Categories
Encouragement

Miracle Margaritas

 

“Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy” (Mark 4:16 NIV).

Margarita is my name in Spanish––for Margaret. It’s also the word for daisy in Spanish. On a spring day, I found miracle margaritas (daisies) in a most unlikely place.

Our world is a rocky place right now. It’s hard to see the bright side and the beauty of things during the Covid 19 pandemic. The suffering around the world is heartbreaking, and fear of the virus paralyzes life with lockdowns and isolation. But God gives us hope through His Word and His creation, even daisies.

One misty morning, after torrential rains, the sun peeked out and the rains ceased. My husband and I walked around our mission property to check for flooding. What we found astonished us––margaritas (daisies) flourishing in the rocks. Amidst all the rain and flooding, these beautiful flowers sprouted from a place where nothing should have grown.

When we built our house, we found discarded stones from a city street free for the taking. We snatched them up and made a lovely walk with gravel between the cracks of each stone. Over the years, they cemented into the ground. For anything to grow out of the cracks was almost impossible, yet beautiful margaritas emerged between the cracks.

The flower seeds spread with the wind and rain and fell on rocky ground. That rainy season there was flooding and devastation all around us, but we saw God’s beautiful flowers blooming in hard places.

We may face a rocky road in the next months or years. But, God can bring beauty out of hard places. Let’s plant and water in hard places, so that others will receive His Word with joy. If margaritas can bloom out of rocks, we, too, can bloom in hard places.

Peggy Cunningham
Peggy Cunningham

Peggy Cunningham and her husband are missionaries in Bolivia, South America. They work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also an author of children’s books and devotionals. Her latest is Shape Your Soul, 31 Exercises for Faith that Moves Mountains, a women’s devotional. www.PeggyCunningham.com.

 

 

Categories
Encouragement

Bolivian Cemeteries—Customs and Comforts

 

“Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18 NIV).

Recently, I attended a gathering in our village to remember the life of a church member who died unexpectedly. Arriving late, I sat in the back. Everyone wore black and wiped tears that fell profusely. The lady was a friend of mine also––my husband and I bought land from her.

Everyone in the crowd hailed from our village or nearby––all friends and neighbors. We sat on wooden benches and huddled together as the winds whipped around us; our winter was near. The sound of children playing in the distance soothed our hurting hearts.

After the ceremony, we sipped hot soup to warm our bones. The aroma of wood burning in a mud oven and the chicken baking in it filled the air. Then, the delicious chicken dinner arrived on clay plates served by beautiful Quechua ladies dressed in their typical polleras (skirts.) We talked, laughed, ate, and enjoyed being together. There was sadness—but joy also because of the hope we have in Christ that we will be reunited one day.

Visiting a cemetery anywhere gives the impression that all ended for the people buried in the graves. But, for those who trust Jesus as Savior, there is hope beyond the grave because we have eternal life. Whether we are dead or alive when Christ returns, we will all rise to be with Him forever.

Peggy Cunningham and her husband are missionaries in Bolivia, South America. They work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also an author of children’s books and devotionals for women, including her latest book, Shape Your Soul, 31 Exercises for Faith that Moves Mountains. www.PeggyCunningham.com

Categories
Devotional Encouragement

Making Holiday Memories

Making Holiday Memories

Thanksgiving was a traditional family gathering at my in-laws’ home. The siblings came from near and far with their families. Entering the snowy driveway, we’d see the house with seven gables high on the hill.

Beautiful horse in the snow
Beautiful horse in the snow

The roar of snowmobiles coming from the fields nearby let us know nieces and nephews were enjoying Grandpa’s toys. Beautiful horses galloped in the fields near the red barn.

Approaching the house, we caught a whiff of the baking turkey; then Grandma opened the door and lavished us with hugs. As we sat at the table beautifully set with china and crystal, the golden turkey served as the centerpiece, and pumpkin pie provided a sweet ending to the feast. It was truly a Norman Rockwell scene.

I miss those gatherings. They are treasured memories now that many family members have entered eternity. The memories cause me to be thankful for the times past, and they make me conscious this holiday season of how short my time is on earth.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his love endures forever” (Psalm 107:1 NIV).

