The Long and the Short of It

Bethany sent a great photo this morning. The Long and the Short of it – Sarah, the Short; Jordan, the Long – both students at Penn State.  Jordan plays basketball (duh); Sarah, well, plays with Bethany. She wanted to show how short Sarah was (God loves short people, Sarah. Ignore Bethany) so she asked this tall drink of water (not buying water I don’t think) if he would pose.

The long and the short of it. Adorable.

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Did you ask him his shoe size, Bethany??

The Long and the Short of it = the Gist, the Substance, the One True Thing

I like that word Gist. We need to use it more.

What’s your long (and short) of it? What’s the Main Thing for you–your gist? If you had a 40-second elevator ride with a stranger and they asked, “So what’s your deal?” – what would you say? And if your elevator got stuck, what more would you say?

Jesus knew how to answer that question (before elevators.)

…the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested Him with this question:

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22: 34-39, NIV)

Don’t know what God has for you today?  The long and the short: He wants you to love Him and others. That’s it.

Want to know why? He loves you.

He created us because He loved us. He’s the Ultimate Host: “Come to Me.” All because of love. That’s His welcome heart. All for you and me–short and long–and for all odd-shaped others on (and in) your way.

Prayer for today:

“Lord, God in heaven, Thank You for your great love for me. Help me live out of that gist, that substance, that truth. May Your love grow deep and wide in me, short and long from me –just because You love me. I love You, Sue.”

Paul knew the long and the short of it, too:

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” – Ephesians 3:17-19

How will your day be different because of God’s love–for you, in you, through you? That’s what counts. Long or short. Jesus said.   

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Tasting Tuesdays: The God of Second Chances

“We all think that forgiveness is a great idea until we have someone to forgive.”

C.S. Lewis

We taste God’s goodness most in forgiveness — giving and receiving, His and ours. We get lots of practice. It’s not easy, especially if the offense-giver doesn’t seem sorry.  I’m the most sorry if I don’t take the high road and forgive anyway. When we forgive, we are most like Jesus. When we offer a second chance, we give the same grace we were given.

sunny and remodel

When our eldest was in 8th grade — (note: your kids will reach 8th grade and they will live through it – you may, as well) — she started begging for a dog. An 8th grade girl begging for a dog gives new weight to the word beg. Consternation. Pleading. Suffering. Everyone suffering.

Now we’d had dogs before, and rabbits and pet rats–even a kitten for the better part of a week. But they never panned out. My Man-in-Plaid returned more than one pet, and he, for good reason, was deaf to Bonnie’s cries.

I, on the other hand, was trying to wade through the emotions of a 13-year-old who didn’t feel so great about herself. A dog seemed a worthy option. I needed all the help I could get.

When I talked to Mark about it, he said, “We tried dogs before. The girls didn’t take responsibility. They had their chance.”

I know exactly where Mark was standing when he made that announcement.

I replied, “Well, God is the God of second chances. Remember that I gave you a second chance (I had said “no” to his first proposal – three years later I said “yes” but that story will be left to another time) – I continued, “I gave you a second chance, remember?”

At that moment he was regretting he had asked for that second chance…but the point was this:

We make mistakes. We act irresponsibly. We don’t deserve a second or third or fifth chance, but God forgives, He gives grace – as Corrie Ten Boon said, “He throws our sins in the deepest part of the ocean and puts up a ‘no fishing’ sign.”

 

We got a dog.

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Mark ended up walking the dog. Sunny lived fourteen years and got all three of our girls through junior high and high school. What a dog. What a dad. My prayer this year was that Sunny would last until Mary Grace graduated from high school so I wouldn’t be begged for another dog. Sunny died the end of April, bless him. Thankfully, Mary chose to graduate early in March. God is in the details, folks, and He’s the God of second chances.

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When we offer forgiveness to our kids, our husbands, ourselves – we are showing the heart of God – and that’s the best legacy to leave our families.

