Parenting the Next Generation

Parenting the Next Generation

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Parenting in History

Cynthia:

President McKinley died in his second term. The Roosevelts came to the White House. Edith Roosevelt and her husband Theodore had five children: four boys and one girl. They also raised one girl from Roosevelt’s first marriage. The White House was not prepared for this influx of very energetic children.

They ran through the lawn. They went into the attic.  They climbed under the beds and through the closets.  They hid behind potted plants and jumped out at guests. They slid down banisters with trays from the kitchen. They were very full of energy. Sometimes Teddy Roosevelt ran through the house with them.

They did not believe children should be seen and not heard. The White House was shocked when they moved in. That was then and this is now.

Today, we are talking to Tammy Largin, who just finished the book, Children are Like Arrows in the Hands of a Warrior.

How can you raise your children, so they are arrows in your hand? Welcome, Tammy.

Tammy

Thank you. Thank you for having me.

The Gift of Parenting

Cynthia:

We’re going to let you be the parenting expert today.  What do you mean when you say that the gift isn’t the child, but parenting is the gift?

Tammy:

We think that when God gives us a child, that is ours to hang on to. The gift is parenting this little one until he or she is ready to be shot at God’s target. We learn in the process. So much of what God teaches us is through watching these little mirrors that we call our children.

Many times God slapped me upside the back of the head and said, “Does that look familiar?”

Being a parent made me a better believer.

Cynthia:

I have to agree. Parenting gave me a different perspective on God.

It humbled me because I could see things through his eyes that I never saw before.

Your book talks a lot about choice. How does it help to give your children choices?

Making Choices

Tammy:

We forget what it was like to make choices as a child.  If we don’t practice choice in our homes with our children, they won’t know how to make the big choices.

The best time to start making choices is when your children point. Maybe they point to a toy they want, or different foods that they like, and that kind of thing. At that moment I’m going to give them two choices. to decide from.

Allow them to experience the consequences of that choice because we learn from them.

We have taken away choice from our children. As a result, they haven’t practiced enough to know what’s a good choice and what’s a bad choice.

That is important because God lets the consequences of our behavior impact us.

And he says, “Be not deceived. God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows that he will also reap.”

Cynthia

Exactly.

What do you see as the biggest problem that parents face today?

Living alongside your child

Tammy:

Social media is a huge problem. We can control that by not giving our kids phones. And yet we give our kids phones for convenience.

The name of my book is Children are like Arrows in the Hands of a Warrior. The next verse says, “Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.”

When you are a warrior, your quiver never leaves you. Your children participate in life with you. If they’re participating more on the phone, you’re missing out on that opportunity to teach them right from wrong, and good from evil.

And choice. That is so much of life.

Cynthia

The concept of living life alongside somebody is in scripture. You see the Apostle Paul say that he gave them his life. They watched his life. Very biblical, but it’s hard.

Tammy

Very hard. That’s the number one complaint I get.

“It will take longer to teach them how than to do it myself.”

I reply, “But you’re complaining about not having time.”

Bring your kids alongside you. Figure out age-appropriate jobs. For instance, doing the laundry. Our daughter started doing her laundry at eight. She was going through clothes like crazy, and I didn’t have time to make that many wash loads. I had already told her how to separate clothes

She knew how to put them in the washer. She just couldn’t hit the button.  So I got her a stool so she could hit the button. It taught her responsibility. If something wasn’t clean, it wasn’t mommy’s fault. It was hers.

Cynthia:

That’s good. It’s important to give age-appropriate jobs. As they get older you give them more freedom.

Tammy:

Correct.

Teaching Worldview

Cynthia:

You also pointed out giving your children a biblical worldview. How did you get that across?

Tammy:

I have a problem when all we do is give a biblical worldview. We want them to have a biblical worldview. That’s the foundation of their choices and their decisions.