As the spirit of Thanksgiving ushers in Christmas, I’ll give thanks to the Lord for providing a way for me to have eternal life; for good health, family, and friends; and for so many other blessings. And yes, for making holiday memories.

God is so good! Enjoy His goodness throughout this holiday season, and make precious holiday memories this year.

Wishing you a blessed December, a Merry Christmas, and a New Year overflowing with God’s abundance.

 

 

Peggy Cunningham
Peggy Cunningham

Peggy Cunningham and her husband are missionaries in

Shape Your Soul 31 Exercises for Faith that Moves Mountains
Shape Your Soul 31 Exercises for Faith that Moves Mountains

Bolivia, South America. They work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also an author of books for children and adults. Her latest book is Shape Your Soul, 31 Exercises for Faith that Moves Mountains, a women’s devotional.  www.Peggy Cunningham.com.

 

 

 

 

Categories
Devotional

Spinning Out of Control

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” (Proverbs 16:3 NIV).

Spinning is a popular form of exercise almost everywhere now. Although, in my neighborhood, spinning has a totally different connotation.

When I hear the word spinning, I immediately visualize a gym with a spinning class. Don’t you? But in my neighborhood, bicycles are not used for exercise per se. Yes, they are a means of exercise for my neighbors, but their primary purpose is to provide transportation by spinning to and from their alfalfa fields before sunrise.

As I watch my neighbors spinning by my house in the early mornings, I sometimes long to take a spin with them. Not to help them cut alfalfa but to stop my fruitless spinning and set my priorities on these people I came to serve, instead of focusing on the 100 things on my to-do list for the day.

When I step down from the merry-go-round of life, I find refreshment from being with God’s people and enjoy His beauty around me. I focus on the reason God has me here in this place of service (Bolivia)—to spread the Good News. It’s not easy to step off that merry-go-round. Some days I keep on spinning, and some days I wobble as I come to a halt. However, it is always possible.

Each day is a new opportunity for service. It’s easy to allow each day’s tasks (our plans) to keep us from God’s checklist for the day. But, when we ask God to establish our plans (to-do list) and take control of our spinning, He will establish our to-do lists and prioritize our days. Everything will change when we commit our plans to Him. The spinning out of control will cease, and our days will be fruitful and calm.

Try and see. The verse says He will—not He might. He keeps His promises.

Peggy Cunningham and her husband Chuck have been missionaries in Bolivia, South America, since 1981. In 1999, they founded Rumi Rancho Ministries. Rumi Rancho is their ministry base and home outside the city of Cochabamba where they work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also a published author of children’s books and women’s devotionals. Shape Your Soul is her latest devotional book for women. Learn more at www.PeggyCunningham.com.

Categories
Devotional

Find Your Proper Place

Where is home? Is it where your family lives? Where your work’s located? How do you find the comfort of home? Do you sometimes feel out of place?

Living in two cultures brings a sense of not belonging anywhere. I not only live in a foreign country but also in a Quechua village in Bolivia where three cultures and three languages collide—making the mix even more interesting. Feeling out of place is an understatement. Yet, somehow I am at home.

When I arrive in the States for furlough, I feel at home. I can speak English, my mother tongue. Yay! My friends wear what I wear––well, once I get to a store and update my look. Then comes a new haircut. Yes, friends make sure I get where I need to go for this new look. I look the part, but am I at home? Yes! Why? How can I be at home in two different countries and still not fit into either one? The answer is simple.

I’m at home because I am where God wants me to be. I am in His will. “Home” is being in God’s will. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33 NIV).

In God’s will, we have a proper place of belonging––with a warm spark of home in our hearts. One day we’ll arrive in our forever home. Until then, we find a home in the center of God’s will.

Are you in your proper place?

Peggy Cunningham and her husband are missionaries in Bolivia, South America. They work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also an author. Her children’s books and devotionals include Shape Your Soul, 31 Exercises of Faith that Move Mountains, a women’s devotional. Visit  www.PeggyCunningham.com.

 

Categories
Encouragement

Fresh Focus

I the Lord, do not change” (Malachi 3:6 NIV).

