Tag Archives: treasure

Simple (thanksgiving) Hospitality

Simple (thanksgiving) Hospitality

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10

I truly believe that there are those who are called to serve - food that is!  Mom’s all over the world diligently pull out their pots and pans every day, to thanksgivingprepare a simple meal for their families, hospitality that shows love and caring.  This is our ministry.  But I think during this particular time of year, this calling to hospitality can become anything but simple. The Martha in us takes over and although we love to serve, we have a tendency to take it to a level that is just simply unhealthy! Just ask anyone who was at the first Thanksgiving feast that I prepared. I think I got a total of 5 hours sleep that whole week because I was so wrapped up in making it the best and most memorable holiday ever. And it was…..for them.  For me? I only remember how blissful it was to lay down in bed that night and sleep, sleep, sleep.  I’m not even sure that I talked to anyone that day and if I did, I certainly don’t remember it!

While it may be our calling to serve and do the good works that God prepared for us to do (like serving our families), I think that we also need to remember Mary, Martha’s sister, who sat at the feet of Jesus.  Mary knew when to simply enjoy what was in front of her. We can learn a valuable lesson from her this holiday season….and from Mischele!  Our Girl Friday has a few tips on how to make our holiday hospitality stress-free!

Enjoy this special post!

mischHow to Plan a Stress Free Thanksgiving

Every year we girls take on quite a bit to make our families feel appreciated and loved. We go through a lot of sacrificing and crazy schedule planning in order to pull off a day that should be spent enjoying our family and guests. Instead we are the Martha’s of the Bible and we spend too much time working on details that can be left out in order to spend the time visiting.

If you plan ahead, you will enjoy the holidays instead of resenting them!

Here are a few tips to help you plan a stress free Thanksgiving:

 I love the idea that over the holidays we have the opportunity to show our friends and families how much we love them. With that thought in mind, I like to think about the food they love to eat and the activities they enjoy doing together.

 The Week Before:

1. I spend a little time analyzing what traditions my guests like, along with the foods they enjoy and I prepare my menu. I find I may make a few changes over the next couple of days because I remember this or that or discover a new wonderful recipe from Maria {LOL} that I want to share.

Here is a little bullet list to help you to plan your meal

  • Breakfast traditions-(like a sausage and egg casserole during the Parade)
  • Hors d’oeuvres
  • Main course-Ham or Turkey
  • Side dishes-Vegetables, Breads, stuffing
  • Deserts-Cheese cake, pie, cookies,
  • Beverages
  • Snacks for the Game- popcorn, chili (can be pre-made and frozen) chips and salsa….Choose whatever your family likes!

 2. I clean out my fridge, double check my pantry for items I will need and make a grocery list of things I will need in the next few days.

 I wash and iron my table linens and decide on what dishes I will need to accommodate my guests. Some people just use throw away dishes but if I have enough real plates I like to use them instead….it’s a Lebanese tradition to serve in this fashion no matter how large the group is.

 3.I love to pre-prepare any foods that can be made ahead of time, such as baking a couple loaves of zucchini bread or perhaps a chocolate pie that could be frozen and then thawed a day before serving.

 Throughout the week:

I take an hour to an hour and a half to clean a room each day prior to the holiday. Only concentrate on the areas that your guests will be spending time in. This simplifies the cleaning process by breaking it up. Often we leave it to the last minute and when you add it to all of the rest of the last minute preparations, it can be overwhelming.

 As I am cleaning I love to slowly pull out any fall decorations spreading them around our gathering areas. Putting aside what I will use for my table decorations. This gives the feeling of thankfulness and appreciation for your home and amenities you have right at your fingertips.

 3 days before

I shop for any remaining Items that I don’t have on hand and will need to complete my Meal and snacks.

 2 Days Before

I take out any pre-made items, turkey or ham out of the freezer and put them in the Fridge to thaw.

The Day Before

Assemble your side dishes such as your stuffing, and casseroles then cover them and refrigerate so they are ready to bake tomorrow along with your Turkey or ham.


I set up all my tables and decorate them with linens and holiday décor to suit. I prepare my napkins ahead of time unless they are store bought. I double check that I have all my side dishes ready for the items I will bake or cook the following day. I know this seems odd but it helps when putting everything on the table. You won’t have to go looking for something to suit.

