Becky is a state certified teacher and a Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Studies undergraduate of the University of Illinois and Master’s graduate of Iowa State University, teaching individuals ages 2 years through adults since 1981.
Becky is passionate about teaching, having used her degrees in a variety of non-traditional ways. Her teaching experience includes the formal High School classroom, preschool classroom, corporate auditorium and boardroom presentations, conference workshops, environmental education for school-age children, Christian education with an emphasis in early childhood, teens and women’s ministry, Resource and Referral Agency as education coordinator, state required training curriculum developer and workshop presenter for licensed child care providers, developer and host of the cable access TV show entitled Child Care Futures, contractual trainer, private classes and through curriculum writing.
Becky is the author of Miraculous, Magical Moments in Minutes: Over 500 Quick, Easy Activities for Adults and Children to Share;What Kind of Chocolate Are You? the parallels of chocolate and Christianity and Sweetly Delicious the quest for becoming sweetly delicious to God and others, a Bible Study. She is the co-author of Successful Outcomes…Tips for Trainers that is a companion piece for the Michigan Child Care Futures Project, State Curriculum Manual.
She enjoys presenting workshops, writing blog posts for parents and caregivers, equipping them with creative ways to interact with children, teaching Bible studies and speaking about God’s prompting, provisions and blessings.
Becky is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) a large nonprofit association in the United States representing early childhood education teachers, para-educators, center directors, trainers, college educators, families of young children, policy makers, and advocates. NAEYC is focused on improving the well-being of young children, with particular emphasis on the quality of educational and developmental services for children from birth through age 8.
Becky is a member of First Christian Church where she serves as a preschool teacher for four and five year old children.
Becky recently completed the course: How to Tell a Great Story, The Essential Writing Course from the Editors of Guideposts, November 2017.
Visiting a Botanical Garden is a family favorite. The different types of gardens are lovely to look at and explore. Each one displays a specific characteristic that makes it unique and special. There is a vast contrast however between the formal gardens (with a wide variety in-between) and a forest or wild flower garden.
This section reminds me of those garden adventures. The bio above is written in a manner that you would expect. But it seems too formal to me. Although every word is true, I read it and wonder who that person is. This type of bio tells things that I have accomplished or completed. So, we have added Becky's garden below. It is more of a wild flower garden. It will give you a better snap shot of who I am on a daily basis. So, step into my garden. Hopefully you will find a laugh or a smile along the way. Maybe we will share some things in common! Enjoy the stroll, then take a step back and think about your garden.
Three o’clock. That was the time I had to be home before Mom’s caregiver needed to leave. I stumbled into the kitchen, right on time, carrying an armload of groceries. Out of breath, I relayed my day’s adventures. It had been filled with rushing, stumbling blocks and more than a few challenges. When I finally came up for air, she looked at me with sympathy and said she was sorry I had such a bad day. “Bad” day? I hadn’t thought of it as a bad day, challenging yes, but not bad. I thanked her for letting me know.
And, so it has been my whole life. I didn’t know. I didn’t want to know. I’ve always believed that God was taking care of me, and I trusted Him. Over a half a century later, I look back and see how all of the events in my life God has used to prepare me for the calling I feel led by the Spirit to do today. Like in the book of Esther, when Mordecai says to Esther, “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14b. Well, I’m definitely not ‘royal’, but I firmly believe all of my life experiences have led me to “such a time as this”. A time to share boldly and loudly the love and goodness of God, our Heavenly Father!
The birth of this ministry reflects upon Ephesians 3:20,21. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.” Anything offered through this ministry is God’s amazing work. We just have the honor and responsibility of being His earthly pencil, mouthpiece, hands and feet. To God be the glory in all things!
This ministry is not here to promote Hidden Splendor or Becky Baxa! Our goal is to uplift, inspire and encourage others to spread the Gospel and live a life that is pleasing to God. A life that reflects His Light to others in our daily interactions. A friend said it so well when she said, “It’s our Savior you are promoting, not Becky Baxa. I believe in being loud and proud for our Lord!” Well, maybe not proud, but certainly loud and assertive, stepping out in faith and sharing the Good news!
Whatever we decide to do in Hidden Splendor Ministries, it will be focused on uplifting individuals from where they are in life, inspiring people to live a life for the Lord and encouraging them to step out in faith with trust, obedience, joy and thanksgiving!
Have you heard this story?
