and joyful and full of delight—and I delight in you!”

My voice comes quickly, eager to praise Him, the worthy One who declares me valuable, who claims me as His bride. “Praise You Jesus! King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Praise You for Your kindness and mercy. Your patience and long suffering. Your sacrifice on my behalf. Your healing unconditional love! Praise You, Jesus!”

Surely they hear me in the heavens. Surely heaven’s hosts, seated in His banquet hall, rise from their seats, praise on their lips! “Glory to Jesus! All glory to the Lamb of God who was slain, who bore humanity’s iniquities and presents them whole and clean before the Father! Glory to Jesus! The Lamb slain who rose again! The baby who became Savior of the world!” Their words are an exultant roar. “All praise to King Jesus!”

The moment becomes private again, the banquet hall fading, the deck filling my vision. The two glasses before me.

“Drink now, my daughter.” His voice is tender in my ear. “Receive the joy. Receiving the anointing. The smaller portion the suffering. The greater the blessing. Both a gift of my hand. Recall this night in the years to come, how I married the suffering and the blessing and called both good. For each brief moment of suffering, you reap great harvest. Others will see the glory of My kingdom because of your surrender to this. Believe. Do not doubt. The mead is sweet, is it not?”

“Yes, Lord.”

“The cup of suffering and the cup of blessing are both sweet when poured by My hand. Fear not the future. Trust My sweet presence will abide with you always, even to the end of the age.”

I tremble. Is it the cool in the air or the magnitude of my surrender to this difficult request? To drink of not only blessing, but suffering. “Every drop You pour I will drink.” My voice barely a whisper. “If You but protect me from all else and hold me in Your sweet presence in sunshine and in rain.”

I pick up the first cup, the cup with less wine, and I drink of suffering. “I surrender again to Your plan, Jesus, the sweetness of honey wine upon my lips. Let the meditations of my heart be pure and holy and a blessing to You, my Husband. My Lord. My King.”

Reaching for the second cup, the one full of blessing, I drink easily, savoring each sip, awash with His presence.

It’s as if He is right there next to me, the breeze like a tender finger brushing my cheek. I can almost see Him place a finger beneath my chin and lift my gaze to His. “Rest My dear one.” Oh the sweetness of His voice! “Trust that I am in control and all I ordain will come to pass. I will never leave or forsake you. Where could you flee from My presence? No matter where you go, I am there. I am one with my beloved. We can never be separated. Whether you dwell in joy or sorrow My presence will comfort and heal you. I hold you to My heart always. My heart beats for you, and I sustain your heart and enable it to beat for Me. Our love affair has just begun. It will grow through the ages of the earth and through the age of eternity. You will know what it means to be truly loved.”

Ah, sweet friend. Come to the tree. The rough, scratchy tree with the three nail holes. It is here our Savior taught us how to pick up our cross and walk through suffering to eternal victory.

Ah, precious friend. Come to the tree. The tree that sparkles with tiny lights and joyful declaration just as the sky glistened with the light of the heavenly hosts declaring, “Glory to God on the highest! Peace on who God’s favor rests!” Enjoy the celebration. The blessings! The magical wonder of an eternal King who came as a baby.

Both are the same tree. Blessing and suffering together. Both necessary for the greatest gift of all. Both are the tree of intimacy.

Lord Jesus, I come.

Oh sweet friend, do you feel it? The sweetness of surrender? The depths of His love?

Much love,

Paula another test (401x192) (2)

Join us each day through December 25 for my journey to the manager–from a child who believed Christmas was taboo to a woman who longs to worship at Christmas. These devotional thoughts are excerpted from Soul Scents: Flourish, which releases soon. If you’re chiming in late, you can see the whole series here. Just scroll down to December 1 in this category.

The Two Trees

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Join us each day through December 25 for my journey to the manager–from a child who believed Christmas was taboo to a woman who longs to worship at Christmas. These devotional thoughts are excerpted from Soul Scents: Flourish, which releases soon. If you’re chiming in late, you can see the whole series here. Just scroll down to December 1 in this category.

 

 

He took the punishment, and that made us whole.

Through his bruises we get healed. ~ Isaiah 53:5, MSG

evergreen1I don’t know much about Christmas trees. I’ve owned only two. Both were breathtaking in their beauty. Both awakened worship within me. Both gave me hours and hours of joy.

But they smelled different.

The first one, the one Jerry chose for our family, was much more fragrant.

I learned that particular kind of Christmas tree is shaped by the blade. It’s perfect triangular shape comes because it was cut, refined, prepared for its life purpose.

theoldruggedcrossOh my.

Sweet Jesus.

So often the sweet aroma comes in the breaking.

As King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Your majesty fills worlds seen and unseen.

Yet . . .

It is Your very crushing that sends forth the sweet, clean scent.

