Thursday, December 17, 2009

Using Hospitality to Minister to Others

Proverbs 31:15 
She riseth also while it is yet night, giving food to her household
and giveth a portion to her maidens.

She riseth also while it is yet night
Rising before the sun not only demonstrates that idleness and laziness have no place in our life, but doing so offer many benefits. For one ... the day begins peacefully. Free from noise and distractions, the day may start in quiet meditation. This not only ensures a great start to the day, but also says to our Lord that we want Him to be a part of it from the time we awake until we rest our head again.

For another...rising early ensures a productive start to the day. Have you ever slept in late then by the time you really get going it seems that half the day is gone and you have accomplished very little? As partners, parents, children, co-workers, students, teachers, friends, and more, we have quite a lot on our plate. Our days are full, and we often feel exhausted from the time we awake. So the temptation is there to stay in bed "just a little longer". How many times though have we slept through the quiet morning hours, only to find ourselves still exhausted and now falling even further behind in our day's duties? Many of us know what it feels like to be tired and worn down all too well. However, the attitude of "staying in bed for just a little longer" also has a way of permeating into other areas too. Before you know it, you find yourself going about your day in slow motion. If you find yourself struggling to rise early, ask God to give you the strength, health, and energy you need to jump start your day. Also, add something special to your morning routine to re-energize you. Perhaps it is spending a few minutes reading something inspirational, listening and dancing to your favorite music, or drinking a cup of hot tea and sitting in quiet prayer. Or, maybe it's a matter of stepping outside for a breath of the fresh morning air, or sitting and reflecting on the day's blessings. Different things work for different people. So ask yourself: What motivates me? What brings contentment to my heart so I am ready to face the day?  What will I be doing with my loved ones today that will bring joy? All give us a reason to get up and make the most of our day.

Giving food to her household 
Another reason for rising early is to provide your loved ones with a hearty,home-cooked breakfast! Nutritionists consider breakfast the most important meal of the day, nourishing the body that has not had any food for many hours and providing energy for the toil of the day. The virtuous individual ensures their loved ones get off to a good nutritional start. It is often said that you can tell a lot about a family by what they are eating for breakfast. Is your family sitting down and spending time together sharing a warm meal? Or, are you starting the day off by grabbing whatever you can find to eat as you rush out the door without saying as much as a goodbye and "I love you" to loved ones?

How many families do you know take time to sit down and share a meal together around the table? Often families don't eat together, don't pray together, don't read or spend quality time together. It's no wonder many don't stay together. Sitting down together as a family in the morning really sets the tone for the whole day. Just having that extra time together makes the whole day better. What's more, spending time with family before leaving for work gives your loved ones the encouragement they need to face the day. Knowing that someone special is thinking of, praying for, and looking forward to their return at the end of the day gives them a reason to rush home and spend even more quality time together.

And giving a portion to her maidens
Here, we are reminded of the Old Testament economy; namely, that the Israelites who honored and feared the Lord were promised both spiritual blessings and material blessings. It is clear then that the Proverbs 31 individual had both and did not live in poverty. In fact, the virtuous individual was blessed with a large household, which included servants. While one may think a virtuous individual was quite capable of commanding their servants to rise early and prepare breakfast for their family, they did not do that. Rather, we are told they gave a portion of food to their servants. This not only speaks volumes about the kindness shown towards those working under them, but it is also demonstrated that they demanded of others only what they themselves were willing to do. This is something staff even today greatly respect and appreciate; namely, a superior who is willing to "get their hands dirty" and do some of the very tasks they require their staff to do.

A virtuous individual takes care of their loved ones whether they are at home or away. What's more, they use their hospitality to minister to all those around them, creating a warm, inviting atmosphere that expresses "I love you" in very real ways to family as well as to all those who are welcomed guests not only in their homes, but in their hearts too!!!

