I received a panic call from a friend last week and here is what she said – “Help, I’ve been asked to host Thanksgiving dinner and I am freaking out!” Mind you, this is my friend who lists Door Dash as her BFF. After I told her to breath, we talked it out and what she was really afraid of was entertaining. Trying to impress her sister in law and worried about everything she didn’t have. So we flipped the narrative. Let’s not worry about entertaining, let’s just open our doors and make people feel welcome. That is hospitality and my friend is so good at loving people she will be the perfect hostess.
Three things to think about so you are not worried about entertaining but are able to show hospitality…
- Replace “ Here I Am” with “Here You Are”
2. Remember opening our homes to guests has nothing to do with the size of our home, the decor, or even the food. It’s about the ability we all have to make people feel welcome.
3. There is no grand blue print to follow aside from loving others.
You’ve got this!
Why is it so hard for some of us to ask for help? “Allow people to help you, why rob them of the blessing to give?” That might be one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received. It came during a very difficult time in my life when I was struggling with my health following a double mastectomy.
I was always the one helping others, making meals, watching other people’s kids – you needed help, I was your girl.
However; when I was the one in need, it felt awkward and uncomfortable and sadly in my own pride, I tried to still do it all.
Thankful for a friend who challenged me not to rob her of the blessing to love and care for my family.
I have gotten so much better at accepting help, even asking for help when I need it. It definitely is something I still struggle with at times but I have come to believe we all need someone to hold the umbrella for us when we stand in the storm.
Don’t be afraid to ask or receive help.
I took a walk this morning on a beautiful October day in Colorado, complete with bright blue skies and changing leaves. Here is what struck me today… some trees were still green and had no sign of autumn, others were brilliantly displaying their hues of vibrant orange, yellow and deep purple. There were even trees who had dropped all their leaves bearing only their knotted branches. Then I came across this beautiful tree laden with berries and I thought- Everything blooms in its own time. Such a great life lesson and one I wish I would have taken to heart in my younger years. It might have stopped me from comparing or feeling as if I was behind in life.
These trees, this idea of everything blossoming in its own time is a reminder to me to take a deep breath and focus on my own growth, my own journey in this current moment. Let’s not rush the process or compare our growth to others. Your beauty is your own!
Allow it to bloom and trust God’s timing.
An Experiment in Gratitude
Be thankful for today. You only see it once.
I came across this quote several years ago, and I wrote it down. It seemed profound. I saw it during a time in my life that was particularly hard. If I am being honest, it was on a day that I would never want to repeat and I struggled to find the good in it and be thankful.
Life is like that, some days are hard and some days everything seems to align and feel carefree. It is during this time that I was desperate to find the good that I started focusing on little things that were good. A good cup of coffee, a sweet conversation, a bloom on a rosebush or the sound of a bird song drifting across the breeze. I focused on each of my kids, their unique and fun personalities. I made connection with my husband a big priority everyday – Holding hands, saying I love you.
Those gestures didn’t erase the hard, but they made me realize that hard and good can live side by side. As a matter of fact, they always do. Some days we might have to get out the proverbial binoculars to see it, but I promise you it is there if we make the effort to be intentional.
This past month, I did a 10 day “Unexpected Joy” challenge on Instagram. I shared the small things that brought me joy and asked people to join me and share their small joys too. The amount of messages I received was overwhelming. Together we intentionally sought joy which brought about a lot of gratitude. It really was the small things right in front of us.
I even had one lady tell me she found joy in her husband snoring because he had just battled a serious illness and survived and his snoring meant he was still with her. I cried when I read her message. It is the shift to gratitude that allows us to feel joy even when we are experiencing pain.
I pray today you find small things that bring you great joy!
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward.Jun 26, 2020
Have you ever tried peeling a label off of a new glass? Really, any new item with a label affixed to it. It’s not an easy task. I recently purchased new glasses for my dining room and it was quite an ordeal trying to get the labels off of those glasses. I had to soak them, then scrub, then pick at the adhesive. I went to dry them and could still feel the tackiness and had to start over. Three times I went through the process before the label was removed.
Have you ever thought of the labels that might be attached to you? Everyone has them. Labels are used to describe ourselves and solidify who we are. Labels make up identity and can affect the way we interact with others and the world, but they also affect how the world interacts with us.
On my recent trip to Greece, I met a young mom who was living in Athens because she had recently become a Ukrainian refugee. She shared her story with me and it was heartbreaking. Through her tears and broken English, she told me she would have never imagined using the word refugee to describe herself. She wanted me to know that she was educated, that she loved her family, that she was actually a Russian woman married to a Ukrainian man and how at one point that was celebrated but now this identity had complicated things in her life so much. She wanted me to know that she was not looking for a hand out but at the moment, she needed it more than ever. She went back and forth sharing with me the labels she was proud of and the labels she wanted to get rid of.
Oftentimes, labels are something that we pride ourselves on. The positive ways in which we relate to others who have similar interests, accomplishments or upbringings. Many times we have been labeled by others or even harder, ourselves, and it is a label like the one stuck to the glass that we are trying hard to get rid of. We feel the stickiness of the situation or habits that led us to that uncomfortable label even if the label isn’t apparent to the eye.
Despite the fact that we all have various labels, one label that is true for all of us is “child of God”. We were made in His image and scripture tells us we were perfectly and wonderfully made. Yes, we all have made mistakes and added unwanted labels to the mix or perhaps are too proud of the labels we find pleasing and think others will approve of. When I keep it simple and remove the labels both good and bad, I find other people. People just trying to live their best lives. When I remove the labels, I can relate on the most basic level that we all desire to be seen and be loved.
Photographers love the golden hour. It is the time of day shortly after sunrise or right before sun set when the light turns from red tones and harsh sunlight to being infused with more yellow/gold tones. The sun is low enough in the sky that a soft glow is cast and those soft rays are what filters the photos into what many describe as magic. We all have seen these photos where faces are glowing or buildings are gleaming. These pictures are stunning.
The medical field also claims a golden hour. Trauma/accidents, heart attacks and strokes have better results and long term recovery if medical attention is given within the first hour of occurrence from initial symptoms. That hour becomes golden because it literally is a defining life or death moment.
Then there is the beautiful golden hour of childbirth where experts say ideally skin to skin contact should be made between mom and baby immediately following delivery. This produces high levels of oxytocin to be released both from the mother and the child which experts describe as critical for bonding.
Now, these are all very specific and nuanced, but I think the common thread for success is timing, awareness and then action. If you think about it, everyday we have golden hour moments. So often we overlook or let moments slip by because we are busy, distracted, or apathetic. What if we took a closer look into our lives and identified those golden hour moments and then did something about it?
That is a goal for me in the coming year. Now of course we can’t be at every event or capture every moment to perfection and honestly that isn’t the goal. I do know however, that I can do better at looking ahead and planning so that I am aware of the big events and what I need to plan ahead to capture them and not over schedule. I want to enjoy the golden hour more frequently and even spontaneously. I hope you will take a moment and be inspired to do the same.