The Lengend of the Starfish
A vacationing businessman was walking along a beach when he saw a young boy. Along the shore were many starfish that had been washed up by the tide and were sure to die before the tide returned. The boy walked slowly along the shore and occasionally reached down and tossed the beached starfish back into the ocean. The businessman, hoping to teach the boy a little lesson in common sense walked up to the boy and said, “I have been watching what you are doing, son. You have a good heart, and I know you mean well, but do you realize how many beaches there are around here and how many starfish are dying on every beach every day? Surely such an industrious and kind-hearted boy such as yourself could find something better to do with your time. Do you really think that what you are doing is going to make a difference?” The boy looked up at the man, and then he looked down at a starfish by his feet. He picked up the starfish, and as he gently tossed it back into the ocean, he said, “It makes a difference to that one.” –Author Unknown
Hidden Splendor Ministries wants to be like this little boy! Helping one person at a time. Our concentration is on making a positive difference in the people around us. Think about how big of an impact on the world we could make if everyone had this philosophy! “When we are obedient to God, people notice. And, when they notice, we point people to Jesus!” (Sweetly Delicious, Chapter 5, Lesson 2, You Make a Difference!) That’s exciting!
I don’t have enough financial capital to be called a philanthropist. Webster defines a philanthropist as “a wealthy person who gives money and time to help make life better for other people, a person who seeks to promote the welfare of others.” The dollars don’t stack up to meet this definition, but I am extremely wealthy in the Lord! And, I definitely want to help make life better for other people! That is why I first chose to become a teacher in the area of Family and Consumer Sciences so many years ago. I wanted to make life better for people in their nearer environment. God has used those desires and experiences to fuel this ministry. It is so exciting to brainstorm unique ways to use my teaching degree to serve God… books, donations to organizations that help children, families and the homeless, workshops, speaking engagements, canvas prints, bookmarkers, note cards, etc. Activities, products and events that meet people where they are, uplift, inspire and encourage them to find joy in their faith, have a desire and courage to share their faith with others and to live a life that is pleasing to God.
Writing this section sounds like a simple assignment. Yet, I have rewritten and discarded My Story repeatedly for several months now. Each writing brought up memories of things that I thought had laid to rest, but they reared their ugly heads and played havoc with my consciousness.
Life is such a mixture of events that leave lasting impressions upon our memories. My parents taught me many wonderful, valuable lessons about life, living and how to treat others. At the same time, the struggles in their lives left shadows upon my childhood that have had long lasting effects.
Every family has something. No one’s childhood is perfect. Most parents strive to do their best working with the heritage that was passed on to them from their parents. And so, the cycle continues. It is only through self inspection and education that we can learn from the past and consciously make choices to keep the good and change the bad.
When a child is physically abused, you can see the scars. It is this type of abuse that is noticed, and makes the news. But, mental and verbal abuse (although always accompanying physical abuse) this abuse alone is not readily identified. Yet, the effects mold personality traits far into adulthood. The need to apologize constantly, the drive to be perfect, walking on eggshells for fear of upsetting the mood, the mistrust and inability to share problems and discuss issues with the abuser, the need for lots of reassurance, the consumption of your own thoughts in worry of getting in trouble for your behavior after every event, the feelings of not being wanted and feeling like you are on the outside and not belonging… invisible if you will… are effects not seen by the casual observer.
And so, with this in mind, I present to you today the journey of my stepping stones and the challenges of my stumbling blocks. I will do my best to give the condensed version, as I know many of you have heartfelt stories as well. The goal? To recognize and give praise to the many blessings and provisions that God provided through the years. To acknowledge the challenges that created strength of character and provided testimonies. To look at life with the 90% positive attitude on the 10% of life that may have included some not so great events.
In 1959, nine years after my parents married, I became their only child. I was brought home to a small two-bedroom home on six acres that had originally been the school house that my father attended from the third to the sixth grade. Pretty cool, huh? I was surrounded with a menagerie of animals (a dog, cats, my own pony named Princess and my father’s horses) along with a yard filled with my mom’s flowers. We were not financially wealthy by any means, but we were never hungry and always had clothes to wear. Our family had achieved much more than either of my parents had in their childhood.
Mom and Daddy were workaholics and I was continually placed in someone else’s care from the time I was six weeks old until I was too old for childcare; and, was told I could not come back. Then I stayed home alone. I spent weeks with a favorite aunt and her family, starting at the age of two. One summer I stayed for six weeks, not realizing this was because my mom was hospitalized battling mental illness. Being sick found me shipped off to aunts and neighbors. I had chicken pox at Christmas and was left with a grandparent from the opposite side of the family, so plans could continue on. I had mumps with a different aunt, spending a week in my cousin’s care.
