Finding Grace #70

I love giving God a shout out for what He has done. We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot.

I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

 Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

This was an exciting week! In addition to work and our normal activities, I met with two amazing couples from church. We had great conversations related to the class I facilitate as a volunteer. It’s always fun to learn how God made us and how we “fit” with everyone else!

A friend posted online seeking help for a swarm of honeybees. I suggested she call a local beekeeper to come get them. Thankfully, the swarm was captured and found a new happy home. It reminded me of my beekeeping years (and also the hard work involved in managing several hives!).

Tuesday was Independence Day. Lydia and I enjoyed a relaxing day and later celebrated our freedoms with neighbors, dinner, s’mores, a campfire, and fireworks. We watched a beautiful sunset, made even more awesome by a storm passing through. The lightning made a great backdrop for the fireworks!

Now that Lydia is good at riding her bike, I want to take rides together. I haven’t ridden much for quite awhile, years really, since before she was born. My old bike was not a good fit, and it needed lots of work to make it rideable. So instead, I bought myself a new bike! It is a lot more comfortable and fits me well. Already, we’ve enjoyed several miles together! We’re ready for some great adventures!

As a foodie and Registered Dietitian, I always look for new foods to try. Today I enjoyed a farmer’s market and a new food co-op! I walked downtown Fargo this afternoon and enjoyed the warm, sunny day. I didn’t buy much, but did sample a few things. I did get a couple items for Lydia. At home, we tried a coconut-date roll (not bad) and an apple cider drink (it was interesting…but probably won’t buy again). Anyway, I am glad we tried something new! I also helped Lydia make strawberry-infused water. 🙂

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Celebrating Our Freedom

I hope you had a great 4th of July! As Independence Day rolls around every year, it’s a great time to reflect on what freedom means. Despite our differences, we Americans have so much to be thankful for. I am thankful for our freedom and all who have fought for us. God has graciously blessed America!

I certainly don’t want to take any of my freedoms, rights, blessings, or gifts for granted. Sometimes, however, these things can be difficult to define. I suppose each of us has a different perspective on what “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” means. That’s part of what makes America special.

On Sunday, we celebrated our freedom at church. At the core of America’s history is religious freedom. If the first European settlers had not come largely, due to religious persecution, we might not be here.

The United States has had many ups and downs over the years. But regardless of political tension or drama, America remains an exceptional nation. People all around the world come here for better opportunities. Some come for education, safety, a new start, or other reasons.

Both as a nation and as individuals, we are called to be a blessing to others. We have many immigrants who call our church “home.” On Sunday, we extended that blessing to people from twenty-one other nations. They stood up and said which country they are from and we blessed them. It was powerful.

It’s amazing to think that we have so many countries represented in one congregation! Some of these people have become American citizens and some will return to their own countries one day.  As we connect with each other, each interaction has potential to change the world.

As a Christian, I am also a citizen of Heaven. Spiritually speaking, I have even greater freedoms, rights, blessings, and gifts. I also have greater responsibilities to help others in practical ways. Thank You, Jesus.

Lydia and I had a rather low-key holiday, which is fine with me. We slept in! We sat on the deck and relaxed on my new red benches (see pic). I did a little reading, while Lydia played. Then, we enjoyed a bike ride around our neighborhood.

Later, we hung out with our neighbors. Together, we ate dinner, enjoyed the hot weather, and watched neighborhood fireworks around a campfire. We watched a gorgeous sunset of purples, oranges, and pinks.

As we made s’mores, God joined in the celebration. His lightning made an awesome backdrop for the fireworks! Lydia and I walked back home around 11pm, and around midnight, I enjoyed listening to a rain storm.

It was the perfect ending to a great celebration!

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Father God, thank You for blessing our America. Thank You for the freedom we have in Your Son, Jesus. Help us be wise stewards of all you have given us. May we show others Your grace and love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Questions: What are you doing with your freedom? How can you be a blessing to someone else?

Tasks: Give thanks for your many blessings and freedoms. Look for ways to help others.

Finding Grace #67

I love giving God a shout out for what He has done. We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot.

