The first year I made a pumpkin pie it was a brilliant success. People raved about it and said that it was even better than Costco pumpkin pies (which are pretty awesome). That fall I kept making pumpkin pies for everything… Thanksgiving dinners at work, small group gatherings, church parties. I imagined myself as becoming known for my pumpkin pie, like Betty for her cake, like Duncan for his frosting, like Pillsbury for his dough…
One evening riding high on the laurels of my culinary success, I set about to make another one of my much loved pies. I was probably in a hurry… I was probably talking on the phone… I was probably doing the one thing I know not to be doing when I cook: multi-tasking.
I remember putting the pie in the oven and thinking it looked a little strange, but too absorbed in whatever else I was doing, I figured it would look better after I baked it. 5 minutes after putting it in the oven, I turned around and glimpsed a peculiar object on the counter. It was a can, an orange can, and there was a picture of a pumpkin on front…my heart sank…it was unopened.
Instantly I remembered the peculiar light tint on the pie and surmised…
Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, sugar, and evaporated milk had been blended together but I had missed the essential ingredient – the Pumpkin.
I squeaked a bit and my roommates came out to see what new disaster had occurred. We all had a good laugh at my scatter brainess – by that point a legend in our duplex.
This morning, I went to the doctor. In between 2 different needle pokes the phlebotomist asked me if I was ready for the holidays. She mentioned that she wasn’t ready and feeling a little stressed and overwhelmed already. I get it, because I have been there.
Thanksgiving starts coming and all of the sudden its this party and that party and there’s people giving you gifts that you didn’t realize you were good enough friends to exchange gifts with. Thanksgiving week the calendar starts turning with a dizzying velocity created by too many sugar cookies, Christmas parties, and the newest rendition of “jingle bells” meowed by Nigerian leopard cats.
I turned to my phlebototomist who was searching for a better vein, “I don’t know if I will ever be ready” I said – ready for the frenzy, the crowds, and those caroling Nigerian leopard cats, but I am ready to celebrate Jesus.
I just want to not get so stressed and overwhelmed by creating a perfect holiday experience, that I forget the main ingredient : Jesus
Its embarrassing enough to forget to put the Pumpkin in the Pumpkin Pie.
I don’t want to get to December 26th and think “oooppps I forgot to include Jesus in my Thanksgiving and Christmas season”
Jesus isn’t stressed, Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
Jesus isn’t dreading obligatory events, Jesus is Immanuel, God with us.
Jesus isn’t caught in a web of consumerism, Jesus has everything we need.
Jesus isn’t overwhelmed by the loneliness and anxiety that heightens at Christmas because of strained relationships or lack of relationship, Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor
– I am double checking all my ingredients before baking my next culinary wonder.
– I am making it my #1 priority to continue spending time with Jesus first thing every the morning. No matter what the day holds: traveling, stressing or recording my own cat’s rendition of Jingle Bells. Not out of religious obligation, but because He is my perfect Holiday. He is the love, peace and joy the Christmas season is supposed to be about.
– When I get stressed, I am going to stop, breathe and say “Thank you Jesus that you are Immanuel God with me…in this traffic, in this awkwardness, in my to – do list. You are enough, come and fill me afresh with your Holy Spirit so that I can have the mind of Christ about this season. (1 Corinthians 2:16)
If you would like some more ideas about How to Spend Time with Jesus, I invite you to check out the Series: Why I Spend Time with Jesus Everyday.
Happy Thanksgiving!!! The blog will be quiet for the rest of the week as I take some time to enjoy family and dear friends. I hope you have a wonderful week celebrating! I want you to know, that I am thankful for each one of you, and pray for you often! Thank you for taking the time to read the blog and share your thoughts and hearts with me. You have been a HUGE encouragement to me!
What are your Thanksgiving plans? What are some ways you keep Jesus at the center of your holiday season?
A quick reminder: If you finished the 10 day Drink Water to Give Water Challenge yesterday – Congratulations!
