Wednesday, April 18, 2012

SerenDIPity 2012 Smilebox

Coming in Spring 2013 - The SerenDIPity Book!!

He who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.
Proverbs 15:15


Our family is humbled and honored to open our hearts and homes to family and friends at our now-traditional annual SerenDIPity.  One of my dearest girlfriends, who is my hospitality hero, said to me when she RSVPed for the SerenDIPity this year, "Entertaining is a lost art anymore, Sharon.  Thank you for opening your home to us."  Oh, I pray with all my heart that face-to-face fellowship and gatherings are not lost in this world of cyber connections.  The planning and labors of love in preparing for SerenDIPity are tiny compared to the sweet fellowship, huge blessings, smiles and laughter they bring. 

Another dear friend said, "You really put yourself out there when you send an invitation to a party and open your home to a group."  Bring it!  We are willing to put ourselves out there to nurture and care for relationships.  I love and treasure one-on-one conversations with friends. And when we have a party...we want it to be a par-tae!!  I believe it is God's heart that we fellowship together, eat together, pray together and laugh together...face to face and heart to heart!

And they were continually devoting themselves...
to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Acts 2:42

Here is a Smilebox of pictures from this year's SerenDIPity on March 31st.  These wonderful pictures were all taken by a lovely student photographer named Toni (click here to contact Toni).  (More information on Toni and also recipes for this year's award-winning dips will be published in a future post.  I will be co-posting with my sweet friend LeAnn Rice from http://www.shecooks.org/.)  Also, be sure to check out my dear friend Lucille's site http://www.psalm348cooking.com/ ~ a culinary class for 12 with Lucille was this year's SerenDIPity Platinum Prize!!!

Our friends and their culinary creations are amazing!!  Check them out!

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Thankful for sweet fellowship...and posh nosh!!

We who had sweet fellowship together
walked in the house of God...
Psalm 55:14

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
1 Peter 4:9

Monday, April 16, 2012

Solos and Duos

Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His,
and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
Psalm 30:14

Recently, our children's school's 4th-6th grade choir held try-outs for solo parts in the upcoming spring concert.  This being Joshua and Gabrielle's only year that they will be in choir together until high school, our hearts are particularly warmed that we can watch them sing together as part of the same choir.

Many of the most poignant conversations we have as a family occur in the car.  As solo try-outs approached a few weeks ago, I was humbled to listen to a brief heart-to-heart conversation between Joshua and Gabrielle on our drive home from school.

Gabrielle:  "Joshua, I am going to practice and practice and try out for a solo for the spring concert.  Are you going to try-out?"

Joshua:  "No, Gabrielle, I am not going to try-out.  I have already had a few opportunities to have special singing parts in the choir concerts.  I'd like others to have their special time, too." 

I admire Gabrielle's disciplined hard work, hopeful enthusiasm and courage.

I admire Joshua's humility, wisdom and maturity.

This short but sweet conversation between our children blessed my heart and I uttered silent words of praise to God for His goodness. 

Gabrielle (4th grade) with her flute doing one of the things she loves


Joshua (6th grade) as quarterback ~ doing what he loves most

As a mom, I rely completely on God's wisdom and on His faithfulness that His Holy Spirit is active in my children's hearts.  I pray daily that we are all yielding our hearts to the Holy Spirit moment by moment.  It's my heart's most consistent prayer as a wife, as a mom and as His child myself.

One of the precious nuggets of wisdom the Lord has shown me about mothering is that my children often times will live out their faith differently.  And that's okay.  It's actually perfect.

For we are God’s workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10

Our children won't necessarily live out their faith like Jim or I do.  And they won't always live it out like the other.  God has created us each uniquely and with different gifts and passions.  


Giving my children the freedom to grow in their own relationship with God and living it out personally, each with their own uniqueness with which He created them, is ironically one of the most freeing things I can do for myself as their mom.  As they each work out their own salvation, I know God is working in each of them for His good pleasure.  (Philippians 2:12-13).  Trusting God that He loves them perfectly and desires them to flourish in their relationships with Him, my hands are folded and my knees are bowed in prayer.  

Teaching them to fear the Lord by my own actions and words, pointing them to His Word daily as we do life together, and fervently praying for them are my greatest treasures and responsibilities as their mom.

My joy as their mom:  They are singing in the same choir together in life! 

