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Reflections

God is not Afraid to Leave His House

I’m in quarantine because of a close exposure to COVID-19. I couldn’t go to church last weekend. I won’t make it next week either.

But you know who isn’t in quarantine? God. He is always free to leave His house. And He comes to meet me right where I am.

My friend, are you housebound? Are you confined by illness or fear or something else? Don’t despair! You are not alone.

God is not afraid to leave His house. He sees you and knows your needs. He is ready to visit. Will you invite Him in?

God meets us where we are: God is not Afraid to Leave His House
God is not afraid to leave His house to meet us in our need.

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

Revelation 3:20
Categories
Reflections

Two Lessons on First Impressions Too Delightful Not to Share

When you think of making a good first impression, do your thoughts turn to how you can be attractive to someone you meet for the first time? I googled “first impressions” and what I found was mostly advice on how to make others like you immediately. The emphasis is on you. You make the impression on someone else.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

Will Rogers

But what about the other side of it? What about the impressions you first make of other people? Is the responsibility to get it right, to think well of someone, on you or on them? I hadn’t really thought about it until I sat down to write this post.

In full disclosure, this was intended to be a ‘Recipe and a Story’ post. When I mapped it out, I realized it was too long. So, this will be a two-part deal. Here in Part 1, I want to tell you the story. On Friday, I will post the recipe, which – spoiler alert – is for a mouth-watering, crust-less quiche. You won’t want to miss it! If you don’t already subscribe to the Back Porch, now would be the perfect time to do so.

Lesson One

I had done it – I had stepped out of my comfort zone and volunteered to help with an event. As a young, twenty-something year-old, I was new to the large church and acquainted with only a few people. To sign up and attend a meeting with unfamiliar faces was brave for me. I encountered a group of people much like me. We were all a bit awkward, and I was feeling good about it.

“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”

A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

And then Brooke breezed in. Her personality immediately filled the room. Her smile was huge, and her confidence almost knocked me over. Literally. I turned to see the face that went along with the infectious laughter and tripped over the leg of my chair. I sat down hard. She was beautiful. She was graciously greeting and hugging each of the people with whom I’d just clumsily shaken hands. She put me ill at ease.

I made a first impression of her based on other people I’d known with large personalities. I was used to getting bowled over by them. I assumed I was going to dislike myself around her. I expected to spend much of my time trying to avoid her. But I was wrong. And I learned the first of two lessons on first impressions which would stick with me because of her.

First impressions do not always give people the space to be unique.

Fast forward several months. I got to know Brooke well. She was nothing like the others to whom I’d compared her when we first met. She was inclusive and kind. I adored her. I am, by nature, a co-pilot. I prefer not to be in charge, but I will work really hard to assist whoever is willing to fly the plane. Brooke, with her commanding presence and fun reputation, was the perfect leader for me to follow.

“New friends are like new adventures. You never know what lessons they will teach you.”

Unknown

We teamed up officially to lead a small group of women for a semester and that experience cemented our lifelong friendship. It has been a couple of decades, but just this morning, when I saw her big smile on social media, it made me happy. I have a deep respect and appreciation for her. It is a notably different feeling than I had upon my first impression.

Lesson Two

One morning, the group which Brooke and I led was tasked with providing breakfast for all the small groups of women in the ministry of which we were a part. Brooke pulled me aside and showed me the quiche she’d brought. It was still a bit runny, and she asked if I thought it would benefit from more time in the oven. Thankfully, the church had a full kitchen at our disposal, so I agreed with her idea to cook it longer.

My first impression was that the quiche didn’t appeal to me, and I would avoid it when my turn came for the buffet line. There were plenty of choices and I filled my plate with other things, even though the extra baking time seemed to have caused the eggs to set nicely.

I’m sure my breakfast was good. It was nothing memorable, and I cannot tell you what I ate. But several women around me raved about one dish. Brooke’s quiche. By the time I realized I was missing out on something spectacular, it was gone. My first impression cost me.

“Realize the value of putting down your first impression quickly.”

Charles Webster Hawthorne

The quiche recipe ended up in a cookbook, which our ministry put out as a fundraiser. It became a staple at potlucks and buffet tables for as long as I attended that church. I made it often at home too. Even though it contained spinach, I never had to ask any of my kids twice to eat it. That made it a winner in my book!

My first impression was that the recipe was one to avoid. It didn’t appeal to me. I didn’t think I would enjoy it. I made the same mistake with the quiche as I’d made with Brooke. And I learned my second lesson.

First impressions are at a disadvantage because they do not know what finishing touches are yet to come.

My first impression of the quiche was premature. It wasn’t finished yet. It was not a new concept to me. As a kid, I had a notebook, the cover of which featured the outline of a girl with some tools at her feet. The caption read:

Please be patient, God isn’t finished with me yet.

These two lessons on first impressions were too delightful not to share. The reason they turned delightful was because I was given the chance for reconsideration. But how many times have I lost out because I made first impressions and judged either according to past experiences or without considering the possibilities of the finished product?

The lessons were a gracious gift from God. The friendship with Brooke is something I cherish. And the quiche is simply outstanding. (I can’t wait to share the recipe with you!)

To be honest, there is nothing Brooke could have – or should have – done differently to sweeten my first impression of her. The impression I made was my responsibility. Same with the quiche. In both cases, I made a judgement based on my perception of how things were. And I was wrong.

Orange flowers with a blue background: Two Lessons on First Impressions Too Delightful Not to Share
Photo by Dzenina Lukac on Pexels.com
We don’t want to miss out on something spectacular because we’re blinded by our first impressions.