Don’t forget to donate your drink savings to Living Water International to aid their efforts in providing clean water, leadership training and discipleship in Rwanda.
Even if you didn’t participate in the challenge you are invited to give to help support this amazing ministry here.
2 weeks ago I told you that I was trying to take a picture everyday of something I was thankful for, and posting them on Instagram. If we are not connected on Instagram yet, I would love to follow you! You can find me at claritywithcharity.
I remember the first time I tasted death. ..its bitterness followed by the hollowness of tears that go unheard.
It was November 14, 2004 and I was a senior in college. At the age of 21 I had known little of death, even of loss.
This all changed when I got word late one November night that there was an emergency prayer time happening at a house on campus because a student at the university was missing. I found out that this was not just any student, but another student leader on campus who was a resident assistant like I was.
In the few months I had known her she had quickly become a dear friend. I remember meeting Karissa for the first time and wondering if she was legitimate. Her smile, laughter, and twinkling eyes permeated whatever environment she was in with joy. Her twinkling eyes, hinted at a secret source of satisfaction.
Her genuine joy was from a deep well of satisfaction was found through her relationship with Jesus. The depth of her intimacy with the Lord produced the good fruit of a joyful spirit which drew others to her. The charisma she had extended beyond wit, appearance or intellect, it was from the source of all these things… the author of life Himself.
Karissa quickly became one of my biggest encouragers as we endeavored on the adventure of managing floors of twenty freshmen girls. She spoke prophetic words of encouragement over me before I even knew what prophecy was. She came regularly to my room and asked if we could pray together for the different needs of our residents. I quickly found Karissa to be a like minded sister in Christ, who I deeply respected and longed to emulate.
In a living room with other leaders and students on campus, I cried out to God for her to be found alive on the Oregon beach she had mysteriously vanished from. Those were harrowing hours until we heard the devastating news that her body had been found.
On a retreat with her staff, Karissa had gone to spend time with the Lord by the ocean. They found her Bible, journal and flip flops in the sand. The assumption is Karissa decided to jump into the icy Pacific ocean for a quick swim.
“You give and take away” we sang… I sobbed as I had never cried before. All I could do was sob gasping for air and the strength to sing “still I will choose to say, Lord, blessed be your name”.
Opening the funeral bulletin, I read these words written by Karissa just a few months earlier,
“I want people to remember me as a sold out woman of God who unashamedly proclaimed truth and boldly followed God’s voice. I want people to say that I was so sensitive to God’s voice and His Spirit that I followed His will without exception, living each day without extraneousness.”
Karissa had written this as a part of her student leader training, where each leader was asked to write a reflection on how they would like to be remembered when they die.
Who could have imagined that Karissa was authoring a portion of her own funeral program, an early obituary.
I was in the same leadership training program as Karissa. I wrote my own reflection along with Karissa about how I wanted to be remembered. When I wrote it I envisioned it being found by one of my grandchildren and hoped that in eighty years maybe I would be the kind of person that Karissa wrote about.
Karissa was already the person she hoped to be.
They could print her words in her funeral program, because at the age of twenty she had already lived them. It wasn’t a list of lofty goals or nice sounding words to her. It was the truth of who she was.
Karissa didn’t chase the things most 20 year old college women chase: boys, fashion, image, technology, achievement and recognition.
Those were all things I was chasing, and if I am really honest with myself.. a decade later… somedays I chase those things(except the boys, I finally caught one, ha, ha!).
I chase things that would never be published in an obituary or carved on a tombstone. I have never seen the words, trendy, hipster, hot, or talented on a tomstone.
I have seen these words on tombstones:
Mother, Friend, Brother, Sister, Father, Wife, Husband, Grandmother, Grandfather beloved, joyful, peaceful, at rest hero, and with Jesus.
These are words that speak of relationship with eachother and with God.
I am convicted when I think about all the things I waste my time thinking about, checking, and doing. How many statuses do I update, how many outfits do I try on, and how many hours have I wasted worrying about money, achievement, food and clothing?