My mom was from an abusive family. She was dedicated and faithful to her parents taking care of them at all expense to herself and her family. Her father served in WWI and came home with more than physical injuries. Injuries that continued to harm his family (resulting in a violent divorce) as he fought the mental damage he had sustained in the war.
I was given material things, equating them with a show of love. Food was used to smooth over arguments and as substitute apologies for harsh, cruel things that had been said. As someone who grew up in extreme poverty, with an abusive parent, Mom was misguided and thought this was a good thing. Opportunities were given and I was expected to be perfect, or criticized and my failures thrown back at me, at every opportunity.
Adult responsibilities were given to me at an early age. The family laundry was my job at 8 years old. Dropped off at the laundry mat in town, with a quarter for an ice cream cone for between the wash and dry cycle, I was expected to have it completed before Mom returned from cleaning her father’s house. I quickly learned to be a fastidious folder, as it was my job to iron the sheets, handkerchiefs and dad’s undershorts when I got home (this was before permanent press). The ironing was my job for many years and the board was lowered so I could reach it from a very young age.
Tween and teen years became almost intolerable as my strong willed personality struggled to be free. My sharp tongued heritage served me poorly as well. sigh… Many mornings, Daddy would take me to a neighbor’s house because Mom had gotten so “wild” he was afraid to leave me alone with her. I would go to school and throw up before the first class. All was well, if I kept quiet and stayed out of the way. I walked on egg shells, never knowing when I would set off a screaming spree that would leave me in tears; and, then being accused of having something wrong with me because of my inability to not cry. My dad was a crier. He would also be made fun of. I can’t tell you how many times my dad told me to “just be quiet!”. I rarely did, and suffered the consequences greatly. My mind worked in logical black and white, with lots of common sense. And, most of the arguments just didn’t make sense to me. I still struggle to “just be quiet”!
The arguments were not confined to me. Mom and Dad fought often. And many times it extended beyond yelling and screaming. A two bedroom home does not conceal fighting, even with the doors shut.
However, I wasn’t allowed to shut my bedroom door, ever, or I was accused of doing something wrong. This is one reason why the barn became my place of solace. Once I became ten years old and was responsible for my own animals, there was always “work” that could be done in the barn. Many a good book was enjoyed while “working” in the barn sitting in the straw with my favorite goat laying her head in my lap or draped over my shoulder. When fights got really out of hand I would crawl up in a hay manger to hide until the storm had passed. I knew if I waited long enough, that eventually everyone would act like nothing had happened and it would be safe to come out.
Home life was tense and everyone found reasons to do their own thing and stay out of everyone’s way. Mom worked in the garden and with her flowers, Dad stayed in the barn or left completely; and, my room or the barn was my haven. By teen years, the housework and many meals were my responsibility as well.
Soon I could drive, and escape. I became involved and excelled in many activities. This helped keep me out of the doghouse. As adulthood approached, coping strategies became ingrained, so that I knew when to be quiet and when to back away from ice that was quickly cracking (metaphorically speaking).
I graduated from college. Daddy called me every day while away at school. He could be trusted to guide without judgment, keep a confidence and to not hold things against me. He also knew when he needed to step in to pull me out of enflamed situations with mom. Mom wrote me every day in college and was a huge fan. By this time I knew failure was not acceptable or allowed. I got married and had children. Things fell into place and the constant threat of attack seemed to retreat, as long as I was careful with my conversations and the information imparted.
Then at age 35, the world that I knew, fell apart. On Valentine’s Day 1995, my father filed for divorce from my mom after 45 years of marriage, left his mistress of 20 years and married a woman 11 years older than me… before the divorce was final! My father had successfully lead a double life for more than twenty years! My trust in people was shattered! I know! This is the stuff soap operas are made from. I really wish I would have had the sense to record the events. Paramount pictures would definitely have wanted the movie rights! And, as the truth oozed out, we discovered that the mistress of 20 years was not the first affair!