But we have to give them access to understanding the other views too. They need to understand this view is the one you should choose. As Christians, we tend to put our kids in this bubble. We call it the Christian bubble. I couldn’t find any place in the Bible where you could share the gospel within the bubble.

Get outside the bubble. You can’t just do creation, you have to show them evolution as well. The people who believe in evolution have never read the Bible. You must be able to discuss it.

Cynthia:

That is teaching them to compare and contrast, which is part of teaching them to think. That’s very important.

Tammy:

Exactly. It’s something that we have taken away from our children because we do a lot of the thinking for them. We send them to Google, which is not always the best place.

Cynthia:

What other techniques did you use to teach your kids to think?

Challenge

Tammy:

I believe in challenge by choice. It all started when I started working with summer camps. Parents expected kids to learn certain tasks without being taught.

Horseback riding is a challenging task, and I taught it.  You must go step by step to get past fear. Challenge by choice means two baby-step choices on everything they’re doing.

They’re afraid of heights. If you want to go down the slide, you’re going to have to climb these steps. Go to a place where all the stones are a different height and give them that opportunity. Congratulate them when they do well.

Sometimes we have to let the challenge come from other kids. Our children are watching to see what happens when another child makes a choice. Do I really want to do that?

Cynthia:

And they will watch you too.

Tammy:

Oh yes.

Cynthia

And they will learn from you things that you are not trying to teach them. That puts the onus on you to live biblically.

Teens

You talk about not calling your young children teenagers but calling them young adults.  What difference is there between those two words?

Tammy

The word teenager is never found in the Bible. I went through looking for adolescents and other words that we use to describe children between the ages of 13 and 19.

The Jewish community has a ceremony called Bat Mitzvah or Bar Mitzvah because it is that step into adulthood. I am fine with calling them young adults. I think that’s a great way to explain to them. If you call them teenagers, they no longer look at adults as their peers.

Teenager originally was a marketing term that we used during the Great Depression. It’s a pretty new term.

Cynthia

That’s interesting. What was the driving force that led you to write this?

Writing the Book

A lot of friends made comments about how different our daughter was.   She was confident in her faith and confident in accomplishing a task.

She grabbed onto faith. When Lily graduated from high school, people kept saying. “I need you to help me with mom mentoring.”

I found myself mentoring many young moms and finally said, “Lord, if this is what you want me to write, I need a common thread.”

What began as short stories about how we raised Lily became a deep dive into why God calls children arrows.  And that’s how the book became Children Are Like Arrows.

Cynthia:

That’s very good. Do you have anything you’d like to add before we close?

Three Topics 

Tammy:

My book really focuses on three things.

To be known, to be loved, and to be challenged. We have forgotten that the world did not create our children. God created our children. And the world did not choose who our children would be raised by. God chose who our children should be raised by. We need to stop looking at how the world defines our children and start looking at how God sees them and why he gave them to us.

 

Beyond the Musket: Abigail Rice a Heroine from the Revolutionary War

Beyond the Musket: Abigail Rice a Heroine from the Revolutionary War

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Hello, I am Abigail Rice.  And I understand you are just about to celebrate Independence Day. That is so wonderful. We so longed for our freedom. You see, I lived during that time period. I was just outside of Philadelphia.  My husband Zachariah  would have wanted to fight, but he didn’t get to very often because we had 15 children.

However, George Washington asked him to build a hospital for the Patriots, which he did at Yellow Creek, and that was about a mile from us. I saw those men suffering and ill, and it broke my heart, because  the Apostle John said that we’ve got to do more than just say, be warm and be filled. So I finally moved in with myself and my children to minister to those.

Broken, hurting, sick men because freedom is not free. And so I encourage you, while you celebrate, if you find a patriot who is hurting, reach out to them. Thank you

Celebrate Abigail. a heroine from the Revolutionary War era.
Oh No! Do I Tell?

Oh No! Do I Tell?

