A Life Worth Living by Nancy Buxton

Archive for May, 2010

The Friendliest Place in Town

Do you feel like your church is the friendliest place in town?  If you don’t or if I don’t we need to do something about that.  Yesterday I posted about the 5 important things that make people feel welcome at church.  Now I’m not just talking about visitors I am talking about church members.  Do you know church members can feel very lonely at church?

People want to feel comfortable at church.  They want comfortable seating and easy to follow signage.  They also love to have their names used.  It ‘s important to learn about your fellow church members and to express genuine interest in them and their family.

People also want a relaxed fit!  Sounds like we are buying a pair of jeans doesn’t it?  Think about this.  Once we’ve been going to a church for a while it starts to feel pretty routine.  We know our way around and certainly know what’s expected.  For guests, the church can seem pretty daunting and foreign at first, especially if it is a big church.  Help people feel at ease by letting them know your church is a safe place to be and they are welcome no matter what.

If you see someone wandering the halls looking lost ask them if you can help.  I have actually seen people leave a meeting because they couldn’t find a place to sit.  Move over and invite a stranger or a church member to sit with you, you can do that with a smile, a nod or a motion.

Stick around–most of the time once we hear the last amen we are on our feet and ready to head for home.  Those moments after the service don’t need to be rushed.  Take time to say hello to the people who were sitting around you.  One study showed that visitors felt more welcomed when someone talked to them after the service than before.

It’s not always easy to put these things into action especially if it isn’t natural.  I do believe we are called to be friendly even if it’s difficult.

Friend-O-Nomics

Today we went to church just as we do every Saturday.  We were barely on time just as we are every Saturday.  I won’t tell you who is the one at our house that makes us late or almost late but it’s not me.  We walked into the sanctuary from the side door just as we do every week.  We sat in our usual spot and when the service was over we left.  Not one person spoke to me.

Odd I have been going to this church for over 40 years and I didn’t even meet anyone to stop and visit with.  It’s okay I don’t mind but what if I did.  What if that was enough to make me not want to go back. So what about being friendly at church?  Don’t get me wrong, I certainly could have and should have found someone to welcome.  Do you know friendliness can make your church grow?

“Group”–surveyed 750 people to answer this question: What’s the most important factor that makes a place friendly?  Here is the list of the top five characteristics most important in conveying friendliness.  This is in the order of importance.

1.  Belonging–It’s important to feel like you belong.  Try inviting people home for dinner or if you don’t cook perhaps meet at a restaurant and spend some time together.  Host something.  Invite a few people from church over for a game night, a movie night, a football party, anything.  People love to be together. What are your hobbies?  Perhaps you can invite someone over to work on a hobby together.  It is important to help everyone feel like they belong.

2. Comfort

3. Relaxed Fit

4. Talk to Me

5. Smiles

We are going to work on this list and see if we can become more friendly.  Are you with me?

Where Have I Been?

LOL I have been right here having fun with my three girls.  My daughter and her two little gals, ages 4 and almost 2.  Today I am spending time with Jillian because her mom and sister have gone to the zoo and will pick their daddy up from the airport this evening.  At this moment Jill’s has the phone off the hook and is playing with the calculator, but at least we are in the same room and both sitting LOL.

Here is a fun recipe for you–I know you can buy this already made but it will have partially hydrogenated shortening in it.  So don’t buy it just make it.  It’s simple and a much healthier version and delicious.  Okay I know you want to know about my weight.  Let’s say I am holding my own, have I been to Weight Watchers you are asking?  Yes I have twice, but I have more excuses than I have success.  It’s not WW fault it’s mine, too much going on and no will power.  This Wednesday I am headed there again, no excuses this time.  It’s a battle.  Every garage sale I go to has books for sale about weight.  Do we all fight the battle of the bulge?  What I notice is everyone who has these books at their sale are still pleasingly plump?  Don’t these diets work?  IDK–It could have to do with willpower and we don’t know where to get it.  You say pray about it–I do!  You say pray harder!! I have!  What is the answer?  Again IDK.  One answer might be to stay away from ice cream toppings.

Magic Shell Ice Cream Topping

1 1/2 Cups of chocolate chips

1/2 Cup Coconut Oil–measured when solid

Melt about 1 minute in microwave, stir, stir, stir when you take it out.  If you need to you can micro again.  I store mine in a jar and just heat it up when we want some.  This is not really great eaten by the spoonful it is better over ice cream.  At least that’s a plus.

The Sound of Silence

Have you experience the sound of silence when it comes to answered prayer.  Maybe not even answered prayer, do you just ever feel that God IS silent?

Georges Bernanos said this: “At that moment I needed prayer as much as I needed air to draw my breath or oxygen to fill my blood. . .A void was behind me and in front a wall, a wall of darkness.”   I don’t want to ever feel this desperate to hear from God but the truth is I often feel my prayers are not ascending to heaven.  Not long ago in church it was stated that the Holy Spirit is waiting to take our prayers before the Lord, now that was a comforting thought for sure.

I also take comfort in the fact that almost all the masters of spirituality experience a dark night now and then. My question is this, if I experience this darkness do I stop praying?  I say NO because if I stop how will I know when God is finally ready to let me feel he is hearing me?  Besides if we stop praying it is just so easy to continue not praying we have to keep cultivating the habit of prayer.

Are you ready for one of my favorite recipes?  This was given to me a long time ago by a woman known as madicker LOL

Rhubarb Pie

4 Cups finely chopped rhubarb, add 2 eggs and mix well by hand.

Mix and add to the above.

