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Holy Tuesday, the day to just “be”.

After the roller coaster from Palm Sunday’s celebrity parade to the frustrations and anxiety of Monday, on Holy Tuesday Jesus went to where He felt comfortable…the temple.
Where is your comfort zone? When the world seems to be spinning out of control and you can not strap your feet in the ride before the day takes off, where or how do you settle in to regroup?
Jesus communicated so much to those around him in easy to digest stories (aka. parables). Their minds, our minds, sometimes just are not focused in to understand the gift of knowledge, truth and guidance that He has been offering us.
The key word is focus. I know my mind goes in 194 directions when I do just about everything. It is very hard to simple channel in on my task at hand, which means I miss many chances to be, live and experience “the moment”.
On this day those around Jesus had a last chance to be gifted His art of preaching and teaching and just simply “be”. They settled in, focused on and seized the opportunity to have a front row seat embracing “the moment”.
Just as there are always those around you who will criticize you, challenge you, try to distract your focus, there were those that were on guard awaiting Jesus to say and do the wrong thing. They tried desperately to find fault with Him engaging in psychological warfare with Him that He clearly won over and over and again on this day and at “this moment”.
(Matthew 21:23-27)
On this night I am going to challenge myself to turn off the noise of the world and do as those in the temple did so many years ago: stop moving, put down any distractions, and embrace the opportunity to be enlighten, inspired and lifted by His words, stories and wisdom and take the time to “be” with Jesus.
We are not promised the time to do this tomorrow and that is something this week should clearly communicate to us.
We have moved through yesterday and have yet to open our eyes to tomorrow, so today, Holy Tuesday, is the perfect day to focus our eyes, hearts, and our walk with Him beginning by taking time to just “be”.
I believe if you never had found your comfort zone, your escape from the chaos, before you might possibly find it here “in this moment”.

Wishing you peace, love and the chance to just “be in this moment”,

Terri

Terri O’Neill-Borders

Email- terri@hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com
Website- www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com
Wordpress- https://hopeandfriendshipfoundation.wordpress.com/

Holy Monday. One of “those” days.

Have you had one of “those” days?
One of “those” days that from your feet hitting the floor side of your bed you knew you were in “that” mood. Perhaps you had a project due, a person to deal with you didn’t want to, a unwelcomed doctor visit, a bill that was due that you knew would not, could not be paid, a death of a loved one that would culminate today and tomorrow with their wake and then the funeral.
Today was just going to be “that” day.
I pray I don’t cross you and that you don’t cross me on “that” day.

Today, Holy Monday, was “that” day for Jesus. His days were numbered, his followers were skittish, one of his closest friends had become his noose. After being celebrated and paraded through the city, as the Chicago Blackhawks were through Chicago the day before, he awoke on this Monday after having embraced that feeling of being loved, admired and hoisted onto the pedestal, that was now in the yesterday, today would be a difficult one and tomorrow would be one of His last.

Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” ~ Matthew 21:12-13
Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.
When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.
Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” ~ Matthew 21:19-22

Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”
Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”
They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”
So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.” ~ Matthew 21:23-27

I have to confess when I read these passages I have to put a mandatory high-five up to Jesus for how He never ever waivered and never changed. How often would I have loved the opportunity to throw over desks, tables and files in front of those who were just simply annoying the snot out of me and the art of withering a plant I have down pat but to do it intentionally would be rocking cool!!! He was the ultimate “genuine” and I admire that. He had “haters” and he didn’t let them quiet him. He was the representation of “courage” and “valor”. He had a mission and a purpose and NO ONE was going to stand in His way. How I wish I could have that strength and tenacity in my simple and so less dramatic every day.

We know what we “should” do, yet we often give in to what the world “wants” us to do. When is the last time you upheaveled the table of the “money changers” and made them wonder what got into you??? The gossipers at work. The one who tells you “no one will know”. The voice in your head that says “you deserve this so don’t feel bad”.

Yesterday we raised our hands and proclaimed we knew Him and were of His “army of walking angels”. We were on the escalator to Heaven with our buddy Jesus. Today we see Him causing some disturbance and we cautiously step back a few steps and let him vent and air out His grievances without causing attention to us, or bringing us into His circle. What a difference a day makes.

