I've spent many years looking out the kitchen window. Some views better than others, some in the country, some in the suburbs and some in the city. I first learned to wash dishes without a dishwasher standing at my mom's farmhouse sink with my sisters, one who usually had something she urgently needed to do when it was time to dry the dishes.
Making today count by being thankful for what a day brings, even if the sun isn't shining...yet. French press coffee, a favorite coffee mug, green plants in the window, using a Christmas gift from a daughter, a spring dish towel and...
....a new way to practice hospitality
A gift from a dear friend who knew how much I love to bake and share with others. I spy a banana that needs to be used for banana bread!!
I've often wondered what it is that makes me want to go to the kitchen, Why I Love to Bake
, explains it all.
“Happiness, not in another place but this place...not for another hour, but this hour.”Walt Whitman
the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers. (Dictionary.com)
I'm of the opinion that hospitality can be practiced anywhere, not just in our homes, and may I suggest it can be practiced from our cars?
A couple of weeks ago I was travelling with a friend to the Baltimore area. We were making good time, hoping to arrive at our destination with plenty of time to snooze, relax and have lunch. None of that would happen as we came to a standstill on highway 83 near Baltimore. We were not only stopped, I eventually shut the car off, for two and half hours..parked. You can imagine the frustration beginning to brew, not in our car because Shelley and I hadn't spent much time together lately, we both have kids about to graduate highschool and we always have something to talk about...not just our kids.
People were getting out of the cars, none too happy, and definitely not in a hospitable mood. A young woman got out of her car next to us to talk to who we thought were state troopers walking by, only to hear them say they had no idea what was happening. They had on official uniforms, but not sure what their 'official' job was. Girl in the car next to us was beyond exasperated, which I could understand, but there was nothing we could do, there was no way to go forward or backward. As I was thinking, in a nice way of course, 'girl get back in your car, there's nothing you can do', I looked back to see she had two car seats in the back seat. One an infant, the other a toddler, arms flailing, feet kicking and none too happy about being strapped in a car seat for over two hours.
There wasn't much that could be done, but we did have a bit of food along for the ride. I reached back to our stash, grabbed a box of crackers and handed to girl in the car. Toddler in the car was immediately happy and distracted for a few minutes. Shortly after that, we drove off into the sunset.
This isn't a post to toot my own horn, but a reminder we can do unto others wherever we might find ourselves today. We can practice hospitality to our family, friends, but especially those we don't know or even people we wouldn't necessarily associate with.
What could you do with a box of crackers?
Nancy,(ficticious name) is a neighbor in small town America. Nancy never has a bad day, has a perpetual smile on her face and is patient, loving and kind to her kids and husband. She never kicks the dog or yells at the kids. She has a HOME BEAUTIFUL home, three charming kids who are all honor students, successful in many sports and always gets the lead in the plays. Her husband is faithful and loving, has a well-paying job, enabling them to take yearly vacations to exotic places with white beaches. At Christmas their house lights up the neighborhood with all their outside lights.It seems it never rains or snows at their house. All is well...or is it?
Jane(again, ficticious) also has three kids buts struggles to make ends meet as they are in a private school. Her husband works 50 hours a week, and is a faithful and loving husband. Her simple, but clean and well-lived in home wouldn't make it to the front of a home decorating magazine. Any vacations they take are extended weekends in the backyard to barbecue with friends. Jane and Brian(fictious) are faithful members of their local church where their kids are involved in Sunday School. They listen each Sunday to the Word of God preached and worship of God is a priority for their family.
She recently said to me
Why does it appear that everything is going so well for my neighbor Nancy, but I struggle on a daily basis to honor God in all that I do. I pray everyday that God would help me to love Him with all my heart, mind and soul. My heart's desire is set on loving God. So why the continued struggle, wondering if God even hears me at times?
God sees you and knows you and He wants you to know Him, so
fight the good fight, finish the race, keep the faith, because there is laid up for you a crown of righteousness, which your Lord, the righteous judge will award to you on that Day...
2 Timothy 4:7-8
...lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith... Hebrews 12:1-2
You were we made To know God.
Aim To know God.
Once you become aware that the main business that you are here
for is to know God,
most of life's problems fall into place of their own accord. ---J.I. Packer
Disclaimer--I trust you all know me well enough that I don't believe what "Nancy" has is sin. Sin enters in when some of those things become our focus rather than our Savior.