Friendsgiving comes to Lipscomb

Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are well known for their food and festivities, but we often take that for granted. Here in our own little world we focus on all the fun that we get to have while there are some people out there who not only aren’t invited to the holiday parties but miss out on meals daily.

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Food helps tie all of life together. It is necessary to mind and body functions, obviously, but it also has spiritual impact.

Jesus worked miracles with food. For example feeding the 5000, turning water into wine, the disciples large catch of fish, etc.

He is also found eating with others many times whether they are friends, family, or tax collectors and sinners.

Jesus even is the food and the drink. He is our life-giving thing that can heal better than anything we can actually ingest. He preaches multiple times on being the bread of life and living water. We take communion in remembrance of Him as the broken bread and poured out wine.

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Food gives us what we need to be able to focus, thrive, and have abundant life. I can’t imagine my life without this opportunity to be filled each day and often enjoy it with friends and family. That’s why I love festivities like that!

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Back to those who don’t get this. It is so simple to actually do something to help them. We spend (myself so guilty) lots of money on our food and drinks when it really is not worth that much. (Do you really think it took $5 to get that bread and cheese for your grilled cheese sandwich? A whole loaf of bread can be less than $2.) So the real impact of just a couple dollars can go a long way in feeding people in need. That’s why each year No Kid Hungry has a campaign called Friendsgiving where we can do what we love with people that we love while also helping those in need. Through this fundraiser, just $1 can help provide up to $10 meals.

That’s why this year I am hosting a friendsgiving right here on Lipscomb’s campus this Thursday, November 3rd in the Elam lobby from 4-6pm. Any and everyone is welcome even if you want to just drop by for a minute! We will also have some food and be showing the Great Pumpkin and Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

You can also give online at our “team page” through December 31st. I am so pumped and hope you all can help!

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There is power in prayer (plus a pumpkin poll)

I use alliteration a lot, just in case you don’t really know me.

Since this is my last post of the month of October, the quintessential fall month, I wanted to add a little poll to the end of this about one of my favorite fall things — the flavors! Sweet potato and apple are two of my other seasonal favorites, but we will keep it to pumpkin for this one.

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But first, coffee. Just kidding. First, Jesus. Prayer — something that has had a profound impact on my life the past couple months.

It may sound strange, but I don’t really look forward to the weekends. I enjoy the school week more. People are here, and things go on a schedule. More events happen, and I always know that I will have friends around. On the weekends with no class, many people go home or somewhere else, and campus is quiet. The caf also closes early and has more limited food. I get pretty lonely sometimes. However, there have been some events, just all happening at the same time! They are so intriguing, but I am so indecisive. Then I get stressed over which thing to choose so that I don’t miss out on something. The solution that I have found to that problem? Prayer.

One weekend was actually packed. Friday to Sunday there were options of my parents, camping, a goat festival, luau, bonfire, church. For Sunday evening, I was debating between the bonfire and church, really wanting to go to the bonfire, but not alone. Throughout the afternoon, I prayed that god just somehow show me which one He wanted me to do. Minutes later, my phone rang. A girl from the team, Kendra, had seen where I was asking if anyone was going, and she was and offered to take me! That was my sign that I should go to the bonfire. It ended up being a great time with food, fun, painting pumpkins, fellowship and singing worship songs around a bonfire.

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The next weekend, I was again struggling with what to do with my Sunday. I had so much homework (as usual, I feel), but one of the other freshman girls on the team had invited us all to her house to carve pumpkins and other fun stuff. We would be staying for dinner and stuff, so we wouldn’t be going to church either. Now, I really love Ethos. I really wanted to go and have fun and participate, but I was also stressed. I prayed about this decision, too, decided to tell Kailey that I would come, and just went with it. However, right after that, she sent out a message saying that a lot of people were worried about homework and such, so we could plan to do it the next week. That made the decision for me!  The afternoon ended up being beautiful, and I got lots of work done sitting outside. I had time to dress up for church, hear a fantastic message and have a great dinner and fellowship back at school.

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Answered prayers for God’s work to be known and shown is also kind of the theme in a previous post I did about a night going out with some friends!

The more I see this happen in the world and my own life, the more I am willing to trust God’s plan. When He shows us the way, we should be faithful and walk in it. It leads to the best destinations, usually in the most unexpected ways.

While I’m at it, I can’t believe October is over, but Happy Halloween!

These are not all my pumpkin indulgences, but just a few.

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Pied Piper Creamery, Target treats, Sweet Cece’s, pumpkin cheesecake pudding mousse mom made and cookies from a friend, Yogurt Mountain, and The Comfy Cow.

Delight in the Lord

One of the things that I have seen as a blessing through taking this cross country season off to rest is that I have taken the opportunity to do things that I would not have done if I was training, such as staying up late. There’s no point in not taking advantage of opportunities that come up. Although it’s not what I was used to, why not enjoy the special occasions? The Bible tells us to “make the most of every opportunity” no matter what the circumstances are (Colossians 4:5). Time is something you will never get back, so why not get the most out of it?

