Archives for March 2011

Warm Welcome

How many times have you experienced the blessing of a truly warm welcome? Don and I got to watch one as we helped Kristin and Shawn move into their new neighborhood during spring break, and I must tell you, we were amazed.

Neighbors from up and down their street popped over one after the other to introduce themselves and extend a hand of friendship to our kids. The warm welcome and spirit of unity and camaraderie displayed as these kind folks made an effort to get to know Kristin and Shawn immediately and assure them — and us in the process — that they were moving into a great neighborhood was indeed priceless.

I think I’m safe in saying that this just doesn’t happen that much anymore in today’s world, and what a blessing it was to watch it happen to Kristin and Shawn. What parent wouldn’t be thrilled to know that there are friendly, caring people living near their kids? And yes, I remember that my kids are grown adults who have been out on their own for several years now, but it still made me happy :) And I think it made Kristin and Shawn feel pretty happy as well.

After seeing the positive impact of such a warm welcome, I’d like to encourage us all — me included — to be ready to offer equally friendly welcomes to those in our own circles. I realize every neighborhood has its own personality and most won’t be like Kristin and Shawn’s (ours isn’t), but we can do our part to welcome newcomers there and in other areas of life as well.

For example, do we help others feel not only welcomed but included in relationships and groups through our workplaces or at church? Do we go out of our way to make sure they know a great community stands ready to support and befriend them?

Just think of the loving welcome Jesus extended to so many — the crowds, the little children, Zacchaeus, the woman at the well, the thief on the cross… Opportunities are all around us. Let’s not miss them. Let’s take the time for a loving touch. Let’s take the time for a warm welcome.

“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4

*Flickr photo by briannaorg, Creative Commons License

Handle With Care

So what do empty-nesters do on spring break? Go see their kids, of course! :) The twist this year? Not only did we travel to see our oldest and her beloved, we helped them move from the rental in their new city to a more permanent spot — a house they purchased earlier this month! They found a wonderful home in a great neighborhood, and we couldn’t be happier for them.

We’ve been on hand for each of Kristin’s kajillion moves since she left home for college, but this was the first time we witnessed the moving of one of her newest prize possessions — her baby grand piano (can’t remember if I’ve mentioned she’s a professional pianist). This is one item that the Four Parents Moving Team (Shawn’s folks and us!) are not allowed to move. Nor, I might add, do we want to attempt it. We all know when something is beyond us, and we’re not afraid to admit it. Well, usually :)

An expensive and precious item like a baby grand deserves — and needs — to be handled with care. And when it comes time to move one, professionals must do the job. Shawn and his dad both jumped in to provide extra pairs of steadying hands, but the men who move pianos day in and day out were the ones fully in charge of the operation. The rest of us stood back, each one holding his or her breath while I, of course, snapped pictures :)

Since then, thoughts of other things that need — and deserve — to be handled with care have come to mind. As I mentioned in my post about the Book of all books, I tell my little ones in Sunday School that the Bible is a special book, and I teach them to literally be careful as they handle it. And now I’m wondering, as adults, do we handle the Word of God with the respect and careful thought and studying it deserves? Do we treat it as one of our prized possessions?

What else in our lives needs to be handled with care? Our relationships, our reputations, our health? How about our finances and the earth God entrusted into our care? And let’s not forget our testimonies as children of God. Each of these is precious and deserving of special care.

What else can you think of that calls for us to go above and beyond, that calls for handling with care? Will we be faithful to give them the careful attention they deserve?

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity…” Ephesians 5:15-16a

Break Time

It’s break time around our house — Spring Break, that is. So in the spirit of Spring Break fun, I thought you might enjoy a look at me and my sister Debbie taking a break from some serious playing back in the day. Not sure what happened to my clothes, but at least I had little pink curlers on top of my head. A girl’s gotta set her priorities :)

And this week my priorities are family and fun so I’m outta here for awhile. If it’s break time for you as well, hope you can kick back and relax for part of it anyway. And by the way, skip the curlers — I’m going to! :)

See you next week!

“‘The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.'” Numbers 6:24-26

Favorites from the Book of all Books

If you’ve followed my blog for very long, you know that we talk books every now and then. It’s fun to share what we’re currently reading and what our favorites are and at the same time pick up some great recommendations for future reads. Today I’d like to talk books again, but this time let’s talk about the Book of all books — the Bible, also known as the Word of God.

As I tell the little ones in my nursery-age Sunday School class, the Bible is a special book. In fact, it’s the most treasured book I own and my absolute all-time favorite to read. When it comes to other books, even the ones I fall in love with or am blown away by, none stay as close to my heart as the Bible. After I read others, I put them on a shelf and only think of them occasionally. Because I love them, I might pick them up again and reread them years later, but they don’t impact my life every day.

Not so with my Bible. I read it (or select verses from it in devotional reading) daily. I even try to memorize verses that I especially need or love. Not only is the Word of God “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16) in my life, it breathes fresh life into me like nothing else is able to do. It comforts me, guides me, encourages me, and gives me truth that I can offer to other thirsty souls. To put it like the Bible itself does, “the word of God is living and active…” (Hebrews 4:12)

I’m sure the Bible is as life-changing and precious to many of you as well. So today let’s share some of our “favorites” from it. What’s your favorite book within the Bible? Favorite story? Favorite verse? I hope you’ll take time to leave a comment and answer any one or all of the questions. It’ll be fun to hear what’s especially meaningful to others, won’t it?

I think my favorite book has to be Psalms — maybe because I love poetic writing and music, but it’s also so full of refreshment and encouragement. My favorite story is the Christmas story. For me, it’s just hard to top the angel’s announcement of a Savior born to us all. And favorite verse? That’s a hard one. So many mean so much to me. But one I come back to time and again is Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” (NKJV)

Okay, it’s your turn. Tell us your favorites from the Book of all books!

“They are not just idle words for you—they are your life.” Deuteronomy 32:47a

*Flickr photo by Savio Sebastian, Creative Commons License

Trust In Him

IMG_2626Poetry, like music, can minister to weary or hurting hearts, and every now and then the Lord puts it on my heart to write a poem for someone going through a heartbreaking or agonizing time. I’m always thankful to be able to offer a bit of comfort in this way.

I wrote the first variation of the poem below for some friends many years ago. It flowed from my own experience of a dark and difficult time. I pray that it will encourage and strengthen someone in a special way today and remind all of us that we can always “Trust in Him”.

Trust In Him

When times of crisis come your way
You know you can trust in Him,
When the burden is more
Than you can bear,
Continue to trust in Him.
When you don’t understand
All that is happening to you,
You know He does—
Trust in Him.
When you feel like the joy
Has gone out of your life,
He still wants you to trust in Him.
And when you finally feel
Like God has forgotten you,
He’ll show you He hasn’t—
Trust in Him.
Then one day
When you look back on this time,
You’ll be glad you trusted in Him.

“Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal.” Isaiah 26:4

*When have you looked back and been glad that you trusted in God?

*My photo