The death of Karissa began a revival on our Christian campus, a revival in the city and I believe has affected the world. Revival came because one woman barely entering her second decade of life had chosen to live and be who she said said she was: A follower and lover of Jesus.
I honor Karissa today as a great hero of faith.
“Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses let us also lay aside every weight and the sin which clings so closely and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
When I read that verse I picture a big mob of my favorite heroes. Esther, Mary, Paul, my Dad, and my grandparents are all there. I think about Karissa standing in the midst of the great cloud of witnesses, cheering me on with her unquenchable spirit, sparkling eyes, and reminding me to set aside my to-dos, fear, pain, and doubt and simply look at Jesus.
When I found Karissa’s funeral program a few months ago it reminded me of who I want to be and who I already am in Christ.
I want to live in such a way that at any moment you could publish my obituary and it could honestly say, “charity: hero of the faith, sold out for Jesus, loved others and lived with intention keeping eternity at the forefront of her heart and mind.”
I have so many sinful moments, moments when my flesh wins and so many times I have to repent (especially to my husband), but in the midst of my weakness I remember: I was made to live life like Karissa. I was made for a different kingdom.
Someday I will be in that cloud of witnesses next to my Dad, next to Esther and Ruth, right there with Karissa worshipping the King of Kings… will you?
I wanted to share with you a fun project I am embarking on for the month of November… I am calling it
Thanks – PICTURE- ing!
Every day this month I will be taking at least one picture of something I am thankful for.
I have been loving this fun exercise in gratitude, as a way to remind myself to look for even small things to be thankful for in the days leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday. Throughout the month I will be sharing a few favorite photos with you on the blog.
I would love to invite you along for the adventure! If you want to share your own Thanks – Picture-ing, leave your instagram name in the comments.
If you would like to follow my Thanks-PICTURE- ing adventure on Instagram, you can find me at claritywithcharity.
This week’s Thanks – PICTURE- ing Highlights:
Last week I spent at least 2 hours searching for my beloved kitty step children.
Jaxon has escaped several times despite my husband’s diligent efforts to contain them by putting netting all along the top periphery of the fence. He also put stakes in the ground to cover all the holes Jaxon has dug underneath our fence.
Our backyard is not the serene oasis you might imagine. The site of wires, stakes and netting are so ugly that I find myself compulsively pulling our living room shades down to hide the hideous sight from guests.
I make excuses to not show our backyard, until I finally just open the shades to reveal our kitty prison.
We want the cats to be able to play outside, their Bengal breed needs time to pounce and lounge in tall wet grass. When we don’t let them outside, they stand for hours at the back yard door meowing to be released.
As I mentioned earlier. I spent several hours searching for our cats last week. In the past there was only one escape artist between the two, Jaxon. We would constantly have to check on him because he was always escaping.
The other day, I found myself taking a brief mental hiatus from kitty patrol, because I knew that only Sparta was in the backyard.
Since Sparta had never escaped before or ever shown any signs of rebellion, I trusted her. Later I went outside to let her in because I was leaving the house. To my shock she was gone. After standing on a stool to check our neighbor’s yard, I found her. I tried to lure her over the fence with treats and received indifferent glances as she returned to her exploration of the new yard.
I realized I was going to have to get her. The neighbor’s weren’t home so I opened their fence gate. When Sparta saw me she immediately started running a speedy serpentine pattern all over the yard, so I couldn’t catch her
Annoyed and stunned by her rebellion I returned home. Shortly afterwards I found her on our back patio, sunning herself on the cement with a bemused smirk of victory. She had returned but it was on her own terms.
Eventually my husband and I found her escape route, through a hole Jaxon had dug under the fence. We have caught Jaxon digging holes before, but this one was too small to fit his body, which is as large as a toddler.
This situation made me think 2 things:
1. Can we build a taller and deeper fence?
2. Our choices affect each other.
It is so tempting to walk through life and assume willfully or ignorantly that our life affects no one, and that we can make whatever choices we want, and they will only affect us.
It simply isn’t true.
