Darkness in the Midst of Christmas – A Service of Light

Our new neighborhood is full of Christmas lights.  Almost every house has something: a tree sparkling with color, the metal form of an animal outlined in white, penguins building an igloo under a shining white light.

Yet, I wonder how many of these homes hold bits of darkness.  How many are weighted down with disappointments, grief, and strife.  How many shelter those who are tired, lonely, and weary.

I invite you to take time to lift up those bits of darkness in your life to God.  Join us for a Service of Light, where scripture, song, candles, a safe place, and a unique message will provide you with a new perspective.  (I will be leading the service.)

All are welcome.

Thursday, December 11th, 2014            7:30-8:30pm

The Blessing House8705 Church Lake Blvd,Victoria, MN 55386

Creating space for God to work.

The Blessing House is a unique Christian retreat center in the form of a welcoming home on the shore of Lake Wassermann.

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House Rules

House RulesThere are many transitions in life, some unnoticed, others briefly mentioned.  Some are celebrated, other grieved.  Some unexpected, others long awaited and planned for.

With each transition, something old is lost while something else is gained.  We recently moved from our children’s first home.  The first years of their lives were spent there, with many moments cataloged in pictures, and others recorded in the pages of my journal.  Yet the house itself holds the memories too, but we couldn’t take the dents in the walls or the exact angle of the sun through a window with us.  There are sensations that can only echo in that place, sensations we will never feel again.

But we also gain something new.  We have a line in the sand, a new beginning: a move-in date.  On that date we start fresh.  We can start anew, both in the way we live within the space, and how we conduct our lives.  In that house we have lived day-to-day, with managing with the space we had, and our lives in general.  Now, we can seek to live more deliberately.  We can take our time to set-up our space, but also reassess – and voice – how we want to live as a family.

We are now a few weeks into our new home.  It is slow going, but we are making deliberate choices.  I can’t say it has been smooth sailing, as we learn the various quirks of this house and have small hiccups with installation of new appliances.  Our runs to the hardware stories have well exceeded what we can count on our combined fingers (for both purchases and returns).  But, things are falling into place.

As part of this process, I’ve been spending valuable time on Pintrest.  Along with ideas of how to artfully display children’s art and maximize laundry room space, Pintrest abounds with “playroom rules”, “family rules” or other “rules”, so why not have our own?  After all, we are starting over, and in an effort to live a more deliberate life, here are our “House Rules”.  These aren’t really new, but now they will be articulated and posted for all to see.

While I don’t normally impose my standards on others – or at least try not too, these are “rules” are for everyone who enters this house.  No one will be kicked out, but I really want our house to be a safe place for our kids, and for my husband and I.  I want our home to be a place where we can all feel safe to be who we are, a place where we can grow in the Spirit, and a place where there can be some predictability.

These are more aspirations and guidelines, rather than rules, as they are spiritual and emotional ways of being which require intentional training of the brain and heart.  But I pray that they become a place for us to realign ourselves when we get off track, and a solid foundation for our children to create personal standards of how they treat others and themselves.  (I definitely need to get these up on the wall asap!)

Perhaps, these “rules” can help.  And if they don’t, well, we’ll try something else.


 

Love always.  At the core of your existence, love others, yourself, the world and God.  It is through loving ourselves and others that we reflect God’s Love.  (Love God with all your heart, mind and soul, and love others as you should love yourself.  Take people at face value, realizing that their actions and words originate from love, until otherwise proven.  And never, ever abuse someone else – physically, verbally, emotionally or spiritually.)

Practice Grace.  As God extends Grace to us, we must practice receiving that Grace and spreading it to others.  We are all on a journey, and not every step is easy and we never meet it with perfection.  (Forgive, learn from it, and move on.  And remember, most likely it’s you who needs the Grace, not the other person.  We practice Grace as a calling that we can always improve on.)

Be a team player.  Each person has particular gifts and interests.  As a family, and all who enter our home, we all have specific parts to play.  Take pride and ownership in your contribution, and respect the contributions of others.  (Parents are parents, kids are kids, friends are friends, grandparents are grandparents – most boundaries are pretty easy to see based on our standard/local cultural expectations.  Yet others take some negotiating, patience and lots of communication.  When someone is straying into your business, let them know with love and Grace.  If you see that they may need help or some adjusting of team roles, approach them with love and Grace too.  And if someone approaches you, take it with love and Grace.)

Start fresh each day.  Each day gives us new opportunities, joys and blessings.  If it is a great day, celebrate!  If it is horrible, remember that it will soon be replaced with another one.  But no matter what, each day that we experience is a blessing along our journey – even if we don’t know how or why.  Therefore, see each day as a new start.  (History is in the past, so learn from it and move on to the next day with a clean slate and the best attitude you can muster.)

Embrace each moment.   Christ calls us to be mindful of the Love, Grace and everything else in our lives.  We need be mindful of the moments, as they pass so quickly.  With everything that we should do, must do, could do, we become distracted and miss the beauty and joy around us.  Embrace what you have, when you have it.  (Pay attention and be thankful.)


 

 

Help others on their journey by commenting on this post:  What are some of your house/family rules?

 

 

 

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