Wednesday, January 02, 2019

9th Day of Christmas - A Fun Evening Out

Krista and Nolan went to the library and feed store for us. They also stopped at La Fiesta....running errands together wasn't enough to count for their one on one time. LOL

We worked here at home while they ran errands. Michael is getting a couple of gifts packaged and ready to ship. The kids and I dismantled the gingerbread villages and and moved tables and such back into place.

I  canned another 14 pints... I made 9 pints of veggie soup starter (6 with beef broth and 3 with ham stock). I had room left in the canner and threw in 5 pints of pinto beans.

I've written  about Biblical hospitality: here, and  a bit here. It is a subject God impressed on me during our time in Misawa, Japan.

We have experienced many forms of hospitality here in Alaska. We sought out a church which seemed welcoming, where we saw people talking to one another when we visited. This was as important to us as the other "big" things on our list.  The community/hospitality offered to us has been stunning at times. We are blessed. We have been invited out to lunch after church, been  taught how to  dip-net and invited to join a family trip, been loaned fishing equipment,  been invited for coffee and play dates, had help with projects (sewing and woodworking), airplane miles given to us, cars loaned to us...all forms of amazing hospitality....but we are rarely invited to someones home. Intellectually, we know this is probably because our family seems "big," and intimidating. You should have seen us when there were 9 Gherkins at home. 

Before someone messages me that we should create the community we want to be a part of and reach out to others - we have and do! We recognize and are blessed at the variety of hospitality offered to us. I'm being real here. Being invited "inside the gates," confirms a level of intimacy and community we desire in our lives. It's also hard. "Having someone over" requires time, transparency, and vulnerability.  It also adds a richness to our relationships. How else would I know my 80 year old friend loves John Grisham and Joel Rosenberg novels?

Invites to homes are rare everywhere we have ministered, in many neighborhoods.   It's a comment made to us by parishioners who long for closer relationships. We understand. I suspect most of us have the same longing to know and be known.

 This church community - according to Greek terms in the Bible - is  fellowship and not the word for hospitality at all. Yet, we crave it.  Biblical Hospitality may start in our church community - but is meant to be our stance to strangers. Now, most in our church are still "strangers" to us, but I am convicted  I need to keep reaching out to neighbors....when they turn the other way, when they tell me they are progressive liberals (not sure why that matters), when they obviously want to avoid getting to know us, when their lives reveal a vastly different worldview than mine....we are still called to be a people who extend hospitality. It's what God has done for us.  I don't let myself off the hook. I'm not whining about not being invited to another's home, and ignoring the fact I need to keep making an effort in our area and church as well.  We feel blessed to have been led to our church community and to have gotten to know so many, so quickly. 

It's simply that in an odd moment, one asked, "Why do you think we aren't invited to anyone's home?"  As parents, we gave the right answer.

Yet, those insecure thoughts do linger from time to time, don't they? One begins to wonder, in their most insecure moments, do folks simply not WANT to get to know us?  Is one time in our house enough for them to decide they'll love us from afar? ::wink:: ::snort:: ::grin::

I believe Holy Spirit surfaced the question, and our insecurity, so we would be more committed in our efforts to include and love others....and so we would be taken with joy when we were invited to someone's home!!! LOL

We went over to Carl and Brenda's for snacks and games tonight. Their son, Daniel, is Nolan's age. Brenda and I wanted to be sure they get time together while Daniel is home on break. A bonus was being able to get to know their other son, Joel. 2019 has started out well!

We played Balderdash - which is a very serious business, indeed. 
Carl, Daniel, Joel and Brenda
Why did we line up with Gherkins on one side and S family on the other? ::snort:: 
Krista, Nolan, Stacia, Alex and Michael
 (I am on the bench between Krista and Brenda)

Joel and Brenda
We were offered great snacks, laughter, conversation, games - friendship.  It was a fun and refreshing evening.

What are some of your favorite ways to extend hospitality to others?  How do you extend hospitality? I am guessing usually outside of your home? Do you often have others inside your home? Do you have some simple menus or ideas that work well? Maybe I should collect answers and write another blog post compiling easy tips and ways to reach out to others. Our neighborhood has stumped me.

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