My speaking event to preschool teachers: This year, PRAY!

Me & event planner, Kathy Moxley
Me & event planner, Kathy Moxley

Recently I had the honor of being asked to speak to a group of preschool teachers in Independence, Missouri.

While usually I give my personal testimony or share about the fairy tale of Cinderella and her unique glass slippers, as I prayed about this event, I felt led by God to speak on the power of prayer and faith in Jesus Christ for this coming school year. 

stained glass windows
stained glass windows

Kathy was amazing and the ladies were so sweet! The event was in a quaint, lovely chapel at Christ United Methodist Church with beautiful stained glass windows. I love stained glass windows, and my book about our turbulent, 25-year marriage has a cover with a picture of stained glass on it here. Making stained glass windows is becoming a lost art.

What I love about them, besides their colorful beauty, is that each one tells a story, usually about Jesus or other figures of the Bible. The practice of stained glass for decorative purposes dates back to ancient Rome. Evidence of stained glass windows in churches and monasteries in Britain can be found as early as the 7th century.

Augsburg Cathedral stained glass window
Augsburg Cathedral stained glass window

The oldest known stained glass window is the Romanesque church in Augsburg, Germany, in the heart of Bavaria. It has portraits of Moses, Daniel, and other Biblical figures. Medieval churches began to commission windows with religious figures and the royalty of the period would request for windows bearing their coat of arms

I loved this stained glass window at the church where I spoke about prayer and how precious children are to God. It is of Jesus and the children, so it was quite fitting for my presentation!

Jesus & the children
Jesus & the children

This was so cool and confirmation to me from God that I was supposed to be there. I usually have visual aids when I speak, and I brought a statue I’d bought earlier this year of Jesus the Shepherd with two lambs, one in His arms and one right beside Him at His feet. It is a visual reminder to me to pray often for our children and that Jesus has them in His loving care. To my surprise and delight, the chapel had a picture very similar to this!

Jesus the Shepherd & His lambs
Jesus the Shepherd & His lambs

The beautiful glass was moved from prior Methodist churches in the area.

I often request a table beside the podium, when I speak, on which to place my water bottle and the visual aids. The chapel and this little, white, pretty table were just perfect for this event! I also placed a few of my books on the table. 

table
table

I emphasized to the preschool teachers how precious the children were, and also themselves (and to take time out for self-care!), and how important it is to pray every day, setting aside a few minutes at least to spend time with God: praying, reading the Bible, and in worship and praise. I based the teaching on my book on prayer, Walking With God, available for sale here for just 99 cents at Amazon.

Hopefully I encouraged them to choose “the best part” of their day, that Mary did, sitting at Jesus’ feet. (Luke 10:42)

chips and salsa
chips and salsa

Afterward, of course, I treated myself to Mexican food to get my chips and salsa fix!

God's Glory Box came!
God’s Glory Box came!

Then when I arrived home, I had a wonderful surprise: the August 2018 subscription box from God’s Glory Box, with my book Walking With God in it, had arrived! I loved the other goodies in it, too: the green T-shirt, cross bracelet, stickers, and pretty mountain note cards.

Each month these subscription boxes have different Christian items in them, and they donate 5 meals per box! (Yes, I just signed up for this subscription box! I loved my first box and can’t wait to get more!)

August 2018 box with my book, Walking With God!
August 2018 box with my book, Walking With God!

I’m so honored and thankful to God that God’s Glory Box just shipped out 7,700 of my book across America. To Jesus Christ be all the glory, amen!

Dear friend, I want to encourage you this year to pray. God hears your prayers and answers. There is POWER in your prayers and faith in Jesus Christ! One attendee came up to me afterward to talk to me about her friend, who is a writer, wanting to publish her book. She told me and Kathy that at times, she felt as if God was speaking straight through me to hers and the other attendees’ hearts. I pray that this event bears much fruit for Christ, and leads the women into a deeper relationship with Jesus this year!

 “In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”–Psalm 5:3

*******If you’d like me to speak at your women’s conference, retreat, or event, please contact me here at BethJones. I love encouraging others!

