What Inspired Me About our Visit to The Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile and Lodge in Pawhuska, Oklahoma

A few weeks ago for Spring Break, Jeremiah and I helped get my parents settled in their new home in Oklahoma. One day we took a nice detour from moving boxes and headed an hour and a half away to The Pioneer Woman’s mercantile and lodge in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. This was such a special trip for my kids because they’ve basically grown up watching The Pioneer Woman on the Food Network Channel – thanks to my mom who introduced me to Ree’s blog, recipes, books, photography, and cooking show.

When my babies were all five and under, you can imagine how evening time was- scrambling to get hungry bellies fed and managing multiple meltdowns. I often felt like pulling my hair out! While I cooked dinner, I’d often turn on The Pioneer Woman and they were instantly captivated. I loved it because not only did they enjoy learning about life on the Drummond Ranch and watching Lad and Ree’s four kids, but they learned cooking skills too! Now they’re all nine and under and have a true desire to be in the kitchen with me and it’s so helpful.

When we set foot at the Mercantile and lodge, their little hearts beat with joy. What they’d seen on TV for so many years was now a reality. Naturally, they wanted every Charlie stuffed animal, book, toy, and trinket in sight. When we arrived at the lodge, they ran and played at their heart’s content.

There were many things I loved about our visit, but perhaps most of all, I was inspired how the Drummond’s have opened up their lives, land, work, passions, talents, and more for others to enjoy and benefit from. They have given themselves away in a sense through multiple avenues. They haven’t hoarded those gifts and talents they’ve been entrusted with, but have used them to the fullest. Their hard work has paid off in so many ways.

As a wife and mom it’s made me think about what I need to “give away” in my own life. How am I using my talents and abilities to make my little world a better place for others right here? The Drummond’s- like my family- live in a small, rural community (in the middle of nowhere) yet they’re doing BIG things right where they live. Perhaps there’s something inside all of us that desires to make a big impact in our every day lives. I know I do.

So I’ll ask you too. How would your world look different if you viewed everything you’ve been entrusted with – your resources, talents, time, wealth, abilities and more to serve others? Do you believe that your ordinary life could be extraordinary? Do you believe that your greatest joys could come from releasing control and being willing to use your gifts to their fullest potential?

Chances are good, someone needs you exactly for who YOU are.

Thank you, Drummond Family for being you, and for blessing my family and so many others. I’m planning to return with my mom soon and stand in line for lunch!

{See PHOTOS below}

If you’re planning a visit to Pawhuska or hoping to, you can see their schedule for lodge tours here.

If you’re not following Ree’s blog already, you should: ThePioneerWoman.com

Dream pantry. Honey, I do need one with a ladder too.

Rebekah loves Ree!

sweet shop near the bakery

watching their creations

Hannah at the stovetop

my mom who got us all hooked!

Jeremiah had a lot of fun, too!

the land from the lodge

Walter Drummond doing what we all want to do!

Can you guess where Rebekah spent most of her time?

cheek to cheek

the kids loved this hill to the right of the lodge. They played, ran, explored, and loved on the ranch dogs.

my favorite color for cookware

the boys in the kitchen

resting in the sun

the lodge’s deck

Will couldn’t get enough lovin’

sad to say goodbye

Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. Through personal stories and scripture, she is passionate about helping women live out their faith in real life. She is the author of  Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. 

 

 

 

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Lessons on Receiving

Every Christmas growing up, my parents gave the best gifts. They were thoughtful, fun, and just what my sister and I asked for. Giving gifts was one of their top love languages and still is today. So naturally, giving gifts became one of my love languages.

But considering our present circumstances mentioned a few posts ago, I’ve had no choice but to pause and step back when it comes to gift giving. It’s been difficult, humbling, and stretching especially since I find so much joy from it in this season.

the tree

This time last year, I would have had most of my gifts purchased and my Christmas cards sent out. But this Christmas, my cards will probably make in just in time for the 25th and the majority of our gifts will probably be purchased last minute. In the meantime, I’m making/creating more of our gifts this year so we don’t have to go into any debt.

God has also provided for me and my family in unexpected ways this week:

A couple in our church who knew about Jeremiah’s job slipped us a check because they felt God leading them to do so.

  • Another man in our church gave us cash to use for groceries.

My friend Katie helped design our Christmas card and the print-outs will be very inexpensive and still adorable!

  • Between my sister and my parents’ constant generosity to us, Christmas is pretty much already taken care of.
  • Many of my friends here in seminary have randomly asked if I needed the exact thing I was already thinking of. And they gave what they had.
  • We got a beautiful 7-ft. pre-lit Christmas tree for free because the man selling it wanted to help us in our situation.

Coming up on six years of marriage, I don’t think we have ever experienced God’s provision in such a tangible way. We’ve always heard stories of people receiving checks out of the blue. But I thought you had to be super spiritual for that and I honestly didn’t think that would ever happen to us because well, we’d rather give anyway!

But surely there is a time to receive too. I’m learning valuable lessons when it comes to stewardship, budgeting, and putting my security in Christ instead of finances or wealth. I want to give more than I ever have before and be sensitive to those in need. I believe these lessons will be stamped on my life forever.