Jane Case served as a codebreaker in Washington, D.C. during World War II. The Navy swore her to secrecy, which meant she couldn’t even tell her parents about her job. One afternoon, she hurried to her room in a heavy rainstorm. During wartime, the government asked cars to offer rides to military staff. A man and his wife stopped for her, and she accepted their generosity.

Once she climbed in the back seat, the man questioned her. Where did she work? What did her job entail? Jane spouted her prepared answer. She assisted in communications by sharpening pencils and refilling ink wells. He asked the meaning of the label ‘Q Specialist’ which she wore on her uniform. She laughed and explained ‘Q’ was how the Navy spelled communication.

The car finally arrived at her home, and he leaned over the front seat to open the back door. His raincoat hiked up revealing his sleeve, and she saw his stripes. He was an admiral, and he had tested her. The officer offered a smile that assured her she passed.

On July 4th, we celebrate Independence Day, and we remember those who sacrificed for our freedom. More importantly, Jesus gave up his life to offer us freedom from sin. During this month of celebration, let us value our freedom and diligently live to honor our Savior.

1 Peter 2:16 says, “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.”

Welcoming July 2024 With Prayer + Your “Others-Centered” Calendar Challenge

Welcoming July 2024 With Prayer + Your “Others-Centered” Calendar Challenge

Dear Holy Father, we lift our voices in praise to honor you for sending Jesus to die for us. How grateful we are for what he suffered to forgive us and grant us freedom. Help us to rejoice in him rather than focus on the wickedness that surrounds us. We also thank you for our forefathers who laid the foundation for our nation. May we continually seek to know the truth so we may remain free. In the Name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

CLICK HERE for your monthly encouragement so you can download the July 2024 Calendar Challenge.

Spark and Action: Ignite Your Purpose

Spark and Action: Ignite Your Purpose

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Cynthia:

A Lady from History

Jane was in her senior year of college. She had grown up as a Quaker.  She had planned to go on an internship when she finished college in Washington, D. C., but the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Everything changed. The nation was at war. She started rethinking because she’d seen all the pictures of the battle.  She got this strange letter that asked her if she liked crossword puzzles, which she did.  Was she getting married? Which she wasn’t.  Because she answered the questions that way, she got an invitation to a secret meeting in the school biology lab after dark. All of this was very strange, and it piqued her interest.

When she got there, she discovered that the Navy had picked these certain women because their grades were good. They knew they could work hard. And they were looking for women to do code breaking, and they wanted her to do code breaking of the Japanese naval code. She was assigned to JN 25, which is a certain section of the code. During that period, that was a perfect job for her.

Of course, it was secret. She couldn’t even tell her parents. She went to live in Washington for a period and was very much involved in this very difficult, but also very exciting job. She was helping the sailors who were at war in the Pacific.  In that period, that was a perfect job for her.

Something that she would have never thought she would have. All of us have different gifts and abilities just because God gave us certain abilities. But if we’re a believer, we have certain spiritual gifts and God wants us to use those too. In your period of life where you are right now, what’s God’s purpose for you?

Living with Purpose

That’s what we’re going to talk about today. Today I have Rachel Anderson, who has also been a listener. So welcome Rachel. It’s so good to have a listener.

Rachel:

Thank you for having me.

Cynthia:

We’re going to talk a little bit about purpose and how to find yours.  Can you tell me what it means to live with a purpose?

Rachel:

Living with intention and living with a passion. It infiltrates every area of your life. You feel needed. You feel like God has you where he wants. You’re walking in your gifting., it brings such a joy, it brings such a peace.  You have a sure foundation

Cynthia:

you use the word intentional. That word is a buzzword these days. Can you define that?

Rachel:

The word intentional means that you look at your life, and you make the most of it. How can I make the best use of my time?

How can I be the best mom, wife, friend, disciple of Jesus?

Cynthia:

You commented that no two of us will have the same purpose.  Share with me what that means for an individual. How do we find that?

Rachel:

Purpose is found in your burdens, your talents, and in your season of life. So that will look a little bit different for every person.

