Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Hospitality II: Stranger Danger

Posted on: March 14th, 2013 by Alaina Pompa No Comments

New FamilyI’m never comfortable meeting new people, and any big parade to welcome me and my family, honestly, would make me feel even more uncomfortable.

When I looked back at our last Thanksgiving holiday and the act of hospitality I experienced, I realized how much making friends usually involves taking some risks. It was just as risky for us to attend as it was for them to invite us.

So I’ve made peace with allowing people to see the mess that is my home and my life. My family regularly makes a practice of inviting people over to share meals with us.  But I will be honest that the people we invite are usually people we know and who are a lot like us. Every year my husband and I casually talk about having an open house and inviting the neighbors to attend, but so far we have never done it.

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Hospitality Part I: What is Biblical Hospitality?

Posted on: December 18th, 2012 by Alaina Pompa No Comments

Welcome

Why is it that we so often take something simple and make a big production out of it. Don’t get me wrong, I love a big party and Hobby Lobby as much as the next girl, but is this what Paul meant when he said we are to “Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality,” (Romans 12:13)?

As I began to learn about biblical hospitality one thing I notice is how often meals are shared.  This is exciting for me because I love to eat almost as much as I love to breathe.  In Jesus’ time a shared table meant a shared life.  To break bread with someone conveyed your acceptance of them.

The second idea to notice is the number of times hospitality revolves around home.  Our homes are private and personal.  In your home people will see the drapes you have chosen, the colors you like, the books you read, if you have kids, and if you have pets.   There are clues around a person’s home that reveal what makes that person tick.  Of course people may also see the stains on your carpet, the cat hair on your couch, the dishes in your sink and that your toilet could use a swish.  But this should not prevent us from inviting people into our homes, because hospitality is about people, not perfection.

Chaos

In 2007 our family moved to Florida where we didn’t know a soul. As a mom with young kids who works from home, I didn’t get out much.  In an effort to connect with other moms I joined a MOPS group.  In fact, I was so desperate for friendship that I joined three.

As Thanksgiving approached that year, I realized this would be the first year in my life that I didn’t have plans for a holiday that had always been about family and friends.  Then a mom at MOPS invited our family to join her family at her neighbor’s house for dinner.  All three of us had recently moved to the area and no one had extended family to share the day with. My husband and I were hesitant to go because I didn’t really know this mom, and I didn’t know her neighbor at all, but we accepted anyway.

Dinner was a potluck jumble of barstools, folding chairs, card tables, blue jeans and babies.   Nothing about it was coordinated or fancy.  There wasn’t even a formal table, let alone a tablescape.  But you know what?  It was perfect. 

Food, a friendly invite, and my new acquaintances was all that was needed to make us feel welcome.  If you’re considering hosting a gathering, don’t fear the fancy.  Keep it simple.  An open door is all you need.  Let perfect happen on its own.

What’s In a Name?

Posted on: December 15th, 2012 by Donna Schmitz No Comments

Dear Donna,

I am seriously dating an awesome man who I love and respect greatly. Tonight he brought up a topic that we’ve never really discussed before. He comes from a family of 6 boys. They all have biblical first names with no middle name. In my family we all have a family middle name. He feels strongly about continuing things his way and I feel the same about mine. I already have a child who has a middle name. We do plan to get married someday and I felt it necessary to be open and honest in response to his comment. Is there a way to respectfully disagree about stuff like this? Obviously it’s not something we have to decide now, but I want to do things right now and in the future!

- Jessica

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Recipe to Keep Your Heart in Check

Posted on: November 27th, 2012 by Sara VanWychen No Comments

Oh, the desires of one’s heart. We all have them. But when our desires become our main focus, and we live our lives solely based on them, it can be dangerous, especially when they are of this world.

In the past I’ve made decisions based on MY desires – my wants, my needs.

A good friend once told me a couple of years ago, “All I hear you say is…me, me, ME!!”

I’ve been known to be quite selfish and a little obsessive.  My marriage was in jeopardy and with two small children, I became focused on getting out and showing the world how independent I could be.

Thankfully, God had a different plan for my family.  He fired up the Holy Spirit in my heart, and now I have a really hard time living this life for myself.  Truth is, it isn’t all about me anymore and I am so thankful for that.  Life is so much simpler letting God take care of it all.  When I do revert back and lose my focus, God’s got that covered too!  God is at the center of my family’s lives and we are constantly seeking out His guidance and way for us. (more…)

NO MA’AM!

Posted on: November 20th, 2012 by Nicole Wood No Comments

I do not know about you but from time to time it is as if the word NO has been completely erased from my vocabulary!  Zip, Zilch, Gone!  Then replaced with, “Yes. I can do that,” or “Sure. No problem,” or the ever reliable, “No worries. I’ll just fit it into my schedule!”

Why is it so hard for some of us to say no and for others so easy?  For one thing, I have learned the hard way that good is the rival of best.  In other words there are so many good things we can do with our time but those good things can often distract us from spending our time on the best.

As women I think most of us can agree that we have schedules that are so jammed packed we hardly have the time for one more thing.  Let alone the unexpected that God might send our way. There are many good things we can say yes to, but we have to learn to start saying yes to the best and starting saying the word NO more often.

