Saturday, March 22, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Joy

This imperfect post below is a result of taking a blind leap of exercising my writing skills through Five Minute Fridays. Hundreds of other bloggers around the globe take just five minutes every week (ok...maybe I am not that consistent!  but...working up to it) to write for only five minutes on a one-word prompt that Lisa Baker gives at her site.  Interested?  Click here to get the details.



Lately, my Joy comes packaged in a 3-6 month onesie. She drools like a leaky faucet and loves to show me her newest raspberry-blowing trick. Her smile lights up the room and the faces of everyone who happens to catch a glimpse of those tooth-less gums.

My joy-filled “never-ending, always giving, Grace of God” little girl loves her paci, her big brothers and sisters and chewing on anything in sight. With every addition to our family, when my belly is swollen to almost popping and I simply can’t imagine how I will handle it all…I think, “How can the love and the adoration and the joy spread far enough to spread over one. more. little. person?”

And then, she came. Of course, my joy for the other three, her predecessors, multiplied overnight like the loaves and fish. There is always enough for her. There is always enough for one more. My joy came when she did. It is hard to extinguish it, anyway, when you catch a glimpse of that smile.

Thankful for my little, baby Charis; my precious one.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Hospitality Will Make Marks

Can you guess which side got used more?

I would cringe every time we pulled out the second leaf of that table; the nicest dining table that we ever had. Normally there was room for 6, but that expanded to 9 whenever we had someone over for spaghetti or baked chicken or every-day rice. Each time we opened it up, I would marvel at the smoothness of the wood grain, the unscathed beauty, the glory of it. Any of you who have ever bought new furniture (even if it was just "new to you") have to know what I mean. And, if you have small children, you know what I mean multiplied by ten. 

You want to keep it beautiful and untouched. You want to preserve and "steward" that table, that bed, that end table as well as you can. But then, people always come into play.

Of course, furniture stores are testimonies to this!: "No food or drinks inside the establishment, no jumping on the beds, and don't you dare slide a Hot Wheel over that coffee table!"

Every time I opened up that secret middle leaf of our table, those feelings crept up. There are no glass rings permanently imprinted there. No unsightly marks from a toddler dragging her fork across the table..little sign or wear and tear. The differences between the outside and the inside are very clear. 

If I was going to get comfortable with hospitality, I was going to have to get comfortable with leaving marks. Even though my house wasn't always naturally tidy (anyone figure out how to do this well yet with little people?) was going to endure at least a few more scathes in the process of having people over for dinner, for play dates and for prayer.

Over the last few years, it has been a challenging process of laying down my own expectations for providing a *perfect* space for guests to enjoy and taking up the reality that "Hospitality is not about is about them." I read this once, and then many times since, on a blog called Reluctant Entertainer by Sandy Coughlin . It is her mantra and helped me tremendously in examining my own self-imposed ideas about hosting others.

It isn't about me. It is about them. It is about you. It is about them.

Sometimes I think about preparing too much and lose sight of the simplicity of just being with people, filling their bellies, and encouraging their hearts. 

In this season of life here in Thailand, Treavor and I have been challenged by God to keep our house open to others. If we go through a week and realize we haven't opened it and our table to others, we open up the calendar and see where we can fill it with an invitation for others to share it. I have to contentiously set aside my hesitations that "the house isn't ready!" and call somebody up to feast on curry and conversation together.

Join me? Who can you open up your (imperfect) table to this week? How have you overcome the hurdles that get in the way of hospitality? Tell me about it in the comments.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Crowd

I stumbled across an opportunity that has captured the attention of hundreds of other bloggers every Friday.  It is called Five Minute Friday.  Basically, it is a chance to write for just five minutes, with a certain writing prompt in mind.  It is a chance to just create and think without paying too much attention to making it look pretty (i.e.: no editing, back-tracking or second-guessing allowed!).  Sometimes all I have is five minutes to write, anyway, so the idea seems to be right up my alley.  Want to read more about how it all got started?  Click here to go to to get the skinny.

Today's prompt, "Crowd," made me instantly think of the Sunday Walking Market in our city.  Before having Charis, there were several months where a group of girls and I would go to different places in our city to share the good news of Jesus with others that God put in our path that night. I looked forward to those nights every week. It was my inspiration for this week's prompt. I hope you enjoy it! (BTW, I wrote it when it was *still* Friday in the States and haven't had the chance to post it till today. Life.) 



I look out into the crowd, the aimless wanderers...the children running...the parents running after them. I see street-sellers, beggars, tourists in their darkened skin from a sunburn gone bad and I hear the noise of haggling and drums and ancient Thai music brought to life at the market of today.

The night market swirls with smells and people and noise noise noise. Although I am one of thousands in this crowd, I see with the eyes of the One who sees the few, the isolated, the ones on the fringes and the ones crying out for recognition. 

Those days when we went out every Sunday night! with watchful ears and eyes...I miss them. I miss streaming along the sides of the market stalls with sellers and their bounty. I miss passion fruit drinks and neck massages and sitting, sharing with the lady who drives in every night from out of town to earn a few baht and rub the necks and feet of tired, sweaty people. 

I miss the energy of people gathered together, and the air ripe with the promise of finding that one, "lost" in the crowd but "found" by the One who is treasure-hunting to find them. I will go again, one day, to seek them out again.


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