|Visitor to our meadow today.|
What a wonderful afternoon we had this day. The temperatures were in the low 50s and the sun felt so warm on my face while sitting on the porch with Anne.
For the last three days we hosted Anne’s relatives from Bismarck, North Dakota who came down for a visit. We all had such a wonderful time with them. Abby and Will slept in sleeping bags (which they loved) and Anne’s uncle and Aunt boys slept in Will and Abby’s beds. During their visit at our home, other relatives came over to see them as well. Last night we hosted 14 people for supper at our house. I grilled hamburgers and hotdogs for while Anne made her homemade beans. After supper many hands made the cleanup go very swiftly and that too was enjoyable. Anne's relatives, (Bryan and Judy) are so kind, they are very thankful for everything that we had done for them and showed it by tackling all the clean up afterward. We talked, joked, and hummed as well as bumping arms and shoulders while cleaning the supper dishes together. Instead of being an arduous task, it was fun and very fulfilling as well.
|I bet they don't taste good!|
After Anne’s relatives left this morning, I stood and looked out at the forest while relaxing in the morning sun. My thoughts went back to when Anne and I were first married. We lived in a tiny apartment that was very crowded at times. We would invite people over to our home and when they left, they walked out with joyful hearts and happy faces. Even though we had nothing, and the apartment was tiny and crowded, we all enjoyed ourselves so very much. That started me thinking on how much I loved having guests over to our humble home. Now that we have built our own house, and it is somewhat larger than our apartment was, we still enjoy hosting friends and family at our home. I have discovered that it is not the brick and mortar that makes a home inviting, it is in the hearts of those that welcome others to be a part of their lives.
The other day when getting our home ready for our guests, I was talking to my mother in law (Marji Gustafson) while cleaning and moving. She at one point in our conversation looked at me and said, “Do you realize that you and Anne have the gift of hospitality?” That thought has not left my mind since. What a nice thing to say. Too many times in life whether as a child growing up or as adult, we hear just the opposite. Our image is molded on the negative, and that in itself formulates our thoughts and perceptions not only of others, but also of ourselves. It makes me think how important it is to find ways to build others up, rather than look at their faults. God slowly changes our outlook if we allow him to.
|The different hues of autumn.|
Every diamond is ugly in its raw state. It takes a trained eye to recognize the potential beauty of this stone long before it is on display. God sees us in the same light, the potential of what we might become, not perhaps the unattractive stone of today. I look back at the areas in my life where God has changed me, and I see the journey that he has chosen for my walk. I see a very rough stone smoothed and polished with his gentle hands. I also observe the areas in my life that still need the master’s hand, but I know that he controls my future, that is, if I chose to relinquish it to him. I know that this is done on a daily basis and is also accomplished only when I let him in. Some days I have to admit that I am not up to change, during those times I have to say, “Lord, I don’t want to change, but I know that it is for the better, please change me even though I wish to stay the same.” At those moments I have to commit verbally and trust that Jesus will change my heart afterwards.
I am reminded that when opening the door to our home, I first must commit to the act of inviting one in so that I can get to know them better.