I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

 Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

We had an amazing week! We did so many fun activities and saw a lot of wonderful friends. During the day on Monday, we had friends over to visit. This family has been so helpful and encouraging to us over the years. The husband previously worked with Dave, but the family was relocated a year ago for work. They happened to be in town this week, so we caught up with the mom and three-year-old little girl, while the husband worked.  We were honored to see them!

Later on Monday afternoon, many of the neighborhood kids were outside playing. I had a couple large boxes that they were playing with. I used duct tape to make a playhouse for them, while they decorated it. I’m not sure who had more fun! Then, we played foosball in the garage with a couple of the girls. We played three rounds and each of the three girls (including Lydia) switched teams to play on my side…because my team kept winning. 🙂

On Monday evening, I cut my friend’s hair. It was fun to help her and we were pleased with the results. I’m glad she trusted me so much! (I finally did mention about cutting my dog’s hair as a teenager.) By God’s grace, I have kicked perfectionism to the curb!

We had some severe thunderstorms throughout the day on Tuesday. No major damage was done to my property, praise God, but two of my trees were hit by a trampoline that blew in from a couple houses over. Mainly, the stakes took the brunt of the force, and the trees were merely scraped. I would not have believed what happened if another neighbor hadn’t taken a video! Thankfully, the owner of the trampoline came to retrieve it and helped me re-stake the trees. We reviewed the slight damage on the trees and agreed to keep an eye on them. I don’t think they will need to be replaced, but I was glad my neighbor was gracious to help. That’s being ‘Fargo friendly!’

Several friends watched Lydia for me this week (on top of paying for daycare, like usual) so I could get things done. Thanks to the generosity of my friends, I was able to finish up some work duties, write, and run a few errands. I always try to return the favor somehow, or at least pay it forward.

It’s great to have friends who don’t keep ‘score’ but both sides always continue to give generously. A couple summers ago, a neighbor friend had given me a plastic sandbox for Lydia. I decided to get rid of it recently, so this neighbor helped me sell it online. We decided to put the money in our mutual ‘pizza fund’ for those times we eat together. We also swapped kids back and forth, shared meals together with everyone bringing something, and enjoyed s’mores around a campfire. One neighbor oiled our bike chains and get them in better shape. I even met a couple new neighbor girls today when they came over to borrow a cup of sugar. I’m thankful to be a part of a great community!

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Summer Hours

This summer is already off to a great start. I don’t know what it is, but I am feeling super relaxed lately. The funny thing is that I actually am just as ‘busy’ as usual, but I don’t notice the stress. My activities and responsibilities haven’t changed much, but I have switched gears and taken a hiatus from certain activities so I can focus on others.

I generally enjoy each season for what it brings–even winter. But, summer is special because everything just seems easier and there is more time for fun adventures. Routine chores like washing dishes become more simple thanks to outdoor picnics and grilling. Laundry seems to take less time too. Yay for shorts, t-shirts, sandals, and swimming suits!

Summer break doesn’t just apply to school kids. Many families change their schedules, but most colleges and some businesses also have ‘summer hours.’ They may open and close earlier, or take certain days off. Work time is condensed, and play time lasts longer!

I love summer hours because I am reminded me of how good it is to rest in the Lord. Indeed, the long summer days are full of God’s grace. Here in Fargo, at the peak of summer, it is light out until around 10:30pm. Of course, the warm weather and beautiful, sunny skies help. Time almost seems to stand still.

I love how summer reflects God’s goodness in our lives. Last night after dinner, I saw a little bird called a “tree swallow.” The male is dark iridescent blue, with dark wings and a white chest, while the female is brown and white. I’d never seen one before this week, so it took me by surprise. I couldn’t identify the female using my bird book and binoculars… But, thankfully, the male stayed put for more than twenty minutes. It was so cool, and it felt like these little visitors were a gift from the Lord.

The beauty of summer is seen in the flowers it brings. I like flowers that are pretty but don’t take a lot of maintenance. But there are many beautiful kinds! I even enjoy seeing the prairie grass sway in the breeze. It reminds me that God’s love is wild and free.