Jaxon was intending to create an escape route for himself when he dug that hole, but Sparta was the one using it. I don’t understand cat psychology, but I am assuming Jaxon didn’t show Sparta his sneaky escape route and convince her to go under it that day.
Sparta made the choice to escape but the choice was easier because Jaxon had already made a way. Fortunately for Jaxon there is no eternal consequence for his leading Sparta into rebellion, but there is for us:
Romans 14: 13-15
Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.
Last week I worked on a craft project with a 3 year old on my dining room table. The project involved glitter. Even after cleaning up the project and wiping down my table, I keep finding glitter. I found it on the table shimmering in the grooves of wood, the floor, and on my toe.
That’s the nature of glitter, it adheres to any surface and sneaks its way into the smallest of places.
Glitter permeates the environment its placed in.
Your life is like glitter: affecting the environment you live, work and create in.
Your life is influential: who you are, what you say and what you do…
SOMEONE IS NOTICING
As believers our lives should be intentionally spreading the love and hope of Jesus.
Let’s not make a way for anyone to stumble, but let’s make a way for others to thrive and… well… I just have to say it: even SPARKLE!!!!! ….
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Who are you influencing? Have you ever had a time where you found out someone was watching your life and you had no idea that you were influencing them?
Yesterday, I alluded to a holiday I invented: FALL EXTRAVAGANZA!
Fall Extravaganza began the year Rene and I started dating, so this year was our 3rd annual celebration.
Fall extravaganza can happen on any weekend between October – Thanksgiving. The goal of Fall Extravaganza is to do as many festive and fall things in one weekend as are humanly possible! Each year can look very different (which I think is makes it a lot of fun!). We have gone to a corn maze, visited a pumpkin patch, eaten lots of fall treats, and played games with friends.
I made Creamy Pumpkin Pasta from Mom Advice – A few notes: I used the smallest amount of pumpkin that they recommended. This gave the pasta a slight pumpkin flavor without being overwhelming and strange for a main dish. I also used Italian seasoned sausage.
Hot Spiced Apple Cider from the Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking which had an unexpected ingredient, oranges! I loved this twist on a classic recipe and it was a crockpot recipe… major bonus points!
I also made Pumpkin Pie for dessert (I wish I had some secret ingredient to make me rich or at least write a blog post about but I don’t…=) I use the recipe on the back of the Libby Pumpkin Puree can – its so good!)
Ok…if you’re not drooling over our yummy dinner, you may be wondering “Do you carve pumpkins?” Yesterday you gave us a very passionate post about Why I don’t Celebrate Halloween….how can you carve a pumpkin?
Carved pumpkins aren’t scary (unless you carve a scary design or accidently let it decay on your front porch) – which can happen quickly in the humidity of Texas. Today I carried our decaying pumpkin to the trash less than a week after getting it…gross!!!
It is also why I don’t fundamentally have a problem with other traditions associated with Halloween, such as dressing in a costume, as long it isn’t scary or inappropriate or handing out candy to kids.
My main point yesterday was that Halloween in our American culture has become for many people (not everyone) a time where they display in yards, stores, schools and communities bloody decorations and people watch movies/tv that are grotesque in nature which fosters an environment ripe for fear – especially in those Jesus calls us to protect – children.
I have chosen to never promote or share anything with children or people that could welcome fear and evil into their life.
The blog post yesterday received 400% more traffic than I usually get. I think this shows that many believers (like me) are really wrestling through how to approach this holiday which is completely pagan in its roots, but that is widely celebrated in our country.
My biggest encouragement to every believer is to pray and ask the Holy Spirit what He is saying for your family to do every year.
We are in a battle: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12)
But we also don’t have to be in fear of the evil that permeates our world: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of sound mind!” (2 Timothy 1:7)
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. “ (1 John 4:4)
Jesus also said: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)
This is definitely a time of year when I am asking Him to help me know how to practically live out those verses, in my home, in my community and with the people in my neighborhood.