God instilled in us different passions, talents, things that we are burdened for. And then the only constant in life is change, right? Life is always changing, and seasons of life are always changing.    Always be very conscious and self-reflective about what your burden and your talents are.

When you bring all that to God and are prayerful about it, he reveals that to you.

Finding Friends

Cynthia:

Okay. You showed how the story about how you wanted to have friends

Rachel:

I found myself as a brand-new mom. That rocks your world and your roles shift. Was I going to have this victim mentality or was I going to be intentional?

So I made up my mind. I started meeting people at the playground or at the library and at the grocery store. I started a book club, literally inviting strangers to my house.  I am still friends with so many women that came to that first book club today, almost seven years later.

Perspectives

Cynthia:

That’s excellent. You told a story also about how your children come from an event with different stories.

Rachel:

My children have vastly opposite personalities. they could be telling somebody the same story. And depending on which child you listen to   you might hear a completely different story.

I happen to live in a city that’s full of mountains and valleys and rivers and everything in between. And I live in the valley, right at the foot of a mountain. And I commute up and down the mountain every single day. People make comments on the specific road that I take.

” Oh, that road is so treacherous. I can’t believe you take that road. I’m too scared to drive it”. “Or that road makes me dizzy.”

I have learned to love that commute of mine. In fact, it gives me such a perspective shift every single morning because the views driving up this road are unbelievably beautiful.

And depending on where you’re at in life, you can shift your perspective.  You might be down in that valley and the road might be treacherous.  But if you look out at the view of what God has for you and find the good in your situation you can make intentional choices.

Just depending on your perspective, it can make or break the situation that you’re facing.

Staycation

Cynthia:

That’s very good. Now, you also talked about having a staycation every year with your kids.

Can you give me some ideas about why that was good and what you learned from that?

Rachel:

When we were newlyweds one vacation was really all we could swing a year. And we like to try to take two.

We decided we would plan a staycation and we started making a list of things that we could do right in our own city. Or within day trips.

That tradition has continued now that we have children. We all look forward to it.  We are fortunate to live in an incredibly beautiful place and city where there’s a lot to do, especially outdoors.

Cynthia

That’s a good thing to do because most people don’t even know what’s happening in their city.

I also loved your story about the goldfish and what can we learn from that goldfish story?

Goldfish Story

That was one of my personal favorite chapters. The goldfish story happened when I only had one child. I was a rookie mom. My son loved goldfish.

I bought one of the giant boxes on special.  I quickly realized he just wanted to eat cupful after cupful.  His body wasn’t satisfied. And I remember the Lord convicting me. This can be applied to our spiritual lives. If we’re not intentionally filling our hearts and minds with good things, with the word of God, we’re not going to be satisfied.

We’re going to be looking for fulfillment. We’re going to be looking for purpose in all the wrong places.   Only God and love and living with a purpose is the only thing that can fill that void.

Cynthia:

That is a beautiful story with a beautiful ending.  What kind of takeaways do you want to have from your book?

Self-Reflection

Rachel:

I would love for people to do self-reflection.  That’s something that’s becoming increasingly harder for people to do.

In other words, I need to do better in this area. If I’m serious about being a Christ follower, he has a purpose and a plan for each of our lives. I want to live in all that God has called me to do.  He has gifted each one of us with strengths and talents and giftings.

 

 

 

Home is Where the Welcome Mat is

Home is Where the Welcome Mat is

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Hospitality in the Past

Cynthia:

Hospitality has an incredible impact on people. In 1955, Francis and Edith Schaeffer opened
their home in Switzerland to people in Europe. They wanted to help people find the truth of
Scripture. At the time, liberal theology swept through Europe.

They call their ministry LaBrie, which means a shelter in French. They long to provide satisfying
answers to theological questions and demonstrate Christian concern and love. Edith Schaeffer
was extremely good at creating a homey environment and providing meals.

