The Hospitality Project

Everyday life extraordinary


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I’ve Created A Monster

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It is early early morning and only scant hours left with our daughter tucked safely into our nest-home.  My prayers lift to the Heavens and I smile and then I cry.  My mind wanders back to the days when I had a timid little Kindergartner who was reluctant to go into class. Racking my heart, I wondered if I was making the right decision.  Should I take her home with me?  She was SHY! After some wrestle and some tears (my own!) I warned the teacher that she was shy and turned and left the building.  Coming back a bit early so I am not late to pick her up, I find the teacher walking her out to my side.   Beaming, Mikayla tells me that she taught the class a new song about loving Jesus.  I smile. 

“I want to play soccer, Mom.”  Are you sure? I ask.  Signing her up in a soccer league we suit her up with all the right equipment and drive to the field.  Looking across the field at the looming stretch of grass and the rambunctious players she turns with fright in her eyes.  “I can’t do it.  I don’t want to play anymore.”  I wrestle and wonder if we should turn back to the car.  She won’t budge.  Adamant that soccer is not going to happen, she digs her heels in and refuses to walk.  Digging my finger into her back, we march across that soccer field to the new coach.  Telling her when would pick her up, I leave the field.  Praying and wondering if I had made the right decision, I return to find a beaming face running up to me with her new friend,  “I LOVE SOCCER and this is Robyn.”  I smile. 

Time and time again, there will be proverbial “fingers in the back” until she no longer needs me to push and to prod her to the mountaintop. 

 

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Now her own fingers jabs into her own back and forces herself out to the unknown and into the uncomfortable and the great reward.  A girl who has learned the joys of new experiences and who longs to uncover the beauty of this world her Creator has created launches out on her own now.  First a degree….then travel…then another degree….new friends…new experiences….some tears along the way and now I have created a monster.  She leaves in less than an hour to a new experience that will take her far away from us for a while.  Now my tears are falling and I think of how I could have easily clipped those wings by planting fear in her heart and holding her back.  I would have her safely rooted at home but as I was recently reminded….it is the roots and wings that make someone truly beautiful and experiencing life to the fullest.  So FLY Mikayla and enjoy all that is to be enjoyed and live that abundant life you were created for and long for daily.  You are an inspiration to me every day in the way that you grab hold of life, casting out your own fears by the grace of God and plunge forward to grab hold and LIVE OUT LOUD.  Your roots are firm in Him and securely stretched into the soil of your friends and family.  Go plant more roots in your new team and your new surroundings.  He is watching over you and we place you firmly in His ever capable hands and wish you Godspeed as you travel.  You are loved.  You are treasured.  You are prayed for by many. You are His. 

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Built to Last

The fresh breeze encircles us, the sun shines in….Mikayla reads and tweaks questions she wants to ask her students as we are road tripping to a wedding. We clip along and I glibly state that I would like to one day sit in the middle of the freeway on the grassy part and watch the cars go by. Quizzical eyebrows rise on my companion as she scrunches up her nose and ask, “WHY?”. I can’t even recall what I said but I do know that it sounded appealing. In roughly 15 minutes, I would find out that it was not appealing. It was loud and windy and dusty. Thud. Something hit the engine from the inside and immediately I pulled the car over. Getting out, we checked under the hood. Why, you ask? We have no idea. Yes, the engine was still there. Check. That was all we knew. We stood looking helpless. We looked at each other. We scoffed at the others’ thought of what might be wrong. Varied answers like we were out of oil, a screw came loose…. basic nonsense. Then we laughed. Stranded on the freeway watching the traffic go by was crossed off my bucket list and right quickly!

The cars streamed by without a glance at the helpless females on the side of the road. Should we drive the vehicle? Should we call a tow truck? Should we hitchhike to the closest town? Should we call Kevin? Our eyes meet and we agree. Yes. Call Dad. Decision made. Calling Kevin, he immediately jumped into hero mode. Making several calls, we were assured that he would come get us if we needed that. In the meantime, we flagged someone down to give us a prognosis of what the heck was wrong with the car. It was a HONDA! How could this happen? A gentleman and his wife stopped and after some investigation, he concluded that our car had spewed out her spark plug. We were definitely stranded. Kevin was on it and we called and told him the diagnosis after thanking the kind man for stopping. Kevin was going to try to make arrangements. Our hero. A couple hours go by and another hero comes by, Lee’s uncle Dave. So thrilled to see someone who knew what to do, I almost burst into tears. After several hours with Dave, driving into Hope and picking up parts, waiting for parts and driving back to the vehicle…. it was unfixable from the side of the road. Dave had invested so many hours and he had so wanted to be our hero. We assured him that he already had been! What a gift to have someone there, to guide us through that, to tow our car home, to talk deep thoughts on our relationship with God, to laugh with and hand over the situation to our heavenly Father. We were blessed and yet we were still in Hope at 6pm after leaving Langley at 11am.