Dad’s new mistress committed many criminal acts against my mother and dad’s old mistress. My mom and the old mistress of 20 years became friends. Both women had been jilted, and had a common sorrow. Did I mention that Mom and Dad had been junior high sweethearts? The mistress developed breast cancer and mom moved in to care for her. Mom’s attitude became hateful and negative. Over time, the mistress began to mentally, and then physically, abuse my mom. At this point Mom moved back home and severed the relationship. It was strange. Later the mistress died of brain cancer.
Now this new wife slowly, over the next almost 20 years made it her mission to destroy the relationship I had with my father. It took her 15 years to make serious progress. His personality changed and he became accusing, hateful, mean and name-calling. He criticized and mistreated my family and ignored his new great grandchild. Our relationship eventually became estranged. I mourned the loss of my Daddy and tried to make peace in regards to my father and his choices.
Then the day before Easter in 2016 I received a phone call. I was excited to see Daddy’s name on the caller ID. After 2 years of sending cards and notes, I thought he had finally decided to reconcile. Yet, when I picked up the phone his wife told me to “stop sending my %$#@ cards, your dad has been dead over a year. Stop wasting your money!” Needless to say I was stunned. No notification, no funeral, no obituary, no knowledge of where his ashes are… nothing. Ironic, that he died the year my mom lived with us when she became so sick.
And so it is, I am the product of these years. I shudder to think what I have inflicted upon my children and what may have harmed them during my struggle to be a parent that did not want to repeat the same mistakes from my childhood. I’m sure I made new mistakes! But, I trusted the Lord and did my best. That is all anyone can do.
The naïve perfect life of a child was vaporized as the eyes of the adult saw clearly the mess people can make. In the past year, two people have heard this story and with wide eyes and shaking heads have asked, “how did you turn out so normal?” Well, as the title of one of Pasty Clairmont’s books says, “Normal is Just a Setting on Your Dryer”! I don’t really know if I’m normal, but I do know that it was God’s provisions and protection that have carried me to this age. Since the first Bible School lesson (at age two) in Vacation Bible School, when I learned about my friend Jesus, I have felt protected and loved by Him. He is a constant help and presence in times of trouble. It is His strength and joy that provide Light for each new day.
God provided many families for me to witness. This saved me from repeating the very dysfunctional structure of my nuclear family. God gave me two strong Christian grandmothers and faithful Christian couples with strong marriages to witness as role models. A Christian school experience from Kindergarten until sixth grade built a strong foundation of Biblical truths in which to build my life decisions ( I was sent to school with my babysitter’s daughter. This eliminated my parents from having to find before and after school care. Lucky me!) Experiences with many environments taught me to be adaptable and preserver without too much complaining. I learned responsibility and a strong work ethic from my parent’s examples and it has served me well. They were also great role models, teaching me to always help those around you. Because of constant child care, I learned to “nest” wherever I am, making that place special and meaningful to me. I think this is why I always carry a bag of things. I was always taking things to wherever I was staying for the time. Hence, I have become a “bag lady”.
The feelings of being on the outside looking in, rejection, loneliness, insecurity and lack of trust are constant stumbling stones that slow my path. But knowing the origin is helpful and God is forever present and a constant help in times of trouble. His strength and guidance is sufficient and is my anchor in the storm.
Every family has something. I hope sharing my story with you will bring you hope and encouragement. I still think I had a great childhood and have had a wonderful life, with a few stumbles. God has provided and sustained. And through each experience it has provided testimony of His faithfulness and to Him we give the glory.
One year while teaching High School a student asked, “Mrs. Baxa, why are you so different from the other teachers? Why are you always so happy?” I told her if she hadn’t figured it out by the end of the semester, I would tell her. Several weeks later, as I leaned over to put a graded paper on her desk she leaned in close and whispered, “It’s because you love the Lord isn’t it?” Yes! My joy comes from the Lord! Life is 90% your reaction to events and 10% what happens. When you fill your 90% up with faith, trust, thanksgiving and joy in the Lord, life is good… no matter how many times you trip on a stumbling block! His light is always there when you are looking down and is faithfully there to guide you when you look back up.
So, keep looking up! Keep following His light! Strive to make life’s stumbling blocks into stepping stones. With God’s strength and guidance this can become the most amazing journey, as He prepares you to do the plans He has planned for you!
I met my husband over of a photo of a Duroc pig. It’s true. It was September 1977. I was sitting in Algebra class at the University of Illinois talking to a guy about speeches we were going to present in Communication class. He was explaining to me how to judge a hog. So, we were looking at a picture of a beautiful Duroc pig. At the height of our discussion, another student walked behind our desks and commented. “Ahhh, Durocs. Great pigs!” I looked up at a young man with chocolate brown eyes and dark hair that had a wisp across the front running wild.
