Category Archives: Simply Devotional

The original Martha & Mary


Which Martha am I talking about??? Well… I can say, with complete confidence… my mother is the ORIGINAL Martha Stewart. They are approximately the same age, but my mother is so much more special and talented than Martha. Let me explain…

My mom grew up in Peru, where she learned the art of hand crafting, sewing, hand washing linens, starching, cooking and so much more from her mother. Her mother (my grandmother) was so talented. She was a professional opera singer, an expert seamstress who made many of her own costumes, and she played the piano beautifully.

I remember many nights when my mother would stay up late at night and into the wee hours of the morning sewing beautiful dresses for her girls, for my aunts, and for her self. She would patiently make our halloween costumes, finishing them with sequins, beautiful buttons, bows, and other special touches that she would sew on by hand.

Birthday party invitations were always special, and hand crafted long before scrapbooking supplies were in style. I’m talking about the 1970’s!! I remember one invitation was a black ant cut out of black construction paper with little minnie mouse feet, a real lace dress with sequins buttons and a cute little face and antennas. Another invitation was made out of those little old fashioned 4″ plastic white milk jugs that was turned into a clown with a little white styrofoam ball glued to the top as the head with yarn hair, sequins buttons, felt clothes… She was so creative, and she always made our parties so special with delicious food and fun entertainment like puppet shows and kids music.

My mother worked long hours organizing her home, making sure it was always spotlessly clean, welcoming, beautiful, and always open for anyone at any time. Her home was, and still is, beautifully appointed and decorated, often sewing her own window treatments, pillows covers, bed covers, and slip covers for chairs or couches. Her pantry was always stocked, and meals were always delicious, even when her budget was tight. She never showed us if she was stressed, overwhelmed or upset. She was always emotionally controlled and joyful. She was and still is a hard worker, serving others first.

Not only has my mother worked hard at home, but she has always, ALWAYS been involved in ministry at church. Women’s ministry has always been close to her heart. She’s led Bible studies, home groups, ministered to women who had gone through divorce, or women who had husbands with addictions or recovering from addictions.What ever ministry God placed her in, she was involved 100%. It’s the example I saw through my young adult life and its what I patterned my own life after. Yes, she resembles Martha Stewart, but she also closely paralleled someone else that I find far more important.

The story of Martha and Mary in the Bible is one I’ve always loved. Sadly, I’ve always identified with Martha, because for 25 years, I’ve run into ministry full tilt, always busy working, preparing, juggling, running around, serving… frustrated because I felt like everyone around me was so un-committed to helping out in ministry. I’ve been the one who would fill in when someone was absent. I’d run myself ragged, become ill, and still keep running, exasperated at all the bodies sitting on the pews listening to the message the pastor was sharing, or enjoying worship. I need to say that I NEVER saw my mom doing this. Ever! This is Martha, only in a different setting.

And this is where I would say to Jesus… “Lord, do you not care that my friends have left me to do all the serving alone? Tell them to help me!” And, Jesus would say to me… “Giselle, Giselle… You are worried and bothered about so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for all the others have chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from them.” (a loose translation of: Luke 10:40-42) Sound familiar? It’s the exact conversation Martha and Jesus had about Mary.

Needless to say, my mom is a Mary. Mary was Martha’s sister who sat at Jesus’ feet, learning and worshipping. My mom was able to balance her priorities as Mary was, knowing that while hospitality is important, and that serving others and having your home in order, and working your full time job is also important, placing your relationship with the Lord first and sitting at his feet, worshipping him, reading his word, and spending time with him is far more important than anything else. This is when we hear from him, when he mends our brokenness, when he moves in our hearts and when we grow spiritually.

Mary’s heart was in the right place, and her motives pure, and Jesus knew her heart, just as he knows our hearts and thoughts.Yes, My mom has a lot of Martha in her, but in her heart and spirit, she’s a Mary. She knows her priorities.

This story isn’t just for women. It’s for men as well. You fill your lives with work, softball, golf, projects at home or away from home, filming silly things, playing around with your technology, fishing, hunting, building things, ministries with the children or youth, home groups, serving at church, music or whatever other busy things men do… The principle is the same. Slow down and take time to re-prioritize!!

Let’s all make it a priority to choose the “good part that won’t be taken away from us!”

And that’s… According to Giselle!


What’s In Your Purse?


When I got married in 1990, my grandparents and aunt and uncle came from Peru for the occasion. My sister and I loved spending time with my grandparents, because they were so different than my American grandparents. They were kind, loving and funny, especially my Abuelita (grandmother in Spanish).

My sister and I remember one particularly funny moment while they were here for my wedding. We were sitting on the couch relaxing one evening with our Abuelita. She was cluching her purse closely to her chest. We asked her what she had in her little old fashioned purse, and she pulled out some sewing supplies, some tissues, and a clean pair of underwear. We looked at her in surprise, but she explained that sometimes when you got older and sneeze, you “leak” and it was always good to have a change of underwear in your purse. We all had a good laugh over that. She was so cute and silly at the same time, she had us laughing so hard. I dearly loved that woman.


If I was asked the same question?  That’s easy… NOW. I have my wallet, makeup, phone, bluetooth, gum, pens — the normal stuff. But when my son was little, it wasn’t out of the ordinary to find a broken toy, a ball, a half eaten gooey snack, spilled and crumbled gold fish, a pacifier, a sippy cup, a kids dvd, crayons, rocks, leaves, or even a clean change of his underwear or a diaper. Strange and unusual things, and it took a long time for me to stop carrying strange and unusual things around for my son. They weighed down my purse, and actually, I had to carry a larger purse just so I could accommodate his things, as well as mine. It was heavy, and I’m, sure moms with little ones can relate with a smile, laugh, or a sore shoulder, while moms with older children cackle with laughter at sweet memories, while celebrating their cute and fashionable purses that line their closets.

The same could be asked about our personal burdens. What do you carry around in your personal baggage, or rather… your personal and fashionably adorable bag of burdens? Do you even realize you’re carrying your burdens around? Maybe it’s the fear of the unknown with an aging parent (as in my case), or an unwanted diagnosis that frightens you, or possibly the worry of your child with a sickness or even being accepted into college (or just graduating from high school). Could it be that you’re having marital struggles, or there’s just one element in your marriage that you’re unhappy about, or struggles with finances, loss of a job, ongoing health issues.

Whatever the burden, it can feel heavy, it can weigh us down physically and emotionally, and it can hurt our heart. Sometimes, we don’t know who we can turn to, and other times, we know just who we can go to… but always, we can leave our burdens at the feet of the Lord. I know that sounds silly — leaving our burdens at someones feet, but really, the Lord just wants us to pray to him, share with him what is weighing heavy on our hearts.

Most importantly, he doesn’t want us to just pray. He wants us to leave our worries with him. That sounds silly also, because we keep praying about our needs, without stopping, until we see them resolve. But he wants us to leave the BURDEN part with him… the part that weighs us down and robs us of our peace. Why? Because he loves us. Just like we love our children and never want them to worry about a need — or anything, really.

Knowing that, I hope that today, you can go to the Lord in prayer and empty that bag of burdens you are carrying around and leave your worry in the Lord’s care! And remember — he CARES about you!

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”

1 Peter 5:7