 Thanksgiving Day!

Yep you got it going on….you simply have to start the turkey or ham and your hors d’oeuvres (ie; ham rollups) are already in refrigerator ready for serving.  Pull out your prepped casserole and stuffing and/or sweet potatoes and add to the oven while your turkey is cooking according to the time needed. Set your dishes on your already decorated table and presto! All you need to do is pull it out of the fridge or the oven, place in the dishes you already have chosen to serve in, and throw it on the table.

Important: Don’t forget to say your Blessings prior to your meal and thank your Heavenly father for all things.

Rest, Relax, and enjoy your family knowing you have already pre-prepared everything beforehand so that you can enjoy the time when they are with you.

 God Bless this Holiday Season and may your heart see a different meaning to the Holiday!

a mind of metal


lisaAuthor J.R.R.Tolkien has brilliantly written an epic story of good and evil, power, greed, and redemption, which has impacted many people’s understanding of these forces and their roles in this world.  As we examine the room of the mind today, my mind instantly goes to a scene from the movie adaptation in which what was once good has been corrupted…to potentially the ruin of all. Here is an scene from “The Two Towers” in which two young hobbits, innocent and loving creatures, learn a bit of that lesson from the old and wise shepherd of the forest, Treebeard.

As Treebeard, Meri and Pippin are walking through the woods towards safety at the prodding of Gandalf the White, Pippin notices smoke rising in the distance. Treebeard comments that there is always smoke coming from Isengard these days. He goes on to say that Saruman the White, used to walk in those woods and care for growing things, but now has a mind of metal.

What happened to Saruman? What changed him from the white wizard who was respected and revered as an authority; a leader, into the power hungry force of destruction that he is portrayed as in the two towers? Originally Saruman was good, but somewhere during the fulfillment of his proposed purpose in middle earth, he changed and became what he originally worked to defeat. Evil.

We all have the potential to realize a corrupted purpose. Originally we can desire good,working toward God’s purpose for us, with every intention of noble purpose. But the fact is, the evil forces of this world are constantly working to derail us, to persuade us that our desires and theirs are the same. Before long, the need for control and power take over and all of the good that was in us has been hardened into metal.

Treasure for this room consists of peace and contentment. When our minds are at peace, the rest of our lives can fall into place. The mind controls our emotions, how we feel in any given situation, and how we react to the world around us. So protecting it is of utmost importance.

The Apostle Paul instructs us in Philippians 4:8,9:

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me , or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (emphasis mine)

Peace is our goal. Peace in our homes. Peace in our work. Peace in our ministry. Peace in our reactions to the external. Peace in our hearts. When these things are at peace…contentment will follow.

Putting this into practice is a whole different matter.  It isn’t enough to read the bible and know what it says, we have to put its lessons into practice in our lives. Live the way we were meant to live. If we simply read the words but don’t make any changes to our behavior, we are not changed. It’s easy to sit in church on Sunday listening to a wonderful sermon, nodding our heads in agreement, but then return to our lives unchanged, acting the way we always act, doing the things we always do, thinking the things we always think. We have to apply these truths, make changes.  But how?

  1.       Examine what you put into your mind through television, books, and the internet. Media is a great tool for Satan to infiltrate our minds. Make sure that you are engaging in worthy media.

  2.     Pay attention to the conversations that you have. Are they kind? Do they build or destroy? Is there a particular person that drags you into a negative pattern of thinking? If so, try directing the conversation toward the positive, or ask them not to go there. If this doesn’t work then it may be time for you to take a break from that friendship.

  3.       Fill your mind with worthy and wholesome things. Movies and books can start off great but quickly turn malevolent before you even know it is happening. Determine to find wholesome entertainment.

  4.       Music can be another avenue for Satan to work his evil deeds. Did you know that before his fall he was in charge leading worship to God? Hmmmm….so he most likely knows how to manipulate that particular entertainment very well….to the ruin of many. (remember all of the angels that went with him?)

  5.       Finally – and above all, read God’s words to you ….His personal love letter to His children. And pray…everyday. For His strength when we need it. His mercy and grace when we fail. And His love throughout these trials of life. Always Love.