I definitely have my days of doubting God because I just want to know now what He is doing. I’ve struggled with anger and impatience and wondering if God hears us.

But when I’m able to articulate what’s going on and write it down, I can better see that God really is doing something and sometimes it is His perfect will for us to be on the receiving end and to learn humility.

Yesterday Jeremiah told me, “I think this is going to be a really special Christmas that we’ll always remember.”

I pondered his words for a while and came to the conclusion that I think he is right because somehow, God just has a way of redeeming really tough situations. He always comes through for us, even if it’s right down to the wire.

So the challenge still stands: Will I trust him to provide for us, even when I can’t see what’s ahead? Will I be faithful to God because He is good? 

On Sailing… and Serving Others With Your Gifts & Passions

On Saturday, I surprised Jeremiah with a boat ride for his birthday. We boarded a beautiful wooden catamaran that seated about 30 people. Scott was our captain. He was super friendly and we knew we were in for a treat on the lake. It was just what we needed after a stressful week.
About 30 minutes into our sail, Scott came by to accept our payment. Jeremiah initiated a conversation with Scott on how he got involved in sailing.

“I got on the computer and Googled ‘how to build a boat,’ ” he said.

“I found all the necessary resources and started building. I never dreamed I’d be taking 35 trips a week and that my business would grow like this…”

Then he said something profound that stuck with both of us:

“I think it’s important to find what you love to do and serve others through it.”

You could tell that Scott had what he wanted in life. He’d been married to his wife of 30+ years, his children were grown and doing well, and he was doing what he absolutely loved. But not only that, he was blessing the lives of a lot of people- every week.

Scott takes a shot of us behind the wheel

During the remainder of the trip, I thought about how God distributes gifts to people and how the purpose of those gifts are to edify and equip the Church. So often it’s easy to get caught up in the what-my-gift-will-do-for-me kind of mentality.

But it’s not about that at all. Certainly, our gifts and passions draw us closer to God, make us come alive, and give us meaning and purpose. But our gifts aren’t supposed to be hoarded and hidden inside our own little box.

We’re supposed to give our gifts away. And if we think anything different, we’re missing the boat.

I don’t know if you’ve found your gift or the one thing you want to spend your life doing. I don’t know if you’re discouraged in that pursuit or if you believe you have something to contribute to this world.

But what I do know is God created you for a purpose and that involves building into the lives of others.

You have something to offer that no one else does and other people need you to draw out your gifts, however that might look and whatever risks that might involve.

When you view your gifts with an outwardly-focused kind of mentality, your life will change drastically. Your perspective will shift off of yourself and onto how God can use you to make a difference in the lives of others.

In middle school, I started journaling. It was how I felt closest to the Lord and it was the easiest way for me to write out my prayers and remember them. It also came natural, just like the assignments did in my Creative Writing classes. After receiving my first publishing contract in college (7 or so journals later), I realized that God was starting to call me out of my comfort zone of personal journaling and into riskier territory of writing for an actual audience.

As the years passed and I started writing for other publications and eventually writing Bible study curriculum for churches across the country, I realized even more that writing was my number 1 passion. But the best thing about it was that I could use my writing to serve and encourage other people and help build God’s kingdom. My focus, including my goals, started to shift. Still today, I’m learning what it means to be outwardly-focused and I’ve found so much joy in the journey.

“Find what you love and serve others.”

I’ll always remember the wisdom Captain Scott imparted to us that evening and I hope it will encourage you too.

*From the Archives*- You Might Also Enjoy Reading…

Daring to Risk a Little More

The Joy of Being on Mission

Five Minutes to Let It Shine

Give Yourself Away

 

 

 

Life is in Creating

This post has been inspired by one of my new favorite blogs: History in the Making with Ben Arment. Ben’s passion for the church and for creativity leaks all over his blog. It’s awesome.

Yesterday he wrote about how creating is worth all the potential consequences. He lists what those consequences might be and says to not create is simply…

the greatest tragedy.

This struck such a chord with me because all my life, all I’ve wanted to do was create. Whether it was through creating a photo book for my family for Christmas, an imaginary story while playing dolls or building forts with my friends, a short story in creative writing class, a scrapbook, photos in the darkroom, a non-fiction article from scratch… the list goes on.

For me to not create would be impossible because it’s part of who I am. It’s how God has designed and wired me. And this desire to create doesn’t make me better than someone who doesn’t particularly love to “create” or would say that being creative isn’t one of his or her gifts. It’s all about how God is best glorified through us, whether that’s working with numbers, performing surgeries, or writing scripts.

In a sense though, we all have the ability to create something. We’re made in the image of God, the Creator.

I don’t know if I’ve come to the place yet where I’m willing to risk it all though. I have a huge desire to craft a book proposal, but I wonder if it’s worth creating even if it gets rejected a thousand times. Is it worth writing if I have to rewrite it or if it never sees the light of day?

For some reason I think God would say yes. It’s just up to me to dive in and risk.

What about you… Can you live without creating? What are you currently creating or hoping to create in the future?