At this time of my life (freshman in college) I was only speaking to farm boys. The city boys I had met up to that point had not impressed me. Assuming this guy met the criteria, smiles were exchanged and I naively asked, “Are you a farm boy?” He enthusiastically replied, “yes!” Several days later, this same guy walked in front of me on the bike path and I almost ran him over. Of course, I stopped and apologized. That was the first of many conversations.
When I asked him to go to the south farms and pick milkweed pods with me, so I could make Christmas ornaments, he readily agreed! As the fluffy white seeds flew about doing summersaults in the crisp fall air, my stomach joined in. And, love began to grow, and as they say, the rest is history.
The interesting thing is, that this guy, who claimed to be from the country was born in Chicago! He had been visiting his uncle’s farm in northern Indiana for years, and had decided that he was born in the wrong place! (He was right) He ran a soil testing service for gardens in his neighborhood and his family was the only Chicago suburb with DeKalb field corn planted around their backyard swimming pool! Since he was majoring in crop science in the college of Agriculture, I let the fact of his place of residence slide.
Today my “farm boy” has spent more time in the country than he ever did in the city and despite his birthplace has not only captured my heart but has become entwined within my heart. By the way, I’m glad I gave him a chance and learned a valuable lesson. You cannot judge a person on such trivial points. He is by far the best and the brightest of them all (naturally, I’m not biased, not even a tiny bit!) and we have learned to enjoy the best of both worlds, having developed a perfect blend of city and country life. Who could ask for anything more?
The interesting thing is, that he was not a Christian when we met. However, he didn’t waiver in devotion when I put a stipulation on the agreement to marry him. We had to be equally yoked with one faith! He dug right into the scripture, becoming a serious student of the Word, and became baptized before we were married. I am so thankful for the strong, Christian servant leader that he has become!
I’m happy to say, that almost 40 years later, that boy from Algebra class is my favorite person to be with, my best friend and husband since 1981. He is the most loving, giving, caring, patient, helpful man who faithfully thinks of others before himself! He demonstrates his faith loudly through daily actions, attitudes and behaviors. He is my biggest supporter!
He used to ask when I said I had an idea, “does it eat?” and “how much time will it take?” In his defense one time he arrived home from a trip and found a new calf in the barn! That wasn’t the first , or the last time, my ideas involved something that ate and required care twice a day!
He is always there with encouragement, guidance and assistance; and, rarely balks at my crazy plans and ideas. He has been known to tell me, however, that a request is at the top of his list… he just hasn’t gotten to that list yet! He is like the energizer bunny, a devoted husband, faithful in Christian guidance and leadership, an amazing father and an unbelievably fun grandpa!
God’s plans are always perfect!
Mark’s mid-life ‘crisis’ resulted in growing beautiful roses. Many of these roses have posed for pictures in my book , “What Kind of Chocolate Are You?” I love the fact that from April to November I have roses to pick and give as gifts! Giving roses to brighten someone’s day is a ministry in itself!
As an only child of parents who worked more than they were home, I was thrilled with the blessing of children! Two children provide our family with joy and adventures; and, one infant will be waiting to greet us in heaven one day.
Not only did I receive the gift of children, but I was blessed with the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom for a large portion of their child hood. This was an especially critical priority as my husband was transferred with his job numerous times, resulting in moves to various states during the first 20 years of our marriage, and he traveled extensively.
Creating family connections is a priority. I don’t have any memories of my mom playing with me. She always provided wonderful, age-appropriate, creative materials and activities; but, they were for me to play next to her as she worked. In the 50’s and 60’s that’s just the way it was. As I got older, I would go horseback riding with my Dad (he was an avid horseman) or I would work along side of him and be his assistant and gopher. (I was, and still am, a very good assistant and gopher.) This was all well and good, but I wanted more for my boys.
I remember buying a coffee table at a re-sale shop for $15. My husband frowned a little at the expense (for at that time our budget was exceptionally tight) , but he still helped refinish the legs and I proudly displayed the table in the living room. For years, from that day forward, the boys and I played games on our new coffee table almost every night after dinner. I wanted them to have fond memories of their childhood. We had tons of adventures, besides our nightly games! From rocket launches, fort building, baseball, bike rides, to pet rats, snakes and hatched baby blackbirds. And, that’s just the tip of the iceberg! As the teen years began, Friday night was declared family night and activities moved to going to Six Flags and miniature golfing. At every age, I declared, ” this is my favorite age!”