Summer means traveling to see family, but also spending time with friends and neighbors. Summer is a time of generosity and abundance! It means sharing food, sun screen, water toys, and pool time with each other. It also means popsicles, watermelon, swimming, baseball games, and impromptu campfires.

Of course, summer also brings things that can make us uncomfortable, like heat and mosquitos. Sometimes, the heat warrants a retreat indoors to the air conditioning. But, most often, we learn to deal with it in creative ways. A good reminder about life in general.

I love being outside and catching up with my neighbors. So I bought some new outdoor chairs this week to replace some older, rather uncomfortable folding chairs we’d been using. I’ve also been thinking…God has summer hours, too. Yet, His timing is way better than we can ever imagine. He is always with us and sustains us from day to day, season to season. And from where I sit, it’s easy to see that He loves to take good care of us.

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Praise God, thank You for summer! Each morning shows us Your faithfulness. May we turn our eyes and heart to You when we see the beauty You have created. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Questions: What is your favorite part of summer? What are you currently thankful for?

Tasks: Find one new way to relax this week! Invite a friend or neighbor to join you!

Finding Grace #50

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

This was a great week! SO many good things happened, I’m not sure I can adequately describe them all. I had many uplifting and encouraging conversations this week. I talked with my boss about some job-related questions. While we didn’t come to any solid conclusions, I was glad to be moving in the right direction. There are good transitions coming and I want to ‘figure it all out.’ Instead, I’ll trust the Lord’s wisdom and timing!

I had some new insights on my volunteer role at church, which made me so happy. I have a lot of passion for that ministry. Interestingly, I’ve seen my skills as a dietitian support my role there! At work, I discuss nutrition, health, and wellness for individuals and corporations. At church, I help people discover where they fit in the Body of Christ (that is, the church) and then I make sure they are spiritually fit and able to keep contributing. So, as the corporate Body, we all thrive, grow stronger, and serve each other, functioning as a whole unit! (I am still in awe of this!)

Tuesday was Valentines Day. Lydia had just about the best day ever, in that she received a few little gifts from me, plus was the class leader at school, had a party there, and won the guessing game! 🙂 I also had a wonderful day. After work, I went to the movies and saw Hidden Figures. I would highly recommend it! I also talked with family and many dear friends throughout the day. I felt very loved!

Last night, Friday, Lydia and I went to a kids’ game night at church. She’s currently one of the youngest and sometimes is a little shy in crowds. So, I was happy to go with her and see things from her perspective. I taught her the basics of foosball, air hockey, and carpet ball. She played with other kids and I met some new families as well. We had a lesson about God’s unfailing love, a snack, and prizes. It was fun!

We had beautiful, sunny, and warmer weather most of the week. I switched seats on Lydia’s bike to prepare it for the next season. She tried it out and was pedaling through puddles from the melted snow! Praise God, Spring is nearly here!

Another bright spot included meeting a writing deadline for a personal project and receiving good feedback on it. I also had good, lengthy ‘God conversations’ with a friend going through a difficult time. We both benefitted that day. Oh, how He loves us!

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Winter Reflections

On a recent afternoon, Lydia and I saw ‘sun dogs’ in the sky after school. It was one of those bitter-cold days and they had been evident all day. But on our way home, this ‘ice halo’ was brilliant! It was a beautiful reflection of the winter sun.

I tried to take a picture, but it was too bright! Later, I noticed someone posted the exact picture of those sun doggies online…click here and look at the second picture down!

Yes, I’m really enjoying this winter season so far. Snowy and blowy, there’s nothing like a good blizzard to make you thankful for a warm, safe house with plenty to eat!

Last year, I only used the snow blower a few times all season. This year, I’ve already used my snow blower several times in the last couple weeks! On the other hand, my back and shoulders are loving this weather because I have not had to shovel as much.

Believe it or not, I actually enjoy snow removal. It gives me a sense of accomplishment!

