11 Questions: Who inspires me the most?

Day 2 of the 11 question challenge and I fear that I’m already stumped. [smile]  Read this question and tell me it doesn’t give you pause.

2. Who inspires me the most? Think about the one person you most want to emulate. Who is it? Now what is it about their story or character that draws you to them? …The person you want to be like the most tells you a lot about who you hope to become.

I mean really one person.  Just one person who inspires me.  I am overly blessed and like the gift of great friends, I am fortunate to have many people who inspire me.  Rounding out the top of the list are my grandparents, parents, and in-laws. Each of these incredibly special people have taught me so much simply by being their authentic selves. From them I have learned that it is better to give than receive.  I have seen them open their homes to the world.  I have heard the stories of their perseverance to work to provide for their families and the stories of the stances they took against injustice.  I could do little better than channel a bit of their work ethic, love for family, faith, and passion to help others.

-Margaret

 

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Growing in Gratitude: Hospitality [New Home Week, Day 1]

Growing in Gratitude: A weekly series on “Daily Musings on Life Together”
The psalmist wrote, “Sing a joyful noise to the Beloved all peoples of the earth! Serve the Lord with a glad heart! Join hands in the great Dance of Life!” (from Nan Merrill’s Psalms for Praying). Join me in this dance each Monday as I practice giving thanks for things big, small, tangible, and intangible. Feel free to count your blessings in the comments.

Amazingly enough given how small our seminary was Caleb and I managed to only take 2 classes together during our 3 years there.  The first was “Church History 2” before we began dating and I hate to admit that I don’t remember him being in the class.  I sat in the front and can be fairly oblivious to a lot of things when I’m in scholar mode.  [smile]  The other class was “Hospitality” during the semester that we were engaged.  I can’t quite imagine a better class for the two of us to be in together while dating and through our engagement.  Not only was our professor, Dr. Amy Oden, simply a fantastic teacher, but cultivating a welcoming and hospitable home is something we both desired/desire for our marriage.  In class, we discussed the broad themes of the importance of preparing our spirits and spaces to welcome; of how genuine hospitality may be at times risky and is self-sacrificial; and how hospitality is modeled on God’s divine, triune nature.

Dinner on the Grounds

First Sunday’s Dinner on the Grounds

As wonderful a class as it was however, there is only so much you can learn theoretically about hospitality before practical experience must come into play.  Over the last seven weeks of transition into our new home, Caleb and I have been the recipients of such gracious hospitality that I feel like my understanding of what it means to welcome and receive people in love has been stretched by leaps and bounds.  [smile]  There really are too many people to thank us for making us feel at home and welcome during our transition so I’ll just list the top 3 below:

  • We are grateful for the hospitality of our parents, Raymond, Lisa, Bill and Sue.  We’ve been alternating time between both families for about 6 weeks now and our parents have been so understanding about our need to go back and forth.
  • We are grateful for the hospitality of the parsonage committee and the volunteers at the church.  We had church volunteer at the parsonage from last Wednesday thru today cleaning the parsonage and preparing the space for our arrival tomorrow.  As a PK I have lived through a number of parsonage horror stories and so I had prepared myself to move armed with cleaners and mops in hand.  [smile]  Thankfully we have had the exact opposite experience!
  • We are grateful for the hospitality of the church on our first Sunday.  We were embraced yesterday with such care and love.  My heart is full.  After worship we were treated to a wonderful spread and celebrated “dinner on the grounds.”  We were also “pounded” or showered with housewarming gifts.  Aren’t southern church idioms charming? [smile]

Today I am thankful for genuine hospitality.

What are you grateful for?

-Margaret

A jar of lightening bugs

At the end of my friend Meghan’s email signature is a quote “~There is a bit of **MAGIC** in everything.~”  I’m not sure if its something she thought up herself.  The more likely scenario is that its a quote from her favorite source “Anon.”  [smile]  Either way I love the reminder she’s chosen to share with those she communicates with daily that not all is as it seems, that if we open our eyes we might see something a bit magical in the everyday.

Yesterday evening Caleb and I took a ride with Raymond around the hollers and coves that make up this community where Caleb grew up.  We set out around 8 and the sun was just beginning to set.  With no agenda except to just be together for a while, we drove the route Caleb and his dad have been driving ever since Caleb was born on a road along the Nolachuckey River through a cove that it seems like the world has forgotten.  Perhaps it was the time of day or the dim sparkle that was present over everything because of the small shower we got late in the afternoon, but it felt like we were driving through a world drenched in magic.  [smile]

As if perfectly on cue when we drove by a beautiful little white church on a hill, the lightening bugs (aka fireflys) made their appearance.  Hovering just above the earth and twinkling in such vast numbers, it looked like the whole world was sparkling.  [smile]  It was simply breathtaking and I began to think about how long it has been since I chased lightening bugs on a warm summer evening.  Too long, I decided and so I announced that I would find me a jar and try to capture a few when we got back to the house.  So that’s how Caleb and I found ourselves traipsing through the damp front lawn of his parents house chasing flickering dots of light.  [smile]

Thankfully we had the help of an expert– Jackson, Caleb’s 10 year old cousin.  Its amazing how adeptly he chased and caught the creatures that seemed to elude me at every turn.  After we had a jarful (of which I only contributed one [smile]), Caleb and I sat with Lisa on the front porch for a while just reveling in the magic of warm summer evenings.  Before we went in we released the lightening bugs into the black night and they twinkled as they flew off to be fairy lights in someone else’s yard.

-Margaret

“Stranded at the Drive-In”

Our journey through the land of no wi-fi has finally come to an end!  The cable guy came to hook everything up (cable, internet, phone) this afternoon.  My parents have even enjoyed a bit of an upgrade with the addition of a Roku box with their cable subscription.  I’m not sure they will get much use of it when we aren’t around, but if they ever have a hankering to watch a movie or TV show I plugged them into our Netflix account.  Enough about the events of the day and on with a post that I began earlier in the week, but never finished because of the internet situation.

Last Friday marked my very first drive-in movie experience and while I wasn’t actually stranded, that line from the classic ballad from Grease was on perpetual repeat in my mind.  It took all I had not to belt it out when we arrived, but I know if I had I would have gotten quite a ribbing from my father-in-law! [smile]

Twin City Drive-In, Bristol, TN

Twin City Drive-In, Bristol, TN

I love going to the movies, always have.  The dimming of the house lights gets me giddy no matter what we are seeing and I absolutely love the opening music that accompanies the studio symbols at the first of a movie.  So I was already excited about simply planning to see a movie last Friday night, but the addition of watching it at the drive-in meant I was over-the-moon excited about our evening! [smile]

Twin City Drive-In did not disappoint!  We had such a great time watching the new Superman movie while nestled in a valley just outside Bristol, TN.  Super excited that we will be living so close and can go back often.  The new Superman movie was a typical summer blockbuster- loose storyline and lots of explosions- and completely benefited from the allure of the beautiful surroundings.

I was very surprised to see how many vehicles were already in place when we arrived just a little before the show started.  Going to the drive-in seems like such a novelty and I guess I didn’t expect many people to show up.  As the evening went on and the show began, more cars arrived I guess for the second show- The Fast and the Furious 6. Because the summer sun sets so late and the movie can’t begin until the sun goes down, we couldn’t stay awake for the second show.  Even though we left early, I have to say that going to the drive-in is a great deal!  Only $7 per adult ticket and you could even bring your own popcorn!  [smile]  All in all we had the best time and was just the first of many trips to the drive-in the coming months.

-Margaret