Here comes another miracle. Kevin posted on Facebook. Asking for prayer for us, a friend whose husband was headed to the same wedding happened to see the posting. Immediately there was a bulletin put out to all cell phones and through that one posting, we had a ride from Hope to Kelowna. More heroes arrived at the scene to pick us up with their two seats to spare in their truck. I am amazed at this. Blessed by the care of good friends who went out of their way to rescue us. While we were stuck on the side of the road, Mikayla and I were discussing the whole concept of consumerism and how our society does not create things that are built to last. This is a testimony of friendships that are built on something solid. The friendships that came to our aid had been tempered by time, forged by relationship, had foundations of memories. My favorite kind of friendship comes attached with abundant memories. Over time, each friendship has a gazillion good times, memories, sad moments, trials, much laughter, babies being born, birthdays to celebrate, weddings to attend…as time glides gracefully through and onward. Really? Had it been 25 years since we welcomed the bride into our circle of friends by way of a baby shower? The only way to history is through the doorway of time. Time spent, memories built, built to last.

My question to myself is this, “what in my life is BUILT TO LAST?” Our stuff breaks down, our bodies break down and sometimes friendships break down but what is built to last? What are we doing to invest in the eternal? How are we developing our friendships to glorify Him? Are our families being drawn to Christ through daily interaction and care? Do we care in practical ways for those of our friends and family who may be walking through a rough patch? Are we intentional about seeking out our friends and caring for their soul? Let’s take some time to evaluate our lives and see if we are creating something “built to last” for His glory. We can only do this through the strength and grace of the one who is the true builder. Let’s build our house on a rock. My solid rock is Jesus Christ. He is my foundation and my rock. In all that swirls around me, He is my constant and my all in all and all that is in my life springs from Him. In a consumer society where very little is built to last, we can count on this. HE is built to last and when we build our house on Him, we will not fall for we are founded on a Rock.

Matthew 7:24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.


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Dropped off the kids at piano and headed straight over to my new “find” of a thrift shop in the Langley Seniors Center.   On the first visit, I knew I was going to be a regular.  Swarming with old ladies and sweet chatter, I was in my element.   Sauntering in, I was met by Greta, a lady in her 90’s and her friend who was easily in her late 80’s.  They are volunteers and so pleased to see a “regular”.  I have gone three times in a row.  My heart is blessed by their warm smiles and their welcoming hearts.  This era knows so well the art of hospitality.   Their eyes light up to see a friend and they reach out to touch your arm in conversation.  Eyes meet your eyes as if searching for what is really on your heart as they catch every expression.  They take the time to chat about whatever comes to mind.  They have learned to value the simple every day moments.  What a gift to be in their presence.   Greta remembers that I come looking for wool and she steers me straight to a new donation of the prized find.  I am delighted.  Baby wool!!!  I love to make baby leggings for my little friends and here lies a treasure trove in a pastel array.  Immersed in the joy of having a friend look out for you, I finger through the wool and pick up many colors!  They are delighted to be a help.  That afternoon, Kevin and I head to visit adopted grandparents John and Millie (Thoroughly Modern Millie).  Millie loves to tell the story of her being a war bride and the many adventures of her finding her way to Canada to be with Johnny.  They have lived their lives in hard times and lean years.  Their hearts turned to the Lord in the early years of their marriage and they have devoted their lives to serving Him.  Now they are 90.  Everything about them is shaky except their faith.  As they walk, they are careful with their steps and tea flies everywhere as they are refilling your cup.  Stories are repeated and they stop to gaze into your eyes and  hug you over and over.  I love being with them.  They hold you close in their heart and in their hugs and in their prayers.  The value of friendships and time worn commitment is etched in their hearts.  Many of the stories we hear are of their loss of lifelong friends, a sadness creeps across their faces in the wake of this loss.  Then there is joy in the stories of great-great grandchildren and asking about our kids.  The pure joy of receiving a handwritten letter from Mikayla on a regular basis is evident in their gushing about receiving such a treasure.  Millie shows me her bundle of cards and letters and then rushes to her room (as much as she can still rush).  Coming out, she has a twinkle in her eye and hands me lovely chocolate kisses to give to Mikayla to thank her for the letters because she cannot write anymore…too shaky.  Their physical bodies are shaky and yet spiritually, this couple exudes solid ground. THIS is the solid ground I want;  an unwavering faith to the end stretch. This couple is pure gold.  Our time comes to a close too quickly and we have to leave.  Millie whispers, “When Jonny tucks me in at night, he whispers SEE YOU IN THE MORNING to me.”  I always reply.  “I hope so.”  I don’t say it but I think it. Their time on earth is coming to a close and yet I don’t like to think about it.  I think to myself that I hope to see this shining face again and again and again…I hope so.  This is GOLD…… Matthew 25:23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