O, taste and see that the Lord forgives and forgives and forgives again; blessed is the one who trusts she’s forgiven and falls over herself offering that same forgiveness time after time after time and again–for she will taste His goodness. Today’s Psalm 34:8

Sharing coffee today with Holley Gerth – see her wonderful encouragement here.

 
Link up Tuesdays. Please share your taste of God’s goodness, and link up with the pretty button  below – code on the right.

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Not Your Job

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Sifting through Mom’s papers, Christmas letters, birthday cards and magazines, I came across this title on the back of an old Decision magazine. I ripped it out and added it to my pile:

“Parents Are Not Miracle Workers” by Ruth Bell Graham.

Why in heaven’s name not?? Don’t our kids need miracles?

I’m a parent. I need miracles on a regular basis. I needed this article this week. Mom must have needed it, too. She’d saved it since 2005.

FYI, miracles are not your job.  Graham wrote:

“As parents, we may be tempted to try to do God’s work…He asks us to take care of the possible and to trust Him for the impossible.” (Decision, Feb 2005)

What’s possible?

-Making dinner (most nights)

-Doing laundry (or teaching how to do laundry – often easier to do it…)

-Cheerleading (on the sidelines)

-Buying Kleenex, mascara, and chocolate (for bad days)

-Asking questions (sometimes)

-Listening (always)

-Paying for pedicures (occasionally)

-Praying (with faith believing)

-Praying (with thanksgiving)

-Praying (with joy and hope)

That’s about it. I’ll add one:

Trusting (after Praying)

I’d like to be able to convict my kids of sin (who, me?) Or increase their longing after their Redeemer.  Or give them the joy of knowing Jesus, and serving God with all their hearts. I’d be so good at helping them deny themselves for His sake and guide them into spreading the Gospel and making them want Him more. At least I think I would be good at it.

Graham writes:

“How often we try to make them [our kids] read their Bibles and to pray, to do His will joyfully, and to come under His authority…but these are all miracles of grace. And miracles are in God’s department, not ours.”

Miracles of grace. I’m relieved, aren’t you? What I really want for my kids I can’t give. Miracles are God’s job. I have plenty to do without worrying over what I can’t do.

I wonder what we were doing the week Mom decided to keep this magazine article? I know she prayed. And I will too, right after I make the frosting and finish the laundry.

Looking for a miracle? Don’t look at me. My plate’s full. Thankfully, God’s isn’t.

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Feast on Fridays: Chicken ‘n Dumplings

With a hint of Fall in the air, I made chicken ‘n dumplings last night for a going-away dinner for dear Melissa. Yum! So easy if you take your time. I was off work so I could do the steps in-between the rest of life and it smelled oh, so yummy. Our new student, Danny from China, even took a photo. Hopefully, he sent it to his mom so she knows he’s well-taken care of.

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Melissa, pitching in as usual.

Chicken 'n Dumplings
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: American as Apple Pie (although we had berry)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
I always use Bisquick for my dumplings. Cheating? It works.
Ingredients
  • 1 whole chicken, rinsed
  • 8 cups of water or to cover chicken
  • 2-3 T. chicken buillion granules
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups peeled baby carrots
  • Bisquick - 2 cups plus milk
Instructions
  1. Bring chicken to a boil, then simmer for 60-90 minutes with lid
  2. Add carrots the last 15 minutes
  3. Strain chicken and carrots in a drainer, keeping the broth
  4. Let chicken cool at least 30 minutes
  5. While dumplings are cooking, debone and dice or shred chicken
  6. Make dumplings as directed on box
  7. Bring broth to a low boil again
  8. Add large tablespoons of dumpling dough
  9. Cover and cook 10 minutes
  10. Uncover and cook 10 more minutes
  11. Scoop out dumplings and set in individual bowls
  12. Return shredded chicken and carrots to broth to reheat for 5-10 minutes
  13. Spoon onto dumplings
  14. Sprinkle parsley or pepper for color
  15. Voila! It's Fall

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I served this with slices of French bread although I don’t know why because of the dumplings! Also, the strawberry, Feta-cheese green salad for green reasons. Green has reasons of its own. My sister Lynnel says serve something green at every meal. (I think because it looks pretty, right?)

