It’s been really foggy here in the valley. I mean the kind of fog where you have almost no visibility at times. It’s in these moments when I remember that when I was a teen I said I would never live in the valley. Only my kids came along and suddenly my upbringing came into play. The thought of bringing up my kids in a big California city or raising them in a small town in the valley loomed before me and I chose the small town in the valley.
There is something about not seeing the sun for days on end. It makes the time endless and mundane. Going to work in the fog and coming home in the fog gets old. Wednesday, just when it got to be too much to handle, my husband called a meeting. He decided we’d go to the coast to have a sand seminar. So off we went and 30 minutes later we were driving in full sunshine and 20 degrees warmer. We went to sit on the beach. The temperature was 74 degrees, the sun felt so necessary on my skin and our work still got done thanks to the modern technology of an ipad.
It is those little moments of a two hour break in the sunshine that makes me realize how adored we are by God. He really cares about the little things in my life and letting me have a little moment was so refreshing. Recognizing the blessing of a car, an ipad, a job where I can sneak off for a day, the sun, the warmth, the sand, the shore, my husband. I really have a great life. It’s those little things that make life worth living and in those moments where my selfish self doesn’t take the things that God has blessed us with for granted.
I have to say that I have a husband who adores me as well. The fact that he noticed I needed some sun and that he was able to move some meetings around to take me is pretty great. The fact that he sat quietly and didn’t complain when I brought my work with me wasn’t lost on me. He really is a great guy and he loves me. My heart is full!
There are some great points to remember when you’re hosting a good party. As part of our Etiquette portion of the blog I want to write some of them down.
1. Make sure you plan your party out a few weeks in advance so you are as prepared as you can be.
2. Invite your guests ahead of time, at least a couple of weeks so that they can block the time on their schedule.
3. I always ask if there are things people don’t like or are allergic.
SIDE NOTE: For those of you going to a party, please tell the truth. I once had a party where someone didn’t eat fish and it was the main course. I wasn’t told. I would have rather have changed my menu then to have a guest not be able to eat the main course. It’s not rude to tell your host ahead of time what you can’t/won’t eat. They will appreciate being able to serve you something you enjoy.
4. Atmosphere is key! Checking your cell phone continuously, having a messy house, having the television on, not having guest towels and extra toilet paper in the bathroom, and cooking while your guest entertain themselves is not being a good host. Set the stage for a comfortable, and enjoyable time. Try to be on the back end of the prep when your guests arrive. This means planning your meals in advance, cooking the majority in advance and having your table set and ready. Time yourself, this isn’t the time to procrastinate. Be present!
5. Make sure you have enough drinks and food for everyone to eat as much as they’d like.
6. Pay attention to what is popular. I have a entertainment journal where I keep the favorite dishes of my regular guests.
7. Don’t be overly concerned with perfection. If you’ve prepped it all and cleaned ahead of time, you’ll be fine. Enjoy the time with your guests. If a dish doesn’t go over well, no big deal, you’ll know for next time!
Isaiah 43:18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
Just a quick blog today to point out that everything I read about this one true living God we serve is that nothing stays the same for any length of time. Things evolve, take shape, take new direction, find new avenues to work within. God is not the god of sameness. He is the God of intention and purpose and destiny and that all requires change and an ability to move forward.
So why then do we lament that the church is changing? Why do we cry out for the old music, the old preaching, the old ways of doing things? Could it be that we want to constrain the Constant Visionary King? Why do we admonish the younger generation for their jeans and their service when the Lord says he clearly doesn’t look at the outward appearance? Why do we insist on stifling creativity and movement? I’ll tell you what I think. We are hell bent on making exclusionary clubs for church people. I say hell bent because we will give an account for being comfortably apathetic within the four walls of the church and forgetting about the unsaved, or worse, leaving it up to someone else because we are too tired.
Wake up, lest you be left behind in your good ‘ol days mentality. God says remember where I brought you from and look to where I am taking you. That is the resounding message of the Bible.
This year I am determined to point those who read this blog to things they can do to make our world a better place. Here is a ministry called Moms Against Hunger that was started by my friend Dr. Gayla Holley. She is feeding, sending medical supplies, and helping mothers worldwide. Imagine you are a mother in a country such as Haiti, an earthquake happens and suddenly your home is gone, there is no running water, there are no diapers, there is no food to speak of. As a mother myself, my first impulse would be to care for my children by whatever means I had. Now a year later, that same mother has made no headway. She hears of rumors of millions of dollars coming into the country. She speaks to many who promise help but a year later she is still in the same position. What does she do?
She has to count on people like Dr. Gayla Holley who got her friends together and the local media of Houston, Texas and asked for help. She asked for a million baby wipes and got two million, she asked for bottled water, baby food, diapers, food bars, water filters all things a mother desperately needs.
Now imagine you’re an American who has lost their job and is in need of help. Government agencies don’t always move at the same rate our hunger pains do. What do you do when the local food bank is out of food? When you need some groceries to get you through a couple of weeks? What do you do when you need to get some warm clothes for your kids and you don’t have enough money to do so? You go see people like Dr. Gayla Holley, and her team and vouchers are provided so that you can go to the local thrift store and get some help with those things.
During our prayer night, I read Psalm 119. While everyone around me was praying and Jesus Culture was playing on CD softly in the background, I was engrossed in this psalm. I was so impressed in my spirit over this verse:
32 I will run the course of Your commandments, For You shall enlarge my heart.
In a world where we focused on the prayer of Jabez to enlarge our territory and our prayers lean more towards enlarging our salary and enlarging our shoe collection, here in verse 32 we have a significant request.
What does it mean to enlarge my heart? I would think it would mean my heart would grow in love. That means both good and bad because although love is a good thing, it also means my hearts breaks over the things that break the heart of God. It means I don’t overlook things that are uncomfortable, it means I put my desires aside if there is a greater good to be served. It means I am reaching for people who are negative and frustrating. It means I don’t avoid things I don’t want to deal with but rather I do what is right.
Praying to enlarge my heart is a completely different prayer than enlarging my territory, yet, it encompasses the very same thing. For as I enlarge my heart and begin to reach out I will find myself in places I would never have gone. It’s a pretty powerful prayer. Then there’s the statement just before it that says, I will run the course of your commandments, I wonder if I am ready to pray it with any sincerity at all?
I wonder if I’m ready to love the alcoholic, the AIDS patient, the atheist, the person who hates me, myself, the Lord, you? I wonder if I am willing to put down my agendas and my visions, and this time, not excuse my behavior but really run the course of God’s commandments? Heck, sometimes I don’t want to run on the treadmill and fulfill my promise to myself, can I really run a course of commandments? One sentence can change my whole life. It can turn it upside down. Am I up for it? Are you? Maybe it’s time to try!
Never having been a fan of sweats with words on the rear I wasn’t surprised that men didn’t like them either. I mean the main focus is to get people to look at your butt in sweats. Yes unattractive and not subtle at all. Then there’s the whole leggins and Ugg debate!
I read this article by Matt Christensen and thought it was great. Enjoy!