"Serendipity" It's more than a word...

Have you ever met someone who always, always sharpens and encourages you with each encounter? Think about what a difficult thing that is-to be both edified and convicted-without feeling beaten down or over-inflated. It can't be easy, and yet, my friend Sharon Sloan is a master at this delicate, beautiful balancing act. I wish each of you could know her, spend time with her, be hosted by her. I promise it would refresh your soul. Watch this brief video introduction:

Serendipity intro from Whitney Capps on Vimeo.

I cannot tell you how excited I am for Sharon. She lives the message of this book, and not just in the planned, hosted, open-your-home kind of way. She lives a life of welcome and hospitality. I could type and type all the things I love about her, but why don't I just let you hear from this dear woman:

"Seek to show hospitality." ~ Romans 12:13

Thank you to my truly sweet and thoughtful friend, Whitney, for inviting me over to her place in Bloggityville today! I am truly honored to guest post here! Thank you, Whitney!!! And to all of you visiting today, please be sure to enter to win a free SerenDIPity book at the close of this post!

{HOSPITALITY.} Does the thought of opening your home excite you or paralyze you?

We are all in varying situations and seasons of our lives, so being hospitable and opening our homes to others may look different for each of us at any given time. Whether it is a simple act of offering someone a cup of cold water or entertaining a large group of people, being hospitable reflects a part of the heart of God.

Hospitality can seem so complicated, so overwhelming, so stressful and even so unnecessary in our lives today. The heart of entertaining seems to be waning in this world of social media, where, if we are not disciplined and resolved, most of our social interaction can be in front of a computer or smart phone screen instead of face-to-face.

Throughout scripture, God demonstrates the importance of hospitality. He wants us to be hospitable towards. Even just taking a quick look at Romans 12:13 in the Parallel Bible, we see the earnestness of His heart.

NKJV – “…given to hospitality”
NIV – “Practice hospitality.”
NLT – “Always be eager to practice hospitality.”
ESV – “…seek to show hospitality”
HCS – “pursue hospitality”
AMP – “pursue the practice of hospitality”

Our busy and technology-driven lives contribute to our lack of personal fellowship one with another. Opening our homes and inviting others in for coffee, snacks, a meal or a party can easily slip off our heart’s and calendar’s radar screens. But I believe we are called and commanded to be hospitable in whatever form the Lord chooses. “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another..” ~ Hebrews 10:25

“Hospitality seeks to minister. It says, ‘This home is not mine. It is truly a gift from my Master. I am His servant and I use it as He desires.’ Hospitality does not try to impress, but to serve.” - Karen Burton Mains

In my book, SerenDIPity ~ Celebrating Dips, Faith & Friendship, I share the simple why-to and how-to of hospitality. Specifically, I invite you to host your very own SerenDIPity – a unique and fun dip party that gathers family and friends together for fellowship, food and laughter!
This fun and practical why to and how to book will help you:
1.    Open up your home and heart through hospitality.
2.    Creatively prepare and execute your own SerenDIPity party.
3.    Set the stage for fun, friends, and fellowship.
4.    Learn the ins and outs of hosting fun contests and giveaways.
5.    Prepare savory and sweet dips.
6.    Know what to do after the party and how to reach out with SerenDIPity.
7.    Know what the Bible says about hospitality and fellowship.

While you are at it, grab a spoon and dip into some free resources!!!

Leave a comment below telling us your greatest joy or your greatest fear of opening your home in hospitality!! We will pick a winner in a few days who will receive a SerenDIPity book!

Have a DIPlightful day!!!

“When you have eaten and are satisfied, 
praise the Lord your God…” 

Deuteronomy 8:10

See! I told you. Don't you just L.O.V.E. her?!  My fall and holiday season is going to be so much for fun and meaningful. I'm going to be using my dollops of Scripture over and over again when I'm stressing about all the hostessing that will be happening. I want my heart AND home to say welcome. Don't forget to leave a comment to be entered in our giveaway!