Today I hope you stood your ground on something you felt strongly for. Today I hope you represented the indigent, the oppressed, the one the office staff was whispering about. If you didn’t today, know that tomorrow is another day.

Jesus has a rare gift for us, He loves us with an unconditional love. Had one of those money changers, the fig tree, or one of those chief priests bent His ear for His compassion they would’ve easily won His heart. He didn’t explode today for “no reason”, He had His fill of “no production, no love, no compassion, and no restraint” on selfishness and greedy living.

The days are waning and the hours are less for us to come to terms with the end of His walk with us on earth. He is imploring us to walk with Him and just simply frustrated with our lackadaisical and reckless attitude with what He knows is the severity of the numbering of our days. Not because He is judging us but because He wants to live forever with us.

Here we are on Monday having the choice to continue forward as we are or change our ways and follow the way He is leading us. It will not be an easy journey, but He guarantees at the finish line we will be rejoicing and He will be refilling us for all of eternity. It’s our choice. He senses the voice we are listening to and is turning tables upside down to capture our attention to turn our eyes to the path we may have missed in the chaos of “this day” so that we will be able to walk with Him for the “rest of our days”.

 

Wishing you peace and love.
Terri

Terri O’Neill-Borders

Email- terri@hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com
Website- www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com
Wordpress- https://hopeandfriendshipfoundation.wordpress.com/

Palm Sunday. Today He is the GOAT.

On Sunday, He rode into town on a very meager “ride” celebrated as the GOAT (Greatest Of All Times) hearing shouts of praise, appreciation, respect and adoration. The energy was amazing!!! Everyone became caught up in it. If you weren’t there, you heard about the celebration and wish you wouldn’t have missed the parade!
Five days later…..
He was the goat of their jabs, jokes, abuse, rejection, abandonment, violence, and betrayal. The energy was amazing. Everyone became caught up in it. If you weren’t there, you heard about it and wish you had been there but would it have been to join in the jeers or be one who hoped to see the tide turn and good conquer evil?
Today we can choose to begin our journey with Jesus through the final week of His life.
Sure I walk it every year, but this year I hope to walk it purposefully and intentionally and walk closer with the one who chose to walk it first never taking a detour from the inevitable ending.
Today I celebrate with the masses, tomorrow we begin the walk toward betrayal. How did He have the strength? How did He not run the other way?
That worry is for tomorrow.
Today He hears your voice cheering for Him.

Wishing you peace & love.
Terri
Terri O’Neill-Borders

Email- terri@hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com
Website- www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com
Wordpress- https://hopeandfriendshipfoundation.wordpress.com/

12 years of lessons shared in 12 days- Day 6- Hands meeting Hands on a most difficult day

12 days before Christmas

12 lessons I’ve learned from pulling together the

12 Hope and Friendship Christmas Dinner Delivery Days

It was 2 weeks from Christmas 2005. My eyes were opened to a need I had never felt or seen before only by having been broken. I had simultaneously experienced the end of a 16 year marriage due to a husband choosing another, as I walked with my father through his final 14 months on this earth, my best friend, the one who truly knew me being cut from his mold would not be at the Christmas table.

I drove through Lemont on Thanksgiving Night wondering who else dreaded Christmas Day. Only by being broken did my eyes see a need that I had so easily overlooked. God put an idea in my head and heart yet I ignored it for 2 weeks. Jonah had to be swallowed by a whale to comply; it didn’t take that drastic of a action, but close.

I dragged my feet, blocked the voice and ignored the call for 2 weeks. Then I gave in. Two weeks prior to Christmas I told a friend this crazy idea to host a dinner for those who had no table to pull up to. Then she told a friend and within those two weeks I was invited to speak at Lemont Junior Women’s Club, Lemont District 113a PTA, and other school and organization meetings. All I asked for was cooked food to fill a table and the invitation to join me was open to all who ached at the thought of dragging themselves through the day.

On Christmas Day twelve of us, including my mother (who lovingly supported and ventured into this crazy idea with me), gathered at a table and feasted on food prepared for us by friends. We laughed, we comforted, we shared stories and hugs. We united and enjoyed a beautiful meal on a day we all had dreaded to step into.