1 1/2 Cup Sugar

3 heaping T flour

1/2 t nutmeg

1 T butter

Make your favorite pie crust and pour this in and bake 450 10 minutes, 350 45-50 minutes

I promise to take a picture of my Mother’s Day gift soon–I am still recovering from the last couple of months of nonstop activity.  Today my Topeka kids are coming and will be here for a week–we are excited and I know we will use my MD gift a lot.

My Girl

My Girl had a birthday!  Yup my baby is 35, how can that be when I don’t feel a day over 35?  This girl turned woman has been a delight to me always.  I do remember when she was about 2, she perplexed me, she seemed to not be the happy-go-lucky child that her brother was.  I decided she was bored with her toys and bought her some new ones.  That’s funny looking back on it, how could a two-year old be bored? She was just a little wisp of a thing and sweet as sugar.

My Girl was a breeze as a teenager, she was strong-willed and would often come home early or send her friend’s home early because she wanted to go to bed.  This idea was never in my vocabulary I am a die-hard still today.  You are getting the picture aren’t you?  We are not very much alike and yet we are best friends.

I admire my daughter, I mean really admire her.  She has a walk with the Lord, she depends on Him.  She teaches her children about Jesus.  She cooks healthy, watches her weight and exercises.  She never raises her voice to her children and yet they obey.  She is quick to apologize if she thinks she has done something wrong, she is sweet and generous.  She is frugal especially with herself.  She puts her husband first right after God. She is fun and thoughtful.  She is beautiful inside and out.  This picture is a fun picture of her and her honey.  She is still in her pj’s,  I am sure she will wonder why I didn’t find a picture of her all fixed up.  The real fact is she looks great no matter what. Isn’t there something about seeing yourself through the master’s eye. I am not the Master but I am the mother and through my eyes she is perfect.

For her birthday present she wants me to help her spring  clean her house.  I can’t wait I love to spend time with her even when it’s cleaning house.

Can you tell I am crazy about this girl of mine?  I thank the Lord for her!

How Was it When You Grew Up?

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I grew up in the 40’s/50’s with practical parents. A mother, God love her, who washed aluminum foil after she cooked in it, then reused it. She was the original recycle queen, before they had a name for it… A father who was happier getting old shoes fixed than buying new ones.  

I can see them now, Dad in trousers, tee shirt and a hat and Mom in a house dress, lawn mower in one hand, and dish-towel in the other. It was the time for fixing things. A curtain rod, the kitchen radio , screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress Things we keep. 
   
best friend that moved away or a classmate we grew up with.

Their marriage was good, their dreams focused. Their best friends lived barely a wave away..

It was a way of life, and  sometimes it made me crazy. All that re-fixing, eating, renewing, I wanted just once to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew there’d always be more.

But then my mother died, and on that clear summer’s night, in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn’t any more. 

Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away….never to return.. So… while we have it…… it’s best we love it…. and care for it… and fix it when it’s ! broken……… and heal it when it’s sick. 

This is true. for marriage…….. and old cars…. and children with bad report cards….. and dogs with bad hips….. and aging parents…. . and grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it. Some things we keep. Like a

There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special…….. and so, we keep them close! 

THIS WAS EMAILED TO ME AND IT REMINDED ME OF THE HOME I GREW UP IN.  AS A KID I THOUGHT THINGS WOULD ALWAYS STAY THE SAME.  MY DAD TELLING ME TO TURN OFF THE LIGHT AND CATCH A NICKLE, MY MOM COLLECTING RAIN WATER TO WATER HER PLANTS.  THINGS DO CHANGE AND NOT ALWAYS FOR THE GOOD AND YET IT IS INEVITABLE.

ALL I KNOW IS WE MUST LIVE IN TODAY, NOT YESTERDAY, NOT TOMORROW BUT RIGHT NOW.  WE MUST LOVE COMPLETELY AND FEEL DEEPLY FOR OUR FELLOW MAN (WOMAN). AGAIN, IT IS BIBLICAL–LOVE THE LORD AND LOVE YOUR FELLOW MAN.

Going Home!

Funny thing, when I leave for a trip I am always kind of excited, I love my women’s ministries job and actually never consider it a job. For one reason or another I will sometimes extend the trip for a day or two.  This time my friend wanted to do some shopping.  She loves to shop, I would rather have gone to Disney World–I never get tired of Micky Mouse.

I am always sorry when I extend a trip–I am just naturally drawn towards home. I love to be home.  I hope you feel that tug towards  home too.  I don’t know maybe it’s my bed I miss or perhaps it’s my sewing machine but to be honest it’s my fella.  I just miss him when I am away.  It’s because I know him so well and he knows me.  We just seem to fit each other pretty well.  It hasn’t always been like this in the early days of marriage  I would have extended my trip for weeks if given the chance.

You know where I am going with this–I’ve talked about it before–it’s the nudge toward home.  We are given a natural restlessness just to make us long for our heavenly home.  The more we get to know our Father the more we want to go home.  The more we long for heaven, the more we want the rest and peace we find when we depend on Him.

I do have some news for you–if you are planning a trip to Orlando and want to go to Disney World or Epcot, go to the Disney website.  Click on Give a Day–Get a day and follow the instructions.  If you volunteer in one of their projects in your community they will give you a free ticket to DW or Epcot.  Can’t beat that.  I can tell you it would have been a whole lot cheaper for me to pay full price for DW than to go shopping.

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