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It has amazed me how there are always events happening here on campus. Between constant events and homework, there is rarely to never time to be bored. Some days there are so many options, it actually stresses me out that I don’t know what to choose! One night I had already had a fun day out and about and eating, but the Elam RA’s were hosting a painting night in the lobby. It didn’t start until 10 p.m., but that is something that caught my attention. By the time that I got back to the dorm, changed into my pj’s, and ready to go down to paint, it was almost 11:00, but I really wanted to do it! There were still plenty of people down there and plenty left when I was finished.

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This was one of my latest nights, but it was worth it. I got to talk with new people that I hadn’t met that were basically my neighbors. It was also great to take time to just relax and be creative. Some girls did really elaborate and impressive paintings, but others were simple. Some had words while others were just images.

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It took me a long time to decide, but I choose to make two pictures that were very relevant to where I was at in my life. The Elam residence hall theme for the year is “delight,” using Psalm 37:4, which is also one of my favorite verses. If you take it literally, it will not always come true. But God’s Word is never false, so people say. This is true. This takes a deep understanding of what a life for Christ is about. It’s like a circle of repeating events. The more that you delight in the Lord, the more that becomes what your heart desires. His joy and contentment has no comparison, and nothing else can provide it. When you find this feeling, you begin to want it more and more. Then the desire for the Lord will be filled by Him. That is what I have found in so many circumstances. When I stop focusing on controlling my circumstances and live in the moment, embracing what God has put right in front of me, I have found more joy than when I am focused on what I want to plan.

2016-09-03-23-19-07 This leads me to the second verse that I painted: “Live by faith” (2 Corinthians 5:7). To follow where God leads and to see what He wants you to do requires that you have faith in what He is doing. Now that life here on campus is totally different from my routines at home, faith is something that has repeatedly come to me. Though I do not know what a day will bring, I can live in faith that God is working a good plan. When I put this trust in Him and live in the moment, I find that I am filled with joy and long for more of it.

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Elam has also done a bonfire, Bible studies, cookouts, games, decorating, Tuesday night pancakes and much more, as well as upcoming events like the Halloween Party. Hopefully I will share about some more of these soon!

Has your dorm done any fun or inspiring activities? What are some themes you see reoccurring around you lately? Consider what they may be really trying to say to you.

Share our Supper

If you know much about me, you know I love food. I love to eat it, cook it, explore new places to find it, share it, give it, serve it, you name it. I’ve done blog posts on it many times, Instagram photos of it every week or so, write tweets, enter all kinds of contests (and sometimes win), have parties to cook and eat, find new recipes and sign up for email lists and rewards.

Because I do love food so much, it is a great way for me to serve God. He wants us to use the things we enjoy to bring Him joy, too. Like I said in a previous post on this blog, meals are a great time to fellowship with others as well. My mom works in the office at an elementary school, and she comes home with some of the saddest stories. Many kids eat all they can at school in the cafeteria because they know that they probably won’t get another meal until they come back the next day. They’re so hungry and can’t do anything about it. Over longer breaks like weekends and holidays, that’s even longer to go with little to no food. Knowing these personal stories and considering how much this simple aspect of life is so important both mentally and physically, it draws me to feel compassion for them.

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Many people, especially younger children, don’t talk about this home situation, so many of us may not even realize that someone close to us may be suffering. Hunger is something very real in every community. Though we live in Nashville, a seemingly “fancy” place to live, there are hungry people around every corner, maybe even on yours.
2016-09-19-18-01-37Here at school, we have an awesome cafeteria with great food and so many options every day. Their health score is posted on the wall as being a 100, and I believe it. As part of complying with health regulations, they are required to dispose of almost every bit of leftover food at the end of the day. Most people don’t know this nor do they realize how much food is left each day. It’s an enormous amount. Imagine how many people this food could help. Well, that’s what a group of students did in recent years. Lipscomb now has a club called Share Our Supper that works with the cafeteria to collect leftover food twice a week to take to the Nashville Food Project. We get the food from the caf, load it in a car and drive to NFP, weigh and record the amounts of food, and that’s it! So simple and so beneficial. The organization takes all the food they receive and redistributes it to other organizations and people in the area who are in need of food.

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This organization is located on Hillsboro Pike, a central, easy-to-locate place. They take donations from anyone as well as grow their own food in a garden in behind the building. All they receive is used to benefit those living here in Nashville. Volunteers are always welcome! Their website provides great information about all they do and how you can contact them and get involved. If you would like to be involved with Share Our Supper, contact Sarah Wagner at sjwagner@mail.lipscomb.edu.

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Other than the food collection and delivery, we also lead other projects on campus such as the End it with Orange campaign and food drive, where one week we collected canned foods partnering with No Kid Hungry. We also plan to host a dinner for some of the school faculty and cafeteria workers, among other things.

