Thursday, February 20, 2014

Southern Hospitality

Over the past several months, I have been stirred to cultivate & engage in meaningful community. After years of networking, I long for more meaningful, deep relationships that transcend greetings and facilitating superficial connections.  Don't get me wrong, there is a place for networking and it can be a way to initiate community.  But when I think about our modern society, something strikes me as more than odd in the way that we can continue in long-time relationships, never really understanding more than the causes we stand for & the basic information we'd list on our Facebook profile.

So while I'm in the midst of my season as a homemaker, I recognize the blessing of being able to invest more time with my children and serve my husband more readily, but I also see the responsibility of serving others outside of my own little bubble through the blessing of one-on-one service.  The kind were you get to know people instead of an organization.  With the intentions of serving specific needs--whether it's the basic physiological need of food or the deeper need of friendship or belonging through a meal and hosting gatherings at our home, we have kicked off this year with a couple of special days.

In early January, we invited our neighbors over to an open house modeled after the idea of a Neighborhood Cafe.  It was a great time with several new relationships initiated.  We hope to host another Springtime gathering outdoors in April.

Thanks to some friends at church, we hosted a last-minute, kid-friendly Super Bowl party.  Sad to say, there was not much entertainment on the tube, but the kids provided plenty of action.  We really enjoyed the night and we were grateful to host.

This week, we are hosting a French exchange student and having my first Super Moms Supper Club all in one week.  Timing was a little off due to weather, but I'm excited to see how they turn out.  The goal is simply to serve and observe what God can do through His love.

As I engage in living out Christ's love through the notion of Southern Hospitality, I am reminded of the way that my Grandmother had an open-door policy and a ton of messy and beautiful relationships.  I hope that 2014 will be a year of open doors & broken down walls.  

Monday, February 17, 2014

Family Meal: Healthy Baby Food muffins

My little guy is going through a picky eating stage. He was a terrific eater until he started his most recent teething phase. One of our favorite tricks we learned with our picky 3-year-old was to make everything into muffins. So in order to combat today's melt-down on a need-to-grocery-shop day, I used stuff we have  and really you can modify these however you want. 

1 c flour
1 c quick oats
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. honey
1/2 c Cocunut oil (warmed)
1/2 c or 1 jar of baby food (I used sweet potato, but I think anything would work of they normally like the taste)
1 c applesauce 

Pre-heat oven to 350. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Pour in wet ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Spoon into muffin pan. I used mini muffin pan & cooked for 15 mins. Cook for 20-25 with larger pan. 

Let cool, then serve. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Be Refined Valentine

Love was tough long before we met.  The products of two broken marriages, we had never seen an Ephesians 5:33 marriage.  But I did know a lot about marriage.  Like many American girls, by the time I was old enough to spell the word "love" I had watched movies, read books, heard stories, listened to songs.  My mind was full of information about love & marriage.

So when you told me you loved me almost 6 years ago to the day, my heart fluttered like it was supposed to. Then the following year, we would enter into the world of "Happily Ever After." But even before we said "I do," layers of my modge-podged fairy tale castle were ripped off, leaving lots of pieces everywhere.  

Unsure of what to think or feel since my storybook had been ripped apart by the reality of relationship built with irrelevant and ineffective tools, I started digging into the Word where I remembered the truest love story ever created.  A story of perfect, flawless love giving, serving, forgiving, encouraging.  

After almost 5 years of marriage, I have learned that our love wasn't born out of romance. True love was found in the process of being refined; chiseling off the pieces of us and allowing pieces of Him to shine.  Breaking apart the hardened, petrified parts is uncomfortable and sometimes painful.  Sometimes submitting seems like I'm losing a part of me.  Being humble is not easy.  But what comes out of the refining process is a rare gem that is lovely and carries value-not a weighty rock that can't even scratch the surface.  

Yes, love wasn't born out of romance, but in the refining process, we've created our own romance.  There is depth to it.  It's genuine & significant.  

Happy Valentines Day dear lover!  May we continue to be refined & reflect His brilliant light!

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Snow.  While it is rare in the South and causes mixed reactions among many, I marvel and enjoy its beauty.  For the second night in a row, the night sky--usually pitch dark in my wooded neighborhood--looks as bright as a new dawn making the time seem slower and the days seem longer.

As we enjoyed the fresh-laid snow last night, my son asked why the sky was so bright, making note that it usually wasn't this light outside at night. All day I had been thinking about the "snow" covering and how it transformed the view from a harsh wintery landscape to a pure new wonderland. In the same way that Christ covers my harsh, imperfect life and creates a sense of wonder and purpose in the land that once seemed desolate. Of course it's the snow white covering that reflects the existing light to produce a less bleak scenario.  Considering his inquisition, I also recalled how John the Baptist talked about reflecting Christ's light.  I responded by sharing both facts.

May we realize that when we are covered by His great grace, we can reflect His light, which reveals truth and direction in even the darkest of nights. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Be still

Anyone who knows me, knows that I stay busy. Always churning ideas, getting involved, doing something. 

That something used to be fulfilling my career goals, dreaming of business ideas and trying them out and engaging in my community through leadership & service in local nonprofits. 

All the while I was raising and making babies and trying to juggle. But then I stepped out of the boat and on to the water to walk toward Jesus and He has allowed me to make little fisherman--at least for a season--despite my inadequacy. And anyone who has babies-especially three-knows that things are constantly humming. No quiet ever. 

So as I have continued to pray for wisdom in the upcoming season of my life. He Speaks:

Oh how hard it is to Be Still. When you're so conditioned to movement. It may even be painful to stop. 

But God has called me to Stop Striving.  So that I can know Him better.  And recognize that He is the ruler of all the Heavens & Earth.  Including my life. He is to be exalted. 

And the significant trappings of busyness will grow dim as the amazing light of his glory overpowers the present circumstance & prepares my heart for things to come.