Plus, I’m often reminded of how God used the crazy long winter we had when Dave was sick. Back then, I often shoveled snow twice a day because the snow blower we had at the time was too large for me to push safely and comfortably. It felt like that winter would never end. And, shoveling foot-high snow drifts brought out many ugly emotions I would have rather ignored!

God loves us just as we are, but He loves us too much to leave us like that. That year, the brutal weather was just one of the tools He used to shape my character. Looking back, I gained some pretty awesome skills and a much better perspective. For that, I am grateful.

Now, I have a joyful attitude as I seek God’s sweet and refreshing grace!

This year, more than ever, I’m thankful for the longer Fargo winters. Not only do I crave the slower pace that winter brings, but I’m also aware that my ‘free time’ with Lydia will be limited as she grows. She has been going through a cuddly, goofy phase lately, so I’ve decided to roll with it. Of course we have good and bad days, but right now Lydia and I can watch movies, play games, and read books together. We can play in the snow, drink hot chocolate, and snuggle. Thank You, Lord.

I’m also thankful for my flexible schedule, where a random ‘snow day’ doesn’t throw us for a loop. Someday soon, that may change. I will likely have to make adjustments down the road. But for now, I am grateful.

I’ve seen a few people counting down the days ’til Spring. I totally understand that Winter can be a doozy. Years ago, I traveled long distances for work. I commuted one hour, one way, each day to a job I loved. It was worth it at the time, but challenging and scary at times. These days, I am grateful for mostly in-town driving.

Once I bust through a few snow drifts, that is!

Perhaps you are one that dislikes Winter. I get it. It’s cold, snowy, and blowy. But, consider taking a different approach. Find the beauty and good in each season…even Winter…because there is a time, season, and purpose for everything.

I am using this current life season to pause and rebuild solid morning habits. My entire day goes much better if I get certain things done before Lydia wakes up (more on this, later).

We have a tendency to want to rush through life and move on to the next event, the next season, the next opportunity or challenge. But let’s pause and experience all God has for us NOW. Each season has it’s own perks and challenges! God knows the plans He has for us, and He will lead us there…in His timing, and if we let Him.

His love never fails!

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God, thank You for Winter. Each season displays Your magnificent glory! Thanks for Your protection and provision. Help us have the right perspective in every season. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: What is your favorite winter activity? Have you tried any new activities? Is there something God is teaching you in this current life season?

Tasks: Make a list of 5-10 special activities you can do this season. Go do them!

Finding Grace #37

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

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Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

  • This has been a fun week! A friend from Illinois stopped by to visit on Tuesday. She was in town for a few days, and we were so glad she made the effort to see us.
  • On Wednesday, we discussed the power of forgiveness at church. Per brain researcher, Caroline Leaf, when we forgive, endorphins and other chemicals are released in our brains. The effects of forgiveness are then carried all throughout our bodies. “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13). Science shows what we already knew from the Bible…forgiveness is healing!
  • Lydia and I had a great day on Thursday. We took some treats and a handmade thank you card to our favorite drop-in daycare, since they are closing next week. We’ll miss those ladies, who have been a big part of our lives these last few years! Then, we had about an hour before preschool, so went to read books at the bookstore. As we were leaving, a man sitting nearby said thanks for the story time. We reminded him of several missed opportunities over the years with his kids, when he traveled long distances for work. Now that he has a little grandson, he’s happy to have another chance. (As a result, Lydia and I promptly decided we should do that more often!) 🙂
  • We had our first snowfall of the season early Friday morning. We only got a couple inches, perhaps, but it was a wet, heavy snow. Our temperatures should be in the 30s for a few days, so it is likely to stay. Thankfully, my driveway and the local roads weren’t too bad! I think Fargo was on the edge of a big snow storm in Minnesota!

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Where did YOU see or experience God’s grace this week?

A Friend Loves at All Times

We have some really cute and funny kids in our neighborhood. For the most part, they all play really well together. And since many of them come over to my house to play, I have a prime opportunity to observe their social interactions.

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In general, Lydia appears to be an extrovert and thrives on being around others. She loves knocking on doors (with permission) to ask if friends can come out to play. Lydia talks about and misses her friends when they are unavailable. Even so, when several of these kids get together, it’s possible someone could feel left out.