This year He said to open the doors of our house and to embrace the opportunity to connect with our neighbors and people in our city I may never otherwise have a chance to meet. At this point we don’t have any children living in our home and so I don’t have to worry about exposing my children to costumes that come to the door that are vulgar or sexually provocative. God may tell us to do something different when we do have children in our house.
But for this year, our porch light will be on and we will be passing out highly desirable sugary treats along with tracts that are specifically designed for Halloween time. We found these tracts at Mardel (our Christian bookstore) and I really like them because they are specifically made for children and address fear and how Christ saves us from fear.
I am praying:
– For opportunities and boldness to share about Jesus.
– That every person would feel the tangible presence and love of Jesus from the second they step into our yard.
– Protection over our home: “Jesus, you are the only one who has power and authority over our house and property, because we are the owners of this property and Rene and I have submitted our lives to You. In the name of Jesus I command anything that has or will come to our property or home that doesn’t bow to the name of Jesus, to go to the foot of the cross and not return.”
I thought this article, a reader shared with me, 5 Practical Ways to be Missional on Halloween by Brian Mc Cormack gave some great ideas on how to love others on Halloween.
I also loved the ideas our readers shared. This was one of my favorite ideas from a reader yesterday, “I wanted to share something that my good friends do – to redeem the night so to speak. They do take their kids trick-or-treating in their neighborhood but they also set up a “refueling station” for their neighbors. It is one night when the community is out and it is easy to connect with those who live on the same street. In their drive way they have coffee/cocoa, a fire pit, and fellowship plus they usually set out a bin for donations to bless homeless families.”
I love the great conversation and ideas that so many have shared about how to love Jesus and others well during Halloween! I would love to hear more thoughts and ideas from anyone else!!!!
I am not a scrooge or a Grinch or a weird fanatic (although you may think so by the title of this article or by the end of it…and that’s ok..)
I am not even particularly concerned with cavities caused by too much sugar in small children
You can ask my husband…he knows about my slight holiday obsession. During our first year of marriage whenever I would mention that a holiday was approaching – he would take a deep breath and ask “do you expect a gift for that holiday?” and “do you celebrate that holiday?” ( I think secretly hoping my answer was NO!)
He knows, that holidays are a big deal to me – and that at times I have been known to manufacture my own holidays – if only for an excuse to eat good food, connect with others and forget about the cares of life.
Tomorrow I am going to tell you about the best holiday I ever invented: Fall Extravaganza!!! What is Fall Extravaganza? I can’t wait to tell you about this epic holiday…tomorrow!!!!!
To me a holiday should bring joy and hope into our lives, it should provide opportunities to reflect on the most important things in life, most of all I desire holidays to draw me closer to God. What are holidays about to you?
If Halloween was only about carving happy pumpkin faces, dressing up little munchkins in fuzzy animal costumes and going door to door saying “trick or treat” I wouldn’t have a problem.
But there is so much more that surrounds the holiday in our culture that causes my issue with Halloween:
I find it ironic and disturbing that in our American culture where news reports and social commentators condemn scenes of mass genocide and murder (which should be condemned!) that in the same nation we allow scenes of death and decapitation to cover our front yards, public areas and even our school corridors.
2 years ago I substituted in public schools for primarily kindergartners. 5 year olds, innocent children who still take naps, need snacks and cry because they miss their Moms. In the hallways where these 5 year olds walked to the cafeteria, the gym, library were displays that featured bloody ligaments, frightening masks and creepy scenes portraying decay and death.
We don’t allow weapons at school, but we are ok, with images of the grim reaper displayed on the walls.
I didn’t just find this to be true at one elementary school, these displays were rampant across an entire community. A community where most people would claim to believe in God, be a good Christian and go to church every Sunday. I am not saying that people are not saved if they celebrate Halloween. But I am commenting that even amongst those in the Christian community there is a often a collective blind eye to what we are inviting into our neighborhoods, schools, and homes when we celebrate Halloween.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Images of de captated heads, the grim reaper with a sheath in hand ready for destruction, bloody costumes are not appropriate for children, period. And they are not appropriate for ME!