If you take steps to live a changed life, peace will come. Write “PEACE” on notecards and place around your house, in your car, on the mirror in your bathroom, or in your drawer at work to remind you to always seek it. Peace will come my friends, and He will bring it to you when you seek Him with all your heart!

Lord, give me peace this day in all that I do, in all that I think, and in all that I say. I desire this above all things, for I know that when I place myself in your hands and live as you desire, everything else will fall into place. Remind me daily to seek you, for when I seek you with all my heart I know that I will find you. Amen

Soli Deo Gloria!


Next week is the final week for “the rooms of our house” series. We will be talking about the body and linking all of the rooms together to show how they help to rebuild our “temples”.

See you next monday!




A heart for the eternal



This is the fourth post in a series on the “rooms” of our “house” and the treasure that we fill it with. If you would like to read the previous three posts you can find them in the calendar to your right on Mondays in September. Just click on the date and it will take you right there!

“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” Proverbs 24:3-4

There are 91 separate scriptures that have to do with matters of the heart; our heart, God’s heart, what we have in it and what comes out, and the replacement thereof. Our hearts it would seem are directly affected by our emotions. And as we discussed last week, our emotions are ruled by our souls. If we are keeping worthy treasure in our soul room, it would stand to reason that our hearts would be in pretty good shape – yes?

But are they?

I recently had a discussion about a particular difficulty I have had speaking life instead of death; namely the words that come out of my mouth. “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” Matthew 12:34. I   have gotten remarkably better on this front over the years, but there are still those moments where truly offensive words escape through my lips, searing not only the hearers ears, but my own as well! And it makes me wonder…if I truly have a changed heart, a heart of flesh and not of stone, why do these words still manifest within me? What am I harboring deep within my heart that would allow such profanity to be part of my thinking; conscious or not!

The discussion did not really solve this quandary, it pretty much left the group thinking. But I believe that this is what helps us to explore those deep places – this thinking, this admission of failure, this discussion that takes place between sisters and brothers in faith. And ultimately it will keep us accountable.

In addiction counseling they say that admitting you have a problem is the first step towards healing. This is so true. Admitting it is first.

Calling it sin is second.

We can’t rationalize away the things we say or the things we do as “genetics” or as “just our personality”. I’ve even heard some say that it’s “not that bad” or “everyone is doing(saying) it”. You know that twinge that you feel within when you say something you shouldn’t, feel something you shouldn’t or do something you know is wrong? That’s a God poke. He’s poking you in the heart to let you know that this is something that you need to pay attention to, an attitude that you need to change, or circumcise from your heart. (romans 2:29)

The bible tells us through a multitude of scripture that we need to guard our hearts, fill our hearts with worthy and not folly, and to fill our hearts with wisdom. Matters of the heart have the power of life, as well as death.

Here are some things that we should guard our hearts against:

  • Hope deferred (Proverbs 13:12)

  • Foolishness (romans 1:21)

  • Corruption in deeds (psalms 14:1)

  • Pride and arrogance (proverbs 8:13, proverbs 29:33)

  • Deceit (Jeremiah 17:9)

These things will bring you low, cause pain and heartache, death – and ultimate separation from God. A sick heart is probably one of the most destructive forces in our lives – guarding it should be a priority.

We want life – a worthy life.  Wisdom can help us to gain that life within our hearts, help us to bridge that gap between us and the eternal. When we know the things that challenge our hearts and cause us to “slip” in word and deeds, when we feel that twinge or God poke - we need to sit up straight and listen.

So we need to fill our hearts with worthy treasure.

Here are some examples of worthy treasure:

  • Wisdom

  • Gladness (psalms 16:9)

  • Peace (Colossians 3:15)

  • The words of God (Deuteronomy 11:18)

  • Light (2 Corinthians 4:6)


This is accomplished by:

  • Faith (acts 15:9)
  • Music from the heart (Ephesians 5:19)
  • Thankfulness
  • Meditation (psalms 19:14)

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also!” Matthew 6:21

Guard your hearts my friends and receive life and ultimate healing and health. Set your heart on things above and receive the blessings that our Father so richly provides for us.  Accept the gift and choose to write His story on your hearts, so eternity may be our treasure!