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Danny, reading our verse for the night.

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Breaking the Pattern–It’s Worth the Risk

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Hospitality can seem impossible.

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Something for other folks. Folks with more confidence, more room, more money, more imagination–and most of all, more practice. Before writing my book, I interviewed my mom–the hospitality queen. She was a pro–everybody knew that, right? (“Ask Betty Moore. She has room.”) But, after a few questions, I discovered she hadn’t started out that way. Her mother hadn’t entertained, so she didn’t have any idea of how to go about it.

She said that early in their marriage my dad invited the deacon board over for pie and coffee. Now Mom could make a great pie, but she didn’t know how to make coffee. Not sure that would be the case these days. She told me that after placing the slices of pie on each plate, and then scoops of ice cream, she discovered that she couldn’t take the vacuum seal off the top of the coffee pot. It was some new-fangled thing in the 1940s. She waited thirty minutes (30!) for the pot to cool so she could get it off. By then the ice cream was worse than Olaf in Frozen, and she was–in her own words–“mortified.”

I said, “Mom, why didn’t you just serve the pie early and tell them the coffee was the real dessert? Half the men were engineers–they probably would’ve jumped at the chance to get at that coffee pot!” She replied, “I would do that now–then, I was too embarrassed.” Mortified. Her word of choice. I’ve been mortified. Now I know where I got it.

Mom, before mortification set in.

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By the time I came along––kid number four––hosting company at our house occurred weekly and sometimes in-between. Chicken every Sunday with browned rice, jello with Dream Whip and Lemon Velvet cake – and some extra folks at the table.

Somewhere along the line, Mom decided to break the pattern of her own upbringing.

Open hospitality and confidence developed over time and practice. At my folk’s fiftieth anniversary party, friend after friend stood up to say they had first met my parents at church and then were promptly invited over for sandwiches and soup after the evening service.

Mom had her hands full. Maybe she thought company would help. I liked it because her friends stayed and cleaned up the kitchen.

Donaldson 17 (about 1962)

Here’s the point (you know what’s coming)–my mom overcame her insecurity, she made an about-turn in her pattern of life, and it made all the difference in our’s.

Mom, after she stopped cooking (but never stopped hosting.) At their 70th Wedding Celebration  - this was just the family. (May 6, 2010)

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Perhaps you did not grow up in a hospitable home but you’ve forged ahead anyway. It took courage. Like Mom, you relied on God for strength because you saw the value of changing the cycle of fear or pride.

If you haven’t yet broken the cycle, there’s still time (I like French Roast.)

Why bother?

It’s worth the risk and effort for your own sake as well as for others. I’ve done it, because I was desperate for friends; if they didn’t invite me, I would invite them.

It’s worth whatever it takes for your kids’ sake––so they won’t have to go through the same insecurities you have.

It’s worth the courage and time it takes for all of those who need your invitation. So many magazine articles refer to the isolation and depression that people experience today. Americans are proud of their independence; but the flipside of that self-reliance is isolation and loneliness.

It’s worth the work and time, because an open home reflects God’s open heart. People need to be invited and welcomed so they can know God welcomes them. You be the one to do the inviting, with no thought to the condition of your couch or your pie-making ability!

Thanks, Mom, for being brave. This book’s for you!

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ImageBetty Elizabeth Moore, b. 1918, d. 2013

Linking today with Fellowship Fridays Here

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Tuesday’s 0, Taste & See: God’s Will for Your Life — Built-in’s vs Free Standing

Built-in’s vs Free-standing Cabinets

What’s your preference? When you remodel you get to think on these choices. We’ve been remodeling nine years (we’re still married.) That’s a lot of time to think.

I thought I wanted a “Built-in” in the entry hall. I had it all figured out. When we got the cost-estimate, I changed my mind. “Free-standing” sounded, well, more free.