Who’s image is it?

1156610_36788246A few weeks ago, I found a guy named Andy Blanks through a wordpress search. As the content editor for Small Group Trader, I frequently search for blogs that have quality content that can be used on our site as articles. And I asked him if we could use his post, Image vs. Mission which is now live on our site.

Andy wrote some things that I deal with but might be ashamed to admit.

At times, I care more about what people think then I do about spreading the gospel and being about God’s kingdom.

At times, I care if I look “this or that” way to someone.

And I’ve missed opportunities to share what Jesus is doing in my life with an unbeliever because my “image” has been of first importance.

Being all about image is an ugly thing because it puts all the glory on self, and not on our Savior. It can even consume us if we let it and before we know it, we’ve completely neglected God.

But the reality is that any good looks we have, stellar talents, skills, relational ability, intelligence… all come from God- for his purposes.

I told Jeremiah just before bed the other day about a conversation Anne Jackson and I had about writing. I’m afraid of pride if I were to ever be really successful, specifically in publishing my own book. It’s a huge fear of mine.

He said something I’ll always remember: “Samantha, your gifts are not yours. They are God’s.”

A light bulb went off in my head. I took that as: my gifts don’t just come from God, but they are God’s.

What a difference. So in that knowledge, how will the ways I use my gifts be different? I think it has to do with image. Will I choose to reflect his glory by making him my prized treasure instead of glorifying self, being worried about what others think, or even being concerned about my own pride?

It’s not about Samantha. It’s about God. It’s that simple.

Everything is God’s

10723_656785265458_55713931_38099891_4013055_nAre you like me, and sometimes forget that you don’t own anything?

I forget sometimes that everything I have is on loan and that God is the one who has given me good health, a beautiful family, genuine friendships, an apartment decked out with stuff, a car, his Word, the privilege of living in America, and the ability to use my gifts and talents every day.

It’s easy to be self-focused and think that I have what I own because of my own hands and abilities.

But God says that all I have is from his hand. James 1:17 says that Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Yesterday, I played with my son on the floor for an hour. I watched him carefully place his toys and various objects in the trash can. He would then look at me. One by one, he played this game by himself. He was serious and focused. I laughed over and over because it was so cute. I loved watching his expressions and movements as he learned a little bit more about life.

And it occurred to me once again, that his little life is a gift that I must continually give back to God…

A Creative Mother’s Day Gift

It can be really frustrating figuring out what to get our Mom’s for Mother’s Day. My Mom and Dad came into Dallas last night for some appointments, so we celebrated Mother’s Day early. I decided to go with a hands on approach in regards to my Mom’s gift.

I washed her feet for her. I had purchased Earth Therapeutics’ cool mint foot mask, soothing booties/socks with tea tree oil, and mint/tea tree oil foot wipes (I got these surprisingly at Kohls but Whole Foods has this line as well). Playing calm ocean music, Santori Splendor, I filled a small tub with lavender bubbles and washed her feet. Then scrubbed them with a pumice brush. I dried them and spread the foot mask all around her feet and toes for 30 minutes. She loved the tingling feeling from the peppermint. I loved peeling the mask off- I felt like I was back in third grade peeling the Elmer’s glue off my hands. Her feet were now smooth and like new. The whole time, she was just soaking it up and smiling, saying “Oh this feels so good.”

I couldn’t believe how much she loved this gift of being pampered. I know, every woman enjoys this, but I had never seen my mom enjoy getting her feet washed so much. This was my first time washing her feet and for me, it was incredible knowing I was serving her and that I was so grateful for all she is to me as a Mom. She works hard on her feet everyday, serving those she loves.

I could have given her clothes or jewelry, but this act meant much more than something material. So go ahead, take my idea, I’d love for you to bless your mom like this too.

LA Shoot with Erwin McManus

A few weeks back, our team returned from Los Angeles to film their fourth major video project with Erwin McManus, based off his ever-popular book Uprising: A Revolution of the Soul.

The weekend of the shoot was perfect. LA’s weather was flawless and our team had a blast shooting the beautiful scenery and vast terrain surrounding them. The prime location for the video series was Griffith Park in the Hollywood hills.

Our crew set up their cameras overlooking the expansive Hollywood reservoir. Erwin reviewed his notes and in no time, the cameras were rolling. In a simple yet profound way, Erwin challenges young adults to give their life away by tapping into the talents and gifts God has given them. He states, “We are magnetized to a world filled with opportunities and often paralyzed by the inherent responsibilities.” His charismatic teaching style inspires this generation to change their ordinary life into one with extraordinary passion.

After a long day of work, all the footage was complete. It was hard for our team to pull away from sunny LA and Erwin McManus; however they were anxious to return to their offices and edit the footage. They packed their bags and headed back to Dallas.

The Bible study series filmed in LA with Erwin McManus will be called Uprising: a 6-session video-driven Bible study and will release Sept. 1, 2008. It will include a leader’s guide, workbook, 6 video sesssions, and the book itself. Check out our current DVD resources with Erwin McManus: Impact, Choices, Dreams, and Advance.

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