Girl’s Night Out

Written By Amy

                                                

Jen and Kristi

Jen and I are a part of a Supper/Book Club that started a few months ago.  If you have had any inkling to gather a group of women around food and a good book, this is for you!  Here is how it works:

1.The hostess picks a book for the group to read.  She then sends out an Evite (or similar type invitation) to the women with the book name, date and time of the dinner, which will be at her house (usually giving the group 6 weeks to read the book).

2. A few weeks before the designated night, the hostess sends out recipes to the group themed from the book everyone is reading.  For example, the first book our group read was Hunger Games, and the hostess found recipes of food eaten in Katniss’s district and the Capitol.   The recipes are put on Evite or Lucky Pot Luck, and everyone signs up for the dish they want to bring.

3. As the night arrives, the hostess has time to decorate her house as much or as little as she wants to fit the book theme because she is not cooking anything for that night.  Creating table centerpieces is a great way to be creative! (for example, wildflowers for Hunger games).  She also types up questions for the book discussion. Her other responsibility is to put together all of the recipes to hand out to the guests at the end of the night, along with a themed gift bag if she wants.

You can be as creative and fun as you want with this!

A few Friday nights ago, my friend Liz and I teamed up to be hostesses.  Liz coordinated and planned all the food (because she is a wonderful cook!) and I hosted the night at my house.  We did the decorating planning together.

The book we picked was All The Flowers In Shanghai, a historical fiction novel about a young  Chinese woman’s journey into adulthood during the 1930’s.  So of course, our theme for food and the night was Chinese.  Here are some pictures of our night together:

Bamboo, rock and water centerpieces

 

Add:  Guests!

This is an amazing group of women.  Some of us go back several years when we were raising wee ones together in MOPS, others have met over the past few years.  We laughed so hard this night, and screamed a little when a spider crawled up my shirt in the middle of our conversation.

Liz, Amy, Emily

Muriel, Stacy, Paula

In the picture above you can see a red Chinese Floating Lantern in a glass bowl.  We had several of these with lit candles that were beautiful when the sun went down.

Hilary and Stephanie

At the end of the night, the girls left with a Chinese take-out box filled with a new set of chopsticks, their name tag, and an oragami flower.  We made sure they didn’t forget the recipes from the night either.

I encourage you to start a group of your own!

Friendship

Posted by Jen

“It is because of the refusal to be vulnerable that, far too often, instead of enjoying friendship and intimacy with those around us, we find ourselves fencing with each other, using our talents, achievements, and strengths as weapons. To be vulnerable in the true sense does not mean that someone must become a doormat, a weakling, devoid of all pride, going out of his way to let others know all of his faults and weaknesses. Nor is vulnerability to be confused with the idea of ‘letting-it-all-hang-out’, or any other form of psychological strip-tease. To be vulnerable is to be strong enough to be able to present ourselves without false props, without an artificial display of our credentials. In brief, to be vulnerable is to be strong enough to be honest and tender. Like Jesus, the person who is vulnerable is a person who cares enough to let himself be weak, precisely because he does care.”
Ronald Rolheiser, The Restless Heart

 

GREAT SUMMER READ

Written By Jen

I am rereading Drawing Near To The Heart of God by Cynthia Heald this summer as my daily devotional reading.  This book is light and lovely.  Each chapter is encouraging and  I will read and reread this book throughout my lifetime.  This book is in my top 5 list for gifts for a friend.   My copy is already looking tattered.   This would be an excellent book to read with a mentor or a mentee or even as a Bible Study book.  I highly recommend you buy it, read it on your own or with a friend.  It’s good for your soul.  Here is a little introduction:

“The impulse to pursue God originates with God, but the out working of that impulse is our following hard after Him.  All the time we are pursuing Him we are already in His hand.” -A.W. Tozer

“With so many “pulls” on our time and identity it cam be difficult to discern which road to travel each day.  But choose we must, for each day takes us towards some destination.  In the following chapters, we will explore what is needed — and the riches that await us — when we choose to follow hard afer God’s heart.” … “The word journey originally meant a march of just one day.  A journeyman meant a worker by the day; a journal, a daily record.  Once we understand that the journey begins with our commitment to travel toward the heart of God, we can be free of the fear of being unprepared.  Each da becomes precious because each day is part to of the process that takes us nearer to the heart of God.”