In regards to God’s will for our lives, He provides a wide range of choice–including both Built-in’s–the universal mandates for all Christ-followers; and Free-standing–following Christ uniquely in a singular, exceptional, one-of-a-kind way. 

Here are some examples of God’s Built-in purpose:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; and your neighbor as yourself.

Go into all the world and make disciples.

Abide in Me and I in you and fruit will come.

Can you think of others?

Our beautiful built-in’s – built to last, we hope.

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And some ideas for God’s free-standing purpose–displayed in our dailies–wherever, whenever, however:

Do all to the glory of God (making dinner)

You are God’s masterpiece (sharing banana bread with a co-worker)

Every good and perfect gift is from the Father of Lights (making pillowcase dresses for kids in Africa)

Built-in’s – Free-standing – we’re meant for both. Both are grand. Both are meant to please Him and feed our souls.

After turning down the estimate for our built-in cabinets, God surprised me with this lovely piece–second-hand, of course–from Zoeys’ Consignment. Love it. I plan to

photo 1keep it forever and ever (amen.) It says “Welcome-come on in!” in so many ways. Thanks, Lord, for saving it for me. And thank You for saving me for You.

“O, taste and see that the Lord’s will for me is all about displaying His greatness and pleasing Him; and when I do that will, I’m pleased, indeed.”  Today’s Psalm 34:8

Link up today with your taste of God’s goodness. Add this cute button to your site as you do- code on the right:

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Drinking coffee today with Holley Gerth – she makes such good coffee…

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Help Wanted–No Shame in Asking

Got this in an email this week:

Re: in desperate need of help

No worries. Just help needed on a school paper. Once a teacher, always a teacher. (Once a mother…)

My former pastor used to say, “My favorite prayer is very short:

‘Help, Lord.’”

photoCollege starts soon, and I’m seeing Help Wanted ads all around town. You want help, you advertise. No shame in that. You answer that ad and you might get a job.

Garfield knows what he wants and goes after it. No shame. Advertise enough and you may get a cheeseburger and fries.

The older I get the more I know my need. No shame in asking. More shame when I don’t. Recently, someone said to me, “I shouldn’t be needing this much help.” That’s a lie and you know where lies come from.

“HELP WANTED” (Sue)

“Of course” (God)

This morning I listed need after need after need. It helped to write it out.

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I went from spiritual needs to family needs to friends’ health needs to ministry needs to redemption needs and back to friends’ needs. Just two sheets of paper in my journal (and a second cup of coffee.)

I know I’ll need to pray these more than once.  And once I delete one, three or six more will pop up. No big surprise. The big surprise is how often I forget my need. The main deal is hang out my sign and go about my day. I have a nasty habit of telling God the best way to answer my needs. He’s not that interested. He is interested in how much I realize I need Him. I’ll put that at the top of my list. Neediness is next to Godliness (to heck with cleanliness.)

I like what John Piper wrote:

“..the gospel commands us to give up and hang out a help-wanted sign (this is the basic meaning of prayer.) Then the Gospel promises us He will work for us if we do.” (John Piper, Desiring God)

Maybe that can be a new of Lisa Leonard Design necklace–hand-stamped silver pendant:

“Help Wanted”

I’d wear it proudly, Lisa. It’s what I want – help. From the rising of the sun and all throughout the night. The Gospel commands me to give up and ask. I need that Gospel. I want that Gospel. I’m thankful for a list I can give to the only One Who can actually help.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  James 1:5

Prayer for today:

“Help, Lord. And thanks. Amen.”

For progress and help for Vernon, see their daily updates here. Prayers wanted.

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Double Feast on Friday: Jan’s Salmon Cheddar Quiche with Karen’s Vinegar Pie Crust

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I’ve shared this before I had the printable plugin – and served it again tonight while welcoming our new student for the year: Danny, age 13, from China. The good news is: he likes to eat, and all is well so far.