Tumultuous circumstances jolted me out of my usual schedule. My routine changed drastically on a rainy Sunday morning. A call from our neighbors woke me from a deep sleep.

“Your classrooms are flooding!”

Torrential rains caused the river over the mountain to rush into the valley irrigation ditch that runs behind our property and overflow downward directly into our classroom building on our mission base––narrowly missing our house. Shocked at the sight of six inches of water in the classrooms, my husband and I splashed our way through and commenced the task of cleanup.

All changed that day…week—our plans, our meals, and our priorities. We focused on the task of cleanup. We worked hard and swished the water out of the building with mops and brooms––room by room. Then the scrubbing began, and the airing out, and checking for damage. What a lesson for my life.

Clean up my life daily and focus on priorities. 

I’d been busy with things––people, problems, and goals. My focus had changed to earthly things, not eternal things. God uses circumstances, His Word, and others to teach us His ways––or bring our focus back to Him. Now, water will always remind me to focus on God and His plans when hard things flood my life.

The buildings shine once more, but more importantly, my focus changed. First and always, we should strive to focus on God. Unlike circumstances, people, or possessions that change, God never changes.

We get distracted from time to time, and we’re out of focus.

But looking to the One who never changes puts everything back in focus.

If we adjust the lens of our lives daily, we stay focused on God’s vision––a fresh focus every day.

Peggy Cunningham
Peggy Cunningham

Peggy Cunningham and her husband are missionaries in Bolivia, South America. They work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is author of several children’s books and devotionals. Her latest book is a women’s devotional Shape Your Soul—31 Exercises of Faith that Move Mountains.  www.PeggyCunningham.com .

 

Categories
Ministry

What is your secret talent

What are your secret talents?

“And the special gift of ministry you received…keep that ablaze! God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible” (2 Timothy 1:6-7 MSG).

Peggy Cunningham working with children

I think my secret talent is related to my hair––blonde with streaks of white. Can hair be a secret talent? Maybe. But…maybe it’s not my hair that’s a secret talent. Perhaps it’s what my hair can do––attract little girls like a magic magnet.

Living in a country where blondes are not seen often, little girls stared and smiled at me. I accredited all the little girls’ attraction to my hair––and being a tall blonde––a sight rarely seen in Bolivia. When I first noticed this secret talent, it opened doors to ministry with little girls, especially during Sunday School hours.

When my daughter was a small child, her hair attracted attention on the streets of Bolivia. Whenever we walked around the city where we lived, people constantly touched her long, curly blonde hair. Since my aging brought with it bottled blonde hair with white streaks, I, too, became a rarely seen sight. But then, something else entered into my secret talent.

On furloughs, I also noticed this happening in the States where blonde hair is not unusual. Being a children’s writer, I’ve always connected with children—but not in such a magical way as I do with little girls. When I meet or talk with little girls, I automatically talk on their level and so love being with them. I truly believe God has given me a special gift of ministry with children—a secret talent—especially working with little girls. It’s so much fun!

God gives us all special talents and gifts and uses them for His Kingdom. They can be fun, too. What’s your special gift of ministry—your secret talent?

Peggy Cunningham and her husband are missionaries in Bolivia, South America. They work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is the author of several children’s books and devotionals. Her latest book is Shape Your Soul—31 Exercises of Faith that Move Mountains, a women’s devotional. Visit  www.PeggyCunningham.com.

 

Categories
Encouragement

Let Him Shine

 

Do you ever wish for more time in the day? God can do that––extend your time. He did do it. The Bible says so.

“The sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies” (Joshua 10:13 NIV). God still does miracles today. Maybe the sun won’t stand still, but we can find more time to shine. He can do a miracle in our life so that He shines through us, letting others see His miracles in us.

How to make that happen:

Realize. What is our spirituality?

It is God in us—serving each other and the world. How many miracles do we miss because we don’t believe the Lord? Worse yet, we don’t always realize the miracles God performs for us because we aren’t aware of Him in every aspect of our life. Joshua believed God to defeat the enemy. He realized God existed. We can start the day defeated before our feet hit the floor, or we can rise and shine––and realize His existence and power daily.