Phillipians 4:8-9 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
I can’t think of how any kind of bloody, grotesque or scary Halloween display, movie, image or costume could fall into the pure or lovely category.
I can’t put it in there – so even if as an adult I could rationalize “that stuff doesn’t affect me” – God says to not even think about it.
Whether you have children or not you are responsible to protect the innocence and purity of children. You don’t know who is driving by your house, walking into your home or viewing pictures of your Halloween costume on facebook or instagram.
God is fierce and clear about the protective heart He has over children and their innocence. He is also very clear about our role in protecting children.
After Jesus answers the question about who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven by placing a little child on His lap (Matthew 18:1-5) He then says:
“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
Jesus is not neutral on this issue (protecting children’s innocence) – He is extremely blunt…it would be better for you TO DIE a painful death than for you to cause a child to stumble. Whoa…that is intense…ok…take a few deep breaths.
How is celebrating Halloween causing a little one to stumble? You are inviting fear into their lives.
I have worked with kids in a lot of different capacities: children’s pastor, substitute teacher, nanny, and camp counselor. Kids struggle with fear, because kids are human – and humans struggle with fear.
When you allow decorations that are scary and grotesque to cover your home, watch movies or tv shows about vampires or the walking dead, when you take your child to a haunted house to “get scared….” you are inviting fear and his close relatives death and evil into your house….pulling out your recliner for them to sit on and offering them cream and sugar with their coffee.
I don’t think most people are aware of what they are giving partnership to when they watch horror films or set up inflatable witches in their front yard.
I believe most Americans just think they are celebrating another holiday – and to them it’s the same as turkey carving or setting out cookies for Santa…but its not!
So how do we respond to Halloween, in a culture that seems to be embracing the celebration of the gory parts of Halloween more and more? Lock ourselves in our bedroom and try to pretend its not happening? Dress up like a vampire to make ourselves culturally relevant? We are going to look at some practical ways we can respond to Halloween as believers – TOMORROW!
Until then, I would love to hear your thoughts on Halloween. Do you celebrate Halloween, why or why not? Parents of children how do you approach Halloween?
Soon that thought pounded in my head and shriveled its way into my heart until what was first a passing thought become a consistent theme inside me… whenever I walked through her door.
It happened again that week, I walked into another friend’s home…and the same thought re-verberated through my soul, “her kitchen is so much nicer than mine” and in an instant a torrent of other thoughts and emotions overwhelmed me –
“Why, does she get a better kitchen than me?” “What have they done to deserve this? I think I deserve the nicer kitchen…I’m older, I’ve gone through more, I’ve worked harder.”
My ridiculous tantrum grew into my head, until I had a cataloged, alphabetized list of why I deserved a nicer kitchen than both my friends. My list grew for a week, until the Holy Spirit convicted me.
To soothe my insecurity I had begun to build an airtight case for why I deserved what they had.
It had happened so quickly, this funnel cloud of comparison, shame, insecurity and judgment. My funnel cloud could have quickly become a destructive tornado, sweeping in to suck up the vulnerability, encouragement and life which had been growing in our friendship.
I wanted to stop it, but how did one thought turn into a potential destructive disaster? It happened when I began to believe the lie of the enemy: that I didn’t have enough.
I realized how ridiculous that lie was, I certainly have more than enough.
The fact that my husband and I even own a home, much less live in one puts us in a very small category of people in the world.
We may have laminate countertops, 90’s orange oak and mismatched appliances – but its ours, and we are living in abundance – by the sheer fact that we need a fridge and pantry to hold all our food.
Comparison can quickly can bring destruction and division in our relationships if we aren’t vigilant in guarding against it. During the 2 weeks when I was wrestling with kitchen comparison, it was causing division in my heart with my friends.
Every time I walked into their kitchens instead of focusing on our conversation or developing our friendship I was focused on granite countertops and their un- orange cabinets.
When I look back on that, I am so sad that I wasted any time or emotional energy comparing my kitchen with theirs instead of investing in our friendship.