Jan's Salmon Cheddar Quiche
Author: 
Recipe type: Main dish
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Great for brunch, lunch or dinner. I bake extra salmon just so I can have leftovers for this yummy quiche. Easy as pie, if you use Karen's pie crust recipe and happen to have an extra in the freezer- I keep them in balls to save space.
Ingredients
  • Filling:
  • 1½ c cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 c. low fat milk
  • ¼ t. each salt and pepper
  • ¼ c. green onion sliced
  • 2-4 cups cooked flaked salmon
  • May serve with Lemon Dill Sauce:
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1½ t. cornstarch
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • ½ c. chicken broth
  • 1 t. lemon zest
  • 2 T. fresh dill or 2 t. dried dill
Instructions
  1. Sprinkle ½ c of the grated cheese over the bottom of the unbaked pie shell reserving 1 cup.
  2. Whisk together eggs, milk, salt, pepper until well combined.
  3. Stir in salmon, green onions, and remaining 1 cup of cheese.
  4. Carefully pour mixture into pie shell.
  5. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes only.
  6. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 30-45 minutes.
  7. Pie is finished when a knife inserted into the center come out clean.
  8. Garnish with fresh dill and allow to stand for a few minutes before slicing
  9. Filling:
  10. Melt butter.
  11. Add cornstarch, mix together and continue cooking over low flame.
  12. When bubbly, stir in broth and cook two minutes, stirring.
  13. Reduce heat, add juice, zest and dill and remove from heat immediately.
  14. The lemon juice and zest release their flavors immediately in the hot mixture.
  15. May stir in 1 t. Dijon mustard, if desired.
  16. (Or, buy lemon dill sauce at Traders!)

I love my Pampered Chef lemon juicer and my absolute fav is the zester: a small tool that is worth its space in the kitchen tool drawer!

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The first time I made this, I forgot the Lemon Dill Sauce – never again – too yummy (and easy!) I made both the quiche and sauce the day before since I knew I was working the company day – just reheated both and voila!

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Now for the famous crust. You have used this, right? Thanks to Karen, I make pies and quiche – otherwise I wouldn’t. It’s that simple.

The recipe makes 3 or 4 and you can freeze them ahead of time. They roll out like glass. Not lying. (Thank You, Lord!)

Lori’s Famous Pie Crust (who got it from Karen so Karen’s Famous…)

Pie Crust with Vinegar

Break 1 egg into measuring cup; add water to the 3/4 cup mark.

Pour into small bowl.

Add 1 T. vinegar and 1 t. baking powder; it will bubble.

Stir and set aside.

In another large bowl, mix together: 4 cups flour, 2 scant t. salt, 4 t. sugar.

Cut in 2 cups shortening or butter – the newest Pampered Chef shortening cutter works wonders – what are they called? I can’t remember – until the size of peas. (Pastry cutter?)

Pour egg mixture over dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Make 4-5 balls to store in freezer or use immediately.

Roll out crust and place in pie plate. Or, freeze in balls in wax paper or Saran wrap. Keeps a long time.

photo 1Oh, yeah. It’s pretty. Pretty darn good.

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Your Contribution, Pt. II

Comparisons are odious, killjoys. “I can’t do what he does… I don’t have toenails like she has…” Of course you don’t. You’re not Adelene.photo 2

You know we have a nasty predilection when God says, “Don’t do such and such…”

Don’t gossip. (But it was a prayer request…)

Don’t worry. (Really?)

Don’t get on your high horse. (I can see so much better from there.)

Don’t compare. (How else can I grow?)

Paul wrote a bit on that last one in Galatians 6 –

“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others.”  Galatians 6:4, The Message

After viewing Hyatt’s art, Anne’s prints, Catherine’s linguistics in the jungle, maybe you couldn’t help comparing your contribution. See here.

I’d never be happy if I wished I could paint or print or do whatever Catherine does to learn a language that isn’t written, write it, and then write the Bible in it. Nope. I’d never lift my head off my pillow. Why bother? I’d say. I can’t do what they do, therefore I’ll stay in bed.

You know you’ve thought that. Maybe not said it. It’s our puny predilection. And it leads nowhere nice.

Don’t. Don’t compare.