Next Monday: a mind of metal


Soli Deo Gloria


The Rooms of our House


“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” Proverbs 24:3-4


Knowledge and wisdom in all areas of life is undoubtedly one of the most important factors to consider in developing our relationship with God. It is not simply a spiritual matter; this relationship - it is life.

Simply life.

Today’s verse is #21 of the “Thirty Sayings of the Wise”, that was a guidebook written by one of the wisest men in History – King Solomon. God gave him great wisdom in order to govern His people and lead them in righteousness.

 This verse speaks to me, which is probably why we chose it to be the foundational verse for “a beautiful life” ministry. I’d like to explore this verse thoroughly over this next month, for I believe it can be foundational in how we pursue living a godly life.

If we consider ourselves as the house of God (His dwelling place) then we will see that to have a well-established life, full of joy and infinite blessing, we need to approach everything we do with wisdom – God’s wisdom. Pursuing understanding of this wisdom is equally important – godly understanding. When we have wisdom and understanding combined in respect to a situation in an area of our life -knowledge is gained. And through this knowledge our “rooms” are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

It is these “rooms” that we will be exploring over the month of September. Not only what these rooms of our life are, but also what we fill them with that is taking  up space that is meant for true treasure.

Following are the “rooms” that we will explore and the dates they will be covered:

September 2 ~ the Spirit

September 9 ~ the Soul

September 16 ~ the Heart

September 23 ~ the Mind

September 30 ~ the Body

Don’t miss any of these posts!  Sign up for email notifications in the “follow this blog” section on the sidebar today!


Don’t beat yourself up


I had a plan.

A plan to be there for someone who had recently experienced tragedy.

A plan to minister to the soul of someone who has spent endless hours in the past, ministering to others.

A plan to be the hands and feet of Jesus; to show love and compassion to a brokenhearted sister.

….and I let myself be derailed.

My husband decided that he wanted to take a little road trip, and I went along with the plan. So instead of following through with something that I knew would mean a lot, I chose fun.  In his defense I didn’t fill him in on my “other” plans. He comments often on our “have to do” list so I really didn’t want to add one more to it.

I rationalized that, because of his work travel schedule, we don’t have that many opportunities to spend the quality time together that we’d like….so I needed to take this opportunity to connect and have a “together” moment.

It sounds rational right? I told myself that the person, who I was to minister to, had many friends and that she was probably already covered by love and grace and her needs were already being met. So I let myself be led off the path, I let myself be talked into doing something else less important at that given time.

Am I being hard on myself? Probably. Family is important too.

But this morning I turned to Luke 3:7-11 in which John the Baptist chastises the people who have come to be baptized. He tells them that going through the motions just to be saved is useless, that faith without deeds is dead faith.


He goes on to say that “the ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” Luke 3:9.

Double hmmmm…..

Somehow I felt convicted… and selfish.

I’m not saying that spending time with your family is selfish; God wants us to do things together and be a close and loving family. But we also need to remember that life is not all about doing what we want to do, living for our own comfort. Sometimes giving up something fun is necessary in order to give something worthy.

I’ve decided not to beat myself up about it, what’s done is done. Sometimes we need to extend ourselves a little grace, but still learn and grow.

What this particular experience made me realize is that it is very easy, sometimes TOO easy, to rationalize our way out of things. Do you ever hear yourself saying things like:

I don’t have the time, I have work to do.

I’ve been gone all day, all I want to do is relax.

I deserve to have some fun.

These things may be very true and generally speaking, okay, but what we need to see is the slippery slope beneath those words. If we become too accustomed to using those excuses, we will find ourselves living a very empty and selfish existence. Life will become about fulfilling our own needs instead of the needs of others.

It’s very easy to see our needs before we see other’s needs, but this is why we need to fix our gaze on Jesus, make Him our primary focus. True joy, satisfaction and blessings come when we are in alignment with the spirit, but how will we ever know this if we don’t take steps to root out those selfish tendencies?

No … good works will not earn me a place in Heaven, but each time I choose “me” I can feel the ground beneath my feet begin to rumble with the motion of the ax.

