Nov 16, 2007

"Give Thanks" Giveaway!

In the spirit of the season, I am hosting a brief "Give Thanks" Giveaway! I will be blessing someone with a 2008 TeaTime Calendar from the publishers of TeaTime Magazine– with an added "surprise" bonus. Enter simply by leaving a comment that expresses what you are thankful for. The entry rules are below...

  1. Post a comment that expresses what you are thankful for.
  2. You may only post one comment and it must be contained under this heading.
  3. You will receive one additional entry for each person that you refer to this Giveaway. They must mention your name in the post.
  4. The Deadline to post is Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 22, 2007) at Midnight PST.

Denise, at the Hope Street Studio blog, is hosting a Sterling Silver "Lock and Key Charms" Giveaway! This Giveaway coincides with the launch of her new website which goes by the same name. Her online store includes glass window charms, sterling pendants, sterling silver charms, custom window charms, and initial bracelets. All of these items will make wonderful one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts.

Nov 15, 2007

Välkommen till min blogg!

Välkommen till min blogg!

Karin Krut has this posted at the entrance to her blog– a blog that also bears her name. I don't know many words in Swedish, but this phrase was immediately recognizable and instantly felt! Blogs have enabled us to extend the wonderful bond of hospitality without physically stepping into one another's homes. It's amazing that a world brought to life by electricity and thousands of pixel fairies, can engage us on such a realistic level. More often than not, the warmth of what's written or made visible has me feeling so at home that I'm reaching for a cookie, adding sugar to my tea, or commenting aloud– almost as if I was facing my hostess.

The word "welcome" is derived from the Old English wilcuma, indicating "a person whose coming is pleasing." I believe that hospitality is determined by the degree of welcomeness.

A Korean Warm Welcome

Two evenings ago, some of my church members and I made a house call to a sweet young Korean woman who had recently visited our church, La Palma Christian Center. When we arrived at her home, we were enthusiastically greeted by her father at the door. He promptly invited us in, even though his daughter was not at home and we were strangers to him.

The entrance of this otherwise tidy home was littered with shoes. Being familiar with this tradition (and also being a practice in my own home), we removed our footwear and proceeded into the living room. We were greeted by all who were home and given refreshing Aloe Vera juice while they attempted to reach our party. Had we been able to stay longer, bowls of kimchi had already been removed from the refrigerator to serve as appetizers. We all felt extremely welcome!

It is this kind of welcome that embraces a visitor on many blog doorsteps and continues to put one at ease after being invited in. Shoes are kicked off and an exchange begins. It is the manner of being greeted that sets the tone.

NOTE: For a glimpse of Scandinavian Advent traditions, take a little trip to Sweden by visiting Ingela at FRIDHEM. Ingela is a hospitable soul who makes even the non-Swedish speaking visitors feel at home by including English in her posts. I so enjoy her friendship! I plan to slip this Advent tradition into this year's
Christmas celebration!

Nov 14, 2007

God Will Never Fail Us or Abandon Us!

Park City, Utah. A stately white barn during rain at sunrise.
(Photographed by rhyman007)
My family and I are currently standing in the threshold of Faith, positioned for yet another miracle in our lives. God is Faithful and He is bound by His Word! Hebrews 11:1 states, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (NKJ)" The Message Bible paraphrases this same scripture as such: "The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd." Faith is what we don't see and by Faith, we understand...

Below is a marvelous story that speaks volumes to me. It came to me without attribution and I have been unsuccessful in identifying the author. If you have any information, please let me know so that I can add it to this piece.

-Author Unknown

Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's rite of passage?

His dad takes him into the forest blindfolded and leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not take off the blindfold until the ray of sun shines through it.

He is all by himself.

He cannot cry out for help to anyone. Once he survives the night, he is a MAN.

He cannot tell the other boys of this experience. Each lad must come into his own manhood. 

The boy in our story was, naturally, terrified. He could hear all kinds of noise. Beasts were all around him. Maybe even a human would hurt him. The wind blew the grass and earth and it shook his stump. But he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold.

It would be the only way he could be a man.

Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. It was then that he saw his father sitting on the stump next to him — at watch the entire night. 

"I will never fail you. I will never abandon you."

-God (Hebrews 3:5)