My children are true blessings! They have added the spice, adventure and excitement beyond our wildest imagination over the years. Today, they are adults and have families of their own. We have been blessed with several grandchildren! Grandchildren are even more fun ( if that is imaginable) than our children! I am thankful for the gift of being a wife, mom and grandma!
My husband and I are in the sandwich generation. In 2014, at the age of 85, weighing 69 pounds and sporting a severe case of shingles, my mom moved in with us and stayed for 49 weeks. To say it was a stressful year would be an understatement. But, after round the clock care, four nutritious meals a day, medications given on time and regularly; mom left at 95 pounds to live in a small apartment within an assisted living community. She is a vital part of our immediate family unit.
Over the years Granny has flown or taken the train to visit us in every state that we have lived. She always said, that if we hadn’t moved to so many places she would never have gotten to see so many things!
Christmas is a big deal at our house! I’m married to “Marka” Stewart! He loves to decorate and celebrate Christ’s birth!
Attending Sunrise Service is a must on Easter. Here we are on a chilly Easter morning at 6:30 a.m. The sun was just peeking over the horizon as the service ended. I’ve only missed 2 times in my entire life (due to illness). It just wouldn’t seem like Easter without starting the day hearing the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection and singing favorite Easter hymns as the sun stretches and says “good morning!”.
My Animal Family
Adding animals to “my family” spot may seem a bit odd. But, they are (like many family’s furry friends) part of the family. As an only child, I spent many hours curled up inside the dog house with several cats and a dog, playing with my pony or going for a ride (I’m not a very good horseman, much to my father’s disappointment), or sitting in the barn cuddling a favorite goat. I received my first goat, a purebred Saanen dairy goat, when I was ten years old, and spent over 30 years showing and raising breeding stock. Goats are my favorite animal.
My Four Legged Family
A successful day includes getting up when the alarm goes off (not numerous snooze punches later), time spent with God and in the Word, some type of exercise, the dishes, laundry and clutter under control, animals fed in the morning and evening at reasonable times, several things crossed off of my “to do” list, some type of encouragement and prayer sent to a friend in need and a nutritious meal plus relaxed conversation time with my husband. Since we live in an empty nest you would think this would be rather doable goals. Yet, I am surprised at how often late schedules and an unexpected turn of events, derail these simple plans.
On a regular basis, threaded into each day, I weave in the responsibilities of my varied activities. This spices things up and never leaves me bored. Besides, “bored” was not allowed to be used as I was growing up, so I’m not sure how to do that.
Teaching is my passion, I love to teach! On Sunday mornings I teach a 4 and 5 year old Sunday school class. During the week I often sit at the computer, or at my large, old wooden desk in the corner of the storeroom. Behind me are four, four drawer file cabinets and shelves of resources containing every workshop and lesson I have written since 1981. Surrounding my desk ( that is sitting on deep purple carpet) are dozens of photos of the places we have visited and numerous scriptures. Treasures from students, teaching props, silk lilacs and baskets hanging overhead compose the decor. My view is the back of a fireplace, the water softener, furnace and sewage pipe from the upstairs bathroom. It is a decorator’s worst nightmare! But I love every little inch of my corner. It is there that the Holy Spirit frequently speaks the loudest, and many lessons have been born and developed.
The Story Link Prison Program, connecting offenders and their children, occupies my time once a month. It is such a blessing to see the joy on offenders faces when they are able to record a story and send the CD and book to their child. To some of the offenders this is the only link they have to their children from prison.
I love greeting cards! I love them so much, that I have sent thousands as encouragement to others over the years. My grandma died at age 84, in a grocery store, buying a greeting card for her sister’s birthday. I think that is a perfectly lovely way to die… thinking of others and buying cards. It’s a weakness, but I pray it is a blessing to each person who receives a card. Can you imagine my excitement when I discovered the store The Dollar Tree and could purchase cards for .50? There are no limits now!
Travels and many TV dates are spent crocheting, looming or knitting (although the only thing I can knit is a dishcloth). Hats are designed for newborn infants at the hospital and fun flowers and buttons are sometimes added to hats for the local cancer center.