When we finished dinner we packed up all of the food that remained and delivered to a few other houses in our community that we knew were in a struggle as well as to the two Joliet Homeless Shelters.

What would have been a most painful Christmas Day turned into a beautiful union of friends who needed the companionship and comfort of another who understood the ache the day presented. We were gifted with a meal that nourished our body and spirit.

One week from today many more than 12 will gather to serve dozens of homes that are struggling right here and right now. Though there will always be need, if we are not attempting to meet the needs right here within our arm’s reach we are missing the opportunity to be love, hope, light and compassion to our very neighbor.

There is such a small degree, a short plunge, between being one that can offer assistance to the one that is in the storm. A divorce. The lost of a loved one. A job loss. A devastating health prognosis. Needs are not only financial, debilitating needs are physical and emotional. Life blows are unplanned.

I am so very thankful for all of you who join with me in recognizing and acting on the most simply yet most powerful gift of arriving at the door of a home that is hurting with the humble gift of a home cooked Christmas Dinner that will, and has, nourished countless bodies and spirits.

As a friend extends their arms offering the gift of a Christmas Dinner, another friend extends theirs’ humbling receiving it. For a moment, for that night, we are connecting, lifting and healing. Thank you for making that as important to you as it is to me to meet those on a most difficult day making it a most blessed and wonderful gift of unconditional love, hope and friendship.

Want to be a part of this year’s Hope and Friendship Christmas Outreaches? Email terri@hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

Visit www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

 

~ Sunday December 18, 2016

12 days before Christmas 12 Lessons I’ve learned from pulling together the 12 Hope and Friendship Christmas Dinner Delivery Days- Day 5- When did we do it for you?

 

When I read this verse I see it written for here and now, for the Christmas Dinner Deliveries and all of the outreaches we do, have offered and hopefully will continue to unite to engage in. I have seen each and all of these offered and seen the hearts and spirits lifted. You have been Love offered right here, right now.

“For I was struggling to put food on my table and afford food for my kids during the winter and summer breaks and you gave me food, I was thirsty for the example of Christ to life me and you gave me drink by delivering a much need sack lunch with compassionate inspirational notes, I was a stranger and you welcomed me and showed up to help me with my lawn and yard work during Mission Stay Saturday, I was naked and you clothed me by offering what you didn’t need in your closet and helped me find clothing during your winter clothing drive for myself and my kids, I was sick and you visited me delivering meals to my home and notes that lifted my tired spirit and arrived at my door caroling during a most difficult holiday season, I was in prison depressed and lost on how I was going to find the resources and energy to prepare a Christmas Dinner and you came to me arms full of cooked food and gifts bring the light of love and the Lord into our hurting home.’  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you or the children here in Lemont hungry and feed you, or thirsty and in need of your hope and love and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you and tend to your yard work that you couldn’t complete, or naked and clothe you with clothing offered from one home to another?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you bringing you dinner that nourished your body and spirit?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” ~ (adapted from Matthew 25:35-40)

Want to be a part of this year’s Hope and Friendship Christmas Outreaches? Email terri@hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

Visit www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

~ Saturday December 17, 2016

 

12 years of lessons shared in 12 days- day 4- It’s not me it’s you

12 days before Christmas

12 lessons I’ve learned from pulling together the

12 Hope and Friendship Christmas Dinner Delivery Days

 

It is not me that makes this happen it is you. I am simply blessed to be a conduit.

12 years snowballing into a tradition for so many has made the Hope and Friendship Foundation Christmas Dinner Deliveries a unique and beautiful opportunity to engage in the spirit of Christmas.

Grandma LeeAnn and grandkids have gathered to mix, roll, press, and bake Christmas Cookies gift wrapped in box decorated with bow for as many years as I can remember. Each year she contacts me and asks “How many deliveries this year?” And then her and her elves get busy making a amazing Christmas gift to accompany the Dinner.

Cindy and Paul have embarked on the mission to put a HUGE dent into the potato population. They have rallied the assistance of friends and family and boiled, mashed and prepared 4 person servings of 200 pounds of mashed potatoes that provide such substance to our gift of dinner.