Instead, make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others.

That’s all I got to say about that, said Forrest Gump.

Adelene’s a beloved friend from Belize who contributed her last four years taking care of my parents. I could never do what she did–that’s not comparing, that’s just fact. And all the Moore kids are eternally grateful.

We love you, Adelene. And all your tattoos.

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Adelene loved my parents. She gave what she had. Sounds like the Widow’s Mite. What do you have to give? The point is to give it–what you have is a gift in the first place.

Then Jesus sat down opposite the Temple almsbox and watched the people putting their money into it. A great many rich people put in large sums. Then a poor widow came up and dropped in two little coins, worth together about a halfpenny. Jesus called his disciples to his side and said to them, “Believe me, this poor widow has put in more than all the others. For they have all put in what they can easily afford, but she in her poverty who needs so much, has given away everything, her whole living!” Mark 12: 41-44 Phillips translation

Prayers appreciated for Adelene. She goes in for surgery next week for cervical cancer. We love her. Don’t you think she looks like a sister? We think so.

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Adelene and Dwayne, parents to three beautiful boys. We are family because of her contribution. Prayers, sweet sister.

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Linking today with Laurel Connell, God’s Girl.

And Fellowship Fridays, here.

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Tasting Tuesdays: Faith Dispensers–Your Contribution

I met a nice young man yesterday. I asked, “Why do you want to become an attorney?”

“Well,” he replied, “at first I thought I’d want to do intellectual property law. But then I decided against that [various reasons] and realized what I wanted was to do something…[searching for the right word] uh…important.”

“Significant?” I prompted.

“Yeah.”

“Meaningful?” (Always the prompter.)

“Yeah.” He went on to explain how and what kind of law. I was impressed. He had a goal, a difficult goal. And it pertained to something outside of himself. He knows he is not his own.

Reminded me of Hyatt’s post at Blank Slate last week. You’ll taste God’s goodness in it. Here’s Hyatt:

What is it that you do, that only you can do?

Think about it.

We live not just for ourselves. Even if our work is done in a solitary way, in the end it’s for a wider world.

What is it you would do even if no one paid you for it . . . if no one asked you do to it?

In many ways it’s why we were born. Seeing our unique set of gifts as contribution gives us reason for being.

Another thing: I learned a long time ago that the one who sees a need most clearly is almost always the one to address it. Not the nebulous “they.” They will never see it. They will never do it. Not right.

Further: Making our unique contribution brings the best out in us. We abandon ourselves to whatever it is and have done with debilitating self-consciousness.

We contribute to a higher cause . . . even if for only one person. Even if for only a child.

So, here’s my challenge for you… (Read his challenge here.)

You may be searching for your contribution.

Start here: you have one.

It’s from God and for God. I love that He gives us something to do – something meaningful, significant, important. How do I know?

I Peter 4:10,11 –

“Serve one another with the particular gifts God has given each of you, as faithful dispensers of the magnificently varied grace of God.”  (Phillips Translation)

We get to be faithful dispensers – in the courtroom, at the sink, in the car, on the front lawn, in the classroom, at the canvas. The location doesn’t matter. It’s the contribution. And you’ve got one.

O, taste and see how good God is to give us gifts that dispense His grace; blessed is the one who figures it out, acts it out, and and lives it out by faith. Today’s Psalm 34:8

Hyatt and Anne at work making their own contributions. More than faithful dispensers of God’s grace.

anne Hyatt-Profile Hyatt-painting-far-left Anne-from-Above

Sense-of-Direction-1000Sense of Direction Monotype by Anne Moore. Praying today for God’s sense of direction.

Just in. Catherine returned last week from another trip to Papua New Guinea. She and husband, Ed McGuckin contribute their linguistic skills to get the Word of God in the heart language of the Gapapaiwa people group. Dispensing grace on the other side of the world.

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Link up your taste of God’s goodness. It’s another way to contribute! Please use this pretty button and share the good news. Code in sidebar.

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Joining Holley Gerth for coffee this morning.

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