Saturday, January 14, 2023

My First Read of 2023

"As believers in Jesus, we each have a calling on our lives to tell our faith stories, to "shine among them" like beacons of light to the world as we "hold firmly to the word of life" (Philippians 2:15-16). We are called to show compassion, to promote peace and to speak grace. We are encouraged to lean in, to hear people, to see people, to invest in relationships, and to build community with those around us. We are created to have fellowship with one another. We are commanded to love people well. We are exhorted to live lives that exemplify Christ's love and sacrifice for His beloved humanity. And in Romans 12:13, Paul told us one way we can do that is to "practice hospitality."

And this is what He does . . .

Fueled by His desire to make Himself known to the hearts of humanity, God takes our obedience, our yearning to be used by Him, and our longing to be joy in he world, and He turns our simple soup things into significant spiritual things. Did you catch that? Simple things become significant things. Soup things become spiritual things. We surrender our lives, we understand the significant impact of simple hospitality, we invite people in and ask God to move, to bring life change, to show off His heart of service and grace, and to be the one who receives applause.  

When we as God's people seek to use our homes and our holy welcomes to usher in the goodness of God and minister to those around us, the wonder of biblical hospitality takes place. We offer up whatever means God has given us to show the world the love of Jesus and the hope we've found in Him. We invite folks in, and we invest in them. We choose people over perfection. We brew unremarkable pots of coffee and serve bundt cakes that are better on taste than technique. And we let loose the Spirit of God to do whatever He purposes in the lives of those in our chairs, at our tables, and on our porches.

God takes small things and makes them significant things. He turns soup things into spiritual things. All we have to do is open our homes, invite people in and ask Him to."


One of my goals in this new year is to make more time for reading, and I'm already off to a good start. I finished this book today, and was so blessed by it! If you are someone who has a desire to pursue biblical hospitality but struggles with feeling that your offerings are less than perfect, this book will encourage and uplift you. You'll even find a recipe for something to make and share tucked at the end of each chapter! It's a lovely read!

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Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Of Loving-Kindness and Gentle Hearts

I found this tucked among some other cross stitched items recently, no doubt placed there so that I would remember to add the little charm for the upcoming year. I first made this in 2020 and that is the only charm I've made for it. I have good intentions, other things just always seem to come first. I even had the thought to make sure it didn't get packed away with the Christmas decorations and still failed to get it done. But I decided that even without the charm it is lovely, and I found a place for it on the shelf in the family room. A new year is beginning, indeed.

It reminded of this lovely passage by Gladys Taber, and I want to share it here, with you. I hope you will enjoy it, and if you're fond of it you'll find a number of selections by Gladys, here. I highly recommend all of them. 

"What the new year will bring, we cannot know. I think of the year that has been folded away in time. There has been much good in it, although some sorrow; but there are always, in any year, many lovely memories and I shall cherish them.  If is not, for most of us, a pageant of splendor but is made up of many small things, rather like an old fashioned piecework quilt. No two people have the same, but we all have our own, whether it be listening to Beethoven's Fifth with a beloved friend or seeing a neighbor at the back door with a basket of white dahlias. Or after a long, hard day having the family say, "That was a good supper."

As the clock moves irrevocably from yesterday to today, I go out on the terrace and fill my heart with the intensity of the winter moonlight. This is the time when the heart is at peace and the spirit rests. I think of the words, "Be still and know that I am God." Far off a branch falls in the old orchard, and sometimes a plane goes overhead bound for a far destination. I wish the piot well in that cold sky, and hope the passengers come safely home. Silently I say, "Happy New Year to all of us, all over the turning earth. And may we make it a year of loving-kindness and gentle hearts."


Monday, January 9, 2023

The Small, Ordinary Things of Life

Good morning, friends! I trust your year is off to a lovely start thus far.

January is not behaving at all, as it should, at least, not to suit me. After a very cold Christmas weekend with a wind chill of -20, a week later we were into the 60's! And while -20 was a bit extreme, even for me, I much prefer my January overcast with highs in the upper 30's and low 40's at best. But, I will say that last week's hint of Spring did allow me to take care of some outside projects that otherwise would have waited for several more weeks, and so for that, I am grateful. Perspective, it's the key to life!

I've been toying with what to share here, in this space, of which I am so fond but struggle so greatly to fill.  It is not for a lack of ideas, for I have a long list of those, it's really more about finding, or should I say, prioritizing the time to do so. And while I'm not big on new year resolutions, I have made it a goal to try to write here with more regularity.  Ultimately that would look like at least three times a week, and if I keep them short and sweet and not strive to write an essay with each entry, I think it might be doable.  But I'll be honest, I'm not even going to hold myself to that in the beginning. I think if I manage to share one new post a week at first, I'm going to call it progress. 

My hope is to share more of the small, ordinary things of life with you, as is in keeping with the theme entirely! I think I often trip myself up thinking that I must write profound, life changing posts to keep people interested. But the truth is, the people who are blessed by my small offerings will find there way here, and if it is only a few, I've never been about numbers, anyway. Years ago that was what blogging was. Just women (primarily, at least in my circle), sharing the things of life that made up their days, and we were blessed by them. Recipes, snippets from our reading, links to articles we found interesting, those are the kind of posts that blessed me and that I enjoyed sharing, and so that's my intention and I hope you'll be blessed by it.

And in that spirit, as I close for today, I want to share a line from a sweet little poem of January from my collection, which reflects more of how I would prefer my January to be.

Bare branches of each tree

on this chilly January morn

look so cold so forlorn.

Gray skies dip ever so low

left from yesterday's dusting of snow.

-  NELDA HARTMANN, January Morn

Many blessings be upon you this day, my friends! I'll be back, very soon.