Monday, January 31, 2011

Lunch with Friends

Yesterday, my husband and I had the opportunity to visit with some friends from church for lunch.  We enjoyed the fellowship and laughter.  Due to health concerns, their family has gone mostly organic in their diet. We were entertained when she told us that "No Preservatives" was written "on the rolls". . .and her husband began examining the roll he had. . .

I am delighted to have such friends.  Before I moved to Tennessee, I began praying that God would give me a friend.  I knew that in order to have friends, I would need to "show myself friendly," but in a place where I would be a "newcomer," I knew it would still take a while.  I am thankful that God saw fit to quickly give me a friend.

As I look back over my life, I realize that it seems most times I had a major life change, I can think back on at least one friend who helped me "make it."  I look back fondly on the girl who helped me when we moved to the city. . .I was such a "country-bumpkin."  I chuckle remembering not knowing what to wear for Mix-Match Day at school. . .literally, everything I owned was khaki, pink, or blue.  I remember that I worked so hard to find something that didn't match.  I went to the basement and found an old, hot pink, plaid shirt that my mom used to wear and paired it with some kind of skit (I think flowered, but I don't really remember).  I know it didn't match.  When I went to homeroom to be graded, I was heart-broken because my homeroom teacher wouldn't give me spirit points because she thought I did match!  My friend helped me learn to do my hair and make-up.  She also had beautiful clothes.  I remember feeling that she was not only one of the few people who accepted and loved me for who I was, but also helped me become better in my weak areas. . . and we were only in junior high school.

Today, a friend of mine came back from Hawaii and brought me a bag of Kona coffee!  I don't think I'll make it to Hawaii for a long time, but what a treat to drink up a little Hawaii for the next few days!

I am so thankful for all of the people who have come into my life and influenced me for the good.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Every Saturday morning. . .

Every Saturday morning, I really try to get in some spiritual reading.  I do not find a whole lot of time in my schedule to read, but I do believe it is important and schedule my life accordingly.  I love lazy Saturday mornings when I get my coffee made (I am such a lazy person without it!), grab a book, and settle into my big fluffy chair.  I do not claim to be a Bible expert, but would like to dedicate my Saturday posts to the things that I have learned from God's Word.


Even though I have read the story of Job so many times before, I have never before thought of the story from the perspective of Job’s well-meaning friends.  They came and sat with him for seven days and didn’t say a word.  What a labor of love!  I’m sure they had families and businesses, but they felt that Job was such a good friend that they would take a week off of life and help him.  This part of the story encourages me to be a better friend and spend more time listening completely than I do giving my opinion!

After seven days, Job feels that his friends wouldn’t mind his “venting”; however, his friends took the opportunity to open their big mouths and finally give their opinion.  Too bad I remembered too many times when I took the same opportunity!

Being a detail person, the thing that frustrates me the most about the chapters to follow is that most everything that his friends said was right.  For example, in chapter 5:8, Eliphaz says, “I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause.”  Eliphaz goes on to explain how God takes care of nature and how God will take care of us.  That is true. . .but not exactly what Job needed to hear at that point.  I suppose this bothers me because I find myself trying to say similar things when others “vent” to me!

I often get to the part after the friends are done talking and think to myself, “Then what am I supposed to say to people who are hurting?”  Here are some things I have learned from this passage.

1.  When someone is hurting, I am not necessarily to be a counselor, but I am definitely supposed to be a listener.   Job’s friends, in my opinion, were very good counselors. . .very wise men; however, everything they said was like water on a duck’s back to Job.  Nothing that they said gave any real encouragement to Job.  I don’t ever see Job saying to his friends, “Wow. . .I never thought of it that way!  That makes me feel so much better!  I’m okay now!”  Instead, he seems to become more morose and depressed as his friends gave more of their “advice.”

2.  When someone is hurting, I must understand that the only person who can really help them is God.  I don’t even need to tell the person that God can help them.  For the most part, they already know.  If they don’t know, maybe I haven’t been a good example and had better work on myself instead of them!

3.  When someone is hurting, it is not my place to judge how long someone else is supposed to grieve.  Whether it takes 2 weeks or 2 years is not my concern.  My job is to be there as a good listener along the whole journey.

4.  Everyone is hurting in some way.  My job is to pray for them and listen to them.

"In what you say of another, apply the test of kindness, necessity, and truth. . . and let nothing pass your lips without a 2/3 majority."  Liz Armbruster

Friday, January 28, 2011

From my home to yours. . .

What a difference between the meaning of the words "house" and "home."  When I think of the word "house,"  I think of things like buying, selling, improving, brick, carpet, and furnishings.  Upon hearing the word "home," I think of a loving, quiet, hard-working mother.  I think of a good smell and a clean environment.  I think of happiness and love.  I always want my house to be a home.  I want my family to want to be there. . .and even enjoy being there.

So far, my husband and I have lived in two houses.  One was a little, yellow, 800 square foot, two bedroom, one bathroom house.  We rented it for a year upon moving to Lewisburg, TN.  It was a cute house that we knew was going to be temporary.  We named it "The Harwell."

You see, before moving to Tennessee, I lived in the city.  My family lived outside of Detroit, Michigan, and I went to college and lived outside of Chicago, Illinois.  I had been used to having multiple restaurants, grocery stores, and shops at my disposal.  I never really would have had to travel outside of my 2-3 mile "comfort zone" if I didn't want to.  Then I moved to Lewisburg.  I admit that there are many places more obscure; however, I about had a conniption.  My only grocery options (that I saw) were Kroger and Wal-mart.  My only restaurant options were greasy, fast food.  The closest coffee shop, "mall", and store that I liked (Ross and TJ Maxx) were 30 miles away. . .one way.  What was I going to do?  I was also unemployed.  I had been looking for a job for months before moving there, but still nothing.  Thankfully there was a library. (I won't get into those issues!)  I saw a book from Williams-Sonoma about baking bread.  There was a bagel recipe. I craved bagels.  The only previous option I had was to eat a refrigerated one from Wal-mart or drive a minimum of 60 miles.  I wanted a Panera bagel - a good one.  Then it occured to me. . .I could make the bagels myself.  I had flour and cheese.  I had a pot and an oven.  Let me just say, "Love at first bite."  I had stumbled upon something wonderful. Thus it was born, "The Harwell" (we lived on Harwell Avenue).  Where are we eating tonight?  The Harwell.  Where are we going to stay?  The Harwell. The name brought a fond, familiar feeling. The Harwell.  It sounded like a fancy hotel with a nice restaurant. . .but we didn't care to continue to rent.  We wanted to own.

When we found a house to purchase, it was on a road named "Highway  40."  In my opinion, there were no comforting or warm feelings to the name "Highway 40."  So we came up with the name "Cafe 40."  Our new house that was to become our home.

In this blog, I would like to share my thoughts and feelings about our homes, families, and selves. . .from my home to yours.