Sunday evenings, she served high tea and hosted 50 people or more. For a while there she
even recorded it because it was such an interesting conversation and so many lives were
changed

There’s something about having people in your home that is different than other places.

Modern Day

Today, I have Melissa Heiland, and she will talk about how she opened her home. Welcome,
Melissa.

Melissa:
Hi, I’m happy to be here.
Cynthia:
You told me as we started you have someone in your house from Germany. And someone from,
is it Africa?

Melissa:
Yes. I’m a missionary and we start pregnancy ministries all over the world.

We often welcome people to the United States. Some come for more training, to visit us, or to
get a break. My husband bought a house here in Daytona Beach about three years ago.

It’s a hundred years old and big. We have six kids, but we only have two in our home. One of
the reasons he bought this home was so that we could welcome people. They come from all over the world

This morning, I was picking up one of our pregnancy ministry directors from Tanzania. He’s
staying at our house. We also have a couple here from Germany. They are one of our ministry
partners here in the United States. Their aunt and uncle were coming in to visit for really for
several weeks.

Retreats

We’ve also hosted little retreats. We’re just giving our home for that.
We like to keep our home open. Our friends and ministry partners know we like to host people.
I had a friend this year who was struggling through some things. I invited her to come and stay
here for a couple of days.

Foster Care:

One of the things that we have done is foster care. We fostered over 40 children, not at one
time. Sometimes they needed a place to go for a few days.
Having someone in your home, especially children who do not know what a loving family looks
like is a ministry. Not that my family is perfect in any way. But we are an intact family.

Boundaries

Cynthia:
Do you have any way that you make people feel comfortable while giving them and yourself
some space? Because you hear a lot today about boundaries. What do you do with that?

Melissa:
That’s a good question. When you’re talking about children, no. They need help.

With adults, yes, I try to. When people want time away, they don’t necessarily want time with
you. We talk about that. We give them a space that is theirs. We’re not going to enter.

And then I explain, “We’re going home. My husband’s going to cook lunch for us. Then I must
do an interview. You can relax for a little while. Here’s your room. Here’s your bathroom. Make
yourself at home in the house. At two o’clock, we’ll get together and talk.”

Cynthia:

How comfortable are you with people doing things in your kitchen? My aunt had a sign in her
kitchen saying, ‘Please don’t touch it. If you want it, I’ll get it for you.’
Are you okay with people getting something out of the fridge?

Melissa:
Yeah, I’m pretty relaxed about that.
Nobody will come into my bedroom, but I’m comfortable with people in the kitchen or family
room. Our house has a lot of little patios. We even have one patio that’s set aside for guests.

Cynthia:
What impact have had by opening your home like this? What have you seen happen?
Melissa:

People have said it meant so much to have a getaway. Sometimes life is hard, and you just
need to escape and breathe. When I have people from outside of the United States, the impact
is big. They get to meet my husband and my kids.

It deepens the relationship that we have with each other. Now I’ve let them into my world. I’m
treating people like family. They sit at your dinner table and eat with you and your kids. They
know your family instead of just you. It is the family of God.

Cynthia:
Do you see barriers drop in a show of trust, too?

Melissa:
Yes. It’s showing trust. We are family. It’s a blessing.

Tips on Being Hospitable:

Cynthia:
What advice would you give to someone who would like to be more hospitable?

Melissa
I’m not a great cook, a great housekeeper, a great decorator.

My home is clean enough. Please don’t come around with white gloves. I’m not cooking these
fancy dinners. I think hospitality means being open to letting people come. It doesn’t necessarily
mean you have to be perfect.

You can still be generous with your home, with your time, and with what God has given you.

Cynthia:
I think that’s good advice. My house is not super neat, but the bathrooms and kitchen are clean.

Melissa:
Exactly.

Cynthia:

Thank you for your time. I really enjoyed chatting with you.

Surprising Facts about What Colonists Drank

Surprising Facts about What Colonists Drank

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Stay Hydrated

The weather outside is very, very hot and we need to drink more to make sure that we stay
hydrated.

