I didn't know what to expect when this colour-filled book arrived at my door. The book is beautiful, it would definitely catch your eye in the bookstore. It even has a gold ribbon to use as a page marker. Score!
It didn't take long for me to read through it's pages. I have noticed a trend among many books in the Christian circuit right now about being present. It is a good and is obviously something that we have let slide and need a reminder about where our priorities should be.
The book starts with a strong jab right to where the problem lies and that is with technology. One rule of the gathering around the turquoise table is that technology is the only unwelcome guest.
We have a friend that owns a toy store, I know, how cool is that! He carries a lot of unique board games that you wouldn't find on a department store shelf. This trend of board games is catching on, in such a way that there are cafes that are set up just to play board games, and the catch is that you leave your phone at home or place it in a bin and you are present with the people you are with.
Why is this something that we need to be taught? Life is too short for drama on Facebook, or the check how many "likes" you received on your Instagram post. Choose to be with those that are choosing to spend their time with you. End of that rant - back the the book.
I have never thought of hospitality to be one of my gifts, but Romans tells me to be eager to practice it. This video of Ludmilla's story gave me a lot to think about. I don't live in an area where people are walking by our home. Some of what Kristin talks about in the book about neighborhoods seems so foreign to me. Until one day a friend that lives in the city asked me to come over for fresh rhubarb muffins. She didn't have to ask me twice - I drove right over and when I arrived she suggested that we go for a walk around the block. It was a lovely evening and as we walked the streets of her neighborhood I saw what I was learning in the book in a different light. I was able to understand the inner-workings of the network of community in a neighborhood. I have thankful that this book expanded my thinking in this area.
I have to admit that Chapter 8 "The Broken Table" was my favorite chapter. It talks about all the stuff that we want anyone to know. Such as "Why is it so hard to admit our weakness?" That if we could be honest about the true condition of our hearts than we would be able to live full, authentic lives. That comparing ourselves to others is a trap, rooted in the fear of inadequacy. Wow, so true. Another reason to disconnect from social media and invest in sharing our lives with the people in our community.
A couple of more points for the review: I liked the recipes and suggestions at the end of the chapters. The pictures throughout the book were nice but too staged - too much make-up and accessories for examples of random gatherings at the Turquoise Table.
One final thought from the book:
Maybe the art of conversation isn't lost after all, we just need more practice at it.
I am thankful for the opportunity to read and review this book. Want to know more about it? CLICK HERE for more information or to order your copy.
I tend to worry more than I should. It's not a good quality - as in I even lose sleep because I play the worst case scenario repeatedly in my mind. Control freak (maybe?) I worry about a variety of things in my life but mostly our daughters.
With each stage of life there are new experiences, trials and changes. Ah change!!!!! Change and I are not good friends, we do not get along. Give me my structure, schedule and lists and it's all good.
Our family loves after church visiting. Generally we are one of the last families to leave. It was like that when my husband was the Youth Pastor and now that he plays on the majority of the music teams we can generally be found at the front of the church cleaning up music equipment and visiting.
One particular Sunday I was visiting with someone and I was sharing about our oldest daughter going to work at camp this summer and that she would be gone for four weeks! I don't know how I am going to handle it!!!!! She goes away to a youth retreat weekend, or a sleepover and I miss her terribly and have trouble sleeping. You know what my friend said to me:
"Do you think you can take better care of her than God can?"
Sometimes you need a friend to give you a kick in the butt. At first I was like, "Wow, harsh!" Then I slowly began to realize how true her words are.
Two weeks later I had an opportunity to exercise this new found wisdom. Our daughter left for a youth retreat at a Christian College that is a couple of hours away from our home. I dropped her off at the meeting spot - went back to my vehicle, paused for a moment and prayed for her weekend.
As she came to mind that weekend and worry began to settle in - I would stop and pray.
And you know what happened? I found peace and I felt freedom. It was AWESOME!!!
Whenever I would quiet my heart to pray for her, I would listen to what my heart was telling me to pray for. So instead of worrying I began praying that she would meet a mentor - someone that would be a positive influence in her life, that would be a good listener for when she needed someone other than her Mom and someone that she could connect with occasionally.