Remember ... touch a life today "The Little Way" by following the lead and need of others.  Also, if you ever thought to yourself, "I wish my customers, knew...", then be sure to visit White Light Communications at

~ Theresa


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Nurturing Family

Proverbs 31:14 
She is like the merchants' ships; she brings food  from afar

In the prior verse, the Proverb3 31 individual provided clothing for their family and for their business. In this verse, s/he provides food for his or her family. With the virtuous individual an instrument of God’s provisioning, s/he plays a key role in providing both food and clothing for hir or her family to ensure contentment (1 Tim. 6:8).

Merchant Ships
In the first line of this verse, the Scriptures compare the virtuous individual to merchant ships carrying items from faraway countries. With merchants being traders who buy or sell commodities for profit, the virtuous individual takes some of the wondrous garments or clothes made from wool and flax (Verse13) and trades them for food items from distant lands for family to enjoy. This is in sharp contrast to today, where money is spent grocery shopping in town.

Merchant Ship Qualities
What’s particularly interesting about merchant ships is that they are not the fastest means of transporting goods from one area to another. Yet they are the most cost-effective and efficient means; especially for perishable goods such as food. This is in sharp contrast to today’s world where everyone wants everything NOW! We have instant coffee, drive-thru windows, microwave ovens, and easy meals prepared at the grocery store ready for purchase, reheat, and enjoyment! There’s a price to be paid for this convenience. Higher grocery prices. 

While jet airplanes transport foods faster, merchant ships are still the preferred method as they can carry a greater load; use less energy and resources; are more cost-effective; and far more efficient. What’s more, the load that a merchant ship typically carries in one trip takes an airplane multiple trips.
Meal Preparation
One of the things many of us struggle with on a daily basis is the preparation of nutritious meals for our family. There are many days we can’t seem to get it together. Whether the reason is fatigue, work-related stress, or just plain laziness, we figure, "It won't hurt just this once to go out and get something to eat," or "Well, I'll get just a couple of frozen meals, just in case I get in a pinch." The trouble is that this not only gets very expensive, but a consistent diet of prepared foods is unhealthy. Many prepared dinners are very high in sodium (salt) and a steady diet of prepared food items causes deficiencies in key vitamins and minerals due to a severe lack of fruits and vegetables. While we often give excuses, there is a solution: planning ahead.

Menu Planning
While it has been awhile (my kids are now grown), there was a time when I prepared a healthy menu for my family on a weekly basis and kept staple items in my refrigerator, freezer, and pantry so I was always prepared to make something. Every weekend I would take out my favorite cookbooks, along with the family calendar, and plan the menu for the coming week. Depending on what we had planned during the week, I would determine whether I had time to make a full meal (such as meat, potatoes, and vegetable), prepare a quick meal (such as a casserole), or prepare something the night before. What's more, I noted special dinner nights, featuring the favorite of one of my kids. For example, "Sarah Dinner Night" might be homemade macaroni and cheese with ham while "Michael Dinner Night" might be Teriyaki chicken. In addition, I considered leftover meals for nights when we had a scout meeting or a concert to attend. Once the meals were planned for the week, I would then put together a grocery list of required items and only purchased what was on the list. 

Keep in mind this did not mean we never ate out or never ate prepared frozen meals. It just meant we planned for it, didn’t have a steady diet of it, and did not use it as an excuse for not cooking for my family on a regular basis.

While I have been divorced now for a number of years, I am currently in a relationship with a wonderful man. While I do not know what the future holds for us, I want him to know that when we are together, I wish to be like the merchant ships. During the coming year, I want to revitalize what I did for my children when they were growing up. This time for my life partner. I wish to take my time; plan healthy meals; purchase delicious, cost-effective groceries; as well as minimize waste and spoilage. Why do all of this, you ask?

I’ve been given a second chance at love and don't want my life partner to take a back seat to whatever else I wish to accomplish with my day. I want him to know I am choosing a life that demonstrates to him just how much I love and want what is best for him rather than choosing a life of convenience. What's more, it’s my way of showing him just how much I honor, appreciate, and value the hard work he does to provide for us.