I needed to set things right with my friends, although they had no idea what was going on in my heart and my mind, so one afternoon I told both of them that I had compared my kitchen to theirs, been jealous of what they had and that I was so sorry.
I told them I never wanted comparison to be in our friendship and I asked their forgiveness. They completely forgave me.
Honestly, from that moment on, I didn’t even struggle with comparison whenever I walked into their gorgeous kitchens.
When we bring what is in the dark (in this case my ugly case of comparison and jealousy) into the light (my repenting for my wrong) the enemy loses his power over us.
It was a very humbling conversation to bring up, because I had realized at that point how petty and ridiculous my thought process had been – but that’s ok…I need humility, I need authentic friendship and I need freedom much more than pride and granite countertops.
I love this bloggers perspective on her kitchen and comparison over at Organizing Homelife, it really convicted and challenged me as I was wrestling through similar thoughts!
I would love to hear your feedback! Have you struggled with comparison? Why do you think it is so easy to start playing the “comparison game?”
We just had an epic two day garage sale last weekend. It was the first time I had ever hosted my own garage sale. I was so thankful for all your comments about how to have a successful garage sale, and I used many of your tips.
Our garage sale had items from 3 families and our grand total of profits was around $600! We were so excited. Of course I would rather not figure out my hourly wage, because we definitely put in several loooonnnggg days, sorting, pricing, setting up and selling – but it brought my heart a lot of joy to know that not only were we de-cluttering our house but we were making some money on our clutter.
Here are my top 5 tips from my garage sale experience.
- Tag Team It – I can’t imagine undertaking this garage sale without a few friends who also contributed their items and helped with all the preliminary work, set up/tear down and spent long and sweaty hours waiting in the garage for customers. I would definitely have lost my resolve for day #2 without garage sale buddies. Another bonus to having a multi – family garage sale is that you have more items to advertise in your Craigslist post.
- Use Color Coding – I was so excited to find price stickers that were pre-priced. We bought some at Lowes and at Target in 3 different colors. One of my garage sale buddies happened to have flouresecent paper the same color as the tags, so every family got a certain color to price their items. I had pink stickers, then when customers checked out with an item with a pink sticker that price would be written on the pink paper, if the customer had an item with a green sticker the price was written on the green paper. This way it was visually simple for us when we were checking out customers who bought items from different sellers.
- If you build it, they will come….EARLY! I was warned hard core garage salers will show up early, I just didn’t think they would show up when I was showing up…ha, ha….as in when I was opening my garage door and moving the first item onto the lawn. We had at least 3 customers show up 1 hour early. I asked them if there was anything specific they were looking for, and then politely but firmly told them they would need to come back when we opened. On Friday we opened at 8 a.m. and had people checking out as early as 7:30. On Saturday we opened at 7 a.m. hoping to beat the crowd, and we definitely beat them, since we didn’t have our first customer until about 8:30 a.m. Anyone else have this happen?
4. Weather Back up Plan – Living in South Texas, I didn’t give any thought to a rain out plan…. ooooppps….about an hour into our garage sale on Friday morning the rain started coming, and we had about 2 hours where it came and went, and came and went. Since our garage sale was more of a lawn sale, I started to panic a little. Fortunately, we had some large painting plastic drop cloths which we were able to use to cover and uncover, and cover and uncover about 5 times that morning. Good thing I am from Washington state!…a little rain can’t scare this Northwest girl, no matter how unexpected.
- Look for opportunities to bless! Throughout the 2 days my garage sale buddy and I both felt different moments where the Holy Spirit was prompting our hearts to give certain customers a good deal or accept their offer without haggling. These were people I have never seen before, I didn’t know their stories or if they were in need, or maybe just needed an unexpected blessing. But I know that although it was sometimes a little painful for my flesh to give my stuff away when I didn’t really know why, we made some people’s days and were obedient, and that was a lot more important than our final profit number.
I would love to hear from my garage sale pros if you can relate to my experience at all? Any unexpected adventures – such as rain on a 100 degree day?