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They reach millions, but touch one at a time...

Will you help us go to her? She was a naive newlywed with a sweet, totally unrealistic dream hidden deep in her heart. She knew that dream needed to be brought into the light. It needed breath and space and hope to grow. So she did what all dreamers do, she searched the Internet. In the quiet and secret of her home office, away from her uber practical husband, she found out about a conference for women who want to be speakers. It was in Charlotte in June of 2003. It was too expensive. It would be too far away. It was too outside her comfort zone. But something or more likely Someone moved in her heart and dared her to say "yes."

She was happy to say "yes" knowing her husband would say "no." At least she could say she submitted to God and him. Maybe she'd be off the hook. With fear and trembling, she asked. She acknowledged the risk and the cost. She supposed it was silly. She waited for him to agree it was a bad idea. He said he'd pray about it.

He (both he and He) said "yes." She agreed to register for She Speaks 2003.

Fast forward ten years. She just came home from She Speaks 2013. A decade later. That sweet, totally unrealistic dream has become a vibrant, totally unbelievable ministry. She doesn't reach millions or even thousands. She raises four boys. She loves her husband. She clean her home. She changes diapers. She travels, speaks and occasionally writes. But she does ministry in ways that lets her soul sing, and let's her feel God's pleasure.

She has been changed by Proverbs 31 Ministries. Women in love with Jesus poured into her life and whispered,

"Say 'yes' to God and watch what He will do with your obedience."
"Don't be discouraged in the dailiness of motherhood; ministry will come in time."
"Serve others well and build the Kingdom faithfully. The rest will take care of itself."
"We believe in the rough, raw gifting we see in you, but keep improving. Keep learning."
"Minister in your weakness; let God use those rough spaces to show His grace to others."

She listened. She treasured these things in her heart. She came to love these women, the women they serve together and this ministry. "She" is me.

I have been changed by Proverbs 31. I have been changed in an intimate, profound way by Lysa, Renee, Karen, Micca, Sharon, Lynn, Wendy B., Suzie, Wendy P., Tracie, Amy, Melissa, Barb, Terri, Nicki, Sam, Glynnis, Lisa and countless others. I don't brag that I know them in real life. Truth is, you know them in real life too if you are a part of Proverbs 31. These beautiful, broken women are the fleshed-out version of what you read, hear and see.

They pour themselves out daily in countless ways that no one ever sees. God multiplies their obedience to reach women in countries around the world. And mysteriously, miraculously they let me partner with them.

It will be one of the chief joys of my life reaching women around the world through Proverbs 31. Telling Mom's to persevere. Teaching women how to treasure the Word. Asking wives to forgive the unforgivable. Encouraging women to honor God in the workplace. Inviting women to meet Jesus in a real and personal way.

I believe I can say honestly, joining us would bless you. Real life ministry happens here. Wanna join us? We'd be honored to work alongside you.

Watch this brief video to see some of the specific ways and places ministry happens:

Partner with Us Today from Proverbs 31 Ministries on Vimeo.

If you'd like to join us here's the link to learn more:

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Encouragement for today

Today is Monday. I want to write something profound and meaningful. But I can't. I'm sorry. Tomorrow I'll be accompanying my boys to our church's camp. My first born baby is spending the night ALL WEEK. I am so pumped for him, but oh my heavens. This is shockingly surreal. First day of kindergarten surreal. I mean I knew this day was coming. I've been awaiting and dreading this day for, well, ever. I'm simultaneously celebrating and grieving.

He's so ready, and he's going to do great. I am just not sure my heart's ready for not having him here at home with me for a week. We are a family of six. Five just doesn't feel right anymore. I've been away from him before. But Mama's don't you know that when you are at home and it's bedtime you want your babies at home in their beds. Amen?