My mom, as a result of her dementia, started cutting things. Inappropriate things. I wracked my brain for a suitable activity for her to do, that would allow her to still cut. She loves her scissors! An idea bloomed! Coupons! I recruited some groups at church to save coupons. God surely had a plan with all of this, because the idea kept growing. Next, I contacted our two M.O.P.S. (Mothers of Preschoolers) groups at church and asked if they would like some coupons. They were excited! One of the moms has a military base contact overseas, and the expired coupons are sent to these bases where the coupons are honored for six months after expiration. Seeing the joy cutting coupons brought mom, the director at her assisted living facility has started all the residents cutting coupons three times a month. Wow! God sure works in amazing ways! One lady’s obsession to cut resulted in her needs being satisfied, financial assistance to about 50 families through the M.O.P.S. program and families at military bases, and last, but not least, an entire team of seniors feeling like they are still contributing and getting to help others! What a win-win situation, connecting so many people. All orchestrated by God! Mom’s interpretation? She is ‘keeping children in Africa from starving’. No matter that it is a tad off- base. She now has a ministry that makes her feel like she is helping people and making a contribution. As a servant of God, this is mission critical.
Why am I telling you this? Well, now each week, I organize cut coupons! alot…
Along these same lines, once a month, mom and a group of assisted living residents and I meet to make a fleece blanket for the local cancer and dialysis centers. You should see the senior’s beaming faces when we finish a blanket!
As I travel with my husband, I locate libraries and organizations helping parents, children and families to donate my book , “Miraculous, Magical Moments in Minutes”. My goal? To place at least one book, in at least one library ,in every state of the United States, providing free access to families, encouraging the development of stronger family units. As of May 2017, 19 states and 7 countries have at least one “Miraculous, Magical Moments in Minutes” book!
And then, every now and then I get a cake order. Some for sale and some for love. I can’t describe the excitement that is produced when a bowl of icing becomes an edible piece of art! (I’m more of a folk art type of artist, not professional.)
My everyday life ‘garden’ is full of a large variety of “flowers”. In addition real flowers and vegetables also capture my time, as I love to garden! Recently, my son built raised beds to assist my arthritic back, so the summer delight continues!
I love the freedom, flexibility and opportunities! There is always something going on, and it is usually something different!
Planning , organizing and creating
Developing “to do” lists and crossing items off as they are completed.
Re-sale shop treasure hunts – turning great finds (someone else’s ‘trash’) into fabulous treasures.
I’m a Pinterest project fanatic…long before there existed a website called Pinterest! I just didn’t have a name for it, or the easy access of the world wide web! Here are some recent projects.
Reading – Christian historical fiction (the barn is my favorite place to read.)
Playing the piano – not in front of other people, though… other people’s eyes and ears make my fingers get all tangled…playing the piano is my therapy.
The color purple.
Chocolate! especially dark chocolate with caramel and sea salt!
The great Up North/Michigan – (This love has grown out of my love for my husband who introduced me to God’s northern masterpiece.) I love the fresh crisp air with the scent of pine trees and the sight of white birch trees sprinkled among the forest. Sunsets over the lake, finding pretty Lake Michigan rocks and hiking (looking for treasures) in the forest. And, I use the word hiking very lightly. It’s more like a stroll with frequent stop and look, take a picture, breaks! Boating with my husband on northern lakes – he hooks fish, I hook yarn. The lighthouses and sound of crashing waves. The refreshing sting of water on your face and sand squishing between your toes. I do not, however, like the airplane size mosquitoes!
I love taking pictures, especially close up photos of flowers and nature. I’ve tried to stop, or at least limiting myself, but it was like eating just one potato chip from the bag. I just couldn’t help myself.
One year on a fishing trip to Canada, my husband gifted me with an amazing new camera! Now I could hook yarn and take pictures both, while he fished! It wasn’t long however, before he was borrowing the camera ‘real quick’ for perfect shots. We struggled for a while with the whole sharing thing. I even prayed for my passion to take pictures to fade, because he loved to shoot pictures so much. And, he has a really great eye! But, it wasn’t long before we learned how to take turns. 🙂 Now, our original photos are featured on an inspirational line of canvas prints and photo note cards.
That was so much fun! Of course, it was making a list! Listing all the things you love really helps focus on the positive things in your life; and, brings to focus the many amazing blessings and provisions that God provides. It’s uplifting, inspiring and encouraging!
Take a few minutes and try making a list of your own! See how many “things that I love” you can count. Have fun!
Copyright 2023 Becky Baxa and Hidden Splendor Ministries.