Bill, Tim, Jim, Dan, Jimmy and friends have been the meat of our meal for the past few years gathering together with others to deep fry each of the turkeys that rest in the center of our gift of a Christmas Dinner. The have gathered and purchased 16 turkey fryers, purchase the oil and seasoning, receive the donation of propane from our friends at Ludwigs Feed Store, and with the assistance of their amazing children and friends clean, dress, prepare and then cook 55-65 turkeys that then are match up with our sides, potatoes, breads, and desserts and arrive at the door of friends offering the gift that will nourish body and spirit from friends.

Terry and Holly have arrived each year ready to deliver as many dinners and care bags as needed. Always arriving with a smile and empty car ready to be the conduit of a home cooked meal prepared by friends, loaded and delivered by friends to friends who need this spirit lifting gift.

These are just a few of the friends who have adopted the Hope and Friendship Christmas Outreach as their annual act of compassion gifted on Christmas Day. There are so many who have contributed food, gifts, supplies, hands and feet and vehicles to make this outreach ripple throughout our community on the day that resonates of unconditional peace, hope and love.

Thank you my friends for joining me in offering such a selfless gift that meets another friend in a storm of life. You are casting such light, love and hope into this difficult chapter. It would not happen without each and every person who offers toward it. There is no donation that does not make the impact stronger. At the end of the day on December 25th I sit and thank God for you, as do the homes that you filled with food and love.

May your home, your family and your heart be filled with the gift of Christmas love, hope and peace, for this the gift you have provided each and every year to another.

Want to be a part of this year’s Hope and Friendship Christmas Outreaches? Email terri@hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

Visit www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

 

~ Friday December 16, 2016

12 years of lessons in 12 years-Day 3- Miracle of the Mashed Potatoes

12 days before Christmas

12 lessons I’ve learned from pulling together the

12 Hope and Friendship Christmas Dinner Delivery Days

The Miracle of the Mashed Potatoes.

How do you plan on food for 50 plus homes?

I believe in trusting in the One who is a better planner than I. I can plan something into dust and then have to rely on Plan B, C and eventually Z. However, when I listen and follow and not make it about how “I” want the outreach to work but rather how “He” wants the outreach to meet needs, I find that Plan A pretty much pulls together.

Christmas 2009 I had 52 homes humbly accept or request a Christmas Dinner Delivery.

Donations of cooked food came walking through the doors of the Safety Village and we cut turkeys, sorted large quantities and divvied up donations of all of the fixin’s of Christmas.

We came down to the final quality control walk through and we were short potatoes in most every home’s dinner box.

I have been so blessed to have a handful of friends who have walked with me through so many of these Christmas Dinners and one who was there then and has remained present in making this gift of love happen, looked at me and said “What now?”

My mind raced from running to every 24 hour store I could find to round up potatoes and hurry and prepare them to knowing that the dinner would be delivered not be to the standards that I wanted it.

Before I could utter an answer to his question, in walked a friend and her family apologetically for being late with 15 pounds of prepared and packaged mashed potatoes, which filled every not full box to my satisfaction. How can you have Christmas Dinner without potatoes? Obviously you can’t because what we didn’t have we had and all was good.

From that day forward we joke about the “miracle of the mashed potatoes” when the exact coat that a teen wanted so badly is found in a bag of donated clothing, when the amount needed for a families rent is donated, when the appliance that broke in a home that cannot afford to replace it is the same appliance offered by someone replacing theirs, when the child who needed something receives it because another home found they have two.

I have found that I do not need to stress over what I have no control over because there is a plan and I am simply a part of it. I know that miracles happen right here in our corner of the world because I have been so very blessed to personally witness them over and over again.

We are all capable of being someone’s miracle, someone’s hope right here within your arm’s reach.

May we all be the one who walks through the door with the mashed potatoes or whatever is needed to complete the gift of compassion that brings hope and light into someone’s storm.

Want to be a part of this year’s Hope and Friendship Christmas Outreaches? Email terri@hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

Visit www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

~ Thursday December 15, 2016