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IMG_1286            Over the years, I have enjoyed friendships with so many different generations and continue to love the mix of ages in my friendship pool.   The variety of ages of our kids ensure that we have those ages in the mix for sure…then we have so many more thrown into the mix.  The younger friends are fresh and we get so many varying perspectives while they are forming their worldviews and making decisions that will last their lifetime.  Our peer friends are ones we confer with and sometimes commiserate with and pray with; friends who hold your hand while we walk through the same season of life.  The friends who are down that road and have held onto their faith and are so seasoned with grace and mercy and truth, we love to  sit at their feet and soak in the riches of their experience.  I look at my hodge podge of friendships and I am delighted to be blessed with the expanse of ages.  Age is something that cannot be contained in a box – yes we are a certain number of years but why allow that to define who you are?  With our kids, I love that they enjoy many friendships from different seasons of life.  So that musing is to bring you to a thought that sprang into my head through my salt and pepper hair  I have figured out the reason for my gray hairs growing in so funky.  As I was standing at the mirror, confuzzled once again why my straight black/brown hair was being infused with funky silver sproings that appeared to defy gravity, it dawned on me.  My hair is reflecting my heart.   My heart rejects the notion that I am aging and therefore have to behave in a certain way.  Each experience brings with it a certain wisdom and for that I am truly grateful.  We can be mature without being old.  I am not quite sure I have hit either one yet. I encourage every person I know to be fully who they are in Christ.  I long to do the same and do not want age or culture or societal constraints to crowd that longing out.  Defy gravity my sproingy silver hair and I will continue to do the same…holding hands all along the way.  If we feel like skipping on the way, we might just do that.   Now, I skip merrily downstairs to embrace my 49th birthday celebration with the greatest gifts the Lord has given me….my family.


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Pirate patch? Something got on my contact last night and irritated it all night while in hard-core visitation and laughing!  The conversations were too enjoyable to excuse myself to go home and set all things straight. I was immersed in the fun of the evening and did not pay attention to the increasing irritation of my eye. Upon arriving home, my eye was swollen and I could hardly see out of it.  Hoping for a quick fix, I took my contacts out and put on my glasses, tears streaming from my eye.   In the morning, nothing was changed and the pain and weeping was still there.   It struck me this morning something I am guilty of.  I am guilty of preferring my own pleasure in place of a wiser decision.

When we are in the situation of making choices of what path to walk on, I sincerely believe we have a niggling of conscience that would have us turn and set our feet on solid ground.  In what areas of our lives do we plunge ahead in our own pleasures disregarding the obvious consequences of that decision?  We THINK that we are immune to the destination the chosen path will take us.  If we stay up late habitually, we will be tired in the morning.  If we walk in a manner that draws the hearts of the opposite sex for personal significance and gain, there will be consequences of hurt and confusion.  If we neglect to exercise our physical bodies, we are not as healthy as we could possibly be. If we are consistently negative to those around us and immerse our minds in negative thinking, we will suffer depression and resentment. In the same way, if we do not invest in healthy friendships and truly be a friend, we will find ourselves friendless.  If we find ourselves consistently unable to commit to a relationship, or to a project, we are left in a limbo state. If we neglect to take up our pen and write, we will not produce any writings. If we choose not to feast on the Word of God we will not know God for God reveals Himself in His Word.  If we eat carelessly we will not have energy or stamina or healthy bodies.  What other ways do we make choices to walk on this path EVERY DAY and then react with surprise that we got where we are?  Whatever path we choose will take us to the destination of our choosing.  Why then are we so surprised when we end up there? Why do we rail against God or time or circumstances when we end up exactly where our feet have taken us? We end up at the end of the path we have chosen for ourselves and then with wide-eyed wonder shout…What the heck??   It is truly a ridiculous picture to be surprised when we hit a dead-end at a place where we did not want to end up but the signs were there the whole time.  Some things are obviously out of our control but we truly have to consider where we have walked purposefully in a direction that was not healthy.

Now, I have a scratched eye that is a visible reminder of my bad decision.  I have other things that linger in my life that are reminders of bad decisions where I have not chosen to walk in a manner worthy of the Gospel.  What are those for you?  Will we stop trying to find a scapegoat for those bad decisions and truly claim ownership for the ground we find our feet on?

Going out for a BBQ tonight and I am contemplating wearing a pirate patch and shouting out ARRGH and AYE AYE MATE sporadically throughout the evening.   This will cover up the fact that I made a silly decision that resulted in my eye refusing to talk to me.  My left eye is giving me the silent treatment until further notice.   While this one is easy to cover up, some of our paths have led us to a destination we would rather not be at.  The Lord is our light.  He will go before us and we can focus our hearts and minds on that light. Where our eyes are focused, there our hearts have focused and we WILL walk towards it. Let’s purpose to focus our eyes on the one true God who reigns forever and will walk us down a path that leads to life.  In my case, one eye for the time being but soon enough…two eyes!

The Lord is my light and my salvation; who shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27: 1

The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand. Psalm 37:23-24