Reflect. Whom do we reflect?

So many verses talk about God’s face shining on us. The Psalmist says, “Make your face shine upon your servant and teach me your decrees” (Psalm 119:135 NIV). He wanted to be close to God and learn about Him. When we spend time in the Word, we learn of God’s teachings––His decrees. Applying those teachings changes our life. It’s then we reflect His shining face and others see Christ in us. When I apply moisturizer in the morning, my face shines. But as the day progresses, it loses its shine. Applying more moisturizer brings back the shine.

Rest. Rest assured, if we keep reading and applying God’s Word, our lives will shine continuously.

Apply God’s moisturizer all day (His Word) and let Him shine!

Peggy Cunningham and her husband have been missionaries in Bolivia, South America, since 1981. They work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also a prolific writer. Books one and two of her children’s series, Hooray for Holidays, recently released. Her devotional for adults is Dancing Like Bees. For more visit http://www.peggycunningham.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Devotional

Let Him Reign

Don’t you love a spring shower? Refreshing. Relaxing. Rejuvenating. But what happens when it doesn’t stop raining? Flooding. Only one kind of flooding refreshes, relaxes, and rejuvenates––the reign of God flooding our heart.

How do we know He reigns in our heart?

  • When He reigns in our heart, His praise flows from our lips.

“The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad” (Psalm 97:1 NIV). Our great God overflows from his creation. We can see His greatness through his creation. We are His creation. If He reigns in us, He flows through us. We not only experience refreshment but also others feel refreshed by our testimony. We should praise God’s great and awesome name because it symbolizes His persona and His nature. Our best witnessing happens when our hearts overflow with appreciation for what He has done. God has chosen us to declare His marvelous works.

  • When He reigns in our heart, we want to evangelize the whole world.

“…let the distant shores rejoice” (NIV 97:1b). How will His Word spread to distant shores so others, too, can rejoice in His presence? Only if God’s ambassadors take His Word to those distant shores will they know of Him and rejoice with us.

  • When God reigns in our heart, we worship Him and respect His name. We give Him praise by both our words and our life.

“The Lord reigns, let the nations tremble; he sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake” (Psalm 99:1 NIV). God’s holiness is frightening for sinners but a wonderful comfort for believers. God cannot tolerate sin. But for believers, God’s holiness gives comfort. And, because we worship Him, we are lifted from the mire of sin.

Have you seen these three examples flowing from your heart, soul, and lips?

You will if you let Him reign!

Peggy Cunningham and her husband have been missionaries in Bolivia, South America, since 1981. They work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also a prolific writer. Book 1 of her newly released children’s series, Hooray for Holidays, and her devotional for adults, Dancing Like Bees, are available on www.Amazon.com.

 

 

Categories
Author Interviews

A Chat with Author Peggy Cunningham

Marti Pieper
Marti Pieper

October greetings from Marti Pieper in lovely Mount Dora, Florida, where fall is in the air—not because our temperatures have dropped significantly but because of the growing number of pumpkin spice products available at local stores and coffee shops. I’m not quite sure what season it is where today’s interview guest, Peggy Cunningham, lives, and you’ll see why in just a few moments. I first met Peggy at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference and am delighted to have her join us on the CAN blog today.

Welcome, Peggy. Please tell us about your new book, Dancing Like Bees: 31 Steps to De-Stress, Delight and Dance Like Bees.

Peggy Cunningham
Peggy Cunningham

The book idea began with bees buzzing near me. I’d been walking our mission property early mornings––frustrated and exhausted. My husband suffered from a bout of shingles that left him in constant pain with no relief from the nerve damage it caused. At the onset, not even morphine helped. And it was almost two years since it all began. Where was God? Didn’t He see us here in the middle of a foreign country with no help?

As I sat by a flowerbed filled with daisies, the buzz of bees drew my attention. They flew peacefully from flower to flower doing the job God created them to do, even as a storm approached. If bees could be joyful and peaceful in all circumstances, surely I could find a way to do the same.

Through 31 devotions, my book examines what I learned about God’s creation of the honeybee and how it speaks direction into our need for living a peaceful, productive life while overcoming stress and achieving joy.