They Drank Water?

Have you ever given any thought to what colonists drank. Well, the water in the cities was not safe to drink because people poured their sewer
into the river and the lakes.

If you were in the countryside, it was a little better as long as you put your outhouse in the right
place. And as long as your neighbor put their outhouse in the right place.

They Drank Milk?

Milk was not safe to drink either. They had no refrigeration. And if you drank it, you could very well get a disease.
Abraham Lincoln’s mother died of a disease that she got from drinking milk.

Colonists drank alcohol, rum, whiskey, beer, and particularly hard cider. They gave it to
their children because they had nothing else that was really safe.

What about Tea?

Late in the colonial period, they began to drink coffee and tea. They didn’t know why it was safe. They didn’t know why it
was healthy because they had no idea what germs were and that boiling killed the germs.

But they were thrilled to have something different to drink that wasn’t alcohol. Now, imagine their
frustration when they started getting taxes on tea. When you put it in that context, I can
understand.

Living in Difficult Times

They lived in very difficult times. You know, we also live in very difficult times.
Have you ever noticed that you feel like you’re eating or drinking something that’s very safe,
only to discover an article somewhere or something on the internet that says, that’s going to kill
you?

Ancient Wisdom

How can we live in a crazy upside down world? Everything is skewed. Everything is messed up.
I have some ancient wisdom for you. This is from the book of John.

“Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall become in
him a well of water springing up to each one of life.”

“And again, Jesus said, if any man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in
me, as the scripture said, from his inmost being shall flow rivers of living water.”

Living Water

Wow, living water. That means wisdom for today, grace for today, and for tomorrow, eternity. Eternal life.
Yeah, I prefer living water while living in a crazy upside down world.

Hosting with a Heart

Hosting with a Heart

 

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Cynthia:

Hospitality can have an incredible impact on people. You can bond with people, create intense friends, and sharpen your relationship with the Lord as you spend time with other godly people.

The Story of Katrina von Bora:

A good example of this is Katrina van Bora. She was, of course, Katie Luther.

She married Martin Luther in 1525. The duke gave them the Black Cloister, the monastery where the monks used to live. And because they had no income, she started a boarding house. Students at Wittenberg University needed a place to stay.

 

Cynthia:

They all wanted to talk to Luther. After dinner, they would sit around and ask him questions. , He would answer at length, and the kids wrote it down. That became table talk. That’s where it came from.

He had an incredible impact on these students because provided a home.

Dr. Mel Tavares:

 

Can you tell me some things that you have done with hospitality?

Dr. Mel Tavares:

Sure. Thank you for that back information, the backstory on Martin Luther, and Table Talk. That is central to everything I do hospitality-wise. The table is ever so important.  Everybody gathers at the table.

Now, I have it in the dining room, but we are always around the table. And so that is pretty important.

Three Categories of Visitors

There are three categories of hospitality: friends and family, the neighbors, and the ones that drop in.

The second group is the ones who I would say primarily are from a church. They come because of I host a meeting of some kin

The third one is a special occasion: baby shower, bridal shower,  or graduation. It could be in my family or a friend.

It is always around coffee or tea, dessert or meals. When we have a meal, there’s lots of storytelling and laughter.

Dr. Mel Tavares:

Of course, a Bible study gets a lot more in-depth. In all those cases, though, we’re connecting. And I just love that. Years and years, decades later, some of those friendships have still been forged. They haven’t dissipated. Even though I’ve moved 300 miles away, I’m still friends with these people. So it’s pretty amazing.

Cynthia:

Yeah. There is something about being around a table with people as you share a meal or something to drink that you bond like you don’t any other time. We need that despite social media Can you tell me how you can get people away from their phones these days?

Technology Interruptions

Dr. Mel Tavares:

Lead by example, so we don’t bring our phones to the table. Now, even in a world of younger generations, everything is about their phone. So my children’s generation, the millennials, that’s been a part of their very fiber.

