Friday, July 26, 2013

Surprise Sunflowers

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite snacks was sunflower seeds.  I’d crack open the shells with my teeth and maneuver them around in my mouth until I got the prized seed.  I liked the salted kind the best, even though my tongue felt like it had swollen twice its size after eating too many! 

I still prefer unshelled sunflower seeds because I like having to “work” for the tasty little seed.  But, a few years ago, my dentist noticed a bit of damage on my front teeth from cracking open the shells. So, now I get the shelled seeds and sprinkle them on salads or mix them in yogurt. 

I’ve always loved sunflowers, and obviously enjoyed eating the seeds, but I’d never planted them. So, you can imagine my surprise when three sunflowers appeared in my flower beds. 

When they first sprouted, I thought they were weeds.  But a friend told me they were sunflowers!  She said a bird must have carried the seeds from my neighbor’s sunflowers and dropped them in my garden beds.   

I anxiously waited as they grew and grew.  Then, the day finally came when they bloomed and their happy yellow faces tilted up towards God.  

There’s just something special about sunflowers.  Maybe it’s the way the really tall ones can become like flower trees with thick stalks and a huge flower.  Maybe it’s the way they tilt their faces heavenwards and follow the sun as it moves across the sky.

We can learn a lot from sunflowers.  As we look up and fix our eyes on Jesus, following the Son throughout the day, we become Son followers. Then, like the sunflowers, we can drop our seeds of faith so they’ll bloom into more Son followers. 

Like my surprise sunflowers, who knows how far that seed of faith will be carried and then dropped at the perfect time and place in the fertile soil of someone’s life.  

Keep lookin’ up and plantin’ seeds! 


“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)

Copyright © 2013 Martha Hadley. All rights reserved

Monday, May 20, 2013

Red Poppies on Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer as friends and families gather together for picnics and fun. It’s a time to shake off the blahs of cooler weather and to enjoy the warm afternoons of late May as we anticipate a joyful summer with our loved ones.
All of these are wonderful things to celebrate, but we should also take time to reflect on the real reason for Memorial Day – to remember and honor those who have sacrificially given their lives in service to our country.  
I’ll admit, I get caught up in the joy of the three-day weekend, and I don’t take as much time to reflect on the true meaning of this national holiday as I should. So what can we do this year to help ourselves and others make Memorial Day more meaningful and to revive the traditional observance of it?

Perhaps you could wear a red poppy flower. Although you may not be familiar with this custom, wearing a red poppy is a long-standing Memorial Day tradition.  

It all started with a woman named Moina Belle Michael, who was so inspired by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae’s 1915 poem “In Flanders Fields” that she wrote a poem of her own in 1918 called “We Shall Keep the Faith.” She pledged to not forget the sacrifices of those who had lost their lives in war as well as those who were surviving veterans. 

She started a campaign to wear red silk poppies, the flowers from “In Flanders Fields,” which quickly spread to over 50 countries. Disabled veterans made silk poppies, and the profits went to the rehabilitation of veterans as well as to help provide for their dependents. The red poppy became a symbol of support for veterans. When she died in 1944, over two hundred million dollars had been raised for the cause to which Moina had devoted her life.  

So this Memorial Day, wear a red poppy. And when someone asks you about it, you can tell them the story of Moina Belle Michael and how one woman made such a difference in so many lives. It’s a wonderful way to help remind people of the true meaning of Memorial Day.
And be sure to take a moment out of your weekend and pray for our military troops, and for the families who have lost their loved ones. 
“We Shall Keep the Faith” poem by Moina Belle Michael, November 1918 
“Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.
We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields."
As a way of saying thank you to military families, we invite all who are serving, or have served in the Armed Forces and their families to join CRISTA Camps and Spirit 105.3 for a free, fun day of food, games, and boating at Island Lake Camp in Poulsbo, WA.  Monday May 27, 2013 from 11am-7pm.  Click here for more info. Military Families Day  CRISTA Camps

Remembering our brave troops,
Martha Hadley

Copyright © 2013 Martha Hadley. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Easter Reflections

With the arrival of spring and the new life we see in nature, also comes Good Friday and Easter.  It’s such an important reminder to not forget what Jesus did for us and to give thanks for the new life we have in him.

Jesus is alive!  The evidence is clearly seen by his hand of mercy and his loving care in our lives and in the lives of those around us. 

