Neighbors: Back-To-School Ice Cream Social Planning

You know how I said I needed to get involved again with my neighbor project? Here’s my story about how I’m planning to do just that – although it had a tough beginning, as they all do, hurdles to overcome, walls that get in the way as if someone is out there to prevent us from doing and glorifying God by putting his word into action.

Our church, since we’ve been attending there almost seven years and probably longer, has always done a back-to-school ice cream social to get kids ready and thinking about the new school year. Since we’ve never had kids school-age before, this event has been somewhat of a mystery, but I believe in the past they have sorted donated school supplies for backpacks they intended to take to local schools for students who were less fortunate. Therefore, the ice cream social has always been a staple.

This year, however, our church is hosting a concert for the Grammy winning, The Okee Dokee Brothers instead of the traditional ice cream soirée. In a moment of stepping out of the boat-ness, I volunteered to host the usual ice-cream social at our house. However, my girl-scout-badge-worthy volunteerism was quickly squashed when our children’s minister brought up a crucial piece of information: “did you know your husband volunteered to do ice cream after the concert?”

Wow, how embarrassing! So much for touting “communication” as a skill in our marriage! Okay, so I couldn’t do the social for the church. There was always small group. But then I communicated with my husband. “Yeah, small group is going to do ice cream as our outreach project,” he said.

“Grrrrrrrrrr,” I growled a little too loudly.

“What’d you say?”

“Great!” I smiled.

[So, I have this idea; I want to do a back-to-school ice cream social and it’s already going on at church after the okee dokee brothers concert’] I texted my pal in my small group, [‘so do I ask my neighbors to that one, or ask small group to help another one with my neighbors and I, or put my big girl panties on and host one on my own?]

her text [Oh, big girl panties, for sure]

I knew that’s what she was going to say. As soon as I wrote “big girl panties,” I knew that was what I was going to have to do. It was like God was handing me my own pair of shining, white Hanes, coming with the clouds of heaven, singing Big Girls Don’t Cry, but with harps and doves fluttering out around.

Now came the exciting part, the part I was good at really, the planning part. First, the reconnaissance part: counting houses. You never know many houses have been sold/resold/built/etc. In fact, three houses had been built since the Egg Hunt. I know it sounds crazy, but to make sure my count is accurate, I’ve taken the kids outside a lot more. I want to be sure that I have the right amount of invitations. I don’t want to be caught in that moment of putting invitations in mailboxes and then realize that I’m short and that neighbor I’m short for ends up coming out. Maybe he or she wouldn’t really care, but maybe he or she would – maybe thinks “she didn’t do her recon well!”

After recon, is the construction of the invitations. I am definitely not the most artistic, so I rely on stickers and pseudo-cheerleader writing from 1999. I am most proud of my twisted sense of humor. Please check out my fancy-schmancy examples below.

Invitations Pre-Artistic Flair

Invitations Pre-Artistic Flair

Post 1999 Pseudo-Cheerleader Flair

Post 1999 Pseudo-Cheerleader Flair

Hopefully, people also read the FAQs.

Hopefully, people also read the FAQs.

Then it is time to rinse and repeat. After I wrote the first four of these I put off the writing of the other twenty for almost two weeks. It was really hard putting my hand to the test of that pain. It’s like “Hey, guess what hand? Today, we’re going to do something that hurts as soon as you start and hurts for two whole hours! How does that sound!?!”

I did finish the invitations today though. How? Tomorrow my daughter will be helping me pass them out and it is the only day it will be just her and I before the day of the event so I had to get them done.

So now we are back to the waiting period of “Will we get responses? Will people bother to come? Will people remember to come? Will people care to come? Blah, blah, blab!” Pray for my/our sanity! Thanks!

To Do List: Pray

When you need to do something, but you really don’t know how to start it, what do you end up doing?