Although most parents try to teach their kids to share, use their manners, and be kind, most of us understand how it feels on the other side. We’ve all had those moments.

I like to look out for underdogs and wallflowers and want Lydia to do the same. To help her understand what I mean, she’s had to apologize on occasion for hurting someone’s feelings. I make her ‘take a break’ from playing with friends when tensions arise…because I don’t want her to take them for granted.

I wish it was always that simple!

We also role play different scenarios, where Lydia is ‘left out’ or where she stands up for someone who is. I regularly challenge Lydia to be on the lookout for someone who needs a friend. It doesn’t always work out as I hope. But when someone is left out, everyone else also misses out… on what that person has to offer.

As I talk with the other parents, we compare notes. It’s good to be on the same page!

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I suppose the concept of ‘being a friend’ hits home for me because I have relied so much on my friends these last few years. Lydia does not realize this just yet…but we would’ve never made it without God’s grace and all the loving support we received, from people near and far.

When Dave was sick, friends and family around the world—in England, Greece, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, not to mention all over the United States—prayed for us and helped us. Almost every week, we received something encouraging in the mail: Cards, gifts, handmade items, food deliveries, books, and more.

Many of the Fargo friends who played such an important role in our cancer journey have moved away for various reasons. But from my limited perspective, I like to think that perhaps God had them in Fargo because they had a special part to play in our story.

It is fascinating to think of how God orchestrated all these peoples’ lives to intersect them with ours when we needed it most. Only He could set up such perfect timing!

They stood with us during our roughest moments. And when our faith faltered, these friends pointed us to Jesus. When we had no strength of our own, they carried us to Him.

Friends mowed our lawn each week, watched Lydia at a moment’s notice (and kept her overnight), or took our dog, Britain, for weeks at a time. Yes, these friends were the hands and feet of Jesus in ways we had never seen before!

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Thank you. I am still in awe.

Of course, this does not diminish the significant role our own families played… but indeed, many of those friends and neighbors became like family! Without a doubt, Lydia and I are doing well because of ALL the loving sacrifices made on our behalf!

I hope Lydia understands: When you’re at your worst, a true friend is still loyal.

Like a golden retriever! 🙂

It has come full circle for me lately. In many cases, I am now praying for and encouraging dear friends all over the world in their own trials. It is such an honor to return the favor!

Sooo…This week Lydia and I are reviewing Proverbs 17:17 (above) and parts of 1 Corinthians 13. These verses have been good reminders for me too! And though some friends have moved away, God has also given me many new friendships. He is so, so good to me!

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Gracious God, thanks for dear friends and family. Thanks for the encouragement You provide through them. Help us love one another! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Questions: What does friendship mean to you? When was the last time you told your friends and family that you love and appreciate them?

Finding Grace #28

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

flowers-and-butterfly

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

  • This week was a full week, but I saw God’s grace each day! On Monday, I hosted a team building event for my group at church. Six of us played mini golf and then went to dinner. (I’m sure I was last in scoring; the score keeper graciously filled my slot with a smiley face each time I went over the number of strokes!) We all had a great time. Interestingly, there was no obvious, identifiable reason this group should have been hanging out together. Age, gender, and stage of life varied quite a bit among the group. But isn’t that God’s specialty… connecting people from many backgrounds through a common goal and purpose as we serve Him! So cool.

  • Tuesday and Wednesday were fairly ‘normal’ for us. We had work, deadlines, preschool, and even daycare. Lydia did well with the early mornings and later evenings. Still, I decided to say ‘no’ to a few fun activities this week because it all adds up. I’m learning to pace myself and set reasonable expectations!
  • On Thursday, I ran errands during preschool and had a meeting over the phone. I had about a million tiny little tasks and was able to finish several of them! Then, we started ice skating lessons, which went really well. Finally, this full day was capped of by a meeting at work. Lydia had another late night, but enjoyed going to drop-in daycare. She loves preschool, but also still likes the “comfort” of daycare.
  • Yesterday, Friday, was a catch-all day, where I completed my errands, did laundry, cleaned, etc. We also had a surprise thunderstorm after preschool. Our neighbors were over playing in our garage and got “stuck” because of the massive downpour. We ended up ordering pizza and had a great visit…all because the unexpected storm! That felt like an awesome blessing to me!
  • Last, but not least, today, I went to a ‘junk market’ with upcycled antiques and other refurbished items. I bought a few smaller items for my house, and had fun celebrating a dear friend’s birthday at lunch. It was a great day, and I also got to ‘enjoy’ the beautiful weather … by mowing. 😉