Yours.

And mine.

He was looked down on and passed over,
a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.

One look at him and people turned away.

We looked down on him, thought he was scum.

But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—
our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.

We thought he brought it on himself,
that God was punishing him for his own failures.

But it was our sins that did that to him,
that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!

He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through his bruises we get healed. . . .

~~~

He was beaten, he was tortured,
but he didn’t say a word.

Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered
and like a sheep being sheared,
he took it all in silence.

Justice miscarried, and he was led off—
and did anyone really know what was happening?

He died without a thought for his own welfare,
beaten bloody for the sins of my people. . . .

~~~

Still, it’s what GOD had in mind all along,
to crush him with pain.

The plan was that he give himself as an
offering for sin

so that he’d see life come from it—life, life,
and more life.
And GOD’s plan will deeply prosper through him.

~~~

Out of that terrible travail of soul,
he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it.

Through what he experienced, my righteous one,
my servant,

will make many “righteous ones,”
as he himself carries the burden of their sins.

(Isaiah 53:3–11, MSG)

Sweet Jesus, You were crushed to heal my crushing, the bruises and scars put upon me and that I put upon others. You took the punishment and made me whole. Thank You for coming to us.

Thoughts on the tree keep getting deeper . . . more tomorrow.

Until then,

paula-another-test-401x192-2

First Gift Giver

Join us each day through December 25 for my journey to the manager–from a child who believed Christmas was taboo to a woman who longs to worship at Christmas. These devotional thoughts are excerpted from Soul Scents: Flourish, which releases soon. If you’re chiming in late, you can see the whole series here. Just scroll down to December 1 in this category.

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 2: 14–15 NASB

imag0398I didn’t know Christmas had this fragrance. I breathe deeply, filling my nostrils with the clean, fresh scent of the evergreen tree. The aroma is like God’s favor washing over me. In it I smell His faithfulness. His kindness. His attention to detail.

I pause, away from the busyness, away from the bustle and noise. Seeking. Seeking Him.

“Thank you,” I whisper. “Thank you for what you have done and will do in my husband and in all of us. For being the One who fights for me, my family, and our hearts.”

He whispers, “I Am the First Gift Giver. I Am the ultimate Gift Giver.”

The day outside is a wintry gray, but my tree twinkles, full of light. The dimness outside the picture window only makes the lights prettier. I climb into the recliner gifted to us when Bernice passed away, the recliner that replaces the big blue one where I rocked my children and sought my Savior year after year. Pulling my special blanket around me I snuggle in, staring at the twinkle lights, inhaling the scent of Christmas.

“My Father is the Gardener.”

I grab my journal and listen, ink flowing across the page, recording the sweet Jesus whispers.

“My Father does great works of beauty in the human soul. I treasure the garden of the hearts of My people. When You let My Spirit cultivate a dwelling place for Me, you prepare a fragrant offering.”

I breathe deeply again, inhaling the aroma of this gift, this tree.

I watch the snow fall and think about Jesus.

How does He smell? Does Jesus have a manly, clean scent like that of my tree? Spicy like the cinnamon of my holiday baking? Or maybe his scent is hearty and tantalizing like homemade bread.

I may not know His exact smell, but I believe all these lovely aromas, like of all of creation, point to Him.

He is nourishing like bread.

Fun and a bit feisty like cinnamon.

Strong and clean like the fragrance of my Christmas tree.

My tree.

This gift of God, given through the willing hands of the man who loves me, is forever a reminder of the God who keeps His promises, the God who is forever green, strong and vibrant through storms, always producing something new in this world.

In my family.

In me.

And you.

And through all of us.

This Gift-giver is the God who gave His very self so we could be intimate friends with Him.

Friends close enough to catch a whiff of His fragrance.

My mind wanders to the Song of Songs, a love story I’ve taken for my own. I am the beloved of the Bridegroom.

We who love Jesus are His treasured bride.

His voice leaps from the pages of my Bible:

“I went to my garden, dear friend, best lover!
breathed the sweet fragrance.

I ate the fruit and honey,
I drank the nectar and wine.

Celebrate with me, friends!
Raise your glasses—‘To life! To love!’”

(Song of Solomon 5:1, MSG).

Precious Jesus, You are altogether lovely. You smell good. You are good. The garden of my heart is yours. Breathe in the fragrance of my love, the garden love You planted to be a sweet aroma to Yourself. How I love You! I celebrate You—Your entrance to this world as a baby, your offering upon the cross, your dwelling within me. But most of all I celebrate our friendship. Our love. Help me inhale Your clean, fresh fragrance every day. As we hang out together, make me so much like You that as I pass others a whiff of Your clean fragrance trails after me.

Still talking trees and Jesus tomorrow . . .

Until then,

paula-another-test-401x192-2