Throughout their lives, Gabrielle may sing the melody while Joshua sings the harmony.  They may be singing different notes but they are singing to and for the same Redeemer.  Their expressions of love and praise won't always sound or look the same, but as long as they are always in His choir, this momma's heart and lips will be saying Alleluia! 

"He gently leads those who have young." 
Isaiah 40:11


Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed...
work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 
 for it is God who works in you both
to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Philippians 2:12-13 (NKJV)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

She Surprises

"And she was a woman of good understanding
and beautiful appearance..."
1 Samuel 25:3

My sweet friend, LeAnn

A few years ago, the Lord put an idea on my heart called "SerenDIPity" ~ a gathering of friends where everyone brings their favorite savory or sweet DIP to enjoy as we fellowship.  All of our guests vote on their favorite dips, and a variety of awards and prizes are given.  SerenDIPity has become an annual party here in our home.  We love opening our home and hearing the laughter and conversation that warm our hearts.

On Friday afternoon, March 30th, as I was in our kitchen whipping butter and sugar together to make my favorite cupcakes for our SerenDIPity on Saturday, March 31st, there was a knock at our front door.  With the mixer going full tilt in my hand, flour covering my black shirt, my house in disarray after having new carpets installed the day before, and sporting a cosmetic-free face, I wondered why neither my children nor my husband were answering the door.  "Can someone please answer the door?" I shouted.  Jim responded seemingly nonchalantly, "It's for you, Honey.  You answer the door."

Rubbing flour off of my nose, I walked to the front door.  Pulling the door open slowly with my not-ready-for-prime-time-spring white and flabby arms, my jaw dropped in complete shock when I saw my pretty friend's face smiling at me.

LeAnn from North Carolina! 

I think I just stared at her through the door window for about 10 minutes before she sweetly said, "Are you going to let me in?"

Serendipity indeed!!  Several weeks before, LeAnn had contacted Jim about surprising me for SerenDIPity.  What fun!  {And a poignant reminder to me that we may not see the serendipitous blessings God is planning for us.  Humbling.}

I was completely surprised by LeAnn!!!  She had brought her gracious southern hospitality north to Bucks County, Pennsylvania!  Wearing an apron she had made that said "Sharon'sDIPity Helper" in purple and holding a wooden spoon with a purple ribbon, LeAnn warmed our home and our hearts with an amazing surprise visit for SerenDIPity weekend!!!


LeAnn's Apron!

We had SO much fun!!  My "To Do" list for preparing for SerenDIPity peacefully went to the back burner as I enjoyed LeAnn's company.  We had dinner together at The Blue Sage Grille on Friday evening after all the cupcakes had baked.  When we got home, we put cream cheese frosting on the cupcakes and then DIPped them in flaked coconut.

On Saturday morning, we enjoyed Starbucks in historic Newtown Borough and visited just a few of the great shops in Newtown.  Then, after grocery shopping for items for LeAnn's delicious dip recipes, we spent the afternoon in my kitchen. 

Joshua and Gabrielle hardly left LeAnn's side!  They learned great culinary tips from LeAnn.  Joshua even served as LeAnn's scribe while writing down some tweaks to a recipe for her.  LeAnn's love and friendship made such a godly impression on our children's hearts.  What a treasure she is!

LeAnn quietly and graciously enjoyed and served at our SerenDIPity.  What a delight for us to introduce her to our friends. 

On Sunday morning, LeAnn joined us at our church for worship and the Word.  Then, after fellowship and food at Panera, LeAnn headed to the Philadelphia airport to fly back home to Charlotte.  My family and I are still enjoying the afterglow of her wonderful visit. 

SerenDIPity 2012 was more savory and sweeter than ever!! 

Thank you LeAnn!  Your kind, thoughtful, generous and loving presence blessed us beyond words!!!  Your preparations and labors of love have touched our hearts and lives deeply.  May HE pour His bountiful spoonfuls of blessings into your lap!!  Your friendship, godliness, discernment and beauty brought unspeakable joy to us!  You refreshed us!  We love you!

She Surprises.  She Blesses.

"She brings...she selects...she considers...
she provides...she sees...she opens...
she extends...she makes...
she supplies...she laughs...
she speaks...she watches...
a woman who fears the Lord
is to be praised."
Proverbs 31