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“Dear Merick, I’m Sorry,” by Dana Matas

Posted on: October 25th, 2012 by Lisa Van Wyk 3 Comments

Two of the central issues driving the discourse in this year’s Presidential election are our country’s $16 trillion debt and a need for a balanced budget. As a reminder of what is at stake for our children and grandchildren’s children, we wanted to share with you the following letter written by Dana Matas to her newborn son. Penned a few years ago, just after the housing market crash, Dana explains why her son’s generation may not inherit the greatest country in the world should we not learn from our mistakes.  Dana encourages people in their faith and family through her website “Confessions of a Busy Mama.”

Dear Merick,

When I was growing up, my parents taught me that if you worked hard and played by the rules, you would someday enjoy the fruits of your labor as you saw fit to do. We called it “the American Dream.” For some people, the American Dream meant providing financial security for his or her family. For others it meant buying the most outrageously expensive car. And still for others, the American Dream meant giving every last penny you’ve earned to charity. See back then, the American Dream wasn’t about equal outcome; it was about equal opportunity and having the freedom to live your dreams as you saw fit.

It breaks my heart to know that during your lifetime, the “American Dream” has truly become just that—a dream. I can still remember the day that I realized you would be born into a country that no longer resembled the America I grew up believing in, an America that rewarded hard work and dedication. And all I can say is, “I’m sorry.”

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God and the Economy: Trust and Plan by Lara Sadowski

Posted on: October 16th, 2012 by Lisa Van Wyk No Comments

 

Lara O’Brien Sadowski is our guest writer today.  She is a southern gal who loves all things writing, speaking, her family, and Jesus.  Lara is a beautiful example of how the Lord has the power to bring purpose through our pain.  Through writing and speaking, Lara shares her experiences with others to help them through their trials and shows them how the Lord can break any stronghold in their life.  Visit her at The Journey of a Southern Gal.

I need to stop watching the news as much as I do. But sometimes I cannot help myself. I am a self-described “newshound,” and between the economy and the Middle East and that “little election” happening in November, I have had a non-stop deluge of important stories to fill my mind.

I would say that the economy is one of the single most important situations we are all facing today. Will I be laid off? Will my husband be laid off? What about our retirement? Will we have enough in his son’s college fund? Worrying has been a common denominator for me and my family, but one day I realized something I was leaving out of our economic equation. Or should I say someone? The Lord Jesus Christ. I was allowing worry to saturate me instead of taking my concerns to Him.

This down-turning economy affects everyone the same – including Christians. So I asked myself a very important question. As a Christian, how should I react to the economy? I knew that there had to be a better answer than worrying excessively over my family’s financial future. And there is. Trusting and planning.

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Where Freedom was Found

Posted on: October 4th, 2012 by Lisa Van Wyk No Comments

Freedom.  Promised, they did Lord, when we set sail from the tired shores of England.  Freedom from the monarchial ruling of King James, and his fractured beliefs tainted in part by the Roman church, and in part by his love of self rule.  It’ s a cold and brutal 1620 in November.  You are with us Lord.  You must be. We are still here.

While the seas ravaged our splintering cargo boat for days on end, my sickness fell not from the forceful swell of waves, but from the birth of my second child, Oceanus.  A son without country, a birthplace between two worlds: the Old and the New.  May the Lord grant you wisdom Oceanus, to lead a different life my child, one in which is not tainted of falsehoods conjured by men hungry for power and position, but by a life structured by the hands of God himself.

You know our greatest desire Lord was to separate from the Church of England and worship You in a pure and honest way.  The turbulent oppression by those in rank was stronger than this forceful gale that now beckons us to our death.  We would take these frigid winds and biting sleet if it meant living in your presence only.  Here we are, the only way out, this passageway aboard the Mayflower.  It is unfit for life, created for the rank and smell of wine and cargo. But cargo we must be if we are to see a new day.  Cargo we will be if that is your will. (more…)

The “One” Supply

Posted on: September 4th, 2012 by Nickie Jupp 3 Comments

August comes so quickly after a summer of hot humid days and lots of pool time! Our families start to receive mail from their school teachers with supply lists, bus schedules,  school pictures and band camp. We start to go through our children’s closets to see what fits and what doesn’t. Just one more shopping trip to check off the list in hopes to get them ready for a successful year of great memories,  learning, and meeting new friends!

Then September sneaks in.  I can still remember the first few days of a new school year. The new pair of tennies on my feet,  the sweet backpack , and the smell in the hall of a mixture of cafeteria and gym aroma. I had a slight butterfly in my tummy and an excitement I can’t quite explain. I wondered if maybe the bully would forget me from the year before, or hopeed to get the teacher that always smiled at me when they saw me.

As a parent with children now almost twenty years later , it seems to me that schedules have gotten quite full and my opportunities to have teachable moments with them are few and far between. My intentions to make sure they had what they needed were there, but the time wasn’t.

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More Than Enough

Posted on: September 4th, 2012 by Lisa Van Wyk No Comments

Christ is the One Supply we will ever need.  His grace is more than enough for me.