If the conversation is engaging enough, then I don’t feel they will spend the time on the phone unless we’re recording each other, taking pictures, doing snap filters, whatever. But if conversation is real, and I will say heartfelt.

Heart to Heart Conversations

People need that so desperately. You can’t get that from the phone. When that heart-to-heart is taking place over a cup of coffee or tea or a meal, people leave their phones alone. Engage them on a heart level, the phone takes second place.

Cynthia:

How do you get them to really unburden themselves?

Dr. Mel Tavares:

We make them feel very welcome. Make a point of going out to the door, welcoming the person, calling them by name, hugging them if they’re a hugger, and immediately asking something about their lives.

Don’t discuss the weather. Ask about deeper issues. You know, how’s your husband recovering? I’m so sorry to hear about your mom and whatever it is and to be able to connect immediately. If they’re coming to our home, we should know something about them that will allow us to connect on a heart level.

“I’m going to fix your coffee, keep talking. I want to hear how things are going.” That will open them up.

Cynthia:

So you’re simply saying that you provide a listening ear and you show true interest and they open up.

Dr. Mel Tavares:

True. That is exactly how I do it. Yep.

Cynthia:

It sounds like people are hungry for that.

Our Lonely and Transient World:

Dr. Mel Tavares:

People are hungry. This is a lonely world. You alluded to that a minute ago, talking about, you know, social media, but it’s so obvious that we are more disconnected than ever.

We can live in a neighborhood with people now and not even know their names. That is not the way it used to be. We always had neighbors in and out of the house. It’s a very transient world.

So even if we stay put, neighbors move and the house is sold and somebody else is in, and we have to be very intentional to connect with people because they are seeking a connection with someone.

Cynthia:

Are you saying that you’re intentional then when a new neighbor moves in that you take them something?

Dr. Mel Tavares:

My current neighborhood is a little more challenging because we live in an urban area with many apartment buildings around us.

The houses on my immediate left or right, I can take them something. I’ll send a text to them. I try to get their phone numbers immediately and say, hey, I want you to know I’m here.

If you ever have an emergency, whether it’s, you know, you’ve got a run, something’s happened, and you need to have your kid watched or you need, you know, your dog or whatever it is going on, please know I’m here. We’re here.

Dr. Mel Tavares:

We’re neighbors. We’re here to help each other. And that is also something they don’t hear very often anymore.

Dr. Mel Tavares:

So by doing that and saying, here’s my phone number, would you mind giving me yours? It immediately bonds us. And then I make a point. If I see them outside, I make sure I step out and I talk to them, that sort of thing.

Reactions to Our Faith:

Cynthia:

Do you find people at all intimidated by your faith?

Dr. Mel Tavares:

I don’t think they’re intimidated. Not everyone’s going to embrace that for themselves. There’s some sense of stability when they talk to me. They know I am who I am, and it is my faith that holds me solid.

I think inviting someone to our home and allows them to feel the peace. God is here, he’s present. It’s a home where his spirit resides. And so they step into the house, they feel something different immediately.

Dr. Mel Tavares:

For new believers, we have the opportunity again. They don’t necessarily have that calm peace, the abiding that we experience. Bringing them to our home allows us to role model that for them.

Finding Peace

Cynthia:

Are you finding that even believers then have their unsure themselves, perhaps fearful, uneasy, even though they’re believers?

Dr. Mel Tavares:

Absolutely. We are in a post pandemic world. People expected I expected that at some point we would return to normal, but rather than return to normal, everything has compounded and gotten worse.

Believers who are not as well connected to the Lord on a daily basis, may not have that peace

Dr. Mel Tavares:

It’s an opportunity for us to pull in moms, especially moms with children that are struggling and juggling everything. They still have some fears and some concerns, what’s going to happen?