The Holy Spirit knows no distance

Do you ever have that thought of “This is just what I needed”? I have been getting that a lot lately — a lot as in at least daily if not several times a day.

Not too far apart, God sent me some encouragement from some of the people closest to my heart who are actually relatively far away from me in person right now. However, that physical distance doesn’t matter. The power of prayer and the Holy Spirit have no limits.

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One Saturday morning I was out at Vaughn’s Gap watching the team do a workout, and there were butterflies everywhere! This one landed on me, so I decided to take a picture and later post it to my instagram. The verse I used was Psalm 59:16, “But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love, for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.” Later in the afternoon of the day I posted it, my Dad took a screenshot, sent it to me saying, “Yesterday a butterfly that looked exactly like that landed on my chest, and I thought of you.” This was not only sweet of him, but amazing that it was the same. I believe this was a sign to the both of us that things were going well, God was watching over me and keeping me safe, no need for worries.

This verse had a continuing impact into the next day, too. One of my best friends since kindergarten and I had been talking one day, and she sent me some encouraging verses and similar things that I woke up to the next morning. (Katlyn is on the cross country team at Milligan College.) The first verse she used? Psalm 59:16. That’s when you really know that’s what God wants you to hear.

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Another awesome surprise was when I received a message from the post office that a package had arrived for me. It was from my two best friends from high school who also happened to live in my neighborhood. Chantal and Cherie are twins, so they’re basically the same person, but we all three are like the same person. They know me so well and get me the best gifts and surprises from anyone I know! I couldn’t believe that they did this for me. This was no cheap thing either, and they’re also college runners at UT Martin without jobs, too. No special occasion other than they wanted to let me know that they love me and are praying for me and to encourage me to trust God with whatever is going on in my life.
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This just made my day — so many of my favorites!
*Coffee — a mug and Starbucks card
*Peanuts — the coffee mug
*Encouragement for the process-the Peanuts coffee mug-that combined 3 in 1!
*Lenny & Larry’s Complete Cookie — I am an ambassador for them, too! (So if you want to check out some delicious and tasty cookies, muffins, and brownies, visit my page!)
*Protein bars — for my desserts and snacks
*Decoration — one of the simple things that makes my heart so happy; they even decorated the inside of the box with verses! A note was also included.
*Laughs — they give me tissues (usually holiday themed) to poke fun at my very loud nose blowing. I can’t help it! That’s something that became a joke on the team as people could walk in the bathroom and just hear me blowing my nose and know who was in there.

Doing little things can encourage people more than you could ever know.

What is something someone has given you, material or intangible, that has spoken to your heart?

Opportunity is omnipresent

One quality of God is that He is omnipresent, meaning that He is present everywhere. The same goes for opportunities that He gives us; we just have to be open to seeing them. Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” When you earnestly ask God to help you see the things He wants you to do with your life, He will be faithful to show you. If you want the opportunities, God has already planned them out.

A couple weeks ago, this very thing happened.

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It was another long night of talking in the caf with some great friends like I wrote my last post about, when Lauren and I started talking about ice cream. That made us really want some. We asked the two guys who were left with us if they wanted to go get some, but they had homework to do that night, so we planned for the next night. I was really excited to be going out with some new friends, but praying that God let His plans go through and not mine, that He watch over us and let whatever He wanted to happen happen. We waited on Brent as the last one to be ready and left around 7:20. We weren’t sure where to go, but ended up at the Comfy Cow.

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After ordering, we found a bench outside to sit and eat and talk. A poor, old, woman walked past us. She looked like she was really struggling and not quite with it, then she turned to ask if anyone had a dollar to help her. Brent immediately gave her one. She walked a little more, but then turned back and asked if she could have a ride to the hotel she was staying at down the road, and Topher said yeah, we could take her if the rest of us were fine with it. She seemed so happy and went to get her couple bags and told us how to get to the Extended Stay. We helped her to the car and drove there and got to talk to her a bit. Her name was Ellie, and she was living there by herself. When we got there, we told her that we hoped she had a great evening and offered to help her more, but she said she was OK to take it to her room herself. She thanked us so much! Before pulling out of the parking lot, Lauren led us in prayer for her. On the ride home, we talked more about her situation and shared even more spiritual encouragement and stories with each other. I am always amazed with how my teammates are so open and motivated with their faith! They uplift my spirit and inspire me to live better myself. This is also like what the message was at Ethos the night before: be a missionary right here in Nashville, right where God has placed you. If we had gone the night before, earlier on that night, to any other ice cream place, or stayed back for the missions meeting, this would not have happened. My prayer for God to be at work on our little outing was totally responded to by that opportunity. Then at the girls’ team devo, Lauren and I had a story to share during God Moments!

Where was an unlikely place you have gotten an opportunity to share God’s love?