“My journey to the heart of God does not begin tomorrow: the choices I make today determine whether I move toward Him or towards elf and the world.”

All experts from Cynthia Heald’s, Drawing Near to the Heart of God (Colorado Springs: Nav Press 2012) 17-20.

I’ll Love You With The Lights On

Written by Jen

I am slowly reading The Jesus Way by Eugene Peterson.  We tried to read it in our couples small group and it didn’t go so well.  It was easier to read on our own.  I am really enjoying it though.  If you are feeling like you need to exercise your brain, read this.  (I feel like that sometimes after talking primarily to people under 5 for days:).  This book is part of a 4 part series by Peterson and I am planning to read through them all.  It’s thought-provoking and theological.  It is dense, but rewarding.  Here is a little excerpt I read the other day and wanted to share with you.

“One of the bad habits that we picked up early in our lives is separating things and people into secular and sacred.  We assume that the secular is what we are more or less in charge of: our jobs, our time, our money, our opinions, our entertainment, our government, our house and land, our social relations.  The sacred is what God has charge of worship and the Bible, heaven and hell, church and prayers.  We then contrive to set aside a sacred place for God, designed, we say, to honor God but really intended to keep God in his place, leaving us free to have the final say in everything else that goes on outside that space.

Prophets will have none of this.  They hold that everything, absolutely everything, takes place on sacred ground.  God has something to say about every aspect of our lives, the way we feel and act in the so-called privacy of our hearts and homes, the way we make our money and the way we spend it, the politics we embrace, the wars we fight, the catastrophes we endure, the people we  hurt and the people we help.  Nothing is hid from the scrutiny of God; nothing is exempt from the rule of God; nothing escapes the purpose of God.  The ground is holy; people are holy; words are holy: Holy, holy, holy.”  (The Jesus Way: p. 120; Peterson; Grand Rapids, MI)

That was good for me to read.  I admit, I try to hide parts of my life from God.  Last night at church our pastor gave an example of this.  He told us to imagine sitting in a movie theater and our eyes adjusting to the dark.  We enjoy it in there.  In there we feel like all our problems, the things we are messing up are hidden from the light.  There are parts of our life, my life, I would rather not have light on.  As we leave the theater, from our matinée, we approach the day light and all we want to do is, squint, lower our head and go back into the dark.  We think it’s safer there.  It’s not, but we think it is.  His challenge to us was, even though it is uncomfortable, just stand in the light.  Soak up the warmth, your eyes will adjust.  Things will become in focus.  As we address the hidden parts of our life, the nooks and crannies that we don’t really want exposed we will find that it is better in the light.  It takes courage to be honest with God, ourselves and others.  If we leave those things to fester in the dark, they lead down dead-end paths.  My friend, God cares about every detail of your life and my life.  None of us need to hear that we are far from perfect, we look in the mirror and we can start listing the ways.  We need to know there is HOPE.  It doesn’t matter what you did last night, last year, today, it doesn’t matter how messed up things are Jesus did not come to condemn us, we can do that on our own.  He came to give us love and light and hope in ALL the parts of our life.  Ready, here comes the most famous verse in the Bible.  I put it here in The Message version and I included to verses that follow it.  Jesus promises to love us with the lights on.  Trust Him?

 

John 3:16-18“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.

19-21“This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.”


Book Club : Unbroken

Unbroken : A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

Written By Jen

This is an incredibly powerful book written by Laura Hillenbrand the author of SeabiscuitUnbroken is a story of a young Louis Zamperini an Italian American growing up in Torrance, California.  He was a cunning and incorrigible delinquent in his neighborhood growing up.  His brother Pete saw Louis, though rough, was a talented runner.  As the role modle older brother he pleaded with his high school track coach to give Louis a shot.  Pete saw Louis needed attention and this would be a more positive outlet.  The coach agreed.  Louis was a track star.  He ran the 5000 meter in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.  When he returned he enlisted into the USAF and was a bombardier assigned to B-24’s.  Ahead of Mr. Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, he would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.  His story of courage is told in amazing detail by Laura Hillenbrand.  It is one of the most powerful books I have read.

 

 

Louis reunited for the first time with his family; hugging her mother as her two sisters watch with overflowing happiness.

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