Lord, show me that putting others first is always the best choice. Guide my decisions to be in alignment with You and your desires for my days. May Your will for my life be done as I walk in faith with You.

Reflect His Light!


The Day of the Lord ~ Part 2



{this is a continuation of Monday’s post…if you missed it, you can access it by choosing Jan 7th on the calendar to the right}

Isaiah 2:6-9 ~ “You Lord, have abandoned your people.

They are full of superstition from the east;

 they practice divination like the Philistines

 and embrace pagan customs.

Their land is full of silver and gold;

there is no end to their treasures.

Their land is full of horses,

 there is no end to their chariots.

Their land is full of idols;

they bow down to the work of their hands,

 to what their fingers have made.

 So the people will be brought low and everyone humbled – do not forgive them.”


To me these verses from Isaiah could describe America. We covered eastern superstitions, divination and pagan customs in the first part of this post, much more could be said, but you get the idea.

Let’s take a look at the verses that follow:

“Their land is full of silver and gold; there is no end to their treasures.”

America has been described at the richest nation on earth. I do believe that, especially with the recent downturn in the economy, there are a few other countries that are doing their best to rival us in that aspect. But generally speaking, we are privileged beyond what many can expect in their lifetimes in other countries. I have read that even the poorest person in America has more than most of the people in parts of Africa or India.

Our natural resources are abundant, and work is mostly available for those who want it. Further education is available for everyone; including those who may not be able to afford it due to scholarships and grants, and a helping hand up is as close as the nearest aid office. Our health care system is one of the best in the world (although that is changing), and just about anything that we could ever want, can be had. Individuals vary from year to year in terms of their prosperity, but for the most part, even when we are broke, we still eat. This is not so in many other areas of the world due to war, famine, disease or governmental control.

“Their land is full of horses, there is no end to their chariots.”

Statistics say that more than 254million cars are registered in the United States, compared to the almost 310million people who live here, and this was from 2009. Considering part of that number of people are children who don’t drive, that is almost 1 vehicle per person in the country. In biblical times, cars did not yet exist, they rode donkeys and horses, and pulled chariots, but only the very wealthy had those.  That – is a lot of cars!

“Their land is full of idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their fingers have made.”

We, as a nation, base our worth upon how much we have. What kind of car we drive and how big our house is; whether or not we have the latest techy gadget or video game. We work 24-7, neglecting our relationships, allowing our babies to be raised by people we don’t even know, and if we could, many of us would add more days to the week in order to make more money for more “stuff”. The things that we surround ourselves with have defined us, and we look down upon and ridicule those who don’t match our ambition to have more, do more and be more.

…is this starting to sound at all familiar?

“So the people will be brought low, and everyone humbled”

What do the experts say is happening to the middle class in this country? How many people have been freaking out over the state of our economy, the rising gas prices, not to mention rising food prices as well as health care costs.  Many thought the last election would go much differently, I being one of them. I’ve even heard comments, post-election, questioning where God was, why he did not answer their prayers and save the country from what they were sure, was the end of life as they knew it. After all, the other candidate obviously is not aligned with God, and wouldn’t he want someone who could better lead the country in the direction of faith?

But if you think about the things that God allowed in biblical history and why, you will discover that when the Israelites were not aligned with him, when they were worshiping idols and relying on themselves, God withdrew His favor. Is this what is happening in this country right now? Is God withdrawing His favor because we have forgotten Him? These are all questions that we as Christians should be addressing, especially in our own lives. Where are we in our relationship with God? What steps can we take to improve it. Are we thanking Him for the blessings that He has allowed us to have? Are we sacrificing of ourselves for His glory?

…to be continued!

On Monday we will talk about some things that we can implement in our lives, to get back on track and start living as we were meant to live, and provide a pleasing home for our Lord.

My Prayer: Father, I am sorry if I have disappointed you by living my way and not yours. Please reveal to me the areas that I need to change. Speak to my heart and refine my life so that I can begin to live the perfect life that you have planned for me. I pray that my life can begin to reflect a desire to know you and to love you. In Jesus’ name I pray…….

May God’s Blessings find you and keep you,