blessed to be a blessing

This week (among many other things) I'm busy preparing for Defining Moments (Thursday, September 24th at 7:00pm at 236 Fairway Drive, Coaldale). For me part of that preparation includes gathering a few giveaways for the incredible women who will be in attendance.

While brainstorming what fabulous gifts I could collect, I had an extremely convicting thought (a Defining Moment of my own, if you will). I live in a country where I enjoy many freedoms and luxuries that women (and men) in other places around the world only dream about. These days, those of us living in developed countries have more then enough opportunities to help those in developing countries, whether it be through organizations where we can sponsor children or give funds to others in need, or through stores like Ten Thousand Villages where profits go back to those who worked to provide that product.

And so, as I begin to gather gifts for the women coming to Defining Moments, know that I'm having my own Defining Moment. I resolve to only purchase gifts that will not only be a blessing to someone in attendance, but also to a beautiful individual somewhere else on the planet.

The truth is that I'm incredibly blessed on so many levels. The least I can do is be a blessing...on so many levels.


appreciation for the desert

Physically, I sometimes feel like I live in a desert. The climate is dry, and as a result, the roots of trees go deep to get the nutrients they need. As a result when the wind comes (and trust me it comes!) the trees may bend, but because their roots are deep its very rare that a tree gets uprooted.

In other places around the world where there's more moisture, roots grow horizontally rather then vertically to get nutrients. However, when fierce winds come, it's much easier for these trees to be uprooted as there is no depth.

Isn't it interesting how when we find ourselves in desert places we often complain about the lack of nutrients and feelings of being dry. But, it's during those times that our roots grow deep as we can't receive the nutrients we need from the surface (getting the nutrients we need produces shallowness...). It's the desert places that we gain the strength needed to withstand the storms we face.

I find it interesting that within Christian circles people often make comments about wanting "mountain top experiences". Please understand that I'm not discrediting those experiences, but have you ever noticed that there is no growth on the mountain top?

Although being in the desert is uncomfortable (I despise dry skin!), it's where I find myself growing deeper.

Perhaps being the desert isn't such a bad thing after all...


perhaps its not really about you

I deemed last week "The Week From Hell." On top of the normal busyness I face each week, plus other random things that were happening in the building I work in, I attended two funerals.

A couple days after the first funeral of the week I was talking with someone who was also in attendance. This individual mentioned how they had left part way through, and as a result missed a "way too long a not necessary" message from the pastor. Although these aren't the words of the particular individual I was talking to (rather other's they had talked to), I couldn't help but feel a bit angry.

This particular funeral was for a teenage boy, who had passed away suddenly. Although this shocked everyone who knew him, I don't think it managed to effect anyone more then it effected his family. This funeral was planned and thought out by the family. Although many received closure during the funeral, it was for the family's sake more then anyone that the funeral was held.

It astonishes me that someone in attendance would consider a part of the funeral "not necessary"...

I couldn't help but be challenged in my own attitudes. There are many times when I'll put my own preferences and opinions before others, and how out of line I am! Not that there is anything wrong with sharing one's opinion, but let's be honest, the world does not revolve around me (or any other individual for that matter). For the most part, it truly does not matter what I think or feel. And in the case of this funeral, the only thing that mattered were the people sitting on the front row who had lost a son and a brother.

Philippians 2:5-11 says it so well:
"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father."

Hello! If Jesus, the Son of God made Himself nothing and took on the nature of a servant, how much more should each of us do the same.

The challenge then is for my attitude to be the same as Jesus'.


open door policy

My husband and I moved into our first home earlier this year. This house has quite a bit of special meaning to us as we built it and we were able to put our own special touches in it. From picking out the floor plan and all the hardware, to the appliances and paint colors, this house is very dear to my heart.

This past weekend we had the privilege to host some of my husband's family in our home between my sister-in-law's wedding ceremony and reception. My husband comes from a culture where it is important to "pay it forward". Whether that means reciprocating a wedding gift, or hosting someone in your house after they have hosted you. For my husband having everyone over to our house was important culturally, but more then that it was important to us because we have been taught hospitality from childhood.

Where other people would look at us and think that having 15+ people over would be loads of work and huge strain, we look at it as an opportunity to use our house for what it was actually built for...a place of comfort, a haven, a shelter...a home.

People often comment on how my parents (and my in-laws) have the gift of hospitality. Personally I'm not sure its a gift, rather a lifestyle...a choice that both our parents decided to make. As a result we have an "open door policy" in our own home, since being hospitable is essentially part of our DNA.

In the entry way to our house we have a saying on our wall beneath our welcome sign..."Happy is the home that shelters a friend." We both know this to be true as we grew up in homes where friends were always sheltered and happiness was always in abundance.

Our prayer as we were in the building process was that our home would not only be "ours" but a "home to many." We are now seeing the reprocusions of our prayers...and we're loving every moment of it!