I ponder.  I think over and over about the right words I need to say or write.  I sit on my task and think of all possible scenarios before I leap.  This “reaction” to pressing duties is in part why my Neighbor Project has just taken so long.  Don’t get me wrong, I feel like I’ve accomplished so much for myself in this last year.  Yet, in comparison to what many other people accomplish in a year, it doesn’t measure up.  There is a constant battle within myself, in which I listen to Satan’s words telling me that I can’t do or shouldn’t do what God is urging me to do. 

Can I not think of a better phrase than “to do?”  Two simple words; two simple words that my five-year-old can read because they are so basic, but to act on them is mountainous. 

These are the times when building one’s self up with the Holy Word, praise music, and prayer are the most dire.  When you have found that your words fall short, just pray. 

God will find you…me….in the words you(I) speak that aren’t as eloquent as those you(I) think you(I) could write. 

When you need to do something, but you really don’t know how to start it, you pray for God’s intervention and He will answer.

Neighbors: An Act of Mercy

Personal photo taken in Jerusalem, November 1999

Personal photo taken in Jerusalem, November 1999

In Luke 10:25-37, Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan to an expert in the law when the expert asks, “and who is my neighbor?” In conclusion, Jesus asks the expert, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” to which the expert replies, “The one who had mercy on him.”

In exploring how to extend my neighbor project, I have found that I don’t have energy to plan elaborate “Egg Hunts” for each season. I’ve hit a road block in creativity of how to gather my neighbors together. However, I have also found myself praying for my neighbors, and the ones who I know names of specifically. I don’t want to be that person that brags about praying, so my thoughts will be limited on this site. Yet, God gave me a revelation that I wanted to share with you who read this blog. I fear it might be commonsense to many and that it won’t seem all too significant to you, but regardless, here it is: Prayer for your neighbors, physical or in daily life, is an act of mercy. I may not be cleaning wounds, but I am lifting up wounds that are in my neighbors’ lives to the powerful hand of our heavenly Father. Even when I don’t know what those wounds may be, I can still ask God to be there for my neighbors.

It is my hope that I can find more specific things in which to pray for my neighbors. Right now, keeping them always present in my mind and on my heart is the best that I am able to do.

I Want to Hide the Hyde Within Me

“O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-ey’d monster, which doth mock
The meat it feeds on.”

William Shakespeare, Othello

 

Jealousy is a snake in the grass, encircling your feet, waiting for the twitch in your leg to indicate weakness and to attack.  

In my recent bouts with jealousy, there had been an intention to thwart any progress made by another.  Sometimes this envy rips me up because I know that I shouldn’t possess this thing within me.  I just want to hide this Hyde who torments me and anyone dear to me.

Someone close to me had the amazing opportunity, one that I have longed for and blogged about before, to go on a mission trip.  In his descriptions of what it was like, instead of amazement and awe, the “green-ey’d monster” began feeding.  Then issues that shouldn’t have been issues became bigger.  They clouded the real reason I was jealous.  They made it seem like I was just a wife worried about losing my love.  But it is more.  I’m jealous that I didn’t get to go on the mission trip.  I’m jealous that I was the one that stayed behind. 

His argument didn’t subdue the envy, but he said, “you can do all of that here.” It’s because I live in the mission field here at home, in America.  But, then I will still go home to my places of comforts: A/C, hot water, blankets when its cold, food in the pantry, food staying fresh in the refrigerator, diapers to cover my baby’s bottom, shoes and jackets to keep my limbs warm.  Consumerism to tell you that you still don’t have everything you need.

I’ve prayed to God to take away my jealousy.  I hate that my resentment stems from something that should be as pure as the opportunity to go on a mission trip.  The best thing to come out of this feeling is the research I’ve done to see if there are others like me.

I say all of this to point you in the direction of an article I found extremely helpful.  It was written by three missionary wives who talk about the phases that those who stay behind, specifically wives and mothers, go through and what to expect.  I strongly encourage anyone who has read this (if you’ve made it so far) and can relate, to read this article and learn from it as I have.

Please visit When Husbands Travel.