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Summer’s here!

summer
summer
Image source: Google

Today is the first day of summer (you can get great summer deals today, including a free small blizzard at Dairy Queen), when it’s the longest day of the year in the U.S. and the shortest day of the year for people in Australia and residents south of the equator).

Heather, Andy, and their kids
Heather, Andy, and their kids

Our daughter Heather, her girls, her boyfriend Andy, and his kids, took off fast today for a much-needed break from work and a vacation in Branson, MO. It was a surprise for the kids.

There’s lots to do in Branson, although I joke to Ray that it’s “an old people’s place” with country hick singers and the entertainment shows (he loves it). However, Branson has beautiful scenery at Table Rock State Park and nice shopping and restaurants at Branson Landing.

Heather made a fun scavenger hunt at her house, where the kids looked for clues all over the house, until they got to the last clue which read that they were going on summer vacation in Branson. She is such a fun mom! The kids loved the scavenger hunt!

Me & Leah at our home for Thanksgiving 2017
Me & Leah at our home

Today I went to lunch with our youngest daughter Leah. When she was still living at home, she and I would go to lunch every two weeks when Ray was paid.

This was our mom-daughter special time together. After she moved out, I wanted to continue the tradition. Leah now stays busy working, taking her violin lessons, drawing her art, and doing stuff with her friends. We still try to go out every couple of weeks for our “mom-daughter” time.

A Moment's Pause Art Print
A Moment’s Pause art print
Copyright 2018 Leah Jones

You can follow Leah on Instagram @leah.merae to see the art she’s working on recently from daily prompts. You can also check out and buy her art at her Society 6 online store (Leah Merae).

I try to do lunches with Heather, too, only she lives much further away (an hour), she works more than full-time hours, and she is constantly busy, but we see each other when we possibly can.

Eden & her family
Eden & her family

Our middle daughter Eden stays very busy too, working 3 jobs, but she and Ray regularly text and video chat. We drop by to see them at times, since they and Leah live down the street from us in Butler. 

Heather, Eden, and Leah
Heather, Eden, and Leah

While our three precious daughters stay on the go every day and live their own, busy lives, I’m still trying to adjust to the empty nest. (I digress from the first day of summer, but I’m going with the writing flow for now.)

I’m not going to lie. It’s hard. Real hard. The house feels so empty at times. (My marriage isn’t what it should be yet, though we are in Christian marriage counseling now.)

insomnia
woman with insomnia
Image source: Google

At night when things are often too quiet, I lay down, wrestling with insomnia again, and then the mom guilt attacks me. The regrets. The painful ache in my heart, missing their beautiful, sweet faces and their physical presence here.

The haunting, condemning thoughts of, “I should have done more fun things with them” or “I shouldn’t have yelled at them so much” or “Why was I so focused on a clean house instead of just enjoying my time with them more?” Sometimes I miss them so much.

These days I do stay busy with my speaking and writing books. When I’m in between books, I get so restless, and feel like I’m just going to absolutely come out of my skin from boredom and anxiety. Today at lunch, Leah wisely told me, “You need to find new hobbies, mom.”

burger & fries
burger & fries

“Like what?” I asked her in between bites of a juicy cheeseburger and french fries drowned in ketchup. 

Creative things like painting or playing a musical instrument. For example, right now I’m learning to make origami.

Nancy Wilson of Heart
Nancy Wilson of Heart
Image source: Google

I told her that while origami is cool, I don’t want to do that and that I don’t know how on earth to draw or to play an instrument. The only instrument I’ve ever wanted to learn how to play was piano (which I quit my lessons as a child) and the guitar, so I could pretend to be Heart’s musician Nancy Wilson.  But I wanted to play bass guitar, not rhythm. I never learned how, and now I have no desire to be a rock star.

“What else can I do?” I asked my child who is wise beyond her years.

Whatever I want, she said. And Leah thinks that anyone can learn to draw or to play an instrument, no matter what your age is. It’s not too late to learn something new!

Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher
Image source: Google

Here are some things I DO want to do–this summer:

  • Spend time with God and our family;
  • Travel somewhere new;
  • Start my walking/jogging routine again (pray for my self-discipline, puh-leeze! I’ve gained all my weight back!)
  • Drink more water and continue healthy eating (cut carbs and sugar dramatically, more salads and fresh veggies);
  • Restore our marriage;
  • Possibly write a children’s book with Leah illustrating the art on the front cover (she’s thinking about it!);
  • De-clutter my office (tame the paper tiger!);
  • Go horseback riding somewhere;
  • Have some much needed down time at the beach, my place of rest and refilling;
  • Visit my family and friends in different states;
  • Go on another train ride;
  • Speak at a women’s conference (several times would be great!);
  • Lead at least one person to Christ, hopefully more;
  • See God moving in our family, drawing us closer to Him and one another;
  • Visit the mountains; 
  • Ride a hot air balloon ride with Ray, drinking champagne;
  • Have roses bloom in my home garden;
  • Grow more Christ-like, in the fruit of the Spirit.
  • Laugh more. 

These are just some of the things I’d love to do. What about you? Share your comments below.

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Taste of Africa restaurant

painting of elephant
painting of elephant

This week Ray and I celebrated Valentine’s Day a little late (we had to go on a date near his payday!). I googled online to look for a good Moroccan restaurant, and found Taste of Africa in Overland Park, Kansas, which is within an hour’s driving distance from us. It was the right choice; the food is delicious and the service is excellent!

African tribe
African tribe

I loved the vibrant colors of the restaurant (especially oranges and reds), with African paintings on the wall. They also play African music.

A Taste of Africa restaurant
Taste of Africa restaurant

 

African art
African art

 

paintings
paintings

Ray ordered the Kalahari Platter (tender pieces of goat, cooked in an assortment of herbs and spices with ugali, sauteed kale, sauteed cabbage, chapatti (a flat bread), and Kachumbari salad.

platter
Kalahari platter

The ugali is a sticky dish that is a staple at African meals. The chef and the waitress complimented Ray on eating it correctly–balling it up in his hand, and then sopping up the goat stew with it.  He was in his element.

Ray at Taste of Africa
Ray at Taste of Africa

They said most Americans eat it with their forks. (Of course, how would one know how to eat it properly without visiting Africa?) This made him smile very big, so proud.

ugali
ugali

Ray remembered how the native people in Kenya ate it as we visited there, when I spoke for three days at a women’s conference.

Beth Jones speaking, Kenya, Africa
Me speaking in Kenya, Africa with a translator

At Taste of Africa in Overland Park, Kansas, I ordered Mshikaki (chicken skewers–so good!), fries (it came with the meal as french fries often do in many countries), and Kachumbari (a wonderful little salad).

Mshikaki (Chicken skewers), fries, and Kachumbari (salad)
Mshikaki (Chicken skewers), fries, and Kachumbari (salad)

I had looked at the menu prior to us driving there and knew that without a shadow of a doubt, I wanted The Sweet Banana for my dessert--fried plantain slices drizzled with cinnamon sugar, topped with vanilla ice cream on chocolate and strawberry syrup. Ray and I shared it, even though I wanted it all!

The presentation was so pretty and Oh. My. Gosh. It was divine! (Or was it sinful?) My mouth is watering even thinking about it again!

The Sweet Banana
The Sweet Banana

The female chef is originally from Kenya and came to America as a student and to start her restaurant business. She came to our table to greet us; we complimented her on the wonderful and beautiful meal. 

If you haven’t tried this place yet, and you’re a wanna-be foodie like me, you’re in for a different, elegant experience!

You can find out more here.

When one of our African friends, Apostle Catherine of Nairobi, Kenya, saw my pics of the restaurant on Facebook, she said, “Welcome back to Kenya.”

Apostle Catherine Nairobi, Kenya
Apostle Catherine
Nairobi, Kenya

I believe one day we will return to Africa

me in black & white vest Ray bought me
me in black & white vest Ray bought me

I also believe our daughter Heather will go to Africa one day, as a mission trip there has been on her heart for years. I bought her pretty, blue, dangling earrings that the restaurant’s owners sell with other beautiful, colorful African jewelry there.

our beautiful daughter Heather
our beautiful daughter Heather

 

Heather's earrings
Heather’s earrings

 

jewelry
African jewelry

It was a fun date for Ray and me, and I’d love to go back sometime. What ethnic restaurants have you tried lately? Leave your comments below.

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