On Sunday I was excited to pick her up to hear about the weekend. I got to the church early and wrote in my journal while I was waiting anxiously for her return. Eventually my very sleep deprived daughter arrived and had enough energy left to share about the weekend. She had an amazing time - lots of fun activities, found a new love of lattes and she met an amazing girl that is a student at the college and just happens to be dating a guy from our church.
I could feel the smile in my heart, as I was so very thankful for a Father who listens, and cares and protects what we hold so very dear. This girl, this answer to prayer has attended our church a few times with her boyfriend's family and she always makes time for our daughter and the other teens she connected with that weekend.
There is freedom in giving our cares & worries to the One that holds us in His hand - that knows the number of hairs on our heads.
The next time worry sets in and steals peace and freedom from you, quiet your heart and place your worries at the foot of the cross. He's got this.
Each morning as we put our feet on the floor we have a day full of opportunites ahead of us. Make them count!
Here is a list of ways that you can make the best of our life! Enjoy every day!
I am so excited! I am totally doing a happy dance over here. And it's not just because we are having plus temperatures in Saskatchewan in February!
I am excited because I have been able to accomplish something that I thought was too big for me. Something that I have procrastinated on because I thought so little of what I would be able to accomplish that I didn't even try.
I have been studying and working towards this goal for most of my life. I didn't know how it would look - was it a blog? a book?
All I know is that I love to teach, I love to delve into God's holy word and soak it in.
All of this leads up to my exciting announcement that I have produced a podcast! The Equipped podcast is a place where I can go and share what I have learned through scripture and my daily character building exercises, in order to hopefully encourage, equip and empower all of it's listeners.
This was a technical stretching time for me as I edit, split, attached things digitally together to make it all work. But I did it! And it has even been approved and listed on iTunes! Feel free to subscribe.
Now is the time for this podcast, now is the time to delve into God's word, now is the time to fully embrace how perfectly equipped we are.
So, how is 2017 going?
I have felt so much stretching and growth in just the first 25 days! It is such a powerful and beautiful thing. Oh that my heart will remain open to what I need to learn.
As I have spent time in study and prayer I have noticed my perceptions changing. In my journal I wrote about how I need to change my attitude toward certain things in my life because honestly I have been crabby.
My life has felt like it is full of all these "have to's" - I have to make supper, I have to go to work each morning, I have to do laundry - you see where I am going with this? To make me feel worse about myself I see all these shiny happy people on my social media feeds that seem like they are fully enjoying life. Oh how I long for that feeling.
As I sat with my journal I prayed for a changed heart and a new attitude toward my "have to's". What if I changed my "have to" to a "get to"? I get to make my family healthy suppers, I get to provide for my family by going to work each morning, I get to do laundry to take care of my family.
By looking at my life as a "get to" it has changed my perspective dramatically. This is my time, this is my place, this is what I was created for. Why would I question it? Why would I look down on it?
Daily I began changing my "have to's" into "get to's". Once I became aware it was incredible how many times a day I had to consciously correct my negative attitude.
That Sunday in church in our pastor's sermon he talked about changing our burdens to blessings! That was the lesson I had been learning all week - everything that I saw or interrupted as a burden in my life is a blessing. A beautiful blessing that my Father has given to me, not anyone else - He chose me to wash my husband gross work clothes because he works so hard to provide for our family, I get to wash the uniforms from the school that our daughters attend that have built into them and encouraged them. My family is a blessing.
I am learning to do this joyfully, I am learning to see the many blessings in my everyday.
I love the story of Esther. Her wise cousin Mordecai says such powerful words, at a time when so much was at stake. There was no opportunity to be gentle with the words that Esther needed to hear.
Don't think for a moment that because you are in the palace you will escape when all the other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this. Esther 4:13 & 14
Oh dear friends, so often we hear the last part of this passage. But please hear the cry of Mordecai - you are not safe just because of your position. If you chose to be quiet you will die and someone else will rise to do what you chose not to do.
Seriously, does that not knock you to your knees. I have been created for such a time as this, to serve my family, to serve my community, to serve my church family. It is a choice that I make daily. whether it be a large or small tasks that I have been called to - I need to rise to that place and not remain quiet.
Oh Father, may I be obedient to your call on my life.
Changing my burdens to blessings,
Carolyn's experience as a missionary, pastor's wife, national award winning author & speaker all unite to encourage, empower and equip women of all ages to delve into scripture to discover it's truth in our lives today.
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