Remember ... touch a life today "The Little Way" by following the lead and need of others.  Also, if you ever thought to yourself, "I wish my customers, knew...", then be sure to visit White Light Communications at

~ Theresa


Monday, December 7, 2009

Balancing Work & Home

Proverbs 31:13 
She seeketh wool and flax and worketh willingly with her hands

In addition to caring for their home, life partner, and family, the Proverbs 31 individual is also a successful entrepreneur. In fact, s/he serves as an inspiration to other individuals as s/he is living a life that many only hope to one day… s/he is living his or her life purpose. S/he takes a huge risk in starting a home-based business designing and manufacturing clothing. Over time though s/he proves to be so successful that she eventually purchases real estate and builds a factory on it!

As the first line of Proverbs 31:13 indicates, “She seeketh wool and flax” as two basic materials for making clothes and garments for her household and for her business. Wool, as you know, is the curly undercoat of a sheep, which is woven into a warm garment or fabric. For example, today we wear wool sweaters or mittens to protect us from the cold. Flax is a fibrous plant. When its fiber is pulled and twisted into yarn or thread during the spinning process, the result is a fine linen from which a variety of garments and materials, such as coarse canvas, rugged sails for ships, as well as thin, delicate scarves, may be produced.

As the second line of Proverbs 31:13 indicates, “and worketh willingly with her hands.” I have to admit I found myself focused on the word, “willingly.” Nowadays, that word often has a negative connotation, being synonymous with"unenthusiastic consent." For example, “oh ok, I will wash the dishes if I REALLY have to.” Yet work does not need to be viewed as boring or tedious. We in fact have a choice as to how we choose to view our work.The Proverbs 31 individual not only chooses to be cheerful and ready to work, but also derives much pleasure in working with her hands. As a result, her work is a source of great satisfaction. How refreshing this is!

For me, this verse is particularly meaningful as it also reminds me of how we have lost the fine art of working with our hands over time be it for calligraphy, sewing, stained glass painting, woodworking, or something else. Thanks to the computer age, we no longer seek or find pleasure in receiving homemade items or in creating things with our own hands. For example, rather than finding pleasure in making our own clothes, we now find delight in shopping for clothes at the local mall, often adversely affecting the family budget. Rather than sharing our gifts and talents with other family members, parents are connected to their computers, while children are often glued to a television show or to the latest video game - all without sharing quality time or meaningful conversation. What is most unfortunate though is that many talents are never developed or passed on. Mothers never learn how to cook, sew, knit, or crochet much less pass on those skills to their children. The same holds true for fathers who never learn how to fix things around the house, woodwork, work on cars, or manage family finances. As a result, these skills are never passed on from one generation to the next. An entire generation living without ever knowing or experiencing the true pleasure in working with their hands ... even when the desire may be there!

And there is great pleasure derived ... not only in working with one's hands, but also in sharing the experience with others. I remember as a child watching my mother spend hours in the kitchen baking French pastries, or in the Master bedroom at her sewing machine making a costume for a play or a new outfit for an upcoming family portrait. I have fond memories of my uncle repairing a lamp at the kitchen table and my grandfather in the backyard taking delight in the beautiful rose garden he started when he and my grandmother lived in the home my family now occupied. Many beautiful crafts are now becoming a lost art.

I also recall my mother playing host to all the neighborhood kids in our backyard, joining us on the swing and serving refreshments. I also remember her being involved in the neighborhood Mother’s Club, where all the local mothers got together by day to exchange talents and by night to socialize. The neighborhood  seamstress would exchange her talents with the neighborhood pastry chef while the local gardener would exchange her talents with the local artist. Nowadays, many social connections are lost in favor of staying in and staying to ourselves. Never venturing out beyond our comfort zone, many talents remain hidden not only from friends, but from family members too.

Amidst tough economic times though we have a wonderful opportunity to expand our influence and our ministry as well as to reconnect with our family, friends, and more. The time is right to return to our roots; to shop for bargains, to use resources wisely, and to find pleasure in simple things... including in working with our hands once more. And when we do, we not only have a chance to develop our God-given talents, but we also have the opportunity to reconnect with others and to pass our craft onto a future generation. What legacy do you wish to pass on?

Remember ... touch a life today "The Little Way" by following the lead and need of others.  Also, if you ever thought to yourself, "I wish my customers, knew...", then be sure to visit White Light Communications at

~ Theresa