Thinking Out Loud

February 5, 2018

An Unexpected Blessing

Filed under: Christianity, family — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:03 am

After dealing with Saturday morning’s flat tire fix — see Saturday’s post — my wife returned from worship team practice to remind me that her sister and her husband were arriving within the hour, something that had slipped my mind in the busyness of the morning.

The plan was for them to bring us some Thai food ingredients available where they live — Canada’s capital city — but not available where we are, and then to cook them for us in our kitchen.

We’ve done Asian grocery shopping in Toronto, but nothing they brought was anything we’ve ever used. It was a morning of new taste sensations and textures, something we’re quite open to. And yes, it all sat well as the saying goes.

You can’t make it all out in the picture, but the meal included:

  • Philippine spring rolls called Lumpia. (We love these; there are many variants.)
  • Hot and sour soup with enoki mushrooms and gigantic red shrimp
  • Thai eggplant and Thai green curry and calamari with coconut milk on basmati rice.
  • Dredged and deep fried butter fish with a lime juice, vinegar, shallots (type of onion), chili pepper sauce.
  • Jasmine tea and saki (which my wife provided)
  • Peanuts (my lame contribution; I was the only one who ate any, but peanuts and cashews do go well with Thai food.)

Awesome!

And we got to keep all the leftovers.

They drove 3½ hours and spent over an hour cooking everything and then drove 3½ back just to bless us.

And they did…


…One of the hardest things I have had to deal with in my life is accepting hospitality. This one was especially different, since it was our house, but they brought all the fixin’s. I’ve known other people in my life like this where they had to be the giver, the provider, the person helping the person in need.

I had an employee once who would never go to the store next door or across the street to get change for the cash register because she thought being a Christian meant that we were the ones meeting needs, not the ones in need. I tried to suggest that it was a wonderful context in which to get to know our neighbors; that we could build a relationship out of a contact that began when we had a need, but she would hear none of it, and would drive to the bank each time she ran out of quarters or $5 bills.

A friend and I were in Pennsylvania very late night one night and a family that we had met at a Christian music festival offered us the couch to sleep on. But I was so taken up with my own self sufficiency and so unfamiliar with accepting hospitality in this type of situation, that I insisted we leave at 12:30 AM and press on to Virginia, a strategy which nearly got us both killed, as the state freeways there fill up with fog on June nights like that one.

I was told later that I had obviously never learned to accept hospitality…


…So if someone offers to cook a dinner for you, let them! Plus now we get to put our creative energy to use to see if there’s a way in future we might return the blessing.

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December 25, 2015

Christmas in a Small Town

Filed under: Christmas, family — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:58 am

I’ve reblogged this today from Diane Lindstrom at Nice One Nana. Send her some link love by clicking the title below to read at source and leave comments.

Small Town, Big Connection

I couldn’t figure out how to get my [reward card] points at the local gas station pumps so I decided to ask the lady working inside about the procedure. I mean, free groceries are free groceries, right?

The lady who was working behind the counter had very kind eyes and a gentleness in her ways. She greeted me with a smile and as I fished around my purse for my wallet, she asked me, “So, are you ready for Christmas?”

I told her, “I’m ready. These days have been a quiet countdown to Christmas day. I’m not running around at all. Feels good. How about you? You enjoying the season?”

I was really taken back with the woman’s response.

“Usually, I love this time of the year but my daughter’s husband has been mad at me for the past four months and he won’t let my husband and I see our two grand-kids.” I’m just heartbroken about it.”

I was about to express my sadness about her situation but she began to cry and continued to talk.

“Why do people have to win? Why do they have to be stronger and more powerful and more right? Why can’t people just love each other?

I offered the woman a Kleenex and I just stood with her for a few seconds.

Neither of us talked.

I could see that the woman was embarrassed and as she wiped her eyes, she joked, “This is what happens when you come to a small town gas station!”

I smiled and asked her, “Are you and your husband alone on Christmas Day? Would you like to come to our place?”  I also joked back with, ” An invitation for Christmas dinner at a stranger’s house is also what happens when you serve customers at a small town gas station.”

“Oh, you’re so kind but no…we’re not alone. We have nine children and a handful of grand-kids. We’re going to be eating so many turkeys this Christmas, my husband and I are going to start gobbling. I just can’t understand why people don’t choose love. Not just at Christmas. All the time.” 

I nodded. I couldn’t have said it better.

“Thank you for blessing me with your words. I hope you and your son-in-law reconcile.”

She smiled, handed me a candy cane and said, “Merry Christmas.”

I leaned over the counter and gave her a big hug.

“And to you.”

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these. Mark 12.31


Diane Lindstrom lives in a small town in Ontario, Canada and is the author of Sisters in the Son: Reconnecting Older and Younger Women.

December 1, 2014

While You’re Cleaning Up From Thanksgiving

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:01 am

Kids are back at school today, relatives are back at work, but the house is a disaster, right? Actually, it’s all in how you look at it. Credit for this goes to Chelsea Lee Smith; click the image below to explore her blog.

It's All In How You Look at It

December 6, 2010

Be That Person!

I was in my early 20’s and really struggling with college and relationships and everything in between.   Then a couple from my church asked me over for lunch one day.   They were older than I was, with kids in junior high.   They could see that I was hurting and offered friendship and listened to my story, and then offered some good advice that only a fresh perspective could bring.   They also introduced me to one of the seniors in the church who was this incredible storehouse of the kind of wisdom I really needed.   I am so thankful that both the couple and the older person reached outside their social circle to help me at a point in life where I was feeling very lost.

So many times you hear stories of people coming along side and helping out someone they hardly know or don’t know.   That’s the appeal of books like So You Don’t Want To Go Church Anymore or The Noticer. Here’s the deal:  Each and every person reading this has the potential to be a mentor to someone else.   Not just “an encourager,” but someone who truly invests in someone else’s life.  I can guarantee that there’s somebody out there who you’re older than, who you’ve had more life experiences than.   Your story can intersect with their story.

Everyone reading this has the potential to be a life-changer to someone else, to be the person in the story who makes a difference in someone else’s life.

Someone — three people, actually — in the above story stepped up to meet the need.  Be that person!   Find someone about whom God strongly indicates that because of the nature of your personal story, you have something constructive to speak into that person’s life.

The next time you hear a story about someone who reached into someone else’s life to make a lasting contribution, be the person in the story.

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