It’s World Kindness Day. It’s been an officially observed day since 1998, when a group of nonprofits thought it would be nice to focus on what’s good about people – all people.
It’s been a bit since I’ve posted anything closely resembling a blog here. It’s not like I’ve given up on writing altogether – there are some words being shared on Facebook and Instagram. But as of late I’ve rather forgotten about this place.
Who am I fooling? I’ve not forgotten about it at all. I think about it a lot, actually.
In fact, may I straightaway be honest with you right now?
I miss the days when I didn’t worry about words so much. I promise, this connects back to World Kindness Day and focusing on what’s good about people – all people. So hang in there.
Now, I’m not talking about the words that are written to encourage folks to go somewhere or do something or care for someone. I pray over those words, reach down into the “in what ways might we…” marketing wisdom gathered from the years, and put fingers to keyboard. No, I’m talking about the words I write here and in leadership articles and in guest posts and in books and such. It’s not that I don’t trust those words. They, like the marketing words, are prayed over and gathered up. They, like the marketing words, have purpose beyond basic principles. And they, like the marketing words, are written in the hopes they might have meaning to someone else.
So, what’s with the worry?
It’s not about the words themselves.
It’s about the “who am I to even…” and “I’ll never do enough to matter…” and “does anyone even care?” stuff. I know, it’s not a new worry. The tug-of-war between calling and qualification with a heaping side of comparison has been around the since days were first born, and even though I’ve been shown time and time again by God and His people that He’s got this, I still wonder if He’s REALLY got this.
I do want to inspire folks – especially women and girls – to rise and become grace-filled leaders in their communities. I want them to see that they are qualified to love large and serve well and believe restoration is a reality. I want them to know just how completely God redeems. But for the love, I’m so unkind to me in the process – and I end up authoring a concurrent storyline steeped in the fear that my want will remain just that, a longing that can’t find its home in reality because I’m not captivating enough or shrewd enough or connected enough. I end up silently labeling God as unkind and you as unkind.
I disqualify myself. I do the very thing I tell other folks not to do. So it plays out in words hoarded, in stories untold, in lessons untaught. And that is unkind.
I’m working through it. And if you’re a writerly type, I’d love to know how you’ve worked through it. Again, being completely honest, I wish this part of ministry didn’t feel so much like selling. I wish it was more like #kitchentherapy – like the conversation that takes place in our lives as we’re going about our lives.
“Can we have a special request meal?”
If you’ve been around here at all, you know about family dinner. We gather ‘round the table, this unlikely group of friends who have become family. On that very first Sunday night, while we didn’t live in the same neighborhood and were at different stages in our lives, we all attended the same church and were child-free (and all the ladies wore size 10 shoes). Things have changed and changed and changed again, but we’re still together. In fact, none of us are in the same place we were ten years ago (outside of the shoe size). Churches have changed, jobs have changed, relationships have changed, and that whole kid-free thing? Yeah, that changed too.
Only two things remain – our love for God and our love for each other.
So, last night was BfD by special request. That’s Breakfast for Dinner (and it is a big flapping deal). Yes, it’s our favorite time to eat breakfast. And yes, we DO turn it into a full-on dinner with appetizers and dessert.
Now, what does this have to do with kindness? Everything.
We could have disqualified ourselves from being “the petite assembly” every time something changed for one of us. We could have decided our family dinners were dead in the water the first time we couldn’t meet for a while. And in those seasons where seeing each other was difficult because the seasons were so hard to bear? We could have simply walked away. But we didn’t, and we haven’t, and we’re still here.
We are kind to each other and to us. Maybe that’s why #kitchentherapy is such a safe place – because it is a place where kindness dwells.
The words I write have a consistent theme, no matter where they end up living – that you are not disqualified from being part of a really beautiful and powerful story that changes stories. I write often that we are in this together, that God is for you and I am for you. And today, on World Kindness Day, I’m reminding us all of that very thing, to see what’s good in people – all people, including us. I’m reminding me to be kind to me – and to you – by doing good with my hands and not holding back the words God has been gracious to inspire. And today, I’m reminding you to be kind to you too. Whatever it is that God has given you, whatever it is that He has inspired you to do, whoever it is that He has placed in your path – let kindness be the conversation that takes place in your life as you live your life.
We really are in this together. And I promise, I am for you. And hey, should you ever long for a good family dinner, let me know. CasaRock is here with good food and free wifi.
I can’t have this be a #kitchentherapy post and not share a few recipes. These two were part of our BfD (along with little rosemary parmesan biscuits with fig preserves and prosciutto, brown sugar bacon, herbed eggs, a big old bread basket full of Texas toast, biscuits, and muffins, and some lovely buñuelo crisps I found at H-E-B).
Fruit & Quinoa Salad
This salad didn’t intent to be served at breakfast, but once you taste it, you’ll see that it is a GREAT and healthy side. The secret to great quinoa is rinsing it before you cook it. Wash those grains for a good 3-4 minutes, and then enjoy a yummy addition to a fruit salad.
- 1 cup uncooked tricolor quinoa, rinsed thoroughly and cooked per package instructions, then cooled
- 1½ cup strawberries, sliced
- 1 cup blackberries
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 medium mango, diced
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped (for garnish)
Combine prepared quinoa with fruit in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Mix honey and lime juice in a small bowl, and drizzle over fruit; toss to combine. Garnish salad with fresh basil and serve with foods that could use a good friend.
Better than Loveless Hash Brown Casserole
I fell in love with Hash Brown Casserole at Loveless Cafe in Tennessee. Thankfully they have the recipe posted on their website, so the Loveless love can live on long after you’ve driven away from the blue and white clapboard house next to the Natchez Trace. When it comes to BfD, though, that recipe needs a little something extra. And this little something is an easy bonus to a VERY easy side. Friends say this version is better than the original – but don’t tell Loveless. 🙂
- 1 – 30 ounce bag of frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 1 small onion, chopped finely
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese (sharp is better)
- 1-1/2 cups Panko crumbs
- 1/4 cup butter, meled
Preheat oven to 375F.
In a large mixing bowl, combine potatoes, soups, sour cream, onion, and cheddar cheese, and pour into a prepared casserole dish. Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, toss Panko crumbs with butter, and sprinkle over top of potato mixture. Bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes or until crumb topping is golden brown and mixture is bubbly and yum. Serve happily and heartily, and don’t limit this to breakfast. It’s great with roast beef or ham for dinner too!
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