And yet I can't wait to help him get his bunk set up and his suitcase unpacked. It will be thrilling to hear his camp stories on Friday. I can imagine him singing his heart out to Jesus, running Keen-footed with all the boys, and playing awesome night games.

I've only been a Mom for seven years, but I am learning this is the hard tension of motherhood. It's always there in some permutation. It's the tension between guilt and satisfaction, being firm or being fun, being playful or being productive.

I want to throw a Pinterest birthday party, but I only have time to pull of Chuck. E. Cheese. A stranger in the grocery store comments on the good behavior of my boys. Only minutes later, I'm squeezing the cheeks of one of those "well behaved" boys, our noses only inches apart,  in a fit of nearly lethal frustration because he was blatantly disrespectful.

I think for me that's part of the extreme exhaustion of motherhood. I am constantly trying to keep my emotions in check, balancing what's real, reasonable and right against what's easy, emotional and exaggerated.

Now a good blog post written by a better Mom would have a practical suggestion on how to deal. I'm not that Mom, blogger or girl. I don't know if on a good day I'd have the answer, but certainly not on the day I'm dropping off my seven-year-old at overnight camp. So help, sweet friends. Someone want to jump down this hole with me? You don't even have to have the answer, just keep me company or distracted-for like a week.

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God-sized Dreamer?

If you're here from Holley's world, welcome. If not, you so, so, so need to know my friend Holley. She's ah.mazing. If you're new, let me start...

Hi, I'm Whitney. I've been told I over commit and under deliver. How's that for an introduction? Don't you just so want to be my friend?

I have plenty of flaws, but a lack of transparency isn't one of them. So, there you go. That's me. Big dreamer. Not so big doer. When I have been given this feedback, I've had to receive it honestly and with grace. It's true.

Now before you judge me for deflecting, I am seriously working on this weakness in my life. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, I think I'm making strides. So don't go gettin' all mad at me, but I kind of think a lot of us dreamers fall into this category. Do you?

Dreamers are a funny bunch. We see the future ridiculously clearly. It's so real. It's so fun. I can camp out there for such a length of time that you'd start to wonder if I'm not a little delusional. In some ways, I guess I am. I can live like my dreams are real.

This symptom is even more exaggerated for the God-sized dreamer. I have a holy confidence that my all-powerful God is fully capable to make this dream a reality.

So I spend a lot of time savoring what will be.

I don't spend a lot of time thinking about what I do to get there.

I don't suffer from analysis paralysis; I suffer from analysis anemia. It's weak, and I'm tired. So I go take a nap.

I've tried to muster up the energy and fortitude to overcome this weakness. I just couldn't figure out how. That's another problem with dreamers. A lot of us see the big picture, but we're not sure how to draw it. I can see the intricacy of the image, but those same details can overwhelm me. It's part of the blessing and the curse of being a dreamer.

If you've ever felt stuck by the magnitude of where you want to go, and (say it out loud) where you think God wants to take you, my sweet friend Holley's book is for you! "You Were Made For A God-Sized Dream" is profoundly simplistic, universally personal and beautifully soul-nurturing.

Reading it felt like Holley was in my head AND my dreams. She knows the secret thoughts that I whisper only to myself. She knows the things that thrill my heart. She knows the things shame me. She knows the things that make me shrink back in fear. Better than all that, she knows the uber practical ways to get me over myself and moving forward.

I promise you, you'll feel the same way. She writes in a way that is insanely personal, but so profound I am certain I'm not the only one feeling this way. You'll love it! Truly!

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My Mom's Living Legacy

Who has impacted your faith? Perhaps a friend, sister, your mother or grandmother, a mentor or pastor’s wife? Honor her with a $20 donation to Proverbs 31 Ministries today. We'll send her a beautiful Legacy card and list her name on the front page of our website in May! And through your donation in honor of her faith, you'll help us reach and strengthen the faith of millions of women around the world each day. Click here to find out more.

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