People obsess about making a good first impression on others. They fuss over their appearance and their manners and such. I want to suggest that we pay as much attention to the first impressions we make of others.

And hopefully the two lessons I have learned are encouraging to you. They prove that a first impression which has gone awry does not have to be the last impression. Isn’t that delightful? We may not get a second chance to make a first impression, but we can look for our first chance to make a second impression.

“I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this, but first impressions are often entirely wrong.”

Daniel Handler

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Philippians 1:6
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Conversations

Three Birthday Cakes, a Turkey, and a Veil

Does that sound like the beginning of a bad joke? Three birthday cakes, a turkey and a veil walk into a bar. Or stand at the pearly gates. Nope, it isn’t bad, and it isn’t even a joke. Although, I must admit that seeing humor in it helps diffuse the stress!

Three birthday cakes, a turkey, and a veil is the description of my upcoming week. My husband’s birthday is on Thanksgiving, my daughter’s is a few days after, followed by my son’s girlfriend’s birthday the next day. And then, two days later, the big event takes place – my daughter is getting married!

Oh, I just caught my breath saying all of that! These five celebrations happen within the span of one week. It is going to be crazy! And so fun!

The title for this post probably could have been “Three cakes, Sushi, and a Veil” because sushi is my husband’s favorite, and he gets to choose on his birthday. I love that his special day falls on Thanksgiving from time to time, because honestly, aside from Jesus, my hubby is my biggest blessing. He just camps out, right there, at the tippety-top of my thankful list!

Sushi: three birthday cakes, a turkey and a veil
Photo by Alexandr Podvalny on Pexels.com
Birthday sushi for Thanksgiving? Sure! Why not?

This post is a bit unusual. I have a slightly ulterior motive beyond the peek into my charming chaos. Friends, can I ask your help with two things?

  1. Please pray for me – I don’t want to get so caught up in the craziness of ALL that is happening that I don’t see EACH thing for the blessing it is and the celebration it deserves. I want to cherish each person and the gift they are from God; and there will be so many people. For an introvert like me, it is overwhelming to think about.
  2. Pen a few words to my daughter – I would be so honored if you would take a minute to write encouragement, inspiration, or practical advice from God’s Word. Just a sentence or two, for my daughter and her husband-to-be to read. If you are willing, type it in the comments section below, ‘to Kevin and Mikayla’. I would like to copy and paste your sentiments into a hand-made card or booklet to add to their wedding gifts. I think it would be such a blessing for them!

I know I have access to an incredible wealth of experience, knowledge, and Godly wisdom on this platform. You who visit the Back Porch are top notch! Thank you for coming alongside my family and me in these ways. I am sincerely, from the depths of my heart, awestruck and grateful for each of you.

I have pre-scheduled some posts about different things, so there shouldn’t be too much interruption to the blog in the coming weeks. I look forward to getting back to a regular routine on the flipside of three birthday cakes, a turkey (sushi?) and a veil. God bless you all!

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Conversations

Moments are Quick but They’re still Mighty! Grab one and Share one – Post 7

I captured this quick moment before it went fleeting by:

Stretching Cat: Quick Moments Post 7
Photo by Tamba Budiarsana on Pexels.com

I suddenly streeeetched in one of those impromptu, involuntary motions on which instinct decided before consciousness gave permission. For that quick moment, sounds were muted, vision blurred, and my mind turned for the briefest introspection of the body under its purview. Arms overhead, muscles, joints, fingertips to toenails – all received an instantaneous rush and reset. In that inkling of time, I was invigorated and empowered. I moved forward, thankful for the miraculous phenomenon which seemed to have broadened my shoulders and lengthened my lifespan. It came out of nowhere and was such a gift!

There is boundless wonder in every quick moment! Tell me about one of yours


Need some background on the Moments Series?
Click here for the Quick Moments Introduction in Post 1.

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Conversations

Moments are Quick but They’re still Mighty! Grab one and Share one – Post 6

I captured this quick moment before it went fleeting by:

Woman in bathroom donning a facemask: Quick Moments Series
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

My heart quickens and so does my breath. My glasses fog up just as I glimpse a restroom sign on the door to my right. I duck in and pull my mask off and gulp in one deep breath, leaning against the wall. I almost entertain the idea of running away from where I’m headed; away from the doctor’s office and the impending procedure with its promised pain. Instead, in that quick moment, I gasp a prayer heavenward and immediately receive a dose of courage. I reset my mask and step out with renewed determination toward that which frightens me.

There is boundless wonder in every quick moment! Please share one of yours in the comments section below


Need some background on the Moments Series?
Click here for the Quick Moments Introduction in Post 1.

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Conversations

Moments are Quick but They’re still Mighty! Grab one and Share one – Post 5

I captured this quick moment before it went fleeting by:

A woman listening: Quick Moment Series Post 5
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

My concentration is drawn and perched momentarily on the audible. Above me, the rattling hum of the air conditioner. More distant, the affable voice of my husband too quiet to hear his words, but causing my grandchildren to belly laugh in unison. Collaborative conversation taking place in the kitchen, pocketed by the clinking of dishes, and the muted drone of a TV or two. The clicks of my keyboard add dramatic flair as my heart cherishes the quick moment it has spent immersed in the simultaneous sounds of a summer evening at home.

There is boundless wonder in every quick moment! Please share one of yours in the comments section below


Need some background on the Moments Series?
Click here for the Quick Moments Introduction in Post 1.