We have the opportunity to pour into believers and to give them hope. Our homes give a perfect setting to be able to say,  “It might be a little bit crazy out there. But here it’s calm, it’s peaceful, it’s joyful. It’s a safe place. It’s a place where we laugh and we share and we have memories and we connect.”

Dr. Mel Tavares:

And even if they have to go back to a chaotic life for that little bit of time, they’re home safe with us, and it’s a good thing.

I would say that, you know, it just came to my mind. I minister to many women who are in domestic situations or difficult marriages, things that make their home life very difficult.

Maybe their job is also difficult. And they’ve got a lot on their shoulders. And so particularly when they come in and they can just have, even if it’s just an hour and a cup of coffee, just to breathe.

Hospitality Tips:

Cynthia:

What kind of tips would you give to someone who is just beginning who would like to sort of be hospitable in the future?

Dr. Mel Tavares:

There are some very practical things that I’ve done.

One, I have a cabinet that, a dish cabinet that I put some certain things in: serving trays, dessert plates, coffee cups, the spoons and forks. I like to have a stack of those that kind of go with the season.

Right now it’s all floral kinds of stuff. And just have the cabinet stocked.  I have a few things in my pantry that are ready to go: a variety of teas, a variety of coffees, creamers, crackers or some packaged cookies.

Dr. Mel Tavares:

I have a bin in my pantry that is for snacks and drinks for children, because if they bring along kids, there’s just certain things like almost every kid will eat goldfish. For example, the goldfish crackers. So having the crackers, having some capri suns or something.

And I like to either have cookies in the freezer or home baked. I like to bake them ahead and have them ready.

Dr. Mel Tavares:

They thaw very, very quickly. You can pop them in the microwave and defrost them. If you were to come to my house, I can immediately be thinking and going to the freezer, grab the stuff, put it in the microwave, get it thawed out while I’m getting the coffee or tea or whatever’s happening.

Then keep on hand a few drinks that can be iced, whether that’s tea or soda pop or seltzer water or regular water.

Your Housekeeping:

Dr. Mel Tavares:

People don’t worry about your house. When I get up in the morning, I make sure everything is decluttered, then I wipe down the bathroom.

 

Dr. Mel Tavares:

And then don’t worry about it. I’m there to have a heart to heart. I want to connect. So nine times out of ten, people hang out around the table. I want the rest of it kind of to stay in a decluttered mode so that if somebody is coming over, it’s not as stressful to me.

I’m much more likely if somebody calls and they’re having a hard day to say, “You know, the house is empty right now. Come on over, let’s have a cup of tea and talk.”

Cynthia:

I love that.

Dr. Mel Tavares:

Yeah.

Cynthia:

I need to work on the declutter thing because I start little projects and I leave the little projects and piles here and piles there.

You have got some great suggestions in terms of keeping stuff on hand to pop them right out. Can you give me just a little summary of anything else you think you might want to say to someone who is thinking about hospitality?

Dr. Mel Tavares:

I would say that some people have a gift of hospitality, an actual gift. I know a person who’s very gifted. It just comes easy. I’m not that person. It doesn’t come easy. But we are all called by the Lord to be hospitable and to encourage one another.

Cynthia:

And that is wonderful. Thank you for your time.

 

Decisions, Decisions? 

Decisions, Decisions? 

Betty Carlson couldn’t decide what she wanted in life.

She bicycled around Europe after World War II, attempting to find herself. As she traveled, she jumped from one obsession to the next.

Finally, a friend invited her to the home of Francis and Edith Schaeffer. They had opened a ministry in their home called L’abri to counteract the liberal theology sweeping the world at the time.

In the Schaeffer’s home, Betty discovered answers to life’s dilemmas in Christ. She could ask questions and receive honest answers. Plus, God’s love abounded. Based on what she learned, Betty devoted her life to helping others. She wrote many books and penned a syndicated article in the “Rockford Morning Star” in the 1960s.

The Schaeffers touched many lives as they combined hospitality and faith.

“Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” -1 Peter 4:9

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