Good service today with a time of people praying for those around them at the close of service..."body ministry" as we call it. And we had lots of people in the hospitality room. Some fantastic prospective people...
After church today we had lunch at the Bagel Bagel cafe with Bernie and the girls. Lisa is in Baltimore for 2 weeks on a business trip. I really, really miss her (especially on Wednesday nights...this is a story in itself but one I will not blog in detail, except to say this...Lisa is one of my armor bearers and she is the one who stays with me and takes care of me so to speak, on Wed. nights. I always have her or Cathy with me, generally. Well, she's out of town and her absence is felt. There are things that get out of control when she's not there. I can't wait til she gets back. Before her and Cathy started formally helping me it got really difficult there for a while. There were times I would be "mobbed" for lack of a better phrase and could not get to prayer, or even the platform to start service at times, or get out of the building at a decent time. By this I don't mean rushing out and not greeting anyone. That's so "not me". I am very personable with our people and I want to reach out as much as possible. But there is a limit. There comes a point when I am just drained to the dregs and have nothing more to give. The week I ended up getting out of the building at 11 pm on a Wed night (service ends at 8:30) we knew something had to give. They've been helping me ever since. That's all I'll say on this for now except...I really, really "feel" Lisa's absence!)
We had newcomer's night at our house tonight -- and it went well as it usually does. I have really enjoyed them so much since we have started doing them monthly at our house. I think it makes a huge difference. Many of our newcomers are often shocked to receive a personal invite to the pastor's home. So many tell us they have never experienced that before in any church! I enjoy giving this "personal touch" through extending hospitality in our home. The entire staff and their families come. We have a dessert fellowship and generally I make a dessert or two plus a few salty snacks and the other staffers bring a dessert to contribute as well. Tonight I made a chocolate layer cake plus had a few things like chips and salsa and pretzels. Cathy brought a chocolate cake as well, T & Misty brought Brownies, Aaron and Hannah brought cookies and so did Linds. I always make coffee and tea in addition to the cold drinks and enjoy using some of my many teapots from my collection. Tonight I used my blue willow teapot with matching teacups.
For those of you who have never seen my kitchen, the theme is tea and coffee and it is decorated with many things along those lines including many teapots. I even have one that was a gift from Russ and Tempest which is from WW II. I rarely use it - it's just for decor because I am always so afraid to break it. Aside from the WW II teapot, I use all the others on a regular basis...so much so that most of them I don't even have to wash out every time because I am always rotating them and using them several times a week. A lot of times I use the teapots when it's just Jordan and I having a cup of tea. Dustin's friends especially love to come over for tea. In particular, Casey, Lora, Alexa, and Jasmine often talk about it. Such sweet girls...I adore them. Speaking of Casey, here's another pic of her and Dustin, below.
The photos above here are the entry way of my house, and also my dining room, which is one of my favorite areas of the house. I love serving from this table and when having company we eat at this table the majority of the time (as opposed to in the kitchen where we just do more casual dining.) Savanna calls the table (above) "the table we eat at when Bobby comes..." It's really more that that - we eat there really when anyone comes however I guess because Bobby comes so much, that's what it's called. It should be called that, or "the table we eat at when Stephen comes..." which is pretty much...most of the time. And we're glad for that! We enjoy treating our kids friends as family because that's what they have become to us.
Speaking of that, Dustin just sent me a text message yesterday that said, "Mom, thanks for treating my friends as family. It means so much. I love you."
He really doesn't have to thank me...it's just my nature and his father's to do so however I'm glad he sees that it's a blessing to be in a family that does so.
Bobby calls me a "go all outer". He says, "Momma Shrodes, you always 'go all out' when people come over." I don't look at it as going all out, just giving the very best of what I have. Sometimes that has been nothing more than a pot of tea that I have had on hand, however I pull out my best china and so forth to serve it on. It doesn't take that much more effort and it makes people feel special. Even if it's just Jordan and I...aren't we special? Yes...use whatever you have to make every moment as beautiful as possible...that's one of my core values.