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Where did YOU see or experience God’s grace this week?

Making Hungry Hearts Happy

Each week varies, but weekends at our house have become pretty relaxing. I complete a few routine tasks, preparing for the coming week. But, we also enjoy seeing friends or special events when they pop up.

Mostly, Lydia goes outside to play with the neighbors! At times, several kids will be in my garage or another one close by. It’s quite fascinating at times to watch them interact! I have learned so much about hospitality and life by watching these group dynamics.

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Personally, I can get caught up on having things “just right” before someone comes to visit. The pressure to host Pinterest-perfect parties doesn’t help, does it?!

But, with kids, it’s much clearer.

Children don’t care about having the right foods, beverages, or atmosphere. They just want to have fun! If there is food involved, great! If not, they’ll make do with toys and friends (real or imagined). Kids create warmth and welcome with their own laughter and joy.

Kids don’t care if you cleaned or not. They easily overlook the fact their ‘playground’ is half a garage filled with balls, scooters and bikes, a wagon containing My Little Ponies, Barbies, and other toys.

Even my own ‘work’ table has become a place to color and build with play-doh… Yes, when given the opportunity, children will make themselves right at home! I don’t mind…

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Occasionally, I’ll coach a child (mine or otherwise) on including everyone or sharing. But, overall, everyone plays really well. Even little brothers join in on the fun!

Sometimes I offer light snacks… Thankfully, there are no food allergies! Popcorn, fruit, cheese sticks, and even popsicles have all made appearances. It’s pretty simple, really.

This past Sunday was especially fun… I had four little girls, including Lydia, in my garage and driveway playing “water buckets.” A few years ago, filling two five-gallon buckets with water was my solution for beating the heat. It’s been a hit ever since!

Sure, we could go swimming, play at the splash pad, or run through the sprinklers. But so far, water buckets seems to do the trick! On hot sunny days, the kids toss toys in the water and fish them out. The laughter mixed with splashing is well worth it!

I always enjoy hearing each child’s stories and funny perspectives. Talking with them is certainly a delight, but I also see it as an investment in building healthy relationships. I’m not sure who is learning more—me or them!

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On Sunday, the kids also went next door to play with an adorable puppy. When some of the girls went home for dinner, three boys came over for coloring and riding bikes. As I chatted with two of my friends, Lydia said she was hungry.

“Mom, can we please have a snack?”

Quickly, I considered the options. It was dinnertime… We could corral the kids and make them stop playing on a gorgeous day…. OR…I could feed the kids, avoid potential meltdowns, enjoy the weather and conversation with my friends… and head inside later.

After checking with the other moms, it was an easy choice!

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I ran inside to make a handful of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I cut them in half and sliced up a two apples. I headed back out to the garage, also armed with cups for water.

Feeling a little like a camp counselor, I set the food on a table and pulled up some chairs.

Voila!

These four hungry kids probably ate better because of positive peer pressure. It’s funny how something like a pb&j sandwich can pass for hospitality!

While the kids were happily filling their bellies, I got in some much needed time with my friends. Hopefully, these moms also left feeling encouraged and energized like I did!

Yes, on Sunday, the key to hospitality was making hungry hearts happy

Peanut butter and jelly for the win!

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Thank You, God, for great neighbors and hospitality! Thank you for simple joys like a child’s perspective, laughter, and pb&j sandwiches. Please guide each of us as we learn and grow. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Questions: What was your last funny topic of conversation with a child? Did their perspective change yours? What did you learn?