During the Easter season, as we reflect on what Jesus did as he took the sin of all mankind on himself and died on the cross, we’re humbled and awed by his unconditional love for us.  We have so much to be thankful for as we think about his sacrificial death on our behalf and then his joyful resurrection.  Easter is such a happy day as we celebrate our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  

Traditions are an important part of the Easter celebration.  Whether it’s memories of when you were growing up or new ones that you’ve established in your family, it’s a good thing to carry on traditions.  I’d like to share some of my treasured childhood memories with you… 

When I was a little girl, when we woke up on Easter morning, we found an Easter basket filled with delicious candy eggs and chocolate bunnies by our bedside.  We hopped out of bed with anticipation for the day and quickly ate breakfast.  Then we put on our brand new Easter outfits.  

Mother loved dressing us up, so my brothers wore suits and ties, and my sisters and I got matching hats, gloves and little purses to go with our frilly dresses.  Yes, we actually wore Easter bonnets! 

(Here’s an interesting fact… The custom of new clothes for Easter actually began when the early Christians were baptized the day before Easter.  After they were baptized, they put on new clothes to show their new life in Christ.) 

Before we could head off to church, we had our family picture taken in our new Easter clothes.  Mother loved taking pictures.  Now that I’m grown up, I’m glad that we have all those old pictures.  But at the time, we didn’t always enjoy it, because she was a firm believer that, for the best lighting, we had to face the bright sun.  She would position us so that the sun was behind the photographer and it was shining directly in our eyes.  So, a lot of our pictures show us squinting or looking down because the bright sunshine made our eyes water! (I’m the one in the white dress, yellow sweater and hat in the picture, looking down because of the bright sun in my eyes. My little brother, Paul, in my father's arms, is bothered by the sun in his eyes, too.  Everyone else bravely squinted).

After church, we went to Nano and Papa’s house.  They were my grandparents on my father’s side and we often went to their house after church on Sunday.  Easter was especially fun because my aunts, uncles, and cousins would come over, too, and we had a big Easter egg hunt after lunch.  

(Another interesting fact:  The tradition of colored Easter eggs started in the Christian Orthodox churches of Eastern Europe. The eggs were dyed red to symbolize the blood of Christ, and the hard shell represents the stone covering His tomb. Cracking the shell open represents the celebration of His resurrection.) 

My prayer is that you’ll experience the wonder of Easter with renewed hope and joy.  And that if you haven’t already done so, you’ll embrace God’s forgiveness of our sins and his free gift of salvation.  Remember, Christianity is not about religion.  It’s about a relationship with Jesus Christ.  We have been reconciled with God through Jesus’ sacrificial death for us on the cross as payment for our sins. 

The awe-inspiring miracle of Easter is that Jesus died and rose again.  By his sacrifice he brings hope for all people throughout eternity. 

Happy Easter!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls".  1 Peter 1:3-9

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hope For The Future

We’re a month into 2013 and it’s good to be reminded of the hopeful attitude we had as the calendar turned from 2012 to 2013 that the new year would be brimming with possibilities. 

I wonder what God has in store for us for the rest of the year. Sometimes I think it would be helpful to know all the details of what’s ahead, but that’s where trust comes in. Perhaps God doesn’t reveal the future to us so that we’ll trust in Him. Since only He knows the future, we have to rely on Him.

Thankfully, God gives us precious promises in the Bible to encourage us. A favorite one I’ve clung to, when I didn’t understand why He allowed certain things to happen in my life, is found in Jeremiah 29:11-14. Maybe it’s been a lifeline for you, too. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

What an incredible promise from the Creator of the universe! The One who knows the future. The One who made you and knows you better than anyone. The One who only wants the best for you - His precious child. With that knowledge, how can we do anything except look towards the future with anticipation and excitement?

God has lovingly given you another year. It’s beautifully wrapped with a big red bow, just waiting for you to open it and explore the exciting possibilities coming up on the horizon.

Make sure your bases are covered with these basics:

1. Surround yourself with a good support system of friends and/or family. God doesn’t want us to journey through life alone. If you don’t have a support system, join a good bible study group. You’ll not only be spiritually fed and in the company of other like-minded people, but you might just find that best friend you’ve been longing for! Be open to how God might bring a new friend into your life.

2. Take your spiritual temperature regularly. If you’re lukewarm or cold, heat things up by recommitting to regular church attendance, personal prayer time, and reading the Bible. I know you’re busy. But this is too important to put on the back burner. If you want God to actively help you with your daily life, you’ve got to make time for Him. Talk to Him as you go about your day including Him in all the little details, just as if He was right there beside you… because He is!

And remember, we’re always here to cheer you on and give you that extra boost of encouragement.

