No One Brings You Food

An article to make you think.
How are you practically serving your community around you?  And when are you doing it?

Comfort Food – No one Brings you Food when your Daughter is an Addict

“Friends talk about cancer and other physical maladies more easily than about psychological afflictions. Breasts might draw blushes, but brains are unmentionable. These questions are rarely heard:
“How’s your depression these days?”
“What improvements do you notice now that you have treatment for your ADD?”
“Do you find your manic episodes are less intense now that you are on medication?”
“What does depression feel like?”
“Is the counseling helpful?”
A much smaller circle of friends than those who’d fed us during cancer now asked guarded questions. No one ever showed up at our door with a meal.”

Take the few minutes to read the article in full.

Are there people around you who might do well with a meal being brought to them?
The out-of-the-blue treat of not having to cook, it’s a special day.

Suburban Hospitality

Recently writing about our years (Summer 2008-Summer 2012) in Hamilton, we reminisce about the good times we had with our community and life living in an urban centre.  Two of these years as a couple, both working outside the home and two of these years with a lively pair of kiddos, one of those years neither of us working outside the home and the other year both of us working outside the home.

When we wanted to purchase a home, we wanted a place where we could eventually have a family, but have friends and guests in our home, be hospitable, have ‘open doors’, offer a place for those who didn’t have one.  We wanted to be part of a community that had that same idea as us, but maybe not the space… We wanted to be able to offer that.  With our small downpayment, we bought a row home with three bedrooms, two of those bedrooms had beds and were always ready to be slept in – always ready for whoever needed to sleep in them.

open-door

Pre-children, this started out mostly as a place for youth to come to hang out.  There’d be evenings and weekends where the house would be filled with youth and therefore my cupboards would be bare and fridge would be empty.  We were used to people in our home all the time, dropping in, coming to play games, helping us rip out the deck, you know – the regular stuff.

When our children joined our family it helped us bridge the gap into our community a bit more.  When we basically walked everywhere and lived with a child strapped to our front or back or on our shoulders or in a stroller…. With us all the sudden having two children, it made for a quick conversation starter and a great opportunity for us to be advocates for adoption.  At the beginning, this was not a time that we had a lot of people in our home, our home was growing into something new, a home for a baby and a two year old.  Our house felt very full in a different way as our family was being formed.

Fast forward a few months where we began attending a new church and soon after that we were serving in our church community hosting a “living room” weekly where we gathered to eat, talk, pray and live together.  This was the opportunity for our home to be the hospitable place we once imagined it would be.  It became a natural way of life these Tuesday evenings that it flowed into other days of the week: helping out with the kids, doing crafts, having a drink, borrowing each others tools, working together on a project, a few people digging through their fridges and cupboards in attempt to throw a meal together just, celebrating events – actually living life together.  Friendship.  Relationship.  Community.

sushi

So why am I writing this post?  Why am I explaining all of this?  Well, we are experiencing a little bit of a difference in our new suburban home.  And we are having to try and establish what suburban hospitality looks like.  We are used to living right downtown where everyone lives very close to one another, works close to one another, serves close to one another and this style of living worked.  That’s not the way suburbia works.  We have met very few people who live in our neighbourhood, even though we have tried.  And the people we have met have met in the neighbourhood is mostly acquaintances who won’t get passed talked about the weather.  The rest of the people we have got to know is mostly through our new church but don’t live near us and most of them have children.  When other people have children, they have schedules and routines to stick to.  We are also finding that because of the middle class area we are living in, everyone is so self sufficient.  People don’t seem to need each other in practical ways – everybody actually has everything they need.  And many just don’t crave community the way that Jon and I do.  Even being an introvert, I still want connection with others.

We came to Mississauga because we needed our family and to be close to Jon’s work.  We are committed to being active in our community, but it’s hard when you aren’t part of one.  It’s hard to get to know the people around you, its hard to make brand new relationships.  It’s hard to start from scratch.

How do I have a house with open doors when everyone is satisfied to stay closed in their own homes?
How do we meet people around us when many people won’t say much more than hello or just smile?
How can I offer my urban hospitality in my suburban neighbourhood?
Where do I find those likeminded people who want to live life with others?
So, how do we meet other people who need community?

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Mother’s Day Plea

My Plea for the Celebration of Mother’s Day… Especially in the Church.

Mother’s Day is always hard for me as I grieve the loss of my children’s biological family while celebrating my own motherhood.  It’s twisted as I feel torn and guilt.  I think of Amaris and Makaio’s birthmother and how she is not with her children on this day.  I wait alongside my many friends who are trying to start a family whether in the adoption process or biologically, and it is a difficult day with so many emotions.  When Mother’s Day is celebrated in the church, traditional mothers are often singled out and asked to stand in church and praised or thanked for all they do… But what about the rest… What about all the other women.

There is so much to consider in how Mother’s Day is celebrated within the church and it can be a very “loaded” day for so many… Not only those women that wouldn’t be described in a Mother’s Day greeting card but all of those who have a mother.  And that’s all of us.

I hope that churches are very prayerfully considering how Mother’s Day is being discussed on Sunday.  I always have concerns going into the day worrying about how it will be celebrated and I’m speaking out.  No matter how it’s happening in your church on Sunday, here’s a blog post that will hopefully meet you where you are at when approaching this challenging day.

Churches & Pastors:  Thanks for considering all women on Sunday, and not just the women who are traditionally mothers.  Celebrate that everyone has a mother and concentrate on that instead of singling out those who are currently a traditional mother.

Thanks again to Amy for your post:

To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you.

To those who lost a child this yearwe mourn with you.

To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stainswe appreciate you.

To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you.

To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointmentwe walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is.

To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual momswe need you.

To those who have warm and close relationships with your childrenwe celebrate with you.

To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your childrenwe sit with you.

To those who lost their mothers this yearwe grieve with you.

To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own motherwe acknowledge your experience.

To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhoodwe are better for having you in our midst.

To those who have aborted childrenwe remember them and you on this day.

To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own childrenwe mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be.

To those who step-parentwe walk with you on these complex paths.

To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren, yet that dream is not to bewe grieve with you.

To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year we grieve and rejoice with you.

To those who placed children up for adoptionwe commend you for your selflessness and remember how you hold that child in your heart.

And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprisingwe anticipate with you.

This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you.