Look for the little things in life that are special gifts from Him, too.  That can help us to be grateful no matter what comes our way. And encourage others along the way.  By doing so, we’re also encouraged!

Even though the waters won’t always be calm throughout the year, if you’ve got a strong faith, an encouraging support system, and the right attitude, you’ll do just fine - no matter what happens. You can do it! I have faith in you!

And most importantly, God will be right there by your side, guiding you every step of the way - if you’ll just let him.

Trust Him. He knows your future and it’s full of hope!
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”   Hebrews: 10:23-25 NIV  

Bountiful Blessings,

Copyright © 2013 Martha Hadley. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Less Stress This Christmas

Everywhere you go, the sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas fill the air.  Ringing bells, shoppers with arms loaded down with packages, and Christmas carols to set the mood.  It’s the most joyful season of the year! How wonderful to be able to celebrate the birth of Jesus our Savior.  It’s a time of gathering together with family and friends, fun activities, parties, and of course, shopping. 

With all the joy that Christmas brings, it can also be a season of stress.  If you’re looking for some Christmas peace, I hope you’ll take some time away from the hustle and bustle of the season and remember the real reason for the season.  He’s the one who gives us true peace at Christmas and throughout the year… Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6
Merry Christmas!
Copyright © 2012 Martha Hadley. All rights reserved
Click on link below for inspiring video:
Christmas Flash Mob by Journey of Faith at South Bay Galleria

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Grateful vs. Ungrateful

For many generations, children have been taught manners and to say please and thank you - and really mean it.  There’s nothing like hearing AND saying “Thank you!  Thank you very much!” when it’s said with a truly grateful heart.  It puts a smile on the face of both the giver and the receiver! 

So, it’s rather disheartening when you see some kids (and adults) today that seem to feel like they’re owed nice things and have a right to receive them.  Sometimes they even complain when they’re given a gift that’s not exactly what they wanted – and expected. 

Upon reflecting on this, I realized that we, too, sometimes act like spoiled, ungrateful children when it comes to our relationship with God.  Imagine how He must feel when we neglect to thank Him and take what He gives us for granted.  Sometimes we even get mad at Him if He doesn’t give us exactly what we want! 

Just like any good parent teaches their child to have manners and a grateful attitude, God does the same with us.  In fact, He commands us to give thanks!    

So, this Thanksgiving and Christmas and throughout the year, let’s examine our hearts and ask God to forgive any ungratefulness we have and to help us renew our commitment to give Him, and others, our heartfelt gratitude. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Striving for an attitude of gratitude…
With love,
Copyright © 2012 Martha Hadley. All rights reserved 

“Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion.  Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception.  Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude.  Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.”  John Henry Jowett, minister of Westminster Chapel, London 1918-1922

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Autumn Leaves

Colorful crunchy leaves underfoot and crisp red apples.  The signs of autumn are all around us.  There’s a cool crispness to the air - and an aroma we’ve missed during the summer months…wood burning in the fireplace.

The leaves on trees are turning from green to vibrant colors of red, yellow, and orange.  With just the slightest breeze, they float softly to the ground.  You’ll notice moms with young children gathering some for decorations or searching for the perfect leaf for a school craft project.   

We’re into the first month of fall and with it comes the anticipation of the festive months ahead.  But, there’ll be plenty of time to enjoy the busy holiday season, so I hope you’ll relax and enjoy this special time we have now.  It’s good to savor each season as it changes.  

I love autumn and all the memories it brings to mind.  When I was a kid, raking up huge piles of leaves and then jumping into the middle of them made outdoor chores fun.  

My sister, Jeanne, was always trying to find new places to hide so she could jump out and say, “BOO!” and scare me.  Well, as you can imagine, a big pile of leaves was a perfect hiding place for her to scrunch down in and pop out just at the right moment with a big “BOO!” 

Without fail, even if I kinda knew she might be in there, she was successful in scaring the daylights out of me, and I’d jump as I let out a big scream.  After I caught my breath, I’d say, “Jeanne!  Don’t DO that!”  Then we’d fall down laughing as we rolled around and played in the leaves.  What fun we had! 

Autumn is also a wonderful time for early evening walks.  The brilliant sunsets seem to be a reflection of the gorgeous fall colors.  I hope you’ll take some time to make wonderful memories with your family and friends as you savor this colorful season. 

With love,

P.S.  I’m hiding from Jeanne in the leaves… shhhh, don’t tell!
Copyright © 2012 Martha Hadley. All rights reserved